Monday, April 1, 2013

Exit Strategy

When I first started writing Bukowski's adventure, the setting and premise looked nothing like what you see in Exit Strategy.

Yet, as with anything, the idea grew. Between feedback from writing friends Barb Caffrey, her late husband Michael, and the likes of N.M. Gillson to name just a few, I had been encouraged and pushed to do better.

The novella had been available through Smashwords and Kobo, and Barnes & Noble if memory serves me correctly. Four stories had been sold, until I figured that it would be a good idea to just make the story and the accompanying vignetta serial as free downloads. Better to have a readership than zero sales, at least that is my belief. Once I figure out how to place my stuff on Amazon that may change, but am sticking with Smashwords for now because... well, it suits my purpose for now.

But what is the bestest part right now, on this Easter Monday? I checked out Goodreads, where I have my story placed as well, and Kobo. I saw comments from buyers and stars, indicating if they liked it (five full stars) or hated it (one star). Out of the four who purchased my book, the vote was evenly split between two sets of three stars and two sets of five. Yippee, right? Equally, I had feedback. This is what two of them had to say:

"I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. It's full of action and conspiratorial intrigue. If you love military fiction and science fiction, or love when the two make sweet sweet love -- this book is for you. What are you waiting for?"
    -- Anth, Goodreads reviewer 
"Awesome book, from start to finish. Outstanding dialogue, graphic scenes and makes you feel you are actually there.

Piotr is a writer to watch out for in the coming years."

Only problem with this story is...its too short!
     -- N.M. Gillson, author of Black Donald 

Too short?

Okay, Nigel, challenge received.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Church interiors and experiences

So the other day I wrote about going to seeing ballet, and absolutely loving every second of it.

Last night I went to see a show being done by the City Choir Dunedin, called Nature's Bounty, at the Knox Church. The drawcard for me was that it was supported by the Southern Synthonia. There is something about an orchestra that lately seems to have an affect on me, and am slowly discovering the likes of Chopin and company.

The other bonus was that it was held at Knox Church, one of the icons of Dunedin, dating back to 1859 and with a pretty impressive history in its own right.

It's on the corner of Pitts and George Streets
As a budding historian, I had always wanted to see the interior of the church but access to it is understandingly limited. So when family friends suggested we check out the choir's latest concert there I figured "why not?".

So of we went.

Interior of Knox Church
Okay, let me start of with saying that Knox Church is presbyterian. I think that the thing that struck me most was the simple nature of the interior. It was plain really, with the windows being the predominantly decorative parts that I could see despite the awesome exterior. Was I disappointed? Well, a little. But it is my understanding that many presbyterians weren't into the whole pomp and ceremony that catholics and anglicans were, but I could be wrong (please correct me if that is the case). Still, it was a monument to Dunedin's past and feel richer for seeing the church myself.

As for the performance itself? Well, it was okay. But this choir was no angels singing, if you catch my drift--but they were still enjoyable to listen to. Plus the experience was made sour when one of the choir members literally told my mum and I we were sitting in the wrong in the wrong area despite being ushered to the "wheelchair" section, due to it being reserved for his elderly guest who too was on a wheelchair. My mum nearly had a fit when the choir member dismissed her claim while ignoring me by stating that "there are disabilities, and then there are disabilities". Personally I couldn't figure out what he meant by that off the cuff statement, but hey... takes all kinds, right?

How about you?

Have you experienced something new that you've wanted to try?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Really stepping outside one's comfort zone

I follow a writer's blog, which ought to be of no surprise. If you like said author, you should follow them like love struck puppy. Okay, maybe not. But let's not get too distracted.

In one of his entries he talks about listening to a particular band he gets to listen to regularly, as the venue they play in is only three hours away. Evidently his wife introduced him to the band, as the genre the band played in wasn't his usual cup of tea. Consequently, he was glad that he had been introduced as he has fallen in love with the band.

To a certain extent that is me and ballet.

When I was younger, the idea of going to the ballet or sinfonia was definitely not cool.

Last night I went to see to see three world premiers rolled into one show; essentially three performances done by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. It was a nice mix of traditional ballet, alternative dance and some fantastic story telling using music, movement, lighting and props (or lack thereof). What impressed me though was the amount of people younger then me going to such a thing, who actually outnumbered the oldies. After all, with the way entertainment is going high-tech the theatre would be the last place to find someone in their teens or twenties, right? Wrong.

Shows like the ballet allows us to loose ourselves in a world outside our own, where graceful movement is prominant and the music dating back to the Italian Renaissance, Czarist Russia and good ol' France. Not only was the music drawing you in, but so were the dancers, and no amount of special effects would be able to replicate the awesomeness that the show was.

Does this mean I like ballet now? Definitely!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pulling two stories off Smashwords

I don't have time to be promoting my writing independently and work full-time, as the job is ten times more important. Man, as much as I appreciate the opportunity to create a business from the ground up, it is eating up on being a full-time independent writer. Does that mean I stop writing? Nope. If anything, I can focus on making quality fiction when not working and try my best in submitting stories to the likes of Baen, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, et al. Writing is about enjoyment, not stress after all. I will however upload freebies to attract a readership.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Negotiating the challenges of life

I have just returned from a business trip in Wellington.

Okay, I know that as things go that ain't much, right? People travel on business trips regularly, so no brainer.   For me it was more akin to seeing what I can do despite what I can't do, and using a wheelchair (albiet a motorised one) you certainly have a toss up between the two.  You see this time, I flew up and went to meetings and seminars without any of my colleagues from work being with me this time round.  In other words, I had no back-up other than what supports I had called ahead for.

And between you, me and the guy next to us; it was the best realisation on what I can do.

You see, it's about negotiating through life's challenges. Sometimes you can kick butt to whatever life throws at you, and sometimes you need reinforcements . . . and sometimes, it's okay to accept support from wherever it came from, while all the way still kicking butt.  I did the last bit, I placed my trust in myself and in the support system one would expect in the airport, airline, taxi and hotel and did so without hesitation.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Across the Board Resolutions

We're three days into the new year, and that is a rather good thing. Not only did the Mayans got it wrong (and let's face it, they didn't exactly predicted their own demise now did they?), but this year I can finally let go of all that past emotional baggage about more study and trying to prove that I'm a viable employee material. Having gotten my Masters degree two years back, I think that's enough. As for being "viable employee material"? I know that I am, and that ought to be enough. Besides, I am working for Payless Energy Limited part-time. Yes, it may be a starting up business ran by my family, but that's alright. Working for one's family has certain liberties.

One such liberty is that they know about my desire to write fiction.

Writing is definitely going to be part of this year's resolution. With Exit Strategy already available, alongside Across the Board, on Smashwords, I have two or three more novella drafts to spit and polish for the first half of this year. Keep an eye out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Evolution of Science Fiction

I would like to talk about the evolution of science fiction into what is becoming to be known as speculative fiction. Because let us face it, the whole concept of science fiction is changing.  Long gone are the days where we can get away with writing that humanoid-like sentients live on Mars and anywhere else in our solar system.  Science fact had proved that the only life we know of may be fossilised algea on the red planet, and one of these days we'll learn what's in Europa.  Technology has improved over the years, even if government interest in space exploration has waned.  That isn't true with private enterprise.  But I digress.

It can be argued that science and technology has finally caught up with science fiction, especially around computers and robotics.  That and most people have become more aware.  For me, I think that science fiction is splitting into two categories; science fantasy and speculative fiction.  Movies like Star Wars and Planets of the Apes, Star Gate and even Battlestar Galactica and good old Star Trek (not to mention such computer games as Halo and Mass Effect) are scientific fantasies where warp speed is the norm alongside having sex with exotic aliens and halfbreeds.  Others, like Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers and games likes Binary Domain, and anything dreamed up by Tom Clancy and his peeps as speculative.

But what is speculative fiction?

It is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, weird fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts.

The term has been used to express dissatisfaction with what some people consider the limitations of science fiction, or otherwise to designate fiction that falls under readily stereotypical genres so that it can be pigeonholed within such categorical limits as "fantasy" or "mystery".

The new movie Lockdown is speculative.

Not only is this a pretty cool movie, incorporating action and showing Guy Pearce's talent in spades, it is also within the speculative genre due to being set in the near future.  For me it's in the same league as Minority Report and Bicentennial Man; both good movies. All three movies, and some games (such as my fave currently, the entire Call of Duty series) try to theorise how the future it may be. 

Is our future going to be a dystopia, or more a utopia?

Or is everything going to end on the 21st December of 2012 and the future is mute?

As a writer, even one who has currently opted to go independent, I like to think my fiction is speculative in nature.  Are we going to go down the road of a global government, or are we going to be fractured?  Are we going to colonise the Moon and Mars, and eventually move outwards to Europa and onwards to Alpha Centauri, or are we going to go and settle the seas like in seaQuest?

Of course, to find out go to here.