Sunday, January 22, 2017

Cover art

While I’m in the thickets of the critiquing and editing jungle on The Ashes of Home, I decided to get ahead of the game and start thinking about cover art.

Like I did for Ghosts of Innocence, I’ve roughed out some concept drafts and I’m looking for your thoughts. I expect I’ll get lots of contradictory views (like I did last time) but any observations are food for thought.

Some of the things I want to convey are: Far future, space travel, sci-fi, military, adventure, intrigue. But what do these covers say to you?

#1 - Imperial frigate Vixen on Eloon

#2 - The death of Admiral George Leonard

#3 - Visiting the arctic prison

Note - these are rough drafts, the execution is pretty sketchy and don’t pay any attention to the font choice. I just find it easier to imagine an image as a book cover when it’s got an actual title and author name on it. The purpose here is to get a feel for the concepts and eventually to pick one to flesh out properly.

For comparison, here’s the equivalent sketch for Ghosts of Innocence alongside the actual cover, so you can see how things might develop along the way:


Friday, January 20, 2017

Good luck America (and the other 95% of the world)

Because I've got a feeling we're going to need it.

Democracy is all well and good, but such a tiny minority holds such disproportionate power over the rest of the world. And the rest of us are helpless bystanders in a democratic process that we have no say in, but which affects us all profoundly.

How American banks behave affects the rest of the world. 2008, anyone?

How Wall Street and American mega-corporations behave affects the rest of the world.

And how the American president behaves affects the rest of the world.

With such power should come some responsibility.

But with Donald Duck in the pilot's seat, squeaking "America first, America first" I'm not too hopeful.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Weekend Writing Warriors January 15

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, the air in Shayla’s room has been drugged but she held her breath at the first taste. Two attackers disguised as servants are in the room with her. She let herself collapse towards the bed, feigning the effects of the drug, then launched herself forwards...

=====

As she rolled, she glimpsed upside down a face in the shadows of a hood. It looked like Barras, but Shayla noted nose plugs, a tiny breathing unit clamped between thin stretched lips, and eyes filled with hate.

A razor line of blue fire bisected the space she’d just vacated. Holy Space, a rapier shimmerblade!

Groping fingers found the hidden button as she completed the roll. The bed collapsed behind Shayla, halved effortlessly by the shimmerblade. Tall windows ahead of her flew open and she continued her motion, hurdling the waist-high sill out into a seventy foot drop.

Gravity took Shayla as she forced the dregs of tainted air from her mouth and drew in a deep, clean draught from the night rushing past her face.


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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Weekend Writing Warriors January 8

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, Shayla realizes something is wrong with the air in her room. Someone has released a drug intended to knock her out but she held her breath at the first taste. Two attackers disguised as servants are in the room with her.

=====

Her hand crept towards the hilt of the knife under her robes. She stilled it and instead stumbled another step towards the bed. She couldn’t fight these two. If the drug didn’t take her, anoxia would.

Another step.

The figures closed in.

Shayla flopped towards the bed, buying herself a few precious moments. As she pitched forwards her legs folded under her, then she launched herself across the bed. She rolled, outstretched hand reaching for a concealed button under the edge of the headboard.

=====

Well, we are a week into January already. Decorations taken down and packed away, and tree dropped off for chipping. I hope everyone had a good Christmas and that the New Year brings you joy.

I would still like to find one or two more beta readers for The Ashes of Home. If you are interested, please drop me a note either in the comments or through my contact page. Please include an email address I can reach you at, an idea of when you think you could finish by, and also what I could do for you in return.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Weekend Writing Warriors January 1

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, Shayla realizes something is wrong with the air in her room. Someone has released a drug intended to knock her out but she held her breath at the first taste.

=====

Shayla stumbled forwards a couple of steps, feigning the effects of the drug. Two figures stood to one side in servants’ robes. Barras and Gingallia? No, these couldn’t be her servants. They were still standing and any innocent party breathing this air would be comatose by now. Instead, these two imposters moved with stealth and menacing purpose. One behind Shayla, cut off her escape, the other between her and the doors leading out to the balcony and sitting room to her right, the only other ways out of her suite.

Anyone else?


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As I mentioned last time, I’m still looking for one or two more beta readers for The Ashes of Home. I’m looking for people who can provide honest opinions and suggestions on things like plot, structure, and characters - in other words, how does this hang together as a story? Is it a compelling read, and if not, what’s missing?

If you are interested, please drop me a note either in the comments or through my contact page. Please include an email address I can reach you at, an idea of when you think you could finish by, and also what I could do for you in return.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Season's Greetings

I've been dithering about whether or not to post anything this weekend, but over lunch, Ali & I just reminisced yet again what a year it's been for celebrity deaths. It's hard not to notice the growing number of posts on social media cataloguing the loss of talent this year. It's something I noticed and posted about all the way back in February, and the trend has continued throughout the year.

This conversation finally prompted me to write a brief post, because I know some readers here are dealing with losses and hardships of their own.

I would like to hope everyone had a joyful and peaceful Christmas, but I know reality to be different.

So I would like to spare a thought for those whose Christmas has not been the time of joy it's supposed to be. I hope you at least have friends and family close by, and the strength to see you through the hard times. May you all find peace in your own time and place.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Weekend Writing Warriors December 18

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, Shayla realizes something is wrong with the air in her room.

=====

Ambushed! In my own fucking bedchamber! Shayla pushed aside the annoyance. Questions of who and how could wait. The first priority was survival.

Time slowed as Shayla’s mind kicked into overdrive. The thump of her heartbeat in her ears doled out the seconds of her life. Peritax was not a poison, it would just leave her helpless. It dispersed and broke down quickly, which meant someone was nearby to release it and to finish the job. Whatever that might be.


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I am looking for a small number of beta readers for The Ashes of Home. I'm looking for people who can provide honest opinions and suggestions on things like plot, structure, and characters - in other words, how does this hang together as a story? Is it a compelling read, and if not, what’s missing?

Although this is a sequel, you don’t need to have read Ghosts of Innocence. In fact it would be good to hear from people who have and who haven’t, to see how this works both as a sequel and as a standalone read.

If you are interested, please drop me a note either in the comments or through my contact page. Please include an email address I can reach you at, an idea of when you think you could finish by, and also what I could do for you in return.
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