Fumbling Through Friday

MysteryBookCover.pngMy Conscience Is Being Difficult

I have been considering what to do about the short stories in my Thief series.  These have been available for free download for a considerable length of time, now.  I have, however, been considering withdrawing them from the list of free ebooks I have out there.  If I did so, I would place all of them in a single, omnibus, volume, possibly with the title The Thief of Ur’gavan.  This would allow something that I don’t think is viable while they are just short stories: release in paperback!  Obviously, there’s absolutely no way that I could do that for free!  So, that leaves Continue reading

Advertisements

Wandering On Wednesday

The Delight of Unexpected Reviews

I was thrilled to discover that two of my books were reviewed and given 5 stars! Shade of Evil and Evil Under The Circle, Parts 1 and 2 of G1: The Guardians, were reviewed by Chris The Story Reading Ape and the reviews can be found on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  You can find all of Chris’ reviews on Goodreads.  Of course, you can also find Chris’ reviews on his own blog.  I would like to express my sincere thanks to Chris for his kindness and honesty.  Having friends who understand fully that you only wish to receive absolutely genuine reviews of your works is beyond valuable.

I was further delighted to find a 5 star review of Intruder from the Thief series of free short stories!  The review, posted on Barnes & Noble is so heartening!  I quote it below:

This book kept me on the edge of my seat until the last word was read.

There is a serious threat that exudes evil and wants to claim the land in this sci-fi fantasy.  Mages, which this author describes as magicians of a sort, are sought to help go up against the evil.

Characters are richly described and likable and fascinating.  This is a novella which is a quick read but this reader did not want the story to end.  The author is a very talented and creative storyteller. I will be reading many more of his stories. This is an excellent choice of reading for YA.

Review by jesNH, 6th August, 2013.  5 stars awarded.

I would like to thank jesNH for such a glowing review!

Going for a New Look – Again!

Yes, I’m afraid I’m going to be tinkering again!  The main page of posts can be rather overwhelming, especially when the posts are long!  I’ve decided to try to improve things by making use of a WordPress post facility.  This will involve adding the codeword More to all long posts, which will mean that only part of the post will appear on the main page and you will need to click on the More… link in the post to read all of it.  One advantage of this is that it will give easier access to other facilities, such as commenting, sharing, rating and liking.  In respect of special days (Book Promo Day and Blog Browser Day), I will endeavour to place the codeword in such a place that the link has to be clicked or some of the detail information will be lost to the reader.  Obviously, this will be subject to any feedback – positive or negative – as to whether I continue to use the codeword.  Also, I will not be going back to posts already displayed.  I simply don’t have the time to edit all those posts (around 270 of them)!

If you wish to provide any feedback on this change, at any time, please  contact me using the contact form on the blog, or via email if you have my address.  I would suggest not using Facebook or Twitter, as messages are too easily lost unless the direct message system is used.

Uncovered: The Naked Manuscript

If by any remote chance you’re waiting for Part 4 of G1: The Guardians, which will also be the first novel I will have released, I’m afraid the waiting must continue.  It still lacks a cover.  My son is extraordinarily busy now, with negligible time for such extra projects.  My own attempts have been woeful, to say the least, and I simply can’t afford to pay anybody to provide a more professional cover.  I can assure you all that I am more frustrated than anybody else.  I even considered abandoning my original vision for the cover, even if only for the first edition, and going with an extremely simple cover.  So desperate have I become!  There has been a consequence to this situation, too, in that the work on Part 5 is crawling along.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

No – they dream of having more storage space  built into their main circuitry!  How do I know?  Well, I have a Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830i and it is forever complaining that its built-in memory is almost or actually full!  The kind folk of Samsung allow the use of micro SD cards to obtain more space.  Unfortunately, that really doesn’t help because they have been so miserly as far as the built-in space is concerned!  Don’t misunderstand me.  This isn’t a problem unique to Samsung,  I had, for a short while, an Android tablet, and that suffered from exactly the same problem!  Sure, most apps are installed to the SD card, along with things that they handle – such as the Kindle app and the ebooks that you download for it.   I was amazed, having watched TV adverts talking about the vast number of available apps, that this ‘phone has so very little actual capacity.  Every app installed contributes to the space consumed in the ‘phone itself, regardless of where the app itself is installed to!  And even more annoying is the fact that there are pre-installed apps which you can’t uninstall!  Some of these are massive (‘bloatware’) and I know that I’ll never use them, but Samsung have decided that they should be locked in, untouchable.  I find it increasingly difficult to understand how Samsung, and most other Android device manufacturers, expect to compete with Apple’s devices!  For example, the internal, built-in storage of the iPod Touch is impressive.  Sure, you can’t expand it, but at least most of the storage is available without all the nonsense problems of the Android competition.  Yes, there are locked apps with Apple too, and yes, it would be hugely beneficial if we could remove them, but even then I can get loads more apps on the standard, basic iPod Touch than I can on the Android smartphone!

(Apologies to Philip K Dick, author of the book whose title I have stolen for this section!)

WIPs, A Worry On Costs and News

Another Quick Note I

First, Shade of Evil is now listed on Sweetie Picks.  Second, following on from my chat with Matt Carter, you can learn more about Kate Wellesley, co-leader of G! with Matt, courtesy of Nancy Jardine, who also includes a quickie profile of yours truly.

A Question of Price

I receive numerous emails about the world of books and authors, plus seeing and reading many blogs from the same area.  I have noticed an increasing number of websites offering ebook services, such as formatting and publishing.  What I cannot understand is the spiralling cost of these services!  I have often mentioned that I use Jutoh, which is a commercial product.  The price is considerably lower than the cost per ebook quoted by service websites, and I know that Jutoh’s not the only option.  Couple this with services like Smashwords – which is free – and I really don’t understand how the service websites can possibly justify their charges!  More, I can only assume that such services are aimed at the most vulnerable of new authors looking to self-publish – those with no experience in the process.  I’m probably going to upset some people here, but surely there are enough potential costs without adding ‘formatting and publishing’?  Every author has to consider whether to employ an editor and cover designer, to name just two possible expenses.  I can’t help but think that the ever increasing level of profiteering and plain exploitation will drive many authors to either pursue the traditional publishing path or give up!  And who’s to say that we won’t lose a Tolkien, or King, or Steinbeck?  What a shame that would be.

Another Quick Note II

Yesterday, I posted a new poem.  It’s a slightly odd look at ebooks and whether they have a real future in a world where technology changes so rapidly.

WIPs and Futures

The two current WIPs.  The new Thief series short story is i abeyance – the story I stated just didn’t pan out, so I’ve got to think about what to try next.  The new G1: The Guardians series story, on the other hand, is not only progressing very well, it’s already past 30,000 words!  I’m not giving out even its working title, as that would be something of a giveaway.  I’m hoping that any fans of the series, and the characters, will find the story more satisfying, with more character-driven episodes.  I’m also hoping that it might attract lovers of thrillers and other ‘action’ stories, with far more action going on.  Hopefully, I’ll succeed in throwing in a good surprise or twist.

As to the future, I’ve been thinking hard about that.  I don’t plan, as such, but i do jot down any ideas that might come along.  So far, I have many potential storylines for future G1 books.  What will be needed is some thought as to how these various snippets might develop, and the order they may take, chronologically.  What has become clear is that the series is strong and exhibits many potentials.  It will, therefore, be around for a while, much to my surprise!  A more challenging matter is pursuing the Captain Henri Duschelle Stories series.  Probably because the G1 series is so strong, I’m finding it rather difficult to fix any ideas for the tales of the good captain.  They will, however, sail again, I’m sure.  I would quite like to write something that isn’t part of a series, but that obviously has to await an idea!  Another area I’d rather like to have  ago at is children’s stories.  That’s a major toughie, though.  They might be short, but that makes them all the harder to write, for me.  They demand something that kids will enjoy and want to hear or read more than once, demanding a good story in a (relatively) few words.  I have a concept, which I’ve mentioned before, but I haven’t tried again, so far.  The loss of several pages when my netbook’s battery died still hurts.

So the future looks pretty good, and potentially very productive.  I’ll just have to hope it all materialises!

~ Steve

Book Trailer and News in General

Book Trailer Released!

You may have seen already, if you follow me via Twitter or Facebook.  I have released a book trailer, for The Sigil of Ahriman.  I announced it yesterday, but there was a slight hiccough with the video.  As it seems to be impossible to upload a revision to an existing video, I’ve had to lock out the one from yesterday and I’ve now uploaded the corrected version.  I had fun with this video, using special effects.  I deliberately selected an enhancement that makes it look like an old film, as I think that fits with the book’s character.  I was even more delighted to find the soundtrack, which is Anxiety by Kevin MacLeod, (incompetech.com) [Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0, creativecommons.org/licenses…].  Here’s the trailer:

The paperback edition of the book is getting closer all the time.  Watch for an announcement in a future post!

Revisions

In addition to writing the next book in the series, I’m working on revisions of the first book, Shade of Evil.  This will include some significant changes, so it will appear as a ‘second edition’.  I’ve been considering changing the cover, too, but haven’t made a decision on that as yet.  It isn’t a case of not liking the thinking behind the existing cover, but more a matter of making the two editions obviously different.

I’m also still working on the new story for the Thief series.

Eyesight Problems

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been experiencing some eyesight problems.  This has significantly reduced the amount of time I can spend dealing with things online.  Naturally, I have devoted as much time as I can to actual writing, as I can no longer devote late hours to that.  If I seem to have overlooked emails from anybody, I sincerely apologise!  Obviously, I deal with things as best I can, handling the most urgent emails, keeping the blog up to date, and writing.  I’m afraid that other things have to be fitted in as and when I can manage to do so.  Nobody is more frustrated by the situation than I.

~ Steve

Dancing With Joyness!

‘Joyness’?  What the heck is that?

Okay, so I know there’s no such word as ‘joyness’!  The word ‘joy’ was insufficient and ‘ecstasy’ has an unfortunate alternate meaning.  So I got inventive for this post.  What am I feeling joyness about?  It’s very easy to answer that: I have another novelette available in paperback with one more almost there!

The Ossilan Affair - Spec Fic

The Ossilan Affair, which is the second novelette in the Captain Henri Duschelle Stories series, is now available through skoobebooks.  It should be noted that, while skoobebooks are in the UK, they do fulfil international orders – please check the website!

I am very excited to see these paperback editions appearing.  While there have been no sales so far, unfortunately, I feel that I’m now offering my books in a more complete sense, and not confining them to only those with eReaders/computers with eReader apps.  I’m seriously considering bringing together the Thief series short stories in a compendium, which would be offered both as an ebook and a paperback.  If I did so, however, I would have to remove the free ebooks, which is a stumbling block to the idea’s progress.  I would love to hear from you if you have any views on the possibility, especially if you’ve done something similar!

The next ‘ebook goes paperback’ will be Evil Under The Circle, which is the second of the G1: The Guardians series.  I decided to go to skoobebooks for this, too, because my experiences with them, compared to FeedARead, were so good.  With the third in this series now completed, I’m still trying to decide whether to release the ebook or the paperback first.  If I choose to go for the paperback, there will be a delay before the release…

Where next…

I’m between stories now.  The novel is still in limbo.  I haven’t yet been hit by inspiration as to what comes next.  I’d love to pursue the Duschelle and Guardians series, but both obviously require the vision of where they are to go from the last books.  It’s obvious that I’m building up in length of these tales, so I really need some storylines appropriate to a longer format.  That said, there’s still room for more stories in the Thief series – or do I look to writing a longer tale there too?  Finally, I started writing a children’s story, but lost several pages of work when the battery died on my netbook!  Despite OpenOffice autosaving, all I had left was a little over one paragraph – which was soul destroying.  I do have notes for that story, but I’ve not had the heart to start again, so far.  It would also be complicated, because I’d like to include some black and white illustrations and my own drawing skills are not adequate for the images I’ll need.

It’s all very unclear at the moment.  In the meantime, not writing is an unhappy state for me!  Ah, the joys of being an author…

Review Delight

"Thief" by Steve K SmyNew Reviews

I was browsing, this morning, when I had the delightful experience of discovering that I had received three new reviews, on Goodreads, for the first three of my short stories in the Thief series.  And here, I might sound somewhat critical, but I’m simply making an honest observation: Unlike some authors, I don’t ‘cherry pick’ only five star reviews.  I can say with hand on heart that I am grateful when anybody takes the time to GabrinTheAvatar.jpgleave any kind of comment or review against one of my books!  Whatever their verdict – from “it sucks” (not in those words, please) to “I love it” – I am happy.  You see, I like to know that somebody has taken the trouble to deliver their verdict, good, bad or indifferent.  I don’t expect to please everybody.  If we all liked the same things, we might only have one book to read!  Honesty is a very important trait, as far as I’m concerned.

Imagineer cover for 'Ur'gavan' by Steve K Smy

All that said, here are the review links:

  1. Thief (4 stars)
  2. Ur’gavan (3 stars)

I would like to thank Magda for taking the time to comment.  It is very much appreciated.

Nearly There

I am very close to finishing my new mild horror/supernatural/future fiction tale in the G1: The Guardians series!  It will be my first novella.  I say finishing, but of course, I’m talking about the writing part of it.  The reading, editing, fixing and repairing are to come.  Before anybody says anything, I don’t have the option of getting any help from an editor or such.  Operating with a zero budget prohibits such things, unfortunately.  I have to rely on myself to act as impartially, and accurately, as possible.  It isn’t ideal, and I really would do things properly if I could afford it.  I am not inclined to beg for freebie help in these arduous tasks.  I’m also not interested in joining a ‘critique’ group, or similar.  My experience with such groups, in the field of art, have not been happy, with too many members having their own agendas and with motives that are sometimes questionable.  So I will continue as I must.

~ Steve

A Miscellanea Of Topics

Reviews Received and an Interview Posted

Shade of Evil

"Thief" by Steve K SmyI’ve received two very kind reviews.  One is for my novelette Shade of Evil (G1: The Guardians, #1), and appears on Julie’s Book Review, written by Wende Sheets.  Wende awards it 4 stars!  This review has also been posted to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  The second is for Thief (The Thief Series, #1), and appears on Tracey Wickham’s blog.  Tracey gives the short story a glowing 4 stars!  The ebooks are available from most major online book stores in ebook form, though Thief isn’t available from Amazon.  There’s also a new interview that features myself on Book Goodies.

I would be very grateful if you could leave feedback on these on the appropriate sites.

New Tale Progressing

The third tale in the G1: The Guardians series is progressing nicely.  More, the cover is doing even better and has me very excited!  It is being created by my son, Reuben, who is a gifted artist.  In fact, the concept drawing is so incredibly impressive, I’ve decided to hold back on showing it!  I can’t wait to see the finished artwork.  I also decided that there will be a reduced copy of the image inside the book, in black and white.  I haven’t yet established whether this tale will be a novelette or a novella, though.

A Little Ditty

Yesterday, I was inexplicably moved to write a little ditty on Twitter.  It’s a tribute to my favourite beverage: Tea!

Is there anything better than tea?
A taste of heaven, don’t you see?
Dark leaves of exotic lands,
A little bit of India in your hands.

(Copyright © Steve K Smy, May 2013)

It’s just a little bit of fun, of course.

Book Cover Artists and Book Illustrators

I would like to add a new occasional feature to Imagineer-ing.  Are you a book cover artist or a book illustrator?  Do you use, or know, either of these?  I would really like to include interviews of these very important people to the blog!  The interview wouldn’t be arduous.  It would only involve responding to an interview questionnaire, and including some examples of some book artwork.  It is my hope that this would benefit the artist, by providing links to their sites.  Also, if any artist would like a special feature done on them, and they have the copy prepared, I’d be very interested in that too.  Finally, if you’re a client of an artist you cannot live without (as an author) and you want to brag about them on their behalf, please feel free to submit an article, remembering to include links to the artist’s presence online, and images of book covers or internal illustrations they’ve done for you.

So, artists, please contact me direct!  Authors, help spread the word – send them a link to this post!

~ Steve

The Guild (Thief, #5) by Steve K Smy – New ebook released

I don’t normally post more than once in a day but I hope that you’ll think this is justified:

The Guild - ImagineerAnd here it is, the fifth short story in the Thief series.  I still don’t know for certain how far this is all going!  I am thinking about bringing them all together in a single volume at some time.  Of course, to do that I’ll have to be fairly sure that the end has been reached…

Anyway, back to The Guild.  To quote the blurb:

The Guild: a criminal organisation that lurks in every corner of Ur’gavan. The Guildmaster: chief of that organisation. And caught between old oaths and new: Tirnam.

The prince and his friends are confronted by the Guild’s brutal methods. His power challenged by the demands of the Guildmaster, they must prove that Tirnam is the only ruler of the city.

Will Tirnam and his friends be free of problems now?  Well, if they’re human, then the answer is probably that they won’t.  The question then becomes whether or not the problems they will face in the future will be enough to justify writing about them.  It’s a puzzle… sort of.  In  fact, I must confess that I have the germ of an idea for another tale in the series, but is there another after that?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what comes along.

The Guild is available in multiple formats from Smashwords (just click the cover picture), in ePub format from Goodreads and in ePub and mobi (Kindle) format from the shop on the main Imagineer web site.

~ Steve

“The Thief Series” – A Video Advertisement

You may recall that I mentioned making a short video for my works, when I discussed Using Video To Promote Your Books.  Well, I’ve had another go at it, but this time featuring the Thief series, though the other titles are included at the end of the video.  The video also includes music this time: Shadow Boy – Steve Moshier by Lloyd Rodgers, which is free under a Creative Commons License*.  The full music track is 2 minutes 53 seconds long.  I chose this track because “shadow boy” seemed appropriate for the central character of the series.

I hope that you find the video worthwhile watching.  It’s only 1 min 45 seconds long (or near enough).  I would be happy to hear what you think of it. If you’d like to vote on it, you can do so on YouTube.

~ Steve


* shadow boy – steve moshier / http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lloyd_Rodgers/ / Public Domain Mark 1.0

Fourth In The Series

Intruder - Imagineer Intruder was released through Smashwords on 27th February.  It’s the fourth in the Thief Series.  The folk of Ur’gavan are again threatened, but by an evil from within this time.  Whether Tirnam can save the day is uncertain, as this threat is decidedly outside his experience.  This is the longest of the tales, at a smidgen under 8000 words!  The first two stories (Thief and Gabrin: The Avatar) were about 5000 words and the third (Ur’gavan) was almost 5500 words.

I don’t know, as yet, whether there will be more, but I hope there will.  They’ve been fun to write, and actually recall how I used to write many, many years ago.  I believe that I’ve left stray threads that can be used to attach other stories to.  The important question I have to ask myself is: “Should the series go on?”.  At the moment, I don’t think I can answer that.  I know that there’s plenty of potential for more stories.  The people of Ur’gavan will, after all, continue to live their lives, forever at risk from new perils: raiders, invaders, plagues, natural disasters.  And Tirnam and his friends will have to lead them through it all for their whole lives.

Perhaps I should throw the question open to all!  I’d be interested to know whether you think I should pursue the series further.