Jul 05

Rhapsody of Moon – Jupiter fights back?

 

Europa banner2

You may notice a change of theme from last time, having adopted a distinctly sci-fi look to this post’s appearance. This is in recognition of my seventh publication, the novel Rhapsody of Moon

Available in all online bookstores, in eBook and print, tapping Jupiter above will take you there.

For followers of the popular Rhapsody Series, this book continues the twists and turns, romantic escapades and global adventures of nuclear scientist Professor Lauren Hind. Writers amongst you who create series novels will appreciate that in time our well loved protagonists inevitably have to age and should get wiser with experience. But like life generally, things don’t always go to plan. Rhapsody of Moon is written in two halves. In the first half Lauren discovers that having finally achieved her idyllic dream life on the Côte d’Azur with husband Philippe released from a Russian prison, all does not continue in the logical direction she mathematically predicts. Despite enjoying the new experience of baby triplets Magda, Eve and Geri, she becomes restless, wanting to return from maternity leave back to the cut and thrust of leading her global power company Cassini. She is thwarted when a daunting series of complications and tensions creep into her daily routine involving elder daughter Charlotte, struggling with her own new baby, and inevitably involving the machinations of best friend Amélie. To top it all, Philippe’s new political interests create unwanted female problems of old, raising serious doubts about his true intentions and leading to an unforeseen catastrophe, which brings Lauren’s fears and uncertainties together with a dramatic climax.

The second half moves us seven years on and Lauren’s life is transformed, having gained a renewed level of independence alongside her three girls. News of an unexpected death throws her into a long needed reconciliation when she realises she may be falling in love again. She travels to the US to reflect on her feelings and to celebrate the marriage of step-daughter Svet. However, Svet discloses a strange series of research results involving infrared pulses from the depths of the Milky Way, recorded secretly during her astrobiology work at Harvard. Lauren’s visit to Boston becomes an unexpected fun reunion of five female physicists, eager to jointly solve Svet’s unusual problem. But their conclusions become too close to the real causal truth. Inexplicable happenings outside of their control suddenly unfold, leading to a devastating out of this world experience which will disrupt and permanently change all their lives forever.

This is my first venture into a sci-fi plot and has been a challenge to create a women’s fiction story quite different from what Rhapsody readers normally expect, whilst retaining the usual set of characters, humour, hilarity and unintended consequences which Lauren and her friends and family encounter.

Moving on, I’m doing work on further books for 2016. The sequel to Rhapsody of Moon is in preparation for winter 2017, not to be missed by Lauren Hind fans, to be titled Rhapsody of Deception. For writers, a year soon goes by. NaNoWriMo was upon us last November where I researched and then wrote my latest novel and Book 3 of the Mauveine Series Morag just published again involving dyes  and Victorian England. I’m also doing research for a brand new series set in early twentieth century England to be based around the relationship exploits of a fictional science based Bloomsbury Group. The end of the nineteenth century wasn’t only a tumultuous time of change for literature and art as modernism took root, but for science too – the young Picasso and the early post impressionists were very influenced by Einstein, relativity and quantum theory. Delving into past creativity can have interesting consequences. Activities which you take as new 21st century inventions may have been done extensively before. Take our present self publishing. Revolutionary it may appear to be, but Virginia Woolf did it throughout her incredible writing life to get content to readers. In 1916, she and her husband Leonard Woolf purchased a hand printing machine for $25 and set up the Hogarth Press, through which all their subsequent writings would be self published. In those days, to print off something like two hundred copies of a 50 page collection of short stories, required buying and setting up a load of lead type, inking and then hand-printing page by page, or if you invested more, a treadle which did four sheets simultaneously, not good for the knees. Then of course there was stitching in the bindings and covers by hand. Such a run might take six months before you could parcel up your books; you needed much stamina, ingenuity and persistence to get into publishing then. I’m sure Virginia Woolf would have approved of Lightning Source, CreateSpace and Scrivener!

Which takes me to 2016 and the services I offer to indie writers and authors. There is nothing better than a bit of work-based learning, putting in the 10,000 hours and making lots of mistakes to develop new book skills, which we have done with equal determination as the Woolfs. Are you engrossed with writing and no time or knowhow to get your books into print? I provide any typography, formatting and book design for print and eBook, to include colour and hardbacks. If you have any problems and want help, look over my book site Creative Gateway and email me.

Jun 28

Morag, Book 3 of the Mauveine Series, now published

Morag eCover Final

McKenzie family records of the early nineteenth century have strangely gone missing, triggering concern, but scientist Victoria McKenzie and friend Abby are too preoccupied with a forthcoming break to Harvard University on a cruise ship. Onboard, circumstances in the Atlantic become terrifyingly scary and they find themselves facing the consequences of the ignored warning but in a manner that distorts their imagination far beyond anything possible. Forced to accept the challenge presented … they must change the course of McKenzie history or face their own fate … of never being born in the first place. The terror is over in 2026 but in 1841 their family is in turmoil. If their worlds meet oblivion beckons

On this occasion, I decided that I wanted to embark on a new mystery with the cast of McKenzie family characters and the ghostly Mauveine. A riddle was left in the previous series novel Prism of Purpurine, which Victoria McKenzie and her family hadn’t resolved. Although the terror was over, what happened to the family records in their Orsbrick Hall library between the late 1700s and 1860 and why had they all disappeared?

I quickly realised that this new adventure, taking the timeline back to the early nineteenth century when England was buzzing with incredible ferment and innovation in science and technology alongside massive social and economic change, would necessitate a large amount of reading of original texts. Effectively my NaNoWriMo period of November 2015 was therefore taken up by intensive research, and not a single quill hit the inkpot in that period. The challenge was daunting but one benefit, now realisable, of the scanning of hundreds of thousands of old books by Google, is to release an immense amount of original writings, biographies and novels of amazing writers from the nineteenth century, long forgotten and way out of copyright, into the hands of the online researcher in readable digital formats. This is not to decry the many benefits and pleasures of scouring original printed and handwritten text in the likes of the Bodleian or British Libraries. However, the job of the historic fiction writer is to create and weave exciting and realistic stories around past activity and is not the same as the academic historian who needs rigorous precision for their enumeration and interpretation of facts and events.

Morag, like predecessors Mauveine and Prism of Purpurine, once more defies simple categorisation. I would describe the novel as a mystery and suspense mashup of fantasy, history, science, art, romance and adventure. This time, the unravelling of another challenging McKenzie family secret takes our four main female protagonists, Victoria, her daughters Maddie and Belle and her best friend Abby onto a traumatic journey with others not of their time, where they are forced to question their ambition, lifestyle and morals, which are no longer guaranteed in their fight to ensure their existence remains intact.

To sample and buy in eBook or print then go to http://amzn.to/1PBwmhu

Jan 28

Prism of Purpurine is about to be published

Although I planned to publish Prism of Purpurine, my ghost story sequel to Mauveine by Christmas, I ended up having a lot more work to do with editing and reshaping the story, following invaluable feedback from my beta-readers. Inevitable this has been my focus during this month of January, but I’m pleased to say, I’m now there. Final edits are now completed and I just need to polish up the typography and should have the book published in the next ten days, initially as an eBook available through the usual online retailers and direct from the Creative Gateway book store. A print version will follow very soon. A new cover has been designed – hope you like it.

3DEbookCover

For writers, a useful editing technique which I find invaluable is to review your draft on your laptop and then do the same on a Kindle and on an ePub version – I enjoy editing on my Kindle Fire and Nook. Devices render your text in different ways and your eye readjusts and finds new errors you missed previously! As good as the old stalwart of reading out aloud. Next update with be details of availability when Prism of Purpurine is for sale.

 

 

Nov 15

Prism of Purpurine – my NaNoWriMo ghost sequel to Mauveine hits 50K today

Emerged again from the Nano dungeon this morning and just hit the required 50K, mid-month. Got the rump of the story laid out fast, up to the finale countdown, so I’m done now with the word-count pressure, last quill down to a smoking stump. Although I must admit, my new friend down there, Pepys, is still well ahead with his Nano-diaries. Set in the mid 1660’s, then forward to 2025, Prism of Purpurine takes the story of Mauveine onwards as friends Victoria, Julian, Abby and Lynton find that their nicely settled lives turn into a second nightmare once more, the demons having not quite gone away as believed.

PoP eCover1

Next step for the second half of November, but at a more thoughtful pace, is some creative wordsmithing, start of first editing of some previous chapters beyond the red Word typos and filling in of gaps, even new chapters where I ploughed on past. I’ve got Prism of Purpurine set in three timelines which provide good scope for the story, but can’t Google the year 2025 for research so had to fire up the imagination much more! I’m aiming to come in at the end of the month with a finished story, enough to make a nice paperback as well as the usual eBook versions. You can see my first cover design above. Some things I did for Nano this year, which hopefully may help keep the momentum up for everyone reading this are:

  • If you’re a panster like me, or stuck and wandering, and haven’t done a plot outline yet, it will help to unblock. I started with 4 sides of A4 in short paras mapped out through the three plotline phases. Helps enormously but be prepared to deviate sensibly as the characters take control.
  • Set a daily average target, which is good for you, allowing for some days when life takes over, and head for it, aiming to write something each day come what may, keeps morale going. I aimed for 3K a day and managed more or less in around 4 hours, sometimes in one go, usually in chunks of time with long breaks in between. Managed 7K one day, really fired up, but felt really rough the next and then did less than 1K, not recommended to overdo it, stay steady.
  • Don’t semi-edit/revise, para, by para and over-cogitate – leave it then you’ll head to the final count quicker. I do correct the red typos immediately and anything sentence-silly on a page but keep on going. Finally Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Browne & King, I really recommend when you’re ready to start that part.

I’m aiming to publish Prism of Purpurine before Xmas so everyone can see how it went. Good luck if you’re scribbling hard too, with completing your novel project  for NaNoWriMo 2014

Sep 08

Rhapsody of Succession is published and available

Finally, after doing a lot more research than I anticipated, I’ve completed Rhapsody of Succession, the fourth book of the Rhapsody series, continuing the global adventures and romantic journey of nuclear scientist and Cassini CEO, Professor Lauren Hind.

Rhapsody of Succession PrintCoverV1

This one is a hoot, all the usual Rhapsody characters and suspects are back in humorous and fighting form plus a few more new and intriguing additions to the series, set to plague Lauren Hind’s well thought out plans yet again. And I’m really pleased, after a lot of experimenting, with how the cover design worked out, linked to the story.

Here’s the description: Following confirmation, scientist and Cassini Chairman Lauren Hind adjusts to the realities of becoming pregnant with triplets at the age of forty-three. But husband Philippe, struggling to return to normality after the trauma of Murmansk, loses communications on an extended hunting holiday in Siberia. Whilst her news filters out, he remains unaware of Lauren’s plight, adding to her frustration and growing alarm with unresolved dilemmas, as she falls back on past affections to try and come to terms and understand. In the midst of this and grappling with continuing international success, Lauren suddenly finds her daughter, friends and colleagues making their own declarations of pregnancy as a veritable epidemic ensues, with major consequences  as daughter Charlotte announces it’s time to wed again and step-daughter Svet abruptly ends family ties. When a mysterious Russian gas engineer, Olga, appears from nowhere into her life, she is reluctantly forced to reassess her foundering marriage and make an array of life changing decisions. An unexpected phone call triggers a journey to the darkest interiors of Central Africa. Why must she go, given her condition? And can anyone confront the murky plot and consequences that await and save her before the nightmare of the last nine months finally knits together for a devastating conclusion?

Intrigued? More details and buy and sampling options here. Now available in print and eBook formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook and Kobo. Go to it and enjoy!

Sep 08

What happened to Mauveine?

I must admit. I hadn’t realised how quickly time has been passing by in blog nano-months, when it suddenly dawned on me that since my last post, NaNoWriMo2014 will soon be upon all of us writers again in a few months time, so apologies for the long, protracted silence.

But I have been hugely busy scribing and making books since the 2013 Namo race to fame. No wonder it’s taken me so long, really must update the technology – a printing press might be a good idea.

Escribano Scribe

The good news, apart from ageing 100 years, was I did succeed in writing, editing, book designing and publishing Mauveine in the 30 days of last November and it has continued to sell well and entrance readers with its ghostly humorous tale ever since. Declared a winner, I got a great tee-shirt and access to a host of big discounted deals including books and software. Well worth the effort. Writers and would-be writers take note – your turn this year.

You may also have noticed that I have given this website a bit of a sprucing over, with a new Graphene theme (it had to have a science implication) and more information on all the books I have written, including a detailed section on the background of Mauveine and what inspired the idea of the novel and the research and character backgrounds, undertaken at a rapid pace during the last Nano month. You can find all this via the ‘Books’ and the ‘Creative’ menu tag and all the new submenus. This includes a summary of my new range of pre-publication services I am offering all indie writers, self and small publishers, in book formatting, typography, and cover design, whether you want an eBook sorted out or a print publication, black and white and colour.

Peruse, indulge and have fun:

In the meantime, it’s time to start pondering what to do for NaNoWriMo 2014. Lots of readers have been asking for a follow up to Mauveine – so it looks like that may well be dominating the focus of thought … watch this space!

Nov 24

Progress on my NaNoWriMo Novel

Mauveine eCover3Just emerged blinking in the sunlight and hosing down the keyboard. Those of us doing NaNoWriMo know the routine. Well, I finished. Sadly the characters took over and I lost the plot totally. My ghost story, Mauveine, has two female protagonists on an emotional journey to find their true selves but unfortunately a third joins them on the trail, but not quite of this time. A mashup with fantasy, romance, adventure, historic, art, heritage and science, defies genre but who cares. Now madly editing to publish on the 30th. Back to the dungeon, more on Dec 1st .

Oct 18

NaNoWriMo can kick your creativity in new directions

You’ve probably been hearing it endlessly for the last few weeks. Not long to go before the annual National Novel Writing Month competition kicks in on November 1st. For any writer still not sure what this is all about, well it happens every November when thousands of writers worldwide sign up to complete a 50,000 word novel within the month.

Certainly for many writers that sounds an awfully large daunting number of words to get down in thirty days and without doubt, to complete the marathon, you will need large doses of willpower, determination and a cull of those irritating distraction devils who continually climb onto your shoulder and beg you to read your emails, surf the net for cat videos or dig the garden – in fact do anything but write. But let’s get scientific and analytical, exactly like Professor Lauren Hind, my protagonist in my present Rhapsody series, always does when faced with a challenge. OK Lauren – what’s your take?

“I don’t really know what all the fuss is about, that works out at only 1666.67 words per day or 3.3 sides of A4. Think of all the tripe you write on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, emails and the rest, you probably do that already!”

“Hey, I don’t write tripe on social media … anyway I have all these other priorities …”

“Do you want to feel the satisfaction of achieving the goal and more importantly won’t the discipline jog your creativity into life and force you to do something you otherwise may not do? If so, there is only one logical answer; stop wimping, get focussed, cut the crap, butt in chair and start writing!”

Actually she has a point there. I’m looking to explore some new genre writing as well as continue my series. Why? I don’t know but it’s been nagging in my head all summer to write something different. The muse is restless. So what the hell. NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity to flex the creative muscles, so although I’m now well into writing my next novel, Rhapsody of Succession, I’m going to take a month’s sabbatical and write something new and publish it as well. Now that is quite a challenge even Lauren Hind would admit to.Pumpkin image

Well. I’m now entered for NaNoWriMo for the first time. Funny thing but going into my local supermarket this morning seeing thousands of massive orange pumpkins, with stencilled faces, on sale for Halloween made me shudder as we move quickly out of the glorious summer and into that ghostly, damp, dark and foreboding autumn. It’s a witchy period … mmm… paranormal food for thought. The fog hasn’t lifted yet either, must be a sign. Have to get the plot outline and description done by the 30th, must crack on … the muse has stirred.

Sep 23

A warm welcome to my discussion page

Hi and welcome to Roy Baldwin’s author page where you will find regular commentary on my books and writing, as well as hints and tips on all aspects of digital publishing. I intend to provide interesting and ongoing topics for discussion which not only relate to issues close to my writing heart and which connect with my own novels but also on books, creativity and digital publishing generally. I look forward to hearing from you.