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The Keys to Visibility are the Keys to the Kingdom

I remember a story I read in Asimov’s when I was just starting out that blew me away and had a huge influence on me.
Don’t remember what it was called though. Or who wrote it. Or what it was about.
It was stylistically daring, beautiful, and funny. Eager to read more work by that writer, I looked, but couldn’t find any. I moved three or four times, and the magazine got packed in this box or that, and almost certainly wasn’t in any of the boxes that moved with me across the country. I wish I could remember more about it, because it deserves to be read again.
Around the same time, I read another cool story - this one about an artist working in new media. This was a couple decades before PC’s. The main character made or watched a film starring a number of top actors from various points in Hollywood history and had an original soundtrack by Peter Gabriel (it was a far future story). The author’s name was M.A. Foster. After getting excited about the story, I looked for the name in the bookst…

Finding Beta Readers

How do you find beta readers? I'm sure the answer to that is different for every writer. The one thing everyone tells me is that once you find some good dependable beta readers who give you good feedback and are happy to do it - you should do everything you can to hold onto them. How many beta readers do you need? I know people who have just two. And I know others who put it out to a large number with every book. I'm still looking, so I'm pretty sure I have more than I need for this book. But I'll winnow that down for the next one. I have a crew of friends and loved ones I go to for help and advice at different stages, but it's important to me to have beta readers who are reading the manuscript for the first time.

When I ask people to beta read for me, I often have to explain the concept of “beta-reader.”

Beta-Readers are essentially a hand-picked sample group. What the writer needs you to do is read it as though you just dropped the full cover price to buy it and …

Getting a Book Ready for the Beta-Readers

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The longer I work on something, the more likely it is I’ll drift at some point into a creative doldrums, where I spend days or even weeks, tweaking this, tweaking that, agonizing over a single phrase, sometimes a single word, writing in circles, rewriting the same scenes over and over and then finally just deleting them.
But if I don’t lose hope, if I keep at it long enough, I generally catch a favourable wind at some point that fills my sails and carries me very quickly – sometimes almost out of control – to the end of a story or chapter. Sometimes the storm of inspiration and enthusiasm dies down suddenly, other times, it carries me right into the next chapter or next project. But one thing it almost inevitably does, is give me an unduly optimistic feeling about what I’ve just written. You’d think Shakespeare himself never penned such a masterpiece!
I generally get over this quickly – usually as soon as I start to reread it. But every once in a while, the work turns out to be almost…

Newsletter Ahoy!

Twitter blasts are fun. Lots of people seem to check out the threads. But I don't see them as the ultimate vehicle for communicating with readers.

As I enter the home stretch and embark on my last few rounds of drafts of my diptych, my Avenging Glory website is moving up the priority list and I’m looking to have some fun stuff on it by Mid Summer.

There's a Web Book Marketing coach/guru named Tim Grahl who seems to have lots on the ball. I've been shamelessly mining his free advice for the past year or so, regarding how to promote and market a book (and he has an excellent page on creating a author website). Frankly, he has a great track record with getting books in front of eyeballs, and gives really smart advice. The point I'm making by mentioning this is that the absolute core of his advice is the need to build an author platform – supported by an e-mail data-base of people. And one of the best ways to build that up is with an e-mail newsletter.
I still have a Mail Chi…

A Little Magic Would Be Handy

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Wanna See Me Turn a Book into a Diptych? Just tap the magic wand on the cover three times....and presto chango! Gahhh...I wish it were that easy!
If I had realized when I decided that the opening chapters of my novel needed a little fleshing out, that I was committing myself to writing a novel length prequel that would change much of the landscape for the main novel (thereby adding the prospect of another draft to that one), I probably wouldn’t have embarked on it.
After all, Avenging Glory was pretty much complete. I just intended to add a wee bit more colour, depth and detail to part one – because I was setting up one of my major characters and had just breezed through his potentially fascinating backstory with an “and then this happened” approach. And he deserved SO much more.
As I worked on it, I kept finding valid rationales for dramatizing bits of this backstory and adding new scenes and characters, and before I knew it, I’d added several chapters. And then more, and a bit more..…

Panning for Gold in the River of Artistic Achievement

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Once the dirt is washed away, what’s left at the bottom of a pan is probably just gravel. But every now and then, comes a Eureka moment. 
Any art that has been around for awhile, but is inspiring enough to track down and enjoy long after the ship originally sailed, is probably going to be worth your time and attention, because even while sinking into the sediment, real gold continues to shine. It’s still prime material for the for the groom’s ringbox or the alchemist’s vial. For me, there’s nothing more inspiring than great art. I’ve struck a lot of gold lately:
Recovered nugget #1: Black Swan– after seven years and many enthusiastic recommendations by friends. As soon as I saw it, I regretted taking so long. Dark magic realism as opposed to horror; the film is intensely visual, symbolic, and devastating in its complications and implications. The character of Nina is inhabited more than acted by Natalie Portman, and the film is composed as much as directed by Darren Aronofsky.

The film…

Happy 100 to Me

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I began this blog in May 2011. It was one of six I was running at the time. The blog for my business was discontinued when I stopped publishing Canadian Newcomer Magazine in 2014. And it was so much work maintaining all the other blogs, when they were generating no income, that most of the others gradually fell by the wayside. Sculptor's Touch still has a blog page on Wordpress that has been pretty much inactive for the past few years.

Which means that, for me, Psychedelia Gothique is the last blog standing. And this marks my 100th blog post on this site! That feels like some kind of landmark, although admittedly, a little one. The blog has been improving with each passing year, with more interesting content and more frequent posts, but it's still a long way from what I have ambitions to make it.

I would love to have a fascinating, controversial, cutting edge blog like Peter Watts over at https://www.rifters.com/crawl/ ...but I can't even approach Mr. Watts' knowledge …