Artificial Gravity

July 25, 2014

The movie Lucy has me thinking about science and science-fiction. If you haven’t heard about the movie here’s the trailer.

The premise is flawed. Ridiculously flawed. It got me thinking about other concepts that are flawed or that seem out of place.

Artificial Gravity

This is a normal trope for Science-Fiction space shows but it’s rarely based in science.

Some, like Babylon 5 or 2001 a Space Odyssey, use centrifugal force. (That’s when you spin something to simulate gravity.) However most will hand-wave the technology away and just say they have some sort of way of creating a Gravity Field.

Star Trek has gravity plating in its ships. It creates a gravity field that can be adjusted.

The obvious reason for this trope to exist is simplicity. TV and Movies don’t want to spend millions of dollars creating realistic anti-gravity and audiences want to see their hero’s walking and talking like normal. In stories, it simplifies the storytelling. You don’t have to look into how people and objects would move and it’s less alien to a reader.

But take the concept one step further. If we could control gravitational forces with such ease, why hasn’t anyone applied the tech to something else like weapons, flight tech, or space travel?

A gun or grenade that could control the gravity around an individual would be devastating. Increase the gravity by ten times from 1g to 10g in a second, you’d seriously hurt someone and probably kill them.

The problem with most science-fiction worlds is that Artificial gravity is incongruent with their level of technology. With the artificial gravity of Star Trek, they could easily have created artificial and collapsible black holes. Think how devastating that would have been as a weapon.

In less violent fashions, if they can get the plating to apply in reverse to their ship, they wouldn’t need more than a tiny push to get off planet. They’d be able to nullify the effect of gravity on their ship and float off into space.

 

There are various other pieces of Science-Fiction that are unbelievable or incongruous. What’s your favourite?

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Thinking on Covers, Names, and Self-Publishing

July 23, 2014

Hello my imaginary friends,

I’ve been thinking again about self-publishing. Less about the idea of doing it and more about the puzzle of doing it.

From what I can tell there seems to be 8 parts to it:

  1. Writing the book
  2. Story and Copy Editing
  3. Formatting the inside of the book for various outlets (Ebooks, Print, Etc)
  4. Formatting and producing a cover for various outlets (Ebooks, Print, Etc)
  5. Having the books printed.
  6. Distributing the printed and Ebooks.
  7. Letting people know that the books exist.
  8. Repeat number 7 several times in many different ways.

Written out as a list it looks a lot less intimidating than it does in my head.

Now the problem with self-publishing is that an author isn’t by nature good and doing all 8 steps. I knew that I can handle 1 (I’m close to finishing novel five) I know I can do 3 (I’ve worked as a Layout Artist for over five years now) and I have a good idea how to do 5 and 6 (I also have friend who have offered to teach me how.)

My big problem is 2, I know I need to pay for an Editor and the minute I know if I’m self-publishing, I’m contacting people who can do it. I realize it isn’t cheap but it’ll be worth it.

Let’s leave 7 and 8 for a later post.

Book Covers

So the majority of my thinking has been about 4. I strongly believe that an awesome cover is worth its price. If I self-publish I want the book to practically sell itself. I want to pass by it and say, “That looks awesome I should read that… oh wait that’s my book.”

For The Elizabeth Investigates series, if I self-publish, I want to make sure that the covers stay consistent in style and feel. That means I need, not a cover artist but an artist. I have one person who I know will do a great job but is ridiculously busy with other projects.

I know that there are cover designers out there but I haven’t found one that matches what I write. So I looked on DeviantArt for artists that match certain styles. I found a bunch and I wonder if getting a commission from them would be difficult. I know I’d have to look into copyright issues and so on but I think it might be the best option. I can format the cover myself, what I need is the art.

I’m sure a lot of them will/would ignore me but it’ll be worth a try. I wouldn’t offer anything specific; I’d lay out my needs and ask for a quote. I’m assuming it would be somewhere in the ballpark of $100 to $1000. Dollars but maybe I’ll be surprised.

The next question becomes one of style. Since I write YA, I tend to mix genres a lot. The Elizabeth Investigates series is Urban Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, with smatterings of Supernatural, Suspense, and Romance. That’s not the easiest thing to show off in a cover.

I could go with the normal YA Urban Fantasy style, like the Percy Jackson or Harry Potter covers, I could follow the Adult duo-coloured Urban Fantasy style, I could go with an old style fantasy cover where they try to put everything that happens into one illustration, or I could go for the simplistic Twilight style of cover. Or do I go for the older Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys style? All of which are awesome.

It depends on what I’m trying to sell the book as. If I go with the old teen mystery books, I’m telling people this book will be similar but with magic. If I go with a darker Urban Fantasy cover I’m telling them that this is a kid’s supernatural thriller.

nancy-drew-books-cover

It’s a lot to decide, I almost think it could be more important than even the title. The best case scenario, I think, would be to get an homage to the old mysteries with the art style of newer urban fantasies. Best of both worlds.

Author Name

The next thing that’s been bugging me is my name. I don’t want a pen name because that would be a pain but I’m trying to decide what variation to use for my writing.

In day to day life I sign my emails and credit card receipts with Éric Desmarais. My full name is Éric Albert Desmarais.

For a long time I considered using my full name but I don’t know, it feels pretentious.

I could use Éric A. Desmarais and I have. The initial makes it seem more literary for some reason. I could also use É.A. Desmarais.

You get the point. It’s an identity thing I guess. Maybe I should just go with Éric Desmarais.

 

Does the cover affect your interest in a book?

Would the name of the author, who you don’t know, make a difference in whether you bought a book?


PsyCorps Academy – Story and Proof-of-Concept

July 15, 2014

Hello,

I don’t talk with many other authors about their process for writing. It usually feels like prying. I’ve read lots of great books about the craft of writing and lot of blogs telling people how to write or how not to write.

I’ve learned that everyone does something different. I know that Stephen King normally writes his books in chronological order, while Neil Gaiman writes scenes and then ties them together. Some people plot out every scene and others don’t. Some type some use a pen or pencil.

One thing that I do that I’ve never heard anyone else doing was writing a proof-of-concept. I’ve done it for each of my novels so far and I find it extremely useful in find the right tone and feel. I find it extremely useful.

This post was a proof-of-concept for Parasomnia, and if you ever get the chance to read the novel you’ll realize that they’re completely different. What I learned from it was that I enjoyed the tone and the mirroring of dreams.

The following is a proof-of-concept for a novel I’m thinking of writing that’s set in the far future where 1 in a billion people is a Psionic. Each kind of Psionic is separated into a guild and that guild is like their family and decides what they do as a living. Precogs are the pilots and body guards, Telekinetic are the soldiers for hire, etc.

But at the core of the story I want it to be about a girl who has three of the eight possible powers and how she deals with training in the PsyCorps Academy. It should be a riff on the Boarding School stories, like Harry Potter, but in the future, with Psychic powers. I’d like it to have the feel of the Tamora Pierce Tortall novels (The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small books), with a hint of Star Trek and Babylon 5.

After writing this I think it didn’t have the tone of awe or sci-fi that I wanted. I think the character acts too young for her age and I think I need to go to third person to better describe the effects.

I am still extremely interested in writing this novel and it most likely will be my 2015 writing project.

Read the Proof-Of-Concept after the break.

Let me know what you think. Please!

*Warning: There is some violence and an attempted sexual assault*

Read the rest of this entry »


The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis – Part Three

July 4, 2014

Part 1 | Part 2

“DINOSAURS!” yelled Felix. The woman had forced him to come to work on his day off, which turned out ok since his house exploded, and then dragged him around town avoiding people who didn’t know how to spell and now she was blaming it on dinosaurs?

“Keep your voice down Felix. May I call you Felix?”

“No you may not. I’m leaving,” he stood up thinking that although she was attractive and saved his life, it was no excuse for him to stick around and listen to her crazy statements. But there was one thing he needed to know, “Why are ‘they’ after me and why does the news think I blew up my apartment?” He was standing now and was mildly impressed by the lack of interest people were showing in his loud and insane conversation.

“Mister Felicis. Please just sit down and I’ll tell you,” she sounded like a grade school teacher chastising a student. Her voice was calm and eyes narrowed.

He sat down.

“Good good. Now the police believe you blew up the building because they found a bomb inside your apartment. Or I suppose remnants of a bomb at this point. The Dinosaurs put it there.”

“And?” He had never tried to hide his impatience with her and he didn’t try now.

“Oh, I’d love to have an ice cream cone. I haven’t had one since two-thousand and twenty five. Oh and they make them with real milk here. What a treat.” She stood up and went to the counter to order her ice-cream cone.

Everything she said sounded odd but she talked about two-thousand and twenty five as if it was in the past. This worried Felix but he wasn’t sure why. When she came back he asked her, “What year do you think it is right now?”

Again she gave him a condescending look and replied, “Two-thousand and fifteen, April 1st.” she was right and ignored his confusion.

“Where are you from?” why was he asking these questions? He knew he wouldn’t like the answers.

“The future,”

“No. Try again.”

“Uhm… I come from the future.”

“Time travel isn’t possible. Any universe that would allow time travel would be messy and filled with paradoxes. In the end it would destroy itself.”

“I’m sorry but you’re wrong. The universe isn’t some priceless vase. It won’t crack that easy.”

This time he didn’t say anything he just stood up and left. The door out squeaked and cool air felt nice on his face. It was early afternoon now and he just walked. He had no idea where to go or what to do but he needed to get away from Miss Eris and her crazy theories.

It seemed that his subconscious had decided what to do when he saw that he was walking towards his brother’s home. Once there he’d explain everything to his brother Dean and his wife Sam and they’d formulate a plan.

Maybe the reason Miss Eris didn’t want him to go to the police was that she had planted the bomb in order to feed her sick fantasies.

His brother’s home was a small stand-alone house not far from downtown. It took Felix less than ten minutes to get there. It was small but cozy and despite Dean’s inability to organize, Felix still enjoyed visiting.

As Felix turned onto his brother’s street there was a loud whistling noise as if someone had built a sky scrapper sized tea-kettle. Felix fell to his knees and covered his ears. When the sound was over her looked down the street and blinked several times.

Standing in front of his brother’s home was a thirty foot tall gorilla. One of its eyes had been converted into some sort of laser pointer and one of its arms appeared to be made of metal. Attached to its hunched back was a saddle, sitting in this saddled was a small scaly reptile. Its yellow lizard eyes focused on Felix and it lifted what looked like a machine gun from an old gangster movie.

With a hissing voice it said, “Felix Felicis, you are tried by the Sauren court and found guilty of crimes against time and space. Prepare to die.”


The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis – Part Two

June 6, 2014

Start from the beginning!

To say that Felix was having a bad day was an understatement.

He’d gotten up that morning to go into work, finish a business meeting, and go home before anything silly happened. He hated his birthday, the first of April, all most as much as he hated prop comedy. This year was turning out to be particularly frustrating.

Sitting across from him was a professionally and symmetrical woman. His younger brother Dean, would have said she was “hot”. Felix preferred to think of her as surprisingly attractive. It was unfortunate that she was completely insane.

They were sitting in a dirty and disgusting fast food restaurant and she was trying to explain something but he wasn’t listening, he was too busy disinfecting their table.

Moments after she had shown him his apartment building in shattered pieces, presumably from a bomb of some sort, the police had arrived at his workplace. He was going to confront them about their audacity in accusing him of doing something so distasteful but Miss Eris had grabbed his arm and pulled him into the staircase.

“Those aren’t the real police,” she said smiling as if she was having the greatest time of her life.

“How can you possibly know that?” he had asked her trying to escape her iron grip. He wasn’t a strong man, more tall and lanky than anything, but her head barely reached his chest even though she wore ridiculously high heels. She shouldn’t be that strong.

“The patches on their shoulders say, ‘Poleece’” she replied calmly still smiling. When he looked into the small window of the stairway door he did, in fact, see that the officers had misspelled uniforms. Beyond Poleece, there was, Aweficer, and SeeTee of Otttawaa.

“That’s terrible,” he exclaimed.

“I know, they’re here to kill you,” she replied.

“No not that, the spelling. Someone should really correct them,” he moved towards the door and saw from the corner of his eye of the Aweficers pull out their firearm.

The rest of the morning was spent running around in a distasteful manner. When she had pulled him into a fast food restaurant he’d sneered but sat down. He was sweaty and now sitting in someone else dirt. If he’d had a home, he’d go there to shower.

“Have you heard a word of what I’m saying?”

“I’m sorry Miss Eris. You seem like a nice, if unhinged, person but I have no interest in what you have to say. I should head to the nearest police station and turn myself in. I have done nothing and they’ll realize that soon enough.”

Tilting her head and looking at him as if he was the one who was insane she said, “They blew up your apartment and sent goons out to kill you. Do you really thing they will let you get to the police, and if you do they’ll kill you in jail. No the only safe thing is for you to come home with me.”

“That’s preposterous. Why would I go home with a Madwoman?”

“Because if you don’t, they’ll kill you,” she said it with genuine worry in her voice.

“And who is this ‘They’ you keep talking about?”

Lifting the large colourful book with a lizard on the cover she replied, “Why the dinosaurs of course.”

Read Part 3


Sick, Writing, and stuff

May 20, 2014

Like a horror movie villain in an ill-advised sequel, my cold has returned. I had a sore throat, chills, headache, and general symptoms just before comiccon two weeks ago. I never really go back to feeling 100% I was hovering at 40% wondering why I felt crappy. I assumed it was simply because of allergy season. Turns out I have been fighting this this for over two weeks and now I’m losing. That or my wife didn’t catch my cold but something similar and then passed it on to me.

I’m in a weird, uncomfortable period of mourning for the character I killed in my novel. It’s weird I didn’t think I’d feel it but I did.

Between the persistent cold, the death of a character, an excessive amount of work, and a favour I promised a friend I’d finish by May. I took last week off from writing and I’m going to take this week off. I might take all of May to make sure I get everything done in time.

I was hoping to finish this novel before July but I have another 5-9 chapters left. Hopefully by September.

Ok. Back to work!

Talk to you soon.


Update for May 6th, 2014… No witty title… sorry

May 6, 2014

Hello,

The time has come, the time for us to part. No. Not you and I, my imaginary friend. It’s the time for a character to die. Eons ago I put up this poll asking for your help on whom to kill. This week I’m midway into the chapter that will kill the character. Out of 15 people who voted 5 of you voted for Adelaide.

Now because this novel deals with dreams and alternate worlds, I was sorely tempted to kill off one of the two versions of the character. I’ve decided that would be cheap. My plan is to have the death motivate the characters to stop reacting to the supernatural aspects and start actively trying to save themselves.

I’m not promising that this is the only death. There might be more. Mhuhahahahaha!

ed9

IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!!

Bundoran Press, an awesome publisher from Ottawa, is running an Indigogo campaign to fund a new anthology about what happens when aliens visit earth. They want to pay their contributors at professional levels and have a kickass cover.

For$25 you can get the Ebook and hardcover of the anthology.

If you’re an Aspiring Author like me you might want to get the $100 level that gets you the Ebook, Hardcover, a ton of Ebooks, and editing advice on one story by Hayden Trenholm. He’s the owner of Bundoran Press, an excellent award winning author, and an extremely nice guy.

What are you waiting for go check out their page.

Capture

Second Contacts Indigogo

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/second-contacts

(I might submit a story… Not sure.)

Have a great day,

Éric