Don’t Panic…wise words at any time.

Times are tough

It seems with the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus that the world has gone a little bit, well, panicky.

Suddenly washing hands with soapy water is in vogue (is personal hygiene a new thing for some people?) and it is even becoming socially acceptable to stay home from work if you are not feeling well (instead of the bizarre practise of passing your 'happiness' on to your school mates, co-workers or fellow travellers in the flying petri dishes that we call airplanes. Trust me, this kind of sharing has not ever been particularly caring).

“Don't Panic.”

Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The (not so great) challenge of staying at home...

There are a lot of very intelligent people  offer advise on how to hunker down and weather the storm (not the politicians or the talking heads on TV...ignore them).  We should listen to the experts on this kind of stuff.

I'm not a health official, so anything I say should fall in the same category as the above mentioned politicians, but,

I have a plan:

During this uncertain time, I intend to limit the amount of time I spend in public places like malls and shopping centres (basically, any place that there is a reasonable chance a total stranger will sneeze on me, or cough out a lung while I sit next to their booth in a restaurant). I will wash my hands regularly and keep them away from my face. I'm also going to stay home if I feel unwell.

When I think about it, this is the same kind of stuff I do every flu season. 

Of course, in this day and age, being confined at home is not really such a great hardship. Many of us do so with an antisocial regularity, anyway.

  • I can socialize on facebook,  instagram, or Twitter; 
  • bust some dance moves on Tik Tok (I've never done it, but I understand that it's a 'thing');
  • shop from home on the ubiquitous Amazon;
  • binge watch any possible television series or movie ever produced, and;
  • read the sum total of all of human writings on my iPad. 

Naturally, being an author, I will have no excuse for not exceeding my daily word count (except for the above noted distractions).

Heck, I don't even have to leave my home for years... 

Okay, maybe that was a little much. My point is, remaining at home when unwell is not nearly the hardship it once might have been, even a decade ago, and in my particular case, can add to my productivity.

Whatever your particular situation, not panicking is probably a good first step.


If you are ill, please seek out medical advice and take care of yourself. Be considerate of others by not playing the heroic employee of the year. Stay home... trust me, they will survive a few days without you and appreciate that you didn't give anything to the rest of the staff. Maintain good hygiene and if you have to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue or your elbow. Others will thank you.

Here's something you can do even if you are not ill and confined to your home...

If you are reading this, chances are that you are not only a science fiction fan, but you also might enjoy my books. I've just released my latest Space Opera, called Armstrong Station. You can check it out at Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books or Barnes & Noble.

About the author

D.M. (Doug) Pruden

Science Fiction Author

I am the author of several science fiction series and short stories. I like to make sure that my characters are real, their adventures are riveting and,  being an erstwhile professional scientist, I like to make sure the science is right. You can check out my home page here, where you can download a free novella and get to know me a little better.


Sneak Peak at Kaine’s Sanction : Part 1

​Well, now you've done it. You've stumbled upon something that should be hidden from small children and vulnerable animals. It is an actual video of me reading from my latest book, Kaine's Sanction.

In case you are the queasy type, or reading this at work and don't want the boss to peak into your cubicle to find out why the latest sales report is late, I've included the text of the reading below, thus rendering the value of the video content to ​an amusing distraction...

Like watching somebody try to pick up a quarter glued to the floor and then laughing at (with) them. Seriously, this thing is THAT ​entertaining.

One last note: At the end of the video I try to stumble through giving you a website location. This is a lot harder to do than one might imagine. Anyway, the website I try to muddle through describing is ​ It is where you can pick up a copy of the book.

“Action stations!” ordered the captain.

The bridge lighting dimmed, replaced by red, night-vision illumination.

“Helm, accelerate to point 15 c. Heading: toward the nearest rock in the asteroid belt.”

“Targeting data is being forwarded to tactical,” said Hayden, unable to suppress the stress in his voice.

“Estimates, XO?”

“Our triangulation is preliminary, sir. I think they figured out what we were up to and made their move before we could nail down their position.”

“Hmph. We got caught with our pants down.” The captain rotated his chair to address the tactical officer. “Gunney, is there a firing solution computed?”

“No precise positioning info, Cap’n, but there is enough for a spread of laser fire with a good chance of hitting home.”

Pavlovich looked sternly at Hayden. “Now I only need to decide if I’m going to shoot first. What does your fancy academy education suggest, XO?”

Perspiration ran down Hayden’s cheek. His only exposure to this type of situation had been simulations, and he had never performed well in them.

He addressed Bates. “Comm, is there any kind of signal from astern? Any sign they are trying to hail us?”

“Not a peep, Lieutenant.”

Hayden returned Pavlovich’s dark, angry stare, then made a decision. “Their actions are provocative, sir. I recommend we fire.”

“It took you long enough. Okay, Gunney, give it to ’em.”

The lighting on the bridge dimmed further, and Scimitar’s hull vibrated as the ship’s stern array of twelve, 500-exawatt X-ray lasers fired at their pursuer. The barrage continued for twenty-seconds before stopping to allow the weapons to recharge.

“Status of target?” asked the captain.

“No indications of impact, energy discharge, or debris.”

“You mean we missed?”

“Not bloody likely, sir,” said Gunney.

The ship lurched and the pull of the gravity plating weakened. The lights winked out, and only emergency illumination prevented them from plunging into total darkness.

“Status report!” said Pavlovich.

Hayden futilely tried to access his disconnected implant.

Cora’s hands flew across the manual interface at her station, and she scrutinized the readouts. “We’ve been damaged astern. Engine two is inoperative, and number four is barely hanging on. Attitude control is offline…give me a second.” Her fingers danced over the keyboard, and a moment later Hayden felt himself being pushed sideways by an invisible force. He grabbed the captain’s console to steady himself.

“Okay, attitude control reestablished.”

The hull hummed again with another barrage of laser fire. Pavlovich turned expectantly to Gunney, who shook his head.

“How the hell did you miss?”

Anger flared in Gunney’s human eye. “There is no bloody way I missed, Cap’n. The lasers ain’t touching them.”

Cora examined her readouts in more detail. “No hull breach, but magnetic plating didn’t do much to stop whatever they hit us with. We’ve got a lot of structural damage on ventral decks six through nine.”

“Evacuate all noncritical personnel to the central core. Clear the compromised sections and vent whichever ones are unoccupied. I don’t want any explosive decompressions.”

Pavlovich activated ship-wide address. “All hands: prep for possible zero-g battle conditions.” He addressed Cora. “I didn’t like how the plating responded to that last hit, Engineer.”

“Yes, sir, I’m doing my best but…” She shook her head.

“Analysis. What the hell did they use on us?”

With his link to no longer talking to ship’s systems, Hayden had migrated to an unoccupied console and strapped himself into the chair.

“Whatever it was didn’t register with the bugs.”

The ship was rocked a second time. Hayden’s stomach lurched as the pull of gravity vanished.

Cora called out a litany of damages. “Power to grav-plating is out; damage to stern laser array elements six through eight; aft rail gun is destroyed; structural breaches on decks nine and ten; engines four and three and two offline…”

“I need a solution, people!”

Hayden shouted above the noise, “Captain, the fact that we can’t see them and our lasers don’t affect them…”

Pavlovich stared at him. “Well? Go on?”

He swallowed then said, “Try using projectile weapons. Fire a volley as they approach us; they’ll be within one hundred klicks in fifteen seconds.”

“Our aft array is gone, boy!” said Gunney.

“Attitude control is functional. Bring us around and present our forward guns,” said Kaine.

“Helm, do it!” said Pavlovich.

The cyborg returned his attention to his tactical console. Hayden felt himself pulled sideways as Kwok rotated the ship to face the invisible attacker. Before the rotational movement stopped, the sound and shaking of the forward rail gun being unleashed vibrated the deck.

Anxious, he monitored the sensor drone readouts for any indication of an impact.

“We hit them!” he shouted. “Registered three hits. Some damage, I think. I read some kind of gas venting. They are breaking off and heading away from us.”

A cheer arose on the bridge from everyone except Pavlovich.

“Where did they go, Kaine?”

“They accelerated and left our drone range at high speed. We’ve lost them.”

“Great, so we only hurt them. Who knows when they’ll come back and maybe bring reinforcements?”

“Cap’n, we’ve got some serious damage repairs to make,” said Cora.

He nodded at her, and she unbuckled herself and floated to the hatchway.

“We’re going to need a place to hide while we repair ourselves and come up with a plan of action,” said the captain...

​"​...a nice job combining elements of different sci-fi subgenres, from space opera to hard sci-fi. Really good stuff." Read Kaine's Sanction by @prudenauthor

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Why you should buy books directly from the author

I am a science fiction author. 
Actually I am an indie science fiction author, which means that I don't have the backing of a publishing house. I have to do all of the marketing, packaging, managing, editing, …oh yeah I have to write the books too.

Suffice it to say, I wear a lot of hats.
When I first started this gig I was like almost every new author. I had delusions that I would put my books out into the wild and people would flock to buy them from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and any other site I could imagine.  Retirement to the Mediterranean was only a few sales away. 

Well, for more reasons than one, I'm sorry to say I do not yet own a yacht, nor even a little rowboat.

I call those early times of self publishing the field of dreams diversion. You might be old enough to recall the movie; the one where Kevin Costner's character built the ball diamond in the middle of a cornfield, at the prompting of a mystical voice. The tagline from that film was, “If you build it they will come.”
Big surprise! Things didn't work out that way. Turns out if I want to sell books, I have to market them. Go figure.

The significant motivating factor for all of this is that I like money. Who doesn't? Amazon certainly likes it, which is why they make a healthy percentage from every book I sell. In real terms, if I want to offer one of my books for $0.99, Amazon’s royalty structure means I have to take a significant hit on my share of that sale.  For a $0.99 ebook, Amazon drops my royalty to 35% of the sale price. That's right, the big ol’ Zon, gives me $0.35 of every $0.99 priced book I sell through them.

While the royalty to authors jumps up to 70% on any book priced between $1.99 and $9.99, and is certainly light years ahead of royalties earned by traditionally published authors, there is one really big problem with selling through a retailer. They do not pay out my earnings on a sale for 60 days. Some of the retailers have a minimum threshold on what they will pay out on. How would you like to have your income held back for two or more months?
Until recently I was content to work with the situation because I believed it was the only available option. Then, somebody suggested I try selling my books from my website.
I guess it was a bit of an epiphany, because after some thought, I decided ‘what the heck,’ and built a bookstore on my website.

Cutting out the middle man clearly has some obvious advantages, but there is still one question to be answered. What advantage is there for my readers to buy directly from me?
I shall attempt to answer that question.

Without further ado, here are some reasons why I think you should buy my e-books directly from me.

  1. I can afford to offer you big savings by buying direct from me. Because I have cut out the middleman, I can afford to pass on savings to the reader. I can actually afford to offer my books at a discount from the Amazon price if I do it through my website.

  2. You will be able to read my new books long before they become available on the big sites, and…

  3. I will be offering products that will never be available on Amazon, like exclusive novellas, short stories, and box sets.

  4. I offer bonuses and extras along with the sale of new releases through my site; things like related short stories, character interviews, audio books, paperbacks…you name it.

  5. I can sell cool stuff ​in addition to books. Merchandise, related to my books is something that would be more difficult to do on the big sites, but quite easy through my website.

  6. I get paid immediately after the sale and do not have to wait for 60 plus days to see revenue. How is that good for the reader? The answer comes down to cash flow.
    All of my writing is self funded. That means I can't get books edited, or covers made until I have the funds available. The sooner I get paid, the sooner I can afford to put out the next book in the series. The end result is that you, the reader, will get more stuff from me, more often.

None of this means that I will stop selling my books on Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, or any other significant retail channel. It only makes sense for me to diversify my sources of income and get my books into the hands of as many readers as possible.
I appreciate that some people prefer to purchase from their favourite retailer for a number of reasons, and I respect that. My major releases will always be available on those sites, but they will always be more affordable to purchase directly from me.

Some people may be concerned they won’t be able to read books bought from my site on their particular eReader. I have that covered.
I deliver all of my books through a service called  Bookfunnel. They ensure that ePub and mobi versions of my books are readable on any computer, tablet, phone or e-reader, including a kindle. They even offer technical support if you experience difficulty loading my books to your device.

As far as payment goes, I offer secure, encrypted payment through PayPal and Stripe, meaning you can use your credit card, or PayPal account. I am looking into adding Apple Pay in the future.

​With all of that being said, I want to thank you for your support of indie ​authors. Without our readers, none of us would have a chance ​to try earning a living ​from writing. Please check out my budding store ​selection below. I will certainly be grateful for any purchase that you make, and will be adding more books regularly as I publish new material in the coming months.

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