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Greetings! This is my first newsletter in quite a while so there's a lot of ground to cover.
I've posted several new Outlaw Galaxy short stories on the revamped website: BillSmithBooks.com & OutlawGalaxy.com. They are free to read and download, so enjoy and spread the word. There is also a large, extended sample of Outlaw Galaxy 1: Trip and the Space Pirates.
If you like these new tales, please consider a small tip via PayPal or snail mail. Whether it's a dime, a quarter or a dollar or two, your support is greatly appreciated.
Printed copies of Outlaw Galaxy 1 are available for $4 (including tax, postage, shipping and handling within the USA). To me, there's nothing like the simple elegance of a printed book -- it's portable, works anywhere, and doesn't depend on wi-fi access or batteries. The books are nothing fancy (just plain newsprint), but that's still a good price for a complete novel.
For mail orders, send cash, check or money order to:
Bill Smith Books
PO Box 124
Malone, NY 12953
Order via credit card or PayPal, just go to PayPal.com and send $4 to firstname.lastname@example.org -- be sure to mention that you're ordering Outlaw Galaxy 1.
Be sure to include your name and mailing address with all orders. Orders are shipped first-class mail within the USA. (This offer is for US orders only; outside the US, please email me for shipping details.)
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Outlaw Galaxy 1: Trip and the Space Pirates is a classic "young adult juvie" sci-fi novel. Some people have asked if all of the Outlaw Galaxy books are going to be "juvies."
Well, first off, Harry Potter, Narnia, Robert Heinlein's juvies and the new Star Wars movies have shown that stories featuring younger characters aren't necessarily "just kids' stories."
But, no, they won't all be juvies. I always pictured Outlaw Galaxy as a series. As I began to write the first book, a top priority was creating a setting that offered limitless opportunity for adventure and that evoked the sense of wonder that is the essence of science fiction. I wanted to create a place that I would enjoy exploring for decades.
As I now start to paint in some details on this very broad canvas, Outlaw Galaxy is just beginning to live up to its potential. The setting is a sprawling civilization that spans an entire galaxy, filled with intriguing cultures and compelling conflicts. This is a galaxy where humans share the stars with thousands of alien races and lightspeed travel is an almost prehistoric technology. In Outlaw Galaxy, adventure awaits in every system, every city, every distant locale....
Outlaw Galaxy is pure action-adventure space fantasy, designed to appeal to young and old, to anyone who has a thirst for adventure and a sense of wonder. It's for those of us who look up at the star-filled night sky and can't help but marvel at what might be out there.
I invite you to come along and enjoy the ride!
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I've posted these stories, free to download and read, so that people could simply read and enjoy without the hassles of things like copy protection and DRM.
Instead, it's "Here you go, please try a sample. If you like it, a small tip is appreciated or please buy one of my other books. Thank you for your support."
I want to make my stories available to the widest audience possible, at the fairest price possible (and I believe that "free, tips encouraged" is indeed a fair price), and have them be enjoyed by readers around the world.
I'm hoping you will like them, perhaps even enough to want to see more. Sending a little pocket change my way and telling others to come by for a read can make that possible.
So read, enjoy, and let me know what you think.
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It's been over four years since the first Outlaw Galaxy book was published and then...silence.
A few people have emailed me to ask why there's been such a long gap since the release of the first Outlaw Galaxy book.
"Making a living" is the dull but truthful answer. Despite time constraints, the next six Outlaw Galaxy novels are being edited, while a gaggle of short stories are already written. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out what is the best format to present these stories.
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In the past few years, my life has been a case of racking up a lot of miles and spending an awful lot of time...just to get back to where I started.
After living in the Poconos and, most recently, Central Pennsylvania, my wife and I are back in our hometown, a small village in the foothills of New York's Adirondack Mountains. The old saying is that you can never go home again...but that's where I am and it's a good place for me to be.
As a teenager, I couldn't wait to get out of here. I truly understood Luke Skywalker's youthful longing: "The whole world is out there and I'm stuck here." With my high school diploma in hand, I set out for college, ready to move out, move on and never look back.
Now we're back, but along the way, a few curious things happened. I got my crack at not one, but two "dream" jobs.
The first was my seven year stint at West End Games, which gave me the opportunity to work on numerous Star Wars roleplaying products and write the two Star Wars Essential Guides for which I'm best known -- Vehicles and Vessels and Weapons and Technology.
The second was a chance to promote a stock car track. I've loved dirt track racing since childhood, and spent many years announcing and doing PR for local tracks. I always yearned to run a track. I finally got my chance -- and while it's a neat business, it's not the business for me.
Both jobs were thrilling, exciting, challenging...and very, very stressful.
By late 2004, my wife and I were thinking about the future and kids and...well, "growing up" is such a vulgar way to put it, but that's the gist of it. Fate seemed to be pointing us back home, to our parents and siblings and nieces and nephews, and the quiet life that comes with living in a small country town.
It's been a good move and I've been quite content. Even when I was working at West End, working at my what should have been my "dream job," I was a pretty restless, unsettled soul. Endless looming deadlines, routine emergency rewrites, and constant upheaval all took their toll. (It would have been nice if the sun shined once in a while, too, but alas, in the mist-shrouded Pocono Mountains, the sun is a terrifying harbinger of doom that appears rarely and when it does, even the bravest of men cower in fear.)
Now, I have the chance to write exactly the stories that lure me in. (Ideas are like that, you know. They look so cute and endearing and cuddly when they pop into existence. It takes just a moment's attention to convince them to crawl up onto your shoulder...and then, once they settle in, the claws come out and they demand to be written.) Now, I'm free to share these stories with the world...and I'm having an awful lot of fun doing it.
I only hope you enjoy reading the tales of the Outlaw Galaxy universe as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
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So what about the future?
Look for more Outlaw Galaxy stories at BillSmithBooks.com & OutlawGalaxy.com.
The newsletters will be a mixture of reviews and commentary, tips on writing, and, of course, the lastest news about the Outlaw Galaxy stories and novels...along with whatever else springs to mind.
Of course, feel free to send comments and questions.
Thank you for reading.
To the Stars!
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Copyright Notice: BillSmithBooks, Outlaw Galaxy, Outlaw Galaxy Tales and Imagination Forge are trademarks of Bill Smith. Copyright 1998-2013 by Bill Smith. Please respect my copyright. Please don't copy, post on torrents or otherwise duplicate my stories without my express permission. Copyright infringement makes me sad.