That Darned To Be Read Pile

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Ok folks, its high time you all confessed. How large is your To Be Read pile? For my part I’m proud to say that I have reduced my backlist of novels to be read by four over the last twelve days, since I launched my latest novella. Now I only have one more to read and I’m all caught up. You see, unlike many people out there I don’t merely collect books. I actually buy them to read, and do so.

Full time writers like myself have an excuse for not catching up with our own reading, well almost. We often read the books in our physical and eBook libraries as part of the research necessary for our next book. But not necessarily the ones in our own TBR lists, unless we bought them as research material, which in my own case is the norm.

Whereas the rest of you have no excuse at all. What is the point of buying a copy of a book, while at the same time claiming you have no time to read it? What complete nonsense. Make time! If you want to collect something, try seashells or postage stamps. While we’re all grateful that you have bought a copy of our book(s), unless you read and review them, how will others know whether or not the book appeals to you’re intellect?

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You know what to do. No more excuses. Books are meant to be read, not treated as decoration in your living rooms!

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A question for you all…

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What do you think constitutes fantasy?

If, like most of today’s younger generation, you blindly accept without question what the film and television industries insist is the case, then you need look no further than the US series Game of Thrones or the UK series Merlin.

I’m sorry to disillusion everyone, but television and films did not invent fantasy. It was books that first made it popular. There is so much more to the genre than either of the above, dare I say it, boring examples. While undeniably they look spectacular on our television screens, wouldn’t you far rather conjure up your own visions in your mind? In other words, use your imagination. Give it a try. You never know, you may find that picturing each scene from a book is far more satisfying than merely vegging out in front of your television sets to look at pretty pictures.

Back before television and film killed off the urge to read among the young, destroying their attention span, books like Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, written in 1865, first brought the genre to the attention of the public. In the twentieth century writers like C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien, to name but two, gave us wonderful escapist fantasy tales like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and many more.

These days you are hard put to find any pure fantasy books like the above titles. But don’t despair, all is not lost. I know of at least one. I give you Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales, an anthology of thirty related short stories. Click on the highlighted title above to purchase your copy. Then prepare yourselves to be magically transported into a true fantasy world.

Goblin Tales by [Eason, Jack]

If you don’t live in the US, you can find it at the Amazon outlet near you. It’s also available in paperback.

Happy reading…

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Progress Report 14

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My new cover. Just click on it to see it properly

As you’ve all been so patient, with only two chapters to go I thought you might like to be among the first to see the cover for my new adventure novella Catacylsm. Once again I have created it myself.

Yesterday I showed it to two professionals I know, one a leading American cover artist, the other an American graphic designer with over thirty years experience. Both of them specialise in digitally created book covers. In each case the cover met with their approval. Words like ‘stunning’ were uttered, not by me, but by them which did a lot to boost my ego. It’s always gratifying when experts heap praise on your work, don’t you think? These days a cover must be ‘eye catching’ to attract readers. This one certainly is.

Before you ask, no it is not a digital painting. It is a photograph, just like all of my previous covers. It took me ages trawling through my favourite site for photographs –Β Morguefile.com free stock photos to find the one I wanted. I resized it, improved the quality of the photograph then applied the lettering, all by using my Corel Paintshop Pro X6 64 bit programme. Next I checked the end result in thumbnail and eBook sizes using another indispensable tool I rely on – Calibre.

Here’s hoping that when it appears on Amazon, Cataclysm will be favourably recieved. As I have said previously, if the trolls, armchair critics and pedants want to tear it apart, they’ll have to buy a copy just like everyone else. Just remember that thanks to them, there will be no free giveaways with this one.

When I upload the Kindle version to Kindle Direct Publishing in a month or so, I’ll be pricing it at US$3.00. The cover size is large enough (2000 x 3000 pixels) to suit CreatSpace when I get round to uploading it to them for its paperback version. What the paperback price will be, all depends on their pricing regime. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know.

Once I have finished writing it, it will be down to my faithful team of Beta readers to give the novella the once over while I go about that all important final edit. If any of them think that something needs changing, that’s the time when I will do it.

Meanwhile I am relatively happy with the the way the ‘blurb’ reads at present. Here it is:-

Nothing is every straight forward. Consider what would occur if the origins of mankind, together with many of the preconceptions we hold dear concerning religion, were proven to be false. How would you react? At the end of the twenty-first century, time travel became a reality. Humanity was about to get an unwelcome wakeup call. For hundreds of years history books went unchallenged and all religious beliefs were considered to be inviolable, never to be questioned, until the era of the Teleportation Gate.Β 

Now I’d better get back to the penultimate chapter. Things are really beginning to hot up.

More later…

PS – Even Chris the Storyreading Ape approves.

PPS – The woman on the cover is exactly how I envisioned one particular character – beautiful but deadly.

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Progress Report 13

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It might be here

Well folks, yet another progress report for you. I’ve been up since 4.30 am just to finish the revamped Chapter Eight, having axed the original after merging the two preceeding chapters into one, which gave me the opportunity to steer that part of the story in a more logical direction. The word count now stands at 21,858 and almost forty-two A4 pages.

I changed my mind, yet again, about the cover. I’m betting that despite what he said to me yesterday, the Story Reading Ape is quietly cursing me about it. Still, because of the troublesome new OS software on his Mac, at least he hadn’t got as far as beginning to work on what I had originally asked of him, or so he says.

Believe it or not, but I’ve been having fun developing Briggs’ love affair. Normally I steer well clear of the depths I have entered into with the subject, preferring to simply suggest any romantic involvements, leaving it up to the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps. But, as this highly controversial love affair is an integral part of the plot it needs to be spelt out, but only by writing it as tastefully as is humanly possible.

Since doing the major edit of the first seven chapters, I became aware of something I’d normally not pick up on until the final edit – inconsistency. For instance, you can’t have a character enter stage left in one paragraph, only to say later in another that he entered stage right when reminding the reader about his entrance, now can you.

Well that’s about it for now, except that I’ve a feeling that it will end up as a novella by the way its going.

PS – still confused by the pictures I put up for each progress report? Good, that’s precisely my aim, to get you curious enough to want to buy yourselves a copy when I publish it. They may be relevent to the story, or they may just be nothing more than red herrings. You’ll have to wait and see won’t you.

I’m exhausted, so I’m taking tomorrow (Sunday) off. Chapter nine will begin on Monday morning.

More later.

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Progress Report 11

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That should read – Do Not Disturb, Editor At Work

Well folks, hopefully you will be pleased to know that I have now completed eight chapters, or 18,177 words in thirty five A4 pages. Chapter eight has proved to be a real challenge as I have moved well outside my male comfort zone to introduce the beginnings of a highly controversial love affair involving the principal character, Dr Gilbert Briggs.

Who he has fallen in love with, and why, will have to remain a mystery for now. Sorry about that, but I love teasing you. To write about Gilbert’s love affair, I have drawn on the way I met and fell completely head over heels in love with the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, back in the nineteen sixties in South East Asia. She was a Montagnard named Mai. (You will note that I did say ‘was’. Both Mai and our four month old son, John, were killed in a bombing raid while I was away.)

All I will say at this stage of the proceedings is that the object of his heart’s desire is not at all like Mai. In fact, I doubt that there are many books in existance which involve the kind of person Gilbert is attracted to. Mind you I may be wrong. I haven’t checked.Β  πŸ˜‰

As I feel that I’m about halfway through the story (at the moment, it looks as if it will be a novella), before I go any further its high time I did a full line by line, paragraph by paragraph edit, even though I have been constantly editing as I go. Besides which, I need to check out each chapter in its entirety, adding things which hadn’t occurred at the time of writing, as well as subtracting others that contribute nothing overall to the story so far. The other thing I need to do is look at each chapter as it stands. It may be that I might find the need to amalgamate two chapters. Only time and careful editing will tell.

As I have said previously, it does contain a certain science fiction element. But the further I progress, the more the story dictates what will happen next. There is now no doubt that it has developed into a full on adventure. That’s the beauty of being flexible about adding various elements to the mix. Sooner or later one will become dominant over the rest. By doing this major edit, hopefully it will ensure that the story will become, as far as is humanly possible, a troll, armchair critic and pedant free zone. When I’m happy that I have brought the story to its conclusion, I’ll do another major edit.

PS – In the future if I decide to add a few more chapters, it may well wind up as a full length novel.

More later.

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Progress Report 10

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Could this be it, or is it yet another Red Herring?

Well folks the word count now stands at 15,333 (29 A4 pages). I’m at the beginning of chapter eight. Things are really hotting up. I have included a love interest with a difference (note I did say with a difference) for the primary character Dr Gilbert Briggs. Not that he needs the distraction, or so he says. Hah – yeh right Gilbert. Pull the other one, its got bells on it mate! All I’m saying about her for now is that her name is Arianna, and she’s an absolute stunner.

Before I got too far along I decided to make a ‘Table of Contents’ page with hyperlinks to each chapter, enabling you to go straight to any chapter. Unfortunately its not the same process as adding hyperlinks for my other eBooks on Amazon. So I had to ask my good friend and fellow writer Derek Haines how to go about it. In response, he sent me the link to a ‘how to’ video –Β  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpB9hmlgeU4Β  If you have wondered how to do it, click on the link and take a look for yourselves. Just remember that the version of MS Word he uses for the demonstation is old. I halved the number of steps he takes to get the job done with my up to date version of Word. Once you have done it for the first chapter, its dead easy to remember each time you add another chapter.

One other thing – To Hell With The Trolls! This one will not only be in paperback, but also eBook. But if your hoping to get a free copy, I’m sorry but because of the trolls it ain’t going to happen. Nor will the eBook be priced at US$0.99 either. I’m thinking somewhere around US$3.00. That way, if they want to tear it apart in their usual way (one star reviews), they’ll damn well have to buy a copy like everyone else. Once again, sorry about that folks…

More later.

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More Thoughts on Writing

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It’s sunday here in the UK, so I am having a day off from working on my latest WIP.

Many writers swear by the notion that when you are creating that first draft, what matters is a word count in its thousands. That’s fine if you are a member of an establishment publisher’s writing stable, where all you are required to do is produce that first draft, warts and all, before passing it on to one of the publisher’s inhouse editors, who will then make suggestions based on their own views of how your story should read; often veering away from your own idea.

If you have been following my blog, you know my views on that particular subject. For those of you who are new to my blog, I divorced myself from just such a controlling arrangement back in 2010. As far as I’m concerned it was the second best move I ever made. The first was to pluck up the courage to write full time in the first place.

Remember this folks, if you are an Indie, you don’t have anyone like an editor trying to make you conform to their employer’s wishes, or a literary agent telling you that what your writing is not financially profitable from any of the big five publishing houses points of view. Or that unless you conform it will only appeal to a niche market at best. In their view, you don’t count except for the fact that your hardwork is a means to an end for them. All that matters is their annual profits. How mercinary can you be?

These days when I’m engaged in writing my first draft, I far prefer to write no more than five hundred words plus or minus a few (approximately the length of this post). Why is that I hear you ask? As I am a successful fully committed Indie who does not employ an editor, I find it much easier to continually edit as I go along. That is just one of the tricks I’ve learned since becoming an Indie. So in effect, given the way I prefer to work, I am not working on a first draft at all am I. As for grammar and punctuation, you soon learn.

If you are an Indie, it means you have total control over what you write and how you write it. Being an Indie means that you become an editor amongst other things. Some don’t have the courage to do their own editing, incorrectly believing all the hype out there that writers should only write and are incapable of editing, let alone formatting. In the beginning I even produced my own covers. Not for this one. At the moment I’m waiting to see what The Story Reading Ape comes up with from the brief I gave him. Like most writers I know, once I have entered writing mode, everything else is forgotten. Sometimes I even forget to eat, or even what day it is. I get the hint regarding sleep when my eyes start to close.

One final point. If you are an avid reader who has always dreamt of becoming a writer – go for it! At the beginning you will be terrified, I know I was. But you will soon overcome your initial fears. But remember this, unless your book is brilliant, the chances are that you will be working for change like the rest of us, particularly if you price your eBook or paperback at the lower end of the scale to encourage readers to read something of yours. Thirty five percent royalties is the norm these days. Do the sums – thirty five percent of US $0.99c isn’t much. So your sales will need to be in the hundreds of thousands to make a reasonable living. Most of us in the midlist category consider ourselves lucky if we make between US$2,000 – $5,000 pa. We certainly don’t write to get rich. Instead we do it for the love of writing itself.

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