Merry Christmas, all, and a happy new year as well!
I think I know what my New Years resolution will be this year - to update news here more regularly. I had a lot of good intentions this year, but since September I have had my computer hard drive crash (don't worry, had backup of almost everything!), website hacked several times, and managed to get sick a few times. I know, excuses, excuses!
Still, I have done more writing on SongForge 3, editing on The Raven King, some editing for people on www.writingforums.org, and even written a few articles for that site as well (on commas, critiques and writing rules).
Check it out on the articles section of www.writingforums.org if you have a chance.
So the last few months have been pretty well filled up with writing, editing, listening and waiting, with a week of holiday thrown in there for good measure.
Mostly, I have been working on SongForge book 3, writing and discovering the journeys of Annah and Annah as they draw to a conclusion, but I have also had some fun exploring adventures of Rook, Bala, Kelkh and Mali as well. I will admit that this books has been, in a lot of ways, the hardest I have ever written – trying to keep faith with the characters, personalities and plot threads I created close to ten years ago, and also because I will have a lot of people throwing things at me if I stuff it up – but I have also immensely enjoyed it (and if you’re not enjoying your writing, you’re not doing it right!). There’s such a sense of achievement and satisfaction when you get a sudden buzz of inspiration and the section you are writing comes out onto paper just as you had imagined, or even better. It’s those moments that keep you excited through the hard slog and stop you getting distracted and thinking of another project.
So the short version of all that is, it’s coming. I went back to the start and did a full edit of what was already written, stripping out a lot of waffle and streamlining it, and am now back writing new passages. I would say it’s probably halfway done, but who knows …
I have had also had a few people ask when the next Aspen Portal book would be coming. That manuscript will be continued as soon as SongForge is finished!
Also, the SongForge audiobook has been finished, edited, polished and theme music added. Now it is in the process of being published up to audible (amazon’s audiobook store), which can be quite involved. Setting the right file size / format / baud rate and other things I don’t understand. I’ll keep you tuned in on the progress of that.
Lastly, I have been spending some of my time over at www.writingforums.org, helping out doing read throughs and edits for up and coming authors. It’s been great fun and I have met some very talented people there, as well as written a few articles on writing craft that will (hopefully) help a few newcomers out.
If you are an aspiring writer or even just an enthusiastic hobbyist, you should take a look at the community there – it is a great resource!
It’s been a massive month of news and I have been kept very busy over the past few weeks.
Firstly, my books have now been published on Amazon as a kindle e-books! My previously published books SongForge, Dragons Rising and Aspen Portal have all been released for 4.99, so you can read them on kindle, iPhone, iPad, Android or anything else that allows Kindle apps.
Also, two new books have been released direct to e-Book: Nu Runner and Timelines (2011 Amazon Breakthrough Competition semi-finalist).
So if you are looking for something new to read, maybe give them a try.
Also, the SongForge audiobook is almost finished. In another two or three weeks we will have all the tracks recorded, and then it will be down to final mixing and editing to make sure it is perfect.
It’s been a great experience recording my writing, as well as challenging at times, but I hope you all enjoy the result.
And finally, my cover artist and accomplished children’s book writer Myke Mollard recently travelled up to Cape Conran to help judge a sand sculpting competition (as well as participate in many other activities).
As well as having a great time and helping many people, young and old, Myke took with him some copies of Aspen Portal and SongForge as competition prizes. Apparently the competition was a great success and the books were hotly contested for.
Apparently one boy enlisted the help of his whole family to help his sculpting, and a huge congratulations goes to him for his win.
I send all my admiration to the talented participants. For the winners, congratulations and I hope you enjoy your hard earned prize. To everyone else who participated, well done for being involved – I have always admired people who are able to work with their hands to create such fantastic images. It’s something I have never been able to do.
Oh, and one last thing (I promise). Myke Mollard is now on his fourth reprint of his fantastic work, Australian Bush Creatures. It’s a great work and he put an incredible amount of time and effort into it. I’m glad the world is enjoying it as much as my kids do!
Happy new year!!
I hope everyone had a great end to 2012 and an even better start to 2013.
I had a nice break for Christmas, family and New Year (and some time for writing squeezed in there as well) and now it’s back to work in earnest again.
SongForge 3 is progressing slowly, though the pace has picked up after the Christmas break – I have had more time to stew on ideas and the words are flowing better, so long may it last!
Thankfully the SongForge audiobook is progressing faster.
We’re well over the halfway point so I hope it won’t take too much time before we have a full recording ready. Then, of course, there will be edits, re-recordings, etc, etc …
I’ve attached a sample chapter of it here for you to have a listen and see what you think
Also, we adopted a new kitten this week called Tammie – she’s a beautiful little thing and I’m very happy to say she loves my sons as much as they love her.
She is also very tolerant about being patted and picked up and having mice dangled very close to her face …
This month I’d like to leave the writing news and just post a reflection on life.
I recently found out that a friend of mine who I used to be quite close to had passed away. I hadn’t seen her in a number of years as life took us on different paths, but I still had semi-regular updates on her through mutual friends. At thirty three years of age she was barely two weeks older than me, and she had a young daughter and a fiancée who will no longer be able to enjoy her smile.
I think the thing that shocked me the most was that there was no accident or disease that took her away from her family, just life and chance.
For me, I will think of my friend fondly and remember the fun we had almost a decade ago and send my prayers to her family. I will also take away the knowledge that life is so precious. Always remember to talk to your parents and hug your kids, call your friends and let go of your grudges.
And as we are in Movember, guys make sure you aren't backwards about dealing with your problems - mental or physical. Talk about it, see a doctor and look after yourselves.
As some of you may know, I have recently started recording an audiobook version of SongForge, and I have to tell you all that this has been a very interesting and enlightening experience.
I have done some voice recording work in the past, so I already knew that this process was not as simple as sit in front of a microphone and read – there is so much practice to do and mulling over the right way to read things, as well as the different takes and retakes required to make sure you get the context and intonation of the words “just right”. I was prepared for that, but what did catch me by surprise was just how hard it was to do long stretches of reading and have things continue to sound good, and the other was getting the voices to flow well.
I thought having done voice recording before, I would be ready to fly through these recordings with no trouble – but the recordings I’ve done in the past have been far shorter than a full length novel (far FAR shorter). While recording SongForge I found that after a few chapters my voice started to feel tired. Oddly enough, it didn’t seem to SOUND tired on the recording, it just felt tired to me, and I felt I had to push harder to keep things sounding smooth and even. I always expected it to happen at some stage, but I was surprised at how quickly it happened to me.
The other thing that was quite difficult for me as the author to accept was the character voices. When I wrote the characters, I had a very clear idea in my head of how they should talk and sound – especially the Drakes, who I imagined having deep, gravelly voices. The problem was that I couldn’t do the kind of voice I had always imagined for them. I tried and I tried, but my voice just doesn’t go that low. It took a lot of practice and failed voices to finally accept that I couldn’t pull off what I had imagined.
Instead I decided to to work with the voices I could do well rather than push myself to try a voice that didn’t sound half as good, and in the end I think the recording has been MUCH better for it.
Hopefully you guys will think so too!
I’ll try and get a clip together to post up on the site for next month.
have been so busy in the past few months (which is why I missed an August update), and unfortunately most of it has had very little to do with writing.
Selling a house means lots of tidying and de-cluttering, neither of which is easy with two young children. Then there is the stress of an auction and the organisation required in packing up the entire household for a move. Still, we are almost, almost at the end of that process and I am finally starting to get back into a routine for writing once again.
SongForge book three is coming along nicely (though I still need to think out a proper working title), and I am dedicating as much free time as I can to it. It’s still a long way from finished, so don’t get too excited, but it is moving in the right direction far faster than it had before.
Also, some time ago I recorded a proof of concept reading of SongForge as the basis of an audiobook version. This was to see if I had the required voice to do justice to a commercial SongForge reading. I am happy to say that the reading was accepted (with a few points and critiques that I need to work on, I might add) and I will be going ahead with a full recording of the book soon. So for those of you who have long drives or flights to make and nothing to listen to, stay tuned.
It’s a funny business, writing.
You can have all the ideas and scenes in your head and see exactly how you want them to play out in your head, but if you are having a bad writing day, it’s going to come out badly on paper.
I’ve been struggling a little on SongForge book 3 – not because I don’t know what is going to happen or because I’m struggling for ideas, but because when I try to get these ideas on paper it’s just … bad. It’s slow, galumphing, uninteresting, bad.
I know some fantastic writers can “push through” that and will just keep going until they have their set day’s quota of words (Stephen King, this one’s directed at you), but that’s not me, unfortunately. I just select the offending passage of “bad” and delete, then come back and try again later. There’s always plenty of editing and read throughs I can be doing in the meantime!
I usually find if I have a go when I’m not so tired or stressed (and considering I have two young kids, I’m often both) then things will flow a lot better.
Thankfully I seem to be passed the worst of my trouble and SongForge 3 is starting to move forward again, but I can tell you there have been a lot of words deleted in the past month.
Still, at least I have managed to catch up on my editing backlog. The Raven King is almost finished its latest round of edits ...
Dragons Rising is now out in stores!
We had the book launch last night, and a huge thanks needs to go out to my wife, Cath, who made sure everything ran smoothly. Also, a big thankyou to Myke Mollard, my talented cover artist and fellow author who did an amazing job on the front cover.
And finally, thank you to all the family, friends and fans who came along and supported me - without you all, my books would be unread and unpublished.
So in my ever smaller spare time, I have been working on the final book in the SongForge series. It is still mostly in the planning stages at the moment, though I have written three chapters so far. Hopefully next month will be a big one for SongForge 3 progress.
I have also been doing the first round edit of Raven King, giving it all the polish and updates that go with editing for the first time.
And, of course, there is still Aspen Portal 2 sitting in the background, waiting for the inspiration fairy to hit me again so I can finish the second half and send it out into the world. Rest assured, it hasn't been forgotten .
As some of you may have noticed, my website has been down for a few weeks. This was due to an unfortunate stuff up by my hosting company. I have spent a frustrating time trying to get it back up and running, and we have thankfully reached there in the end. Unfortunately, given the amount of time it has taken and the fact that we are now at the end of April, I have decided to skip an April news post and jump straight on to May.
On happier news, Dragons Rising has now gone to the printers. I am currently trying to wait patiently (and not really succeeding) for a package of printed books to arrive on my doorstep, which will also mean that other packages are appearing at your local book store. As always, orders are available through the Alto Books publisher’s website.
On other writing news, I have progressed a little on SongForge book 3, but not as much as I would have liked – I was spending too much time getting my website back up and running. But it is progressing, and my mind is always mulling ideas for what is to come. I have also been working on The Raven King first draft, giving it a reread and polish.
The other reason I have not worked as much on my writing is a game called Mass Effect 3. If you have played it, you will know why my free time has reduced. If you have not, then I suggest you take a look .It is without a doubt one of the best games I have ever played. Love or hate the ending (and if you take a quick look on Google, you will see an awful lot of people who love the game and despise the last ten minutes) it is one of the best written and detailed games I’ve ever played – and since I have been playing games since the Commodore 64 days, that’s saying a lot.
If you have played the game and hated the ending (and I actually didn’t hate it – didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it), I urge you not to hit out at bioware. They have crafted a brilliant final chapter to a fantastic series and we should all respect the work they have done for us.