The Upsides of Being Sick

Let’s be honest, there isn’t much good about being sick. I mean, it’s not a serious sickness (thankfully), just my butt being kicked for pushing too hard around the winter purchasing season. A cough, general soreness, everything being slower and slightly more painful.

But there are a few upsides. For example, today I had a day off from work to help recover. And I spent the vast majority of it reading.

In fact, I polished off Book 2 of “The Collapsing Empire” by my writing patronus John Scalzi (book 2 is called “The Consuming Fire”). It’s a quick read, but still, me finishing the entire thing in a few hours was an unexpected pleasure… I stayed tucked under the blankets, snuggled with two of my kittens, and just read. And that was lovely.

So here’s to taking some much needed me-time, and doing something good and proactive with it. Scalzi is still a tonne of fun to read (although I find he has a few too many characters that like to “cut through the bullshit”, but that’s an acceptable flaw). I look forward to the day my writing has the emotional and comedic depth that he manages.

Anyway! Progress on the novels will have to wait a few more days for me to more fully recover, but that’s okay. Hopefully everyone out there is having a good start to 2019!

Another Successful Circumnavigation of the Sun!

Well, it’s that arbitrary, and yet somehow important, time of year again. Time to take stock of the previous 12 months and to plan and look forward towards the next 12.

Ups include finishing Novel 2 and almost finishing Novel 3 (well, still with my agents, but I’ll bug them after the holidays), figuring out most of the kinks with the Print On Demand version of my two books, and lots of positive memories from the last year.

Downs include… well, lots of stuff really, but that’s okay! Overall, I’m still satisfied with my progress as a writer (and as a human in the grand scheme of things), and I’m looking forward to getting another two or even three novels finished this year!

One of the big downsides was my inability to get a writers group restarted this year… going to put sufficient energy and time into making sure it happens early 2019!

Right, with that, I’m off to a small gathering of friends for New Year’s Eve! I hope everyone has a happy and successful 2019!

A Bit of a Breather, At Last!

Well, I didn’t get the novel ready for Print on Demand by Xmas (which is now a few days past)… I came close, but the last week of work I was pulling over 70 hours and it just wasn’t a good place to be in order to both work myself to exhaustion AND try to edit a novel.

It will be done soon, hopefully before January (or very, very shortly thereafter). I’ve gotten the results from a few good beta readers, and incorporating the changes will be pretty straight-forward.

But, more importantly, I’m back to sane hours and work schedules, and things have settled a bit at work (I expect the weekend will be insane again, but that’s a Saturday-me problem, not a Now-me problem!).

Anyhoo, hope everyone’s holidays were great, and more exciting news coming soon!

So close!

My beta readers (those incredible, amazing, wonderful people!) have been finishing up with the print version of Starconvoy EH-76.

There are a few typos that will need to be fixed (a missed “J” here, a lower case “i” there), but overall it seems to be ready! Which is good, since there are still 8 more days before Xmas!

Next year, I’m going to have to jump through all these hoops in October, get everything ready in advance, and then just RELEASE it in December, rather than trying to do both the grunt work and the release at the same time. Too stressful!

Not much else to report on. Work continues to be busy (a good problem to have), writing continues to be focused on editing tasks… and that’s about all that’s been accomplished, really! Even as I write this on a Sunday, I am minutes away from returning to work for the day… a shorter day, thankfully, but it will almost unquestionably be a busier one.

Anyhoo! No complaints on my end, and I would like to again express my wish for everyone to have a great holiday season!

Still Working!

Lots of working! Working all the works!

Just a quick stop by to say that I’m still writing (a short story for the end of the month at least, hopefully more on the novel, time provided), but as mentioned a few times previously, November and December are nuts. Nuts-nuts.

But! No fear! I’m still here, and I’m still producing stuff, and come January there will be a deluge of new content, both for submission to various publications and on this here website! Woo!

Thank you for your continued patience, and I STILL hope to have the Print on Demand novels available by the end of this week!

December Is Upon Us!

… or possibly Up On Us… hard to know sometimes.
Anyway! It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, which is why I haven’t written anything here! My apologies! The holidays are always rough at the best of times.

That stated, I won that short story contest in mid-November (yay!), and since then I’ve been pouring all my energy into getting the Print on Demand versions of Starconvoy and Tintian available before Xmas. Progress is good! The Advanced Reader Copies have arrived, and a handful are in the amazing, loyal hands of beta-readers, scouring the books for formatting errors.

My current goal is to have the novel (at least Starconvoy, hopefully both!) available on Amazon by December 10th for people who want to purchase a copy for themselves or a loved one (or, heck, an enemy who they think will enjoy good sci-fi!) before the end of the massive commercial chaos of the season is over. Then in January I can spend some time and energy trying to get wider distribution of my book through avenues other than Amazon (I have a few lined up in a very rough way, but nothing definite).

Other than that, I haven’t actually done much writing in the last few weeks. My second job which pays for editing costs is insane from November 1st to December 31st… but no excuses. I have a few short stories I’m submitting to contests, and of course work on Novel 4 waits for no one!

Anyhoo! More updates soon, and of course I’ll let everyone here know when Starconvoy is available in print!

Won a Short Story Contest!

Woo! Go team!

One of the short stories I submitted to the Infinity-related podcast “White Noise” won!

Not a huge prestigious award or anything like that, but it is nice to submit something and have people like it.

The story is called “The 10 Commandments of War on Varuna”, and sadly, like the last one, it won’t make much sense to anyone who isn’t familiar with Infinity-lore, but I am really quite proud of how it turned out.

No time to post it tonight, but I will try to put up the story itself on this website on Tuesday… but just wanted to let everyone know I won! Yay!

Anyway, work at the game store is still insane (and getting more insane daily as Christmas approaches), but winning was still a little ray of sunshine in a pretty gray month.

Hope everyone is doing well!

T'is The Season...

Ah, the “joys” of working at a game store during the holidays.

I’ve been bumped up to 6 days a week (including Sundays), starting last week, which is super fun (it’s not), but that’s okay. A bit more money means a bit more money saved for my trip to Japan and for editing costs for Novel 4… whenever I get a chance to finish it.

I’m doing okay with that one… 40,000 words still, and I’ve reached a point where I may have to walk away from it for a little while to figure a way out of the hole I’ve written myself into. I don’t suspect it will take long to figure out (one of the joys of sci-fi is the ability to reverse the polarity or realign the dilithium or whatever you need to do to magic your way out of a problem), but I do want to do the original source material justice.

Plus, I really like Tintian. She’s a fun character, and SN0-EE was a small stroke of genius if I do say so myself.

Anyway, goal is still to have the story finished by the end of January at the absolute latest, which means working on it at least infrequently during the holidays.

Ha. Holidays. Maybe some day.

Anyway! Otherwise, things are good. I’ve had a surprisingly productive morning (prepped my bike for winter riding, changed the tires on my partner’s car, assembled and prepped more stuff for work), and I had a very busy but satisfying day yesterday, so really, in the grand scheme of things, life is pretty good.

Wow, that felt good to write… Anyway! Back to it. I still have almost an hour before I have to be at work!

Ironing Out Print-On-Demand Issues

So a writer friend suggested that I should look into getting my books formatted for Print On Demand.

Amazon and IngramSpark both have pretty robust, simple to use (theoretically) services for providing customers a print copy of your book at a more-or-less reasonable rate.

Sadly, their software isn’t as easy as they would have you believe… the hype would have you believe that if you’ve already formatted your book for eBook publishing, all you have to do is click a few buttons and poof, ready Print On Demand book.

Of course, life is never that easy.

Now, all that stated, this is still lightyears ahead of what was available even 10 years ago, and I’m happy to report that the progress is going well. The new cover looks acceptable (not great, but considering my budget for covers is limited, still pretty good… next time I’m going to have to spring for full wrap-around cover art, rather than just the cover image itself, but we live and we learn), and the formatting makes it look pretty much like a book, which is great!

I’ve also learned a few tricks that I’m going to use moving forward, but mostly it’s just a process. It takes me about a full day of work to prepare my novels for digital distribution, and now I know it takes about another full day to prepare them for Print on Demand.

Speaking of which… today’s work is doing this exact same thing for my last novel (Tintian and the King’s Claw) so that it can be purchased in dead-tree format as well… not exactly “fun” work, but hey, it’s all part of the job!

Anyway! Thank you to everyone who’s purchased my work in the last week, I really appreciate it, and I’ll let you guys know when the print version is available!

And it's Live!

Novel 2, “Starconvoy EH-76”, is now available through Amazon and Kobo!

I’m chatting with another writer friend to see if I can figure out a less-expensive way to do dead-tree format… my experiments in the past have been extremely unsuccessful, but hopefully this time around it’ll work out better.

But why wait!? You can get Starconvoy EH-76 right now by following the links on the main page, or these ones right here:
Amazon (USA, although available in every major Amazon site!)

Publishing my second novel!

Well, it’s time. It’s been a few years (far, far too long), but I’m finally ready to publish my second novel.

I’m really proud of Starconvoy EH-76. It started as just an idle thought (specifically: I wonder what the most successful convoy run during WW2 was?), and slowly fleshed out into a full story over a few years.

Lots of tweaks and changes… Griff was originally named Greg (small change, but one that I am happy with), and the character of Westerly has gone through a few revisions over time as well (more gruff, less serious, more Picard, more Sisko, etc…).

In all honesty, I think the last 10 chapters are among the best things I’ve ever written… which, considering the full work is 15 chapters long, is saying something! And there are a few moments that I’m really happy with!

Regardless, I got the art sorted, got the few spelling “errors” sorted (one of the weapons in the book is called a “spakker” due to the noise it makes when fired… not a spelling mistake, but not an English word, so that’s not really a surprise!).

Anyway! It’s off to Amazon, and should be live in the next 72 hours or so!

Coincidentally, I’m offering the first Episode of “Tintian and the King’s Claw” for free for the next 5 days… little cross-novel promotion probably can’t hurt! Thanks for all your support, as usual, and I’ll post here again when the novel goes live!

Cover Art All Sorted!

So Novel 2 has a cover! Glee!

If you go look at the front page of the site, it’ll be right there, next to “Tintian and the King’s Claw”… I’m excited! I am all the excites!

I’ve completed about half of the HTML coding needed to self-publish a book, and so far things are coming along nicely. With a little luck, I’ll finish the HTML and then have the time needed to do little things (like write a thank you at the end of the book, giving my heartfelt thanks to all my Patreon supporters out there helping me through this process!).

No Omnibus this time… too expensive to purchase the different covers, and it didn’t get a lot of traction last time. Maybe in the future, when I have the time to devote to publishing multiple shorter works, but for now, just the one book, going out in November.

Novel 3 is still with the exceptional people I would really, really like to be my agents, and progress on Novel 4, as we know, is coming along slowly but steadily. This speed-bump of getting “Starconvoy EH-76” prepped for publishing means that I may not finish Novel 4 this year, but if that’s the cost of actually finishing one of my books… such is life.

Anyway! I’m very happy with the silly little cover my silly little book has (and I can’t wait to release it on the universe!)… hopefully you guys are excited too!

Another Audio Short Story

Hey folks. If any of you are curious what my voice sounds like, here’s another opportunity to hear it!

I submitted an audio version of my short story to the Infinity the Game podcast “White Noise” (based out of Australia). If you’d like to give it a listen, just click on this here link, and it’ll take you right to the podcast! My story is the first thing that comes up, and is about 10 minutes long.

I’ve also put a written version up in the Short Story section of the website if you’re not into that whole “listening to other people read” thing. Which I get. It’ll go live on Wednesday!

Anyhoo! Hope you enjoy!

Two Days Left, Many Words to Go

So, when I started my time off to write, I was at 28,316 words.
When I got home from Georgian Bay, I was at 38,973.

That makes about 10,000 words over 3 days, which I am pretty okay with. It’s not GREAT, by any extent, but my partner and I did other stuff besides just writing (we went on a hike and/or run every day, most of which were 3-4 hour excursions).

It also means that in a vacuum, I could crank out one novel length first draft in a month. Which is actually more-or-less perfect.

So still about 30,000 words to go on this story, I expect, but that’s okay. I’ll still have time before and after work, and I still have today and tomorrow before I officially return to my 2nd, paying, job, so I can probably crank out another 10,000 or so in the comfort of my own home.

I’m grateful that I live with a partner that is so supportive, and that I live in a time where all of this is possible. But man, it’s hard to be excited to go back to my 2nd job after being so totally immersed in writing for most of a week…

You Say "Vacation", I Say "Writer's Retreat"

I mean, strictly speaking, it’s not really a retreat. My consort and I just rented a small room in the middle of nowhere (Ontario has an awful lot of “middle of nowhere”), with nothing interesting nearby and not a lot to do…

Except write. That’s my plan, for the next 4 nights. Wake up, eat crumpets (because I assure you it’s not a vacation until somebody toasts a crumpet), and then write until I pass out at night.

Exciting? No. But I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it. We made the 2 hour drive earlier today, and despite the WiFi being a little spotty, I’m already happier.

My current goal is a modest 70,000 words written by Saturday night. That’s only 17,500 words per day, which is reasonable, right? Right.

Anyway, I’ll write a follow-up on Saturday when we get back home, but for now… writing, ho!

Planning a Trip to Japan in 2019

First off, if you haven’t heard or read my short story submission to the White Noise Infinity podcast yet, I put it up for free in the Short Story section of this here fancy-schmancy website! Go give it a read, lemme know if you have any feedback!

It’s not yet set in stone, but it looks an awful lot like next year in September I’ll be making my first ever trip to Japan.

Pros: I’ve been dreaming about going to Japan since 1998. That makes it 30 years… a long time to build up anticipation.
Cons: I’ll only be going to Tokyo and Hakone (a total of 7 or 8 days in Japan, and then travel to and from). It’s staggeringly expensive. There is no way my expectations for the trip have any hope of being fulfilled. It’s really, really expensive. There are a million things I want to do, and I won’t be able to afford to do most of them.

And did I mention the cost? Yeah. I started saving in August, and I will continue to save until the day before I fly out, and I still won’t be able to afford many of the things I want.

But hey, at least I can go! Theoretically. A lot of things could go wrong between now and then, but hope springs eternal!

In other news, I’ll be meeting a good friend of mine in Tokyo to split some of the costs. This is good, except that I’m trying to explain to him that me writing every day during the trip isn’t really optional: I write every day, period. Until I am making my living through writing alone, it’s just a part of my life. Some time between waking up and sleeping each day, some progress must be made on a short story or novel I’m working on.

And I get how that doesn’t make sense to people (especially during a vacation from my paid work!), but that’s just the way it has to be.

Once I’m a full-time writer, then I can take actual vacations occaisonally. Until then? I just sometimes get to go on very picturesque writing trips.

An Audio Version of One of My Stories!

I recently recorded and submitted a story to a short story contest run by a couple of Auzzies. I’m pretty proud of how the story turned out, even if it was my first attempt at something so ambitious.

Also, big thank you to my friends for lending me their voices for the various characters.

Here’s the link. My story, which is called “Clockwork Blues”, starts the episode. Big thank you to Ben and Marty for the musical additions (I don’t have an ear for that sorta thing).

White Noise Podcast 50

What Is this Leaking Affecting My Eyes?

I recently “rediscovered” Steam Powered Giraffe, a weird little group of misfits that produce some of the weirdest, most wonderful music I’ve ever enjoyed. The band’s “hook” is that they’re a group of steam powered robots built in the 1800s for a brief war, but since winning the war have turned to making music as a way to pass the decades.

It’s catchy. Not all of it is great, but the great stuff is really great.
But part of the best part is how unusual it is. I mean, at its core it’s basically folk-rock with a steampunk aesthetic, but they lean into that in a brilliant way. And there are 2 members (twins) that are always part of the group, there have been 4 other members over the years that have come and gone, but the sound has remained quite consistent.

Anyway. It’s encouraging from an artistic standpoint. They’re cool, I recommend “Captain Albert Alexander” and “The Stars” as particularly good.

I’m at a coffee shop writing for the first time in a few months, and I’m going to see if I can get a few thousand words done in about an hour and a half. That’s reasonable, right?

Long Grind

I knew it going into writing. Nobody is an overnight success as a writer.
Well, “nobody” is probably unfair. That’s like saying that nobody wins the lottery. Some people definitely do.
It’s just not a good strategy, I suppose. You don’t plan on winning the lottery, it just happens and you accept your good fortune if it does. Otherwise, you do the same thing everyone else does:

You work. You work lots.

Anyway, nothing really exciting this week. Word count continues to climb slowly upwards, still a little shy of 30,000 words, but that’s okay. Tomorrow will be a more relaxed day at Job 2, followed by guitar practice and then a full day of writing on Tuesday, so that’s something at least.

All I really want is more time. More time to write, more time to edit, more time to do the things that let me be a better writer (reading, mostly, but also consuming games, movies, and shows). But the only way to earn that time later is to put in more time than I have now, and hope that it eventually pays off!

Oh, and hello to anyone who happened across this little slice of the interweb from that short story competition I submitted to a little while ago. I have another short story coming out for it in a few more weeks (I hope!), which I think is pretty dang good! Hope you like it, feel free to poke around a little!

Ten Thousand Word Weekends, and Other Pleasures

I like when I have a couple days off in a row. It’s rare (usually only holiday weekends that fall on a Monday), but folks, can I ever cram a lot of writing into those glorious days off. I averaged over 3,000 words a day for the three glorious days I had off, and landed just shy of ten thousand words for the weekend.

It was pretty amazing.

The only “problem” I’m having with the story is that it’s moving forward a bit too quickly for my tastes. I’m basically just shy of the halfway point of the book, and well shy of the 50,000 words I usually like my mid-point first drafts to hit. At the rate I’m going, it might land around 60,000 for a finished first draft, and that’s way, way too short. I mean, a FINISHED 60,000 word draft is still too short (I usually aim for 70-90 whenever I can), to say nothing about all the cutting and editing I have to do after the first draft.

But whatever, that’s Future Marc problems, not Current Marc problems. For now, I’m just happy to be writing.

In other news, submitted another short story to a contest (recorded the audio for this one, even! I think it turned out okay… not professional quality or anything, but I’m excited about hearing it go live), and I’ll put a link in here to the story and the audio files when it goes up. Another fanfic sorta thing, but I’m still proud of it. Especially the happy/vaguely ominous AI voice I got my partner to do.

Okay! Time to actually write. It’s 3pm on Tuesday, and I have another 70,000 words to write on this story before I’ll be truly happy with it… so let’s get going!