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Messages - Ray McCarthy

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Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: February 25, 2020, 05:43:24 PM »
I think anything over 40K is a novel. There isn't a clear demarcation between a longer novella and a shorter novel.

Most stories have an ideal length. Beta reading / Editing / rewriting is partly discovering what it is.
I'm working on "Goths and Rooks". As a result of Beta Reader feedback:
One scene is re-written and a bit longer.
A chapter is inserted. No idea yet how long it will be, as I'm currently writing it. There was too big a jump in time for the style of story.
A later chapter ended to abruptly causing confusion at the start of the next chapter for the reader. I've added about 1k words to the end of that chapter.

Small Press & Self-Published / Under the Stone of Destiny : Discounted.
« on: February 14, 2020, 10:22:16 AM »
The ebook of Under the Stone of Destiny is reduced to only 99c from $3.99.
Amazon, Apple, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble etc.

Amazon Smashwords

Blog post

The real story of the Stone of Destiny, An Lia Fáil (may mean The Stone of Shadows), how it got to Scotland and  what the English had in Westminster is an interesting tale. Then it was stolen and a copy made. Which is the returned stone?
"As King Edward I approached the palace, the monks of Scone hurriedly removed the Stone of Destiny and hid it, replacing it with another stone of similar size and shape."

Wikipedia (if you read carefully) suggests the Tourist Board pillar at Tara isn't the stone and that the Scottish one is probably not, no matter which was "original" to King Edward.

Destiny (Fáil) may be a corruption of the old Irish for Shadow. There are references to shadows in old stories about the stone. A King would have sat on it to be confirmed. Crowning (Coronation) is a more modern idea and is why the Stone of Scone has to be returned to Westminster from Edinburgh for English Coronations.
The Original Stone of Scone is a known fake, and the pillar at Tara can't be the Stone of Destiny. It's for sitting on and was sent to Scotland. Then hidden. We know roughly what the real stone looked like. The Stone of Scone was copied when it was stolen from Westminster. There was also a display replica made. It's made of local sandstone, so can't be the stone sent from Ulster to Scotland. It's likely the monks gave King Edward's men a cesspit cover or similar. The original would have had a dished or bowl like depression on the top, like the stones in Neolithic Newgrange and Knowth. At least one account claims it's made of marble. It might have been brought to Ireland from elsewhere and may have been made of marble.
The idea it was once Jacob's pillow stone is probably a late addition by Irish monks. The pillar at Tara is something else. Not a seat.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings about Books
« on: January 24, 2020, 06:54:03 PM »
The Wheel of time would be good if it had been maybe 4 books.
I've read long series and enjoyed them. It just seems too deliberately drawn out with entire books you could skip.
Also he died before it finished, though already I was only buying because of having read so much. Brandon Sanderson completed it using Jordan's notes.
I'm tempted to box it and give it away so as to have other books I'd read on the shelf. I maybe have 3000+ books on paper, though SF & F are only a well loved proportion.

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: January 20, 2020, 07:21:44 PM »
Added about 2,400 words today to "The Mission's Talent". Most of what is left to do is in one chapter, then I'll make an epub2 and proof & annotate on my kobo ereader, it's superior for that than a Kindle. Then import annotations via Calibre.
I did get up at 4 am, and it's now after 7pm. I did take a snooze at one stage as well as meals :)
Time to go read a book.

It looks like the complete draft will be about 120K words.

Small Press & Self-Published / The Seven Talismans
« on: January 19, 2020, 10:47:40 AM »
This is the first of a new series. The 2nd book is virtually completed.

Fortunately my novels are better than my blurbs. My best Beta reader says, "Yes, your blurbs are terrible, but I'm not writing them!" So no blurb here. It's on the links below.

About the Trader's Isle series:

Smashwords: They also distribute to  Barnes&Noble, Apple, Kobo, Tolino etc. Smashwoords downloads are suitable for very old or newer Kindles, Kobo, Nook, epub or Kindle apps, old Sony LRF or later epub Sony models.

Amazon: Also all other Amazon Marketplaces. Only for Kindle or Kindle App. Download via PC and transfer (sideload) via USB or else Amazon adds unwanted DRM via KFX.

Corvids Press are now looking at several suppliers because CreateSpace rebranded Amazon. So I don't think any paper editions, even of the older books, are available right now. I hope that's sorted out soon. No Corvids Press title as DRM because paper has no DRM. DRM is about control, not protecting copyright or prevention of piracy.

Currently I'm rewriting the 7th Talent Universe book and have nearly finalized four Celtic Otherworld books, started one and three are ready for release. The hard SF "Eden Seeds" is on the backburner as is the "Dark Ops" series. Dark Ops is about a group of people working in an Irish Data Centre, but secretly employed by a very secret Irish Agency. There is a real one so secret that no-one knows its name.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Religion in Fantasy
« on: January 16, 2020, 10:40:45 AM »
Fantasy writers by and large do poorly with religion. Many think "religion" is the same thing as church, theology, doctrine, and practice. They tend to think there's a clear line between religion and superstition, and overlook the wide range between formal doctrine and popular belief. They also tend to present a religion as if everyone believed the same things in the same ways. In short, they have a shallow view of religion.

Secondly, fantasy writers use organized religion as a scapegoat. They take all the worst elements and manifestations of historical religions and make these normative. They also vastly overestimate the power of a church to dictate belief and practice. In short, they have not only a shallow view, but an overblown one.

I'm an atheist. But I'm also a medieval historian, and you don't get far in that field without taking people's beliefs seriously. Religion is filled with wonderfully rich fields to explore. Alas, too many writers only want to go into the one field, stand in the middle of it, and shout.

Absolutely. Many adherents of many religions have superstitions not in the doctrine. Many religions have official religious practices that are at odds with their faith, theology and doctrine (three different things).
You can be an Atheist and a Bishop.
Few adherents of any Christian denomination know the doctrine of that denomination. The Roman Catholic Church even has denominations in it that believe contradictory things.

Organised Religion (Hindu, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Luther's Reformation, Calvinism, the two branches of Islam, Shinto, American Evangelicals, Ultra Orthodox Judaism) has often been exploited by cynical politicians.

Even an atheist Fantasy writer is better off reading the works of respected Theologians and Philosophers rather that Richard Dawkins or Philip Pullman who have their own badly informed bigoted view of Christianity and seem to know little of other religions, or what Christianity or Judaism really believes or decent Philosophers over the last 4,000 years.

Reasons to have Religion in Fantasy:
Background for motivation of some characters
Making a point of difference between a Particular Organised religion and what it  is actually supposed to believe.
Any world without any religion or superstition or philosophy beyond science and mathematics is unrealistic. Science and Mathematics don't tell you what love, hate, respect, justice, mercy, morality etc are.

Superstition, Religious practice, Organised Religion, Faith, Theology, Doctrine, Philosophy are all different things with different overlaps. Even Atheism is ultimately a faith, a religion, because there is no scientific basis for belief or rejection of the idea of a God, gods and there is the problem of morals.

I think having the myth & legend aspect ancient gods rather than the religious belief or practice in Fantasy isn't religion. It's story. See many books with Norse, Greek, Egyptian and ancient Celtic "personalities". The Norse and Celtic stories we have handed down don't mention much about actual religion. Modern Druidism was made up the in the 19th C as was Spiritualism. Wiccan invented in early 1950s and Scientology was invented by an SF writer who decided there was more money in it than writing.  Tarot as a card game is old, the fortune telling isn't.

So if you are putting religion, superstition, philosophy or ancient gods in a story at least research it all first so you don't look like an idiot, a bigot or the Witchfinder-General.

I think the oldest known musing about Aliens is "A True Story" written in the second century AD by Lucian of Samosata, a Greek-speaking author of Assyrian descent. On Gutenberg in English translation.

It's also worth reading about what we think the Sumerians and Akkadians believed. Or what we think they claimed to believe.

Some ideas attributed to Christians such as Young Earth are not widely accepted by Christians and not much taken seriously till the 19th C, the calculations in Mediaeval times being purely of academic interest. Flat Earth was a Victorian invention.
Galileo didn't get in trouble with the Roman Church for his science but because he sought to interpret passages of the bible in the same text. 

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: January 08, 2020, 11:28:21 AM »
Working on the "The Mission's Talent". Nearly 8K increase since 30th Dec 2019, despite cutting a lot out.

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: November 01, 2019, 06:08:24 PM »
There is an advantage in NOT having N-1 book of the Nth book in a series not published. You may realize you either made an error, or can make earlier book better or need to "recon" (change it to fix current WIP). Obviously no-one will know you changed n-1.

I like to be at least 2 books ahead of what's published and have the 3rd as a WIP.

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: October 22, 2019, 08:43:07 PM »
'The White Fire Stones' is now about 42,500 words after writing nearly 2K today. Next I need write all of the quiet penultimate chapter. Then finish last the chapter (the basic ending is written). That will be a complete first draft, though will later need some summary narrative converted to direct character action and dialogue. It's the second of the Trader's Isle series.

My best Beta reader is about half way through The Seven Talismans, the first book in this series. I'm already thinking about the plot of the third book and how the series may finish, though each book works stand alone.

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: October 13, 2019, 05:18:28 PM »
I've finished revision 6 draft of 'Seven Talismans'. It's about 54,620 words total and suitable for a younger people (10+ ?) as well as adults. I'm hoping only more revision. I'll send it now to Beta Readers. In reality it's had very many more revisions than 6 as it started as a Novelization of a computer game in 1991. I think all the "video game action" flavoured bits are now gone. Most of the next book in the series was written by 1996. I'll look at that next!

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: October 13, 2019, 10:03:16 AM »
This particular WIP is going straight in the trunk. I did a lot of experimenting with it and it hasn't always gone well. Plan is to look back in a year and see what can be salvaged.
Always a good plan to set a story aside for a few months at least after edit/proof/writing. Twenty years is a bit excessive, but till recently I couldn't see what to do with the old story.

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: October 13, 2019, 10:00:11 AM »
my WIP started in 1991.
:o wow
Aren't you sick of it by now? Do you manage to keep it fresh in your motivation?
I'd hardly looked at it since 1996 and in the last six years worked on over 20 novels. So it's quite fresh. I'd forgotten some of the aspects of the story.
One of the motivating factors is that unlike my Talents Universe and Celtic Otherworld series there is no contact with Earth or current Politics.
More detailed explanation

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: October 12, 2019, 09:36:38 AM »
A personal best of 4000 words today.

Looking like I'll be finished with the WIP by the end of next week.
Then proof read (on an ereader via Calibre is best), edit in annotations, re-write.
I'm not doing much actually fresh writing though have a a couple of new chapters to add to my WIP started in 1991.

Self Publishing Discussion / Re: Amazon Changing Free Books to 99c
« on: September 15, 2019, 07:04:59 PM »

I'm not sure I completely understand this. What I mean is that I upload my books directly on these platforms. They provide the data, and they pay me directly for sales.

With B&N and Apple, I'm unable to do this, therefore I use D2D. As with all aggregators, they take a cut (about 10%) but are quite a good company.

I agree that Google's attitude to privacy is terrible.
Silly me, I thought you were talking about buying books!
I've had sales at Apple, Kobo, B&N and others via Smashwords and despite over all Amazon having about 90% of eBook sales, about 1/3rd of my sales are direct sales at Smashwords. Certainly the single biggest sales for me are at the Amazon USA marketplace. I'd be mad to give Amazon exclusivity.

Self Publishing Discussion / Re: Amazon Changing Free Books to 99c
« on: September 14, 2019, 05:34:19 PM »
All respect to Mark Coker for his work setting it up, but it's become dated. I go direct where I can (Kobo, Amazon, Google Play)
How are Kobo, Amazon or Google Play "direct"? They B&N (Nook) or Apple are no more direct than Smashwords.

There of course titles that are only on one retail platform but that's a separate issue. Smashwords even distribute to B&N, Apple, Kobo, Libraries and others. Everyone EXCEPT Google and Amazon.

So Publishers & Authors of eBooks only need Amazon & Smashwords to cover almost everyone as the % non-pirate books on Google Books via Google Play is tiny. Google also are toxic as you can't properly set a price and they decide where in a book to preview, rather than a % at the start. They also encourage piracy and assume many works are out  of copyright that are not. Their book scanning project is contentious. Their attitude to Privacy is worse than Facebook.

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