Tag Archives: ebook

LAUNCH DAY! More Cosplay Disasters

all-helmets

Yes! It’s finally launch day for my new e-book, “More Cosplay Disasters”!

In this follow-up volume to “My Cosplay Disasters”, I lay out the method I failed to develop properly to build another four helmets. This time I ruined:

A Captain Rex Clone Trooper Mod

A First Order Stormtrooper Helmet from “The Force Awakens”

Handles the Cyberman Head from Doctor Who

A Deathtrooper helmet from “Rogue One”

Each disaster is neatly laid out (which is more than can be said for my workshop) with accompanying photographs and a detailed account of where I went wrong (often, simply starting the project.)

There are many authors and makers out there who are keen to tell you how to do things right, but I’m pretty much the only person showing you how I do things wrong, thus proving that YOU could do a better job than me if you put your mind to it. Also, that I should have a different hobby.

The e-book is available exclusively on Amazon:

In the US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XCF665N

In the UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XCF665N

In Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XCF665N

morecosplaydisasterscover-small

And anyone else, check your local Amazon variant!

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Book Launch: Eddie and the Kingdom

Available at the Kindle Store

Available at the Kindle Store!

Over a year ago, I started to put together a collection of short stories : Troubled Souls. Each one was to be about a man in trouble, and I included an old favourite – “Smoke”, as well as two new stories written especially for the collection. Then I began on the last story. It was to be about a man who was surviving the Zombie Apocalypse because it was actually not as bad as the movies would have you believe. Zombies were slow, shambling things, and if you were smart, you could survive quite nicely, thank you.

Unfortunately, like the zombies in the story, the tale itself just would not die. Despite outlining, planning and copious notes, the tale grew in the telling. After a while I published “Troubled Souls” anyway, using the first two chapters of what I was now sure was a novella in place of the fourth story.

Completing “Eddie and the Kingdom” took just over a year. The final stage was arranging the cover by engaging the services of the excellent designer Eric Hubbel (as detailed in my previous post).

From today, Monday December 9th, “Eddie and the Kingdom” is officially available from Amazon.comAmazon.ca  and Amazon.co.uk  (as well as the other regional Amazon outlets). It’s priced at $1.99 for the American market, and should be available at the local equivalent rate in your area. If you don’t want to chance a couple of dollars on the book, your other option is to pick up a copy of “Troubled Souls”, now on sale for $0.99, which still contains the sample chapters of “Eddie and the Kingdom”, as well as the other stories. It also contains the links to the full version of “Eddie and the Kingdom” if you liked the sample!

I’ve really enjoyed telling the story of Eddie and his struggle with the zombies and the Kingdom of Denby, so I really hope you enjoy reading about them. Please let me know how you liked the book, either through the comments below or through an Amazon review.

If zombies aren’t your thing, check out my Amazon Author’s page to find my other books, or see them here at my blog.

Book Launch: Tribute

Tribute cover version

I’m launching my latest e-book this week and I’ve run into a little snag. To really do good promotion work, you need to point the advertising at your target audience, and you do that by deciding what genre your book is.

And I have no clue.

I know what it isn’t. I know it’s not Sci-Fi, and it’s not Horror or Suspense, or Mystery or Erotica, or Adventures among the Bedouin… It might be YA, but I don’t know for sure what that really means anymore.

Tribute tells the story of Lisa, a teenage girl whose mother runs a management agency for musicians and whose father was Stone, the legendary lead guitarist of Zen Assassin. Lisa loves writing music and lyrics of her own, but could never win Stone’s approval. Now he’s dead, and she’s adrift, out of school and wondering where to go next.

Out of the blue, she encounters Pitch Blend, the one-time lead singer of the same band. He’s charming, and almost dissolute, but she learns that it was really him – and not Stone – who wrote the band’s big hits. Can she get him to help her with her own songwriting career? Can she re-ignite his love of music? Before she can find out, Pitch becomes embroiled in a local tribute band competition…as himself. Lisa explains to him why this is a bad idea, but he sees it as easy money, the adulation and reward without the hard work of touring.

Things get more complicated when Pitch meets Lisa’s mother and they discover some truths about their own brief affair a few years before. Not to mention the fact that one of Lisa’s mum’s clients is ALSO in the tribute competition as Pitch Blend…But a younger Pitch Blend. A less hung-over Pitch Blend.

There’s comedy, there’s beer, there’s Rock n’ Roll, but what there isn’t is a label on the cover saying “Suitable for….”

Any suggestions welcome in the comments below – you can download the book for free from Amazon during the 29th and 30th October.

FREE BOOK! On October 29th and 30th (Counting time in a Canadian, West-coast kinda way.)

You can find it on Amazon.com :http://amzn.to/1dk39AL
or Amazon.ca : http://amzn.to/HskCeR

Book Launch: The Great Canadian Adventure

The terrific cover designed by Eduardo Ramirez

The terrific cover designed by Eduardo Ramirez

It’s been almost exactly a year since I last worked in an office for someone else. In that time I’ve increased the trade through the Lazy Bee Appraisal Service, completed hundreds of play reviews for my publisher and written a handful of new plays and sketches.

Behind it all, I’ve been polishing old blog posts and working with some neat software to repackage that material with some new entries and information to make this book : The Great Canadian Adventure.

The whole family, just before we left the country

The whole family, just before we left the country

This is the true story of our emigration to BC from the UK. Starting the week before we flew out, it tells of our rush to clear the house we’d been living in, the whirlwind tour of family and friends and the first twelve months finding our feet in the Vancouver area.

But it’s not just a memoir – along the way I’ve collected useful links and made note of things I wish I’d known in advance, and laid them out in the book. Thanks to the Amazon Kindle technology, you can read this book on your PC, your smartphone, your iPad…or even your kindle… and follow those links to learn more.

Writing this book took over four years and several thousand pounds – I had to apply for residency in Canada, and move three children and one wife. We had to get new jobs, a new car, a new house and a dog. And dogs aren’t cheap.

Enjoying our new life in BC!

Enjoying our new life in BC!

Officially launching on May 1st, if you’re seeing this blog post it means you’re special enough to warrant a head start on everyone else! Plus, for the first month, I’m lowering the price by fifty percent. Buy now to avoid disappointment!

If true-life stories of emigration, excitement and orthodontics aren’t your cup of tea, then perhaps you’d rather take a look at some of the other ebooks I’ve written in the past:

Troubled Souls : Three short stories told from the male perspective, each dark and a little disturbing.

Coffee Time Tales 1 and 2: Easy reading for coffee time, two collections of five tales with warmth and often, romance.

Sci-Fi Shorts: Four stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy, including “Twist Stiffly and the Hounds of Zenit Emoga”, a golden-age sci-fi romp.

Writing a play for the Amateur Stage: Guidance and advice on writing plays for community theatre groups, written from the perspective of someone with over a decade of experience in the field. (Me.)

If you’ve produced an ebook, or have some other kind of project you’d like to shout about, HOP ON THIS BANDWAGON! I’ll be posting links to this page as I travel the internet, hawking my books, so why not drop a link to YOUR brilliance in the comments section?

Book! Book! Book!

A new publication by a familiar face.

Saying Richard James is an experienced actor is like saying Orson Welles got a bit tubby. Richard has performed on the Community stage, on the professional stage, on television and in feature films. Indeed, he can be seen in a film that recently picked up an Academy Award*. But that is not the end of his abilities, oh, no. As well as writing many excellent plays, Richard has put down what he’s learned as an actor into a neat e-book that is on sale now at Lazy Bee Scripts

If you’ve ever acted, or you want to act, or you want to direct some actors in any format at all, this book is worth reading. Richard knows his craft, and is both eloquent and down to earth about it. Don’t just take my word for it, go read the book!

Oh, and while you’re there, you might want to take a look at another e-book on sale. It’s just a little something about writing plays for the Community Stage. Some people have been quite pleased with it.

 

 

 

*The Wolf man. Look for him shouting ”Doctor Hoenegger! Doctor!” in the lecture room scene. Marvellous!

Writing a play for Community Theatre

Today, as a marketing ploy and because I don’t want to write another blog piece that starts “I’ve been thinking…”, I’m handing out a free sample from my book (Title above). I’ve chosen the start of the chapter about the most common mistakes made by folks writing for the Community Theatre Stage. Hope you enjoy it.

Common Mistakes

After a few years of being published, I took on the job of Script Reader for my publisher, Lazy Bee Scripts. The company was being inundated with scripts, and they needed someone to help with the initial sorting of the new arrivals. This gave me a chance to review and report on hundreds of scripts from a huge variety of writers. Scripts are sent to Lazy Bee from all around the world, by people who have been writing for years, people just starting out, and people trying stage writing after success in some other form. Before long it became obvious that the same mistakes were being made over and over again.

The Biggest Mistake

Writing a screenplay for the stage. I’m never sure if this mistake is made because the authors have never visited the theatre, or because they wrote the idea as a screenplay first then attempted to convert it to the stage. Since the primary market I am reading for is concerned with the amateur stage, where resources and stage space tend to be limited, there is little point in saying “but I’ve seen some pretty spectacular things on the West End stage”. Yes, I know you can see ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ fly out over the audience in some theatres, but you’re not likely to see that done in your local village hall or school production. Time after time I read plays that open in a living room, described in perfect detail. Five minutes later the action moves to a second, equally detailed location for just a few lines of dialogue, and then another change. If the play is to be performed on a regular small stage, the only options are to have a subdivided stage with many sets permanently erected and the action moving between them, or to have a minimalist stage with movable furniture to signify the various locations. I used a combination of these devices in ‘A Time for Farewells’, with one half of the stage permanently set as a bedroom, and the other half different arrangements of three stage blocks that became a bar, a hospital room, a lounge.

This is entirely possible, but the important thing is that YOU are the one who should decide that this is the way the play should be performed. There’s no point in writing an epic masterpiece that includes horse races, the sinking of the Titanic and an aerial dogfight and then saying “It’s up to the director to work out how to stage it.” If you’re looking for the best of all possible worlds, you’ll end up with a script that doesn’t depend on a trapdoor in the stage or some other technical device (like flying wires, back projection or giant inflatable gorillas) for a successful production. You can certainly suggest that these elements would make the production better, that they were part of your original vision, but allow for the fact that not every group will have these things at their disposal. When the prospective director reads your script, they should be able to see the play being performed on their stage in their mind’s eye. Which leads into point number two:

Incomplete or Unhelpful Instructions

I reviewed a play once that had a character coming onstage carrying a large box. Halfway through the scene, a second character pops out of the box (which is still being held by character number one) and delivers a speech. I couldn’t see how this would be possible unless one character was incredibly strong, or the bottom of the box was open and character two’s legs were screened by some handy scenery. As it turned out, some unenclosed production notes would have told me which characters were to be played by puppets – that information would have put a different spin on things.

If you’re planning on having a character disappear into a magic cabinet, it would be kind to indicate how you imagine this being done: “The back of the cabinet is screened by the mangle, and Aladdin climbs out the concealed flap in the false back…” You don’t need to include a diagram with numbered and labelled parts, but your director needs to have a clue what you’re thinking about. This is particularly important in British pantomime transformation scenes, like Cinders’ “Rags to Ball Gown” or “Pumpkin to Coach” moments. It’s all very well writing “There is a flash and a bang and the pumpkin is replaced by a shimmering coach…” but that’s leaving it all to the director. A little research will show you there are many ways of accomplishing this effect – bringing lights up behind a gauze, unfolding a special piece of scenery… Again, read a few scripts, see some shows, talk to some experienced dramatists. Then put your own spin on the process.

Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

I know, I know, it seems really petty to complain about mistakes like this. Who cares about full stops and question marks? It’s the content that’s important, isn’t it? Language is a constantly evolving thing, textspeak is becoming a valid form of grammar, blah, blah, blah! Well yes, language does evolve, but at the moment there are still guidelines and rules about grammar, spelling and punctuation, and you can be pretty sure that nothing much has changed in the way English is written since you were at school. Delivering a script for your publisher, or even simply turning one out for your local theatre group, should still be treated with the care and attention to detail you would give a job application letter.

Grammar exists to make the written language easy to hear in your head. Commas give pauses in the sentence, full stops indicate when one idea stops and the next begins. These things are important for your words to be understood, and if people can’t comfortably read what you’ve written, they’re not going to enjoy the content. They’re not going to understand the content. They’re certainly not going to buy or perform your play. Also, if you’re not careful enough to spot errors that are highlighted for you on the spell checker of the word processor you wrote this on, how can any customer be sure you’ve been careful enough to produce a decent plot? Are there as many errors in your storyline as there are in your typing? Bear in mind that the editor or publisher is likely to be someone fond of the written word – they’ve made a business of it, after all. They are exactly the kind of person who gets annoyed by incorrect spelling, and they are also exposed to it on a daily basis. If your script contains no ghastly spelling or punctuation errors, that will be another factor in your favour.

The only exception to the rule about correct spelling and grammar is when you choose to get it wrong. Not everyone speaks the Queen’s English like an Early Fifties BBC Radio Announcer, so of course it doesn’t make sense to have Bruno the door bouncer throw a drunk into the street and yell after him :

“We’d be much obliged if you would refrain from revisiting this establishment in the foreseeable future and encourage your rehabilitation with regard to your alcohol dependency…”

Bruno would shout  “Sling yer ‘ook, drunk!”   or something worse, and you won’t need to add in the ‘h’ that he drops. But the apostrophe shows the letter has been dropped on purpose, not as a result of rapid typing, and that Bruno is not making monkey noises. In summary, your characters are allowed to speak ungrammatically, or in dialect, but for your readers to correctly interpret this type of speech, it needs to be clearly punctuated.

  
 

A Time For Farewells, as performed at RAF Halton

To get YOUR copy of the ebook rush over to the TLC website  Best of luck with your writing.