Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
"Can you read this?
Then paper planes is for you ..."
So says the back cover for Sandcastles on the Moon.
And what an amazingly simple idea Paper Planes is. The mission statement from its creator is found on the inside of each book:
"Paper Planes is for anyone who wants to read a good story.
Our objective is to offer a new style of book: modern English Literature for an international audience.
When you read this story, it is not important that you understand every word. Relax, continue reading, and let the author take you on a voyage.
We hope you enjoy the flight.
- Rupert Morgan"
Last year, Rupert approached me to write a science fiction novella for Paper Planes, part of Editions Didier (which is part of Hachette Livre). No arm twisting was required to accept the commission. The money was good, sure. Hell, any money is good when you're a fledgling writer, but that wasn't it at all.
It's this, I guess, summed up by my own experiences:
When I was about ten years old, I picked up my parents' copy of Frank Herbert's Dune, a doorstop of a book that would be intimidating to adult readers let alone a child. What drew me to the book in the first place was the elegant cover by Bruce Pennington, but also the blurb, a story about battles and adventures on a far away planet. The perfect adventure story for a boy fed on a diet of Star Wars and Star Trek, and Flash Gordon. I turned the first page and started out on what was an incredible adventure, perhaps the first adult adventure of my young life.
It took me months to read it. Much longer than it took my friends to read the Hobbit, but then this wasn't a race, or even a marathon. It was an adventure. And the best adventures tend to be like wines, they take time to mature, and then to savour. In my case, I had to concentrate on every word, because there was much I did not understand. For a nine year old there is much about Dune that feels like it is written in a foreign language. The names for example (Muad'Dib, Thufir Hawat, the Bene Gesserit), were completely alien and unlike anything else I had read or heard of. The religions, philosophies, reference to other worlds and the language spoken, was confusing; but far from bewildering me, I was awed, believing I was somehow learning something important, albeit fictional. For the year or so I read Dune, I was being educated again, but lovingly so.
From Dune, I read Brian Stableford, Michael Moorcock, Stephen King and on and on. I graduated with Frank Herbert's book and never did I let those fancy words (pretentious or author-created) stop me from enjoying a book or even intimidating me. The language of story-telling is universal, and that's why Paper Planes appeals to me. Yes, being able to read English is required, but having a fluent grasp of the written word is not a pre-requisite to enjoying the books Editions Didier publishes. You can get by with not knowing every word. In fact, you might even enjoy it more, revelling in the exotic sentences, the nuance of alien words, even looking up those that are not familiar but somehow appeal so that you might use them yourself someday. It all comes down to the story though, and that's what Paper Planes is: the story stripped down to story-telling.
Even though this is aimed at an international audience, I realised recently that it isn't just about a French student learning English, or a German student or Spanish student. Its about anyone learning about stories regardless of how they come upon them or how they are written. Like me, reading Dune, or even the pages of Metal Hurlant (French original version of Heavy Metal), the words are there to be looked up, absorbed, even by English students.
My own novella, Sandcastles on the Moon, is written for people who like stories. It is written for people who will at nine years old or even thirty years old or sixty, will pick up a copy of Dune for the first time, because they like the blurb, they like the cover and they believe they will have an adventure, and it doesn't matter who they are or where the come from.
And if you still want persuading, here's the blurb to the Sandcastles on the Moon:
"The moon of Prollyx is lifeless, but rich in mineral deposits. Hemmingway Goode and his family join a group of pioneers, hoping to make their fortune there. But the moon is no place for humans.
The prospectors have made a terrible mistake.The question now is how many will survive?
From the imagination of science-fiction author Matt Curran comes a story rich in tension, poetry and horror..."
And there are plenty of other books to choose from too, if science fiction is not your bag. So then, what do you have to lose?
"Can you read this?
Then Paper Planes is for you ...!"
(Sandcastles on the Moon is released through Paper Planes, Didier Editions in paperback+MP3 audio download, 22nd May).
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Next year my science fiction novella, The Sandcastles on the Moon, will be published under Paper Planes, a pretty cool initiative headed up by fellow writer Rupert Morgan with Hachette Livre publishing. Initially it will be published in French only, but my agent and I will put our heads together to find the best way to get it out in English in the coming months. So watch this space.
Also on the cards, is the novella Those Grey Test Hits, and I hope to have some news on the non-Secret War novel, The Black Hours.
But first it's time to recharge the batteries and gear up for writing The Blood on the Seine (Secret War book II) and the SF novel Shadows of the Hive.
The Secret War (revised edition) is still available to buy from Amazon for the Kindle, by the way, for a paltry £1.99 or $3.22, a snip for just 500 pages or so.
And Kobo and iBooks readers should not despair as it will be coming to your e-readers soon too at some point in January.
Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Yep, until 18th December, the revised edition of The Secret War is available for the price of air on the Amazon Kindle, to celebrate the run-up to Christmas.
And in the new year, The Secret War will be available for Kobo and iBooks users too!
I guess you could say that recently my "media" hasn't been that social. I've had a lot going on; it's been a difficult time just to keep a thought in my head. A really tough time for writing.
The main reason for this was our littlest, who was rushed into children's A&E last month due to problems with his breathing. He was put on oxygen for five days, and it scared the shit out of me. It happens to young children all the time, but when it happens to your own, it's very different. It's taken weeks to just get over that little episode, and when I can concentrate, I've been working on a little project that should see publication next year. (I'll say more once it's official ;) ). So it ain't all doom and gloom.
This year has been a strange one for me. I've not completed a single draft of a novel, only completed one novella, a short story, and edits on the revised edition of The Secret War. It's been a fractured writing year really, of projects (Thirst eDition Fiction), renewed publicity, finding talents I didn't think I had (composing music and cover design) and of course family life which takes up most of my energies at the moment. I won't go into the day-job here; it's something that pays the bills, helps a few people but is hampered by lofty decisions that I do not agree with in the slightest.
So, when this meme from Roger dropped in my inbox, it got me thinking. So I've used it as a spring-board for 2013 - a year when I'll be making up for 2012. A year for two projects. Yep - crazy - but I've done the maths, and it can be done. One book will be on a faster track than the other, but in theory I'll have two books completed by 2014.
Wanna know more?
Then read the post below ...
and the next Secret War novel:
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
3) What genre does your book fall under?
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
The Blood on the Seine:
"While serving his exile in a remote village in Italy, William Saxon is recalled by the British Army for what might become his final mission: to hunt down eight French deserters in Paris, but events run out of control as one by one the deserters are brutally murdered and William suspects an agent of Hell might be, once again, involved."
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
From the 1st November, the Kindle ebook version will revert to £1.99/$3.16, so get 'em while you can:
Monday, September 10, 2012
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
I’m not sure if this counts as a mid-life crisis, but in the last year or so I think I’ve lost my mojo.
In 2008 I felt on top of my game, on a steep learning curve, but one that I was forging up at quite a rate I might add. In 2009 there was a significant event which kinda scuppered that: fatherhood. Now, yeah, it was self-inflicted, but it had a significant impact on my ability to keep a thought let alone throw my entire concentration onto the page. In the the past 3 years this situation hasn’t changed, in fact it might have gotten worse. My concentration has been beaten up by a three year old looking for attention and a baby who is damn cute, but needs constant care (we’ve been to A&E twice already this year with no.2 son).
So my writing has certainly been a casualty of fatherhood. I’m not saying that it contributed to what happened with the split with Pan Macmillan – I think the cracks were showing before my first son was born – but the time I have to write and the energy I have to concentrate on it has been greatly reduced. I’ve suffered RSI (partially due to using the keyboard, but significantly contributed to by constantly picking up said children); I’ve had more child-introduced illnesses in the last two years than I had in the ten preceding them (due in no small part to the breeding ground that is the nursery – your pandemic’s incomparable ally!), not to mention untold sleepless nights due to restless kids wanting comforters or with fevers etc.
And then there’s the lack of time with Sarah, and my laughable social life (which is on life-support – I’ve been out five times so far this year, and 2 of those occasions were a wedding and a stag-do). I haven’t been to a writers’ convention in a couple of years and it’s doubtful I’ll get to one in the next year or so either.
And, of course, it’s hit us financially.
None of this is a surprise. Not really. Though perhaps I didn’t think it would hit the writing so hard. What I’m going through is what any new family goes through, and there will be sacrifices. I’m lucky that I haven’t had to sacrifice my writing completely. Sarah has been very understanding. But what I put down on the page takes longer to construct and I make more mistakes. With all the things I’m involved in at the moment, it might seem that my productivity is as high as usual, maybe higher, but all the hours of the day are being spent getting it there.
The edits of The Secret War have taken longer than expected, due to me taking on more responsibilities. Little projects have been marginalized - like "Our Writing World" for example. I wanted to do more with that, make it a bigger thing than it was, involving more writers and presenting it on a separate blog. But all the work involved made it prohibitive, even though it would have been really interesting.
It's these little losses that make my shoulders slump and wonder what I could have achieved if I wasn't going through fatherhood.
So ... do I regret it?
Actually, no, I don’t.
In fact it’s something I can live with quite easily. Because firstly I’m a father, secondly I’m a husband, and at some point down the line I can call myself a writer. It’s still very much what I do, and I get off on it – writing that is. I can still make some money from it, maybe not enough to say “sayonara” to the day-job, but enough to justify the time being spent on publicity and the non-writing stuff. And that’s okay. As long as I don’t burn myself out – which is the risk, especially when you can’t rely on your mojo to get you by.
But my family is everything. Every time I shout at my son for interrupting me while I write, I almost immediately go back and apologise to him for being angry. Because they are what is most important to me.
Yeah, I might have lost my mojo, but what I’ve gained is a family and that’s a sacrifice worth making – even for a writer.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
And it’s the score that has been occupying me of late. I would never consider myself as a renaissance man, more a writer who has been forced into artistic DIY due to financial circumstance. The cover, for instance, was designed and put together by this author, and the copy-edits have been done by someone I know. The formatting of the book will eventually be done by me, as will all the other marketing, publicity etc. To pay someone to do all that would have cost four figures or thereabouts, and this is a project that aims to demonstrate that one person can do all this themselves on a small budget.