Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Word Counts That Made History!

Did you know that it took J.R.R.Tolkien TWELVE YEARS to write The Lord of the Rings? 

Just sayin' ...

So since the series I'm writing is probably shorter and not on the same chart of greatness, how long do I have left to finish it?

According to the LOTR Project website, the trilogy contains over 481,000 words. And that's back in the days of typewriters!

Maybe Tolkien took 4 or 5 years just to draw the maps!
John Ronald Reuel certainly knew how to hit them keys! OK, now. So far, how many words have I written in Beyond The Elder Stars?

The Calling: about 68,000. Hmm. It's going to take a lot to catch up with Tolkien.

Called To Battle: about another 82,000, bringing the total to a whopping 150,000. It sounds like a lot, but at that point Tolkien had only got the Fellowship as far as, maybe, the edges of Lothlorien, before Boromir made his grab for the Ring.

How far is Called Out Of Darkness going to go? At this point I've reached 46,000 words and going strong. The way it's going, I'm hoping to reach those happy words 'The End' at about 90,000 to 100,000 words. That's a lot! says my son.
Anyway, the series may end up at about half the length of LOTR. So may I be excused another year or so in finishing it?
Where might this be? Elmarune? Or Mars?

I hope and expect it won't take that long.


While you're waiting for Called Out Of Darkness to appear (at least I hope you're waiting - I hope you haven't forgotten all about it!) here's a sneak peak from one of my favourite parts.

In the first book The Calling, Valin meets his long-lost brother Feyjan in a head-on collision. He learns a little of what Feyjan's been through, but exactly who is this man? I decided it was time to find out.


Feyjan Derojan had never felt so wretched: not when he had been a child, imprisoned and bullied by the Vreymaks; not when an enemy had marooned him and his Vreymak crew in a derelict space station and left them for dead; and not even when Drokstrak had punished him for attempting to take his crew for a break to a quiet planet. No, this was worse than anything he`d ever gone through. Not the physical suffering, but the pressure he was under – the impossible choices he faced.

It was only ten minutes since he had received the command to meet with Lord Drokstrak at his inner sanctuary, and already he felt he had been carrying a boulder on his back for a week. But he mustn't show it. He strode quickly to the ship's elevator and did his best to conceal the way his muscles twitched with the nervous tension. Raym, following close behind, still thought Feyjan was one of the greatest men he'd ever met. He didn't want to spoil the young man's delusion just yet.

He knew he still had the appearance of a tough leader, a hero to his crew, skin wrinkled and weathered like a lizard, body tall and muscular. He still acted as if he had no heart, and as if the multiverse belonged to him, and as if he hadn't yet met any man, beast or machine – except for Drokstrak – that could kill him, and as though he cared for nothing and nobody. He looked after his crew just enough so that they would not turn against him, and drove them so hard that they feared his violent rage.

But lately that was not much more than a clever act that he put on to fool them all.

As they rode the elevator to the dock level, Raym clicked on the soundbox at his belt and a rattling, throbbing kind of music covered their hurried conversation. Even so, they talked in choked-off mutterings. Feyjan hadn't been in command of this ship long enough to hunt down all the listening bugs. Drokstrak was always listening.

"You really want to go down there?" he asked Raym, without looking at him.

Raym grimaced. He managed to look more bored than terrified. He had recently shaved his head completely bald, as was the habit of some of the Vreymaks. Now, with his curved nose and his tall, slightly stooped body, he looked like some sort of skinny carrion bird. The way he sometimes picked at his teeth only made the impression stronger. "Better to get out of the ship now and again." He wiped his right sleeve across his nose. "See somewhere new."

Feyjan shook his head. "It's no sight-seeing. The Boss wants to see me. Right at the inside place, where almost nobody goes, and few come out alive."

This stirred a twitch of interest. "How do we get there?" asked Raym. He was making an attempt to prove how fearless he was, without appearing to be doing so.

Feyjan sighed. This was one trip he would rather never make. "We're docked with the fortress. Right inside. So with our security clearance – should be no trouble getting past the sentinels. Into the portal chamber. Through a series of interverse portals and past the strak-traps."

The elevator shuddered to a halt and the doors flung open onto a wide steel apron. None of the crew were about, just a couple of busy repair sentics working on the damaged F-shuttlle. Feyjan walked Raym across towards the exit locks as quickly as he could. He almost broke into a run. "Then… then through the final portal and down the space cable to the jungle. Through the jungle to the sanctuary."
"Nothing to it," muttered Raym. His eyes slid to and fro, ever alert. That alertness was one reason why Feyjan had begun preparing Raym for a position of command. The boy was constantly watching. He was a light sleeper, too. More than that, though: Feyjan had come to put some real trust in the youth's loyalty.

He had to trust someone. There were so much craziness going on and it was almost impossible to keep quiet about everything. He needed someone to talk to.

And he needed someone to join him in his most secretive of plans, the plans he hardly dared even think of.


Oh, and by the way, I just remembered that I've already published this excerpt and a few others on the Elder Stars Facebook page.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Hard Copy!

It took a while, with so much else going on around here, but I got my hands on 20 hard copies of Called To Battle recently. Don't ask how... don't ask me about smuggling things across the border... Honestly I didn't!

I've approached the school which our sons attend, and the principal sounds enthusiastic for me to go into some classes and present a writing and science lesson. Then I'm hoping I can set up a table at their next Book Fair.
After that, what next? Honestly I've done almost zilch publicity for a long time. The truth is, there's not a huge market here in Thunder Bay. The biggest potential sales are online, and that means putting money into an online ad campaign.

I'll get round to it one of these days. To be honest, I much prefer writing to promoting what I've written. So I've started Part Three of Beyond The Elder Stars. Do I hear a request for a sneak peek? I hope not. I've only written the first chapter so far.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Called To Battle - Finally In Print!

Yes, it's been a long time coming, and I won't bore you with the reasons why I was too busy to finish off the cover design on CreateSpace, but I offer my apologies to those who were waiting. Here's the link to the print version page...

And here are links to the Amazon pages.



I'm putting all these links on the sidebar of The Calling web page. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New Cover Art for Called To Battle

Why bother changing a perfectly good cover, is perhaps the question to be asked. I kept looking at the last version, with the central figure who's one of the enemies of Valin and the Tellarine Squadron, and I thought: why should she be the main image in kids' minds when they think of my story? Why hold a female up on display as evil?

It's true that there are several female characters in the story who are further up the moral spectrum towards the 'good' end, so the story itself is balanced. But I felt much more comfortable having the main character of the story pictured on the front cover. So there he is.

Thanks again to Victor Habbick for accomodating my request at short notice.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Another Cover

I now have an alternate cover image for Called To Battle. Victor Habbick agreed to put Valin central to the picture, rather than one of the enemies. I will get it out on the blog when I'm back from a short trip.
Meanwhile, over on my other writing blog, I'm writing about Mars and what it would be like to live there. Can you omagine being stuck in a small vehicle with 3 other people? And knowing that you will never return to Earth? What sort of people would do that?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Called To Battle - cover art

Graphic artist Victor Habbick designed this cover image for the book, and I've added the rest to make it ready for printing.

What do you think?
The central figure is one of the dark enemies of the People of Elha. She isn't the central figure of the story, but Victor has done such a great job including several themes from Called To Battle.

The book is now available as a print book at Createspace and as an ebook on Amazon Kindle.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Preview, anybody?

Finished the story. 'Called To Battle' is now complete and edited once. I need to read through it thoroughly and then format it before it can be published. Anybody want a sneak preview? I can send you a pdf copy. In return, you can review it for me.
Oh yes, I also need a good cover picture for the new book. Time to get back in touch with my friend Victor Habbick, sc-fi-artist extraordinaire.