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May 28, 2013 / benrovik

Congrats to Myke Cole!


Congrats to Myke Cole for winning the 2013 Compton Crook Award for his debut novel!

I had the good fortune to be on a panel with him at Balticon last year, and he’s a funny, talented, stand-up guy.  Control Point is just what you’d expect from a hard-nosed military urban fantasy thriller laced with dark humor.  Which is to say it’s a really fun read.

Great job, Myke!  Please keep the sweet books coming.

May 22, 2013 / benrovik




It’s KDP Select time, my droogs!  Aloft is free now until Saturday.

Last time this scrappy little tale of workplace romance and terrible bosses climbed the free Fantasy/Futuristic romance bestseller list.  I’ve played with categories and the like since then (because why not?) and now it’s #12 in Technothrillers!

A book that can do so well in those two genres?  That sounds like something I’d sure want to read! (If I hadn’t written it.)

Please pick up a copy if you don’t have one, and kindly request that your friends do the same!  Let’s make this thing the #1 technothriller on Amazon!  Take that, Tom Clancy!

May 1, 2013 / benrovik




As I mentioned in The Past, my brother and I have been working on an opera together for quite some time.  He wrote the music, and I wrote the libretto.  We first started planning it out 2010 so it could be his last hurrah before getting his doctorate in composing a few years later

Well shut my mouth, we went and finished it.  And with the excellent contributions of the artists, musicians, and good people of New Voices Opera (founded for this production), we put it on!

The opera’s called “Intoxication: America’s Love Affair With Oil.”  Here’s what reviewers had to say:

Everything about this project merits praise and opportunity… The libretto is clever; the music, appropriate, varied and attractive.


[Ben Rovik’s] libretto is an exemplar of poetic craftsmanship. He draws from historical events, political figures, pop culture, and even mid-century advertising to show the evolution of American culture and its relation to our growing dependence on oil. Without an obtuse agenda, [Rovik] leaves the audience with a heavy message and a lingering sense of discomfort; we’re all dependent on oil, no matter how much we wish to become more “sustainable” and “green”.

Hot cha cha!  Maybe a Mechanized Wizardry opera should be in the works one of these days.

Check out New Voices Opera, and my brother Chappell Kingsland’s site for more excellent music.


March 17, 2013 / benrovik

An Open Letter to the Masters of the English Language 6

Dear Overlords,

I had a bowl of canned soup at work a few days ago, and as I was slurping it down I pondered, “Does this soup actually eat like a meal?”

And then I pondered, “What the flap am I saying?”

Soups, of course, don’t eat (unless you go far, far afield from the standard recipes. I’m sure there are some Baba Yaga tales about enchanted soups that eat naughty Slavic children.)

So why does this slogan, which Campbell’s has used for three decades now, make sense at all? Why can I understand that Campbell’s means this soup will fill me up like a meal would, as opposed to other soups, which are dainty liquid amuse-bouches before the plat principal?

I suppose it’s the power of context. I look at that sentence and I can’t imagine what else it what mean for a soup to eat, so I instinctively understand it must really be referring to my perception of what it would be like to eat that soup… and then the ad agency’s in my head and controlling my brain, and suddenly our pantry is full of canned soup like we’re survivalists ready and waiting for a nuclear dust-up.

Well played, Campbell’s. Well played.


March 1, 2013 / benrovik

Interview on Podioracket


The fine folks at Podioracket took the time to interview me about the free audiobook of The Wizard That Wasn’t. Take a listen when you get a moment– my segment begins a little more than halfway in.


February 15, 2013 / benrovik

Nu Job!


Heads up, fellow travelers!

I was fortunate enough to land a lovely new full-time job this week.  It’s casual, creative, and close to home.  I’ll be writing dialogue for some very fancy choose-your-own-adventure training videos.  The goal is to create simulated characters with whom users can have conversations that feel totally immersive.

This job is a huge step in the right direction, as far as, you know, avoiding the poor house goes.  And it’ll allow us to keep buying new clothes for the baby faster than she can outgrow them (which, as you may imagine, is at a considerable rate).

I will still be working on Mechanized Wizardry as much as possible.  A large chunk of the draft of The Fate of the Faithful is already done, so wheels are in motion.

Anyway!  Onwards and upwards.  Thanks for all your support and your interest.


Image credit here

January 18, 2013 / benrovik

Quickie publishing thoughts

Lots to do, and several meals yet to eat today.  (Surprising how hard it is to make time for that sort of thing.)

I wanted to share some self-publishing tips and opportunities that came through my inbox or feeds recently.  I hadn’t heard these things anywhere else, so they caught my attention.

    • Pricing differently for each country.

I’m an American, so I only think in dollars.  I price my ebooks at an $x.99 price, because even though people aren’t actually fooled into rounding down to the number before the decimal, it’s such a common marketing habit that a $3 book looks demonstrably more expensive than a $2.99 one. (Smashwords insists on the .99 price too, because some of its affiliates also do.)

At any rate, Nathan Maharaj at Kobo points out that there’s no reason not to do the same thing for prices in all currencies.

If your $2.99 book auto-prices to 2.25 Euros, why not go ahead and raise the price to 2.99 Euros?  Or lower it to 1.99?  Either way would be more purposeful, and take into account the fact that readers paying that price are going to be more receptive to something close to a round number than something somewhere in the middle of the decimal range.

An interesting pro-user thought!

    • What about Google?

I read Mark Coker’s New Year’s Predictions.  Very cool to see what the creator of Smashwords thinks about publishing, since he’s full of info and has his finger on the pulse of the thing.

One of the comments talked about Google, and the rise of the Play store, which made me realize that I’d totally neglected to include my books in those places.  I tend to head to and remedy that asap.  The more places the Mechanized Wizardry books are visible, the more likely they’ll be seen.

    • Kindle serials!

As if I needed another project… I saw a guest post on Lindsay Buroker’s blog about the Kindle Serials program, and how it’s open to pitches from indie authors.  Do tell, Amazon!

I love the prospective excitement that would be built up around a novel-in-progress, and I think it’d create even more opportunities to engage with readers.

I’ve got an idea for an urban fantasy series that I think would make a page-turningly delicious serial novel.  Maybe I’ll be able to get to it by the end of the year.

Read anything interesting in the self-publishing world lately?