Archive for December, 2013

It takes desire, motivation and application to accomplish any task, and re-editing a novel is not nearly as glamorous as writing it. But I’m motivated to re-edit my novel Shadowscape – The Stevie Vegas Chronicles because I’m bringing out its 2nd edition in January 2014.

This adventure/fantasy with a touch of spiritualism for young adult readers is very close to my heart because through it I learned a lot about publishing, and now indie publishing. I’ve commissioned a new cover, purchased a new ISBN, edited and re-edited, and managed to write the missing chapter that always was missing. It’s a scene between the protagonist and his arch enemy and it just didn’t feel ‘right’ that it wasn’t there in the original story.

I’m very proud of my efforts thus far because Shadowscape is giving once again to me – it’s teaching me not just about publishing, but more importantly indie publishing which has all the rewards that independent publishing brings. And I have a great desire, motivation and application towards independence in all things.

Shadowscape is the first in a trilogy – the second book Dawn of the Shadowcasters is in production with John Hunt Publishing and will be out in the New Year. In the meantime, here is the prologue which begins the Shadowscape story. Oh, and watch out for my website soon. I’ve just registered my publishing business Caerus Publishing Australia. Caerus is the Greek word for ‘opportunity’. I’m hoping it will come my way in 2014.

PROLOGUE

I haven’t written in this diary for a long, long time. A year, maybe two but it seems like a lifetime ago now…when I was just a kid. I’d really like to go back to that time, before it all started. Things were simple then…

Then the biggest thing I ever got up to was a dare to run through McShady’s motor wrecking yard at a hundred kilometres an hour while he slept in his old timber shed, and before he called the cops. That was before I moved to Smithson with my folks, before I heard of Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) and discovered my talent for making things happen.

Some would say I was getting even with the people that wronged me and my family…when the accident happened. Getting even with the people that hurt my brother Jem and caused my world to come crashing down. Evening the score with the Barron’s. But they didn’t know about It. Yeah, It, the power that changed my life forever. It’s a curse and a power that I still don’t understand, much less control.

I remember when I was 10 years old and I remember my old life in Valley Dale. Dad and mum were happy then – we were a normal family, looked up to and even admired. Now I’m just known as the weird boy who was somehow to blame for Jacob Barron’s accident. Why? Why did we have to move to Smithson – a little black hole of a place in the middle of nowhere, with an evil centre that’s rotten to the core?

Some people would say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I can’t disagree with that. You see now that I know what I know, I wish I didn’t know it and to be honest, I’m not sure how to get past that. I can’t forget what I know…or what I’ve seen. It’s no coincidence. It can’t be.

Life’s strange and this power I’ve got, that I sure as hell don’t want, makes me a little bit stranger.

This will be my last entry for a while, though it helps to write it all down. I really need to figure this thing out in my head and make sense of what’s happened. The only way I can do that is to stop running and face It.

I can hear the thoughts again, like soft voices in the wind. I know its Jacob Barron’s family cursing the day we ever came to town. And I can hear my mum’s thoughts…she’s sad and wishing for Valley Dale too.

And I can hear him – Jacob Barron – his voice, far off, like he is talking to someone, or something.

He can’t be. He’s in a coma and the doctors say he’ll never recover. But that’s not what I’m hearing.

He’s making a deal with someone to get well again. Someone all powerful and I know it’s not God. Their voices are menacing and dark, like they come from the other side of a veil, a dark veil that no-one would ever want to see through.

But my strange powers have opened a doorway through to this world and, like it or not, I’ve got to learn how to survive in this evil mindscape.

I wish I was back in McShady’s wrecking yard where the only thing I had to fear was buckshot in my backside and a ride home in the police car. Now, I have to fear for my life.

Well, here I am at the end of a huge year of writing, working and living. With just over a week left to say goodbye to 2014, the John Lennon song keeps playing in my head, ‘Happy Christmas’, as it always does each year:

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun…”

What have I done indeed. I know I have worked extremely hard at my day job, and at my fledgling career as an author. I’ve driven myself in 2013, all the while pondering the big questions: what’s my purpose, what should I really be doing, am I doing enough, am I enough… And so it goes on.

But it was towards the end of the year that I really got a burr in my saddle. I began to think about mortality. I began to think that as I was into middle age, I could no longer afford to muck about with the same stuff, doing it the same way, in the same patterns any longer. Something had to change; something was going to change in 2014 and that something would be me.

The only advantage of growing older is the getting of wisdom. After a while the same old dysfunctional patterns lose their meaning and become a little absurd in light of the reality that time is running out.

If I had intentions for 2014 it would be to live each day as well as I can. To say no more often; to cultivate my ‘spark’ of creativity instead of feeling it extinguished under the weight of the daily grind and other people’s demands that so often get put before my own needs, and to surround myself with positive, life affirming people more often.

I also need to spend more time at home, drinking the tranquillity and restoring the soul . Soon my children will go their own ways. Time is precious, it really is. I also need to spend time with myself, reflecting, making choices, deciding on ways to live, and living them.

This is called being true to yourself, and I need to focus on that too.

My creativity and writing deserve also to be nurtured because I’ve discovered that while I do that, life is richer and more rewarding. There is a deep satisfaction when I fulfil that particular contract with myself.

So, yes, John Lennon is going through the reel setting of my thoughts, over and over, and particularly the ‘Another year over, and what have you done…’ I should be satisfied with writing two novels in 2013, while raising three boys, keeping a home warm and welcoming and holding down a busy day job, while managing to put whatever energy I have into my special friendships with the women in my life.

When I look at it like that I’ve accomplished quite a lot really, and I’m more than thankful to myself for such a stupendous effort in 2013.

I’m determined though, that 2014 will be done with a little more time for ‘me’ because I deserve it and I’ve earned it. And because I simply want to stop for a while and reflect.

For those that celebrate Christmas have a wonderful one. And to all, a happy and healthy New Year where, when you find yourself in amongst the muddle that is sometimes life, you remain above everything else, true to yourself.

I did something drastic in November – I entered National Novel Writing Month and wrote a novel in a month. It was gruelling but I achieved what I set out to do, and that was to write daily, with fervour and push myself as hard as I could.

The result was a novel “Belonging Places” which came from the seeds of thoughts that had been permeating in my gut [another name for mind, heart and psyche] for a few years now. I wanted to look at why people sometimes felt they didn’t belong in the places they found themselves. That deep, knowing feeling that something is not right and there is more. I wanted my characters to go on a journey to find a better place; to resolve the disconnect between what they knew they should be doing and what they weren’t.

How familiar is that?

At some time in the course of a lifetime we feel that familiar tug that tells us we are not doing what we should be doing, working where we should, or living where we should. Worst still, is when that feeling is connected to a marriage – that we are not with who we should be. Whatever germinates that feeling of not ‘belonging’, it’s a powerful tug that needs to be resolved.

Some people do it through a mid life crisis – where they radically change their lives, others do it through dulling the tug with things that deny the way they’re feeling. Still more have the courage to undertake that journey that ultimately will bring them back to themselves; their true selves.

So my manic (some would say) writing during November was a test. I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if I had the mettle to take plots and characters and thousands of words (50,000 in fact) and under the red hot fire of pressure, see just how serious I was about becoming an author. What I found during the month of November was profound.

Firstly, I found I could write a good, sound, well structured novel of 50,000 words in a month. I also found that the process of writing daily suited me because it pushed me towards continuity. Previously I had written my books in a piecemeal way – during weekends and on holidays. In November I discovered I could and should be writing daily, and that there was much joy, peace and inspiration to be found in a daily dose of creativity.

Of course “Belonging Places” needed a few edits after I had finished and I’ve been doing that through December. What a joy it has been to edit my November novel and perhaps see the characters and plots for the first time, without the haze of fervent creativity.

For the critics of National Novel Writing Month – those that feel they need to take an opposite position on something – writing a novel in a month worked for me. It’s not how I would like to write all my novels, but the one month gestation of “Belonging Places” gave birth to something special.

So now that the writing and editing has finished, what’s next? Well, I’ll join the ranks of thousands of other writers in trying to find a publisher, or an agent  for my labour of love.

But there’s something else. I’ll also try and write more often, and more regularly. There are more stories to be told, and I want to tell them.

She sat on the deserted swing, and looked at the hills beyond.

Skylines beckoned, faint hints of times to come,

writing their messages in a cloudy future;

that she would live one day, the unknowable place she belonged.

 

She swung back and forth and remembered the worn out saying;

swings and roundabouts. Her old friend whispered,

telling her to avoid a foot in a trap and swinging high,

losing her place, her face amid strangers, who were only playing,

after all.

 

With her head held high, strong stride, sidestepping old games,

she found her will to move forward,

out of the shadows and into the clear light.

Where she could see as she walked, and know her own name

perhaps for the first time.

 

She came to her belonging place then, and no-one could doubt

the tracks her journey left, visible like scars

that told the world, she’d gotten off the ride,

and would chart her own path now, belonging, not backing out

of the contract she made with herself.