It’s not just corporations who can rebrand…

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As a self-publishing author, I decided to take on the job of designing the covers for my books and e-books myself. Previously I had been using a very old version of Corel Photo-Paint (so old, in fact, that it had been written for Windows 95). Every time I upgrade my machine, I wonder if the software will still run. Also, I lacked licences to install it onto all of my machines so, if I had to do any art work, I had to do it in one place. It was time for a change. Having researched the cost of upgrading, or buying something new, I discovered a free tool that has turned out to be a game-changer. If any of you have image creation or image processing to, do then I would urge you to download GIMP (GNU Image Processor). There’s a learning curve (I wasn’t used to dealing with layers, for example) but there are so many tutorials on line, that you quickly catch up). I created both of the images below from a standing start within a week. Armed with GIMP (yes, I know ;)) I created new covers for the e-book and paperback versions of “The Marguerite Effect” and “The Blue Angels”. Perhaps it’s the novelty of having new images, but I really like them. Let me know what you think!

The Marguerite Effect

This is the cover for my first novel, “The Marguerite Effect”

The Blue Angels

This the cover for my second novel, “The Blue Angels”

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Professor Brian Cox

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While writing chapter two of my new novel (still no title) I found myself in need of a “celebrity scientist” to be interviewed on television. In a moment of madness, I chose a real one – Professor Brian Cox. For the moment, I’m sticking with it, but we’ll see. We don’t actually hear Prof Cox say anything, so I should avoid a lawsuit. If you’re reading this, Professor Cox (can I call you Brian?), you’ll be glad (hopefully) to know that you’ll be interviewed on television, in July 2024, regarding a successor to the Large Hadron Collider. Like the original, this new collider (which is named ABRAHAM), won’t destroy the world (or even close) but it does manage to do some amazing stuff. Pure fiction. Except for Prof. Cox.

“Hector had never seen Avril’s show before, but the format quickly emerged. She started with a summary of the week’s news, injecting her own thoughts and reflections as she went. Then she introduced her guests, summarising each of them with the same piercing insight that she had just levelled at current affairs. Each introduction was given with the guest looking on from the greenroom in an inset frame, to which Avril appeared to speak. Finally she retired to her chair for her first interview. Tonight was slightly different, Hector presumed, as his slot was pre-recorded, but he was delighted to learn that celebrity scientist, Professor Brian Cox, had been booked – presumably to discuss Hector’s grand project in more immediate terms. He couldn’t have hoped for a better warm-up: with his boundless enthusiasm, Professor Cox would doubtless whet appetites and calm hysteria ahead of Monday morning’s big switch-on of ABRAHAM. The press had already been invited, as had Avril Hill. It looked as though Professor Cox might have to be added to the list.”

Now: what the heck do I call this thing?

A Sales Spike!

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I was delighted to see a spike* in sales on Amazon recently. I suspect family (actually, I know it was family, but nice it’s to maintain at least an air of mystery :)). To whoever it was who bought copies of “The Marguerite Effect” and “The Blue Angels” may I say a big “Thank you!” In return for what I hope was a good read, may I urge you to leave a review for each and every one, even if it’s just a number of stars.

*Yes: three or four copies really does constitute a sales spike at my end of the book market. Eat your heart out, “JK”.

The Human League

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A chance encounter with a video on YouTube has reacquainted me with the early work of The Human League from the Craig Marsh, Ware and Oakey days in the late 70’s. So now, after a protracted session with my USB turntable, I am once again able to hunker down to the delights of “The Dignity of Labour”, “Reproduction”, “Travelogue” and “Holiday ’80”. What better backdrop could there be to a bit of science fiction authoring?

Stephenie Meyer – of “Twilight” fame – famously listened to Muse while writing. I think I see a pattern emerging; let’s just hope that that pattern continues into the arena of commercial success!

 

That difficult third novel

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A year ago, I finished writing my second novel, “The Blue Angels” and started to think about my third. Today, I finally started writing it. When I’d collated all of my plot outlines into a single document, I found I had 25,000 words, which makes me wonder what it is I’ve taken on! Ironically perhaps, given this level of preparation, the most difficult thing now is thinking of a title. Perhaps that will come in the fullness of time and perhaps – just perhaps – I can break the “three words, the first of which is ‘The'” pattern that has been my shibboleth up until now. Perhaps an interesting title will stimulate the interest that has been lacking for the first two. It’s been an interesting journey.

Interview

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I was recently interviewed for a news letter web site that is sent out to subscribers who, by and large, live in my home town. It’s not as grand as it sounds – I was paying! – but the questions made me think hard about certain aspects of my writing. Take a look and perhaps you could answer those same questions yourself. If you do, let me know: I’d be interested to see!

My Smashwords Interview.

E-Book Giveaway

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I have created 100% off coupons so you can download my e-books for free from Smashwords until July 6th. For those who haven’t visited Smashwords before, you’ll need to create a free account and then choose the format that you wish to buy – all the main formats are available. Each book has a separate voucher code that you’ll need to enter at the checkout:

If you do take advantage of this offer, please leave a review!