The Portal is now available from Amazon!

It’s time to enter The Portal.


Okay, that’s a bit hokey, but seriously, the Kindle version of The Portal is now available. It’ll be up on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and other fine sites soon. Those of you who have dipped into the novel on this blog can now have your very own electronic copy for the astonishingly low price of $4.99.  (All right, that price isn’t so astonishingly low, but it’s what my publisher decided the thing was worth.)

Customer reviews are critical to the success of an ebook.  If you can find it in your heart to write a good review of The Portal at Amazon, that would be very helpful.  You don’t have to purchase the book from Amazon, but reviews from verified purchasers count for more.

My publisher and I couldn’t quite agree on sales copy for The Portal.  Here is my summary:

In the woods behind his house Larry Barnes makes a spectacular discovery—an invisible portal to a parallel universe, where Burger King has turned into Burger Queen, cell phones are huge, and his home town doesn’t look anything like the place where he lives.  When he returns from this world, he makes the mistake of telling his best friend, Kevin Albright, who convinces him to try entering the portal one more time.  What could go wrong?

But this time Larry and Kevin find themselves in a very different world. From the moment they step out of the portal they are caught up in a war that pits the United States of New England against New Portugal and Canada.  They need to make their way in a world that is utterly alien, without computers or automobiles or telephones.  A world in which no one has heard of America, or Mozart, or bacteria.  Larry and Kevin face hunger, disease, battle—and, most of all, loneliness.  But they also find friendship and family, joy and love.  Can they survive the war—and help New England win it?  Can they make their way back to the portal and return home?  And what will they leave behind if they do make it back?

Exciting and deeply moving, The Portal is a science-fiction adventure you won’t soon forget.

Is it “alternate history” or “alternative history”?

The Portal is about to go live on Amazon.  Today I got my first look at the final draft of the cover.  My publisher apparently wasn’t fond of my tag line, because they came up with this:

The Portal


OK, first of all, do you like the cover?  But second, should it be alternate or alternative?  I am worried that the cold-eyed editors where I work will cut me dead in the hallways and the lunch line when they find out I have written an “alternate history novel.”  I don’t know if I could stand this.

Ignoring the persnickety purists for a moment, if you look at Amazon’s book categories, they use Alternative History.  But if you search for “alternative history” on Amazon, their search engine asks if you really mean “alternate history.”  Wikipedia’s entry for “Alternative History” redirects you to the entry for “Alternate History.”  On the other hand, Google Ngram Viewer gives “alternative history” a clear lead (both terms entered the language around 1970). On yet another hand, a Google search gives a slight lead to “alternate history.”

On a book cover, the fewer letters the better, I suppose; “alternative” sounds and looks a bit fussy.  So I think I’m OK with this.  But I’m worried about those editors.