The Rough Draft

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

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As I’ve said before, I’ve always loved the world represented in miniature. As much as I love taking these pictures at this event, I’d love it even more if I could take these types of shots under ever tighter controlled circumstance where I could light them properly and shoot from a tripod. Still the artistry, in the weathering and the attention to detail of each of these pieces is astounding and I’m so very glad to see that scale modelling continues on to preserve and present history because much like when I write a book, just as much research goes into each one of these scenes or models.

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A 144 scale model of the Aerocar built in Malton

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I’m guessing this is the bigger version that never went beyond the drawing stage.

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A Sterling III, the aircraft my Grandfather was shot down in. This was in the young modellers category. A very nice job of what I’m told is not a great kit.

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I love the work that has gone into this figures face. Tanks were a hellish bit of kit to be inside and were often disabled by shellfire or mechanical failure. Inside temps could rise above 40C and they often stank of exhaust and fuel. All of that comes across from this figure’s expression.

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I thought the work on this sub diorama was exquisite.

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A great figurine ruined by the shortcomings of my 7D Mk 2s focusing issues. 

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I love the scarf.

Sorry for the delay in posting this. I’m trying to keep up on the blog but with so many irons in the fire right now, it’s tough. Devil’s Gambit the audiobook is almost done and we’re getting ready to start the production process on the audiobook version of Reliance. Devil’s Ante is back from my editor and I’ve got a bit of work to do there before it can go out to my beta readers. We’re close so very close.

My Grandfather (far right) In front of one of the aircraft he serviced. This particular Lancaster has just flown it’s 100th mission.

Tomorrow is 100th commemoration of the battle at Vimy Ridge, considered to be the battle that moved Canada from the status of a dominion to a full fledged country in the eyes of the British Empire. Right now I’m reading Tim Cook’s book, “At the Sharp End,” a history of Canada’s involvement in the first world War from 1914 to 1916. It is a great book and one I wish had been around when we were studying Canada’s involvement in the first world War when I was in school. The book has many first-person accounts of life in the trenches. The unfortunate thing for many of the people’s recollections are being used is they are posthumous from that period. I don’t think that many of us can even conceptualize the wholesale slaughter of the first world War. Slaughter that was confined for the most part to a narrow but wide ribbon about 20 miles deep and hundreds of miles long. I’ll be honest, I can only read the accounts in short bursts.

My wife remarked this morning after watching a historical drama about a very small story but a very interesting person that there are millions of stores like that out there remain untold, unseen, known only to a few wider through word-of-mouth or access to some small text are told. I’m currently writing a screenplay set in the latter days all of the second world war about just such a story. The kind of true story I had no idea existed until it was told to me. It was a kind of story that when you hear it you know it needs to be told in a bigger arena. The kind of story that when it’s presented to you, you know this is something you have to seize and run with. I wish I could tell you more but the rough draft is almost done and I’ve got a fair bit of rewriting to do before I can present it to a producer. And then there’s another part of you but wonders why take the time to create new stories when are so many other great ready stories to be told and the answers of course life rights. And the fact that period pieces tend to scare Hollywood executives.

Well that plus the fact that I’d do enjoy creating brand-new stories from nothing. It used to amuse me greatly when I’d be hired to write a screenplay or I optioned a spec. In some ways it felt like a bit of a con. Somebody was paying me a decent amount of cash for something that I’d literally thought up out of thin air. Strangely enough I don’t feel the same way about my books. Probably because it’s my money I’m spending to get the damn things produced. Money I spend gladly though. You don’t want to put out an inferior product, especially when the platforms are out there for you to succeed in that respect.

So here’s an update on the current works as a stand: Devil’s Ante is about halfway through its edit and should be back in my hands by the third week of this month. Reliance, starts its audiobook journey in two weeks. Devil’s Gambit is in the last quarter of the creation of the audio files. My narrator Edward James Beesley is fantastic and the added audio production he has brought to the project only makes the book better. I’m looking forward to working with him on the sequel. And last night I revisited Augmented and did some work on that manuscript. I’m also preparing myself and my motorcycle for the trip out West to do the Vancouver Island loop. This trip will become the backend of my next motorcycle travel book currently titled, “The big backyard-more tales from a two-wheeled maniac.”

Heritagecon was last weekend and as has been the case with everything for me this year, I’m a bit behind posting stuff up. The model builders convention is held at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton and has grown significantly over the years. Enough to the point that people were commenting on it this year.

The con is broken down into a large vendor section and the model competition itself. The competition is all ages broken down into categories of type and age.  More than a few of these modellers have moved past the hobby stage into art in miniature. I must admit, I’d love to be able to photograph some of these works in a more controlled environment than the chaotic space between the tables. So if any of the guys who were displaying their work at the show see this and would like to do that, drop me a line.

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I just so happened that the first table I stopped at was the SciFi and Fantasy display. I thought this airship from the Anime, “Last Exile,” was really well done.

I’ve always enjoyed the Science Fiction based models and wish there were more of them around when I was making models. Of course, I could have learned how to scratch build but I’ve never really had that level of patience.

The Space 1999 Attack Eagle, was a stunning build also.

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As was this Spinner from Blade Runner. LED lights have also done lots to bring a level of reality to any build.

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I’ll admit, I had a hard time finding a lens I was happy to shoot with. I switched between my work horse 17-70mm, my 10-20mm and even my 40mm. Light was an issue and I ended up shooting fairly high ISO which with Cannon’s noise suppression isn’t that big a deal and I’ll admit, I’m not that fussed about noise in my images these days as I like a bit of tooth.

0P8A87680P8A88160P8A8820 And while the above looks like it’s out of a Steam Punk extravaganza is actually a design by Clement Ader called L’Eole and is steam powered. He managed to get it eight inches off the ground for 165 feet but couldn’t sustain flight as he had little if any control over the craft.

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Lastly we have the rocket ship from, “When Worlds Collide.”

More from the show to come.

Now to update the writing side of things.

Devil’s Gambit continues to show steady sales in the UK store, which is a nice surprise after being in print for over two years now. The sequel Devil’s Ante is sitting with my editor and he’s working diligently to make it the best it can be. I’ll be sending it to my Beta readers in the next month and a half or so.

Devil’s Gambit – The Audio book is almost all in the can and we hope to have the audio side of things locked up in the next few weeks. Apparently when you write a book over 120,000 words long, it’s takes some time to record it. Edward James Beesley, the man, the voice, the master, has done a bang up job on my book. So good, I’ve already booked him for the sequel Devil’s Ante. Now that I have a company in the US to do my audio work. I’ll be pushing hard into that arena with everything I have. While, self publishing your own audiobook isn’t exactly cheap, I think it’s money well spent in the long run and it gives you access to a whole new series of readers.

You can check out my books here.

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I know I’ve been remiss at posting as of late but with good reason. I’ve been finishing up the rough draft of Devil’s Ante. Originally it was slated to go to the Editor on April 20th. “Plenty of time,” I thought. Then two weeks ago, my editor contacted me and let me know he’d had a project drop out and a slot had opened up in his schedule in March. March 20th, which if you look at a calendar is this Monday.

I’m not a fast writer at the best of times but I was so close to the end I figured I could lose the four extra weeks. Heh.

So today and tomorrow, I’m finishing up the final big fight scene and the epilogue. Monday morning the MS heads to the UK for a month. After that, it goes to my beta readers. If you’d like to be on my Beta list. please email me at sabotproductions@gmail.com

Have a great weekend.

Steve Abbott

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I thought I’d give you an update on the progress of Devil’s Gambit, the audiobook.

As previously stated, I’m doing this through findaway.com and they’ve been great to deal with. So much so, I’ll be creating an audiobook of Reliance next and will most likely be doing Devil’s Ante in the next few months as well.

We’re about halfway through the book right now and I’m very happy with the chapters to date. My reader has a great voice and delivers the story very well. I’d love to be sharing some of the samples with you but of course can’t just yet. Once the finished product is in my hot little hands (so to speak) I will be doling out some samples for you to check out.

It’s not a totally painless task as you, the author do have to go through your manuscript word by word as it’s read to confirm the accuracy of the audio product. I tend to do this once a week because it’s easier for me to get into my editor headspace to do this. As I’m doing a bunch of chapters at a time, this can take a couple of hours. This is what you get when you write a 110,000 word book.

I do like that Findaway handles the initial set up and then leaves you and the voice artist to get on with it for the middle bit. They’ll be stepping back in at the end to handle the distribution side of things and unlike my ebook and Createspace versions of my work, I will be going wide with the audiobook.

I hope to have the audiobook version out by the end of Spring. More on a fixed date as things shake out.

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Right now Devil’s Gambit is back in the top 100 in a couple of related categories in on Amazon UK.

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The recent boost is the direct result of a positive review the book got the first week of February. It only goes to show how much reviews matter to the independent author. So to that individual, I thank them for their words and for taking the time to write something. It really helps.

The UK was a bit slow to start compared to the US site as far as sales but for the last year, it has been my strongest selling market. This sales boost is really welcome right now as it comes very close to my finishing the sequel to Devil’s Gambit, Devil’s Ante and the release of Devil’s Gambit in Audiobook format.

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I apologize for the time it’s taken to get a sequel out and I hope in the end, it will have been worth it for those of you who have been waiting. I will try harder to increase my output.

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No matter what, life finds a way even in the harshest of environments.

Of the many pictures I took this Summer, the one above keeps drawing me back. I feel it perfectly represents resilience in the face of adversity. Life will always find a way.

I’m currently in the early stages of planning a trip around Vancouver Island in my original home province of BC. There will probably be some shorter trips south of the border as well but considering how busy the day job is, I’m not sure I can set aside the time to do them.

For the first time, I’ll be trucking my bike out to the coast and then flying out there. I simply don’t have the time to ride across the country (US or otherwise) and once you factor in the cost of food, gas and hotels, it sort of makes sense. I’m also looking to switch over to a soft back system for the bike over my current pannier set up. We’ll be doing lots of logging roads and those are notorious for poor surface quality. This will also be a trip with other riders, so that too will be different over my usual solo excursions.

I’m looking forward to this as I know the scenery and the scents of the BC Forests won’t disappoint. Plus I’ll be hooking up with some old friends. Right now I’m just waiting for some of the dates to firm up before I book everything.

So watch this space on more of that.

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Watching the sunrise from The Devil’s Playground on Pike’s Peak 2016

As always you can find out more about me and my books at steveabbottauthor.com

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As much as I like Scrivener and MS Word for the act of writing my books, I’ve never been too happy with the offering on PC for the typeset and layout of my books.

I’d been looking at Vellum on the IOS platform to help me correct that. Of course at the time I didn’t own a Mac and I will admit, there is a considerable amount of sticker shock associated with buying any Mac computer compared to their PC companions. The nice thing now as opposed to the last time I bought a Mac is that many of the PC (read Microsoft) programs are cross platform now. So I can work with the files across many computers and thanks to Dropbox, everything updates seamlessly.

Of course Vellum is specific to ebooks as far as layout goes, though I’m told they’re working on a print book conversion to work with Createspace et al. Which would just make the program that much more cooler to me.

You see my one issue for the last few years is I’ve wanted to write another motorcycle travel book but have been limited by MS Word’s paucity of data available for embedded pictures and after getting gouged by Adobe’s subscription system (I swore I’d never spend money on another of their programs ever again), there wasn’t a PC based program that fitted my needs. Which were simply put, easy integration of pictures into my written text. Something vellum does vey very well.

In fact it’s so easy I’ll be helping a friend put out his next graphics heavy book after doing a short demo for him of Vellum in action.

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Perception is reality or at the very least, your perception is your reality. There’s a pretty good chance that doesn’t reflect the actual reality of the world around you.

2016 was a pretty tumultuous year for me on a personal level, between discovering my own medical issues, having other family medical issues exposed and dealing with my son’s emotional and mental ones. I changed jobs this year, which has stresses attached to it and had the usual other annoying things that happen in a given year such as having to buy new appliances and the always inconvenient (and expensive) car repairs. There is also the eternal struggle of trying to get new material out and bring my books to market. Something I promise to do better in 2017.

And considering the rolling 24 hour news cycle revolving of bleeding and leading conflict, intolerance and celebrity deaths, it makes the world seem more fraught than it really is.

img_0677-lThe only way to combat the wall of gloom is to focus on the positive. Because if you let the negative get a toehold in your head, it will effect your ability to go on. One of the things I love most about riding a motorcycle is the level of sensory input coming at you all the time, from the wind buffet of passing vehicles coming the other way, to the enveloping heat that dries out your water soaked neck kerchief in a couple of hours.

It’s hard to feel bad about the world from the back of a motorcycle because when you’re constantly dwarfed by natural spectacle, it puts your place in among it in perspective. It’s easy to draw a line on a map, it’s a much different thing to ride it.

So for me 2016, once you put all of the craziness aside was a great year of personal growth and triumph. 2017 is as of yet, the undiscovered country but that’s half the fun of things, isn’t it.

Happy New Year.

 

For those of you in self publishing that might be interested, I thought I’d release my sales numbers for the year. I ran a fair number of promotional campaigns through Amazon and I’ll be honest, while the ROI was great for me, that was to be expected in a year where I didn’t release any new content. 2017 will be a different story and I’ll get into that in a minute.

There were a few reasons this year was sparse for me. For one, I’m not a fast writer as far as stories go. I need to cross my t’s and dot my i’s. All the little details take time to figure out and how to connect them.

There was also some personal stuff that encroached on things too. Much of which I’ve already covered in this blog so I won’t bore you with it again.

However, 2016 was not a time spent resting. I started a side project of a screenplay based on true events that will be starting it’s life journey in the coming months. I’m also about a third of the way through a scifi military story that I hope those of you who read my stuff will enjoy as well.

Writing for me is not a matter of fast money (as my numbers will attest), it’s a long walk that for me at the end of the day is about getting my book in the hands of one more reader. Kindle uUnlimited has actually helped me a great deal in that respect and I’ll also go over that in a bit greater detail as the numbers are revealed.

Which brings us to what to expect in 2017. Some of this I’ve just mentioned but writing it down, helps me confirm goals.

 

  1. 42186773~ed09b964d4ab807f708065eb3a17cd0b08d1815d-original .    Release Devil’s Gambit on Audiobook form.  I’ve been trying to do this for the last little bit but only secured the means to do so in November. I’ll be releasing greater and greater detail as we get closer to the launch date for this.
  2. devilsanti1 . Finish edit and release Devil’s Ante. We’re close on this one. I’m just finishing up the last chapters now. Unfortunately my editor isn’t going to be available till April, so my release has to be pushed back to July. I promise to write the third instalment Devil’s Due faster.
  3. augmented-front-jpg-rgb Finish Augmented, a story of a recently disabled Soldier who because of his particular injury ends up the pilot of an experimental Mech Armor Unit and is then dropped back into the zone of combat he was wounded in. The idea from the story intrigued me from the second it came to mind. I’ve tried to keep the tech as real world as possible in this one.

There might also be another one of my Motorcycle Riding books in there as well but that one really is going to be time permitting.

And now…

The Numbers:

These are broken down by book.

Devil’s Gambit:

Kindle Sales: 560    KU Units Read (Calculated by Page count)  314    Total Unit Sales 874

Devil’s Gambit continues to be my strongest seller.

Two Wheeled Maniac:

Kindle Sales: 78    KU Units Read (Calculated by Page count)  26    Total Unit Sales 104

TWM is my little book that could. I don’t promote it but every month there’s a few sales and other than some pissed off Harley guys who have read it, the feedback is pretty positive.

Reliance:

Kindle Sales: 21    KU Units Read (Calculated by Page count)  10    Total Unit Sales 31

I won’t lie, this one hurts a bit. I invested a lot of money into this one and I just have to accept the fact it’s not about to pay off probably ever. Which kind of sucks because it’s one of my favorite stories and I really love the characters. It could be because it’s written as a modern western thriller which might be too much genre bending for everybody. In the end, I wrote the story I wanted and there’s not much else to add to that.

There you have it. My sales year in a nutshell. Here’s hoping 2017 allows me to continue to expand my works. You can check out my books on my Author Website.

I wish you all the best in the coming year

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