Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reviews and Interviews

Shawn R Gray just managed the nearly impossible by reviewing Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments without spoiling any part of the plot line. I'm more than a little impressed, and pleased that he enjoyed the book.

He does mention an outstanding question that many readers have EMailed me about, and I'm glad to say the following:

Yes, it'll all make sense in the next book. No, I can't tell you why or how.

What I like about that point in the plot is that it has everyone asking questions even though those questions come from a place of; "But how can it be?" It's the kind of thing that a middle book should accomplish, among others.

Anyway, enough of me yammering on. Here's Shawn R Gray's review.

A while back I also did an interview on the Spinward Fringe series, in which I discussed the series' future with publishers, what my attitude towards the publishing industry is now and a little more personal history surrounding Spinward Fringe leaks out. A few people have found the interview interesting, especially with so much turmoil in the industry right now.

You can find the interview here.

A quick note about reviews: Every short review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you got your hands on my work is helpful. I like readers to make an informed decision when they buy my work, and there's nothing better than you guys sharing your opinions to make sure that happens.


[Thanks to everyone who has ever posted a review, mentioned me on a blog or podcast.]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quietly Working Away...

So work on Broadcast 7 is underway and once again I'm at that awkward phase where I've said everything I can about it.

The problem with being a novelist with an active blog is that the life of the virtual space depends on updates, interesting information and a little humour if you can manage it. I'd love to indulge, to be honest I miss writing scathing movie reviews and poking fun at bad television. [I still dare anyone with a cast iron stomach or a touch of crazy to try the Secret Life Of The American Teenager drinking game].

Sadly, I just don't like splitting my writing time like that, and I'm sure many people who just finished reading Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6 would rather I spend more time writing Broadcast 7 than plonking away on the blog. Last year I actually spent way too much time playing around with social networking, enough to decide to ignore the whole time sucking vortex as much as possible. Thankfully, I can check things once every few days instead of every few hours like some people, and I have no interest in informing anyone that I'm taking a shower, eating a sandwich (with pictures), going for a walk, talking to someone on the phone, or watching television. Strangely, more than three quarters of all social networking statements consist of that kind of airy update, which are only really useful to burglars or stalkers. I couldn't care less about what Demi and Ashton are doing unless I'm sneaking into their living room to make off with their big screen, but I digress.

My point is, I'd rather not engage in distractions, and I'm pretty sure most self motivated people can understand. I write full time, and aside from a crowd of readers, I don't have a boss. That made it pretty easy to tab out of my word processor every half hour to check Twitter, or Facebook, (which I've come to call Wastebook), or to jot something on the blog. I discovered that, not only were those distractions bad for time wasting, they were making it pretty easy to repeatedly lose focus. I blame social media for a whole re-draft of Broadcast 6. The other two drafts were necessary, but there was a whole section of jumpy writing that was cut then rewritten from scratch - about thirty eight thousand words worth.

My old philosophy of not talking about a book I was working on and keeping distractions to a minimum is working at the moment, and considering I finished writing over half a dozen or so books before 2005, before the advent of social networking that way, I'm going to revert to that state of writing.

What does it all mean?

Well, it just means that this blog will be a little quiet, you won't see hourly Tweets, and I'll be checking Wastebook every couple of days, maybe a little less. It's a good thing, trust me. The less time I spend distracted by online life, the more time I'm spending writing. As a side note, I'd like to say that I do enjoy Emails, comments and other interactions with you guys, and I'm certainly not telling you to cut it out, I'm just saying that it may take an extra few hours, or an extra day for me to get back to you.


[The Secret Life Of The American Teenager Drinking Game: Every time you hear someone repeat a word in the space of 5 seconds, take a shot. If it's a character's name, you can avoid taking a shot by shouting the name aloud and pointing to the person you want to see take your shot for you. If more than one person passes their shot onto one poor sucker this way, the sucker only has to take one shot even though many fingers may be wagging at them. Good luck, don't die.]

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 7: Framework - What To Expect

"Every few generations there is a leap in technology so drastic the conditions of living change. All your fears are justified."

That line was first seen in The First Light Chronicles Omnibus: Starfree Port (also known as Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins). The idea of framework technology started there, but has been one of the core fixtures of the series ever since. The primary reason why it's been in the books all along is simple; there's a point, a conclusion that delivers on Doctor Marcelles dark prediction. How? Well that will be told in Broadcast 7: Framework, which is also the third part of the Rogue Element Trilogy.

The Rogue Element Trilogy was always meant to be the season one finale, if you will, of the ongoing Spinward Fringe series. When I say I write this like a television series, I'm not kidding. The First Light Chronicles is like a TV movie or mini-series, while the Spinward Fringe series can be measured out in a longer, on going television series that's marked like seasons of television. How long is a season? After much consideration over the last two years, I've decided it's seven books long. Deconstructing the scenes and story lines neatly provide twenty one or twenty two episodes of television. My white board got a serious workout while I puzzled that together.

That brings me back to the Rogue Element Trilogy. Broadcast 5: Fracture was largely a wish fulfillment book for me. I wrote it as though it was in real time and directed like a film. Every perspective led easily into the next scene, joined by some kind of contact between characters whether one was thinking of the next, or they were communicating with each other, and then the baton would be passed. 
I also got to show a lot of the characters existing strengths. The crew were at their best, and in Broadcast 5 they had the opportunity to function in a challenging setting while trying to address some personal drama. We also got to see a couple characters at rest, Ashley in particular. She was our guide as we visited the bunks and the Pilot's Den, where we were reminded that the crew had lives off duty, and it wasn't so bad for some of them. She also added a little swagger and sauciness back into the book that I thought was missing in Spinward Fringe Broadcast 4: Frontline.

In Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments, the struggle is on, and many of the characters have to deal with situations that aren't easily resolved. A number of characters have to operate outside their regular skill set, and a few emotional challenges confront them along the way. I'm of the mind set that the second part of a trilogy should always be the most emotionally driven, and introduce intrigue that will be important in the final part of the trilogy. I also took the opportunity to introduce a type of setting that I've wanted since  Broadcast 2.

Waiting almost two years to introduce this setting has nearly driven me bibbildy bonkers, and I'm not even disappointed that very little of the research that went into it (over eighteen months worth), has been used yet. Anyone who has read Broadcast 6 should know which setting I'm writing about. Nothing is simple, to everything there is an impending cost, and you've only seen a glimpse of a few small patches of land. The characters that come along with this setting took a lot of doing as well, and they're as important as Cheshire in Alice in Wonderland. I had to get them right, and I had to make sure that they were interesting for different reasons. Why did I introduce a new setting that has a vast potential for milage? I'll need it. It'll be important in Broadcast 7 for a few reasons, and in future Broadcasts.
One more thing about Broadcast 6: the bad guys are back. The second part of the trilogy gives us the opportunity to learn more about many of the characters, including the ones who, while they may think they're on the right path, really stand to do more harm than good.

Broadcast 7: Framework is the book everyone has been waiting for. Unlike traditional science fiction season finales, most of the plot lines that have been running since Broadcast 0 and Broadcast 1 will come to a thunderous end. Loose strings? Most of them will be tied up. Questions left unanswered, and mysteries left unsolved? Broadcast 7 is the book of solutions. I'm not giving anything away here, the third part of a trilogy is traditionally about resolution.

Our favourite characters are in difficult situations thanks to the events in Broadcast 6, which did resolve a lot of the immediate problems that started in Broadcast 5 after a fashion, but they aren't operating on a stable foundation. Broadcast 7 is the third part of a trilogy, meaning that everything in the other two parts of the trilogy (Broadcast 5 and 6), should be dealt with, but it's also a coalescent book, meaning that our characters will find themselves facing greater challenges than ever as the drama, intrigue and momentum that has been generated since the very first novella, Freeground - comes crushing down on them.
Many of my readers are fairly new to long form serialization and I completely understand how frustrating it is to come to the end of one of the books, realizing that the ending to the whole thing remains elusive. In a way, Broadcast 7 is for you. While no one will ever see me write; "and they all lived happily ever after." this will be the closest thing you'll ever see in Spinward Fringe. The answers are here, and most of them don't lead to more questions.

While Broadcast 7 is the ending of a trilogy, and the first "Season" of Broadcasts, it's important to remember that, after all is said and done, you, the reader have been quite vocal about wanting more, so there will be indication of more to come at the end of Broadcast 7: Framework. While I will be releasing a horror and fantasy novel in 2011, I also plan on writing one or two new Broadcasts before 2012, not including Broadcast 7, because there are so many other stories left to tell.

Over two years ago I said that the readers would determine when I was finished with Spinward Fringe, effectively cancelling it by no longer offering support. The opposite has happened. There are more readers than ever, and I can't wait to finish Broadcast 7 so I can release it to the world.

Overall Broadcast 7 will contain almost all the ideas regarding the ongoing plot lines that I have been holding back. Those unanswered questions? I've been waiting to tell you the answers for years. There are scenes and character interactions I've been waiting to delve into as well, and while I may not get to all of them, you'll see the important bits. I can honestly say that I've taken myself completely off the map of what I know with some of the ideas I'll explore in this book, and that's where Science Fiction does its best work.

The best is yet to come.


Now to get back to work on it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Interview About Spinward Fringe At Two Ends Of The Pen

So it finally happened.

I've gone and told everyone what it would take for a big publishing company to buy the Spinward Fringe series, what I think of agents and how the whole series really started.

When things fell into place so I could do the interview at Two Ends Of The Pen, I 'm sure she had no idea those where things I really wanted to talk about. Authors, they say the damndest things...

 Now it's out there, on the Interwebs for all to see, and I'd love to see a few readers comments there with regards to my opinion on the establishment.

This article also serves as a good quick primer for anyone who isn't familiar with the series yet. Just remember, there's a free version of the First Light Chronicles Omnibus / Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins available HERE. You don't have to buy the $0.99 Amazon Kindle version linked to in the article if you don't care about navigation menus and the like.

Well, back to work on Broadcast 7!