Get “The Chicolini Incident” for only $1.99!

ChicoliniIncidentCoverAre you as excited as I am about the release of Starship Grifters on May 6? No, no you are not.

Still, there is a possibility that you are between 46% and 87.3% as excited as I am, in which case you are the perfect target audience for my new short story, “The Chicolini Incident“! “The Chicolini Incident,” a prequel to Starship Grifters, recounts an early adventure of galactic grifter Rex Nihilo and his faithful robot sidekick Sasha. Here’s the publisher’s description:

Interstellar con artist Rex Nihilo has just hijacked a shipment of five thousand lazepistols, and he needs to unload them fast. When Rex encounters a band of stick-wielding separatists on the planet Chicolini, he thinks he’s found the buyers he’s been looking for. But Rex’s greed knows no bounds, and he’s determined to scam the separatists out of their cargo so that he can re-sell his black-market booty a few more times before leaving the planet. As the complications in Rex’s plan multiply, he becomes a target of not only the separatists, but also of paramilitary thugs, the local cops, and even the Ursa Minor mafia. Will Rex’s long-suffering robot companion talk some sense into him before he gets them both killed? Or will Rex, the self-described “greatest wheeler-dealer in the galaxy,” finally succeed in outsmarting himself?

Download “The Chicolini Incident” now for only $1.99!

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Mercury Revolts Update

A quick update to let you know what’s happening with Mercury Revolts: In the interest of fairness to the Kickstarter supporters and those who ordered advance copies, I have postponed the official release of Mercury Revolts until April 15. I had a few delays with the printer, and it’s only fair that those who ordered advance copies get them, well, in advance. The book will be available to the general public on Amazon on Kindle and in paperback on 4/15.

If you are a Kickstarter supporter, you should have received an email with links to download an advance copy of Mercury Revolts. Advance paperback copies of Mercury Revolts have been mailed, so if you ordered one (either through my website or through Kickstarter), you should be receiving it within the next week.

I have also sent out the Starship Grifters posters and most of the advance copies of Starship Grifters. I will be mailing the rest of the copies within a week. Starship Grifters will be available on Amazon on Kindle and in paperback on May 6. You can pre-order it from Amazon now.

 

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Updated: Pre-order my new books by 3/27 and get a free Starship Grifters poster!

When I have a new book coming out, I like to give readers a chance to pre-order signed copies. Since I have two books coming out in the near future, I thought I’d do something special this time around. Namely, I’m giving you a chance to get advance copies of both Mercury Revolts and Starship Grifters, plus a kickass poster.

Mercury Revolts is, of course, the fourth book in the Mercury series. Starship Grifters is a humorous sci-fi adventure featuring interstellar con man Rex Nihilo and his long-suffering robot sidekick Sasha. You can read the Amazon description of Starship Grifters here.

New books

Not only that, but I will also throw in an awesome, glossy 18″ x 24″ poster of the Starship Grifters cover. It will look like this, but bigger:

Kroese-StarshipGrifters-CV-FT-v7

From now until March 25th 27th, I’m offering signed paperbacks of Mercury Revolts and Starship Grifters, along with the Starship Grifters poster, for $30 plus shipping. To order, simply click on the button at the bottom of this post.

Some of you may already have ordered a copy of Mercury Revolts through the Kickstarter, or pre-ordered a copy of Starship Grifters from Amazon (or both), and you may be wondering how to get that awesome poster without ordering an extra book. Well… you can’t. This is a package deal. You get both books and the poster or nothing. Most of the time I don’t even know what day it is. You think I’m going to keep track of who has ordered which book? (Note: if you pledged $35 or more to the Mercury Revolts Kickstarter, you will be receiving both books and a poster anyway, so you don’t need to order again to get the poster.)

I most likely will not be offering this poster or signed copies of either of these books again in the near future, so now’s your chance. $30 and you get two great books and a mind-blowingly awesome poster. You only have until midnight on March 25 27, so click the button now!




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Mercury Revolts cover reveal!

I’m very happy to report that Mercury Revolts, the fourth book in the Mercury series, now has a cover! I thought about doing yet another variation of the silhouette style cover from Mercury Falls, but ultimately decided to go a different direction with this one. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Mercury Revolts

 

As you can probably guess, this adventure follows our favorite rogue angel’s exploits during the American Revolution – as well as his efforts to stop various maniacal schemes for world domination during the present day. Mercury Revolts will be available from Amazon.com on April 1, 2014 on Kindle and in paperback. I will be posting details on how you can get an advance copy shortly!

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New books!

I’ve got so much stuff going on right now that I figured it’s about time for me to post an update.

I’ve got two books coming out in the near future. Mercury Revolts, the fourth book in the Mercury series, will be available on Amazon April First. Yes, April Fool’s Day. Seems appropriate. Kickstarter supporters should receive their copies early in April. I will probably also be putting up a form to let you slackers who missed the Kickstarter order a signed copy.

On April 23, you’ll be able to download my short story “The Chicolini Incident” as an ebook from Amazon. “The Chicolini Incident” features Rex Nihilo, the hero of my upcoming novel, Starship Grifters.

Kroese-StarshipGrifters-CV-FT-v7

Speaking of which, Starship Grifters will be available on May 6. Here’s the Amazon description:

A space-faring ne’er-do-well with more bravado than brains, Rex Nihilo plies the known universe in a tireless quest for his own personal gain. But when he fleeces a wealthy weapons dealer in a high-stakes poker game, he ends up winning a worthless planet…and owing an outstanding debt more vast than space itself!

The only way for Rex to escape a lifetime of torture on the prison world Gulagatraz is to score a big payday by pulling off his biggest scam. But getting mixed up in the struggle between the tyrannical Malarchian Empire and the plucky rebels of the Revolting Front—and trying to double-cross them both—may be his biggest mistake. Luckily for Rex, his frustrated but faithful robot sidekick has the cyber-smarts to deal with buxom bounty hunters, pudgy princesses, overbearing overlords, and interstellar evangelists…while still keeping Rex’s martini glass filled.

I’m very excited about both Mercury Revolts and Starship Grifters, and I’ll post more information as I have it!

 

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Last chance to get an advance copy of MERCURY REVOLTS!

The Mercury Revolts Kickstarter ends in less than 24 hours. Have you reserved your advance copy yet? You can get a lot of cool stuff by pledging. For example, books…. Well, it’s mostly books, come to think of it. But books are awesome, am I right?

If you’re still on the fence, here I am on Good Day Sacramento talking about the Kickstarter. I mean, look at how tan I am! Also, here’s the first chapter of the book.

If my marketing wizardry is up to snuff, I have now convinced you to give me money via the Kickstarter, which I shall link to here for your convenience. Gracias!

 

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Read the first chapter of MERCURY REVOLTS!

It occurred to me since launching my Kickstarter for Mercury Revolts that I haven’t actually posted any excerpts from the book. It also occurred to me that I haven’t updated this blog since November. So, in a stunning example of synchronicity, here’s the first chapter of Mercury Revolts. If you want to read more, make a pledge to the Kickstarter and you can get your copy before everybody else!

 

MERCURY REVOLTS

Chapter One  

Milhaus, Texas; August, 2016

 

The summoning wasn’t going well.

Josh, who had been elected High Priest by dint of his encyclopedic knowledge of Demonology for Imbeciles, had accidentally drawn a hexagram instead of a pentagram, at which point the ceremony had devolved into an extended argument about whether a hexagram was an acceptable demonic gateway.

“What is your concern, exactly?” demanded Josh. “That the demon is going to be confused? Or offended, maybe? That he’s going to show up and say, ‘Whoa, hang on, that’s a hexagram, I’m out.’”

“Don’t be a douche, Josh,” replied Brayden, an Unholy Acolyte. They were all Unholy Acolytes except Josh. “The book says the ceremony has to be conducted perfectly, or there’s no telling what might happen.” Brayden was the newest member of the group, and he was still a bit skittish about the idea of summoning a demon. He had suggested they start smaller and work their way up to a demon. “Maybe do a marmoset first,” he had said, hopefully. “Or a ferret.”

But the other Unholy Acolytes had overruled him. They didn’t share Brayden’s love of exotic furry animals, and in any case Josh was fairly certain that marmosets were mythical creatures.

All told, there were four members of the First Satanic Church of Milhaus, Texas: Josh, Brayden, Clay and Kaylee. The four of them had met in Mrs. Statham’s remedial Spanish class at Smith & Wesson Public High School and had bonded over a shared hatred of irregular verbs and Mrs. Statham’s in-class proselytizing, which was of dubious legality even by Texas standards. “Repeat after me,” she would say. “Vamos a la iglesia a orar por nuestros pecados.” Let’s all go to church to pray for our sins.

“Screw that,” said Josh defiantly one day, “I’m a Satanist.”

This declaration had gotten Josh sent to the principal’s office. The principal, a tired old phys-ed teacher, had insisted that Josh recant, but Josh sensed (correctly) that the longer he maintained this ruse, the fewer irregular verbs he would be subjected to. Eventually the ACLU got involved, and someone suggested that Josh would have a stronger case that his religious freedoms were being impinged upon if there were some solid evidence that he were a practicing Satanist. The next day he found a copy of Demonology for Imbeciles in his locker, and he had no trouble recruiting a few more aspiring Satanists whose struggles with conjugation left them feeling spiritually empty.

That was several weeks ago, and the ACLU had dropped its suit in exchange for assurances that Mrs. Statham would curtail her proselytizing during school hours. The First Satanic Church of Milhaus, however, lived on. It never grew beyond its first four members, though, who met irregularly in Brayden’s aunt’s basement, and lately it had started to feel like they were just going through the motions. Enamored of his newfound authority and desperate to keep the group going, Josh had suggested that summoning a demon might spice things up. The idea wasn’t as popular with the other members as Josh had hoped: Kaylee and Clay were convinced the summoning wouldn’t work, and Brayden was terrified that it would.

“Seriously,” said Brayden. “We need to be careful. If we do this and something goes wrong …”

“What?” interjected Kaylee, through a menagerie of painful-looking piercings. “What’s the worst case scenario, Brayden? We fail to summon a demon?” Kaylee was the only female of the group, and also the smartest of the four, which wasn’t saying much. Her parents substituted permissiveness and cash for affection, which had resulted in Kaylee weighing nearly three hundred pounds, approximately six of which was in the form of hardware attached to her face.

Brayden shrugged. “I just think if we’re going to do this, we should do it right.”

“And by ‘do it right,’ you mean that we should try to summon a tamarind?”

Brayden’s face flushed and he sank into the cushions of the lumpy old couch. Clay was to his left and Josh and Kaylee were sitting on easy chairs with badly worn and stained floral upholstery. Brayden’s aunt’s basement was like a furniture graveyard.

“Fine,” said Josh, who had been dragging the edge of his sneaker around the pentagram in an effort to adjust the lines. “I fixed it, see?”

“What the hell is that?” asked Clay.

“Pentagram,” said Josh defensively.

The group regarded the blurred lines dubiously.

“It looks like Bob Marley,” said Kaylee.

“It does not!” Josh protested. Then, after a moment: “Who’s Bob Marley?”

Kaylee sighed heavily. She already had her doubts about Josh’s fitness as High Priest, and his ignorance of a revolutionary leader like Bob Marley[1] only cemented his incompetence in her mind.

“Whatever,” said Clay, the most pragmatic of the group. “My mom wants me home by eleven, so if we’re going to do this, we need to get started.”

“OK,” said Josh. “Let’s do this.” He rooted around his backpack, producing four black candles and a cigarette lighter. He lit each of the candles in turn and handed one to each of the three Unholy Acolytes, keeping one for himself. He directed them to take their places around the ersatz hexagram and opened Demonology for Imbeciles to the chapter on summonings.

Demonology for Imbeciles was a strange book, even by …for Imbeciles standards. After dominating the instructional book market in the 90s, the publisher of the …for Imbeciles books, I Don’t Get It, Ltd., fell on hard times due to the rise of a plethora of free instructional websites written by and for imbeciles. Imbeciles wanting to build a gazebo or breed cuttlefish found all the information they needed online without having to pay $19.95 for Building a Gazebo for Imbeciles or Breeding Cuttlefish for Imbeciles.  IDGI’s response to this threat was to launch the …for Cretins line of books, aimed at people who were too stupid to get on the Internet. When titles such as Watering Plants for Cretins, Four-Way Stops for Cretins, and Are My Clothes Inside Out Again? for Cretins inexplicably foundered, IDGI spent $6 million on market research, which informed them that most of their target audience thought cretins were a kind of aquatic animal. The …for Cretins line was thus relaunched as the …for Total F*cking Dumbshits line, but this effort failed as well because, as it turns out, even total f*cking dumbshits have a little pride.

The end result of this series of failures was that IDGI began to skimp on the content of their books while simultaneously attempting to broaden their appeal. Thus Quantum Physics for Imbeciles, Feng Shui for Imbeciles, and Urban Engineering for Imbeciles shared the same cartoons, with minor variations in the captions. Demonology for Imbeciles was a rush job thrown together from various public domain sources of dubious credibility by an editor whose knowledge of the occult was gleaned entirely from Black Sabbath records and I Dream of Jeannie. As it happened, though, the editor had come across one of the few extant recipes for a bona fide demonic summoning in the semi-coherent ramblings of an eighteenth century inventor and occultist named Josiah Vandersloot, which Vandersloot had published under the awkward title The Little Book What’s About Demons. Had Vandersloot’s grasp of English syntax been on par with his knowledge of the dark arts, the publication of The Little Book What’s About Demons might have ushered in a golden age of demonology, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), most readers were unable to make any sense of his garbled prose. The IDGI editor cleaned up the verbiage as best he could, throwing in Rush lyrics when he got stuck.

The result was that although Demonology for Imbeciles was almost entirely rubbish, chapter fourteen included, purely by chance, a nearly flawless recipe for summoning a demon. The only thing missing was the name of the demon to be summoned. Demons guard their true names jealously, and it’s virtually impossible to summon a demon without knowing his or her name.

Demonic names are represented by a complex sigil that is generally comprised of a geometric figure enclosed in a circle. It is commonly thought that the pentagram is a Satanic symbol, but in fact the use of a pentagram in Satanic ceremonies arises from a misreading of ancient texts in which a five-pointed star is used as a placeholder for the name of a particular demon. Trying to conduct a summoning by using a pentagram is the spiritual equivalent of asking the telephone operator to connect you to Insert Name Here.

By an odd coincidence, Josh’s imperfect hex-cum-pentagram very closely resembled the sigil for a certain fallen angel who had been exiled on a distant plane as the result of the accidental detonation of a small nuclear device at an interplanar transport hub. And so it happened that shortly after Josh finished reciting the incantation on page 124 on Demonology for Imbeciles, a cloud of sulfurous smoke arose from the sigil, enveloping the terrified members of the First Satanic Church of Milhaus, who dove behind the furniture for cover. After a moment the smoke began to clear, revealing a lanky figure who immediately doubled over in a fit of uncontrollable coughing, apparently overwhelmed by the fumes. After some time it became clear that the man was trying to speak.

“…open… window…” the man gasped.

His initial fright having been supplanted with nausea, Josh eagerly complied, propping open one of the ground-level basement windows. Clay found a small electric fan which he turned on in an attempt to disperse some of the rotten egg smell.

“Ugh,” said the man, waving his hand in front of his face. “You never get used to the smell.” The four congregants stood gaping at the newcomer. They weren’t sure what a demon looked like, but none of them had expected this. Other than being exceptionally tall and adorned with an absurd shock of silver hair, he looked like an ordinary human being. Male, good-looking – if a little lanky – apparently about twenty-five years old.

“Are you… a demon?” asked Brayden at last.

The tall man frowned. “Let’s not get hung up on labels,” he said, regarding the dilapidated furniture of the basement. “Speaking of which, what sort of operation are you running here?”

“We’re Satanists,” announced Josh, trying to sound confident.

“Ah, Satanists!” the man said, nodding. “Adherents of Lucifer. Of course you realize that Lucifer is in Heavenly custody, and therefore unable to continue his rebellion against the highers-up? And that even if he weren’t, all transportation between the Mundane Plane and the Infernal Plane has been cut off, thanks to the some knucklehead detonating a nuke at the planeport?”

The assembled congregants of the First Satanic Church of Milhaus gaped, speechless.

“Of course, you must know something about interplanar travel,” said the man, “seeing as how you summoned me.”

Josh pointed wordlessly to the copy of Demonology for Imbeciles, which was resting on the back of a dilapidated easy chair. The man picked it up and thumbed through a few of the pages. “Ugh,” he said. “Where do they get this crap? How in hell did you manage to… oh. Wow, they stole the whole summoning chapter from Vandersloot’s The Little Book What’s About Demons. Man, I thought we’d burned all of those.” He frowned, staring at the corrupted pentagram on the floor. “But how’d you know my name?”

“Your name?” asked Kaylee.

“Well, you misspelled it,” the man said, gesturing at the sigil, “but you got the phonetics right.”

The four regarded the sigil. “That symbol is your name?” asked Josh.

The man nodded. “More or less.”

“How do you pronounce it?” asked Josh.

“Oh, no,” said the man. “I’m not saying it out loud. Bad enough you wrote it out like that.” He dragged his foot across the sigil, obliterating it.

“But what do we call you then?” asked Kaylee.

“You aren’t really going to need to call me anything,” said the man, “because I’m not planning on hanging out with you morons.” He walked passed Kaylee and began up the basement stairs. He stopped and turned, grinning. “But if you’re wondering what name to give the malevolent entity you’ve unleashed on the world,” he said, “you can call me Mercury.”



[1] Kaylee tended to confuse Bob Marley and Che Guevara.

 

Want to read more? Make a pledge to the Kickstarter and get an advance copy!

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Holiday clearance sale!

I just noticed that I have a lot of books lying around my house by some guy named “Kroese.” I don’t know who this guy is, or why his books are all over my ping-pong table — hell, I don’t even know how to pronounce that name. KROSE? KRO-EEZE? All I know is that I gotta get rid of these damn things if I’m ever going to play any ping-pong.

So here’s the deal: you can get ALL the books pictured below for $50.

books

That’s the entire Mercury trilogy, Temptation Bangs Forever (the collection of hilarious church signs I co-authored with Joel Bezaire), Disenchanted, and Schrodinger’s Gat. I’ll also throw in a cool little 4 GB gun-shaped USB drive and a set of four Schrodinger’s Gat drink holders (AKA “Kroese Koozies).

But wait, there’s more! Not only will I sign all the books, I will even throw in an additional MYSTERY BOOK. I can’t tell you what the MYSTERY BOOK is, because then it wouldn’t be a MYSTERY BOOK.

The only catch is that you have to order by Friday, December 6. This will give me time to get the books to you in time for Christmas.

You could easily spend over $100 on all this shit if you bought it at full price, and then the books wouldn’t even be signed. Man, that would be a stupid thing to do. You should take advantage of me before I come to my senses (at midnight Pacific time, on December 6) and get the whole set for just $50. Do it now!





 

Frequently Asked Questions

I already have some of your books. Can I just order signed copies of the ones I’m missing?

No! But this set is so cheap that you’re still probably going to save money. Give the extra ones as gifts, you cheapskate.

What about The Force is Middling in This One? How come that isn’t in the picture?

Because I don’t have very many copies of it on hand. But remember, there’s a MYSTERY BOOK.

What is the MYSTERY BOOK?

It’s a MYSTERY.

Do you ship outside the U.S.?

I sure do. PayPal should tell you the shipping charges when you check out. God, I hope that thing is working correctly, or I’m going to be taking a bath on this.

How is it possible to include a list of Frequently Asked Questions in something you just wrote? How do you know what the “Frequently Asked Questions” are?

Did I mention there is MYSTERY BOOK?

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Mercury Returns in February!

I’m absolutely thrilled with my publisher, 47North. They’ve given me a chance to reach tens of thousands more readers than I could have on my own. For a number of reasons, though, I continue to be a big fan of self-publishing, and in many cases it simply makes more sense to self-publish rather than going through a “traditional” publisher. The success of my most recent book, Schrödinger’s Gat, demonstrates that.

So I’m embarking on a bit of an experiment here: I’m going to self-publish the 4th Mercury book, Mercury Returns. What does this mean to you? Well, mainly it means that you’ll be able to get Mercury Returns a LOT sooner than you otherwise would. I’m currently aiming for a publication date of February 18, 2014. I’ll be doing a Kickstarter, as I did for Schrödinger’s Gat, to allow readers to order advance copies and get lots of other goodies.

I plan to continue to release books with 47North (such as my upcoming sci-fi comedy, Starship Grifters, due in June 2014), but if I can successfully publish a Mercury book on my own, you can expect many more self-published books from me in the future. Besides the amount of time it takes to traditionally publish a book, one of my biggest frustrations is that a publisher can only publish so many books by any one author in a given year. As someone who writes very fast, this results in me having to pick and choose between projects, rather than just pursuing whatever crazy idea I happen to have at any given time. If I can split my efforts between traditionally published and self-published books, I can pitch my more commercial ideas to a publisher while pursuing my nuttier ideas (like a “quantum physics noir thriller“) on my own.

I’m very excited about this new chapter in my writing career, and I’ll be posting more details both about Mercury Returns and my publishing plans as they become available. Make sure you sign up for my email list (over there on the left) and/or follow me on Facebook to make sure you’re not missing anything!

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Schrodinger’s Gat is here!

My quantum physics noir thriller, Schrödinger’s Gat, is finally here! You can now get it from Amazon in paperback or for Kindle.

Schrodinger's Gat

Paul Bayes has begun to feel like all of his actions are dictated by forces beyond his control. But when his suicide attempt is foiled by a mysterious young woman named Tali, Paul begins to wonder if the future is really as bleak as it seems. Tali possesses a strange power: the ability to predict tragedies and prevent them from happening. The possibility of breaking free from the grip of fate gives Paul hope. But when Tali disappears, Paul begins to realize that altering the future isn’t as easy as it seems: you can fight the future, but the future fights back.

“Schrodinger’s Gat has done for quantum mechanics what Eliyahu Goldratt’s The Goal did for my understanding of Operations Management… [I]t takes the main character, and thus the reader, on a journey of discovery through a complex subject, in plain English. Well worth reading!”
- Dr. Lucy Rogers, Director of Space Safety Research Limited and author of It’s Only Rocket Science

“Rob Kroese’s Schrödinger’s Gat is a science-mystery thrill ride. It’s got everything we look for in a Kroese novel: humor damped by melancholy and an unforgettable plot in a book that we don’t so much read as dive into and exchange banter with characters that are so familiar that it feels like we’ve known them for years. The story moves, the characters are witty, fun and real, and, rest assured, Kroese got the science right.”
-Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., physicist and author of The Sensory Deception

“A wild mashup of physics, philosophy and catastrophe served up Kroese style!”
- Greg Smith, author of Legacy of the Dragon

“Most of what I know of quantum physics I learned by getting high and watching NOVA so I may not be the target audience for this book, but I never felt overwhelmed by the science or bogged down in it. Kroese’s writing is whip smart and funnier than hell. I loved it.”
-S.G. Redling, author of Damocles

Get Schrödinger’s Gat now!

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