AWOL Sunday & Falling Behind

Lazy Sunday…

Well, kind of, I guess.  Started with dosing up as much as I dared to make a journey I really wasn’t fit for, but in a very good cause.  Why?  It was the baptism of our granddaughter Kimberly!  Sadly, the best I could manage in participation terms was arriving before everybody headed out, as the “facilities” at the church and the club afterwards were not suitable for me.  So I basically house-sat.  Still, I spent an extremely pleasant day in the back garden, enjoying the warmth and, eventually, the sun.  I dozed off for a while and then used my son’s tablet to start writing a new story (probably a short story).  It was wonderful, actually.  Being somewhere so very quiet, doing nothing of great importance.

If you’re interested in such things, I have a photo gallery of the baptism on my Facebook.  The majority of the photos were taken by my wife, Jenny, and using a Samsung Ace Smartphone (with only one exception), after the batteries died in my digital camera,  I have to say that the Samsung’s camera function provided phenomenal quality results, especially considering that no flash was used!

Not Keeping Up Well…

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been keeping up with things very well, lately.  That’s mainly because of the work involved in preparing for the book launch!  Part of it is the to-and-fro’ of getting the book into print, which will be both paperback and hardback.  I complicated matters by wanting the hardback to be the kind with a dustjacket with a plain book cover, rather than a full colour book cover.  This is probably a holdover from growing up with such things.  I used to love peeking under the dustjackets to see the smart, minimalistic titles on the covers and spine beneath.  Somehow, when I first encountered hardbacks without dustjackets but with glossy, full colour covers (often just on the front), well… to be absolutely honest, they looked cheap and tacky to me.  And yes, I know that’s silly and unfair, but it’s something I can’t get past.  Even those where the dustjacket illustration is still printed on the book cover beneath just doesn’t have the same feel to it.  A further complication because of this wish for a dustjacket is that the book sizes available are different!  Thus, I can’t have the 8 x 5 inch size.  I have to move up to 8.5 x 5.5 inches, which means that there will be a reduction in the number of pages!  The paper will also be crème instead of white.  Finally, the desire for a dustjacket means I need to come up with something for the inner flaps, without repeating anything from elsewhere, preferably.  Keith at skoobebooks.co.uk has been a huge help throughout!

On top of the print issues for the book, I have fallen foul of something I did for the release of The Sigil of Ahriman – producing a video book trailer!  There are many, many difficulties involved in the process, and I spent a considerable amount of time beating my head against very high, hard brick walls!  Without the enormous amount of help I had from Chris Graham (creator of the book’s cover illustration) with the images used in the video, and my son Damien in the narration, I would probably have conceded defeat long ago.  The task would have been, I  now know, far beyond me!  I will admit that this process was complicated when Damien pointed out that the video lost quality rather badly when watched full screen in HD!  I don’t have direct, personal access to HD.  Further, my computer seems to be suffering from serious memory problems (I know that feeling!) so many of the tricks used to persuade Windows Movie Maker to record in HD, or even pseudo-HD, simply won’t work for me.  I found a video conversion program which may have overcome the problem, but I won’t know until Damien confirms one way or another.  Finally, I haven’t yet decided on whether to superimpose the narrative on the video or to incorporate subtitles.  Both present significant technical challenges for a video creation newbie!

So I hope that you all understand why I have been struggling to keep up with other things!  If you’ve emailed me, for any reason, and I haven’t replied as yet, please accept my very sincere apologies.

~ Steve

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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

“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

Using Video To Promote Your Books

I’ve been looking at the number of authors whose work is now being promoted by using video trailers.  A few (very few) appear in ad’ breaks on TV but most are online.  Some are very polished with high production values – and probably cost a considerable amount of money.  Some are, I can’t say it any other way – cheesy!  They might look professional but I’ve found myself even less inclined to read the books than before seeing the trailer!  So, the question is: are video trailers really worthwhile?

I’ll admit to throwing together a very short video.  It contains no sound or moving images – it’s basically just a slide show.  No big deal, and I certainly expected nothing from it when I uploaded it to YouTube.  I wasn’t disappointed.  So, I started thinking: should I have included snippets from the books?  Maybe animating them.  The important thing to remember is that I can’t afford to pay for a professional ad’.  Another complication is that I don’t like being on camera and I dislike hearing my recorded voice, so making a personal presentation i definitely out.  Working on a shoestring, and unable to invest in getting permission to use music tracks, is it even worthwhile thinking about promotional videos?

As things stand, and circumstances are very unlikely to change, I can’t help feeling that there is the risk of making a bad mistake by pursuing the video idea.  I feel that it wouldn’t reflect well on either myself or my work.  And, at the end of the day, I’m an author, not a video producer!

I can only conclude that promotional videos are fine if you can afford them, but the majority of us really needn’t worry about jumping in and regretting it.  Naturally, I’d be happy top hear from anybody who has more experience in this area…

~ Steve