Michael Gilmour's Blog

To find out what I'm thinking and writing about.

It was a BIG weekend

It was a BIG weekend

So last weekend I began the final push to get “Battleframe” completed. I worked until late Friday night and then all of Saturday on the final read. I’m now down to the last one hundred pages.

So what did I find in this final read through? The most annoying error I found was when I fell into the use of passive voice rather than active. This tended to make exciting scenes boring and as soon as I fixed this problem the text seemed to just “pop” off the page.

I also found that there were sections where no edits were required and the story just seemed to flow beautifully. I found myself caught up in the characters, their decisions and what has happening to them. I loved reading these chapters and it made me realise that the story is actually quite engaging.

So what’s next? I’m going to be doing another big push this weekend and it should mean that the manuscript is completed. All I have to do then is lay it out (which is largely done), edit the blurb and tweak the cover a little. At which point I’ll be uploading it all into Create Space and publishing!

I’ll order a rush copy of the book so that I can check it out for myself and then assuming it's all good then I'll push the button to release it to the general public. Wish me luck as it’s been one heck of a journey!

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Middle-earth Vacation

Middle-earth Vacation

Just over a week ago my wife and I travelled with our youngest daughter to New Zealand's south island. I've been to the north island but nothing could prepare me for stepping onto the outdoor setting of middle-earth.

We spent most of our time around Queenstown and woke each day to the most stunning scenery I think I’ve ever witnessed. The mountains known as “The Remarkables” (pictured above) were used in the Lord of The Rings as the mountains of Mordor. Looking at the mountains made me wonder if an army of orcs were just on the otherside!

The Ford of Bruinen was just up the road outside a tiny place called Arrowtown and the actual ford was at the end of a jet boat ride in Skippers canyon. Seriously, you’ve just got to take a ride on a jet boat….they’re incredible.

Ford of Bruinen

On our way to the west we came across a view of the Misty Mountains and later the place where the CGI team added Isenguard. It was a strange feeling driving along the road and recognising places from the movies.

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The Holidays Mean Time for Writing!

The Holidays Mean Time for Writing!

In a couple of days time I'm heading off to Queenstown, New Zealand for just over a weeks holiday! The home front is being looked after by our two older children which means Pepper, our cat, will hopefully be fed.

What I'm really excited about is that my wife will be finished the final edits of Battleframe and I'm going to do the last read through. It's been a while since I've started at the beginning and worked my way through to the end and I'm really looking forward to it.

As soon as I arrive back home I have to jump on a plane to head to a conference that I'm speaking at in Las Vegas. I'll be gone about six days but after all of this travel "Battleframe" will be completed and ready to publish!

Given the long-haul flights from Melbourne to the USA I also plan on having a fair chunk of the second Mindwars writing finished. There's nothing like some plane time to get the writing juices going!

So a lot is going to be happening in the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted with each update. :-)

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Author Update - Battleframe to Be Launched Soon

Michael discusses "Battleframe", the first book in the Mindwars series. It's nearly ready for release! Please subscribe if you would like to be kept up to date with everything that is being written on Mindwars.


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Draft Synopsis for Battleframe

Draft Synopsis for Battleframe

Resource rich planet, Alpha Three, becomes the focus of a galactic wide conflict. In the midst of a remorseless Scourge invasion a lone human battleframe pilot, call-sign Whizzbang, attempts to find and rescue his closest friend from the invaders. With the extermination of the human colony seemingly inevitable, Whizzbang’s squad of veteran pilots struggle to turn the tide of the war. Just when he thinks they may have a chance, members of his squad begin vanishing before his eyes and the odds of winning the war become slim to none.

The mysterious nano-robots, unknowingly developed by an alien intelligence, appear to be all that will enable humanity to survive the onslaught. But all isn’t what it seems as the micro-machines begin to dramatically transform Whizzbang’s squad in astounding ways.

Safe within his command dome, the enemy General plots on how he can cover the world in the enigmatic Barrier, a force that kills humans in seconds. It is then that Whizzbang discovers that the Earth may be the next Scourge target.

Book one in the “Mindwars” opens with our galaxy in turmoil and humanity on the brink of extinction.

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Final Cover Illustration

Final Cover Illustration

I've just received the final cover illustration for the book "Battleframe". The author has captured the atmosphere of the scene perfectly and it's better than I thought it could ever be! It's just after midnight so more on the illustration in a future post. :-)

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The Cover Design

The Cover Design

The cover design has been progressing really well and it’s just about there! I’ve been working with the artist, Sebastien Hue, over the past couple of weeks to represent a scene from the book on the cover. I must say, that I’m so excited seeing it come alive in front of my eyes.

Even though Sebastien is in Paris, working with him has been incredibly easy. When he sends a draft through I immediately reply with comments and then he shares his screen so that we can talk through the changes.

So how has the cover materialised? Below are the progress of the sketches to the near final version.

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Rough placement of major character and fortress feature.

The title hasn't been finalised and the characters don't bear any resemblance to the actual characters in the book.

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Being a Character

Being a Character

Had a great weekend with family and friends celebrating my wife’s birthday. Lots of food was involved and the day culminated with lazing on the beach with some great fish and chips. The weather was perfect, the food was brilliant and the friendship was better than ever.

I found myself staring across the water wondering what it would be like to be some of the characters in my first book. There’s a scene where Whizzbang and Bosk discuss the Barrier and how it made the ocean shimmer in a beautiful purple he during the sunrise. It was also where they concluded that it was also a prison that the Concord had to be set free from.

Have you ever read a good book and wondered what it would be like being one of the characters. While writing the saga I’ve found myself looking forward to the next few hours to see how a character would react to a particular situation. Rather than reading, I have to write what will happen and it’s actually quite thrilling.

How’s Selfia going to react to Acheron being hurt? What would happen if a father and son were separated by war? These are great questions to ask and the only way I can get the answers is to write……and this is where I try to imagine what I would do in the situation.

So I hope that you enjoy reading the Mind War Saga as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. So there you have it....I've finally settled on the name of the series, "The Mind War Saga". More on this in a future blog.....

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Cover Illustrator - Sebastien Hue

Cover Illustrator - Sebastien Hue

As I mentioned in a previous blog that over the last few months I’ve been researching for just the right artist to work with for the book cover. I literally viewed thousands and thousands of illustrations by a huge range of artists.

I finally approached a number of illustrators and Sebastien Hue from Shue Digital responded instantly to my enquiry. Sebastien is from Paris and does work for the publisher Harper Collins. I was initially a bit concerned about whether there could be some language problems (I only speak English) but Sebastien’s English is better than mine!

After reaching out on skype I could sense that he was really excited by the project and after reaching an agreement we decided to work together. I thought that I’d showcase a number of Sebastien’s illustrations below as they are absolutely outstanding.

If you want to see more of his artwork then go to http://www.shue-digital.com/

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The Beta-readers Reaction to Book One

The Beta-readers Reaction to Book One

Well, I had the beta-readers around to give their feedback on book one. The great news is that they really enjoyed the story! I must admit that I was a bit nervous and worried about what they would think…..so it was a great relief to hear their reaction.

So I now have three marked up manuscripts that I’m going through to fix any minor issues. From the discussion I had with the beta-readers there were a few other things that they suggested that would enhance the story further.

Last night I was up until 1am working away and I’ve now just about completed the majority of the changes in the marked up manuscripts. With any luck I’ll have them all finished by the end of tomorrow. Yeah!

I’ve got about four hours of writing of some new content and tweaking existing. I’m really excited by these changes as I think they will subtly add to the storyline and more fully setup book two.

So, mid-next week I hope to have the completed, finished and done book! I’ll give it one final read through while the artist is working on the book cover and then it’s time to publish. It’s going to be an incredible event to see the book up on Amazon and other stores. What a journey it’s been!

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Getting Ready to Publish

Getting Ready to Publish

This week has been really exciting for me so far! I’ve just purchased a number of ISBN numbers so that I can add them to my book and I’ve now contracted an artist to work on an illustration for the front cover.

I found the artist by reach out to a number of illustrators on Deviant Art. If you haven’t been to this website then you’re really missing out on viewing some incredible artwork. Just search for science fiction landscapes and you will see what I’m talking about.

The artists that I have contracted does work for Harper Collins and has an exceptional set of skills. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he interprets the design brief. I’ll give a few previews as we get closer to the launch date. I’ll also see if I can get the artists biography and a selection of their artwork. I’m sure that you’re going to love them!

I’ve also spent a whole lot of time researching the various companies that help you publish your novel. It’s like a minefield and incredibly confusing assessing the pros and cons of each of them. It’s likely that I will go with Create Space (an Amazon company) and also Smash Words. Both these companies will allow a novel to be as widely distributed as possible.

Buying the ISBN numbers seemed to make the whole publishing experience a lot more real. I’m now my own publisher and the ISBN numbers are ready to be assigned to the manuscript. Incredibly exciting!

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Beta Readers Coming on Sunday!

Beta Readers Coming on Sunday!

I've been working on the first book of the "The Mind War Saga" for over eighteen months and it has been an amazing journey. This Sunday night I have a group of beta-readers coming over to share their feedback on the characters, plot and setting. I must admit that I'm incredibly excited about hearing their thoughts!

When I think about the journey I initially started writing the Saga as episodes on a website that I was running at the time. Every few days I would literally bash out a few keystrokes and publish the next installment for readers to enjoy. After going on a brief holiday I got the writing bug and really began to craft the story into a fully fledged novel.

Since that time I've rewritten the entire book about five times after expanding the story and providing a lot more background information on the characters to give them some depth. Why they behave like they do is just as important as what they are doing.

Courtesy of my father, I've been brought up on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy novels since I was young. I used to lie on my bed with a good book as soon as I got home from school and then continue reading way past the time I should have been asleep. I just couldn't put the books down.....and now I've finally just about completed my own.

So what's next? After the get together on Sunday I'll clean up any obvious errors and take on board changes that need to be made to characters etc. Sometimes it may only be a word or two that needs replacing to just give that little change of emphasis.

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