Tag Archives: Forthcoming

Good advice from Goodreads

Pleased to say I’ve been accepted for GoodReads as an author.  As a matter of course I spent a few minutes going through their ‘Author Guidelines’ and found this solid little gem;

From time to time, Goodreads authors have responded to readers who gave their books negative reviews or ratings, and the results have been disastrous for the authors’ reputations. Goodreads is not private; other readers will see a hostile reaction from the author, and a single negative interaction is often enough to turn a reader against an author permanently.

Couldn’t agree more. Don’t engage with hostile forces unnecessarily, and you’ll never lose the fight. Make the trolls punch smoke. Sound thinking there from the Goodreads team.

There’s also a mechanism for flagging, downgrading and even removing pointlessly hostile reviews. Splendid stuff.

I have a feeling we’ll get on famously.

On the domestic front we had a minor panic last night. Around half past ten I was convinced I could smell burning insulation in the kitchen. Called Angie, who agreed; yes, that’s hot wiring, not my over active imagination. Called Mark, our landlord, who checked out the wiring and circuits, which were all running cool as frozen yoghurt. After he’d gone I checked underneath the fridge, which seemed to be the source of the hot insulation smell. Plenty of fluff on the evaporator coils, so I set to work with a long crevice nozzle on the vacuum cleaner. At one stage in a highly undignified posture with the fridge up on blocks and me scrunched up between it and the wall, straining to clear greasy dust off electric motor stators. This state of affairs continued until midnight, and I ended up sleeping with a fire extinguisher by the bed. Electrical fires, especially in frame built housing, are no joke.

It’s not like we don’t clean the kitchen regularly, but from what I could see, this was the accumulation of airborne muck from the day the fridge was installed. I’ve seen this phenomenon in old server rooms where the air conditioners were faulty or didn’t have decent air filters. Fine dust in the air builds up over time until you have motherboards that look as hairy as a Yeti in full moult, and there’s a growing smell of hot insulation. Even the odd soft ‘zipping’ noise of a static short circuit. No-one’s fault, but it can be quite worrying to see what people in ‘clean’ offices are actually breathing. Same for the fridge.

This morning; no smell, and the fridge is cool. We’re all good. The sun is shining and think it’s going to be a really good day.

I don’t normally do Fantasy, but

Last night I dreamed a complete fantasy world. Social structures, storyline, the works. No context at all. No apparently external inspiration. Although I have been watching Discovery Channel features on Ancient Rome and Persia of late.

I fell asleep on the sofa studying for my VHF ROC(M) certification last night after evening shift at day job. Coming to this morning with a crick in my neck and a world in my head.

It’s got slaves, Sorcerer Kings, Frost Giants, Five Empires, and rare sacred trees which are the source of all magic in the world. Since I don’t read Fantasy outside of Larry Niven, Jim Butcher and Terry Pratchett, don’t think I’ve read anything remotely like it. I’ve been watching ‘Game of Thrones’ of course, but who hasn’t? My fantasy realms are nothing like those of George Martin. My world is actually modelled upon an Earth where the Ice caps reach down to Southern Britain and a great shallow inland sea covers most of the continental USA. Where there is a magical trading empire that rules the seas to the fire mountains of the East, through the midland channels across the Vastian Ocean to the Silk Empire and all her vassal states. Where the great Valley state runs along the inland sea to the great sacred waterfall of the Lantan Emipire.

That’s all I’m saying until I do a little more research and begin to write properly.

Two pages of notes inside an hour and accelerating. Evening shift tonight, then six clear days to work on my other projects.

All this out of one uncomfortable night. Wierd or what?

Morning at the Office

Morning at the officeJust another day in the ‘Office’. Although you can’t see the Deer, Raccoon or Rabbits from here. The odd passing truck or car. Out on the water there’s just sail boats and the occasional Gin Palace passing through. Day job later, but only a six hour shift, then back here for half past five. Which after supper gives me two more writing hours until sunset.

Working more on ‘Darkness’ than any other project at the moment, as the story thread I’m following is quite robust. Nine thousand words in the past five days. Not bad, could be doing more, but at least the ideas are flowing.

On the move

No word from the Kobo people on the account settings, so the Kobo editions of ‘Sky’, ‘Falling’, and The Calvin series first offering ‘Head of the beast’ will have to wait until the jet lag fades.  For the next 24 hours plus I’m living in alloy tubes and airports, navigating the indignities of airport security, and trying not to laugh as Angie’s hip implants set off the scanners.  Then we’re more or less on the road for three weeks.  Of course I’ll hunker down where I can to put a few words to storyline and keep a weather eye on my email.

Had a good nights sleep last night, so I’m fresh and rested.  Maybe the jet lag won’t bite so hard this time round.

The eBook version of ‘Head of the Beast’ needs a reformat, so that will keep me out of mischief.  Just font and indent changes.  A few italics need inserting, but on the whole, the story still sends chills down my cynical back.  I may even put some more work in on ‘A Falling of Angels’.  Although ‘Darkness’, the third and final volume of the ‘Stars’ series needs the most attention.

Notepad, laptop, travel documents, money and other essentials are ready.  We’re off.  We’ll see what inspiration hits while we’re on the road.

New stuff and up and coming

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So it seems is my promised output. ‘Falling’ is in final check and format phase. The eBook will slip, probably unnoticed, onto the market within the next couple of weeks while I’m in the UK. Link will be on the ‘published works’ page. ‘Darkness’ is a long way off completion.

A while back I said I was working on a collection of short supernatural and science fiction stories, and still am. My issue here is that I have a problem; too much inspiration, too many distractions. No sooner have I set my foot on one narrative path, than another crops up. And another. And another. My ‘recent documents’ tab fills up regularly with titles like ‘Blink’, ‘Quantum stumbling’, and ‘Infection’. Some of which belong in the Stars timeline, others in the Cerberus, and a whole bunch of others in no category whatsoever, they’re just stories inspired by random conversations or observations in day to day life. Some are almost finished, others need a rewrite, but there’s only so many hours in the day. Editing and checking of the main work is dull and time consuming, but it must be done repeatedly.

On the ‘Published Works’ page, I’ve listed what’s available, and what is up and coming with status and availability. No idea if anyone outside of my test readers will like them, but there they will be. Shortly. Maybe. I hope.

Like I’ve said, I’m frantically flinging narrative mud at the wall and seeing what sticks. My name is Martyn Kinsella-Jones; I’m a workaholic and proud of it.

Work in progress; excerpts posted

In the Cerberus Conspiracy pages, I’ve decided to post the first two chapters from my work in progress ‘A falling of Angels’. I’m fairly happy with the chapters as they stand and the word pictures they paint. Paul Calvin, Ben Wallace, Fat Mary and Jed Carter feel right as characters living in a crumbling society, riding the razors edge between anarchy and stability. Link is here.

As matters stand I’m still only about a third of the way through the story, with a lot of ground to cover. Gang wars, the role of a shadowy corporate in societal breakdown, more on the Freemen, blackmail, and pleasure seekers made into techno zombies. Plenty of juicy filling and not too much in the way of bread for padding. So far so good. Well, I like it even if no one else does.

I’ve also added the first chapter from the ‘Shifting States’ MSS on a sub page of the Cerberus Conspiracy tab, which has been work in progress for just under ten years.

Writing well, but very slowly #WritersBlock

Work proceeds on the next of the Cerberus series of stories; ‘A Falling of Angels’. It’s also going very slowly. The story is at an interesting point; in the middle of a refugee camp down at the old Avonmouth docks in Bristol, England. I’ve successfully introduced the ‘Freemen’, a cult of surprisingly orderly anarchist-like monk characters very loosely based on the ‘Freemen on the land’ ideology. As far as the story goes, they work beautifully. Quality is high. The trouble is, writing is such an effort at the moment. Finding the time to relax into the tale is proving difficult.

Paid work is currently more full than part time. Angie, having taken over my office, is now sitting in front of me in the kitchen working leaving me no place to settle and buckle down to some good old fashioned keyboard pounding. The baking is therapeutic, but when you’re deep in the throes of narrative, the last thing you want is someone (no matter how much you love them) asking questions about what your tax position is, or a hundred different non writing related queries.

Writing is nothing unless it can be done, and if it is not being done then all the mental effort behind it gets wasted. I need to concentrate in order to work, but I’m finding it difficult to do so,and I don’t want to make an issue of my objections and thus provoke domestic discord. Which would bring all writing activity to a dead stop for months.

What is a man to do? No wonder it drives so many to drink.

More thoughts on constructing Timelines #WritersBlock

Have been working on events timelines as a tool to make sure I don’t lose the thread of a story. This helps when constructing multiple character story lines to knit together at or around the denouement. Coupled with research on carbonaceous chondrite, and a few other associated topics made interesting by recent events, this has ground the writing process to an almost complete halt, or should I say hiatus.

The timelines are helping though. They are the anchors of stories and a ready reference for the Cerberus series, and the final volume of the Stars series, which had somewhat lost its narrative thread in the last nine months. Now with the assistance of formalising my timelines, I have a far clearer idea of where individual story threads have to go in order to reach the desired conclusion.

In addition I’ve been trying to get out a little more, in between work – eat – sleep – write, but the only sci-fi meetups seem to be over in Vancouver, which means two lost working days if I decide to go, ferry timetables and public transport being what they are. Living on Vancouver Island is fine, I love the space, but occasionally find it a little isolating.

My last visit to a Vancouver writers event with neighbour Kenn didn’t go anywhere much, as it was more of a ‘literary’ event. Several people I spoke to weren’t much interested in Science Fiction; indeed I seemed to hear a lot of “I don’t like Star Trek.” or “I don’t like Star Wars.” from what I’ll call the ‘anti’ faction of literati. Which seemed to act for them as a blanket dismissal for the genre. Okay, but that’s rather like saying you don’t like Fantasy, but have never read Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, or Christopher Stasheff; or because you find the Bronte’s and Jane Austen shirt wettingly dull (“Oh Mr D’Arcy – I am undone”), but never read Defoe, Hardy, or any of the other great 18th & 19th Century novelists. Maybe because someone doesn’t like the idea of ploughing through Plato’s ‘Republic’ they end up ignoring the whole corpus of early Greek literature, never mind entertaining Roman poets / satirists like Juvenal. Which has made me less than enthusiastic about spending time on such events.

On the subject of long distance travel, plans this year are still a little fragmented, but Angie and I are definitely going to visit England and possibly Southern Ireland. There is family to see, discussions to be held, decisions to be made. June looks like the most likely month.

After that, who knows? I have no Timeline for that, although a trip to the Okanagan to pick up some cases of decent wine is definitely in the early planning stages. Canadian wines are definitely worth a look. After much tasting on a trip last year, we found a rather nice non-vintage Pinot Blanc, and found several vineyards producing quite quaffable Gamay and Pinot Noir based reds. This might come as a surprise to the rest of the world, but not all Canada is the ‘Great white north’.

Head of the Beast is on iBookstore

Am feeling very chipper right this moment. Head of the Beast is now available on iBookstore, although the only way anyone can access it is with an Apple mobile device, I don’t really care. The simple fact that it has successfully leapt all the right hoops for iPads and suchlike is more than enough for me. The Nook version will be ready shortly, as it is still listed as ‘pending’. Had a little celebratory punching of air, and treated myself to a Martini with a twist. Angie said she was ‘very proud’ of me. Nice to have something new in the marketplace. There’s always a little buzz about it.

At work last week, I’d just settled in to an evening shift when my boss walked into the room to introduce one of the new volunteers I’d be working with. Ellen made me laugh when she said to our new volunteer. “This is Martyn – he’s famous.”
“Oh, really?” Said the volunteer as I cracked up laughing.
“I write. I’ve got a new book out.” I explained. “This is the day job.” Then we all had another good laugh about it.

Famous? I think I’d settle for better sales figures, but quite frankly I’m not too worried.

As well as working on ‘A falling of Angels’ the next in the Cerberus series, I’ve just started a new project, which will probably get released as a freebie novella when I’m happy with it. The working title is a bit of a giveaway, but it’s set at the height of the ‘Association’ worlds timeline which follows on from the “Stars” trilogy when that morphs into the next series, which is only in fragmented note form at present, but has the working title “Earth’s Night”.

That’s about as much as I’m doing with that one…..

Head of the Beast will be available as soon as I’ve got cover art that I’m happy with. The Header issue has proved insurmountable, and may actually interfere with eBook conversion, so I’ve ditched the headers. The page footers and numbering work fine, with none of the unwelcome surprises upon reopening the document after saving or conversion. 188 172 action and horror packed pages laying the groundwork for the next in the series on the most recent reformat.

First Edition Hardback will be ready in a week, and I’m tempted to go for a plain, textured look for the dust cover. Just authors name and title, with a little blurb and text sample on the back. Paperback edition will follow the same route, and I’ll double check the eBook requirements before submitting to iTunes, Barnes and Noble etc.

All this formatting practice is telling me the limitations of OpenOffice and its weak points, so I can concentrate on the story in future, and not waste so much time on what I feel are purely cosmetic issues.

We have a Go

Surrey book fair is a ‘Go’ situation. Have just arranged ferries and who pays for what with neighbour and fellow writer Kenn Joubert. My name is on the book fairs web site, but there’s just one issue; very few books to sell. I have three copies of ‘Falling through the stars’ left as stock, and too little time to order new copies, postal delivery times being what they are this side of the Straits of Georgia. So if anyone has a copy of ‘Sky’ (I know this is highly unlikely, sales being what they have been) they’ll have to bring it along for signing.

I shall be at the book fair, on display, between 5:30pm and 7pm Saturday 20th October. Possibly writing, possibly using the hotels free Wi-Fi for e-mail or playing games. Who knows, I may even get to talk to someone about what I do. What is certain is that I won’t turn a profit on the day, but I’m not really bothered. As far as I’m concerned the whole event is a learning experience. It’s a day out.

Kenn tells me he was once on the 600 strong shortlist of potential Canadian Astronauts, and has his own ideas about what sort of science fiction should be on TV. Should prove an interesting day next Saturday.

Good, and not so good news

Phoned my mother across the time zones at lunchtime PST, which is eight hours away in England. Nice to hear her voice every so often.

She tells me that as a grand dame of 96 she is finally getting online via broadband in the small Warwickshire village where she lives. I hope the information overload doesn’t get to her. No more letters, as we will probably be talking via Skype in the near future. I’ll give her a ring, walk her through the installation and sign up procedure, and bingo! Video calls. We talk to Angie’s side of the clan regularly via Skype, which has been an absolute godsend as far as communication goes. Especially as my brother and sister in law have just emigrated to Australia. The only issue is time difference.

There was the sad revelation that an Aunt I barely knew died two weeks ago. Should I go into mourning? I don’t think so because I hardly know anyone from that side of my Mothers clan. Out of my three maternal aunts, she was the last. So now I am Aunt-less. Loads of cousins, second and third cousins, but no aunts.

I feel no sense of loss because I hardly knew her, and getting upset over the death of a virtual stranger, even though I am closely blood related, does not touch me. To say it did might indicate a strain of hypocrisy, a sense of false mourning that is not yours by right. While the news is sobering, I cannot get worked up about it. We had no real connection and haven’t really heard from them much since I was small. Especially as relations between my mother and that specific part of our extended family have been less than cordial for several decades. All you really feel is “Oh. Right.” Nothing you can do about it, and the world keeps turning anyway. Is that too cynical? I don’t know.

No news as yet from Harper Vector, although I’m not really expecting anything. It was a shot in the dark as all these things are, and if they don’t like the Paul Calvin stories I’ll just take the first draft, polish it up a bit and punt it out onto Amazon myself. Nothing ventured as they say. Then I’ll finish ‘Darkness’ for Fan Expo in April 2013 and get that out there. See what happens. Keep on flinging enough stuff at the wall, and something is bound to stick.

Cerberus conspiracy novels and Paul Calvin

Almost ready to submit the first MSS to Harper Vector, I’m at the more than slightly nervous “Am I doing the right thing here?” point. The other news is that despite my intention to bunk off fishing with rod, line, and a hip flask, I’ve finally gotten my head around the plot for the next piece of work in the Paul Calvin Cerberus series. So the fish will have to wait. At least until Thursday.

The first three projects in the Cerberus series are as follows;

1. Heads of the Beast – 70,000 words. Complete, formatted and ready to go. I’m happy with it.
2. A falling of Angels – Plot outline, note and dialogue samples only.
3. Shifting states – about 45,000 words so far needing a bloody good rewrite.

Have just confirmed by email that I’ll be at the Surrey International Book Fair, Vancouver for the Saturday afternoon and evening (5:30-7pm) sales event on the 20th of October, sharing a table with fellow local writer Kenn Joubert, and punting the first two novels in my ‘Stars’ trilogy. I may even sell a book to some poor unsuspecting soul. I’ll be writing while I’m there, or something like that. Maybe quivering under the table. Whatever.