May 2005 Review

Writing Progress

I have received two copies of “The Friendly Ambassador: The Beginning Of The End” from my publisher. Seeing them gave me mixed feelings. As I have worked on the covers for quite some time the appearance of the books wasn't a surprise. Neither was the layout of the text inside them, as I had already reviewed PDF versions of this and they were more or less identical. I think this took the sting out of the surprise and joy that you might expect from seeing your first book in the flesh and leafing through the pages. It still gave me a lot of pleasure, it was just that it was so familiar. They are well made and nice books. The covers are glossy and the images have come out well. The front image might be a bit darker than I would like, but it is a dark image. I still think I should have made the front cover image a bit busier, with more figures or with the figures doing something more dynamic. But at the time that was how I did it. In contrast I am very happy with the backcover image. My publisher suggested at the time that this one should go on the front, but I always wanted a female figure on the front, and the one of Anaxilea and Cassiopea near the eighty-eight truck seemed the best solution. Maybe I should have added a few Gatherers. The quality of the paper and the cut of the book is also very good. The book is nine inches by six inches and nearly an inch thick at 324 pages. It has a nice feel to it and the layout on the page is good. I also like the chapter headings and the font used. All in all I am very happy with the finished product and I take pleasure leafing through it and seeing the very familiar passages. It's just that I am not completely as ecstatic as I should be. Maybe that's because having the actual book in my hand doesn't ensure that it is going to sell.

The official publication of the book is the 21st May, but it is already advertised on and Barnes & I am hoping to add the "search inside this book" facility on, but I don't know if I will be able to yet, as PublishAmerica have said that they don't usually participate. I will let you know.

The domain name for my other website at is now all set up. As I said last month it includes all sorts of things, including the images used on the front and back cover, a synopsis of the story (with some spoilers, but not many, so be warned), a list of the principal characters, a guide to the aliens in the story and an explanation of the Ring Network system.

So, writing. Have I done any this month? No. I am still lacking the impetus to create. I did the additional research I needed for “The Heroic Englishman” some time ago, but I haven't done anything with it. I think it's called being lazy. Writing at the moment feels like too much hard work. I just don't feel the urge to start something big, and I don't have anything in mind that is small. I keep putting things off until next month, and then next month comes around far too quickly. I am writing this at four o'clock on a Sunday afternoon. Saturday was filled with sleeping and slouching in front of the TV until about eight o'clock in the evening. Then I played with some 3D images on the computer and went to bed. I am only now thinking about writing, having spent all week with other things on my mind and with little time to spend on myself. It's too late to start something now, so maybe I'll try next week. Of course, that was what I said to myself last week. It's the same each week and then the month passes. It's already May, and I didn't even notice Easter go by. Did anyone see it?

Oh, yes, it's May. The first Monthly Review published on this website was May 2000. We had just gone through the Year 2K crisis and no planes fell out of the air and the world didn't end. I was working on my previous laptop which had Windows 95 on it. I used to write my stories using Letter Perfect, or something like that, and I used to print them all out (double-spaced) and keep them in large ring binders. I haven't done that for years. I also used to send off each story to a string of publishers as soon as it was finished. I still have all the rejection letters. Now I hardly ever print anything out. I work in Word, convert everything into HTML and upload it to my website. “The Friendly Ambassador” has never been printed in full. A few chapters were printed for submissions to publishers (I have those rejection letters too) but apart from that it has only existed electronically. Would you believe I started writing it in August 2001? Now I have a book of the first part. I have spent nine years writing all my stories and six years publishing them on the Internet. Who said this was a hobby?

What do you think of it so far? Email me!