Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This is one award I hope never to get again.

Gosh, that sounds horrible, right? I mean, in this blogosphere of love we should all be overwhelmed with friendship and cuddles. Well, yes, I am actually. But bear with me.

I received the wonderful Liebster award from the lovely Mel Fowler at

I love all awards, and this is no exception, but I never ever want to get it again. You only get this award if you have under 200 followers see, and if this campaign continues as it has then fingers crossed I will reach the hundreds soon enough. 

Here are some other people who deserve this award, and hopefully they will soon disqualify as well.

1.   Jennifer Burke Who hates writing sex scenes as much as me.

2.  Kate Swenson  Who is also an art teacher and therefore has three things in common with me. (she is an Aussie too)

3.   Sarah Pearson Who loves empty white pages about as much as I do

4.   Alynza Smith   Who also had the cool idea to condense her novel onto as few pages as possible. I got mine down to one. But I had to take out all the spaces, punctuation and make it size 2. If you print it in 600dpi and have a magnifying glass you can almost read it.

5.   and Tanya Walsh, another Aussie who also thinks crows are misunderstood. 

Random facts:

1. I am deaf in my left ear. I tell my students this every year but none believe me until they are standing next to me asking for help and I sit there, staring blindly into space. 

2. I sometimes use my deafness to my advantage. 'Hey darling,' my wife asks from the kitchen as I continue to write, pretending not to have heard her at all. 'Have you taken the bins out yet?' ......silence. 

3. My son is named after the Man in Black. Work that one out. 

4. I once cast a hex on a person that worked! She was a despicable human being that shared a house with me, making life a living hell. When I finally had the chance to move out, I cursed her to be exactly who she was for the rest of her life. So far the magic is working. Also, I don't really believe in magic.

5. I have many Christian friends, but I am an atheist. (God I pray this doesn't lose me followers. (I think Jesus said that in the climax of the bible)). 

Thanks for stopping by. Now get back to writing. Or editing. Or drinking red wine to forget the pain of both.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

info dumps and other bodily functions.

I read an interesting statistic about how many people update their social networking whilst on the toilet. Just saying.

But what I really wanted to talk about was the dreaded moment that comes in any work of fiction where complex information must be communicated for the plot to make sense and or move forward. Yes, the info dump.

Dear lord I struggle with this, and mostly because I hate them with a passion in the books I read. No matter how well crafted they always ruin the flow of the story. A good writer just grins and bears it I guess, knowing that you'll thank them later for the much needed backstory, but at the time they are universally painful. And that's just to read. Multiply by a thousand the experience of a long winded info dump, and thats how it feels to write one.

I am trying at the moment to finish up the final edit of the final six chapters of my book. The fact that I am writing this post tells you how much I am enjoying it. I have a big load of info that is crucial to the plot and the final revelations of the novel, but I have re-written it at least ten times now and I hate it more with each revision. 

So what do you all do? Cut to third person omniscient and just rip the bandaid off? Embed it in conversation between two or more people who each know just enough to prompt the next into anther convenient reminiscence about the history of the world? Have a character muse at length about the way things are, or even worse, pick up a "history scroll" and read it to us in the words of Grombol the Wise. Sigh.

What do you do? And are there any great examples that make me a liar?


Here is the copy of my soul I uploaded to google. Come and say hello. It is fully interactive.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We're gonna need a bigger platform.

I love the blogosphere. I'd blog even if I had no followers at all, if only to keep a journal for my future self about the year that changed everything.

But I also love the idea of using this medium to Get The Word Out about my first publication.

That is why I love this post.

I'm on board. You other writers should be too.


Here is the copy of my soul I uploaded to google. Come and say hello. It is fully interactive.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On covers and launches

Just got home from the book launch of Danny Fahey's The Tree Singer.

Hosted by the good people at Readings (Thrilled no doubt at the collapse of Borders) tonight was the first book launch I have ever been too.

I'd normally avoid such an even for all the horrible feelings of inadequacy someone else's success conjures, but this was different. Mr. Fahey is an author with Dragonfall, this makes him blood of my blood. (sorry, been reading Game of Thrones)

So I learned a few things tonight. Like how wonderful it is going to be to publicly thank everyone who helped me on the journey. Like how amazing it will be to hold my book and read out a passage never to be edited again. Like how anyone who starts out to write a book shares a lonely story of drafting late into the night, red wine and self doubt. But mostly how much to relish the end of that journey. For you only get to start it once.

I picked up the book, of course, and so should you all. Danny also reminded me how important it is to read the proof editor's revisions with a sober and paranoid mind.

But as much as I was thrilled to witness Danny's moment, my eyes kept coming back to the advertising sign Dragonfall sent to the opening.

What's that you say? Over to the left besides the Dragonfall logo? Lets move in for a closer look.

That's right. A cover. My cover. And the way they have rendered it as a finished book makes me feel all funny on the inside. In a good way. What's that? A closer look you say? Okay. Enhance.

So what do you all think?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Write off, write on.

Been reading a bit about various stresses that can hinder a writer. 

For me its pretty simple: Self doubt and a messy house kill any hope for work.

Yesterday it was all too much. I have been listening to a very famous fantasy book on my rides to work and had that horrible feeling when you realise someone else has already used some cool plot points. Sigh. I know everything has been used before, and that the book I saw this in is by no means the prime source. But you know. Depressing none the less. 

Then I wanted to write yesterday and the house was saying no. Piles of clothes, a floor strewn with the discarded remnants of a 2.5 yr old. It was all too much. Started to clean and the bloody vacum broke. So new vacum and a full day of spring cleaning later, and today things went much better.

Unlike my usual trudge through the editing process, I was able to tick off eight chapters of the Very Final, And I Really Mean It This Time, Last Draft. 

Wax on. Wax off. Be like water making its way through cracks. And everybody was kung fu fighting.

So in celebration for the light at the end of the tunnel I am starting to see, here is another sample of The Dragon and the Crow. Now with added spells!

Remembering a trick he had learned to use with his older brother, Brin let his body go as slack as a bag of grain. Grunting with surprise Gath fell forward just as Lúndo finally got out his spell.
'Solsol sollalafa mifalala mire faremi fa la mimifado lasi dore!' the boy let out 
in one quick burst of words.

Brin jumped sideways, spinning around and pulling free from Gath's embrace as a gale of wind sprang from nowhere. Instead of Brin, Gath was caught in the full force of Lúndo's magick. He yelped like a lost calf as he crashed through the branches of one tall Adler, then struck the trunk of another. There was the sharp sound of things breaking, and Gath fell to the ground, wailing. 

So what do you think about the spell? Does the language read well? does it fit the prose? 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Coming soon.....

I guess the cat is well and truly out of the bag. So I may as well announce the title to book one of the Magickless trilogy.

Coming soon indeed.

Here is the copy of my soul I uploaded to google. Come and say hello. It is fully interactive.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

And the award goes to.... Me!

Alas, it is not the World Fantasy Award.... yet.

I was given the Liebster blog award yesterday by Lisa L. Regan. Thank you Lisa.

Part of the rules are that I have to link on to 3 more blogs that like mine, are yet to attract more than 300 people to follow.

So here goes.

First, if you are at all interested in my previous post about the language of magick, then head over to Solresol which was made by the honorary Wizard, Garrison Osteen. Garrison is the one helping me write spells and he recently finished translating all the forgotten words of solresol, collating them together into a spreadsheet. He is the go-to man for anything Solresol, and by default, any spell you may be in need of. Thank you Garrison.

Next up is Indie-Debut which I can't believe does not yet have 300 followers. It is a great place to see what small independent publishers are releasing, and has lots of info on a whole lot of writing related issues. I especially like this post on why new writers should never start out with a trilogy.

And last but by no means least, is the blog of Laila Knight. Laila was my first follower, and her comments keep me positive when things seem slow. She is also a writer, and has a ... hrrm --  How do you say it -- knack with the touchy subject of sex. 


Here is the copy of my soul I uploaded to google. Come and say hello. It is fully interactive.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Language of magick.

Okay, so I need some help making a decision.

Early on -- years ago now -- when I was finishing the first draft, I had the idea to incorporate an invented language into my book.

I am one of those geeks that loves the fact that Macbeth has been translated into Klingon, and I become obsessed whenever there is a story that has such real world elements as maps and symbols and words. 

Around the time I was thinking about all this, I was reading the excellent Neal Stephenson trilogy, "The Baroque Cycle" and came across the idea of a philosophical language. This seemed perfect for magick, and so I looked into it a bit. Long story short, I came across a cool and forgotten example called Solresol. Even longer story short, I am now part of a small group who are trying to resurrect the language and modernise it. 

But my question is, would it be cool to include spells in the text?

This is an excerpt from chapter one, where we first see a character cast a spell:

The monster lurched toward him, hissing a challenge, but The Hen held his ground. Waiting until it was so close he could smell its poison, The Hen whispered the spell he had been preparing to speak since landing.

'Solsol soldosol l'a ladosi mire dore domiresi fa la solresol dore 
falafa, re solsol soldosol l'a ladosi mire dore domilado fa la solresol lasi
la dola fa mire dore domilado'

The great four-armed beast froze, its scales turning bright red again as it raised its claws in protection. Then the spell took hold of The Hen's throat as firmly as if the beast itself had caught him. He had tried to prepare himself for the side effects of the magick after his last communication with the monsters, but it was all he could do not to claw at his neck as his Spell of Translation twisted the muscles in his throat. 

I know that's a little messy, and am working on a shorter version of the spell, but you can see what it would generally look like to write in Solresol. (For the observant, Solresol litterally translates into "Language" which is why it appears in the spell of translation.

The other option would be to use the symbolic form of the language, which looks a little like this:

Obviously there are other challenges with this, as it would have to be made into some kind of font for the printers, as well as being impossible for a reader to actually read. 

So anyone care to give some feedback?

In the end it is my publisher that will make the final decision, but I want to know if I should push the issue or not. It could always come later in some kind of online appendix or special edition for the 25th anniversary (once I'm in my log cabin by the beach of course) but it could be cool to put it in now.

There are about 15 spells in the entire book that we would see, and all the rest are much shorter than this example.


Here is the copy of my soul I uploaded to google. Come and say hello. It is fully interactive.