Archives: Under Strange Suns

Monterrey Supplemental: Beer. And Miscellaneous Updates


When we gringos think of Mexican beer, we think of thumbing a wedge of lime into a bottle of watery lager, preferably while sitting by the beach or floating in the swimming pool. But this particular gringo is always sniffing out the local craft brew scene. It took some doing in Monterrey, but I did track down some microbrewed product. Given the enormous size of Monterrey, I’d hoped to find more little breweries, but I was able to sample the goods of six different craft brewers. I even — finally — found a grocery store that carried a reasonable offering. (Locals tip: the best selection of beer in Monterrey is at the Walmart in Gomez Marine.)

Funny enough, the tiny pub and bottle shop where I sampled the beers described below was about a block from my hotel. Sadly, I didn’t discover it until I’d been in town for three days. So it goes, right? Anyway, here are the notes I took in Cueva Carvajal. (An aside: many of the beer names are Spanish double entendres. Lost on me, but amusing to those fluent in the colloquial idioms.)

The Push Continues


And thus I continue pounding the drum and tooting the horn.

The Portland Things From Another World store generously hosted a signing for “Under Strange Suns” last Wednesday.  I sold books, signed my name, chatted with customers. That I can do.

Last Tuesday I sat for an interview with Simon Rose of Fantasy Fiction Focus. That I’m less comfortable with. Public speaking, stages, cameras: don’t like them. Nonetheless, the interview proceeded. Simon is a personable fellow and is used to dealing with skittery, shy writers.

How did I do? Decide for yourself.


The Post-Thanksgiving Post

The turkey is now a dwindling cache of leftovers. A slice of pie or two remains in the refrigerator. The last, persistent relative has cleared out of the guest room. Thanksgiving is a memory, a blurring collection of noise, arguments, football, arguments about football, and overindulgence.

That about sum it up for you?

Pounding the Pavement and Knocking on Doors

Taking a look at the calendar, I noticed that the next couple of months will call frequently on my woefully lacking marketing skills. Oh, joy. Promotion. What’s that rising up within? Heartburn? Acid reflux? Incipient panic?

Some of us prefer to remain unnoticed, to blend, chameleon-like, in the crowd. Deliberately drawing multiple pairs of eyeballs to our existence can be a trifle uncomfortable. But, that’s the gig. I knew it was part of the deal when I signed up.

Second Novel Ruminations

Under Strange Suns debuted almost a week ago. By this point you may well be tired of my mentioning it. Could be I’m tired of mentioning it too, ever think of that, bucko? Hmmm? How about you buy a copy and I’ll stop bringing it up? What’s that, you say? “How about I just stop reading anything you write, Ken, that’ll solve my problem.” Touché, gentle reader. Well played. I withdraw the suggestion.

But I’m going to have to bring it up from time to time. People seldom buy unadvertised goods. And I’ll want to raise my hand when the print edition comes out, and note upcoming signings, etc. Still, I get you. I’d just as soon focus on the next project myself. Bear with me, though, a bit longer, allow me to ruminate a little more on my sophomore outing.

The truth is, the book still doesn’t feel real to me. I know it is, of course. I’ve read through it countless times, in all its permutations and formats, on various computer screens, printed out and scattered across the floor, PDF file, unbound book mock-up. But until I get my author copy in hand, the novel still seems ethereal to me, so much vapor. Very subjective, you say, a highly personal response. Well, yes. This is my web log. Personal is what you’re going to get, until I can hire underpaid marketing minions to manage all my social media duties. Maybe there’s a blogging service in Cambodia, able to crank out a year’s worth of posts for $2.75, throw in daily Tweets for a quarter per month. Think anyone would notice?

Oh, just one more thing. I checked only a moment ago, and Under Strange Suns is still discounted to 99-cents. Just saying.UnderStrangeSuns_med

Under Strange Suns


Cue the fanfare. Commence drumroll. Ahem. Is this thing on?

Ladies and gentlemen, readers of all ages…well, readers of appropriate age, anyways. I’m please to announce that Under Strange Suns is available for purchase beginning August 25, digitally, and December 25 in print edition.

Under Strange Suns Update


And at last it can be revealed. Behold the Brad Fraunfelter awesomeness in full color. I’d buy that.

Of course, first I have to finish writing it. Or, more precisely, I need to finish editing it. The book is written. But I’m giving it another polish. Tweaking, emphasizing, clarifying, smoothing off any rough edges, refining any clunky phrasing.

I figure it will take me until late July to complete. That means setting aside the book I’d started writing a few weeks ago. I’d just passed the ten-thousand word mark. Well, it will still be waiting for me next month.

And now, as it is Father’s Day, and my daughter is currently sleeping, I’m going to give myself the present of a nap.

Happy Father’s Day to the rest of you dads.

Kona Brewer’s Festival

Kona Brewer’s Festival

Aloha! I’m writing today’s post from the lanai of rented condo in Kona Hawaii, overlooking palm trees, tennis court and ocean. The things I do for you people. Exhausting.

Take yesterday for example, when I spent the afternoon tasting beer, oceanside, in the sun and sampling the offerings a dozen local restaurants and caterers. Sheer torture, the Kona Brewers Festival, but I endure it for you.

My Second Novel, “Under Strange Suns”

No suspense, no buildup. Here’s the deal: I placed my novel Under Strange Suns with Twilight Times Books.

There, that’s out of the way. Details, then. It is a science fiction story. Or rather, planetary romance written with a twenty-first century audience in mind. That means, pace Burroughs, I cannot simply have my protagonist fall asleep on Earth then wake on an alien planet. While that works well for John Carter, and I’m not knocking ERB’s story-telling at all (perish the thought of such hubris), I don’t think it would go over well with contemporary audiences in a new novel. Meaning reliance on science fiction instead of fantasy. While the science may – from the perspective of today’s physicists –  be functionally equivalent to the John Carter dream transit in plausibility, at least it has the scaffolding of science to hang the implausibilities on. Spaceships! FTL!