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The Family Sword

Time to show off something very interesting – my family sword! There’s a story to go with the sword, but as to the exact provenance of it – no one really knows. This is basically the result of my research, based on info gleaned from Google, what my father knows about it, and some help from swordforum.com.

The book!

Rebinding Shakespeare

My friend Alejandra gave me a new project to work on last week. I had the challenge of rebinding a copy of Much Ado About Nothing that was published in 1901! This frail little book had the covers falling off and half the signatures falling out, and it was in serious need of TLC.

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The Marbling Experiment

I wish I had more photos to show, but honestly, it was so messy I didn’t dare pick up my phone! I tried marbling some paper over the weekend, and I picked two different ways: using shaving cream, and using cornstarch.

I treated some paper with alum before starting on the actual marbling.

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Cover Reveal: The Meldling

So you know how I was talking about sticking with one WP theme for a while?

Yeah. That didn’t last. I realized that I was never really going to be happy unless I got a theme that I really, truly loved, and the theme I had just wasn’t it. So I spent the weekend tweaking a very solid theme into something that I really, honestly wanted, and this is the result.

My first handbound book

My first handbound book

I’ve created a number of notepads and sketch books with blank pages, and I’ve re-bound a few second-hand books, but this is my first proper book – one that I typeset myself, printed myself, and bound myself.

I think the end result is pretty good! The paper on the cover was easily the most expensive part of it, at $10 for a single sheet. I think this was definitely a very successful binding attempt, and it produced a good-looking and very sturdy book.

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Would you like to choose what I write?

Okay! There’s a few things to talk about, so let’s get stuck in.

I completed a book, and sent it out for beta-reading. The question now is what do I do once I get feedback.

See, I’ve been staring at this book for hours over the last few weeks. True to the creative process of writers everywhere, I now hate it with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. I’ve closed the file and I’m not going to look at it until people come back to me with feedback.

New WordPress Theme, Woo! Also, News.

New WordPress Theme, Woo! Also, News.

I think we’ve established by now that I change my website about as often as I change my clothes.

Something just happens to me, and I end up hating whatever my current theme looks like, and then it’s off to the WordPress Theme Directory to pick through eleventy million different and usually horrible looking business themes.

Then I give up, grab one at random, make it look somewhat serviceable, and then stick with it until something else comes along.

I’m a flawed character, is what I’m saying.

Defeating Procrastination

Defeating Procrastination

My author friends, let us talk about procrastination.

We are all guilty of this. We sit down to write, and suddenly the laundry waiting to be done looks inviting, or we get the urge to vacuum all the things. It is our nemesis! And a wily foe it is, ever creeping into our brains and diverting us from our appointed storytelling tasks.

Long have I struggled with this, friends. Long have I fought this demon, and traded victories with it. Every day the fight begins anew… but I have found effective strategies to combat this menace, and today, I share them with you. Take careful note, and know that you must always play to your own strengths to defeat the procrastination monster.

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Has my Book been Pirated?

Piracy is still a big issue for ebooks, in spite of the fact that DRM has been optional for a while now on Amazon (the only platform that counts*). I’m still of the opinion that it’s basically irrelevant – you can’t control it, can’t prevent it, and worrying about it is a waste of your time and money.

That said, though, how do you know that your book has been pirated at all? It occurred to me that, although I could find out in a heartbeat whether my book has been pirated and from what source, it takes a level of technical knowledge that not everyone has access to. So, without further ado, here’s a primer on figuring out whether people are getting your book for free, and what you can do about it.

This far, and no further

This far, and no further

This was originally posted on Facebook, seeing as it’s a personal thing, but I’m going to post it here as well for the sake of completeness.

There is a speech by Picard from Star Trek: First Contact that’s stayed with me ever since I saw the movie, years ago, in the cinema. It goes like this:

“We’ve made too many compromises already; too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn HERE! This far, no further!”

archery at burnaby

Archery at Burnaby!

I went out to the Burnaby Range with Taylore (a friend and archery instructor) to see if I could get any better at putting holes in poor defenseless targets. I also brought along a camera to record my bumbling foolishness for posterity, and posted the evidence on Youtube.

Enjoy!

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It’s the Superhero Series I’ve Been Waiting For

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh SHIT, you guys!

I have spent several months bitching about the fact that Daredevil is all about an angsty white guy with brown hair, and Gotham is all about an angsty white guy with brown hair, and Flash is all about an angsty white guy with brown hair, and Arrow is all about an angsty white guy with brown hair – do you get where I’m going with this?

I’ve mentally checked out of the last few superhero movies because I cannot, CANNOT, get excited about white guys with brown hair angsting it up anymore. I have absolutely no interest. My boredom with the parade of white guys with brown hair and tortured pasts knows no bounds. I’ve been hanging on, only because Captain Marvel is going to be a thing at some point.

But then – THEN! – the clouds parted, the veil was lifted, and down from on high was delivered almost everything my poor heart has cried out for.

Better Writing Through Tabletop RPGs

Better Writing Through Tabletop RPGs

Everyone asks, how can I become a better writer?

The answers are usually something like: read more books in the genre you’re writing, write as much as you can, get feedback from other writers and readers. Yes, you should do all those things, and they will make you a better writer in general. But something that’s often overlooked (perhaps because it’s incredibly nerdy) is tabletop roleplaying.

RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons are amazing tools for focusing the mind on the process of storytelling. By running and playing in an RPG, you’ll develop skills and habits that will make your writing better – or at least easier!

The Power of Stories

The Power of Stories

In Ireland, we have an expression for when we meet someone: “What’s the story?” I’ve always liked this. It’s as if the Irish have always known that what we’re told by other people about their lives is a story, which may or may not match up with reality.

Reality has always been subjective, after all.

Stories have power. Stories have more power when they’re retold over and over. It doesn’t just apply to fiction, however. Stories that are told to convince others of a particular point of view are called propaganda, and propaganda is insidious stuff. Thankfully, the worst of it falls apart under scrutiny. I bring this up now because of the Irish referendum on marriage that’ll be voted for or against on May 22nd.

Who You Write For

Who You Write For

I watched a video on Youtube today from the PBS Game/Show channel about crowdfunding, and the obligations of creators to the consumers of what they create.

Crowdfunding causes users to be invested in the successful creation of media. The rise of Patreon.com and other crowdfunding venues changes everything, in that it reverses the normal order of how media is made, from: {creator makes media -> consumer pays for media} to {consumer pays for media -> creator makes media}. Being invested ahead of time, before the media is made, inserts the consumers into the act of creation.