Friday, 29 March 2013

Weekend Warfare - get your free copy

  Weekend Warfare is on! Behind the Ruins is currently free for your Kindle, so get your adventure fix HERE and spread the word. The final day for the promotion is Sunday, March 31, so time is limited.

    As always, reviews and stars at Amazon are wonderful, so please leave either if you get a chance.

      So get a glass of bourbon, find a comfy chair and lean back and enjoy a meaty, complex book. Then stop by Edit It! with your own manuscript, if you have one in need of a thorough checkup. Reasonable, professional and timely editing for your own indie epics!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Edit it!

   Yes, a professional, reasonable editing service for indie authors. You can check it out here. I'll bring a decade of professional editing to bear on your next book, and you don't pay a cent until you approve a sample.

   Please use the email link on the Edit It! page to contact me before emailing manuscripts.

   Note: Price lists and service details up now.

   Write every day.

Tokyo Pizza makes the shortlist for HarperCollins

    Well, well. Tokyo Pizza is one of the shortlisted finalists in HarperCollins NaNoWriWee competition, in which over 120-something writers tried to craft and write a novel in just 30 hours over a single weekend. The winner will come out as an Ebook through HarperCollins.

   The story is different than most things I write. It's tongue-in-cheek espionage/sex/blackmail/action/satire all through the lens of the early 90s action film ethos (if you can dignify early 90s film with an "ethos"). Anyway, it's fun and I'm happy that it seems to be fun for others.

    If it wins, that'll be excellent! If not, it'll still get a loving edit and will be quite happy at its eventual home on Amazon.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A much nicer cover for BtR

   Covers are important. While the adage insists that readers should avoid judging all those pages by the picture on the front, people are visually-keyed monkeys - me among them - and I really like the new cover for Behind the Ruins, dropped in below in a micro-version.

   Better late than never, but the first two were tragic. Now it looks like it deserves its reviews on Amazon.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Cooking up an idea

Writers don’t just write, and blogs need variety, or at least that’s what Google tells me. So, cooking. I like to cook. A lot. I go through the usual meat-based periods, but I’m on a vegetable-heavy Indian kick lately, with a variety of masalas and curries.

I should offer one disclaimer. I don’t follow recipes. I toss things in until it looks, feels and tastes right to me, so I wind up talking about cooking as a process, not a sequence of additions; even when I bake it’s by eye. But here’s one you can try the next time you feel like Kraft Dinner just isn’t going to cut it.

Start with a hot pan and some olive oil, dump in the base for your marsala – a bay leaf, chopped garlic, half a chopped onion, masala mix (garam or red, or a bit of both) , and work it until the paste is coherent. Set paste aside. Add and stir in cubed chicken or pork, add parsley (chopped fresh or dry) and some grated ginger – keep it moist and add water and paste once the meat is seared, then cook it down. Add diced veggies (broccoli, green peas, whatever you fancy) before it reduces completely so they cook. Keep the heat on until the consistency is nice and thick and most of the water is gone. Dump over basmati rice or noodles or whip up some naan. You could try couscous as well. Garnish with a bit of pickled ginger.

The whole works takes about half an hour and is much, much nicer than instant mac and cheese.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Q: What's the best kind of gnome?

     A: Creepy.

     My short story Least Resistance will be in issue three of Creepy Gnome Magazine. I therefore highly recommend it.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Writing with your nose


    People don't consciously notice them unless they're disgusting or enticing, and writers notice them even less often, if most novels and stories are studied, but smell is one of the strongest memory-tied senses. Smells evoke memories and emotions more effectively than sound or touch, and that's why good fiction uses the reader's nose.

     Smell can set a scene as effectively as any other descriptive method, and do it in a non-intrusive way.

     The hotel room was tattered; stained bedsheets, torn lampshades and a carpet splotched with unidentified stains.

     The hotel room was old, beaten-up, and full of warm, sour air.

     The second sentence is shorter, cleaner and involves three senses, while the first relies on visual cues alone. We've all smelled a bad hotel room. The second sentence recalls it to our mind and we build the stains and tatters and crooked pictures on the walls.

     Remember: Your best canvas lies in the reader's mind. Paint there. Use their senses to help you.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

HarperCollinsUK takes over NaNoWriWee

   In a move that surprised no one who's been reading between the lines, The Kernel just announced it is closing up shop. Luckily for the hundred-plus authors involved in the 30-hour novel contest known as NaNoWriWee, Authonomy and its parent HarperCollinsUK is taking over and will be shortlisting candidates by the last week of March, with a winner to be named on April 7. More info

  I'm actually happy with the news. After reading some of The Kernel's latest opinion pieces, I was becoming concerned with associating myself with them. Now that's no longer an issue. Rather than belabour my worries, I'll just say that one of the chief writers (OK it was Milo) involved with the magazine was treading on the border between misogyny and outright sexist drivel.

  You can still swing by and read the entries - Tokyo Pizza is quite fun, even as I promote my own work - but so is POV and several others. Read 'em while they're free!