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Tuesday 18 December 2012

On a Personal Note:

As it’s nearing the end of an amazing breakout year, I hear you ask – what’s coming next?
Well, unless Joss Whedon finally gets his act together and drops me a line the initial Matt Drake series will reach an explosive climax in January with Book 4 – The Tomb of the Gods. Tomb will not only tie up all the current loose ends in the action-packed manner you are already accustomed to, but lay the groundwork for a fantastic new direction I have planned for Matt Drake, a different, intriguing concept.
More on that later – and by ‘later’ I mean at the end of Tomb of the Gods. . . J

So…that will be up first for 2013. Then, if time and circumstance allow, I’m looking at releasing 4 more books next year. This would include Drake 5 (…lost at sea…?) and the start of a great new series I’m already developing. I’d also like to throw something new out there to my readers – Let’s go interactive!! What would you prefer next?  – Drake 5, Chosen 2 and 3, or the new series….please leave a comment or send an email to the usual address.

I’m really pleased that, despite only starting in March and working a full time job, I managed to write three books this year. The enthusiastic personal emails from readers and the very supportive and evergreen group of online authors are the things that make it all worthwhile. I can’t express my gratitude enough. A huge thanks to all.

On a different note I have recently joined a new group of innovative, forward-thinking authors who will try to take things to the next level in the new year. They are called Bestselling Reads -  www.bestsellingreads.com  (new website coming soon) - Twitter handle - @bestsellingread - so maybe check them out. There are some great writers involved and you’ll be hearing a lot about them in 2013.

And that’s it. Spread the cheer, have a drink for Drake and the team and me. Ok, maybe not for Drake. Make mine a double Rum and diet Coke (yeah, I never said I was normal).

Drake and I will see you early 2013 for the kind of action that might just set your Kindle on Fire. J

Tuesday 24 July 2012

eBook Publishing (A brief guide for beginners)

Are you serious about your eBook?

You want the best for your kids, don’t you? Well, imagine your book’s your baby. What wouldn’t you do for it?

I have had some reasonable success with eBooks. Beyond luck, I have no idea why my books have sold so many copies since March. There are no formulas, no guarantees, only your own drive and spirit and the love you have for your writing. So, in the spirit of my writing – that is, with the barest minimum of waffle - I’ll run you through a process that may or may not have mixed results J

  1. Write, edit and polish your first novel. Try to finish this creative process before diverting your attentions elsewhere. Pay particular attention to the TITLE of your book as, along with the cover, it is clearly your immediate selling point.
  2. Write the blurb of all blurbs. Make it tight. Include a 'hook'. Write the blurb that would make YOU buy the book. A potential reader who likes your cover and title will read your blurb next.
  3. Earmark and expect to spend a minimum of £500-£750 (UK pounds) on your great venture. It’s a small amount compared to being able to realize the dream of selling that first copy.
  4. A highly advisable option is to invest in a professional editor and – if necessary – a formatter. Their fees aren’t as exorbitant as you might think and they will take the stress out of delivering that final ‘reader-ready’ product.
  5. Whilst this process is being undertaken commission a professional cover designer to create you a stunning book cover. Have fun with it. Experiment.
  6. Time to start LINKING and building your online presence before the book hits- expect to spend many, many hours of your life doing this. Create a Website (Weebly is free) to advertise your books. Start a blog (Blogger is free) and decide which direction you want it to take. The options are limitless, but it should be something you will want to share and have a strong opinion about. You may want a Facebook/Goodreads presence. You may want to join IAN – The Independent Author Network. You may want to publish on Smashwords and Createspace. All these options will give you and your book increased visibility and, believe me, there are many more.
  7. You should already have a Twitter presence. If you are an #indie author you will soon find many others like you out there. The Twitter community is vast, engaging, and full of good people ready to champion your cause. Support and share interesting tweets and articles. Search for information relevant to your product and pass it on to others. Be prepared to have more fun than you could imagine and spend untold hours on this alone. Twitter is addictive and fun, even more so when you find that your fellow authors are becoming your friends.
  8. Publish your book only when it’s ready. LINK the 'Buy' pages of your book to your Website and Blog, and possibly Twitter.
  9. Create yourself an Author Central page through Amazon. Don’t forget to add a photo for that personal touch. UK and US Author Central pages are separate, and there are tools available on the US site to increase the aesthetic impact of your blurb– (Italics, bold etc).  
  10. Now, you’re ready. Hang on and enjoy the ride. Your arms should be outside the carriage at all times. You won’t be able to sit back, and you should be having a ton of fun.
  11. #BuyIndie!

Thursday 17 May 2012

Of Matt Drake and Escapism

Of Matt Drake and Escapism.

With each new release of the Matt Drake series, I think it important to draw attention to this short piece I wrote regarding the  novels.

Plainly put, if you want something a bit literary, look elsewhere. Try my short story - Walking with Ghosts - But if you want fast-paced, escapist action laced with humour and written with energy by a writer who loves writing, then grab yourself a sample of The Bones of Odin. If you like the first chapter – you’ll like the rest of the book.
Same goes for the second book in the series, and the third…

If you’ve had a hard day at work and get home wanting to unwind with a book and maybe a glass of wine, or you like to read an hour before bed without having to tax the mind too much then the Matt Drake series is aimed at you.

These stories are actually designed to take you away from your day without engaging too much of the brain matter. Yes, there’s an actual plan, a conscious effort to do it.
So, no excuses.

If you want to escape. . . dive into Matt Drake.

And while we're at it the third and fourth in the series are out now and the fifth is looking good for an April/May 2013 release.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Serenity Avenged!

The best movie of the year has arrived! Will anything else be good enough to knock this one off its big, shiny pedestal this year? Really, I just can’t see it.
Biased, you say? Maybe a little. . .but I challenge you to go see it right now and then not think the same!
"The Avengers" is fantastic, so worthy of Joss Whedon’s talents that in my opinion, yes it does indeed Avenge Serenity!
"The Avengers" is so way beyond the ‘normal’ superhero production it’s unreal. The cast is awesome, the acting is great, the story is tremendous and everything keeps moving at an incredible rate.
I’m not going to go into any kind of story description here – you don’t need to know the story – but if you’re dithering, if you’re caught between ‘shall I or shan’t I’, then go. Just go. If you don’t- and then rent it on the little screen in a few months – you will wholeheartedly regret it!
The great parts here are the clash of personalities. The superhero crew don’t gel at first and end up fighting against each other – ego vs ego – soldier vs the rebellious Iron Man. Hulk vs Thor! Oh, yeah, believe it!
We’re treated to some patented Whedonesque moments, some sparkly dialogue, some laugh-out-loud scenes (check when Loki meets Hulk near the end.), which all ends up making us care about what happens to everyone. And the end result is- character building, character caring, and pure old-fashioned excitement. The theatre experience was incredible, with the audience responding to the feel-good factor and really getting involved. Avengsome atmosphere! For me, that’s what it’s all about and why you spend your hard-earned.
So, the best two and a half hours you will spend in the cinema this year (and maybe until Avengers 2?) Only you can decide- but was it ever really in any doubt?
Go see The Avengers by Joss Whedon. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

#BuyIndie.... Let's help our fellow authors. . . posted on 20 March 2012 by David Leadbeater

    For my next post I wanted to move in a different direction. To all the Whedonites out there, don't worry, I'm planning something for The Cabin in the Woods as soon as I get a handle on it.
    Anyway, I think it's mega-important to support our fellow Indie authors so I'm going to buy a new Indie Kindle book every other day for the foreseeable future and post the details here, including links and Twitter ID's. 
    I know this kind of thing is already being practiced out there, but this is one of my small contributions and I hope some other #indie 's are inspired to do their own thing too!

Happy #indie Reading!

1. Leiyatel's Embrace by Clive S Johnson    http://tinyurl.com/7dv3uh5  
Twitter ID - @Clive_SJohnson

2. Crossfire BY Niki Savage 


Twitter ID @nikisavage

3. Dark Pool by Helen Hanson

Twitter ID @HelenHanson

4. Jaguar Sun by Martha Bourke

Twitter ID @martha_bourke

5.Gray Justice by Alan Mcdermott

Twitter ID @Jambalian

6. Danger Undercover by Charity Parkerson

Twitter ID @charityparkerso

7. Bluewater Killer by CLR Dougherty

    Twitter ID @clrdougherty

8. Regarding Dead Things by the side of the Road by Benjamin x Wretlind

Twitter ID @bxwretlind

9. Bone Dressing by Michelle I Brooks

Twitter ID @MichelleIBrooks

10. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes

Twitter ID @CassidyJonesAdv

11. The Templar Agenda by John Paul Davis
      Twitter ID @unknown_templar





Thursday 16 February 2012

Avenging Serenity

Avenging Serenity (or- ‘Whedonising the masses’)       posted on February16th 2012 by David Leadbeater

Ah, where did all the Browncoats go? Still licking their wounds, I guess.
    Will we ever forget poor old Alan Tudyk being impaled at the end of Serenity? Or the spine- tingling, utterly immortal words of Summer Glau: “My turn. . .” Our desperation suddenly and expertly turned to fire.
    So, with his new movie will Joss finally avenge the death of Firefly, the greatest Space Western of our time?
    If anyone could. . .
    Our hopes are on fire. The reason I’m connecting Firefly with The Avengers is because we all know the problems that plagued the show from Upstairs.  Make this happen, they said. Make that happen, they said, whilst flicking the oily disinterest from the collars of their Saville Row suits. Malcolm Reynolds is too dour, too aggressive. The pilot ain’t right so let’s run it out of order, oh, and then let’s run some of the other episodes out of order too. That’ll solidify the viewership.
    Now Marvel are just Marvel, I guess, a huge entity of its own. But there’s no getting away from the fact that they know what they’re doing. Let me say this (too late): give Whedon free-reign, let him experiment. He will breathe new life into your aging characters. He will bring new blood to what has occasionally become a bloodless franchise. The Mutant Enemy is your salvation, my friends.
    My proof? Ask any Whedonite if they watch any new series or movie that involves a Whedon-branded actor? Well, the answer’s clear, and it’s all about the cult status. An actor achieves this status when he’s been Whedonised. Real word- just added it to my Thesaurus.
    And one more whisper into the ear of the masses: http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/
    -they aim to misbehave in support of charity and have raised over $150,000.00 so far by movie screenings alone.
    And the trending goes on.
    The Avengers already has cult status, it started when they announced the name of the Director.

Monday 30 January 2012

Joss Whedon and the Bite Size Vampire

Joss Whedon and the Bite-Size Vampire   posted on 30th January 2012 by David Leadbeater

I don’t know Joss Whedon, not personally. I am one of the millions who know him only through his work. I first met him in 1997’s Welcome to the Hellmouth, and back then, even in that first forty minutes, you could just tell that something special was happening.
    So the forty-minute or, bite-size, Vampire was born. Some after-tea snackage sharpened with wit, dripping with humour, and glistening with character. This was a new programme that used pop culture references for fun and then later became a pop culture reference itself. This Joss Whedon guy made you care as he created a comical cocktail before mixing in a heady twist of fear.
    Simple, you say?
     It only seems simple when it’s done right. I only have to say Once More With Feeling or Hush. Simple premises, but has any other TV show ever pulled off anything similar so well?
    Something so deeply touching as a High School student body giving a special award to the geek-girl in The Prom, because the Class of ’99 has the lowest mortality rate in history, though no student questions why, or how? Or as ironic as a politician hiding the fact that he is a monster- and that monster is a giant snake?
    The Vampire, before Whedon, was a relic as outdated as the T-Rex before Jurassic Park. And yes, ironically, new life was breathed into a creature long dead, a creature many, back then, associated only with old Hammer Horror films.
    Whedon raised the bar again by instilling a cult status into his work. From college students inventing drinking games – sinking one whenever Sarah showed her bra or Giles cleaned his glasses – that continue to this day, to real life tragic stories where people sought solace in back-to-back episodes that saved them from the brink of suicide. Five by Five.
    The women are strong, all of them- though sometimes they do not know it. The Vampires are bigger and fiercer - they are monsters - but seen to be weaker because they go up against friends who fight as a team, unintentionally becoming heroes by their actions.
    The way was paved for a new flood of fanged fiends- Lost Girl, True Blood, Twilight. A new genre called Paranormal Romance. Their existence is a validation of original genius. One person took the time to care, allowing others to continue the momentum and care for offspring of their own. A life lesson.
    So Vampires are trending again. And yes, I guess I write about Vampires, but my Vampires are not Whedon’s. They’re good (for now), and at least one of them is gay. But my women are strong, as the new tradition rightly suggests they should be. Vampires have cheated death, you might say. Something once thought a mere terrifying extra is suddenly filling people’s lives, being identified with, laughed at, and even cheered on.
    And cried at? Well, do you remember Becoming? The Body? Chosen?
    So an ordinary girl becomes a hero, rising to be extraordinary, and so do her friends as they share every bitter end together. And in the end High School is the biggest demon here, one we all have to overcome. If I asked Joss do you think he’d say his High School sat on a Hellmouth and that he fought demons almost every day?
    And yours? What of yours, my friend?
    Next. . . The Avengers.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

When ordinary people do extraordinary things.

When ordinary people do extraordinary things posted on . . .2012 by David Leadbeater
Real heroes don’t wear masks. They don’t dream in colour. In the real world they’re not super. They’re the weird guy down the street who sees you’ve managed to strand yourself on the rope that swings across the beck and gets his feet wet pulling you back to dry land. It’s your mum. My daughter. The Chosen Few who go to fight for their country, for their way of life. They don’t go trying to be special, but one day they just are. . .
    As a child I thought my heroes were caped crusaders and wise-cracking web-slingers. I didn’t know the near-real-life version was the girl who stands resolute before the approaching monster. She’s smaller, weaker, and younger, but she never hesitates. Thanks for that, Joss.
    So who did I turn to when a real-life nightmare came calling? My real heroes of course- my mum and dad. When I told them about a habitual bully, the scourge of our school, my mum wanted to head out straight away and confront him but my dad managed to calm her and  went round to see the bully’s father. Now that I’m older I know he must have been scared, but I never saw it then.
    And the next day, the bully just went on to someone else. . .

    So it’s lunch-break and I’m walking free, feeling good, and I see a crowd has gathered past the old, empty classrooms where the teachers can’t see. Where the Prefects don’t go. The crowd’s silence betrays its guilt like a government betrays its country by hiding a politician’s expenses.
    I walk among the quiet ones, the whisperers, witnesses whose eyes shine with sadistic glee, and move to the front. For a moment I stagger, I flashback and see myself there, on the ground, being kicked and jeered at by the bully, being pinched and spat upon, crying. . .
    And then I see with eyes that suddenly can dream in colour, and I utter those immortal words: “She’s a girl!”
    The bully turns to stare at me, and then shrieks in surprise as my body suddenly slams into him. He goes down. I go down. We fight, scuffle and scratch, like kids do until a pair of teachers finally wade in and break us apart.
    “I’m shocked at you.” One of them says to me.
    But. . .
    Red-faced, I am marched away and my last image is of the dishevelled girl. I never knew her name and never got to know. Her words ring out strongly: “I didn’t need your help, Leadbeater. Not really.”
    I turn to the bully and look him straight in the eyes. “My dad says: Stand Your Ground.”
    That was the day I became extraordinary.