Tag Archive | writing

Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 11

3k words in this episode + lots of feels.

47k words in total so far.

I’m having a sketch made of Zara, which I hope to post next week, but in terms of progress, I am singularly failing to get ahead of the story, despite planning to be ready to publish when I reach the 3/4 point.

On minor notes, I’ve seen that having ‘standardized’ on metric measurements, I’ve broken the rule and used imperial for the height of people. I could argue it either way I guess. Zara is 172cm, but I’m old-fashioned enough to feel much more comfortable saying five-eight. I also have used Welarvor and Welarvon as the name of the coast.

Where did we leave it last time? Zara feeling neither ‘on’ the team, not exactly dismissed from it. What will she do? What will the conspirators on Newyan do? Is Esterhauze too good to be true? Did the Duchess really commit suicide? What will Rhoswyn think about having Dancing Mistresses around for the summer? Can the young lady be ‘civilized’ in time for the Summer Ball? And what will Zara wear?

Feedback welcome. The beginning of summer has seen a dip in vistors to the blog site, but there are loads of readers who haven’t said anything yet…

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I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076WZBFVJ

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076WZBFVJ

Germany https://www.amazon.de/dp/B076WZBFVJ

When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.

Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 6

Early release of episode 6, as I’m away at the weekend.

Some research on my readers … please answer a question or two: 🙂 (Or leave a comment)

Who do you visualize for these characters? (Or for non-visual people, which well-known book characters do they most resemble?)

Name other books  you’ve enjoyed in the genres (i.e. SciFi, Adventure, Romance).

Which is your favorite scene or part-scene so far?

Are the non-standard names distracting?

If you flicked back through previous episodes, which scene/detail had you forgotten?

Thank you! Enjoy!

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I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076WZBFVJ

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076WZBFVJ

Germany https://www.amazon.de/dp/B076WZBFVJ

When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.

Zara – SciFi Romance – 3rd installment

Fasten seat belts!

A little early this weekend, due to my being able to get the next section of Bian’s Tale out to the beta readers (and rattling off a couple of chapters of Inside Straight – been a good couple of days).

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I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076WZBFVJ

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076WZBFVJ

Germany https://www.amazon.de/dp/B076WZBFVJ

When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.

Julius and Livia, complementary theme

As previously mentioned, to make Julius and Livia into a novella, I’ve decided to bind in a second thread. This is a story I started to write while I was staying with the daughter in Brooklyn this fall and it will make the second thread. The two threads will come together at the end.

So…Julius in St Jude’s will probably be chapter 1 and this chapter will probably be 2. There might be a short chapter after this that explains more of what the PoV character is attempting, then the novella would alternate between the two threads until they join.

Other stuff… Not had a good week for progress on the main writing projects. (But I said before, the chapters I put up here are just ‘playing’ at weekends with different ideas and techniques).

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Thank you for visiting one of the posts from Change in Regime. This novella is now available on Amazon, and to also make it available on Kindle Unlimited, I have to remove these posts from my blog.

Anyway, here is the cover copy and link:

Like an electric current, arcing from ear to ear through the New York underworld, the word comes; he’s here. The city has a new Master of vampires, House Altau, and the existing, unaffiliated community is now facing a sentence of death.

The storm builds, and one of the leaders of that community, Livia or Julius, must chose to be the lightning conductor to save the rest from destruction. But will that be an acceptable sacrifice to Altau?

And if so, which one of them will it be?

 

Long post! Pictures at the end 🙂

Writing update

I’ve written another short story for an anthology, but it’s not due out until Q1 2017. I haven’t even settled on a title yet. It’s about 16k words (a little shorter than The Biting Cold). It’s in the Athanate universe, but it’s set in a fictional island in the West Indies (‘St. Mark’s’ in the Leeward Islands) in about 1800. It’s pre-edit, but hey, there’s only 16k words so it can’t change much. Hahahaha.

I’m working on Bian’s Tale companion series book 1, Saigon: The Reach of Lies. I’d say it’s going well, but I got to a point last time, about 75% through the whole book, and suddenly, it wasn’t going well. I’m going to be cautious this time and say it’s going okay. I’ll start to engage with beta readers sometime this month or next.

I’m also working on the plot of Bite Back 6. It’s time for the Adepts to come to the fore, and many threads need to be woven in. Those of you who’ve read The Biting Cold and Winter’s Kiss (Bite Back: Outsiders companion series) know that there is input from that companion series as well. A couple of chapters early in Bite Back 6 will actually be the next step in the Outsiders series, and I will be telling the same events from the two different points of view.

I have a lot of other projects I would like to start, but they’re all on the back burner.

Road Trip Report

Readers of this blog will know I did a US road trip in the fall. I visited Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. It was too much and not nearly enough. I have been promising to show pictures and report back, but I don’t want to swamp you with 20GBytes of photos and pages of musings. I’ll try it a state at a time and no more than a couple of photos per road. This post is just an overview. Next post will start the actual road trip and cover Wyoming.

Why did I do it?

Planning started back in 2014 when I was sketching out the plot for what became two books – Cool Hand and Angel Stakes. The internet is amazing for writer’s research, but there’s a lot to be said for being at the place that you’re writing about. Talking to people. Seeing with your own eyes. And I’d done a lot of research on Denver in 2011 when I was planning the story that became Sleight of Hand and Hidden Trump. So… I planned to visit New Mexico and Los Angeles in preparation for Cool Hand and Angel Stakes.

But…life happened. I didn’t go. I wrote those books using internet research and some feedback from people in the area.

How many mistakes did that produce?

Not as many as it could have been. On the Cool Hand audio, I had Julia pronounce Ute as ‘oo-teh’ and it should be more like ‘yoot’. In Angel Stakes, I had a desk sergeant at the police station, and apparently LAPD does not use sergeants to man the front desks. This was pointed out to me at great length by a reviewer (who managed to miss some other deliberate fictions, got his own facts wrong and got completely the wrong end of the stick on other non-LA items – LOL).

Still…the Bite Back action will move north in BB7 and I wanted to get a feel for the states involved. I also wanted to see some of the places I’d written about using just the internet and friends, hence the trip to New Mexico.

I could also use the photos for backdrops in book covers.

And I wanted a road trip. For me, there’s nothing like the vanishing point to free the imagination.

The plan…

Came together when the whole family wanted to see my daughter, Jessica, on the set for Iron Fist, filming in New York from summer to late fall. The family would fly out in the last week of August and spend about 2 weeks, and I would go from there when the rest went home. The timing was exactly what I wanted – to be touring after Labor Day, when the prices would drop (hahahaha) and it wouldn’t be too cold in the mountains (hahahahaha).

I couldn’t work LA into the trip. Instead, I concentrated on the Rockies.

The research required me to visit Wyoming and Montana. I wanted to start in Denver, and on a road trip, you should not travel any road twice, so that gave me my first loop:

Wyoming, taking in the areas where the Cheyenne pack run (Medicine Bow National Forest), and including the places where two of the founder packs of the Confederation are based—Wind River and Bighorn.

Montana, taking in Bozeman.

And returning through Idaho, along the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis areas, where the Bozeman pack runs. (I was originally thinking of missing Idaho, but readers told me I had to see places like Stanley and Sun Valley, and it just worked).

Having done that, I needed to come back through Utah to Colorado.

I knew I’d need some time in Denver to write up, and then set off on the second loop.

For the southern section, I wanted to head to Nevada first. There is the potential for a scene in the Humboldt-Toiyabe area, and I also just wanted to drive along the ‘Loneliest Road in America’—Highway 50.

Then down to Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Back to Denver and complete.

(The requirement for returning to Denver was simple economics of return flights and car hiring).

That was the plan. It went right and wrong. Tune in to the next post to see how it turned out in Wyoming in detail.

How did it go overall?

It was awesome. As I say, things went wrong,  and I’ll tell all in the next few posts.

The important thing was that the principle reasons for the trip went very well – I finished the draft of Winter’s Kiss, edited and published it while travelling. I talked to dozens of people. I got lots of photos. Loads of ideas. I came back to the UK with my head full of scenes for Bite Back and other books. My imagination went into overdrive.

There are some photos on the Bite Back page, both from New York and from the road trip. Go to (https://www.facebook.com/TheBiteBackSeries/ and scroll down), I won’t repeat them here, but instead, have a look at some tasters of what’s to come.

I needed a car. Plain Toyota Camry – on a couple of occasions, I was sorry I hadn’t got a 4×4, but it did the task. Yes, things went wrong with cars…

the-car

I needed places to stay, hotels, motels and AirBnB. (I didn’t stay here – Jackson, Montana). Yes, things went wrong with hotels…

hotel

I needed a camera. During the trip my Canon G9 died slowly, and there’s a tale to that too. Ended up with the current Canon equivalent, a G7x. High quality, fast lens, reasonable zoom, no filters, no changeable lenses, manual and auto programs, robust, fits in pocket – basic parameters for my kinda road trip.

canon-g7x-mk2

I needed money. Mix of credit and cash. I have to say, I was offended by some of it! Cos I’m speshul.

american-quarter

I sought out views of scenes I’d already written. For instance, here is where Jen and Amber looked down on Denver from Lookout Mountain (at night), after the meeting about the quarter horse race venue in Hidden Trump.

lookout-hidden-trump

And scenes I’m going to write. A chase, a fight. Bite Back 6 or 7. This is part of a disused railway track in north Denver.

disused-railway-track-bite-back-6-7

But mainly I took photos just because the scenery was AWESOME. Every bend in the road seemed to bring something new and incredible.

Trees and mountains and rivers…

 

beauty-aspens-and-rivers

And the drama of Great Dunes and a dark butte under threatening clouds.

beauty-drama-and-dunes

As I said, it was awesome, and I look forward to telling you more about it – the little things and the large.

Would I recommend a road trip in the Rockies? Hell, yeah.

I will continue to update progress on writing as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress Report

31st March 2013
Mark is a very diligent student of writing <LOL>

None of the FB meters I looked at really work to display writing progress in a useful way. This is partly because it’s not a simple process, and just counting the words written only addresses an element of the whole. I promised a report, and here it is in longhand.

How I arrive at these estimates

This is purely the way I work, for the books I’m writing. I divide the process of writing a book up into four main sections, listed here with the approximate percentage of effort:

25          Construction
25          Plotting
40          Writing
10          Editing

Construction comprises all the preparatory work: design the world, outline the story, outline the characters and locations. This element always gives me a good feeling, because all the subsequent books in the series after Sleight of Hand benefit from the construction work done there. Obviously, new elements require additional work, but lots gets carried over.

Plotting takes an outline of a story and fleshes it out to the point it is possible to write. For example, I know from the outline that Miss Scarlet must find Colonel Mustard in the library, polishing the candlestick. Plotting tells me how to get the characters there at the right time, the colonel’s motivations for polishing the candlestick, and the high points of their conversation.

Writing is self-explanatory.

Editing is everything that takes it from a draft on my laptop to the finished ebook on yours, and includes production work like formatting, arranging ISBNs and creation of the covers.

These are ideal numbers. Sleight of Hand took lots more construction. Hidden Trump took lots more editing.

The estimates for all current projects in expected order of completion:

Raw Deal, prequel to Sleight of Hand. Approximately 40,000 words. 70% complete, expected to be published in May 2013. Amber in the Denver police force.

Wild Card, book 3 of Bite Back series. Approximately 130,000 words. 47% complete, expected to be published in August 2013. Amber deals with the aftermath of the Assembly in Hidden Trump, and is tasked with tracking down the rogue Were. This is the longest and most complex of the current writing, and that means that my confidence in this estimate is only moderate.

Saigon, book 1 of Bian’s Tale series. Approximately 90,000 words. 50% complete, expected to be published in December 2013.

<TBA>, book 4 of Bite Back series. Approximately 120,000 words. 39% complete, expected 2014.

Hacha del Diablo, pre-prequel to Sleight of Hand, Approximately 40,000 words. 40% complete, expected 2014.