Self-Publishing Dilemmas: My Attempt at Artwork for “The Weight of Reason”

Feel free to mock my poor effort but this is the sort of thing I was going for. I used Paint.Net, took a photograph of Toronto skyline (to which I own the copyright), moved around some buildings, blurred the skyine, inverted the colours and added some clouds. I like the smoke effect: It wasn’t intentional but if you know the context of the story it fits perfectly. I’m not sure about the ocean yet and I want to play around with that aspect of it a little more. I may not use this cover at all, I still may end up cold-calling a few potential artists on Deviant Art and show them that as an idea. It is quite a striking image but would you be curious to read a book with such a cover? What draws you in? What don’t you like? Suggestions please! Continue reading

No cyborgs in Kindleland

So I have had a response from Kindle Singles about The Weight of Reason. No surprise in that it was rejected. I didn’t expect to have it accepted a their work is very high quality and though I believe this is the best piece of work I have ever produced, I was pleased that they even considered it. At least it wasn’t rejected within a matter of hours!

So now I start another adventure where I investigate the precarious world of self-publishing. Do I release it on KDP and similar methods for other book readers? Do I set it to free download for a limited time? Or do I list it on here and believe in the power of the human race in requesting donations and have a link to a PayPal account? What about cover art? Do I purchase a royalty free photograph and manipulate it so it looks vaguely like a scene from the story? Or do I spend a day looking at Deviant Art until I find an artist whose style speaks to me as being suitable for it?

I have many questions to ponder… any advice would be appreciated at this stage!

Wrong Word Wednesday #2

Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.

This is probably the one that grates on English teachers the most (certainly those I have met). But do you know when to use which of the following? Continue reading

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special – What We Know

Just less than six months away, the episode or episodes that will mark 50 years of the UK’s favourite science fiction show is marked in furious debate, lots of speculation and an unending amount of excitement from fans young and old alike.

Due to an administrative blunder by BBC America, viewers in the USA who pre-ordered their DVDs had them early so were able to see this season’s finale The Name of the Doctor before it aired on either side of the Atlantic. As a reward for not revealing any spoilers, the crew released this “Behind the Scenes” footage. Continue reading

Book Review: The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth by Stuart Clark

I absolutely love this title, beautifully poetic while presenting the concept behind the science in this book. This is the first in an unusual trilogy that follows some of history’s most famous scientists. This is a series that aims to put the SCIENCE into science fiction and fuse the genre with some of the more complex examples of modern historical fiction. It blends discovery and adventure with high ideals of political power, presenting ideas that go beyond the concepts and highlights the ramifications of the Copernican view in a world sticking to geocentrism.

Europe is at war with itself; it is an ideological war between Catholic and Protestant and between Christians of all denominations and the growing upstarts of science. It is the birth of the Enlightenment and the Reformation has passed meaning that there is a clear division between Christian ideologies on the continent that more often than not spills over into minor violence or all out rioting in the streets. Continue reading

Is Passive Voice something you use Too Much?

Passive voice is something that needs to be discussed. In general terms for the reader, it is something that is not liked. As a writer, we find too often that we are doing this and sometimes it is something that is not seen. Yet, when we read it through we discover that it doesn’t really work. When there is too much of it we can find that it will be a little bit annoying. It starts to be irritating to read and could be a distraction from the story. Continue reading

Wrong Word Wednesday #1

I’m gradually trying to make this blog a resource and information point for writers, and I’ve been playing around with an idea for some time (I get those a lot don’t I?) A while ago, I thought I post a list of the most common examples of where we use the wrong word in the English language. However, I think this will work better as a regular feature of short posts. Continue reading

Episode Review & Analysis – The Name of The Doctor

Ah, Ah, Ah… Spoilers

Gallifrey “A Long Time Ago”. A pair of grease monkeys watch a video screen on which William Hartnell is stealing a TARDIS. Clara appears by his side advising him that he is about to make a very big mistake. Then a voice over and we see her follow Doctors through various incarnations, attempting to save him. She was born to save The Doctor… we’re getting answers! Continue reading

Image and Your Character

Bestselling writers know that image counts according to The Guardian and they make a few good points about the importance of vivid imagery. While I agree it helps to have a character that is physically distinctive, it shouldn’t replace of the construction of what should be a well-rounded character from the start. Image is a lot, but it is not everything. Continue reading

Americanisms? What Americanisms?

When I eventually get around to it in my History of the English language series, I will look at modern resistance to so-called “Americanisms” on this side of the pond. For the meantime though, The Guardian has an interesting piece on Americanisms and which words and terms are, in fact, not Americanisms.

By the looks of this article, many words that have been tagged with “Americanism” are simply being reimported into British English following a linguistic schism.
Continue reading