Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What's Happening Now?
I'm collaborating with the Director on the screenplay for the full feature film of "The Widow-Maker" and my learning curve is nearly vertical as I switch from writer to storyteller, re-evaluating every aspect of the story and learning to tell it in a new medium. It's fascinating and I'm having a ball condensing the story into 120 pages of screen play, identifying the essential story points of Lexie's battle with the demons of her past as she matures and grows to meet the challenges of falling in love with a man who does dangerous things. I even made a pun to the Director the the motorcycle called the Widow-Maker was only the vehicle for Lexie's journey to maturity. I'm not sure how he took it because he's in Brisbane and I'm in Melbourne and the screenplay bounces back and forth between us electronically (He probably just groaned and carried on).

After sitting on my top bookshelf for a month, I took down the initial draft of "Coasting" and read it through, marking up the areas that needed re-working. The second draft is finished now and I'm working my way through it to ensure its continuity and flow.(It always amazes me how much changes between drafts)

Friday, December 02, 2011

My annual contest is running at Coffee Time Romance. If you go to  
http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/ContestPage.html and scroll down the page a little you will find my alter ego. David Andrews has given you the chance to win downloads of all the books on our combined list, plus a $25 voucher on CTR.
Have fun, and good luck!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm on a nostalgia trip at the moment, having printed out a hard copy of my first published book-length story. It won two national contests before it was released in 2000, has been printed under license in China, In the UK as a large print book (hard cover and paperback) and released in the US under another name "Mitchell's Valley" with the locale shifted from the Victorian High Plains to Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The reviews have been good rather than enthusiastic and I'm considering submitting it under its original title "Mitchell's Run" with the locale reverting back to Australia.
The story and character never quite fitted the US, even though I did my resarch thoroughly, and it's never been released as an e-book.
Saltwater Press, the original publisher, is sadly long defunct now, but I owe much to Diane Colman and I've managed to have all her books of mine rereleased with different publishers except this one, so I've taken the time out from writing the third book of The Alliance series to review it.

These are the three covers so far, the one in the centre being the hard cover large print version.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Alliance was reviewed by Regina of Coffee Time Romance and she liked it enough to award it four coffee cups.
This is what she had to say:
Peter is a human that has managed to survive long past a human life span. In doing so, he has set himself the grim task of fighting a group of humans who he feels do not have humanity’s best interest at heart since they are set on taking over human colonies and adding them to the Federation.
Dael is a nearly immortal alien who has taken a human body and become Peter’s mate.
Karrell, Anneke, and Jean-Paul are the children of Peter and Dael.
Gabrielle is Karrell’s wife.
Jack is Karrell and Gabrielle’s son.
Rachael is a Federation agent.
Kamran is a man who is the child of a “spacer” and a peasant. However, he aspires to be much more.
All of Peter’s children must go on 60 missions for the Alliance that he has created to keep the Federation from getting too much of a foothold on human worlds. This is to help them learn, and to help humanity. Anneke is on a current mission on a primitive human planet when she discovers that some Federation agents are about to be killed. While the denizens of this world are cognizant of space travel, they themselves do not have space travel. Keeping one step ahead of those that could harm her is made possible by being able to slip into a place called Limbo. However, at the moment that is not possible since she has decided to rescue the Federation agent Rachael, and does not want to give away where she is from. Keeping Rachael and herself alive and out of the hands of Kamran who is hunting them is easier said than done though. Will she be able to do so? Also, will she be able to lead Rachael where she, and her father, Peter want her to go? Is Kamran truly the enemy, or is he something more? What are his plans for the primitive planet he was raised on? Is the Federation truly the enemy? Will all of Peter’s machinations and manipulations using his children and their powers make the universe a better place? So many questions and only time will reveal the answers.
I truly enjoyed The Alliance. The world building is extraordinary, and the relationships detailed and well thought out. All the characters relate well to each other and in ways that make sense. With as many plots and subplots as there are throughout the story that is a miracle! There is plenty of suspense as well making this book so much more than just a science fiction story, or even a romance. In fact, it puts me more in the mind of a space opera, similar to authors such as Catherine Asaro, and Kay Kenyon. I do wish I had read the first book before this one since I feel as if I would have a better handle on the whole universe, but despite this I found this book to be a very well written science fiction romance. I suggest that you read the first book first though unlike I did so you can follow the storyline more easily. If you enjoy plots, and subplots, romance, suspense, multiple characters, horrible bad guys, bad guys that turn into good guys and unique worlds then you definitely want to pick up a copy The Alliance.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
(I think I like her.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The first draft of Coasting is finished (I suppose I should call it the eleventh draft, because that's how many times it's been written from beginning to end) It ran to a little over ninety thousand words this time.
I've added photographs of the two ships that inspired the tale. I'd sailed on both of them by the time I wrote the first draft and used them as the skeletons of the Kooyonga and Dargo, just as I used some of the people I'd met over the years of seagoing as skeletons for my characters.
Those shipmates, who read the early versions of the tale, were certain they recognized individual characters and invariably named them. They were always wrong, but it did show how well I'd captured the archetypal characters that populated the coastal shipping industry in the mid-seventies.
I've printed out a hard copy and it sits on the upper shelf of my bookcase. In a month, I'll take it down and read it from beginning to end and then the hard work of crafting it into a finished story will begin.
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

After fourteen years of sometimes faithful service, I have retired my old computer and disciplined the new one into something approaching my needs, welcomed a new grandchild, designed and test run an online writing course for our local adult education system (whether they take it up will be their commercial decision, but the trial went very well) and returned to a story I first wrote in the mid seventies of last century.
"Coasting" has an interesting background. I'd returned to sea-going after eight years working ashore for Lloyd's Register of Shipping as a ship and engineer surveyor (the period covered the birth and early years of our three children) and had two short stories published in men's magazines (sadly long defunct now).
Buoyed by this success, a writing life beckoned, but engineers do not make decisions without proof of  potential success and I set myself the task of writing a novel length manuscript. Logical as ever, I chose to write about something I knew very well, life at sea on the Australian coastal ships.
My first attempt ran to a little over one hundred thousand words, every one typed on an old portable typewriter perched on my knees on watch in the engine room of various ships. The first draft finished, I reread it carefully, acknowledged its faults, did a little cut and paste, and then started again at the beginning.
I stopped when I had ten complete versions of the story and did some hard thinking. I had three school age children now, a challenging, well-paid career and a nervous wife, so I put thoughts of a writing life away and focused on what I had trained myself to do. My eldest daughter, who'd read the story in its various forms, grumbled (I think she saw a lot of herself in the heroine), but that was all.
Coming back to it, thirty plus years later, was a shock. It was amazing how much of it I'd forgotten. I read the ten versions and started planning the eleventh with the skills I'd developed since 1997 and in eighteen published stories.
I'm seventy-five thousand words into it now and am having a ball.
The photos above were taken on a similar ship to one in the story. (The sea was a little rough that day.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Chinese Curse

"May you live in interesting times" is said to be a Chinese curse.

I have avoided war, famine, flood and fire, watched earthquakes and tsunamis from afar, but, on a personal level, my life has been just a little too interesting of late and and I long for a quiet period of "steady as you go" living. It's an unlikely prospect, alas, but I can dream.

On the up side, the edits for "The Alliance" are almost done and all is ready for its release on July 7th by Eternal Press.

The second book of the series sees Peter's children and grandchildren join the struggle, recruiting others into an alliance that will curtail the Federation's freedoms.

I have the usual number of submissions current and some look prospective, especially a favorite of mine, and am deep in the research of others.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A New Year with new books

We all have periods when our lives seem to spiral out of our control and demands exceed our abilities. I am, hopefully, emerging from one to the news of a contract for the second book of The Alliance series at Eternal Press, to be released in July, and the cover art for "Her Brother's Keeper" at Whiskey Creek Press, to be released in April.

Gemini Judson has done a great job, don't you think?
The back cover blurb reads:

A brother par excellence, comforter, protector, mentor, guide, working overseas to support her and his mother, everything a brother should be and rarely is—or a lover beyond her dreams? Drawn into a web of intrigue by others, Heather’s quandary intensifies as Richard returns to Malaysia when a long-time friend of his father’s suffers a heart attack. The strands of the web begin to tighten when she is sent to join him by the plotters with the intention of compromising her in a drug deal. Richard hustles her out of the country and goes to ground to untangle the matter. Forced to rely on piecemeal and contradictory information, Heather can only guess what is happening to the man she grew up with as a brother, but is now the core of her existence
Romance with a touch of reality - or vice-versa?