Concept art: Nym

So, one of the things I’ve always been a firm believer in is being able to visualise what you right, and (relative to artistic talent obviously) put said images down on paper.

I’m not the world’s most skilled artist, though I’ll admit to being passable for an amateur. Drawing is something I’ve always enjoyed; at Primary School, at play time, my beeline was always for the pencil crayons and felt tips.

The Nym, therefore, have presented something of a problem for me. I’ve found it consistently difficult to represent them on paper. Something about their physiology just doesn’t lend itself to easy rendering. (Unsurprising, given.)

Today, I present to you my most successful effort so far, an attempt to capture Ikari at his most enigmatic. I’m quite pleased with the end result, though I have to say I think he looks perhaps a little too muscular in the arm. What can I say? I tend to draw what I like, and I’m a sucker for a good bicep.

Ikari

Bring on the trumpets

Da da-da da da daarrr!!!

*With much pomp and ceremony…

Ladies and Gentlemen, it with great pleasure that I present to you: my book.

The work is entitled The Orphans Revolt (no, that’s not a grammatical error), for those of you that might have missed that. It’s the first part of the Star Plague Journals (of which part two I am currently penning). I have included links to the side for both the UK and US editions (at the top of my menu bar, on the left of your browser window), as I seem to get a lot of traffic on this site from across the pond, for some reason. (Thank you to any of you swinging through – it’s always nice to feel appreciated!)

For anyone feeling particularly lazy as they read this, the links are as follows:

For the Kindle editions, go here for the UK version, and here for the US.

Those of you without an e-reader, or who are simply feeling flush, can go here for the UK edition, or here for the US.

(It’s worth noting that the paperbacks, because of the nature of the service Createspace offer, are rather expensive. So I really would recommend the Kindle edition, unless you’re a genuine old-school bibliophile.)

For anyone who is an Amazon Prime member, my book is also enrolled in the Kindle Select program, making it available to lend for free over the next 90 days – go check it out! Tell your friends! Tell the guy that always stands in front of you in the coffee shop. The more the merrier (but then I would say that).

All that remains for me to say, is ‘enjoy’.

PS. Please do keep an eye out here for news (and previews) of part two across the coming year. I’ll also be posting conceptual artwork as and when my brain decides its needs visuals to sort through something, and or I need a break from the keyboard. Speak to you all again soon.

What have I let myself in for!?!

I have always considered myself a fairly computer-literate individual, for a layman. Three years at University, followed by a decade’s worth of writing left me, I felt, fairly justified in my quiet pride.

Oh, how wrong I was…

I can safely say that in the past five weeks I have learnt more about computing in general, and modern word and image processing than I did in the last ten years. It’s been quite a learning curve.

Let me give you a rough run down of the pitfalls I’ve had to drag myself out of:

  • working out make my scanner produce higher DPI images, without completely wiping out my laptop’s processor.
  • Adding text to my cover images.
  • Doing so, without loosing the image quality I had (finally) worked out how to produce.
  • Formatting my manuscript so that it fitted the trim size I’d chosen on Createspace.
  • Re-inserting the interior images at a higher quality (I forgot them in the initial image crisis).
  • Discovering the font I’d chosen for wolf’s ghost in the book was not a standard font, and so working out how to embed it (turns out you can’t, but re-saving your work as a PDF will solve the problem).
  • Re-formatting my book (again) for Kindle, including…
  • …applying standard format headers to all part, chapter and section headers.
  • …hyperlinking said headers back to the active contents page therefore necessary.
  • …choosing another font for the wolf’s ghost (as this time, the PDF cheat wouldn’t wash).
  • …using the bookmarking function to instill the necessary virtual pointers kindle’s apparently rely on.
  • …and finally, converting said file into htm format for upload.

I’m feeling fairly certain I’ve missed something along the way there. At some point when this is all over, I need to sit down and do myself a reminders list of things that I should do, and things that I definitely shouldn’t waste time doing (like getting precious about document formatting, when it’s all going to change post adjustment for trim size).

There are probably some of you reading this and laughing (quite justifiably) at my naivety. All I can say in my defence is I’ve never been very good at thinking beyond the immediate. And also, that whilst I would most definitely qualify as a geek to most people, I seemed to miss the bit of that stereotype where, as a teenager, you become a computer wizz. I think instead, I spent that time reading way too much fantasy and obsessing over boys.

There are a myriad of ‘how to’ pages out there regarding the above, but I might pop something together at some point, for any of you out there who are as dense as me.

Anyway, enough for now. It’s cookie time.

Coming out

‘Pass me a soap box…Really?!? And she’s frolicking with an octopus? Is that pink glitter I spy…

Ah well, needs must…’

Ahem.

It’s not very often I do this sort of thing, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. It would have been sooner, but the new year seems to have picked up quite a pace, and we’re already in February.

Anyway, I digress…

I wanted to write a short piece on how lovely it is to see unfussy gayness (for want of a better word – I’ve always thought homosexuality to be far too stuffy) on television. There have been two instances in particular that have caught my eye over recent months. The first happened (I think) way back in 2012, when Alan Carr had Gok Wan over as a guest for his talk show, Chatty Man. It was genuinely heart warming to see two queens chatting so openly on national television. Not obviously (read ‘sexually’), mind; there was nothing (too) lewd said, to my memory, but at the same time there was no attempt by the show’s producers to gloss over, or tone them down.

It was really sweet.

The second was the new E4 show The New Normal. The show’s unbothered (Catherine Tate moment – sorry) approach to its subject matter is so refreshing. There’s no pomp and circumstance, no stilted delivery. I was as much a fan of Queer as Folk when it came out (no pun intended) as the next gay man, but I did always feel the show’s excellent writing (*doffs hat to Mr D) was let down somewhat by the very staged, and quite aggressive handling of its moments of intimacy and sexual contact. One was left rather with the impression the actors viewed such scenes as akin to jumping in an outdoor swimming pool in October. The two guys in The New Normal are just so much more natural in their intimacy. Not to say that it’s a better show by any means – Queer as Folk will forever reign as a milestone, but still…

My point here is that it’s both reassuring and refreshing to see what would, even ten years ago, have been viewed as a little risque, now being freely broadcast without fear of reprisal from the censors, or the viewing public.

We’ve come a long way, baby.