Jasper Fford: The Big Over Easy

February 1st, 2011

This is murder mystery.  Detective Inspector Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division is assigned to investigate the death of Humpty Dumpty.  Assisted by Detective Sergeant Mary Mary, they struggle to find out if the oversized egg died by accidental, by suicide or by murder.  To further confuse the issue, several people admit to murdering Humpty but their confession doesn’t jibe with reality.  Throw in a failing foot remedy company whose almost worthless stock Humpty bought up in huge batches for unknown reasons.  Another unknown is were he got the gold he used to buy the shares.

I expected humor from this novel ( and got it ), but I didn’t expect to find a fully developed and very complicated mystery.

This is the first Fforde novel I read and now I’ll be searching for more of them to read.

4 stars

A Terrific Book Deal

January 25th, 2011

As in introductory offer for my new novel Zaftan Entrepreneurs, I’m offer that book with my award-winning Tales From Gundarland for a package price of $30.  I’ll even pay the postage within the USA.  In addition, you’ll receive two free ebooks, Humorous Yarns and Other stuff and Real Recipes and Fake News Stories.

Go here for more book details


The Zaftans are here!

January 24th, 2011

My new novel, Zaftan Entrepreneurs, is now available in print and ebook editions. This is Book 1 of the Zaftan Trilogy.  Four pre-publication reviews each gave it five stars

Tired of reading scifi and fantasy stories that take themselves too seriously?  Zaftan Entrepreneurs is a unique First Contact story; it is part adventure and part corporate and political satire spiced with comic relief.

Here, you’ll find nasty, snarly aliens, fantasy creatures, humans, romance, magic, and — just like the real world — incompetent politicians and feuding bureaucracies.  What more could a fantasy or scifiZaftan3D_2a reader ask for?

Zaftans are a gruesome alien race.  They stand seven feet tall, weigh over four hundred pounds and stink like fish guts left in the sun too long.  Resembling giant squids, they have eight tentacles that can be used as arms or legs.  When in a good mood, they are merely hostile.  All zaftans consider treachery and assassination to be social skills and list them on their resumes.

A zaftan mining expedition discovers Gundarland, a place inhabited by humans, elves, dwarfs and other races.  Initial scans by the ship indicate promising places to search for the rare minerals they seek.  Since the planet is inhabited, the zaftans have to deal with the natives, but they plan to negotiate treacherously with the government.

Robotic explorers are deployed and instructed to ignore the natives and disregard private property.  These actions enrage a dwarf miner, MacDrakin, to the point he declares war on the robots and the aliens.  He collects a few warriors and destroys a number of robots.  His actions threaten his budding romance with Higginbottom, the area’s only constable, who has orders from the government to protect the robots.

When a robot discovers a large mineral find under the area’s only town, the ship’s captain decides on revenge and orders the town destroyed during the mining process.  Meanwhile, MacDrakin positions his warriors to block the alien attempt.

Who will win, MacDrakin or the aliens?

Satisfied buyers talk about Build a Better Story

January 21st, 2011

A number of writers who purchased Build a Better Story have commented favorably on it. Here is the opinion of yet another satisfied writer:

I found your book very informative, and I refer back to it even now.  Especially helpful was the suggestion of a novel writing software. My stories come out much more cohesively and are much easier to write.  I also liked the suggestions you give for creating tension and mood in a longer story.  It has made my novel progress so much more easily.

Your book was the best five bucks I ever spent: Annette PiazzaBABS cover

Other writers have expressed similar positions.  Here are some extracts:

If I were giving a class in writing, I’d make chapter four REQUIRED READING. Here is information you CAN’T get from writing book created by a professional author. That alone is well worth the price of the book. Hank’s emphasis on organization and tools for organizing creativity (both paper and software) are also well worth the price of the book. – Robert Qualkinbush

The key point of the book is to be organized in the planning and writing of your stories, and it shows you precisely how to bring order out of the chaos of story creation. The text offers a concise overview of all the major aspects of story creation, including planning, character development, plot, point of view, etc: Wayne  Craun

Hank’s insight into writing and sound, easily understood advice on all the main issues of fiction writing, plus his very easy-to-follow character and plot maps is a highly recommended, writing tool. I found his book easy to read and the work flows well, while he offers practical and sound advice. There is excellent insight into “reader” demands to good writing and good advice from character creation to plot planning with references to further reading in each chapter. Hank has summed up many of the new writer pitfalls. His advice will assist many writers with his structured methodology: Gavin Tonks

Check out all the reviews.

I found his book easy to read and the work flows well, while he offers practical and sound advice. There is excellent insight into “reader” demands to good writing and good advice from character creation to plot planning with references to further reading in each chapter. Hank has summed up many of the new writer pitfalls. His advice will assist many writers with his structured methodology.

The Zaftans have arrived!

January 20th, 2011

My new novel, Zaftan Entrepreneurs, Book 1 of the Zaftan Trilogy, is now available in print and ebook versions.  My website, http://hankquense.com/ZE-main.html,  has links to bookseller sites.Zaftan3D_3a

Four pre-publication reviews are unanimous in praising the novel and all gave it five stars. Some of their comments include, “This story is filled with action, romance, and Quense’s trademark unique, satirical wit.” and  ”Zaftan Entrepreneurs is not your usual science fiction read. Hank has taken the genre to a new level.  Hank Quense adds more than a dab of humor to this book and a great deal of insight into the workings of the bureaucrats.” and finally, “Besides adventure with a bit of romance and comic relief thrown in, the story contains a great deal of satire that will resonate with modern readers.”

Check out the pre-launch contest (now officially, a post-launch contest!) for a chance to win a free copy.

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

January 19th, 2011

This Pratchett novel is different from most of his Discworld books.  Except for the first few chapters, most of it takes place outside Ank-Morkpork.  In the opening, the main character, Teppic, is studying in the Assassins Guild.  To survive in the Guild long enough to make it to graduate day is to qualify for the graduation test.  To graduate the candidate must survive the test which lasts all night long on the streets of the city.

Alas, soon after graduating, Teppic is told his father had died and he must retire as an assassin because he is now the king of an Egypt-like country Djelibeybi.  Once Teppic gets back, he finds he is only a figurehead; the ancient (really, really ancient) high priest runs the country.

As with all Pratchett’s novels, this one is filed with bizarre events and characters.  Djelibeybi is stuffed with pyramid tombs for the previous kings. Teppic determines to build the largest one yet for his dead father who is annoyed because he doesn’t want a big tomb but no one listens to him because he’s dead.  The tomb is so huge, it distorts space-time and forces it to rotate it by one dimension.

Another major character is an old camel named You Bastard who is the world’s greatest mathematician and a dead-eye spitter.

This story is better than Pratchett’s average discworld novel.

Breaking News on Gun Regulations

January 17th, 2011

This is an FNN exclusive report from political reporter Stacy Conundrum interviewing Joshua Sureshoot, lobbyist for the gun industry.

SC: Mr Sureshoot, you were given an assignment by the Congressional Sub-Committee for Equitable Gun Regulation. Is that correct?

JB: That is correct.  The Sub-Committee asked me to make recommendations on how the slaughter of innocent citizens by automatic and semi-automatic weapons could be reduced to a more sensible level.  I assembled a group of knowledgeable people and we went to work.

SC: Reduced to a sensible level? Not eliminated?

JS: We sought to reduce the homicide rate without violating the Constitution.

SC: Who was on the sub-committee with you?

JS: I recruited the VP of marketing from Colt Industries, the Sales VP from Smith and Wesson, an executive from an ammunition manufacturer, a retired Marine general and two lawyers from the NRA.

SC: Doesn’t the makeup of the group guarantee a recommendation favoring the status quo?

JS: Not at all.  These are mature people with many years of experience in making tough decisions. We examine every possible alternative and then decided on the best one.  We struggled for almost an hour before agreeing on a recommendation.

JS: Does that mean you’re recommending a change in the gun laws to ban those types of weapons?

JS: Of course not. There is no need to go to those extreme — and possibly unconstitutional — means.  Our recommendations will go a long way towards reducing the homicides that maniacs can perpetrate by reducing the number of rounds they can fire in a given time period.

SC: Can you explain that?

JS: Of course.  Let us think back to the recent massacre in the Southwest.  The shooter used a magazine holding thirty-three rounds.  In other words, if the shooter was a competent marksman, he could have shot thirty-three individuals instead of the much smaller number he actually shot.  Under our recommendation, a marksman could only shoot ten people.

SC: Unless the shooter had two weapons.

JS : Even then, the shooter could only shoot twenty people without stopping to reload.  Once he stopped shooting, that is the signal for heroic citizens to attack the shooter and put an end to the slaughter.  Even with two weapons, the shooter can only attack twenty targets, a forty percent reduction in possible causalities over the thirty-three round magazine.  Now that is an example of a fine recommendation and it came from a lot of give-and-take in hard negotiations.

SC: Why not simply ban all automatic and semi-automatic weapons? They aren’t hunting weapons. They’re only purpose is to kill many people in a short time.

JS: That is an example of the shoddy logic used by anti-gun forces.  Every citizen has a Constitutional right to own a weapon that can slaughter his family, friends, neighbors or even strangers whenever he feels the urge to commit a massacre. Baring his right to own such a weapon will be nothing short of an attack on our forefathers and the government they struggled to give birth to.

SC: Will the NRA endorse your recommendation?

JS:  I think if Congress met with the NRA executives an agreement can be hammered out, one that the NRA will not oppose. Already, the NRA lawyers are briefing their executives in preparation for a meeting with Congress.  Actually, this is a win-win-win-win situation, really.  The weapon owners can keep their automatic and semi-automatic weapons – with only a slight decrease on firepower, the members of Congress will have kept their promise to reduce the slaughter, the NRA will not see any reason to withhold contributions from the politicians and finally, the citizens will be significantly less likely to be slaughtered by a maniac.

SC: So you think this is a good thing?

JS: Absolutely.  This is what can happen when folks of good will sit down and talk through a difficult situation.  We voters must urge Congress to address more problem areas in this simple bipartisan manner.

SC: Thank you, Mr Sureshoot.  I am speechless at listening to your explanation of the benefits of your recommendation so I will have to break off the interview.

JS: Most people have the same reaction when they hear my recommendation or when they reflect on the positive ramifications of it.

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Zaftan Entrepreneurs Pre-Launch Contest

January 15th, 2011

To celebrate the launch of my new novel Zaftan Entrepreneurs: Book 1 of the Zaftan Trilogy, I’m giving away five free copies of the ebook.  The contest will run from January 15 to January 29.  Winners will be picked at random from all who participated in the contest.

Answer the following multiple choice questions and email the answers to me at hanque99@verizon.net.   Under subject put: Zaftan Contest.  In addition to the randomly selected winners of the Zaftan Entrepreneurs ebook, each entry will receive a copy of my ebook Real Recipes and Fake News Reports.

1) How much do you know about Zaftans?

A) Not much

B) A little

C) I think I married one

D) One lives down the block from me

2) Zaftans think assassination and treachery are social skills.  They also smell horribly.  Does this describeZaftan3D_3a your in-laws as well?

A) Yes.

B) No

C) My in-laws aren’t capable of sophisticated thinking like this.

One of the races in my books are called Half-pints (hint: think H_bb_ts). They don’t wear shoes, have long luxurious toe hair and spend much time grooming and decorating their toe hair.

3) Do you have toe hair?

A) Yes

B) No

4) Do you think toe hair is sexy? (Half-pints do)

A) Yes

B) No

5) Would you buy a product that promises to grow toe hair?

A) Yes

B) No

C) What are the side effects?

I promise not to abuse your email address.  I won’t sell or rent it, but I will send you an occasional update on my writing.

Humorous Yarns and Other Stuff

January 13th, 2011

My free sampler has been downloaded 1100 times by now from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Sony sites.  Here are the stats up to the end of the year for B&N and Sony.

Smashwords: 491 downloadsSampler cover-small

B&N:  486 downloads

Sony: 106 downloads

Did you get your copy yet?

Tales From Gundarland Author Chat Sessions

January 10th, 2011

I’m hosting two author chats on January 12.  The first one is at 12:00 noon EST and the second at 7:00 PM EST.  Go to the home page on my website http://hankquense.com and click on one of the two registration widgets.  You’ll be entered into a drawing for a grand prize.  There’ll be fun polls and I’ll be talking live