13 Dec 2013

Pre-Christmas Update

Good morning all.

It is rather pleasant outside at just after 9 o'clock in the morning here in New Zealand, with some sort of roadworks happening just outside my window.

Anyway, as it's so close to Christmas and New Years, I figured to do an update. Not that there has been much of one really, as work has been super busy and my writing has somewhat dwindled. Still haven't heard from the publisher you suggested I rework a piece and resubmit, but no news is good news. Right?

Hope all is well with you though?

15 Nov 2013

Update on November 2013

Things are slowly progressing here.

While waiting to hear about my resubmission I have had been rather busy, which is a good thing.  Work has certainly picked up, especially with the self review coming up.  That had been easy this time round, and all the paperwork emailed to the appropriate people up north; with the parting words of "time to countdown the hours until the weekend", which were replied to with full blown agreement.  Being busy generally means no time to think about the little things in life that somehow continue to baffle me to this day.

The last while has also seen me being busy over the weekends too, most recent being a parade from Dental School to the Octogan. You can read about it here.  I have also started research on a new premise, and have found a goldmine thanks in part to being connected to a friend of my friend and am now in dialog about certain information.  Then there are the collaborations.  One with my friend Nigel, which I need to get back into, and the other with my good friend Sam.  The preliminary draft with Sam is more or less done, and looks like it will be a novella - so yay to that.  All I need to do is start the next phase of editing and beefing it up.

The only drawback however is that with work getting busier, it has meant that my writing has been really relegated to the weekends.  But never mind, onwards and upwards.  No?

27 Oct 2013

Two writing projects

I am super excited for two reasons; it's the weekend, and if that doesn't excite anyone than boohoo to you, and because of two writing projects that I am collaborating on. One of whom is done with my good pal Nigel, the author of Black Donald, and the other is with Sam.

Okay, so Nigel and I had tried collaborating once but I had to pull out due to other commitments getting in the way. The good news is that Nigel has turned that stalled collaboration into an awesome novel, titled Honourbound and is to be the first in a series. Personally, I am looking forward to its release sometime in the new year, as I think it's one of his better works. Nigel is also working on a sequel to Black Donald. As
Available at Amazon.com, Amazon UK and Smashwords
to what we're collaborating about now, you ask? All I can say currently is that it is in the style of John G. Hemry and Ian Douglas, and centres on the fictional Royal Navy Strategic Space Vehicle Orion and her crew.

The other collaboration is with Sam, a good friend of mine in the States and a meteorologist by profession. Sam also has one of the finest minds that I have used him to ensure my past work, which is resubmitted to a potential publisher, was logical and not too far fetched. Our writing project features a self governing colony on Europa in the year 2207, and the first chapter is explosive.

As for my own writing? Apart from the resubmitted Bukowski story, I have had plenty of hits and misses. It really depends on time, as work is getting busier and the like.

Still, we will see. Maybe one of my next solo attempts may get the creative juices flowing once more. It may mean another Bukowski story, but currently am unsure.

14 Oct 2013

To boldly go

One of my all time favourite independent authors, who writes predominantly scientifically factual fiction, wrote a blog post asking if Star Trek's days are done? With the mixed reactions to the two reboot films by J.J. Abrams, along with good sales (and a healthy nostolgia for the franchise), there are calls for another television series set in Star Trek universe.

Steve says that . . .

The stories featured adventures in strange lands, or places where strange phenomena required the best and brightest to solve and overcome.  The aliens they encountered were very clearly designed to be caricatures of existing foreign peoples, and conflicts with them closely resembled conflicts with certain countries with which Americans were very familiar.  And a great deal of the world-building involved a cold-war-esque threat of armageddon with those various other races.

All of which was fine, for the late-twentieth century United States seeking to reconcile their position as world superpower with their own domestic problems, confident in its ability to solve any problem with a judicious use of technology, and hoping to be the country that would lead the world into a future with a decidedly American skew.
Let's face it, he has a point. Star Trek is very Americanisque in its point of view, right on down to the fact that not only do the aliens encountered by the crews of the three Enterprises and the starship Voyager speak English, but do so with an American accent. To a certain extent the franchise was Roddenberry's take on what America ought to strive for, an aspiration hindered by the likes of Russia (who are represented by the Klingons) and every other country opposed to American global dominance.

Steve points out that . . .

Our view of the world’s people has changed, too.  The American “melting pot” has pretty much finished simmering, and the domestic issues involved with different races living together is all but gone.  On the other hand, lifestyles and preferences have become more of an issue than ever before, and we’ve discovered that many Americans tend to be more isolationist than ever before.  Other countries seem much more like America than before, but strangely, America finds itself being simultaneously held up as an ideal place to live and a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the world.
First of, let me just comment on "America finds itself being simultaneously held up as an ideal place to live and a symbol of everything that's wrong with the world". That goes without saying. Like its predecessors, the United States of America had evolved out of an idea that had all the noblest of intentions; to be free from oppression and be equal, along with freedom of speech and to have a separation between government and religion. To a certain extent that is the ideal of every western democracy on this planet and, as history has shown us time and time again, not everyone shares these idealisms.

In the post 9/11 world, such idealisms have become a flight of fancy; overused slogans.

In a world where we are tightening our borders and increasing survaillance on the population at large, along with many of us accepting that sacrificing certain things for the greater good of a safer country, the Star Trek premise is no longer representative of today's society. Henceforth we don't need an outdated idea being recycled over and over again.

But let's hold on a second.

Let's have a listen to the opening sequence to every Star Trek episode:

"To boldly go"

"To seek out new life"

To me these two things are very noble endeavours, especially since the early shows, and those in later reincarnations of the franchise, strive to show that we could solve a problem by working together.

So what that the envisaged future is a utopia? Is it not what we all strive to achieve, even a portion of what Roddenberry saw for us. Star Trek had been the reason why children wanted to go into science or engineering and even medicine, because the likes of Scotty, Spock and McCoy showed what good they do. Heck, the entire franchise did its best to show that there is always a beacon of hope if we came together and worked as a team, or that it is okay to turn to your best friend for help, et cetera. Steve mentioned that Firefly is more akin to today, which I agree. I can easily suggest the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and Caprica as more representative of today. But they are not Star Trek. They do not seek out new stuff and meet new people, they just survive in a cruel world.

I do not see the franchise as outdated, not when there is such a huge following of devoted fans. Gene Roddenberry had given us a guideline, a set of themes to follow. Surely, if he was to be alive, he would ensure that Star Trek evolve with the times without losing its charm that first captivated audiences.
  

15 Sep 2013

Music to get you writing, what's yours?

So I'm listening to Aqua while writing this blog, as am hoping to get into the groove to look over some edits for "With Prejudice"; a short novel of sorts within the speculative and spy/crime thriller genres. If you haven't heard of Aqua, then you're missing out.

I know that some of my writing friends write to music, whether it be classical music to set the mood for the 1800s to the latest techno for a more futuristic settings. What about you, what do you listen too?

2 Sep 2013

Possibility of test drilling off the Otago coast in 2014

I just came across an online article from our local newspaper about the prospect of a test drill for oil and gas off the Otago coast, and that it could happen sometime in January next year.  The article could be found here.


If the drill tests prove successful, and by the looks of things Anadarko is taking it seriously by investing over US$100 million into the project and ensuring that it filed the correct forms with the New Zealand Environmental Projection Authority (even though they don't have to), it would be an economic boost for the region.
I know that there is a certain amount of opposition to the idea of drilling so close to our shores, considering the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico back two years ago. Then again, oil spills tend to get bad press anyway. But surely we need the tests to be successful, and for Anadarko setting up offices here in Dunedin, because we need a return of industry. We have lost so much recently due to the Recession and globalisation, where production is moved off shore because cheaper labour and the like.

To me that alone is sad.

Dunedin had been at the heart of New Zealand's gold rush, and mentioned by the Dunedin Public Libraries. Going from that to where we are today is disheartening to say the least, considering how much potential there is here. Anandarko is offering the region a possible boom and seem to be on the right track by ensuring the test is done without endangering our environment. I personally think that we ought to give Anandarko a chance, and if they stuff up than we can go all up in arms and give them grief.

1 Sep 2013

show don't tell

I am writing this more out of irritation than anything else, largely because I had to put down two ebooks and wonder why the heck I wasted money on them.

Then I remembered, it was the pretty covers.

When I was writing the early draft for Compromised, my friend Nigel had this tendency of
hammering one thing the most; and that was to show, don't tell. I had a hard time doing just that in my early writing endeavours, as soon in Exit Strategy. He has a point, and one of those days I will ask him or one of my other writing buddies to guest post about it.

For now, you're stuck with me.

You see, a story is like a movie, largely because we - as humans - are very visual, at least from what I could ascertain. Perhaps that is why movie blockbusters are so attractive, and the current levels of CGI involved definitely help, as they are visual slug fests.The same goes for fiction.

We're very visual in our approach to things, and most often then not it is simpler to show how to do something than tell. The same goes for writing fiction. To get a fair idea what I mean is to go check out Robb Grindstaff's website. In addition to being a pretty awesome fiction writer, Robb has a strong background in editing.

5 Aug 2013

Some ramblings and news



When is enough really enough? I have been on a writing journey of late, one focusing on Gene Bukowski and his exploits. He had gone through multiple transformations as I tried to find the best fit for him since Vocal Minority. Last Sunday I had about enough. It was as if I was going in circles trying to write that perfect novel. The thing is, I have written one in Vocal Minority. Okay, so I have decided a tad later that the story felt a little flat and childish. Essentially I didn’t like it. Yet, my friends had suggested that I put it up anyway. I did, and is now a free download at Smashwords.

Thing is, in my writing endeavours in trying to create the ultimate reading experience, I have forgotten the golden rule of writing: you write ultimately for yourself, and it took a bit of patience from a fellow writer and a frank and honest chat with two of my writing idols to hammer that home. This has been reinforced to me by my English teacher back at high school, and you know what... they probably would be calling me up short for going about in circles. Yes, Vocal Minority was a good start and whilst I may not like it, I am pretty proud of the fact I wrote the story. It will remain on Smashwords for whole of $2 as a reminder to me that yes, I can write something coherently that has a beginning, middle and ending.

Ever since then I was adamant to place Gene in a newer setting. Maybe make him a kiwi or something close to home. The manuscript had him in action in the year 2126 to 2035 to 2062. If I keep it up, I might try writing a time travelling serial. So what am doing about it? Who knows. Ok, I do know. I am going back to the reason why I wanted to make Gene Bukowski’s adventures better and more adult-centric. I wanted to combine my love of a good old techno-thriller with the best elements of science fiction as seen in such movies as I, Robot and Minority Report and the cutting edge feel of such computer games as Medal of Honor, Halo and so forth.

In one of my versions of the reboot, I think I have done it as it is all of the above.

This is one of those posts where I have taken my sweet time writing, a by-product of that irritating thing known as having a life outside of writing and a job. In that time I had progress with this manuscript. For one I had submitted the story to a publisher, and they have sent me feedback. Okay, so it’s not the same as getting a nod that yes they want to publish it, but it’s close enough and as rejections go feedback is good. Repeat after me please; feedback is good. After all, publishers are busy people. The awesome part was that the feedback contained a lot of positives; such as what they liked about the story and what worked for them and what didn’t. For a writer wanting to be published (regardless of what route they choose to take) this kind of feedback is the same as hitting a goldmine. It is priceless.

The best part was that they encouraged me resubmit once I rework the story. Please allow a moment while I go skip along with happiness, because that was not what I expected. Naturally, I will be doing just that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me . . .

3 Jul 2013

Compromised, almost done

The story is nearly finished, and sitting roughly just under 14,000 words. While I can imagine a few extra scenes added to the story, I doubt that it would be a novel length per say. Why so short, you ask?

Without putting a finer point on it, because dragging it out wasn't working. The story is a precursor of sorts, where Gene Bukowski and his best friend are slowly incorporated into a clandestine arm of a multinational peacekeeping force akin to the International Security Assistance Force, if not itself but evolved into a bigger entity.

More importantly I want this to be about Bukowski; the main character. It is nearly finished, and a cover is being created by an artist.

Watch this space folks, but do so patiently.

13 Jun 2013

Thoughts and musings about a work in progress


In my current work in progress I want to do two things:
  1. Explore Gene Bukowski's past and the catalyst that had him decide to join the New Zealand Army, which was used as a springboard into the evolved fictional version of the ISAF.
  2. Give you a hint of one of the antagonists that Bukowski and friends will be facing.
Admittedly, that's no easy task. When I first started the whole idea that has become Gene Bukowski in his current form, I never really figured why he joined the military in the first place. Sure, in Exit Strategy I gave off a pretty lame excuse that he went Army to peeve off his old man.Thinking about it now, the original idea wasn't that well thought through.

In Oranges however, I can't just put in a throw away idea. It needs thinking through on what would motivate a sixteen-year old to start on a road that would make him not only a badass field operative, but the person he grows up to be.

The other thing I need to consider is how do I go about presenting the same character in two separate story arcs?

Do I go simply start with a prologue where the main character is a teenager and end with an epilogue, where he's all grown up and kicking butt?

One of my all time favourite authors had another way, which he used in that awesome title to your left here. Every alternative chapter followed the main character's exploits as a RAF pilot during the Second World War, which fitted in nicely with the primary plot.

I should try that, me thinks.

12 Jun 2013

Guest Post by N.M. Gillson about Oranges

I have asked my friend Nigel, the guy behind the awesome book Black Donald, to step in and talk to you about a story I'm working on; as he is one of my beta readers. I think it's important to see what others think about a draft, as it gives you objectivity. Anyway, this is what he had to say...


9 Jun 2013

A Bukowski saga

Work is going to be understandably busy this week, and while I'm waiting to hear from the publisher and a couple of betas, I thought that I will focus on my main boy Gene Bukowski and his adventures as a member of an ultra secret special activities unit within a fictional version of the International Security Assistance Force set fifty to sixty years from now.

The first of the series of novelettes and shorter novels, essentially mini-novels ranging between 10,000 to 30,000 words, is Compromised. Here we see a snapshot of Gene being sent in to investigate if a certain former surgeon has been compromised by the Russians.


This will be followed by another short piece titled Backdoor Straight.

Yet another snapshot, which is currently in draft form.

This story features both Gene Bukowski and his best friend Tomasi 'Big Tee' Havili. Both have been sent to check on espionage being committed against the New Bata space elevator that is in the process of being commissioned for the local government.

Please keep in mind that these are short works.

The third installment will be Delta Virus. This one is equally in draft form and at present is unfinished. I am hoping that this will be a longer piece, but how long I cannot tell you. What I can tell you is that it will be set in Egypt and will involve Gene, and maybe another from the clandestine Covert Actions Reconnaissance Division, try and get a high ranking Egyptian flag officer out of the country.

As the story title suggests, it involves a virus.

Currently I have Gene promoted and quickly shoved into prison for breaking and entering, and perhaps a nice car chase and gun fight to make for a fast roller coaster of a read. More updates will be added to the blog as things progress, but these three will keep me busy for the next few months at least.





2 Jun 2013

The fast and the awesome

So I went to see the new Vin Diesel movie, the sixth in the Fast and Furious franchise, last night with my brother. The basic premise being that Vin's character and his team of car racing buds were brought out of retirement to help put an end to another outfit skippered by a former SAS major-come-criminal master mind.

Look, I'm a big fan of Vin Diesel and his work; with the Riddick franchise the other of my favourites. I can say that the movie delivered in the entertainment side of action, thrilling car stunts and some of the best one liners Tyrese Gipson. There will be seventh installment of the franchise, so yay... can't wait.

On the good news though, Luke Evans was an awesome baddie.

1 Jun 2013

Progress Report June 1

As things go, my writing has been going all over the place lately.

With my current submission, a Bukowski adventure by the name of With Prejudice, currently in the hands of a potential publisher, I have been spring cleaning my hard-drive and google drive. The end result was finding a perfectly good novella titled Oranges, a prelude to the Martian Independence War.

The novella is one of my earlier works, having it written sometime back in 2011 and involves an old character from my early play-by-email phase (which hasn't really ended, please check out Dark Frontier). Like the title suggests, it involves oranges and conflict.

Oranges, a prelude to the Martian Independence War is currently in the hands of two beta readers.

Then there is Compromised and Delta Virus.
Both titles are set in the Bukowski universe, and am understandably taking a slight break, as I need to think where I want to go with him and the premise creatively. What started out as an experiment with Exit Strategy and whatended up as my submission were great, but I need something more solid and character driven. I know that the genre that I have chosen to write this series in can do character driven narratives, just look at the stuff written by Jack Higgins and a few others; like Tom Kratman, Jeremy Robinson, Eric Meyer and a few others.     

Still, I know the basics of what it is that I want the stories revolving around Gene Bukowski and his friends to be.

I want the following:
  • Action
  • A well thought out plot that is pluasable in the near future, yet simple and thrilling to follow
  • Drama. I'm not talking about soap opera styled drama, but like the day to day stuff you and I encounter.
  • Near future realism. One of my biggest hurdles when first writing Bukowski's story way back then was when was it set; whether it be fifteen years from now, sixty years or a hundred years from today. I think this is the trick.One of my favourite comics and animated movies of all time was Appleseed, set in the near future with some awesome technology and cyborgs, amongst other goodies. Written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. The series follows the adventures of ESWAT members Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires in Olympus. Like much of Masamune's work, Appleseed merges elements of the cyberpunk and mecha genres with a heavy dosage of politics, philosophy, and sociology.

The setting is therefore the most important here.

Whilst waiting and thinking, I have started doodling on a new idea. But that would be for another post.





28 May 2013

when is fact really fiction?

Considering the crappy weather, and my helpers actually snowed under, I figured that it be fun to do something different this afternoon after work finished. I randomly wrote "mermaids" into the google search engine and watched what happened. Okay, so I deliberately typed in the word. I could have done it with "dragon" or "yeti", or any other random word associated with mythology. Consequently, I came across a mockumantory called Mermaids: The Body Found.

Okay, so they try and explain how mermaids may have come up, other than from the figment of some ancient mariner's imagination. Perhaps it was bound to happen. Mermaids had been part of folklore since the day some drunk sailor saw a manatee for the first time. In some cases, entire cities were founded upon a legend of a protective fish chick. Not that I'm ditching that.

As legends go that is cool.
"Why wouldn't we be mistaken for mermaids?"
"Oh, I dunno bro, cause we're awesome."

Take the legend behind the founding of Warsaw, Poland's capital city:

Feisty, beautiful and busty. Her image has bewitched millions, and you’ll find her film star looks printed on everything from flags to mags. But stop panting at the back. She turns out to be it, and it turns out to have a tail. Who is this godless Jezebel you ask? Well, none other than the Syrenka, the fresh water mermaid who’s been representing Warsaw since before you’d remember.

The first known mention of a mermaid as the symbol of Warsaw can be traced to a royal seal dated from 1390, though this one certainly wasn’t much to look at; depicting a hideous looking bloke with a dragons tail was as close as you’d come to seeing a marketing blooper in medieval times, so it’s no surprise that over the next few centuries this rather grim form was given a bit of plastic surgery – man was turned into woman, and the dragon became a fish.

The legend has been debated and disputed scores of times, and it’s safe to say short of inventing time travel we’re not going to become any of the wiser. Until that time content yourselves instead by familiarizing yourself with the myth. First off is the one you’ll find espoused within these humble pages; Prince Kazimierz, while hunting in the marshlands that are now Warsaw, lost his bearings and faced a night in the open. Miraculously, a mermaid emerged and guided the prince to safety by firing burning arrows into the sky. Warsaw was founded out of gratitude, and the mermaid adopted as its emblem.

Sourced from Inyourpocket.

Still, as a writer, the idea of trying to explain something like mermaids and dragons from a purely scientific perspective is intriguing. Entire stories have been written on the possibility of dragons being real, to Atlantis being found or that Jesus wasn't the one who died at the Cross but Judas, to name a few. It spurs the imagination.

My question however, why did people actually believe that mermaids existed due to some aqua lad theory, or some-such crack pot theory?

More importantly, why did Animal Planet air it?

I have just read this blog post that rubbished the whole mockumantory here, if anyone is interested. Well. okay, "rubbish" is too strong a word. Let me use another: debunk. I whole heartedly agree with him that the movie ought to have been aired on SyFy or some other similar channel, but on a science channel? Next people will be asking if crabs do indeed talk under water....
"But I sing too!"

Seriously, let's leave fiction out of scientific or natural programmes, as it can be confusing. People will really believe anything, especially those younger ones. I mean, isn't it bad enough that we tell our kids that Santa isn't real...?

27 May 2013

Templates

It's Monday afternoon down in good old New Zealand as I write this post, about seven to two o'clock if you must know.

For the last fifty minutes I have been staring at a google doc in an attempt to write a generic email as a template, and am writing this blog post instead. Yeah, ok... it is Monday afternoon and thereafter that means I ought to be working. Yes, true that. But I technically work part-time and from home. So there. Anyway, truth be told it'll be a while before this post will be written (considering it's just after half past two, and I just finished my second coffee for the day).

Templates.

All one has to do is just google the word "template" and you will have thousands of options, from business related forms for minute writing to what goes where in a quality manual. You can get templates on novel writing as well.

Not that I'm against it of course.

Templates and standardised forms are essential for any growing business. I am certain that certain authors have a standard email or two to respond to eager fans, that or a secretary.

I'm not ditching the fact that there are people who specialise in formatting things for writers, considering that it is one thing to create a piece of literature from zilch. Not everyone is that design savvy either, and every bit helps really.

Businesses certainly do, as is evident at work. But the trick is keeping these things personal. And that is the trick. I cringe every time I get a standardised letter for this or that, as it is factual and generally makes me feel like a case number and not a human being. The fact that I'm the primary go between the guys at work and our customers I endeavour to keep things personal wherever possible.

How about you, what are your thoughts on templates and forms?




26 May 2013

With prejudice with an orange

What looks like an orange, but isn't really an orange? As questions go, that was pretty lame. But never mind. My friends tell me that I tend to ask stupid questions.

To your right you'll see a cover stand in for Oranges: A Prelude to the Martian Independence War, a novella that was the result of reading too much Robert Heinlein, and having a very healthy love affair with science fiction as a whole.

The story is about the prelude to war between Earth and her colonies on Mars. Okay, so it's a cliche premise but frankly so what... it's what I want to set this premise in. If all goes well, it should be available either through Smashwords and Amazon in the next month or so (unless I will try to submit it somewhere).

Either way, I'll keep you all updated on which way I go.


19 May 2013

Saturday night at King's High

I went to my old high school last night to see the Dunedin Sinfonia play for a couple of hours, which was nice. For one, it's great to see such organisations as the sinfonia put on a show in a more local setting (especially when said local setting was only two and a half blocks away). The pieces played were done by Mozart (namely Symphony No 35 and Haffner) and Beethoven (Symphony No 4) and a cute wee number with a harp by Handal, with a New Zealand piece featuring a clarinet soloist that... in my musically uneducated ears anyway... did nothing for me.

What was your weekend like?

10 Apr 2013

Progress with prejudice

I want to talk to you about my progress on working With Prejudice, which is kind of related to Snapshot (which I haven't decided what to do with it just yet).

Originally intended to be a direct sequel to Exit Strategy and Across the Board, this current work in progress is just that; a WIP. As I said to one of my friends in Seattle, it'll be a spiritual spinoff to Bukowski's little saga. It'll be near future, action packed and hopefully with a few twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge. Currently the initial draft is just over 67k words.




5 Apr 2013

Aptly named if you ask me

Current Project
With the following tagline:



A young reporter determined to prove herself, only to stumble onto a story that would further her career.
A veteran operative, one of the best the Division has to offer, has been told to keep his head down.
A snapshot of two people becoming reliant on one another.


The current project is a spiritual offshoot of Special Projects.

The protagonist is this premise is Jonathan Crowley, or Jack to his mates. A former New Zealand Special Air Service operator recruited into a clandestine branch of the multinational North Atlantic organisation. Right now am envisaging him more along the lines of a younger Michael Garibaldi from the Babylon 5 series. Why him I hear you ask? Well, I was a big fan of the series when I was younger. Plus I was impressed with how Jerry Doyle portrayed the character, and still am to this day. After all, there was a character that felt real and with his own unique set of problems. It is that that I'd like to see in Crowley's character development.

Tune in for more.

Well, almost.

I think I was a little too quick in dismissing Bukowski.

Or, more accurately the whole idea.

When I wrote last time I was fed up with a few things going on, with a plotline not cooperating and generally giving me grief to a few projects misbehaving themselves at work. So yes, I think I was allowed to through a hissy fit.

Am I really going to give up on Bukowski?

Don't know.

As I mentioned in my last post, he and I go way back.

What I will say however is that I like the idea of clandestine agency answerable either to the UN or a multinational security alliance running about saving the world from itself, as I've been brought up on such movies as James Bond and series like the old Mission Impossible and the much newer NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Spooks, Water Rats and a few others. Not to mention books by the likes of Coonts, Clancy and a few others.

I think Bukowski and the resulting Exit Strategy was a proof of concept that I can write something similar. Now to put it to practice.

3 Apr 2013

Putting Bukowski to rest

Sergeant First Class Gene Bukowski and the United Nations Marshals Service, followed by the Special Projects branch of the United Nations Security Agency and now this... whatever this is.

By far my greatest achievement
To be honest I haven't got a clue. When I first started with Bukowski, I was relatively new to the idea of writing. Well, kind of. My first story that I've ever written from beginning to end involved ended up being published in my high school's end of year magazine. But it wasn't until I came across such awesome examples of story telling in my role-playing game via email that I wanted to actually write a story.

That story had been Bukowski.

In my attempt in writing my great masterpiece, that I was to unleash on a publisher who will instantly snatch it up and make me millions of dollars, I have dragged Bukowski through various incarnations and locales: from the tip of Olympus Mons, to the regolith deserts of Earth's moon and finally to Cahora Bassa as you see in Exit Strategy. The truth is, I'm getting the feeling that I need to put Bukowski to bed and let him go. After all, he has been my primary character for as long as I can remember. He needs a rest.

Not only that, Emilio Heerdan deserves  a holiday too
I want to move on.

Not that I'm suggesting that Bukowski is preventing me from moving on. Far from it. The good sergeant has taught me some valuable lessons around writing, character development and world building. He let me experiment on him, whether it be via first person narrative to collaborative writing (and I have to thank both Nigel and Barb too), to everything else.

I just want to move on, and play with other characters and story ideas.

Bukowski and Adams, along with Yamakawa and Heerdan will remain where I have placed them; in Special Projects. Besides, I may have one or two stories left in that series, and more may be written as freebies.

But I will be focusing on new stories with other characters populating them.


Interior of Knox Church, Dunedin, NZ

So the other day I wrote about going to seeing ballet, and absolutely loving every second of it.

Last night I went to see a show being done by the City Choir Dunedin, called Nature's Bounty, at the Knox Church. The drawcard for me was that it was supported by the Southern Synthonia. There is something about an orchestra that lately seems to have an affect on me, and am slowly discovering the likes of Chopin and company.

The other bonus was that it was held at Knox Church, one of the icons of Dunedin, dating back to 1859 and with a pretty impressive history in its own right.

It's on the corner of Pitts and George Streets
As a budding historian, I had always wanted to see the interior of the church but access to it is understandingly limited. So when family friends suggested we check out the choir's latest concert there I figured "why not?".

So of we went.

Interior of Knox Church
Okay, let me start of with saying that Knox Church is presbyterian. I think that the thing that struck me most was the simple nature of the interior. It was plain really, with the windows being the predominantly decorative parts that I could see despite the awesome exterior. Was I disappointed? Well, a little. But it is my understanding that many presbyterians weren't into the whole pomp and ceremony that catholics and anglicans were, but I could be wrong (please correct me if that is the case). Still, it was a monument to Dunedin's past and feel richer for seeing the church myself.

As for the performance itself? Well, it was okay. But this choir was no angels singing, if you catch my drift--but they were still enjoyable to listen to. Plus the experience was made sour when one of the choir members literally told my mum and I we were sitting in the wrong in the wrong area despite being ushered to the "wheelchair" section, due to it being reserved for his elderly guest who too was on a wheelchair. My mum nearly had a fit when the choir member dismissed her claim while ignoring me by stating that "there are disabilities, and then there are disabilities". Personally I couldn't figure out what he meant by that off the cuff statement, but hey... takes all kinds, right?

How about you?

Have you experienced something new that you've wanted to try?

Exit Strategy

When I first started writing Bukowski's adventure, the setting and premise looked nothing like what you see in Exit Strategy.

Yet, as with anything, the idea grew. Between feedback from writing friends Barb Caffrey, her late husband Michael, and the likes of N.M. Gillson to name just a few, I had been encouraged and pushed to do better.

The novella had been available through Smashwords and Kobo, and Barnes & Noble if memory serves me correctly. Four stories had been sold, until I figured that it would be a good idea to just make the story and the accompanying vignetta serial as free downloads. Better to have a readership than zero sales, at least that is my belief. Once I figure out how to place my stuff on Amazon that may change, but am sticking with Smashwords for now because... well, it suits my purpose for now.

But what is the bestest part right now, on this Easter Monday? I checked out Goodreads, where I have my story placed as well, and Kobo. I saw comments from buyers and stars, indicating if they liked it (five full stars) or hated it (one star). Out of the four who purchased my book, the vote was evenly split between two sets of three stars and two sets of five. Yippee, right? Equally, I had feedback. This is what two of them had to say:

"I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. It's full of action and conspiratorial intrigue. If you love military fiction and science fiction, or love when the two make sweet sweet love -- this book is for you. What are you waiting for?"
    -- Anth, Goodreads reviewer 
"Awesome book, from start to finish. Outstanding dialogue, graphic scenes and makes you feel you are actually there.

Piotr is a writer to watch out for in the coming years."


Only problem with this story is...its too short!
"
     -- N.M. Gillson, author of Black Donald 

Too short?

Okay, Nigel, challenge received.  

1 Apr 2013

Blog Evolution

Things change.

Needs change.

Priorities change.

This blog is no exception.

When I first started this blog it was specifically designed to follow my journey in fitness. I had another on writing too. The thing is, life has gotten busy and one of these had to go. Not that I've stopped with my fitness endeavours, far from it. Neither had I stopped writing, just check out here. It just means I will have a nice blog that covers topics across the board. Yeap, simple really.

See you soon.

Dragoon Liberator and other projects in development stages

As I started out on my writing journey, many, many eons ago, I focused on shorter works. Gradually, I moved to longer pieces and had come ...