The first would have to be Frank Herbert's "Dune". It was the first hard sci-fi I ever read and it encouraged me to begin my own world development in earnest. It was also a great philosophical shift for me personally. Second would be Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein. The way he treats taboos in western culture is wonderfully silly but poignant. Third is the entire A Song of Ice & Fire series. Martin's world is simply incredible and magically complete. Fourth is the Narnia series by Lewis. I read some of those seven or more times as a kid. Fifth is The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Specifically the part where he discusses subterfuge as "Divine Manipulation of the Threads"
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle Keyboard, the third generation version. I bought it after reading an XKCD comic where it gets compared to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy so it fulfills my nerdy desires and my practical ones simultaneously.
Describe your desk
It's really a jerry-rigged sorta deal right now. I'm using a large desk of my wife's to hold the 32" tv I use as a monitor. An end table holds my keyboard and drawing tablet. And the rest is a series of rollable, plastic storage units like people stash arts and crafts supplies in for my mousepad and notebooks. It's really quite a hackneyed mess, but it works really well for me.
When did you first start writing?
When I was 12 or so. My grandparents gave my family an old Mac 7600 with office on it and I started writing a story on it. That original tale is still in my head mostly, but I'm actually piecing it together still.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The ease-of-publishing was key for me. Likewise, the fact that I don't want to become a professional author means that getting an agent or publisher is really a waste of time on my end I think. Plus, indie work means that I can retain a greater deal of control over my work and how it is used I think.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The mildly telepathic aspect is it for me. Thinking of how my brain is interacting with another person's across time and space is huge for me. Every little symbol on the screen or page influences them, and that is what I love the most. Also getting lost into a story is huge for me often.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Through friends and family mostly. My grandparents are avid readers so I often take their word on most of the books they suggest. It was actually a box of books from my granddad that provided me with my first copy of Dune and a number of other books.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Absolutely, I'm still writing it actually. It's called "Rise of the Phoenix" and is meant to be an epic fantasy/sci-fi novel that sets off an entire series of works. I've got the world bible written mostly and have done a lot of the development, but have only just recently started putting words on disk.
How do you approach cover design?
I try to theme it along the book's themes. Much of the time though, I focus on making sure that there is some sort of in-joke that only readers will appreciate from the text. For instance, in Me, Myself, & Feynman the chess theme is prevalent and is shown by a three-person chess game on the cover.
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