The hub is online

Just a brief one to say that I’ve finally got round to reorganising the site, following a few months prevarication. In future this place will function as more of a hub, with links out to the various aspects of my virtual presence. Any actual blogging (not that I ever do a lot of it) will come via deviantART (as it’s nice to invest in the community) or Twitter (for those of you not on DA).

New stuff (including updates on Harlem’s Deck) will always turn up on Twitter, so that’s probably the easiest place to keep track of what’s going on, though I know not everybody uses it.

That’s all for now (folks). Hope you’re all enjoying the unexpected (but very much appreciated – cheers Ra) bank holiday sun.

Kudos peeps x

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Star Art

Just a quickie for anyone whose interested:

You can now see naked copies of the art from the covers for OrphansHand and Journey of the Star Plague Journals on my deviantART gallery here.

Go check ’em out 🙂

Book 2!

The second instalment in The Star Plague Journals is now available on Amazon (click the cover image to the left). As mentioned in Sunday’s post, you can only get the Kindle edition for now. Watch this space for the physical edition.

His Staying Hand, out now. Buy it people… 😉

Antici…pation

I’m absolutely useless at the self-promotion thing (probably why I’m not currently sat typing this in my west wing library, whilst the tiger quietly mauls the Gautier rug) let’s have a bash.

…Drum roll… fanfare (fireworks)…

As mentioned in previous posts (I think?) I’ve been tied up of late in furious edit mode. His Staying Hand, the second instalment of The Star Plague Journals nears completion. It was actually quite exciting putting the final touches to the last chapter (I know, how sad am I?) before I began the onerous task of compiling and formatting that is necessarily part of publishing your own Kindle book.

Whilst I go through the final ‘i’ dotting and ‘t’ crossing I wanted to share the cover with you (below) and also offer a short sample from the book itself here. I hope you enjoy both!

I’m anticipating the book will be officially available on Amazon in Kindle format by this time next week, with the physical edition to follow. This will include an aside that I’m publishing separately in the e-format, hence the delay on the doorstop version. So apologies to those of you who like your literature old school, I beg just a little more of your patience. For the rest of you: not long to wait.

Watch (as they say) this space…

Stay Cover Mk2 red text

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.

The story so far

Morning all.

I’d like to begin by with a quick (belated) ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ to all those stateside. I didn’t realise until that evening that I’d actually organised my own impromptu thanksgiving dinner – had some friends round for food and wine (and vodka, and Guinness with champagne…).

Anyway, I digress.

I wanted to explain where I’ve got to at the moment, and how I got here, for those of you who may have missed my earlier posts. A ‘Story so far’ if you will. As with any burgeoning author, my work originally began (as I mention in my Bio) as something of a hobby, but has grown steadily to the point where I set out on the current project with the very definite intent of putting my stuff out there, for others to read and enjoy. As such, what I’ve written this time has been produced with greater self-awareness, perhaps, than my previous efforts, and also with an eye on its commerciality. I’ve tried to write something that will sell, that is relevant, but that brings something new to the table. I think it was Stravinsky (a musician, yes, but the principals still apply) who started each new round of composition by limiting himself, applying rules that the work must adhere to, as he recognised that truly great art cannot encompass everything at once. Some of you may disagree with that, but I’ve always found it to be a useful maxim. Certainly, it’s one of the things I took away from my degree.

So, I won’t bore you with the actual ins and outs of the creative process here. I’ll perhaps look at publishing those at a later date, if it seems appropriate (read: if my book actually proves itself, and therefore the process, to have been worthwhile. No point shouting about something that’s a flop). But suffice to say, two years and change later I’m sat here, with a novel on my hard drive and nowhere to go.

Now, I’ve been down this road once before, back at the start of the current millennium. Didn’t go well for me then, despite doing all the things that I’d read an author should do: spending hours pouring over the ‘Writers Handbook’, carefully picking out likely looking agencies and publishers to send copies of my work to (some of the refusal letters I received were priceless. One in particular I wish I’d framed – still makes me laugh to this day).

There are two positive things I took away from that experience. One was knowledge: how the process worked, how to present myself etc. The second was a phone call from a publisher whose name I sadly can’t remember, who took the time to call me and, after apologising for the fact he wasn’t publishing at the time due to personal troubles, told me to keep going, and not to give up. Without that little ray of sunshine through the clouds, I think I would have given up long ago.

Sadly this time, as above, I’ve had no luck with the wonderful people of the UK publishing world, due in some part (I tell myself) to the current fiscal problems that grip the world. There was one voice of interest, but it was from a publisher named Austin and Macauley, asking for about £3K to put my work out there. A couple of trawls of the internet confirmed my suspicions that they were not to be relied upon, so I have politely declined their help.

So I found myself washed up on the shores of self publishing. Not a bad place to be, as I’ve seen from several of the people I’ve crossed paths with over the last month or two on various social forums. And realistically, several people seem to be positing, the way things are going to go, in the long run. Now I, for one, will never be weaned of my need for actual, physical books. I do, yes, plan to avail myself of a Kindle in the new year (other e-readers are, of course, available). But I fully intend to make the odd exception. At present, I only buy myself paperbacks; hardbacks may only be acquired as gifts (its a financial choice as much as anything). I do think books will eventually become the rare treasures they once were again, to be cherished as such. Stories – novels – will never die, but the form they wear will change. So I look at the position I am now in as simply ‘joining the revolution’.

So there you have it. A brief history of The Orphans Revolt, complete with annotations and asides. As mentioned in my Lit Ped, I’m hoping to bring it out into the light at some point next month. Will keep you posted.

Have a good weekend everyone.