Release Day—STRINGS By David Estes

February 15, 2016

I had the opportunity to beta-read STRINGS last year—a beautifully written/futuristic re-imagining of Pinocchio—and highly recommend adding it to your to-read list!

"A wonderful retelling of the Pinocchio story…I simply couldn’t put this book down."  Rysa Walker, bestselling author of TIMEBOUND

• eBook • Paperback • Audiobook
Sometimes the strings that tie us down are the same strings that set us free. Sixteen-year-old Pia has always lived in a mysterious facility where mechanical strings control her existence. She plays apprentice to her father, Gio, in performing nanotech designs for the Company, and she soon suspects there are diabolical human forces behind the manufactured reality of her world. Though her childhood memories and the origins of the strings remain strangely elusive, she begins to find solace with the introduction of two unlikely friends: daring, irrational Sofia, and calm, tender Marco. As the truths of the past and present unravel together, Pia must find a way to free herself from her strings and escape the facility before facing the wrath of the unstable head of security, Mr. Davis. But to gain her freedom, she must navigate the dangers posed by Davis and by her suspicious new friends to find the real identity of the puppeteer. If Pia can succeed in revealing the secrets of the Company, she may very well find the independence she so desperately seeks. But in her controlled world nothing is as it seems, and the closer she gets to the truth, the graver the consequences.


About the Author

David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he's not writing, you'll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella.

Strings Excerpt

Happiness is perched on a branch outside my window.

A robin, resting in a nest with two blue eggs, their matte curves as perfect and unmarred and cloudless as a cornflower sky. The mama bird has been tending to her unborn babes for days, keeping them warm. I can’t wait to see them hatch.

Watching the bird and her eggs each morning while braiding my hair is my moment of peace. It’s a single pinprick moment where I can forget the world and smile without letting reality ruin things.

I often imagine that my window is on hinges, and that I can push it open, reaching my hand into the empty expanse, feeling the breeze on my skin, offering friendship to the robin and its family. The mama would land on my arm and cock her head and sing songs of life to me. She would change me with her melodies.

But the window is just a slab of thick glass, slightly blurring the view that is already ruined by the hardy metal bars rising from sill to ceiling.

A prison.

Our home.

Making of Monday [v.16]

January 25, 2016

Hey there! This week, I'd like to share the inspiration for (and images behind) a couple of recent non-book cover designs: On Top of the World and Validity.

The inspiration:

I particularly appreciated the juxtaposition of vintage illustrations with a modern design aesthetic in Ascend and the geometric styling/bold colors of Creative Set. Using these two works as inspiration, my goal was to design a loose intersection of both styles by melding public domain vintage illustrations with modern, "techy" design elements.

This design, On Top of the World, is currently available on Redbubble in a variety of formats (as are Ascend and Creative Set!).

After finishing On Top of the World, I wanted to create a second design that, like Ascend, features a color-blocked circle, (mostly) neutral colors, and keeps the vintage illustrations front and center.

(Still debating the merits of the white square...*sigh*)

The resulting design, Validity, is also available on Redbubble in an equally splendid variety of formats.

Exploring this whole other world of graphic design has been wonderful. I'll post more about my latest Redbubble designs in the coming weeks—for now, I'll shower you unceremoniously with some of my favorite product images.

I may have ordered this...

...and this...

(For the uninitiated: "Savage AF" means
"savage as fuck," i.e. something that's
awesome/hilarious in its brutality or offensiveness.
For example...)

...and this...
...possibly even this...
...hell, I just want 'em all. 

A few Redbubble shopping tips:
  • If you buy six+ stickers, they'll discount them all by 50%.
  • Greeting cards and postcards are discounted by 20-30% depending on how many you purchase (8+).
  • Low on funds? Consider ordering 4x6 postcard versions of the designs you like—they're generally around $2 each before bulk order discount/promo codes kick in!
  • Watch out for sales. They have 15-20% site-wide sales semi-regularly, and I'm pretty sure that applies on top of all previously-mentioned discounts. Sweet.

Style Your USB Drive for NaNoWriMo (2015 Edition)

October 19, 2015

This is a re-hashed version of my 2013 NaNoWriMo USB drive post (which was, awesomely enough, featured in NaNoWriMo's procrastination station. Whoa!).

Back up your work.

Every year, too many writers lose the one and only copy of their novels due to computer malfunctions, unfortunate accidents, and novel-stealing gnomes. Fortunately, you can avoid losing your manuscript by frequently backing up to multiple locations. (Use two or three from this post for maximum security.) Today, I'm going to show you Mac users how to set up a snazzy USB drive for NaNoWriMo. (If you're using a PC, follow this tutorial instead.)