Monday, January 31, 2011

Visual Novel

A friend of mine recently introduced me to visual novels, a sort of hybrid video game and storytelling medium, in the form of the game Ever 17, a psychological horror visual novel.

When I first started describing the game I was playing to a friend of mine unfamiliar with the term 'visual novel,' he responded with, "Oh, like a dating sim but without the porn?"

Well, yes. But for those of us less fluent with teenage-male-oriented computer games from Japan than my teenage, male, frequently video- and computer-game playing friend, visual novels are more like a shiny, illustrated Choose Your Own Adventure novel.

Exploring the different options takes you through the story, with the things you look at and the people you interact with popping up in front of you in still frames that change every time you click over to the next line or instance. It's an interesting experience to play, and an interesting medium in which to tell a story and explore a world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Bluff Detector Launch

Tonight I went to the launch of The Bluff Detector by W. Thomson Martin at the Solstice Cafe. It was lovely - Thom has a melodious voice with more than a hint of his Northern Irish accent, and started us off with the slyly whimsical tale of the first time he was accused of irreverence. The rest of the reading showcased the thoughtfulness and quiet joy in life that infuses a lot of the rest of the book.

A highlight of the reading for me, aside from picking up a copy and getting it signed, was speaking to his publisher, Bruce Batchelor of Agio Publishing House. Before Agio, Bruce headed up Trafford Publishing and helped launch print-on-demand printing as a viable route. He's going to be speaking to PEAVI in February.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Author Interview: Laura Bradford

I just finished an interview with Laura Bradford, author of the upcoming novel Flyday.

EY: What's Flyday about?
LB: It's set in the future, about a journalist who gets pulled into a murder investigation when his fiancee's brother is the accused. The journalist finds himself visited by a time traveler who brings new insight into the case, and things just take off from there.
EY: What inspired you to write it?
LB: Well, I've been writing since I was very young, but I decided to write a novel a few years back and this was the idea that took off. It mixes a lot of my interests--science fiction, music journalism, adventure stories, etc. The characters sort of captivated me, and I wanted to see where their story went.
EY: Is Flyday going to have a sequel?
LB: Yes, I have a whole series planned out. I'm editing the second book now.
EY: That's exciting! When do you think that will be coming out?
LB: Right now I'm not sure. It still has a long way to go, and I'm coming up on my last semester of school.
EY: Quite an accomplishment, to have managed to put Flyday out while going to school. What made you decide to self-publish?
LB: I sent queries to agents, and the answer was a unanimous "Interesting, but not for us." But when I showed it to people, they seemed to love it, and I had a lot of requests for copies to pass around--more requests than I could fill. Eventually I saw that e-publishing was taking off, and I decided that putting it out there was much better than letting it sit on my hard drive, especially once I started working on the rest of the series.
EY: Will you be making it available in print as well as electronic versions?
LB: Eventually, yes.
EY: What channels are you using to sell it as an ebook?
LB: I put it on Smashwords, and right now I'm waiting for it to go up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
EY: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
LB: Mainly that I hope people enjoy the novel. E-publishing has been a really interesting experience for me, and I'm glad to finally be getting the book out there. My blog is also if anyone wants updates about the project.
EY: Okay. Thank you for being my first interviewee for Authors' Refuge, and I wish you luck with Flyday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The making of a book

I just finished a meeting with Michale Cnudde, the gentleman whose novel I've been editing. I'm done editing! I've handed the all-important flash drive over to him to approve changes before we start formatting. Then I format it for epublishing while Tristan Tinder does the cover and formats it for print through Island Blue.

It's fascinating and fun to be able to help put it together.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Writing in the new year

On December 4th, I published a collaborative novella that I'd done with my friend Mason on under a Creative Commons license. I had no expectations about readership: I thought it'd be really cool if we got a hundred downloads by the end of the year.

We got that in two days, and currently have 1392 downloads. It's very neat, to have that many people have read my - well, our, but this blog is all about me, so the pronoun stands - writing, and it's a fantastic impetus to write more.

Earlier this week, the Victoria Writers' Society had its Annual General Meeting, and managed to elect most of a new executive: I'm still in charge of the website, our wonderful treasurer Laura is still in charge of all the money, and Edeana is still managing all of our critique groups and the summer writing contest. The presidency is sadly vacant, though, leading to lists of candidates for us to approach.

Our new executive is a different landscape and tone than the last one, and will prove interesting to work with. The writing community in Victoria is a huge part of how I approach writing, and takes up a large portion of the time I can allot to writing. It's fun, and an adventure.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's a bright, shining new decade. In the past ten years we've had an economic collapse, Facebook, and the first lesbian kiss on TV. It'll be interesting to see what the next ten bring forth.

I rang in the new year with what I've been told is a distinctly Victoria tradition: the levee at City Hall.. It was one of at least seven going on New Year's Day, all of which were published in the paper several days ahead of time, some of which, like the one at Government House, are legendary. We got up what felt like ridiculously early after a night out before and wandered the two short blocks down to City Hall. Up the stairs in the Council Chambers, the city council was lined up in a reception line to shake everyone's hand. As the hour wore on, it started looking more like they were awaiting firing squad than new arrivals, but none of them deserted their posts.

Upon arrival, there was a very proper, and long, queue for coffee looping around the majority of the room. As I was there for the food and didn't want anything that would keep me awake once I got home and could nap, I got to sit and watch everyone else come in; the levee bus tour of city homeless that takes them around to each stop so they can stuff themselves (we were the first stop, which meant the arrival of food in addition to coffee lead to the immediate dissolution of any proper queue), the woman who lost the most recent City Council election, the Raging Grannies, each in their own eye-catching outfit (I spotted leather pants on one), but with the common thread of purple hats and signs pinned to their shirts demanding that the minimum wage be raised. One gentleman I think was unassociated with them came in and recruited them to sing a rousing rendition of "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum." Also among the attendees were Victoria's Poet Laureate, Linda Rogers, and her theremin-playing husband, and a young man in a leather jacket who sat in the middle of the floor and booted up his netbook to take advantage of City Hall's free public wifi until the photographer for the paper apparently made him uncomfortable with dozens of shots.

A short hour and a shrimp-and-lettuce wrap later, and the first levee of the year was over.