Resting up from writing for a day or two, I’ve picked the cobwebs off the guitar. Really want to try more songwriting, but here’s my effort on a song I love, by Green Day, called, Good Riddance “Time of Your Life”. And, no, that is NOT me in the photograph.
Posted by jakk54 on December 9, 2013
Having just completed the first draft of the third novel in my Kendrick Chronicles series, Babylon Slide, I took some chill out time to record a song I wrote a few months back. It’s on youtube and soundcloud. Hope you’ll consider giving it a listen, and sharing it. Comments welcome, too, of course.
Posted by jakk54 on December 8, 2013
My own blog has fallen by the wayside for the moment, it seems. In my defence, I am hard at work writing my new novel, teaching and doing blogs for other people. I thought it would be useful, therefore, to give you links to some of the work I’ve been doing for Adventures in SciFi Publishing and Amazing Stories Magazine. I was especially pleased that my post, Clinging to the Wreckage: How to Save Science Fiction, got more feedback than any in the podcast and website’s history.
Here are some recent postings, which I hope you will find interesting:
This River Awakens by Steven Erikson. The master fantasist’s first novel, which is not fantasy at all.
Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman. A very smart vampire tale.
The Art of the Big ‘O‘. Yeah, yeah, I know what it sounds like, but it’s actually an art book.
Clinging to the Wreckage: How to Save Science Fiction Pitch in to the debate – let’s see if we can’t get the feedback up to 100.
A Sentimental (Science Fiction) Education Flaubert would be proud – not!
Posted by jakk54 on December 3, 2013
I’ve been neglecting my blog lately, principally because I’ve been so busy with other matters – a new gig teaching creative writing, writing my latest novel, and blogging and book reviewing. In all of this I forgot to mention that I am now blogging for Amazing Stories. Which brings out my inner geek. I was a fan of the magazine as a teenager, alongside Analog, Galaxy and Fantasy & Science Fiction. So, my first blog posting is, understandably, all about how my love for science fiction developed. I hope you will check it out, comment on the magazine’s page, and maybe give Amazing Stories your support – register with the site, and think about subscribing!
Posted by jakk54 on November 14, 2013
I started off the year with every intention of writing 2,500 words a day of my new novel. I managed to sustain this, weekends excepted, for just over two months. I got 80,000 words written. I’m aiming for 150,000 words, though it make come out less than that. However, a number of things got in the way, and my daily regime went to hell. I’ve resumed writing. But, not being an outliner, I’ve found it much harder to keep the threads of the plot together. Although they are weaving together, albeit more slowly than at first.
The point being that an outliner could maybe leave a book-in-progress and come back to it months later without difficulty. A seat of the pants writer like myself can’t do the same. Although, to be fair, I do a little outlining as I go, so I don’t have to re-read everything. It’s not at all easy. But it’s the writing life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I felt reassured about the struggles of a writer, both the technical and emotional ones, by reading a blog posting by Colin F. Barnes, author of the Techxorcist series, among other things. He was trying for a million words in a year. That’s 2,750 words a day. Although he didn’t quite manage it, I have a huge amount of admiration for his efforts. Incidentally, Colin is generously giving away a free e-book version of Artificial Evil, the first Techxorcist novel – just drop him a line at his contacts page with the words “Free Artificial Copy” as the subject – offer ends 1 January, 2014.
Posted by jakk54 on October 29, 2013
I’ve just starting running creative writing classes for Bulgarian teenagers who are learning English. The young people at the American College Arcus in Veliko Turnovo, Bulgara, range in age from 15 to 17. They are great students, and the reading aloud segment in the first week uncovered a few kids who are born actors. Keeping their enthusiasm levels going, though, will involve not just creative approaches to sparking their interest in creative writing, but finding things besides their set texts which will feed their imaginations.
At the end of each of my six classes in week one, I read aloud the opening passages of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians. The class loved them. One of my colleagues has asked for recommendations for other YA books her students might enjoy, so I’m looking for recommendations. They could be e-books, or books that are low priced (budget is a consideration). Free ebooks are fine – so long as they are good. I will, of course, recommend the school pick up copies of these two great books also.
Please give me your thoughts and ideas in the response to this post. Everyone who posts gets a free copy of the ebook version of my short story collection, Dr. North’s Wound and Other Stories.
Posted by jakk54 on October 18, 2013
My first blog post on Adventures in Scifi Publishing has been getting some great, interesting responses. “Clinging to the Wreckage: How to Save Science Fiction” is about the current state, perceived or real, of science fiction. Is straight-ahead science fiction on its way out, as fantasy comes to the fore? Or are genre mash-ups the way forward? Or are zombies eating the brains out of the genre? I hope you will check out my posting, and maybe pitch in on what’s proving to be a lively discussion.
Posted by jakk54 on October 17, 2013
Tim Ward, host of the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast, kindly invited me to co-interview science fiction and fantasy writer, Kay Kenyon. Kay was a fascinating guest, and I am sure you will enjoy what she had to say, about her novel, A Thousand Perfect Things, and other topics which the book touches upon. You’ll also find my review of the novel on the podcast’s website.
Posted by jakk54 on September 29, 2013
Canadian violinist/composer, Davey Copeland, has just released his latest album, It’s Only Time. I met Davey just this year, and he and his girlfriend, Suzie Frischmann, who created the amazing cover art, stayed with us for a couple of months. The album was inspired by our area in the mountains of Bulgaria, and it was composed and recorded in our home. Using multi-tracking, and lots of other clever stuff, with some guitar, vocals and percussion thrown in for good measure, Davey has created a magical melange of musics. Hypnotic, ethereal, beaty, cool and jazzy – impossible to describe, and impossible not to enjoy. Do consider picking up a copy.
Posted by jakk54 on September 23, 2013
I’ve tinkered with songwriting now and again, but Guru Blues is the first I’ve committed to the internet. I am accompanied by an amazing violin player from Canada, Davey Copeland. Hope you will check it out.
Posted by jakk54 on August 17, 2013