Good News… of a Literary Nature!

Good News… of a Literary Nature!

First off, let me apologize for not announcing this sooner. But as with all good things, I didn’t want to announce anything prematurely or risk jinxing it. To put it simply, I have been approached by a publisher about my current work in progress – The Cronian Incident. And while nothing has been put in writing just yet, if all goes well, it will be part of Space Dock’s 2017 publishing catalog – which is the sci-fi subsidiary for a UK publisher.

To  start at the beginning, back in October, this publisher sent me a message via Facebook. It seemed that we were part of the same writer’s group, and he had heard me going on about The Cronian Incident and all the ideas I was exploring to create it. Apparently, this is something lots of publishers do these days, which is rely on social media to look for aspiring authors.

Anyhoo, I replied to him that I would be interested, and that the manuscript (though not yet complete) was coming along nicely. Over the course of the next few weeks, we did the usual back and forth. He explained what they were looking for and asked me about my long-term plans, I told him about the overall story and how I hoped to write sequels to it.

Jupiter's larger (Galilean) moons, Callisot, Europa, Io and Ganymede. Credit: NASA
Jupiter’s larger (Galilean) moons, Callisot, Europa, Io and Ganymede. Credit: NASA

 

He then asked me to send the first four chapters to see if it had promise. Here too, I learned something valuable. These days, its the first four chapters (not five, not three) that make-or-break many online sales. You see, people using Amazon are able to download these as a sample and will base their decision to buy the whole book depending on whether or not it’s grabbed their interest.

So the first notes the publisher gave me was that he liked the idea, but also stressed that the beginning needed “a hook”. There was little in the first four chapters of my original draft to introduce the overall plot, they said, and things kind of built slowly. So I revised it, added a prologue that contains the “inciting event” of the story (a kidnapping) and sent it back. This met with his approval, and he sent it on to one of his editors for a second look.

And just a few days ago, they got back to me again. Once again, I got some kudos on the story, but more concerns that things take too long to develop. However, this time around, it was more in the form of a suggestion. I took this to be a good sign, but of course I took the suggestion seriously. These people know what readers are likely to buy, so I’m not about to disregard their recommendations.

Terrafomed Mars by ittiz
Terrafomed Mars, one of the focal points of the story. Credit: ittiz

So I’m doing a second round of edits now, and working to complete the novel so its ready for the 2017 publishing season. At this point, I’m over 70,000 words into the story, and I imagine there’s about ten more chapters to go. At this rate, I can estimate that the final product will be probably be about 100,000 words (though that is likely to come down after all the editing is finished).

And like I said, nothing has been signed yet so nothing is written in stone. But so far, I’m pretty enthused about how things are going. It’s taken me over ten years to actually get to the point where a publisher was interested in my work and contacted me. In the meantime, feel free to join me in being cautiously optimistic!

Good News… Of A Promotional Nature!

Good News… Of A Promotional Nature!

As I’ve been talking about non-stop for the past few months, I got a novel in the works. As of the writing of this post, I’ve written 25 chapters and almost 50,000 words (that terrible middle part!) But what I haven’t shared yet is that some lovely websites have promised to promote it as soon as its done. This is a first for me, and something that I’m really looking forward to!

Truth is, this wouldn’t be possible were it not for the professional writing I’ve been doing for the past year and a half. And it all started a few months ago when I was busy updating an article (How Long Does It Take To Get To The Nearest Star). The article was a few years out of date at this point, and my boss wanted it expanded to include all the cool theoretical methods that have been proposed over the past few decades.

daedalus-saturn-9
Artist’s concept of the Project Daedalus spacecraft, with a Saturn V rocket standing next to it for scale. Credit: Adrian Mann

While researching the topic to find out how long it would take a nuclear-powered spaceship to make the journey, I stumbled across Futurism.com and saw that they had reposted the old version of the article. I also noticed that they had reposted a few articles done by little ol’ me, which include the very first article I wrote back in Oct of 2014 (about hibernation technologies for a trip to Mars).

While telling them that a newer version would be coming out, the manager and I got to talking. I asked them if they would appreciate some articles on terraforming, and happened to mentioned that I was writing a book where that was a major theme. To my surprise, they expressed interest in both things, and asked if they could interview me when the book was done.

Naturally, I was worried they thought I was someone who was… you know, a big deal! I was sure to point out that this book was fiction and not some professional treatise. I’m not exactly Mike Brown or Neil DeGrasse Tyson here. But they said it was cool! Then I pointed out that I didn’t have a publisher lined up, and it might very well be indie published in the end. They said that this was cool too!

mercury_map
Color-enhanced map of Mercury. Credit: NASA/JPL

Suffice it to say, I was surprised and flattered. And after talking this over with my boss (I wanted his permission to write content that would be put on another site, he said that was cool!), he told me that Universe Today would be promoting the hell out of it too. I was honored. At no point did I ask or expect that the people I work for would be promoting something I wrote on my own time. But of course, I was sure to let them know that the work I was doing for them is what inspired it.

Were it not for all the research I had been doing about the Solar System and articles I was writing about its various planets, the story would not exist. It actually all started with the article I wrote on Mercury, in fact. Learning about its extremes in temperature, its richness in minerals, its very slow rotation, and its icy poles all made me think that a mining colony would be possible there someday. Especially if it were a penal colony!

Bottom line, when the book is finished, two prominent websites are going to be making a big deal out of it. How cool is that?

And just in case anyone is interested, those terraforming article are now finished and up at Universe Today. There are three in the series now, starting with a rundown of the topic, and ones on how it could be done on Venus and Mars. Next up, the Moon, followed by Mercury and the Outer Solar System. Feel free to leave comments too, especially constructive ones. 🙂

The Definitive Guide To Terraforming

How Do We Terraform Venus?

How Do We Terraform Mars?

 

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Stories by Williams!

happy-anniversaryI got a friendly little notification this morning. As it turns out, it was two years, twenty four months, and one-hundred and four weeks ago that I started this blog and began sharing my writing and inane thoughts to the general public. My apologies public, but we’ll get to your grievances later. Right now, I want to put those two years into a perspective using a few numbers I gathered.

As the song from Rent says “Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes… how do you measure, measure a year?” Well, up that to two years and you’ve got one-million, fifty-one thousand, two-hundred minutes, and the following numbers, according to my latest stats check. In the past two years I’ve managed to gather:

  • 238,972 hits
  • 8,778 likes
  • 4,461 comments
  • 977 posts
  • And most importantly of all, 1,945 followers!

I have to say, those are some nice numbers and they make me smile! And so does the prospect of doing this for the foreseeable future. There’s still a moment that I feel I’m building towards, some kind of climax this site and what I want to accomplish with it hasn’t quite met yet. Don’t know what that is yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime, I’m pretty happy with how this site has worked out for me. People always start writing with a purpose, and they take all that public once they’ve decided they want to share it. As for me, I guess I just wanted to say something relevant that mattered to people, and to know that the message was received. Thanks for being on the receiving end folks!  And please feel free to keep tuning in! The show’s just getting started…

fireworks2

I Would Like to Thank the Academy…

Well, not so much the Academy, what have they done for me lately? Really, the person I need to thank is the one who nominated me for not one, but two awards: Maryam, aka. Caracaleo. Apparently, I’m doing something right in her eyes, otherwise I doubt she’d have given me the nod here. Or to be quote her words:

“This blogger is my hero. Amazing posts. Great keep up with publishing. Not to mention an amazing ability to write and talk about things I find fascinating.  Therefore it is my honor to present not one, but two awards.

Excuse me a moment… I can’t stand praise it makes me all… gushy! Okay, all better. And now, as is customary for these awards, I shall answer the five following questions as best I can:

  1. Why do you blog?
    I started blogging two years ago as part of my ongoing efforts to promote myself as a writer. However, I’ve found that having a site and being able to share your thoughts, not just on your own work but anything really, can be a very fun and rewarding experience. These days I blog mainly so I can keep up with people, share new and interesting ideas, and hear from others and what they think. It’s become more of a way to maintain relationships than promote anything, thought I still like to do that from time to time 😉
  2. What do you hope people get from your blog?
    Honestly, I just hope they come away feeling entertained, enlightened, or both if possible. Everybody’s got their share of loves and interests, but what’s really awesome is being able to share those things with other people and knowing that they enjoy them too. I always feel good about my site and my writing whenever someone says my passion is “infectious”. It lets me know that I’m making a positive impact.
  3. Are you happy?
    Yes I am, thank you for asking. Sure, I wish I had more money, I wish I got paid to write, I wish I could go on tour and talk to people face to face more often. But right now, I’ve got everything I could possibly want. My wife, my cat, our home, our community, we live in BC, one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I got plenty of people who tell me they think I’m a good guy and good writer. Who could ask for anything more?
  4. Chocolate , Vanilla, or Strawberry?
    Damn… I think I’ll have to go with Chocolate, though Vanilla is lovely with some melted chocolate or Nutella spread on top. But I can’t really discount Strawberry from the mix, it’s great with chocolate and hazelnut spread too. Oh, this is the hardest question yet!
  5. What are your two favorite bands?
    Now that is a tough one, but for the moment I would have to say Big Sugar and Peter Gabriel. The former are a Canadian Rock/Jazz/Blues ensemble that have been around years and are just plain kick-ass! I own most of their albums, have seen them numerous times in concert, and even got their farewell compilation CD autographed. As for Peter Gabriel, he’s an old favorite who’s classic rock and world beats have always been inspiring to me. While he can tough to classify sometimes, and a little weird and esoteric, no one can doubt that he’s an inspired artist who has plenty to say. And he always dressed classy!

Okay, that’s all I got for those questions. Hopefully those who read this will feel they know me a little better, which is always the point of these things isn’t it? In sharing with other people, we learn that we are never alone, that there are plenty of others out there just like us, and that we grow by the constant exchange of ideas, support, and experiences. This is why I blog, people. Thanks to Maryam for reminded me of this. Peace out :)!

Cover Art for Worlds Undone… done!

Big news from Grim5next, the writer’s group that I joined a few months back. After months of discussions, suggestions, and back and forth from all members concerned, we’ve come up with a title for our first anthology. And after much collaboration with artists and design platforms, I’ve finally finished work on our covers! Here’s what our first anthology, a collection of dystopian literature and art, will look like:

Here is what the paperback cover will look like, with artwork provided by Ashley Evans. Check out her artwork on deviantArt: cazzyae at deviantart

And here’s what the ebook cover will look like. Like all ebook icon, it’s been scaled down to a single page format. Less bells and whistles, but it gets the job done!

Stay tuned for the release of the book, which should be in a few months time. We need time to gather all the talent and condense all of it into the proper, singular format. And, case your interested, some material will be provided by yours truly, a short story titled “Hunluan”. Incidentally, it is related to “Crashlands”, the serial novel taking shape over at Story Time.

Oh, incidentally, this is my 200th post on this site. Another milestone! Weeeeeee!

New Ideas, New cover art, and Happy Birthday Pop!

So it’s been a pretty interesting month, and kind of productive (after a fashion). It seems that I can never maintain productivity in just one area, its always a few at a time and never quite consistently! I’ve described this before as literary ADHD, but I think OCD might also fit in there somewhere. One project gets all my attention for awhile, then I get bored and jump to another, or invent another entirely. I wonder if there’s a form of riddlin specially made for writers.

But before I go on, let me take this opportunity to say Happy Birthday to my Pops! How’s it feel to be… 40-ish? You’re only as old as you feel, right? In addition, hope you’re having fun in Tofino, sorry we couldn’t make it out.

As for news from my end of the island, my running projects are coming along, slowly: Genome, Akuma, and Dataminers. I was really hoping to be done those at this point, especially consider I have been hit by a new idea which has been occupying more than its fair share of my attention of late. With all the talk of debt crises and the possibility of defaulting in the US and the EU, I got to thinking about what the long term consequences of that might be. As usual, convergence takes place! Something in the news combines with something you’ve been reading, and – boom! – you’ve got an idea about the near-future where a second Great Depression hits, politics get radicalized, and quasi-fascists take over! The working title for this one is Republic, and I’ve even managed to write out a tentative outline and most of Part I (not to mention the manifesto that is the centerpiece of the novel). While I still need to create an original cover for it, the working one I have says it all. Check out it and the new covers I’ve devised for my latest works below.

I’ve also gone back to writing articles for Universe Today, as always on the subject of particle physics, astronomy, and everything in between. And, along with the good folks over at authonomy.com (i.e. other newby writers), I’ve begun re-promoting both Source and Liability. And of course, I’ve spent much time training and gearing up for my TaeKwon-Do test which is tentatively scheduled for the end November. If all goes well, I will have instructor certification in not one, but two TKD federations. With that under my belt (no pun!) I will finally be able to open my own school! Oh, and that reminds me, congratulations Ryan on getting your personal trainer certificate! With luck, we could open a full-on fitness school together!

Data Miners (Opte cover)
Republic (working cover)
Genome cover
Akuma cover