The Muse of Music: It Makes Me Write

My muse is music.

I have to have music around me at all times because it makes me enjoy this world all the more. This post is not so much about music but how I can’t seem to focus on my art.

Stoc
Stoc: Volume Three

My work on my third novel in the New Druids series is plodding along, albeit not as quickly as I would like. I am finding it difficult to find the time and when I do I have time, to focus on the task. I think many of us have this problem and the symptoms are as old as the heavens.

Here’s what I do know: you need to be in the right mindset. I have to one, find the time, two, recognise that this is an opportunity to progress my work, and three, commit myself to actually doing the deed. Hard to get all three of those items lined up just right. For example, I have the time now, I recognise that it is a perfect time to write, but I find myself writing a blog post rather than writing on my novel. I am easily distracted.

“Wicked, bad, naughty Zoot!”

Yes, I blame Monty Python, because why not?

But I have not procrastinated. So that is good news! I have managed to put away the Christmas lights, I raked the front yard, and I have brushed out the garage. But wait, there’s more! I also put away the snow blower and pulled out the lawn mower. A truly glorious day!

I should probably close this out and get to writing. Did I tell you that I am having all sorts of difficulty working out a massive battle scene in the third novel? I probably shouldn’t tell you that. Spoilers, I guess…

So, right, Music.

I mentioned it way up above in the title of this post. Why? Because music is a grounding muse for me. I play music and I can typically fall into positive patterns of behaviour. I play music on my piano. I run to music. I ride the bus with music. I sit in airports and rocket through the sky in thin-skinned aeroplanes with music. I also write to music. I write my novels to acoustic guitar most often, like Andy McKee, or Jack Dawson. Or I listen to post-rock from Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It calms me. If not post-rock then Band of Horses is always a winner.

Here are some samples:  This Will Destroy You: The Mighty Rio Grande or Explosions in the Sky: Your Hand in Mine and Band of Horses: Detlef Schrempf

Ciao.

Piracy and Copyright Infringement

UPDATE #2: Amazon sent me a very nice explanation email. Here is what Anne Tarpey, the Amazon Trademark Agent, said:

“Thank you for your e-mail. The Kindle title, “DUILLEOG: Druids Novel” ASIN: B01N9CSV4N was removed from sale on Amazon.com. Our North American sales records do not reflect any sales of this item while it was active. The appropriate group is currently investigating this publisher. For privacy reasons, the results of their investigations cannot be disclosed, but be assured they will take any disciplinary actions they find appropriate.”

UPDATE #1: The offending novel has been taken down from Amazon. This happened yesterday, December 10, 2016, sometime in the afternoon. Still no word from Amazon.


Yesterday I was working on the details of my new release for Leaf and Branch. As I am wont to do, I went to Amazon and typed in my first novel title. This lets me quickly get to my author bio and copy it. When I typed in my novel and hit enter I found myself looking at another novel with a very similar title: Duilleog: Druids Novel. My alarm bells went off.

I clicked the book and found myself looking at a very badly done cover and the name of an author called “Park Michael”. I clicked the novel to look inside and noticed, one, the copyright detail was not there, two, it was a complete cut and paste from my novel, Duilleog, A New Druids Novel, Volume 1. This asshat had blatantly stolen my novel and was selling it on Amazon. I want to be clear here: it is a COMPLETE copy of my novel. Word for word.

I have sent a copyright infringement notice to Amazon and I am STILL waiting on word back. It’s been over 24 hours now. Meanwhile, needing a shoulder to lament on, I went over to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Author group on Facebook and told them – and my personal Facebook page. Their support and the support of my friends has been nothing short of spectacular. Moral support. Sympathy. Everything I could need. PLUS, they have flooded the pirated novel with one-star reviews and warned the world it was a plagiarised novel. My faith in humanity restored. They have all levelled up, IMHO.

Meanwhile, this pirate is selling my novel. Amazon needs to be more responsive. This is without a doubt a blatant theft. I fail to understand how Amazon could allow the publishing of something so clearly plagiarised. In Staff College, I had to submit my essays through Turnitin. Surely to Gaea, Amazon could run submissions through something similar. It’s not hard. The novel was at least two years of my life if not more. Hard work, sweat, tears, frustration, joy, and everything in between – only for someone to scan it, post it, and sell it as if it was their own. It’s criminal.

I’ll update when I have more news.

Average Book Length

Hugo Awards Logo
Hugo Awards Logo

Books vary in length. There are many factors such as the font, the size of the font, page size, etc. Typically we assume an average page contains 350 words. Then you have to ask yourself what is the “normal” length for a fantasy novel? Well, I have an answer that most people should accept seeing as it comes from a very good fantasy source.

The Hugo Awards state for their award categories they use the following word count:

  • Best Novel: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more.
  • Best Novella: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of between seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) and forty thousand (40,000) words.
  • Best Novelette: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of between seven thousand five hundred (7,500) and seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) words.
  • Best Short Story: Awarded for science fiction or fantasy story of less than seven thousand five hundred (7,500) words.

So, 40,000 words for a novel. Most novels I read, such as urban fantasy, are around 70,000 to 90,000 words. Takes me around 6 hours to read. My last novel was 135,000 words. So wow, poop on a stick! I should be splitting my novels into their two parts and selling them that way!  I would have FOUR books on the market by now!

Just kidding. I just write a lot of – very meaningful – words. I’ve always been verbose. I spend time describing the world that most best-selling authors don’t do. Lots and lots of dialogue interspaced with a little tell. That’s the big drive for acceptable mainstream novels these days. Writers always preach “Show don’t tell“. At its simplest, this phrase means to show the reader what is happening, or what the character is feeling by showing it, not telling. For example, you don’t write “He felt sad.” Instead, you would show it. For example: “The man hung his head and lifted a finger to wipe away a stray tear.” You’ve just shown he is sad instead of saying that he is sad. I admit it is a much better way of writing and lets the writer show his/her talent. That being said, it’s reached the point that if you don’t show and do tell, people will harshly critique you. I think it’s a step backwards in some ways. I love the tell that the classic fantasy authors provided – and don’t tell me they didn’t. Pun intended.

So why blog all this dribble? I have decided that after Freamhaigh, the fourth novel in the New Druids series, I will reduce the words in my next novels down to around 80,000 to 90,000 words. And publish more often. The New Druid series will embark on a series of smaller tales after Freamhaigh. Many ideas. Just need the time to write them.

Ciao!

Edited to correct grammar and the like. I rushed this blog post earlier today.

Too Much Material!

Stoc: A New Druids Novel, Volume Three
Stoc: A New Druids Novel, Volume Three

By the Word! I have Too Much Material! My wordsmithing skills are getting wordier. The more I write the third novel in the New Druids series the more I have to say. I outlined Stoc months ago and now that I am finally putting pen-to-paper [a colloquialism] I am rapidly discovering that the story can’t be told in 400 pages. I could – but I would be removing so much. You might remember that this happened during my first novel. I had an epiphany and realised I was well into my second novel.

Quite possibly I simply suck at creating outlines…

In any event, decisions will need to be made at some point. I’ll know more once I complete Part 1: Parry. This is not a bad thing. It just means that the final closure on the main story arc will be delayed somewhat.

The good news is that I have written over 25,000 words. I’m in the groove and loving it. I love this story and the characters. I hear their voices in my head when I write their dialogue. They surprise me often. Words come out of their mouths that I did not expect.

Yup. Crazy. I’ll update more in time.

Since I am here, I want to welcome all the fine folks over at the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Other Genres Facebook public page. Great group people!

Ciao!