Sunday, August 15, 2010

My new posts have generally been serious, so perhaps it's time to do something different. Odd names arrived in my life when I was young -- other than my own, which I never liked. My favourite comic in my pre-teens had Dan Dare, space adventurer on the front and a private eye called Harris Tweed on the back. I wrote some comics of my own at that age and wanted to have a PI with an 'object' name.

My mother suggested Toby Jug, so that's who he became. I didn't escape the name thing for some time. In my teens I hunted for all the library books featuring another PI, called Norman Conquest. He had a wife called Pixie and drove a Hispano Suiza roadster. I looked up the author and his books about a year ago, they were supposedly written (under a nom de plume) in the fifties, but with that car I'd place them closer to 1930. I even bought a used copy of one from Abe Books -- managed to read almost half of it.

Now I have a confession. I've always wanted to write a story about a character called Sam Handwich. Don't ask why -- it's just a thought that comes and goes. There is probably already such a character in a children's book, but what adult story would Sam fit in? Do you think there should be a contest for the story and character that fits the name best? I'd throw in a free e-book as prize. Promise that it wouldn't feature either Norman Conquest or Toby Jug.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Cover image for Rast

My fantasy novel Rast will be published by MuseItUp Publishing in March 2011. Rast has had a long and troubled journey, spending months at various publishers -- then years at another who was to publish it. When it seemed it would never reach the head of the queue there, and the IRS seemed to think it unacceptable send royalties to someone in Canada, I took it back. It then spent almost another year in limbo before finding its home with a Canadian publisher.

The story of its journeys almost equals the tribulations of Jady, the co-protagonist of Rast -- shown here as she travels across the Undulains and into the desert of Skeletal to find a resolution for her troubles.

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Saturday, August 07, 2010

The other big Time Killer

If writing were the only effort authors had to put out we'd be a lot more prolific. I like to think more accomplished, too. Most writers admit to finding the success of a first publication a bit of a two edged sword. It's a shock when the craft of writing turns into the business of writing.

I admit that I'd rather do nothing but write. If left to my own desires I could write continually, but the first nasty truth to land on us is that the publisher has schedules and a catalog planned, and doesn't want the idea you have in mind right away. If you want to emulate the SF writers of that golden age and publish four novels a year, you'd better have four publishers.

Then there is the need for promotion. It costs money, so very few publishers do any these days -- and then only for their established best sellers. With all the thousands of new works published yearly an author has to make a noise to be noticed. It's sad but true, that the best novel in the market will never be noticed unless the author puts in time selling it. The word on my writing list says the most successful authors spend 50% of their available time writing, and the other 50% promoting.

Take a look at my other blog where I'm posting character interviews.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Signs of a Pulse?

Thanks to both you busy ladies who commented on yesterday’s post.

I guess that having a specific character in mind and being open enough to let them loose and see what happens is as much a stance as any other. Following ones curiosity is a respected way to explore reality. I’m wondering whether the way I was asking the question looks for ‘what frame of mind do you need to be in before’ ... rather than your more open process.

Had to chuckle, Joylene. I too like to read reviews to see what I missed. I bought that weighty tome of Farah Mendlesohn’s, “Rhetorics of Fantasy” to see what I was missing in my fantasy writing process. Seems quite a lot, but I don’t think it possible to write good fiction if one has one eye on the academic angle. I think I got much the same from the book as I get from reviews – “hey, was that what I was doing?” Would I change anything if she’d pointed out something wrong? I doubt it.

We’ve all had to learn to take criticism and learn from it. What is it that convinces you that the critique is valid ... enough that you have to do something about it?

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Still Attempting to Revive.

This old blog needs more than mouth to mouth – it needs chest compressions. I guess I should give it five and see if anything starts up.

How about more questions? Where do you stand to write? I don’t mean physically, I mean what worldview, what stance to life, what philosophy guides your words?

Does a solid, unshakeable position produce better fiction that an openness to fresh perspectives? From my own experience of critiquing other writers’ fiction I’d say works tagged with a ‘philosophical brand’ are more wooden and unbelievable than those that wander open-eyed into possible minefields.

What does your own experience say?


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Reviving this Old Blog.

I hadn’t posted anything new here for many months ... going on to years. Maybe it’s time to start something new here because some of you visitors may have come here through seeing my old screen name Trailowner on posts at other sites.

What to write about – considering that my site is where I post all my latest writing related material ... mostly connected to my Iskander series novels.

This one should do something different. How about question topics? My fantasy novel, Rast, due out March 2011 has a different take on magic that any other I know about. Magic isn’t a neat parlour trick or something activated by the wave of a magic wand – it is a force integral to the world of Rast. It can only be controlled by very few individuals, all connected to the same family, and if they fail to control the forces, they could rebel and destroy the world.

Your take on this? Is the concept too unusual? Does it spoil the fun? Please comment and let me know.