Category: Iron Series

Blog: Creation

Full marks this week if you knew the film after which this post is named.

This week’s excerpt
Since I am back on the story with a working title of Escher’s Staircase, we do have an excerpt this week. Here it is, from a section entitled Painter.

Escher’s Staircase
Copyright © 2013 by Lazlo Ferran
All Rights Reserved“I’m sorry, darling,” I explained as I sat down to my cornflakes and honey in our sunny, pine-furnished kitchenette.
But suddenly she wasn’t speaking to me. Typical! I don’t know whether to be grateful when she doesn’t pity me or angry because maybe she doesn’t care. On this occasion I was angry. As any man who has been in a long-term relationship with a woman will know, it’s the woman who decides where and when battles will be fought. The only choices I now had were what weapons to use. Righteousness? Jeez, no! Never to be used unless you are absolutely in the sight of God, correct. How about abject repentance. Perhaps worth a try. The old faithful; ignoring her too. Can work but tends to lend righteousness to her argument and prolong the battle. Time is the one thing I don’t have. Okay let’s try this one; the peace-offering from a friend combined with an explanation. Should at least win some Brownie points.
“Had a bad dream this morning. Only, not sure if it was a dream at all!” No response. She is still tidying away her own breakfast.
“There was this crow …”
“You know I’m no good at interpreting dreams, Ariel! And I’m really busy. Can you just call Jay? He might have fallen asleep again.”
Ah, a response. Worth continuing.
I leaned back in my chair and hollered. “Jay! Time to get up. I’ll come in, in five minutes, if you’re not up!”
Faintly, “Oh dad!” is heard.
“You could have gone to the door! The neighbours will hear!” Christy muttered.
“Anyway, as I was saying …”
“When are we going to tell him?” I had to count to five after this one. Every chance she gets, she asks this and she knows the answer.
“Tell him what? We don’t even know if it’s really going to happen. I might even recover. Not that you’d care!”
“Oh, don’t be stupid. I will even love your corpse.” Ouch. Now, I’ve really dug level two through to ten of my hole.
“Sorry, baby. I didn’t mean that.” I stood up, went around the table and put my hands around her stomach. I kissed her neck and she tilted her head obligingly.

How does creativity work for a writer?
Often get asked that question. There is no simple answer.

Like a shaman, do I summon from the murk something to make shine bright?

Yes, in a sense I do. But the process by which this (hopefully) happens varies. My best time of the day for ideas is about 10.30-11.30 am. I usually spend about a year developing a story from a germ of an idea to an actually story outline. Very often I will abandon an idea very early on. So in the early life of a story, I am often spending a lot of time in the morning thinking about it.

Afternoon and evening seem better for simply getting things down. While I was still working full-time in the IT industry, evening was usually the only time of day available for me to writer. Very often, I could only manage one hour or so after eating before my focus would be completely gone.

However, my writing is almost always cathartic. I don’t pretend it isn’t. For me this seems to mean that I have a very considerable resource of creativity. I won’t say it never runs out but it rare that I don’t feel like writing. I was a very angry child. ‘Cathartic’ means I don’t really have much control over it; the quality varies. Obviously, if I could I would write only my best stuff all the time but the very best comes only occasionally and usually when I am ‘in the zone’. Usually I have to accept writing quite a bit ‘in the zone’ before I will recognise that I have written one or two good phrases. Sometimes I don’t even see them until I read it back for the first time. Sometimes good passages are born of desperation: I will be trying to write and thinking it’s rubbish and something in my mind just takes a leap into the unknown and comes up with something good.

I think accepting that one has to write a lot of stuff that is very good rather than ‘inspired’ is one of the hardest aspects of writing. I don’t think anybody can be great all the time so one just has to keep working on one’s technique to make sure the good stuff is very good. Then the great stuff might be really great!

Other News
I have finished the firsts draft of Iron III: Worlds Like Dust. Expect to see this out some time late this year. At the moment two people are reading the draft so they can feed back to me on the general story structure.

You can now also dream up your own film cast for my books on storycasting.com. I have put together my own cast so why not sign up today and have a go.

Elsewhere
I am witnessing a strange phenomena right outside my window. We live above a park and in the last few weeks Polish migrant workers have started sleeping in large groups under my window! For some years now Polish construction workers have come to my area because of large Wickes and B&Q branches here. There have been articles on news programmes showing these workers waiting outside these branches early in the morning waiting for a builder who needs casual labourers for the day. Polish men are renowned as hardworking builders who work to very high standards. That’s why I am pretty sure these are migrant workers looking for building work. But why have they nowhere to live. The night before last there were thunderstorms all night and they stood under trees as long as they could before running of somewhere. Last night, again it rained and they had to sleep through it under blankets. They haven’t even got sleeping bags.

This morning my girlfriend and I gave them a loaf of bread. It bothers me that nobody is concerned about them. I thought now that Poland was part of the EU, we would have more of an obligation to watch out for them. During WWII we could not have won the Battle of Britain without these tough, brave men.

There is something else that bothers me. Last year the news programmes told us that now the UK was in recession Polish migrants were returning to Poland where wages were rising in comparison with the UKs. They are back. I guess that’s because we are slowly climbing out of recession. But before, when they came, they never slept in the park. What’s changed? Is it just the Government?

VIDEO OF POLISH MIGRANTS IN PARK ON YOUTUBE

This week’s Blog – Mars Attacks!

Hot off the Press!

Hot of the press replaces previous ‘Excerpts’. It will be excerpts that I have just written; little tasters of what I am up to, but not too much. I think I can just about manage this final one from Iron III: Worlds Like Dust.

Worlds Like Dust

Copyright © 2011 by Lazlo Ferran

All right Reserved

“Good thinking, Caron. However that still doesn’t help much. I don’t think any of us would get far … wearing a suit outside the port is gonna look pretty strange … And I don’t even speak Ischian!” After half hour deliberating they still had no decent plan. “Anyways, I am gonna get some kip. Bryant, you are on watch. Wake me in one hour. I’ll sleep on it!”

When they drifted cautiously into Dock 422 in Mars Space Port, they still had no plan beyond the inchoate one suggested by Caron.

Built in the late 21st Century Mars Space Port, also known as Port Brutus, named after the first man to set foot on Mars, was still very impressive. Built from the then-cheap black seribdenum alloy, the matt surfaces on the ten mile long aisles and shorter piers appeared blacker than black. Only the twinkling pot lights highlighted its profiles and gave an almost sickening perspective to it.

Ischian cruisers were larger than human ones and the docks could barely hold them so McNeill had to use every bit of skill to dock without damaging the ship. They knew they would be scrutinized, and probably reported if they made an error. They didn’t need the attention. McNeil was sweating when the cruiser finally came to rest and the docking clamps juddered into position. Osei, in the Ischian suit, used a translator to respond by keyboard to the Port’s new controller while keeping the others off the comms viewing screen. A stern looking Ischian Commander demanded an explanation several times for the suit and the lack of vocal communication.

‘Were involved in a skirmish with a stolen cruiser, Commander,’ Osei typed. ‘In Earth’s vicinity. We sustained damage to our recyclers and comms equipment.’

“But I can see no sign of damage to your ship, Captain!”

‘They had Ischian cruiser, Commander. That means they had disrupter. They may be poor shots but they were lucky.’

“Yes, I know. We have been told a confirmed damaged cruiser is possibly heading this way. I presume that was the skirmish you were involved with?”

‘Yes.’

“I see. You need a Repair Crew? I can’t spare one until tomorrow …”
‘We barely made it here, sir. Need to contact our Commander and request a brief for a new mission.’

“Hm. Your unit is near the Earth’s Moon, subduing Rebels, I believe. He won’t have time for that. What’s his name? I might be able to get a message through …”

“Wait. Our old Commander was killed yesterday. We have a new one but I forgot the name.” Osei broke the link. “Quick! Somebody get me a name … From the logs; from a bunk; the suits … I don’t care!” There was chaos as the three grunts turned the deck upside down. Caron found a tag in one of the suits.

“Kreikos …? Something like that, I think. My Ischian’s not so good …”

Osei reconnected with the Dock Control. ‘Kreikos,’ he typed in.

“Right.” I’ll get in touch. You report to me directly you get port-side. Understood?”

‘Yes, sir.’

***

Other News

It looks like editing on The Journals Of Raymond Brooks, Second Edition is complete so I look forward to seeing that published on Amazon soon. The new cover of Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate seems to be working for me; I have sold 11 copies in the first week. I really hope to finish Worlds Like Dust in the next two weeks so that I can move on to stories which have languished too long in a half finished state. I am also starting work with Omri Koresh on the new cover for Ordo Lupus II: The Devil’s Own Dice, so look for that in August or September.

Elsewhere

Just a quick word about the Shopper Discount Scam. A close friend of mine was angry to find they had been paying £10 per month to a company they had never heard of the other day. It turns out that thousands of people have been caught by the same scam: you pay for something on a reputable website like Argos.co.uk or Prontaprint.co.uk and unwitting find yourself becoming a member of the shopper discount service. They do offer a voucher for £15 (or something like that) off your next purchase but proceed to debit your credit card account by £10 per month indefinitely. it is quite difficult to stop them and neither the banks nor the website companies (ie Argos) seem interested in helping you. It does smell  badly of bad practice at the least and I am amazed something like this is allowed to go on in the consumer-conscious 21st Century.

Too Bright the Sun

BookCoverPreview

As you will see in the post below, I was very happy to find out today that Too Bright the Sun entered the Top 100 FREE Kindle books list on all three: Amazon USUK and Canada on Monday. Promoting my work takes me away from writing so it’s really nice to get some reward for all the effort I have put in over the last few weeks. I only wish I knew exactly what number it reached. You can rest assured I am watching the progress of Vampire: Beneficence (Short Stories III) very closely. Below I will discuss the results of the Amazon KDP Free Promotion for my books so far.

Vampire: Beneficence (Short Stories III)

So far there have been 131 downloads, 17 of them in Germany. It seems to be taking longer to get people’s attention with this one although it’s doing much better in the US than here. Perhaps the UK market really isn’t so keen on Vampire stories. Then again it’s been my experience that lycanthropy stories do well here in winter and not summer whereas for Science Fiction it’s the other way round,

It’s languishing around the 3000 Ranking on both Amazon US and UK so if you haven’t downloaded a copy, please do.

Unknown Place, Unknown Universe

Interestingly, I did a two-day paid advert for 29-30 June on Facebook for this and I think it made very little difference. There have been 103 downloads (the promotion is now finished) which is about half what Too Bright the Sun achieved. But then Amazon continued billing me for half of the 1st July before I could stop the advert!! Needless to say that I have complained to Facebook about this but have not heard back. Their promotional blurb is misleading if this is how the promotion works: you have to delete or pause a campaign to stop them from billing you after the campaign is due to finish. I am also waiting for reply to my complaint about having the link to Too Bright the Sun declared spam! There was only one option from drop downs for the complaining email: ‘my Human Rights have been violated’! Anyway, in that 2.5 day period 168,500 people were reached and there were 52 clicks giving a ‘conversion’ rate of  0.005%.However it doesn’t mean these 50 people downloaded copies. I am doubtful many of them did because if I look at the access statistics for my Lazlo Ferran page I see that I reached 97,000 people in India in the last month (the highest reach for any country) followed by Germany at 44,000, Uk at 31,000, Canada at 20,000 and US at 15,000. And yet I only had 5 downloads from India. It is however worth noting that the high number reached in Germany might explain why the downloads for Germany were so unexpectedly high. I haven’t paid for an advert for the Vampire book and downloads are soon to exceed those for Unknown Place, Unknown Universe.

Results of Caption Competition for Too Bright the Sun’s Laser Weapons

I decided to do a caption competition half way through Too Bright the Sun’s promotion and had some great suggesions.

The winner for the Alien Laser Rifle is Organic Plasma Rifle by Dominic Kay @DBCK83.

The winner for the laser pistol is Laser Carbine LC5150 ‘Bullpup’ by David Bayne @david_bayne.

The names will be included in Iron III: Worlds Like Dust and of course there will be a credit both winners!

Other News

I have added some more background information and pictures in a section ‘From the Author’ for both Iron Series books; Too Bright the Sun and Unknown Place, Unknown Universe so be sure to take a look by clicking on the menu above. Also if you are a writer and interested in lycanthropy or high tech science fiction please join my discussion group on Facebook.

Don’t forget, the Free Promotion of Vampire: Beneficence: (Short Stories III) is still FREE to download until 8 am Sunday UK time or midnight 6 July in the US.

Too Bright the Sun Sci-fi novel in Amazon top 100 Free list!

BookCoverPreviewI was very happy to find  out today that Too Bright the Sun entered the Top 100 FREE Kindle books list on all three: Amazon US, UK and Canada on Monday. Unfortunately I wasn’t there to see it because I simply wasn’t expecting it to do that well! The book  has been in a Free promotion over the last week and so I was expecting high download volumes but what I didn’t realise is that there are not that many eBooks offered for free at any one time. Hence I was looking the wrong way. Thanks to @JessieBTyson (an author in the Facebook Group Authors Tweeting Authors for noticing. Only wish I had taken a screen grab but I will be watching closely during the next Free Book Promotion.

I have no idea what number I reached although I checked Amazon UK, US and Canada today and there were no Science Fiction books  in any of them so that in itself is a victory for Science Fiction.

Looking at the books in the #1 position for Free Kindle books on Amazon UK and Amazon US they generally rank first in their category and somewhere between 20 and 300 for all the Kindles on sale. The ones at the #100 position vary anywhere from 300 to 3000 in the sales ranks. Too Bright the Sun peaked at #17 (UK) and #38 (US) in the sales rank for its category and therefore it could have been anywhere really in the Top 100 Free kindle books.

There may be a very short blog this weekend – I will be sipping a margarita and reflecting on the success of Too Bright the Sun. It’s not just my success though but a team effort. Thanks to everybody who tweeted for me or posted, shared and commented on Facebook. It all helped a lot.

Deep Cover

Excerpt of the week.

Here is the new Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate cover – designed and completed by Omri Koresh.

Image

I hope you like it! Omri and I have worked together over the last few weeks to produce a cover which expresses the soul of the book as well as illustrating one of the scenes in the book. Those of you who have read it will recognise the Cover Girl. The cover will appear on the Kindle in the next 48 hours and on the paperback in the next two months.

I am also repositioning this book as an Occult Thriller. I have always had problems fitting this book into any genre: mystery/detective, historical fiction and fantasy/historical or fantasy/myths and legends don’t seem quite right so  let’s see  how the new genre works.Amazon applies categories very loosely to the books anyway so it might not make much difference.

Free Books!

Unknown Place, Unknown Universe is free now until 3 July!

Vampire: Beneficence: (Short Stories III) will be free from 2-6 July!

Get your free copies while you can.

Results of Free Promotion of Too Bright the Sun

The Free Promotion of Too Bright the Sun has ended. I am  pleased with the results. I have been using Hootsuite to schedule tweets and posts to Facebook. This helped a lot: perhaps too much! I had all links to Too Bright the Sun declared spam by Facebook so I have submitted a request to them to reverse this decision otherwise sales of this book will be hindered for a very long time. I am surprised by their sensitivity because I was following the advice of other successful authors and I achieved a tweet/post volume far shot of what they were recommending.

I had 200+ downloads of Too Bright the Sun.

This included 24 in Germany, 2 in India and 4 in Canada. I was suprised by the German downloads: I had been tweeting in German as well as Korean, Urdu, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese but I don’t know why the German ones were so successful. It might be because of the mention of the Iron Cross in Too Bright the Sun but I am skeptical since sales of any books about the Wehrmacht are poor in Germany. I did have to struggle to get the messages down to 140 characters so maybe this was why. The Indian ones were also a pleasant surprise.

The highest sales rank achieved was 38 in Amazon US Science Fiction/General and 2500 in Amazon US Free Kindles.

On Amazon UK it was 17 in Science Fiction/Genera and 834 in Free Kindles.

This was all achieved without a paid advert on Facebook. I didn’t feel it was worth paying for this after Facebook declared the link to the book spam. I am however paying $10/day for the first two days of the Free promotion for Unknown Place, Unknown Universe so I will let you know if this works. So far I have had12 clicks from a audience reached of 37000. the potential reach is 5 million but I would think I would run out of budget before I reach that many. I have chosen two sectors of ebook readers and science fiction readers.

Caption Competition for Too Bright the Sun’s Laser Weapons

I decided to do a caption competition half way through Too Bright the Sun‘s promotion and had some great suggesions. My current favourite for the Alien Laser Rifle is Organic Plasma Rifle by Dominic Kay @DBCK83. My favourite for the Laser Pistol is Laser Carbine LC5150 and I quite like the ‘Bullpup’ too from @david_bayne. One of the unexpected benefits from this campaign has been meeting new people and possibly new collaborations. I will announce the final results on next week’s blog. The names will be included in Iron III: Worlds Like Dust.

Blog moved!

Yes, I moved the blog. I was unhappy with Blogger. Hopefully you can all see this now.

Other News

Good Luck to Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez and Lorenzo (if he can ride) in today’s MotoGP. I was also sad to hear of the imminent retirement of Mark Webber. I haven’t read his reasons yet.

Continue reading “Deep Cover”