My MonuMental Book Tour

MonuMental: The Hack's Back by Steven O'Connor

I am having a book blog tour for MonuMental (and my first book, EleMental). This is my first go at such a thing and it’s already been a very interesting experience just setting it up with Orangeberry Book Tours. Below are the dates. I have something happening from this point on until the end of July. If you get a chance, I’d love you to drop in on one or two of my guest posts or interviews as I make my way around various blogs of the world. Feel free to leave a comment if you do!

Book Tour Schedule (UK times)

7th July – Twitter View with OB Book Tours

8th July – Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours

9th July – Book Review & Author Interview at Mommy Adventures

10th July  – Guest Post at The Bunny’s Review

11th July – Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours

12th July – Book Review & Author Interview at The Reading Cat

13th July – Guest Post at Blog-A-Licious Authors 

14th July – Book Review & Author Interview at Author’s Friend

15th July – Book Review at UK Book Club

16th July – Guest Post & Book Review at Me, You & Books

17th July – Book Review at Book Professor

18th July – Author Interview & Book Review at Brainy Reads

19th July – Guest Post at Paws on Books

20th July – Book Review at Gentleman Reads

21st July – Author Interview at My Life in Books

22nd July – Book Review at Journey’s thru Books

23rd July – Author Interview at Top Shelf Books

24th July – Book Review at A Novel Design

25th July – Guest Post at Non-Stop Reads

1st August – Excerpt at Quality Reads

1st to 31st August 2013 – Listing at OB Book Expo

8th August – Author Interview at Nobody Important

15th August – Guest Post & Book Feature at Book Connoisseur

22nd August – Excerpt at Next Big Book Thing

27th August – Author Interview & Book Feature at Just My Opinion

3rd September – Guest Post at Aspiring Books

17th September – Guest Post & Book Feature at High Class Books

Part 3 – Pushed into indie publishing. So I jumped!

This is the third of my guest posts written for Silk Screen Views about my journey as a writer. Here I chose to talk about my current  – and very new! – adventures in the land of indie publishing. Indie publishing is not easy. There is a lot of work involved in trying to be noticed among the many, many other highly active and very good indie writers. And you are responsible for every step of the way, which can sometimes be quite exhausting. However, there is reward in the sense of control, and it’s important to give things time to grow. You can check out the last of my three posts here.

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Like to find out more about my books? You can check out my Amazon pages here …

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Part 1 – How I decided I wanted to be a writer

 I am guesting on the up and coming website Silk Screen Views. In my first post I talk about my decision to be a writer in my childhood (momentous world decision that it was!).

You can check it out here

And while you’re there, have a look around the rest of Silk Screen Views’ beautiful website!

 

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Like to find out more about my books? You can check out my Amazon pages here …

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Little Readings

I’m proud to present to you what I’ve come to call in my mind, ‘little readings’. This is the very first – my bash at an audio recording of a reading. I’ve dug up an old poem from the murky recesses of my computer’s hard drive and I’m pushing it forward as the guinea pig.

To create the recording, I’m currently grappling with some audio software called Ableton Live. It’s pretty cool stuff. DJs such as Deadmau$ use it.  But it’s complex too. Well, for me it is. I tried a few different ideas, but the one that I like the best is this one. It has some rhythm behind it to support the words. I particularly enjoyed that aspect of the creative process. I used some random notes from some favorite songs, but the overall rhythm is mine.

So without further ado, I’d like to share with you my first-and-only attempt so far. A short, post apocalyptic sci-fi poem called ‘Earth’s Last Inhabitant Walks Out’. (Don’t forget to like it. Hopefully you will!)

I have set up a specific page on my website for my little readings, and I’ve included the poem’s lines (or lyrics?) there, in case you want to follow what I’m reading. The Little Readings webpage is here.

Little Readings - Ship in the sky.

Little Readings – Ship in the sky.

And I have also set up a twitter page (@LittleReadings) which you can visit here.

If you have any little readings of your own, or you decide to make one, be sure to let me know. I’d love to tweet about it too. You can use my words, from one of my books, or your own words. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a short reading and you keep it G rated!

I hope you like my reading. I’m looking forward to creating another one.

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Like to find out more about my books? You can check out my Amazon pages here …

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Creating a MonuMental dragonbot

MonuMental’s dragonbot

I am proud to present a video of the artist Aaron Pocock creating the dragonbot from my book MonuMental. Aaron Pocock did this video off his own bat, and even performed the music. It’s wonderful to see something from one’s imagination come alive on the page at the gifted hands of another. Here it is:

In case you’re curious, here are three excerpts from MonuMental that I gave Aaron to help guide him in the creation of the creature …

1:

And from on high, steel talons spread, a dragon descended. It was the color of emerald and metal. It was a technodroid – Willis could see its fuel lines running under its wings and the rows of bolts up and down its body, giving its torso the appearance of an aircraft fuselage plastered in scales.

2:

The dragonbot pushed on through the air until it reached the far end of the rambling street. Then it dropped, releasing Trinity as it neared a rusty water tower. From this distance, she was the size of Willis’s hand. She fell to the top of the tower with a faint shriek. The dragonbot spun about and settled behind her, gripping the tower’s edge. It curled its wings and hunched vulture-like, but kept its head up, glaring back at them, as if defying them to mount a rescue.

3:

The dragonbot spread its great wings and arched backward. The fuel lines fixed to the underside of each wing and running up its scaly chest and neck tautened as petroleum flowed through them. Long jets of flame erupted from its snout and a wave of heat washed over them. It was as if the creature had understood Trinity’s words. It lunged forward, almost crushing her, and dropped from the tower, swooping at the three of them.

If you go to my MonuMental website page, you can see more pictures Aaron Pocock created before arriving at the final cover. And you can also check out more of his wonderful artwork here: That Space Between.

MonuMental1_sml

Finally, if interested, MonuMental (my new book, in case you didn’t guess!) is available here:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

MonuMentally worn out but EleMentally free!

Tired as Lemur

Tired as Larry the Lemur

I have been quiet haven’t I? In actual fact I’ve been tweeting like mad. And jumping around all over facebook. Telling everybody about how you can currently download EleMental, my first book, for free. This is all in support of my lovely new book, MonuMental.

The internet is a terribly big place and it’s easy to go a little unnoticed no matter all the hooha you’re trying to make.

And why have I been trying to make a hooha?

Because I just discovered that I was about to lose my current allotment of free days for EleMental if I didn’t hurry up and use them. And use them I of course do want to … for promotion.

Yes, EleMental: A First-person Shooter is currently free for download. It ends midnight Thursday, 14 March (US time).

It’s great bringing your book project to completion but it can also wear you out like a … lemur. Well, that lemur above, anyway. Having just come across its picture (and spontaneously named Larry). And that’s why this initial promotion has been rather quick!

Also note – this is absolutely the first time EleMental has been offered for free.

Here are the links for you to head over there right now and grab your copy …

If you’re reading this late and have missed out, don’t worry – this was a rushed affair. I will offer EleMental for free again in a much bigger campaign coming mid-year. (And MonuMental can always be read separately too.)

Yours monuMentally, eleMentally, everyTHINGally …

MonuMental – The final countdown

MonuMental Copy

When you see something behind your reflection in the floor, your instinct is to look up. See what is above.

They looked up. They saw nothing above.

MonuMental

That is the start of Chapter 22 and where I am up to in the final ebook-edit of MonuMental, the follow up to EleMental. Willis, Zeb and Arizona are unable to shutdown a v’game and have been drawn into an immense, silent hall with an endless, polished floor. They can see reflections behind their images in the floor, but there is nothing above them. The start of this scene marks the start of the climactic sequences. Including this chapter, I have sixty pages of final ebook-editing to go – nine chapters.

I should be getting on with it, shouldn’t I?  Instead, I am writing you this message. I’m keen to tell you I’m close!

Writing MonuMental

I wrote this follow up book at the request of my previous publisher, Pier 9 (an imprint of Murdoch Books) and that’s the sole reason the book exists. I love it, I’m proud of it, but without them, I wouldn’t have written it.

When the publishing house (not a small one!) folded in the second half of last year (bought out by Allen and Unwin), I was successful in regaining the publishing rights to EleMental, and so I put aside MonuMental for the time being and re-edited and re-published EleMental as my own ebook.

Months later, and I am at last almost ready to publish the follow up. I have emulated the traditional publishing process wherever I could, engaging a professional editor, an artist and a graphic designer. To do this properly, and make sure I am creating the best ebook I possibly can, is an exhausting process, and so it is good to see that I am now almost there.

I am running a chapter by chapter countdown on my website home page, and tweeting every time I move on to my final edit of the next chapter. I’m into the final countdown! And it feels great.

Stay tuned, and I will let you know when MonuMental is at last available.

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My Amazon pages:

US

UK

Happy Xmas!

Wishing you a big, happy Christmas and an excellent 2013.

sketch4_sml

Okay, okay, this picture is rather mean-looking for Christmas. But I still love it.

His name is Gilbert and he’s a dragonbot. This is from my new book, MonuMental, and is the artist’s first go at a cover. It’s wonderful to see ideas coming to life in other ways!

Best wishes, everyone.

 

Going free (before it goes for good)

I have reached the final promotion activity for EleMental: A First-person Shooter. As you know, I have been offering my complete YA novel as four free episodes.  I will be taking down all four episodes of the YA book after this free offer. They will not be available anywhere again after that. Only the complete version will remain.

If you’ve been collecting them, this will be your last chance to make sure you have Level 4. Don’t forget they’re limited editions!

EleMental – A First-person Shooter (Level 4)

YA near future thriller about addiction to virtual reality gaming: one moment, you’re sitting at your desk, the next, you’re battling something that’s half-dinosaur, half-tank. Grab it here: Amazon or Amazon UK.

 

Also currently free: MotherCraft – A Short Story

Leaving home can be hard, leaving the planet, doubly so. Set at The Little River Spacedocks, this near-future short story is based on a much cherished scene from EleMental, removed by the editor because she didn’t feel it fitted with the rest of the story. (Grrr. But actually, I understood what she meant.)  It’s being offered free in support of EleMental – A First-person Shooter (Level 4).

Grab it here: Amazon or Amazon UK

 

 

So what’s next?

Xmas of course! And I’m now well and truly on track to publishing MonuMental, due in early January 2013. From now on, all my posts will be focused on that task. I hope all is going well in your world and you’re looking forward to Xmas as much as I am. Not long now!

 

 

 

Ideas and story making at Fitzroy Community School

The school I visited

Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be invited to Fitzroy Community School to talk about EleMental: A first-person Shooter. This visit has to rate as my very favorite school presentation so far. I was made feel very welcome from the outset, given a quick tour of the school and then we all settled down to an hour’s chat (with some readings from me) in the school library. Here are some of the things we talked about …

Exploring words and ideas

Writers are often asked the question: ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’. The best answer is: ‘From everywhere! The important thing is to be open to them.’

But are there some special ways? On the dedication page of her novel Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones describes how she got the idea for writing the book. A boy approached her after a school presentation and asked if she could write a book about a moving castle. That idea was a gift and she was very much open to it. Thankfully, because we now have that fabulous young adult fantasy. (Sadly, she says in the book, she put his name in such a safe place, she couldn’t find it when it came time to publish the book.)

We can’t always rely on wonderful ideas being presented to us so succinctly and directly from our audience. So another way to find interesting ideas, one that I came up with, is to think about words that interest you. Some we talked about on the day at Fitzroy Community School were droplet, sun, music and float. These are just words I quickly came up with while preparing the presentation. When I think about music, all sorts of images present themselves to me that could lead to a good story idea. So too any of those other words.

But there’s another step – and this is a truly magical one. Try putting two or three of these interesting words together. We can get things like: Floating music. Or even: Droplets of floating music. Wow! Lots of interesting images there.

When you have selected some interesting words, it’s always worth turning them into a what if sentence: What if there was a girl who floated every time she heard music? Or: What if man wrote a piece of music that made people float when they heard it? This what if sentence could act as the main idea behind your story, expressed as a question that your story will answer.

And, most importantly, as you you have selected words you’re interested in, remember to pour that interest into the story as you write. That’s the best way to ensure others will find your story interesting too.

Words I found interesting while writing EleMental: A First-person Shooter

We then looked at some of the words I found interesting and wanted to explore in my story: virtual and addiction. (I worked for years as a social worker in the addiction area, the part that most interests me is: when people keep doing something over and over too much and lose the control to stop even though its making them sick). Combining the words, I came up with the what if question: What if someone created a virtual game that was so addictive that when people played it too much they could no longer tell when they were in the real world … and when they were in a game?

I named this blurred state, gameblur. One moment, you could be sitting at your desk, the next you could be battling a creature that’s half-dinosaur, half-tank.

Pretty scary. But thankfully there’s humor in the book too!

Smaller ideas

We then talked about smaller ideas that can be related to your big idea. These smaller ideas are important as they can help you fill up your story with details. However it’s important that they don’t grow so big that your  reader starts to get confused about what is the main idea behind your story. A smaller idea in my story is how virtual games can start up and shut down. I loved finding different ways to describe those moments and they’re peppered throughout my book. I gave some readings to the school group to illustrate this smaller idea.

The photo

It all went so well, I almost forgot to take a photo until the last minute. Check it out, above, it was taken in the school library with a few of the remaining students. I forgot to get everyone’s names – but you know who you all are!

Some thank yous

A very big thank you to all I met at Fitzroy Community School for being such a great group. Thank you to Marlon (who had already read the book – both print book and ebook versions) for his informed comments to everyone (including me!) about my book. Thank you to Bridie (who happens to be my niece) and Freda for the tour of the school. Thank you to Myf, for organising it so beautifully and to Nick (the teacher) for his class help. And to everyone for their great questions during and after my presentation. I felt very welcome and I’d love to come back again sometime, if you’ll have me.