General Ramblings


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Oh, look what I have 😁

My paperback copy arrived from CreateSpace!

Update: The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior

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I’m sure you’ll be eager to hear that my work in progress – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior – is now at the “beta reader” stage of editing.

That means it’s getting much closer to being completely finished! Once I get it back and comb through the notes, adjusting my draft where necessary, and it’ll be one step closer to putting it onto Kindle Scout.

In the meantime I’m busy working on some other things for the book. Firstly, in my books I like to have a custom “mid-chapter break” or “section break” if you prefer. In a lot of books these are three little asterisks “***” or bullets “•••” or the like that usually denote passage of time during a chapter.

I’ve always gone with a little symbol I like in all of my books to date – – for no other reason than I happen to like it. But with Gustav I’ve made a custom symbol, Gustav’s head:

Read the rest of this entry »

Social (Anxiety) Media

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I’ll be the first to admit I’m really terrible at all forms of social media. I resisted most of it for a long time, relenting to Facebook a few years ago which I update and check occasionally. When I started my journey to become a published author, I expanded my presence to Twitter since that seemed like the thing to do. Since then I’ve added a few others like Instagram and most recently a Facebook Author Page.

I resisted mainly because I’m ridiculously bad at self-promotion. Good thing I’m not an author aspiring to get the world to know of my books, huh?

Unfortunately, of course that is exactly what I am. I write to get my stories out there, but balk at the thought of trying to promote myself. I know that I have to because no one else will, but that doesn’t ease the anxiety at all.

I follow a lot of other self-publishing authors and sit back in awe at their ability to self-promote and interact with their followers. They’ve got hundreds of people hanging off their every word. Things they post get re-posted and shared like there’s no tomorrow. They launch a new book and hundreds (myself included) descend to snap it up. What I wouldn’t give for that level of confidence. Now I know they didn’t get that to that level overnight, but surely an innate ability to interact with people had to be present beforehand. Read the rest of this entry »

Progress Updates

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My focus this week has been split between first-round editing of my work in progress, the comedic Viking fantasy “The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior”, and reading the superb superhero coming-of-age story “Dreadnought”. More on Dreadnought further down because first up it’s all about me! lol 🙂

So my first round edits basically involve me printing out the entire Word document as well as converting it to spoken word with a text-to-speech program. Then I sit and listen to the mechanical voice reading my story back to me. Any errors or awkwardness I find I correct on the print out. When I’m done with that, I’ll update the Word doc and convert to Kindle for a read through before I send it off to my beta reader.

I’ve also been tweaking my cover art for my work in progress. I had a brainwave late one night earlier this week that the cover I’d settled on was a little too flat and it might look good if it was stacked-paper. So I got to work editing the artwork which resulted (after a few horrendous attempts) in the new cover design shown here.

I had to adjust a few of the colours because once I shrunk it down to thumbnail size I couldn’t read any of the title text. To make the colours more complimentary, I changed the water and the background to green, and I think overall it works. So it’s the one I’ll be publishing with (unless hit by some major inspiration and redesign the whole thing, unlikely).

Below is a quick progression of how the cover art matured over time. The first (lame) attempt was mainly to get the bones of the idea in place (such as the Viking long boat at sea) and then go from there. Read the rest of this entry »

AdWords and Breitbart – A Trap For New Players

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Over the last two weeks I’ve been running ads for my FTW series books on Google AdWords to coincide with their promotional pricing on Amazon.

I was startled over the weekend to be called out on twitter for advertising on Breitbart, a far-right website known for hate mongering. At first I thought it must have got the wrong guy, but no, the screenshot had my ad in all its glory above a homophobic rant on their website.

Of course I took immediate steps to remedy this. Being away from my computer limited my options, but I immediately halted all my ads from running until I could manually block the offensive site.

The Sleeping Giants (twitter account, logo above) helped me out with this. I honestly had no idea my ad would be shown here and am very disappointed that a progressive company like Google continues to push their ads there. Anyway, the Sleeping Giants forwarded me a document which I’ve linked to here: Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Suggestions

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I’ve recently received a few emails with suggestions of books I might like to read based on others I have reviewed and thought I should clarify my position.

I am more than happy to receive suggestions for books to read, but please check my recent book reviews for the type of books I prefer. I will check out your suggestion, and if it sounds like something I’d like then I’ll add it to my Goodreads “To Read” list. But fair warning, there are already quite a lot of books on there! The more your book captures my attention, the more likely it is to float to the top of the list.

I post honest reviews of everything I finish reading here on my site as well as Goodreads,,, and from my next one (because I’ve just realised I can)

You can suggest your book via my Contact form. Things you should include in your message:

  • Your name (or the pen name you write under),
  • Your website address so I can see what else you’ve written,
  • Book title (link to Amazon or Goodreads would be better),
  • The blurb so I know what it’s about,
  • And other books I’ve read that are like yours (in other words: why you’re recommending it).


Final Thoughts:
Please don’t submit your entire back catalogue. Choose one and suggest that. If you’ve got a Goodreads or Amazon author page then I’ll find your other works that way.

Gustav Gustavson

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gustav_gustavsonLast week I gave you a peek into what I’m currently working on – a comedy / fantasy with the working title of The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior. I was fortunate to have last week off from work so got a lot more words into the draft so it’s now sitting at a little over 18,600 words.

Based on my outline that should put me maybe 30-40% of the way through the draft unless something changes.

I’ve also been working on a cover idea. Sometimes when I get stuck for words, I take a break from writing the story to work on cover ideas. I wanted this one to convey to potential readers it’s a humorous book so have designed a cartoonish look for the cover (along with the comically long title). There’s a bigger version of the cover concept at the bottom of this blog. Read the rest of this entry »

Current Work & General Ramblings

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vikingIt’s been a while since I’ve given an update of what I’m working on right now. Between reading a lot and getting the combined FTW Series ready I’ve been a little slack.

But I haven’t been idle in the ideas department. About a week ago I had a great idea for a comedy/fantasy novel. So once again I brushed aside the book I was working on – The Obsidian Witch – to work on this one while it was burning a hole in my mind.

I will get back to the other one eventually, but after letting it sit for a while (since I got side-tracked by Badlands), I was having a hard time getting back into the swing of it. So of course when the new idea came along I jumped at the chance to belt out as much as I could.

At the time of writing this I’m sitting at just over 11,100 words with still heaps more to write. I’ve got a working title – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior – and cover idea (which I won’t be sharing just yet, still a work in progress), and a detailed outline for the plot. If I can keep up the momentum it might turn out as the longest thing I’ve written to date. There’s a small sample of the story at the bottom of this post. Read the rest of this entry »

Badlands – Almost Here!

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book2_conceptSo apart from slacking off over the Christmas break by lounging around in swimming pools (we’ve had a few 40 degree Celsius days here in Australia recently… that’s 104 Fahrenheit in old money) what else have I been up to, I hear you ask. As you can tell from the deluge of book reviews I posted yesterday, I’ve done a lot of reading.

But also I’ve been editing part 2 of the FTW series: Badlands. That’s right, it’s getting closer and closer to a final release date! I’ve got my feedback from my beta readers and am working through their notes and making adjustments based on their observations. Once I’ve done that I’ll dump it all into a Kindle so I can have a final read through to pick up any typos or formatting mistakes I may have made, then it’s off to Amazon for publishing!

It’s roughly the same length as part one (a little shorter, but not by much). As before, I’ll be making a paperback copy available as well for those who prefer the feel of a book rather than a device.

As I’m typing this, I’ve just realized I haven’t even begun to think of a blurb for Badlands. I better get onto that today because I’ll be needing it very soon, so maybe (and this is my first attempt as I type and think at the same time): Read the rest of this entry »

Badlands – First Draft Complete!

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I’m happy to say I’ve now finished the draft of FTW part 2 – Badlands. I’m now busy working my way back through the story, looking for typos and awkwardly phrased wording before I pass it off to my beta reader.

So at this stage I’m guessing at around mid to late January as a release date. I’ll firm this up as I work out what date this’ll be.

While I’m doing the first draft editing, I’m also designing a cover. I wanted one that’d link the two books together but have found it somewhat difficult to do. So I came up with a working design for Badlands, then revisited FTW. Read the rest of this entry »