Okay, the time for talking is done. The Tube Riders: Exile will be released on December 16th 2013, come hell or highwater. There will be no delays or date changes. The book will be out on that day unless I get pancaked by a steamroller or something (I'm touching the wooden tabletop right now so hopefully not!). I'm also intrigued to discover that "to pancake" is actually a verb. Will be using that one...!
In better news, I'm almost done revising Revenge, so you should only have to wait a month or so for that badboy to drop as well.
So, let's have another look at that fine cover ...
Yes, you read that right. I've finished editing Tube Riders: Exile, someone else has finished editing Tube Riders: Exile and the corrections have been made. I've sent it out to a last proofreader for a final check and shortly after it will be available. I can't give you an exact date yet because I haven't decided it, but it will be early to mid December.
I finished the first draft in February, as you might remember me saying. That's nine months of messing around, rewriting, reworking and generally struggling (oh, and I wrote another Tube Riders book in the middle there ...). This was definitely the hardest book I've ever written. I think, though, that it came out okay. Some betas have said its as good as the first book, others have said its better. I'd settle for almost as good. I guess the readers will decide.
The return of Marta Banks and the Tube Riders is coming soon ....
And in the meantime, if you haven't read it yet, The Tube Riders (book 1 in the series) will be $0.99 until the release of Exile.
I just got back from a two week teachers' conference up in the mountainous hills above Matsumoto in Nagano pref, Japan. Had an interesting time although it was a bit chilly.
Came back down the mountain to two bits of good news. The first was that England were smashing Australia in the cricket, and the second was that my editor had finished with Exile. Even better, he thought it rocked. For the last ten months of battle I've been worried it would suck, but that bodes well. Now just to make the corrections and change one or two minor things and then its off to the formatter.
Pretty quiet day at work today. Had to do speaking tests for one of my classes and then some speech contest practice after school. In the evening I went to the local insurance place to get a discount voucher for my second cat's neutering operation. Of course, in true Japan style, even though I went to the place the vet told me to go to, they told me I had to go to another place halfway across the city. It being 6 p.m., I didn't really have time, so it'll have to wait. Sometimes you think it would be easier to just pay for these things.
In writing related news, I got the cover back for Tube Riders: Revenge. It looks awesome, but I won't be revealing it until after Exile comes out. So stay tuned for that. I also got a few more chapters of the third draft of Revenge done, and its looking great. One chapter felt like the best thing I'd ever written. It was just perfect. Pretty sure no one will notice, but well ... :-) Two more hours of painting ceilings took up most of my writing time unfortunately. Tomorrow I'm working until 9pm, and Wed/Thurs I'm going to an English teacher's conference, so there won't be much writing for a few days, unfortunately. More updates soon ...
I've not had a lot to say on the blog recently so I thought I'd change tack a little bit for a while and use it more like a diary. I'm not sure how much my boring life will interest people but here are a few of my thoughts for today.
So, what did I do today?
First up, I went over to my new (old) house and continued the renovation work on the man cave / office room. This is a tiny room about 2.5m square at the back of the house, facing on to the neighbour's tiny back garden. It's wood framed so the other day I went out and bought what I thought looked like a nice colour but what actually turned out to be a poo-brown. Still, once I had the paint I thought I might as well use it, so now the wooden frames and the crossbeams of the ceiling are a fetching warm brown. Figuring white would go well with it, yesterday I painted the inner window frame (also wood) and this morning I was putting on a base layer of white paint across the ceiling with the hope of it brightening the room up a bit. Next week I'm hoping to be ready to wallpaper and then put some kind of carpeting down.
After a very brief lunch I had to go to a high school speech contest at a local college. For those who don't know, my day job is as any assistant language teacher in a Japanese high school, in Nagano, a smallish city in the Japan Alps. In this contest I had one student from one school doing the speech, and two from my other school (my "visit" school - I go there on Tuesdays and Thursdays) doing the recital. My speech student came second, which was nice. My other students didn't place unfortunately, but their pronunciation was beautiful, and I think if the judges weren't so taken in by all the wild gestures and dramatics of some of the other students they would have placed higher. Still, they're only first years so its good experience if they do it next year.
One thing I learned, actually, from the speech contest and my reactions to some of the OTT speeches, is that you can't lie to your audience. As a speech coach I insist on students acting natural, being believable. If a student is doing a speech about a trip to Germany, I want to believe that they have actually been there. Same with fiction. I want to believe it isn't fiction. I want to believe it's something that actually happened.
Afterwards, I came home, put out the trash and went for a jog. Up to 2010 I used to run half-marathons quite regularly, and actually completed Nagano full marathon (which half killed me). In the last 18 months I've been writing like a demon with over half a million words chalked up, about the same I produced in the eight or nine years previously, but one thing all that sitting around does it get you fat. I've gained a good five kilos in that time, so I figured it was time to start taking it off. I did about 5km in 31 minutes which is nothing special but a decent start. Got a feeling I'm going to hurt tomorrow ...
And so if you've trawled this far through my not particularly interesting day I'll give you the best writing updates that I can right now. Exile is finished and with the editor. I'm hoping to get it back within the next week or so. Revenge is also finished. I'm currently going through it for the third time, mostly fine-tuning and making sure the character motivation is right. For example, for a character to decide to do something major they have to be seen to be coming to that decision, they can't just do it without prior warning. I've added in a couple of extra chapters. The cover is almost finished too. I'm expecting it back in a couple of days. I've seen a draft and its proper badass. I'll be keeping it under wraps until after Exile is out, though.
I've also be thinking about plans for next year. I want to keep stepping up the writing and produce more books, so I've set a tentative plan to write four novels, each taking two months with the interim months for editing and stuff. I'd also like to get out a trunk novel, so best case scenario would be five new novels. What they'll be, I can't say. While the Tube Riders main story is done, there is plenty of scope for further stories within the same world, so I'll be thinking about some of those. I also have half a horror novel I want to finish. I'd like to do another novella in my Beat Down series under a pen name. No one buys them (the first is free on Amazon) but they're fun to write. We'll see.
Anyway, there's still an hour or so left in the day so I need to go and see what Marta Banks and friends are up to ...
Yes, I'm a borderline genius and yes, The Tube Riders is a book that far too few people have been lucky enough to read, but my first drafts can still be pretty ropey. I just finished the second draft of Revenge (Exile is on the editor's desk, if you're wondering) and here's a few shockers that I picked out. See if you can figure out what the hell these sentences were supposed to be ...
... basically, his character was floored.
The room was furnished with old but
adequate tables and conches.
The road was bumpy from tree routes.
... rolling over out of site.
In one bottom corner of the slap ...
Her voice had blasted out of that speaker,
so full of home.
... the family of his surroundings ...
... doing a sweep across the sitting.
Behind him came a rustle of moment.
... for one many to find three people.
His face was read and flustered.
… as he shook off his own cuffs, not even
Yeah, I'm pretty embarrassed, haha. But the book absolutely ROCKS, and it will be following closely on the heels of Exile once that one is out. No more 18 month waits, I promise. I learned from all the issues I had while writing Exile and so the first draft of Revenge was significantly tighter from the start. I have to add a couple of bits in there, but nothing much.
Okay, so this is jumping the gun a bit and I know I said I'd shut up until Exile was done, but there is a bit of news. Exile is now in my editor's queue, as in, I've finished what I needed to do with it and its gone for its polishing. I've also commissioned the cover for Tube Riders: Revenge, which I'm now working through in second draft.
And as always when I go over a book I've had on the shelf for a while, I come across little sections that I just love, so I thought I'd share one with you today, from fairly early in the book.
I'm not saying who this character is. You can guess, but I'm keeping my lips sealed for now ...
Slight vibrations buzzed in his hands, and he knew that
in a lab somewhere they were testing the electrical connections in case he was
having second thoughts. They always did this; the government was like a little
monkey on his back whispering into his ear, reminding him what it would feel
like if he disobeyed.
He didn’t want to pull off his clothes, but he was tired,
it was warm, and he never slept well in his boots. He unlaced them and slid
them down over his feet, pulling off the black, holey socks to reveal one
normal human foot and one plastic molded lump with rounded outcrops for toes.
It fused seamlessly with his skin just below the ankle, the synthetic skin that
covered the flexible plastic barely discernible from human skin except for its
greater elasticity, its hairlessness, and that he felt nothing when he touched
it except a tug on the skin of his lower leg.
He hated the foot. He didn’t care about the scars that
cross-crossed his body because they scared people away and no woman that he
wanted would turn down the money he could offer, but the foot … it was his
leash. It reminded him every moment of every day that he was a government dog
and even the casual freedom that anarchists and dissenters claimed within the
walls of London was not his to share.
He rolled over and pulled a blanket over him, hiding it.