Archive for August, 2012

What kind of music do YOU think goes with this?

Like most creative types, I have been constantly inspired by music. For me, it is a natural part of the creative process, enabling me to transpose myself into a different frame of mind, almost like method acting. I’ve also been known to wear an appropriate (or inappropriate in some cases)  hat for a specific character or scene so I can get a feel for the content and in essence become a character, or conjure a scene more easily. I find that if I can find the right music track, I can concentrate on the themes and emotional suites, stirring up sleights of mind that I couldn’t plan for.  I can’t remember a piece of writing, especially, that hasn’t had its own soundtrack, or been inspired by one.

With that in mind, I have been concocting a soundtrack of tracks for my novel in progress, trying to capture themes of space travel, alien cultures, odd environments, eccentric characters, weird yet natural feelings, tribal notes, etc.  About 2/3 of the book will take place in areas where the only human character is the protagonist, so I’ve been careful not to include things which don’t sound too terrestrial or mundane.

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What will happen in 20 mins?

One of the big draws of SF, either science or speculative fiction, is the ability of its authors to prophecy the developments of the future. In practical circles, it has become the driving purpose of Science Fiction, specifically, whose greatest practitioners are consulted by governments and think-tanks for dealing with the alien invasions of the future, or warning humans from the distant future about the dangers of our nuclear waste. But really, what is futurism and how much sway does it have with us?

I, like many people, am still waiting for my jetpack and hover car. It was promised a long time ago, but I don’t see it anywhere. Still, the idea of it has captured my imagination, so one could argue that that is really the point of SF. Not to predict the future, but to encourage its development. To inspire, rather than predict.

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What I have learned about ePubs

Still struggling with the first part…


After mucking about with InDesign for a few weeks trying to get my eBook thing going, I spent many a frustrating hour figuring out the whole process.

This and This video were key to my understanding the whole thing. They cover pretty much the whole process and every weird bit you’ll run into.

Here I’ll try to offer some helpful tips that came to mind as I got my feet wet in the whole self-publishing ocean and the bit where I stepped off the beach-shelf and got dragged to the murky depths.

Please keep in mind that the following tips relate to InDesign, but your own DTP program might suffer similar issues (or similar delusions of grandeur, as it were)


  • Don’t bother with Master Pages, headers/footnotes, page numbers, or many other fancy things outside of what you can pull off in a Character or Paragraph style.  The HTML style format and the fact that an ePub can resize a page means that these things get stripped away, no matter how good they look.  Save all this for the PDFs or other formats.

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The Human-Centric Universe

Human beings seem to be very important in science fiction, or indeed, any kind of story that we create.  Just look at how many of them are in our stories! They’re all over the place.  They must be very important!

At face value, this is perhaps simply because we are human and need other humans to relate to. The closer you come to our “Real” world the more likely you are to have humans in your story. However, science fiction (and to some degree fantasy and horror) has more of an excuse to venture further away from this idea, but even with possibility of strange alien life forms being taken for granted, the pervasiveness of humanity, or species directly related to humanity, seems inescapable.

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The Unorthodox Eater

Work is nearing completion on what I’m considering a “test e-Book”, which is entitled The Unorthodox Eater, coming shortly from my own imprint “GRNDL’s Grub & Grog”.   I completed the artwork today (after trying to figure out what kind of hairstyle Phileas should have: a pseudo French-Revolution era Quiff/bouffant, with a touch of Bride of Frankenstein, er, yeah..) and am just adjusting the formatting of the e-Book in InDesign to finagle some finesse out of it.

As mentioned in a previous post, the Unorthodox Eater is a compilation of three semi-comedic Phileas McNeil stories, two of which are available to read on this site right now.

Phileas is a gourmand/foodie from a future in which Humanity has spread to the stars and begun to kill and eat the weird things they find, as is their wont. Phileas is obsessed with eating and has made it his goal in life to eat at least one of everything known to Humankind. However, they is one food that might be beyond his ability to eat it!  The stories are short, odd and really without much point to them. Some would say the author has written himself as Phileas and perhaps they might not be far off the mark. 🙂 They aren’t particularly philosophical, they were written just for a giggle. (Some would say this about the author as well, except for the short bit!)

If everything goes well, the book will be available initially from the Kobo e-Book service and perhaps others (iBooks, Amazon, etc) eventually once I figure out the whole US Tax weirdness.

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