Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Old, The New and The Madness

March Madness is almost over, and although I probably didn’t get the exact number of words I wanted, I did okay. I certainly managed to get a lot of what needed to be done, finished.

And now for the next few weeks I’ll be concentrating on getting Crimes Against Magic ready. This year seems to have flown by so far, and it’s hard to imagine that I’m already at the point where I’m getting ready to publish my first book. In a few weeks, I’ll post the opening few chapters and let people know more details about when and where it’ll be available.

In other news: I finished The Hunger Games at the weekend and although I can think of a few things I wasn’t that impressed with, most of my problems wouldn’t be an issue for the age group the book was aimed at. Overall though, I really enjoyed it and will be picking up book 2 once things calm down a little around here.

I saw the new pictures for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this week, which were, quite frankly stunning. They’re going to be in the April issue of National Geographic.

No matter how many times I see pictures of the wreck, it never gets any less creepy. I feel the same way about hearing the song from the movie.

The Titanic has a special place in our family as my wife’s Great Grandfather was on-board when it sank. He was a fireman (not in the sense of a modern day fireman, but someone who keeps the fires burning for the fuel), and was very lucky to get off when so many others lost their lives. Apparently he was ordered onto one of the lifeboats so that he could row. My eldest daughter, Keira, went to her school for Titanic day dressed up as him. I was particularly proud of the fake moustache.

My own Great, Great Grandfather was meant to be on the Titanic too. But he got drunk in a pub and woke up after it had set sail. Yep, that kinda sums up that part of the family right there. To be fair, in hindsight it probably worked out well for him.

The big new this week, and clearly the most important, is that my wife and I discovered that our new little bundle of joy is another girl. I’m very happy about this news and even more that my wife has agreed to name her Harley.

I guess I know what my next tattoo will be.

That’s right I’m going to live in a house with three girls and my wife. When the teenage years come, I’m going to be in a state of permanent cat-like readiness.

That’s it for another week. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

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Five Things That Impressed Me

This week, I thought I’d take the time to go through five things that have impressed me the most in the past few weeks.

But first, an update. March madness is going quite well.  I’ve averaging the 1000 words a day that I need (just about) and making pretty good time. The story has changed slightly though, as I sort of wrote myself into trouble and then had to write myself out of it again, but what’s the fun in writing if you can’t challenge yourself?

I’ve also done some research for book three. Primarily, I’ve been looking into the Great Freeze of 1709. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I love research. I learn so much that I didn’t ever think I’d need to know.

And now onto the point of this weeks blog.

1. Saga

As some of you know, I’m a big comic book fan. And Brian K. Vaughan is one of the best writers in the business.

He’s the writer of Y: The Last Man, Pride of Baghdad and Ex Machina. All of which are superb and come highly recommended by me, so his new comic series was always going to cause a bit of a stir. And Saga lives up to every inch of that promise.

It would be easy to say that Saga is just Romeo and Juliet in space, but that does neither the characters nor story justice. More was done in this first issue, than most writers manage in five or six these days.

Praise must also be given to Fiona Staples who does some wonderful art, both on the fantastic action scenes and the more dialog and emotional heavy stuff too.

I don’t want to say any more, because this is the kind of comic that you should go into without knowing the story too much. But be assured that this is the start of something a bit special, much like Y: The last man. If you have any interest in comics, sci-fi or just good writing, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.

2. Hunger Games

I’d never even heard of this book up until about a month ago, when I saw the trailer for the movie and immediately thought – Americanised Battle Royale for a teen audience. (For those of you who don’t know, Battle Royale is one of the finest films of all time and is about a group of kids stuck on an island who all have to kill each other until one remains. It’s incredible, dark, funny and very, very violent.) I held off reading the book because I didn’t want it to be another Twilight ‘will they, won’t they, how can she decide between the two’, which really isn’t for me. Turns out I was wrong so far. I’ve not finished it yet, but damn is it ever dark.

I’m also finding it to be very well written and gripping. I don’t know if the film will be any good, and maybe the end of the book goes all pear shaped and I’ll hate it, but at the moment I’m very glad I got myself a copy.

3. Mass Effect 3

I love Mass Effect. Love it. I love the characters, I love the setting. Pretty much everything about these three games scream “Steve, buy me, love me.” And Mass Effect 3 took me 32hrs to complete. And I loved 31hrs and 45 minutes. Then it all went horribly wrong.

I’m not going to spoil the end of the game because that would be a really shitty thing to do. But it was the biggest let down I’ve had from an ending in a very long time.

But those 31 hrs and 45 minutes before then, pure gaming gold. Characters I’ve seen grow and develop over the three games came back to fight once more, and I had quite the touching romance with a certain alien female as I did my best to save the galaxy. It was all heading towards being the best way Bioware would have ended the trilogy. But, damn. Just… damn.

4. PS Vita

You may have guessed that I’m a big fan of videogames. I have been for many a year, and will probably still be playing when I’m old and sat on my rocking chair, waving my walking stick at youngsters and demanding that they stay off my lawn.

I’ve played most handhelds since the Gameboy back in 1989/90. The PS Vita is the most impressive I’ve ever used since… well, since ever. It’s an incredible piece of technology with a fantastic launch line up. The touch screen on the front is wonderful (as is the screen itself), the controls feel right, and even the rear touch pad is a nice touch. There are issues (PS1 and PS2 games should be playable, Wi-Fi should always connect and every single one of the ‘compilation games’ like Sly Racoon should be playable on it) but they’re tiny compared to how much fun I’ve had playing Uncharted on a handheld.

Sony deserve to do very well with this as it blows the Nintendo 3DS out of the water in terms of features and capability. Hopefully that success will come for them.

5. Suits

I’m not a big TV watcher. I like Supernatural, Burn Notice, Lost Girl and Psych. And I watch a few things with my daughters (Ben 10 and Phineas and Ferb are big hits in my house), but there’s very few other things that I’d consider to be unmissable.

Suits is now on that very short list. In the 6 or 7 episodes I’ve watched, I’ve grown to love this show. It’s smart, funny and very well written, with characters that are both believable and entertaining. Long may it continue.

And that’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Tagged

There’s this game going round the blogging word called tagged. Someone posts a blog with 11 questions and answers and then tags 11 people to come up with answers to another 11 questions and link back to the original blog.

Originally I thought I wouldn’t take part as I had a lot to do. But last week’s Tagger Tammy E. A. Crosby gave such good questions that I couldn’t help but take part.

So without further ado, here are the 11 questions she posted along with my answers.

1. You’re dead. What’s the one accomplishment you wished you’d achieved before you died?

I wish I’d found the cure for whatever I’d died of.

2. You find out you’re a witch, what’s the first spell you want to cast?

Like a female witch? If I find out I’m a hot female witch, I’m probably going to be a while before I get round to casting any spells. Just sayin’.

3. You’re the next contestant on Survivior. You can only take one material item with you (aside from pictures of loved ones etc), what item can you not live without?

My Macbook Pro. I can use it to write, and if anyone annoys me, use it to bludgeon them to death. That is the point of Survivor… right?

My Precious.

4. You’re stranded on a desert island with someone of the same sex. You’re lonely, they’re hot. Do you consider experimenting?

I think I’d be too busy trying to figure out how to get off the damn island.

5. You could pick one of your favourite foods to be non fattening, what would it be?

Bacon! Everything tastes better with bacon. (Well not everything, but bacon is still awesome.)

6. Your fairy godmother shows up, she says she can give you one special skill to help you succeed in life, what do you ask for?

Telepathy. I’m pretty certain I could succeed in anything if I could read everyone’s mind whenever I liked.

7. If you could choose to be immortal, would you?

Do I get a sword and have to be the only one? Because that sounds like a lot of work. And if you don’t, then it would get really dull, really quickly.

But at least I could probably manage a Scottish accent.

8. The devil appears to you. Says he’ll give you anything you ask for at all in exchange for your soul. Would you do it? If so what would you ask for?

No, I kinda like my soul where it is. Be nice to have a chat with him though, bet he plays a mean guitar solo. Probably listens to Sabbath.

If you play War Pigs backwards, you can hear the Devil ask you if you haven't got anything better to do with your time.

9. You’re told you’re being shipped off to another planet to populate it because your genes are just that outstanding. You can only take a famous person with you to be your mate, who do you request?

As my wife reads these, I’m just going to move right along and say nothing. Nope, not me, I wouldn’t take anyone. Hi Honey. Love you. *cough*

10. Your spouse cheats on you. There are no kids involved. What do you do to get some revenge on the cheating spouse?

I leave her. No revenge required. Revenge leads to hatred, and hatred to the dark side, it does.

11. You are caught up in the middle of a bank robbery. During the robbery some cash falls and lands close to you. Do you slide it into your pocket, or leave it?

I’d leave it, not out of some altruistic response, but because knowing my luck it would be the ink pack.

I’m going to take a break from the posting it to 11 people as most of them would have already had this sent to them. But if anyone is interested in taking part. Here’s 11 more questions—feel free to post the answers on your blog or in the comments section below.

You can spend one day in your partner’s body, able to read all his/her thoughts, etc. Would you do it?

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

You can go on a date with one currently living famous person, who?

If you could travel to any time in history, where would you go and why?

What skills do you possess that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?

You can be any comic book superhero – Who would you be?

If you could choose any one book to be made into a movie, what would it be?

You’re at the concert for your favourite band. They ask you to get on stage with them. Who are the band, would you do it, and what would you do on stage (sing, play instrument)?

You could live out the story from any one book. What book would it be?

What’s your favourite movie vampire?

You can become any supernatural creature, which one would you become?

March Madness

Seeing how Crimes Against Magic will launch mid-April, I want to get the second book finished before then. Or at the very least, I want it in a readable way so that I can send it off to my hugely talented writing partners (Michelle Muto and D.B Reynolds) who’ll go through it with a big red pen.

I took part in, and finished, Nano last year. It was a long slog in places, but an enjoyable one in a sadistic sort of way. The only problem was that after I finished, I had a lot to do on CAM and the second book (Born of Hatred) became a little relegated.

A few weeks ago my writing partners informed me that they’re going to do a sort of March Nano. It’s not exactly Nano, there’s no 50k achievement to do, but each of us have our own word count we want to hit. Mine’s about 30k.

Things didn’t really start well. Life got in the way of actual work and I managed about 3k in 7 days. But now I seem to be on track. 3k in 2 days is a much better amount, and it’s gaining steam once again. Hopefully by the end of March Born of Hatred will be finished, or at least that draft will be and then I’ll be getting Crimes Against Magic finalised for release.

So, that’s it for this week. Another short one I’m afraid, but I really do need to get BoH finished, and sort out the promotion stuff for CAM. But next week should be something more substantial. Probably.

Cover

It’s going to be a short one this week, mostly because I’m trying to finish book 2 before the end of March (or at least get the draft and edits done) as well as get Crimes Against Magic ready.

I actually had a whole piece ready about what software I use to aid me in my writing, I’ll probably post it next week. In the meantime. I’ve got something a bit more exciting to share.

After weeks of waiting, I’m finally ready to reveal the cover to Crimes Against Magic, created by my very talented friend Eamon O’Donoghue.

It feels almost weird that my cover is right there. Weird but very, very cool.