Monday, December 29, 2008
That's why, when she started publicly writing a short story online at http://mockslushpile.blogspot.com/ I had to check it out. It's true, it took me forever to get around to it, but I finally took an hour to read The River, a short urban fantasy piece that I liked quite a bit as it turns out.
Here's my comment on The River:
"I just finished reading it and I have to say I honestly enjoyed the experience. It's a good short journey well suited to short story telling and perhaps an episodic style if you plan on writing more.
The texture and description in this piece is well balanced with the acts and plot pacing and the story is compelling. Your characters are coming to life here, and the style of dialog adds to the distinctive flair each brings to the story.
It's hard to find anything seriously wrong with what I've seen, if anything you might have the same problem I did with commas, a few too many, but I understand the need for an occasional indication of dramatic pause.
If this is a story you want to continue in some way I think you have the start of the necessary mythology you'd need to do it well.
If there's more, I'll be reading it.
Favorite character this time around: Gabriella"
Honest truth, I suggest this for anyone whose into Urban Fantasy, a genre seeing a lot of attention these days. It's a funny thing, but I bought Twilight over a month ago and have barely gotten past chapter 4, but if I had four hundred pages of what Elizabeth is doing I'd probably want four hundred more.
Go take a look http://mockslushpile.blogspot.com/ and leave a comment when you're finished.
It's sat on my shelf for months missing the last chapter (which contains sections entitled; "Quitting Suddenly" and "Getting Fired"), and yesterday I finally dusted it off, edited the entire thing and released it on MobiPocket with a temporary cover.
Now, I realize that there are a few hundred people waiting for the next part of Spinward Fringe, but the unfinished task of completing this dry, over descriptive book has been nagging me like crazy all year.
The result of my labors is a self help book that is really only written to help Call Center employees. More specifically, Call Center employees who expect to run into trouble socially or professionally and need a little advice on how to prevent such problems and need tips on how to deal with them when they happen.
To be honest, if you don't work in a call center, or you do and your career is in good shape, you don't need this book at all. I know, if I had a publisher they'd slap me silly, duct tape my mouth shut and toss me in a closet for saying that, but I'd rather be honest so no one mistakes this for a comedy and buys it for a laugh only to discover it's actually a self help book.
Somehow writing this reminded me of an instructional film made in the 40's or 50's, which actually made it a bit of fun. I'll also write a comedy screen play based on this book someday when I have a week or two to spare just for kicks.
Now that this is all finished (with the exception of a cover, which Marcus Froment will be illustrating this week), I'm going back to work on Spinward Fringe Fronline. Time to go back to what I really enjoy: writing fiction!
Coming soon: 2008 in review!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Ross, Geoff and myself had talked about doing an interview, but I was really just calling in to say; "hello, merry Christmas and a happy new year." Geoff, being the effortless pro that he is, picked up the unplanned call and just peppered me with questions about self publishing, being and indie writer, about the crazy cold weather us Canucks were having that night and it was great fun.
I've done interviews before (years ago), and as always there are a few things I look back on and think; "God, I really should have said this, that, or added this or the other to a particular statement." That's natural, and thanks to SomaCow and their generosity I may get another opportunity to talk to Geoff and the guys (that would be J, Mickey and Ross), but none of the blanks I think I missed really need filling in, except for one.
There's a point in this interview where Geoff asks about what kind of advice I have for budding indie writers. My response is correct, except for one thing: I actually forgot to mention that the most important part of any budding writer's career is to continue improving your craft. There are other points that pertain to independent and represented writers, and they're mentioned.
Go on over and listen to the interview, I'm sure there's something in there for you to enjoy! Sadly, I didn't get to talk to J so much...
Oh, and when you're finished, take a moment to leave a comment.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I managed to not only complete my editing, but to edit the chapters I've added as a preview, so if you update Spinward Fringe Triton you'll have a bigger chunk of the following book. I hope you enjoy the preview, I'm looking forward to finishing work on Spinward Fringe Frontline.
Have a safe, happy holiday season!
In retrospect I'm proud of the stories I've told, how my writing craft has grown, and I have to say that I am truly proud of what I've done with both the First Light Chronicles and the Spinward Fringe Series.
As many of you already know, the First Light Chronicles are over, but the Spinward Fringe Series goes on.
The first book I'll be releasing in 2009 is Spinward Fringe Fronline and I can't wait to dive back in after taking a couple of days off for the holidays! This book is already half finished, so you could imagine I've been chomping at the bit to continue working on it.
I'm happy I'm not taking this journey alone. My editor, a couple of proof readers and hundreds of people have been reading everything as it comes and once again I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
There is so much more to come just in the Spinward Fringe series, but as ussual, I can't go into details yet. We don't want to spoil anything, now do we?
NEXT: Details about the Spinward Fringe Triton final edit.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I also realized that I completely understood where people of that opinion were coming from. The best I can do to ease that frustration is to explain why these edits are even happening, why they might be necessary.
At the beginning of the year I started writing science fiction, and to be honest I was a little rusty as a writer and I was doing some research as I went. I also didn't have the editor I do now, who has been good enough to go back and do a pass over all my work this year. Even after that was finished, I still wanted to go back and smooth out some rough edges, make sure all the science in my fiction was as spot on as this sort of speculative writing can be, and that there was very little (if any), flat dialog.
As a result, the First Light Chronicles are much improved, and the first two Spinward Fringe books are in much better shape. It's all much more enjoyable to read now that those rough edges have been buffed down.
Until recently I've been lucky and most of my readers aren't ordering print versions of the books, so when a new version comes out they can update their files for free. That softens the blow a great deal. In early 2009 I'll be offering all my books through Amazon.com in print, however. That changes things.
This editing process that I'm wrapping up this weekend will help me determine the best way to move ahead, to make sure that in the future anything I put out there will be the final, no more edits required version. For those of you who don't know, I'm independent and when you're doing this stuff with very few people to work with it takes time to determine the best process for pretty much anything. Thankfully, after a year and this extra edit, I feel that that process is finally down pat.
It may take a couple extra weeks to get each book out there, but at least this way you can be absolutely certain that each release is the final release. You'll see a much higher initial quality each time and that'll just make everything you read with my name on it that much more enjoyable.
As a side note, this edit from the First Light Chronicles Freeground all the way to Spinward Fringe Triton has given me ideas for the future, renewed my enthusiasm for the stories that have not yet been told, and strengthened my feel and tie to each character. In short, I feel a lot better going forward.
Thank you again for following my characters on their journey, to date Spinward Fringe Triton has sold 101 copies. Those sales (which may seem modest to most of you, but in truth are quite decent for an independent Ebook), and your emails tell me that you've enjoyed the journey so far and want more.
In early 2009 I'll provide in grand fashion with Spinward Fringe Frontline. After that I plan on producing more books in the Spinward Fringe series, since there are so many stories waiting to be told.
See you in a day or two when I announce the end of this editing business and some other news.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
There was a little cleanup to do, I'll admit, but I benefited a great deal from the look back. As the sort of middle child in the Spinward Fringe Series (at least for now), it got a little neglected. After reading it over again I couldn't help realizing how important some of the events in here are and how well it leads into the next book, Triton.
Now that this final polish is done I've updated all the versions available (MobiPocket, Lulu.com, and the upcoming Amazon.com versions), and once more I can reassure you that there were no plot changes made. The decisions I made the first time were the right ones, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed reading this book over again.
So, update your readers (if you use MobiPocket), by revisiting your online library and give it a read if you have the inclination. You don't have to read it over again, however, as I said before, most of the changes were gramattical and cosmetic. These final edits are being performed so I'll be ready for Amazon.com in January and so I can get a refresher before finishing Spinward Fringe Frontline.
Now I move on to edit Spinward Fringe Triton, the largest and most significant Spinward Fringe book so far. I get the feeling I'm about to get sucked in all over again and I love it.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Drinking and driving, sex, rock stars, wannabe porn stars, plagiarism, drugs, and a writer who is not at all about the work but into all of the above. I couldn't have been more resistant to liking this show if it starred Big Bird and Freddy Krueger. Actually, that could be fun, bad example.
Suffice it to say it was the show I started watching not sure what I was seeing at first, then I just couldn't look away, and before I realized what was going on I was hooked. Hooked for two whole seasons. It's hard to say, but I'll miss this show.
A few people out there know that there's another season coming, and they're asking; “Randy, why are you mourning the passing of this show when there's going to be at least 13 more debaucherous episodes on the way?”
Well, if the rumours of David Duchovny checking into a sex addiction clinic are true (and the therapy sticks), it really looks like the fun is over. I know, that's insensitive and Dave gets a lot of flack for confessing his sex addiction but I mourn the passing of this terribly offensive show because I can't picture the third season being as edgy, funny, juvenile and adult (yes, it's both), as the first two. With David Duchovny recovering from his addiction, being the star and a member of the production team I see things taking a turn for the tame.
This is one of those situations where I'd love to be proven wrong. I think season three will be crap compared to the wonderful experiences of seasons one and two (that left me feeling dirty and used once a week), and yes, I want to be proven wrong. I want them to maintain the high quality low standard humour that made me laugh out loud at least once per episode.
Until then, if you missed Californication entirely and have a deeply rooted case of guttermind, you'll love this humour. Go rent the dirtiest DVD outside of the curtain, or buy it if you have the cash lying around. Then tune in for season three and see if they took the hard out of the core as I suspect. If I'm wrong, well, I'll be the first to raise a glass.
And THAT my friends, is what happens when someone sends me an Email asking; "I miss ur reviews, why don't u do them ne more?"
Spinward Fringe Resurrection: The Final Edit Is Complete
Spinward Fringe Resurrection was a much closer match to the science fiction novel I dreamt of writing a little over a year ago, and after running it through the final edit I have to say that the quick character development, rich colour I found in the dialogue was surprising. As with the First Light Chronicles Omnibus I didn't make any plot changes, so no one has to go back and re-read Resurrection.
This fresh final edit is really just a cleanup and a chance for me to look back before going forward. The foundation of the Spinward Fringe series is set in this and the following two books; Awakening and Triton. So far I think the three books are strong enough to support another six, and for those of you who have followed authors before for many many books without conclusion, this isn't the kind of series that completely closes off.
I actually plan to leave something open at the end of every book, especially when most of the plotlines are resolved. The Spinward Fringe series will never be tied up in a neat set of three, six or nine books unless people stop reading them, and as it stands more people are buying the most recent book; Triton. That tells me that there's still an interest, so the fourth Spinward Fringe book; Frontline is more than half finished and there are plans for a fifth as well as a sixth. If I do my job well people will keep following me on this journey and they'll tell their friends about it.
So far, after doing the final edit on Spinward Fringe Resurrection I can tell you that there are so many stories to tell, so many interesting things for these characters to do while they survive in my imagination and on the page that this series could go on for thirty books. I do not exaggerate. Consider that in the space of one year I was able to write six novellas in this universe and it feels like the whole year just whipped by.
I'll post a little more about what I'm thinking going forward once I've finished the final edit of Spinward Fringe Awakening, but until then I thank you for your support and encourage you to keep spreading the word, sharing my work and enjoying the adventure.
All I have done is nothing compared to what I intend to do.
Friday, December 12, 2008
As I completed the editing and polishing work on the First Light Chronicles Omnibus I was happy to place the Afterword right at the end. Sadly, only people who own the Mobipocket rights to a copy of the book and people who purchase a printed copy from Lulu.com or Amazon.com in the future will have access to it.
Polishing the three books in the Omnibus was a great look back, and now that it's all finished I've updated the individual novellas as well; Freeground, Limbo and Starfree Port. The afterword isn't included in any of those volumes, however.
Now I'm moving on to the Spinward Fringe Series, it's about time I finish taking a look back before taking a great big step forward and finishing the next novel in the series: Spinward Fringe Frontline. This whole review process takes time, and I thank you for your patience with reassurances that taking a look back is crucial to doing a good job on the next two books.
This is a great universe to write in, you're fantastic people to write for and after taking this look back I'm ready to push forward and expand it once more.
So, if you've got a copy of the First Light Chronicles Omnibus in your MobiPocket Library, go ahead and update it. Even if you don't plan to read the whole thing over again (since I didn't change any plot points, you really don't have to), you might want to take a look at the new Afterword.
Thank you for reading along, the road ahead promises to be longer and more interesting than the one behind.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
When I started writing this series at the beginning of 2008 it had been almost three years since I had done work on long fiction.
I was more of a technical writer, every sentence had a period and thoughts were rigidly separated.
I didn't expect anyone else to enjoy the material I turned out for practice at the beginning of the year (First Light Chronicles Omnibus), but I had great fun doing it.
Here's what happened:
I loved the storylines that sprung out of the three novellas contained within the Omnibus so much that I started the unlimited series; Spinward Fringe. To my surprise people enjoyed the First Light Chronicles so much that they wanted more and enjoyed Resurrection, Awakening and Triton.
So MobiPocket took me on as an independent publisher and people started reading these high technology science fiction novellas on their blackberries, other cellphones, ebook readers and laptops. Now that's a happy irony! These books are perfectly suited to small devices as far as I'm concerned. The books have sold quite well for something available mostly on a fringe market (eBooks are still quite unpopular compared to the printed, tree wasting kind), and I'm so happy to have an audience for more Sinward Fringe novellas/novels so I can easily justify more novellas and novels.
It had been almost a year to the day since I started writing this series and I needed a refresher. I remembered what happened in the First Light Chronicles, don't get me wrong, but I needed to go through the books once more to clear up some vagaries and make sure I wasn't leaving any minor plot strands dangling loose.
Even though my editor has been through the First Light Chronicles, I also wanted to make sure that there weren't any rough edges left. You know, sentences and paragraphs that were correct, but not smooth. So, another read through / edit was required before I moved on.
I've enjoyed re-reading the First Light Chronicles, and yes, there were a few squarish sentences and points that needed a little more explanation. I'm happy to say that those have been all rounded out and expanded. Have there been major changes? No! The worst thing I could do is go back and make sweeping (or minor), plot changes that would chance the universe and stories I've already told. The edits I made were actually quite minor, and I can honestly say that I've done everything I wanted with these books.
I'm going to take this week to revisit the Spinward Fringe Series; Resurrection, Awakening and Triton. I know Resurrection needs some polish and there are some details I absolutely need to have straight before I go on and finish my work on Spinward Fringe Frontline.
Spinward Fringe Fronline, simply put, takes all the charm, excitement, characterization and plot craft that you've seen in the First Light Chronicles and the Spinward Fringe series thus far and draws from it. Everything that was exciting and compelling about those novellas (all six of them), is getting pressed into this book just so I can tell the story contained in Frontline properly. I'm not finished, I actually had to take a break at page 166 so I could take this backwards look then make the next mighty leap forward.
I'm hoping to have Spinward Fringe Fronline (the seventh book), completed by Christmas, but if I miss my date it'll be on MobiPocket in January 2009. It's been a great year, and reviewing it this way is a fantastic method of preparing to write in the next.
After all that's finished I'll be sending all the books to Amazon.com, where they'll offer copies of the printed book for sale. They're going to use their own presses to print copies as people order them and apply the same specials / shipping savings to my books as they do to everything else they offer on their site. Everyone will finally have a good, trustworthy, well known online store to order printed books from, maybe even in the UK!
So stay tuned, there's more Spinward Fringe news to come!
Oh, about the Afterword that will be added to the First Light Chronicles Omnibus; it's with my Editor and THAT will be out before Christmas. I know, it's not much compared to another Spinward Fringe Novel, but it's the best I can do at the moment, unless someone manages to add an hour or two to our restrictive 24 hour days...