The Rough Draft

If you can't go through them. Go around them.

Thanks to the snowfall yesterday and the GTA’s decision to not put out a decent response with snowplows and salt trucks, my drive home was shall we say… long.  Of course this morning’s clear air with just the cloud coming off of the lake, provided me with a pretty decent sunrise full of golden light.  Shooting sunrises is always rewarding though it does require a fair bit of patience as weather issies don’t always reveal themselves until the Sun is on the horizon.

I do prefer to shoot sunsets.  Mostly because I have ample time to compose and set up my shots.  Sunrise shots require a fair amount of faffing about in the dark making sure you’re set up properly and seconds lost are opportunities gone forever.  Shooting a sunset is a bit more relaxed even though you’re still subject to the same weather issues that can ruin the whole thing.  I do think that planning to do these shots almost always pisses off the weather gods.

This morning’s sunrise as good enough I regretted not having my camera with me.  Though if you think they get pissed at you for using your phone, you can imagine the fit they throw if you’re using your DSLR.  I should just set up the action cam to get the shots.  It’s got a nice wide angle lens on it and the resolution is pretty good too.

Devil’s Gambit is a third of the way through it’s edit.  It’s looking good.  Road Maniac is prepped and ready to go  to edit.  I’m just trying to resolve some file size issues in regards to Amazon before I settle the final format.  Kelly did a beta read of the pre-edited version of Devil’s Gambit and asked me if I was going to be bringing back one of the main characters in another book.  Well this morning I had a good idea for that on the way in to the day job.  So the solid answer is, yes, they will be back.  I’ve decided to follow in the footsteps of Elmore Leonard and have all of my characters with the exception of the scifi stuff, inhabit the same world.  This should allow me to make some interesting crossover choices for my characters in later books.

There’s some other stuff coming down the pipe in the new year but unfortunately I can’t reveal any of it yet.

Stay tuned though.

I’m receiving chapters back from my Editor at about one every three days.  So far nothing major has cropped up.  We move the files back and forth in Word format and then I just drop the adjusted text into Scrivener which retains the notes in red and then I just work through the text.  This also allows Scrivener to set the page margins to the proper dimensions instead of the wide margins I use when I’m writing in the rough draft stages.

While I’m waiting for the edits to make their way back to me, I’m working on a non fiction account of the last eight years of riding on my Suzuki DL-650 V-Strom motorcycle.  It came about because I realized that my blog posts about the trips over this time period were lacking in many of the smaller details which made the trips interesting in the first place.  At least to me.  I should have the rough draft of, “Two Wheeled Maniac – Eight years and 75,000Km on a V-Strom,” finished by the end of next week.  I know this is going to be a very niche book and the price will reflect that but that’s the beauty of this self publishing thing.  I can write and publish what I want.  If it sells, great, if it doesn’t?  At least it’s out there.

Once TWM is done, I’ll move back onto the manuscript for, “Augmented,” so it will be ready for Editing sometime in mid January.

The one thing I learned as a screenwriter was stacking projects.  You always had a spec you were working on alongside the write for hire gigs because it takes time to generate notes on any hired gig and you need to fill the down time in between.  Self Publishing is no different.  The stresses are very much the same.  You need to keep feeding the pipeline.  The plan all along has been to publish in rapid succession with books moving out at about a rate of one every six to eight weeks after the first entry into the marketplace.

I can let you know that I’m also looking to coauthor another non fiction on Tea and I hope to release that one somewhere around late Spring.  I’m very excited about this project as I’m a total tea snob and I hope to also release it as a coffee table book but bottom line, I want it to be a comprehensive reference for everybody.

 

In the Badlands, August 2008

Well the cover for my upcoming thriller has been chosen.  I’m not going to reveal which one yet but I would like to thank everybody who voted for the cover of their choice.  It made an already hard choice easier, though not so easy it was a snap.  I’m still waiting to get back notes from the editor but I’m sure I’ll see something in the next week or so.

Any writer is often asked, “Where do you get your ideas from?”  For me it’s always been from anything I see or read that gets my imagination going.  It works well for fiction and it can certainly get the ball rolling in non fiction too.

I first got my 04 Dl-650 V-Strom in 2007.  There were 24,000Km on the clock.  Seven years later I’ve just rolled over 100,000Km.  That’s a yearly average of 14,300Km.  By some rider’s standards that’s not huge, by others it is.  I think it depends on what you want to get out of your bike and what it does for you.  I know there are different strata in the ADV community from the world travelers to the TAT riders and a whole host of others in between.  I don’t think we need to belittle any segment of the community as we’re all riding our own rides.

Still, I’ve averaged at least one good ride a year of some distance and like most of us today, I blogged about it as it was happening and then would finish it all off when I got home.  The other day I started dragging and dropping all of this material into Scrivener to see how much of it there really was.  Well, there’s over fifty thousand words of written material covering seven years of personal triumph and with some tragedy thrown in for good measure.  I’ve been able to indulge some sites of historical importance and I’ve been able to exorcise some personal demons along the way.  My bike has changed too.   From a two wheeled torture rack to a machine I wouldn’t hesitate to take anywhere.

The reason I was loading all of this into my editor was to see if there is a book in there somewhere and it turns out there is.  There are whole swathes of story I’ve left out of the blog, either because I was rushed to get it out or it simply slipped my mind at the time because I was focused on other goals.

It’s not a book of great feats of derring do on a motorcycle.  It’s a book about being able to have some fun and not break the bank on your bike and sometimes it’s about what a hard ride really looks like.

Riding a bike literally saved me from a very dark path I was going down.  I owe a lot to motorcycles.  They are a big part of my life and who I am.  I’ve met some of the greatest people on my bike and been to some pretty cool places.  If I can just get ten percent of that across to people through the writing, then it will have been worth it.

I’m coming to a close on my book cover design competition on 99designs.com  I have six designs set to move on in the competition but I’m definitely leaning towards one of these and I want to make sure my gut reaction is correct.  If you could take time to vote on the cover that speaks to you, I’d appreciate the feedback.  If none of them speak to you, that’s fine too.

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Number One

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Number Two

42186773~ed09b964d4ab807f708065eb3a17cd0b08d1815d-original

Number Three

42182065~d24175b3c606db1811a3b6b132beba8d2e39a97c-original

Number Four

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Number Five

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Number Six

Thanks for helping me out.

 

Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and start a contest on 99designs.ca.  I got the free powerpack upgrade by listening to Therockingselfpublishingpodcast one of the best self publishing podcasts I’ve come across so far.

The way 99 Designs works is you post up what you want on your cover or whatever thing you need designed in as much detail as you can and graphic design types create a cover and submit it to the contest.  You go through the designs and pick the ones best suited to your project and then things move on to the next round until there’s only one left standing  and then you work together to refine the design to your needs.

It’s similar to a script call, where you put out a call for a horror script and everything under the sun comes over your transom.  I’ve had five entries so far.  One was withdrawn, because they got the sub wrong.  Two were rejected because well, one looked like a textbook cover and the other, while a very nice bit of work, was more along the lines of a fantasy novel.  Which leaves me two current entries so far who are closer to what I’m looking for.  I’ve posted up some notes for both of them.  There’s just under two and a half days left in the competition and I’m still hoping for some other entries.  The real benefit here is if nothing works at all for you, you can reject everything and get your money back.  At the end of the process, you also own your design, which is a good thing in the long run.

Of course you’re dealing with artists.  Getting them to read the brief has been… interesting.

I’ll post up the winning cover once it’s done.

On the Cape Breton Trail 2014

On the Cape Breton Trail 2014

I have hired Isaac Sweeney to edit my first book.  I found him through the Kboards Writer’s Cafe forum.  I’m currently in the process of converting my MS into a series of .docx files so he can add his notes and corrections as needed.  It turns out I can then directly cut and paste the returned file with notes and drop it back into Scrivener.  This then allows me to work my way through the edit with his notes intact and Scrivener removes all of the hidden .html code, Word likes to Squirrel away into your document.

I did a test run on the compiled file to see how the book would look on my Kindle and the transfer seems to be good.  I’m probably going to get a Kobo as well just to be able to check how the book will look in .epub but to be honest, with the Kobo’s recent restructuring issues company wise, I’m a little leery of committing to that platform as well.  I may just go with the Kindle Select program to start and see how that works for me.

The thing that has been drummed into me from listening to hours and hours of Podcasts on  Self Publishing is you need a proper editor to go over your work and you need to be prepared to pay for that service.  My only issue living in Canada is that right now our dollar is around $.88 to $1 US dollar, which means any service I go for is going to be about twelve percent more cost to me.  This is fine.  You need to approach each book as a bit of a widget.  There are always costs involved in bringing any widget to market.  Be it in design, prototype  or build costs.  Free is all well and good but service wise, you get what you pay for.

However, when you are working with your editor, it’s on you to make sure the document your are providing is as clean as you can make it.  I’m entering into more of a developmental edit on this book because I want to make sure all of my story and character points are solid.  Am I going to take all of the notes offered?  Probably not but I will give them solid consideration.  In the end, it is your book not the editor’s but they do have a vested interest.  If you do well, so do they.

Edit aside, I’m starting to educate myself on the marketing side of things and how to properly position my work.  I’m not about to put something out there and hope people discover it.  My whole writing life, I’ve had many people championing my writing around the film industry.  You need people in your corner rooting for you to succeed.  It gives you fuel.  I’ll be starting a mailing list in the next little while and there will be regular posts about where I’m at in the publishing process starting with this one on top of my regular posts about photography and of course motorcycles.

I hope you guys will come along for the ride (any of them).  It’s funny it feels a lot like starting a big off road adventure.  Scary at first until you get your feet under you and then you’re off and wondering what the hell you were worried about.

Cassandra and my son Colin out front of Downey Farm

This weekend I went with Colin’s CERI group to Downey Farm in Caledon (or thereabouts).  Well the group turned out to be myself, Colin, Cassandra the group Supervisor and Daniel, one of the other clients.  It was a chill day.  My car thermometer pegged it at 9 Degrees C and with the wind blowing it was a bit finger numbing.  As Daniel was a bit late and Colin was getting antsy I took him through the main gate into the fun area.

The main gate.

The Pumpkins still in the field. No doubt, these will all be gone by the 31st.

Colin headed for the Corn Maze right off.  Not really a maze per se but a shape of a tractor laid out in the field.  So if you just looped through, you’d end up back at the start.  It was pretty muddy, though the corn did break the wind pretty well.

Left or Right?

Children of the Corn anybody?

I’m not sure if Colin was feeling the maze.

Daniel and the Llama

Who was a pretty girl.

There we’re sheep too. This is the closest I’ve been to Sheep in 37 years.

A couple of Kids

My Kid

We called it just after this shot.  It was pretty cold and Colin definitely had his get home face on.  I gave Daniel a lift home as he isn’t too far from us and all in all it was a fun few hours.  It’s probably more fun with the Sun out.

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