News of the books

camp nano 2018

Just a quickie to tell you that the Perihelix is one of the books being offered FREE for the first 50 people to download it in Smashwords’ Summer/Winter Sale running throughout July.  Click here from 1st July onwards.

Secondly, I’m off to Camp NaNoWriMo to concentrate on editing Curved Space to Corsair so I can send it to my editor. I’ll probably be updating the status bar on the bottom left of this page to show you how I’m doing.  Fingers crossed we’ll get it ready to come out during the winter.

The Perihelix is now in beta

The Perihelix has been overhauled and various parts of it rewritten over the last six months, with a big push during Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

The main changes have been

  • a revision of the plotline that gets them off on their quest
  • consequent amendments to text and dialogue (and I need to update the blurbs around the websites and buying sites, too)
  • focus on points of view, i.e. considering exactly who is narrating a scene, and ensuring it is shown from only their perspective.  This has been hard, especially when dealing with Pete & the Swede doing something together, or wanting to show what each person present is feeling or thinking.
  • consider Voice – how does each character speak, and how does their perspective reflect their unique personality.  That sometimes leads into
  • show don’t tell.  I tend to tell, but need to do more show – I find I tend to use dialogue to avoid telling. I have been working on showing in descriptive parts, too.

So I hope it’s now much better.

It’s ready for my beta readers, so if you’d like a copy in Word, let me know.

July has flown by

Well, that’s what happens when you go to Summer Camp.

I’ve been at Camp NaNoWriMo again, but this time working on my older children’s fantasy series, The Princelings of the East.  I started that as a trilogy, thought it would finish at book 8, and is now set to finish at book 10, since I’ve completed the first drafts of books 7 and 8 at Camp. Well, 8 needs a few more days…

So where does this leave the Viridian series?

My next project is to thoroughly edit my revised Perihelix and send it to my editor.  Because of the workload I now have one in the UK for the Viridian series and my original US editor for the Princelings series.  I hope that will work well.  Once Perihelix has gone I can work on the second draft of Curved Space to Corsair.  Nobody commented on that title, so I hope it works. There isn’t another book called that, anyway.

While I’ve been at Camp there have been some character interviews on my blog.  You can check them here:

The other thing I have to do is fix the problem with my mailing list.  You’ll know when I’ve done it 🙂

Update on Book 2

Well, as you know, I’ve been writing book 2 in the series at Camp NaNoWriMo throughout April.

I suppose if I was a ‘proper’ writer I’d be writing stories all the time, without the impetus of a wordcount target to reach.  But I find it suits my lifestyle better to devote a set period of time to a book, since I immerse myself in it, and end up waking with the next phase of the story in my head, and I don’t lose track of what I’ve done (provided I make notes , especially of planets, people and things invented) as I go.

But then, from what JK Rowling said about the last Harry books, she had to sit down and lock herself away to finish them.  So maybe it’s just part of the process, especially when one is promoting the books as well.  A time for everything in its season.

So, what about Book 2?

Firstly, I’ve finished it!  I was aiming at 90k words, and stopped 85.4k.  It’s slightly light, but I may need to write in some more action when I edit.

I wish I could think of a decent title.  Working titles have included 1 Watching Wood Warp, which was a description I heard of something extremely boring, which is a fairly accurate description of Pete and the Swede’s lives through the wormhole.  But as with my second thought 2 Autumn Harbour, it is meaningless to anyone passing a list of book titles and certainly does not act as an attention grabber. 3 Dragonfly Planet is strongly related to Autumn Harbour, but they don’t spend long at that planet, although the dragonfly plays a major role.  4 is Three Georges, but again, nobody knows it relates to scifi, and could easily be mistaken for a travel book on China.  5, which I got the day I finished, is Perihelix Adventure, which is a phrase Pete uses when he is musing on life in the final paragraphs.  It obviously links to book 1, but is a bit of a cop out, I think.  You know, Dune, Dune MessiahFoundation, Second Foundation.  It also gives me a constraint for book 3 (and I have no idea what book 3 will do at present, nor whether the Perihelix will be needed).

At present, I think I’d happily use Dragonfly Planet if I had to give it a working title, but maybe calling it Book 2 will be the best.  However, I do think the cover will have a dragonfly motif on it.

Dragonfly (archaic)

You can’t pick a title without knowing what the book is about.  I have updated the book page with a slightly longer description, but I am a long way from writing a blurb.  I now need to let the book simmer for a bit so I go back to it with fresh eyes.  For one thing I don’t think it is exciting enough as it stands.  But I may surprise myself, because, of course, I knew what was going to happen as I wrote it (although there were some surprises as characters did their own thing, as usual).

What I’ll do later in the year is to go through it for my first edit, pick out any phrases I think might make a good title, and if I’m ready but still undecided, I’ll give you a good synopsis and a choice of titles.

And if you haven’t got your Viridian System Sampler yet – it’s now free!  And since I’ve done a backstory for Aramintha in April, I may update the samples included, but remove the coupon for the Perihelix.  If you buy from Smashwords you can get later editions free, I’m not sure whether that applies to Nook, Kobo and Apple stores or not.

Safe spacing!

PS Watch out for snippets from the book that I post in the next few months!


Book 2 at Camp NaNoWriMo

I’m writing book 2, still to get a title, and although I’ve run through two or three working titles by now, it still remains ‘book 2’.  I’m at Camp NaNoWriMo, in a cabin of like-minded individuals – all of us have projects that need to get finished, and some of us even know each other in real life.

I had 23,000 words before camp started.  There are some secondary scenes, and some ‘something in the Imperium’ and ‘something at Pleasant Valley or Sunset Strip’ notes scattered in there to make it flow, but mainly I’ve been concentrating on the story involving Pete, the Swede and the girls.  And their passengers 😉

So I started Camp with scenes for the Imperium and other secondary characters.  I’m not saying much, because it’s a bit of a struggle, and although I know roughly what I want to set up, it’s not flowing that well.  Well, you can tell that because I’m writing a blog post instead of writing fiction.  Sigh.  It’ll never grow unless I put one word after the other.  Back to the grindstone.  Well, first I’ll just make another cup of coffee.  Hopefully it’ll be cold before I remember it, as that means I’ll have got stuck into the story again.

I’ll update the progress bar below from time to time, but the one on my blog will probably get attention daily, since I’m also doing the A to Z Challenge.  Time management.  That’s what I need.

If you’re camping too – good luck!

Editing the first draft of The Perihelix

Exciting times here, as I start to work on the first draft of The Perihelix to get it into shape for publication.  It’s my Camp NaNoWriMo project for July, to get it finished

It may seem a long time to leave a first draft, and I suspect the next book would only lie around for a few months waiting for further attention.  I like to be able to approach the story completely fresh to get a better view of what it is, and especially in this series, to make sure that the world-building is correct.

World-building?  Yes, well scifi to me needs not only to have interesting worlds but accurate ones.  So, I’ve been thinking about the concept of having two planets in more or less the same orbital path as each other – fairly common for star systems, so I’ve extrapolated it to planets – and also my idea that Sunset Strip has a 12-hour period of rotation.  If that was the case, then the speed of rotation of the planet could make it uninhabitable, at least at the equator, but then again, if it was a smaller planet, then the speed of rotation would not be such an issue. Imagine a tennis ball and a larger ball like a volleyball: if they both rotated the same number of spins per minute, the surface of the volleyball would travel faster in miles per hour than the tennis ball.  The reason speed of the surface matters is because of winds and surface stresses.  I’ve made Sunset Strip very earth-like apart from the two sunsets per standard day, so its size and rotation have to be such that it isn’t be ripped by megastorms (which is what happens in Jupiter’s atmosphere).

That’s a very rough guide to the things I’ve been worrying about in the science of my fiction, but I also want to make sure I’m consistent with my technology.  I’ve been considering why their technology may only be slightly in advance of ours in some ways. Even a year ago, tablets and thinkpads were much less common than they are now, so will they be ‘old’ in my world? How did my civilisation in the Viridian series get so much more  advanced in others (space travel).  And there’s a plot point where Dolores and the other girls get worried about having to refuel the ship.  The more I thought of refuelling, the more ridiculous it sounded, but I’ve got it worked out now, and the concept of refuelling stands, even though it isn’t a case of putting gas in the tank!

Part of the editing of the first draft will be devoted to these technicalities, then there is the attention to consistency: how they land at the Pleasant Valley space dock is treated two ways in the first draft! I also need to work on building the characters, tweaking the story, building tension and drama, and generally making it a Good Read!

When I’m happy with all that, I’ll do the grammar edit!  And then the typos that are still left…

And then I’ll send it to my beta-readers.  If you’d like to be one, leave a comment below.