Tag: Iron Series

Is this the first unprompted story written by a computer?

An iPad
An iPad

This was created by an iPad

While on Holiday in Spain more than a year ago now, my partner’s iPad appended a story manuscript with this at the end of the file, gradually adding to it over a period of weeks:

Lopressor
Copyright © 2013 by my partner’s iPad (Serial Number on Enquiry)
All Rights Reserved

Hello again hello hello we’re just now hello hello hello how are you doing my dear Lopressor

I named it Lopressor for copyright reasons (I want to protect the iPad!).

Just look at this masterpiece of fiction, assuming it is fiction! Not only has it constructed a full sentence but it has created a name from nowhere. Lopressor is not a name used in the work of fiction in the rest of the file. This is a completely new name. Not only has the iPad created a story, but has invented a name. It’s also interesting that the name ‘Lopressor’ is almost an anagram of ‘Processor.’

I have waited almost 2 years for any additional text but this appears to be the complete work.

This is my challenge to you and anybody else out there: can anybody else produce fiction created by any computer without prompting? If you can’t, I claim this as the first fiction written unprompted by a computer. Drop me a line in the comments below if you dispute my claim!

Deluxe Boxed Set of The War for Iron: Element of Civilization Series
This is coming soon! It will include 5 full-colour illustrations:

Cutaway View of the Tracked Drive System of the MCS Mark 6
Cutaway View of the Tracked Drive System of the MCS Mark 6

1. The Mobile Command Station (MCS) Mark 6
2. The SU 401 Rebel Alliance jet fighter
3. The alien organic plasma Clover Leaf rifle
4. The X.77 Laser Carbine
5. The LC5150 Laser Carbine

Here is a sneak preview, showing of a cutaway view of the tracked drive system of the MCS Mark 6.

Lastly, the Autumn Lazlo Newsletter will go out in the next 3 weeks. It will include specific dates for 2 forthcoming books so if you haven’t yet signed up, sign up for the Newsletter here (and don’t forget you get 3 FREE THRILLERS just for joining!)

Tales of Lazlo Ferran, Freelance Editor. What are yours?

Some people have asked me to write about my editing experiences so here goes:

I haven’t edited a book for another writer since Amit Bobrov’s The Journals of Raymond Brooks. Editing is a marketplace starved of money but I am determined to find more work to fund my writing.

Consequently, a few days ago I joined an editing group on LinkedIn and posted a link to my editing page and asked for feedback. It was a baptism of fire! I must say that editors are a tough bunch! They didn’t hold back and told me the page was too chatty and unprofessional. If you are looking for an editor, I think you will approve of the new page. I have reduced my rates somewhat because of the tough market conditions at the moment. However, even these prices are only a guide; I am open to negotiation. So if you are looking for an editor for your new book, please contact me.

Updates
Some updates comes roughly under the heading of editing:
I am in the final edit for two books now; Escher’s Staircase (provisional title) and World Like Dust. Some of you may be interested to discover that I have completed a first draft of Ordo Lupus III (the title will remain a secret for now) but I have no planned publishing window for that as yet.

I have found that the more books I have published, the more work I have to do to maintain them and market my books. Consequently, I am way behind my schedule for releasing Worlds like Dust and Escher’s Staircase. You may think:
“Poor excuse; he’s just being lazy.”
I assure you, I am not! I am working hard to bring you these new books and to make sure they are as good as I can make them.

I have completely re-edited The Man Who Recreated Himself because it was looking very tired. There is even a new scene in it but most of the changes are just grammar and copy editing.

I have re-edited Ordo Lupus II, making only minor grammar changes.

I have completely re-edited Iron II: Unknown Place, Unknown Universe so this is actually a third edition and very different to the second. There are different chapter titles, 15000 less words and many of the alien scenes have been transposed to different parts of the book to skew the perspective slightly more towards their view of the Universe. If you were to read the new version, I think you would approve. I will also be redesigning the cover in the next few weeks and I hope you like the change.

On the subject of covers, I will probably change the covers for the following books; The Man Who Recreated Himself, Infinite Blue Heaven and the Short Stories Series to make the look of all my books more homogeneous.

I also had my first request for an autograph, using authorgraph, which was exciting.

As for anecdotes about editing, I have a few:

1. My favourite typos I have found (of my own) have been:
A group of people that were ‘leaning’ instead of ‘learning.’
‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep?’
‘I tied up both men using duct tape and drover the van to a nearby track.’

2. I occasionally find unintentional puns which are very funny. Here is a classic. In Too Bright the Sun, there is a character called Ish (short for Ichmael) and Jake says to him sadly:
“They’re dead Ish.”

3. Occasionally the eccentricities of software baffle even me. Today, I submitted a pdf for Iron II to the distributor website, believing it to be correct. I just happened to glance through the pdf at the last moment to check that the most critical thing, the chapter headings, were in the right place and guess what? One of them wasn’t. Since I have switched from Mac to Windows, I have never had a case where a pdf doesn’t exactly reflect the word document. But this time, it didn’t. I checked again and the culprit was a set of asterisks which, for some inexplicable reason, were jumping down to the next page in the pdf. I tried several times to fix if, first by reducing the space after, then by shortening some previous sentences to shorten the previous page. It took me an hour to get it right! Just lucky I spotted it, I guess, but what a pain!

That is all my editing tales for now. All in all, I am very busy and I sometimes wonder where I will find time to write my next book!

If you are looking for an editor for your novel, please visit my Writing and Editing Services page.

If you are an editor and have some good stories, please do drop a comment in below.

Science Fiction book – Too Bright the Sun, Caption Competition

Just a reminder: Love Blade Runner? Download the 5★ Science Fiction novel FREE NOW on Amazon until 7 May: http://bit.ly/102Xt92. It’s currently #845 in Amazon Free kindles and #10 in Science Fiction (see screen grab below). If you don’t have one already, make sure you download a copy!

Toobrightrank040514

Too Bright the Sun is now in the goodread lists: Best Military Science Fiction Books (listed #65) Can’t Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2014 (#96) and Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction so if you have time, please vote for it here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/book/17664602 by clicking on the list name at bottom of page and then clicking on the ‘vote’ button beside the book title!

Competition
I am soon to release World Like Dust, the next part of the Iron Series. In this episode, the Stamford Torus space station, J5 (looking something like the illustration below) has to leave the Solar System under it’s own power as a final refuge of mankind. I think it should have a new name for this voyage so I want you to choose one. All you have to do is download a FREE copy of Too Bright the Sun, comment here AND share a Facebook post or a Twitter tweet to win the prize of a free copy of Worlds Like Dust. It will be published as two, novel length books so it is a prize worth winning! in addition, your name will be used in the published book and you will also get an acknowledgement at the beginning of the book.

Don’t forget, the main difference between the station in this image and J5 is that J5 has a half-scale replica of the Golden Gate Bridge over a half-scale river, where Jake Nanden spent much of his youth.

I look forward to hearing your ideas! Good luck!

Caption competition - name this station
Name this space station

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

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.