Thursday, 6 March 2014

Realm Makers: A Publisher's Excitement

Realm Makers

Realm Makers. Ahhh, what to say? Let's start with some highlights from last year. I could tell you how awesomely cool it is to be in a room with a hundred of my kinda geeks, and how phenomenally Becky organised everything.

The awesomeness of the banquet and costumes.


Getting a bunch of Splashdown Books and Avenir Eclectia authors together for the first time. [Mary Ruth should be in this pic too but she was very busy!]


And of course, the pitch sessions. I don't have photos from those!

For the coming event, I am excited about all of the above happening again. As a publisher, the pitch sessions are incredibly exciting! Some writers are about ready to publish when they come to me with a one-sheet, a synopsis and a sample chapter. Others just have the sample chapter, which is fine, because that is the single most important thing. Some people want to talk about their prospects of publishing with us. For other, newer writers, I love to take a little time and critique a page or two of their sample - so it's important to have it printed out, even if it's a first draft. We can also talk about your story idea and plot, or I can advise you on what's involved in indie publishing if you'd like to go that way. It's YOUR session, so ask me anything you want!

If you're thinking of booking a session with me, PLEASE don't be nervous! I really don't bite and I'm not a big deal, honest. Also, if for some reason you forget to book a session, don't hesitate to nab me in the hallway or over a meal. It may be our only chance to connect and I don't want to miss out!


Some of you may be wondering what the winners will get from my 5-page critiques offered as part of the TARDIS basket and runner-up prizes. I'll give your pages a thorough going-over to the same standard as I would for a book I publish. Depending on your writing experience, this will include different levels of comments and tweaks, from plot and style suggestions all the way to punctuation. It can be a short story or the beginning of a novel - whatever you like. And I can't wait to see them, just like I can't wait to see the samples at Realm Makers.

So don't forget to enter below - and I look forward to seeing you there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 25 November 2013

A Tale of Two Airports

It seems some pilots got confused last week, and landed a gigantic cargo plane on a runway far too small for it. Still, they took off again without too much ado. The required runway length can vary with the freight load and amount of fuel in the tanks, so it wasn't that much of a big deal. Pretty funny though how they managed to get the two airports mixed up. More details at http://thedailyedge.thejournal.ie/massive-plane-gets-stuck-in-tiny-kansas-airport-1185902-Nov2013/ with tweets and pics as it happened.

Publisher’s Life 3: Your Website

If you’re serious about getting into business, you’ll need a professional static website to be your online business card. This should be a reader’s go-to source for information about your books and authors, and anything else you can think of that would interest your audience.

The front page is very, very important – especially in terms of what appears “above the fold”, or the first screen a viewer will see without scrolling down. This area is your first impression and should showcase what you are and what you do. In my case, it’s the business name at the top (as on all pages) followed by some fancy script programming to make my book covers float across the screen – which became necessary as soon as I had published several titles and they would no longer fit in a static arrangement. Below that I have one of our intro videos, a very brief description of us, and a link to more information about me as the boss. I feel that all these things together give a good impression of our overall angle when someone first arrives on our site.



There are many other pages too. One for each author, with a biography carefully honed by the team; one for each book; a Bookshop with links to buy our titles; a contact page, a submissions page, and pages for each of our genres, collections and projects. That may sound like a lot, but it all built up over time, project by project and author by author.

One page is probably enough to begin with, if you make sure it looks clean, professional and inviting.

Daily Doctor: 7 Reactions to the 50th Anniversary (SPOILERS)

Ahem. Don't go any further now if you haven't seen the big event yet. Go on, get away - trust me, you do NOT want to spoil it for yourself.

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Okay? Okay.

Now that it's been a full day (at time of writing) since my first viewing of the special, it's time to lay down a few first thoughts. This will be pretty random; expect more coherent logic at a later date.

1 - The thing I most looked forward to was the return of the Tenth, and he did not disappoint. He says he's 904, which puts it a year or so after Voyage of the Damned - he's alone so it's after Donna, and likely right before The End of Time. Was anyone else sad that his hair was stubbornly plastered down on top?

2 - The Other Doctors. Billie Piper called it "a gift to the fans" and I think she nailed it. Of course I mean the thing with Gallifrey, not the mannequins in the final scene.

3 - Speaking of Billie - intriguing role. I did suspect she might not be exactly Rose. This was kinda fun but I would have liked her to show herself to Ten just once, to see his reaction.

4 - Speaking of Gallifrey - now THAT was an epic twist. Changing history without ruining the Doctor's own past since that time. The look on 11's face when the Curator puts it in his head is pure delight.

5 - Speaking of the Curator - Talk about cake for the fans! And the curious little things he said. Whatever could they mean?

6 - How the heck would a non-Whovian understand any of that? I'm curious if it's even possible - with all the hype, there are sure to have been some first-timers among the viewers.

7 - The 3D. It was pretty good actually. Enjoyed that. And the little 3D intro by 10 and 11. And that other little intro by Strax. Cinema-only intros, for you TV folks, but I'm sure they'll show up online somewhere.

More soon...


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Reality TV with Writers??

Long there have been jokes about a reality show for writers, similar to the ones there are for singers. But now it's actually happening for the first time - and it's in Italy. Now I've seen everything.

Read the flabbergasting details at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/arts/television/masterpiece-an-italian-reality-show-for-writers.html.

If you're a writer, would you participate?

Photo Story: Old Piano


This piano stood in the entryway of the house I lived in in 2009. The flatmates were mostly pretty awesome and there was a cool view of the sea (distantly, but there). The children of the house were meant to be having lessons but I don’t think I ever heard them practising. I do recall a few hours spent at it myself attempting to play Star Trek music or electronica, neither of which worked very well, but that’s likely because while I know a bit of theory, I’m not a piano player at all.


I liked how the ivory was sometimes worn or lost, yet it did not affect the instrument’s sound at all. Outward appearances are so minor in the scheme of things, aren’t they?

Daily Doctor: Redecoration Regeneration

Picking up on a theme from last weekend, here are various incarnations of the Doctor speaking a familiar line. There may even be more than this...