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Friday, 13 November 2015

Affinity and Boldre Wood

I haven't done quite as much practice with Affinity as I had hoped. I've been occupying my time with a psychology course (coursera - University of Toronto) as well as looking at further work on the Boldre Wood Trilogy (more on that to follow).

I have however been looking at improving my logo/ emblem. The reader beneath the tree is nice enough, but I think Quirky Tales deserves a stronger image. What that will be I have yet to decide, but whilst I was mulling ideas I ended up creating a keyboard:

It was surprisingly easy, using Affinity's 3D effect to create the buttons, along with a metallic gradient for the case of the board. The more I use the software the more I like it. Hopefully it will inspire me to come up with a really strong image for Quirky Tales.

Now to Boldre Wood. I realised some time ago that the three books were perhaps a little long for the youngest readers in my target audience. With that in mind I am working on a shortened version of the story. At the moment I'm ploughing through the three books, working out which are the key points and which can be cut without changing the story too much. It's tricky. Some of my favourite scenes will have to be cut from the finished book, but the three full books will still be available even when the shortened version is released. It's going to be a long job, but I'll issue updates as I progress.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Free Books for Halloween!

My entire collection will be on free promotion tomorrow, Saturday 31st October. So, if you get bored with the witches and ghouls why not curl up with one (or two, or three, or even all seven) of my books.

Have a great, and safe, Halloween.


Thursday, 29 October 2015

To Affinity and Beyond ... (I'm so sorry!)

A recent operating system update forced us to consider replacing some of our older software, predominantly our ancient version of the Creative Suite. Of primary concern was Illustrator, a vector graphics package I use extensively. As much as I love the software it has grown ever more temperamental and clunky over the years and I knew the day would come when it would throw all its pencils out of the box and flat refuse to operate any more.

Luckily he who fixes the computer put me onto a relatively new package called Affinity Designer. With a deal of scepticism I approached the free trial, fully expecting to hate it. Within minutes of my first 'play' I had fallen in love with it. Sometimes it's so nice to be proven wrong.

I haven't yet worked out how to do everything I did in Illustrator, and I admit to being confounded by its Transparency tools, but I shall persevere. It's definitely worth it. No more hanging, or laggy refreshing and zooming, this package has been designed to be as intuitive as possible, with the possible exception of the Transparencies (this is of course user inadequacy, I shall keep working at it until I finally get it!).

The creation of buttons and logos is always a good place to start in feeling your way into a graphics package, so with that in mind, here are two of my early efforts:

This one will hopefully be familiar to Linux users. The strange little 
chap in the corner is my line drawing.
This is my Union Jack button, just because I was feeling

The practice continues. I will master transparencies, I will, I will! Perhaps once I've familiarised myself with the software I'll have a look at redesigning some of my book covers, just for fun. If I have any major breakthroughs I shall of course share them here.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Seal of Approval?

Allow me to set a scene, you're sculling along in your boat on a leisurely 25 mile trip from Woodbridge to Ipswich - okay, if you're anything like me, sculling 25 miles is pretty incomprehensible, but it's important to the story so stay with me.

So there you are, paddling along, when suddenly a seal appears beside you. That would be nice enough, but then the seal jumps on board your boat and lies down to have a little snooze while you do all the work. Well that's what happened to Terry Davey. He says he managed to complete his journey in five hours, 30 minutes of which was in the company of his new friend. He said of the trip, 'I'd have done it a lot faster without that bloomin' seal!'

I suspect there could be a few more intrepid scullers out there over the coming days hoping for a similar encounter.

Friday, 2 October 2015

New Story

Just to prove I have been writing over the summer, there is now a new story in the Quirky Tales library. It's called 'Leaving Glairownie', and it's a lighthearted look at four old friends watching the younger generation with rather misplaced disapproval.

I do have several projects in varying stages of completion, in that some are almost finished while others are still just a page of scribbled ideas. Focus has been somewhat lacking lately, but I've had a long talk with myself and have set myself certain targets. Failure to meet them will result in another longer and even sterner talk with myself, and I'm anxious to avoid that. Updates on the nearly completed works will follow shortly.

I hope you enjoy the story. If you like what you see in the library, there are three collections available on Amazon.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Free Books!

All seven of my books are on free promotion today, 31st July. That's the entire Boldre Wood Trilogy, the adventure stories of Billy as his ancient homeland comes under the threat of invasion by a terrible enemy - Lucky Dip, the fun Henshall family saga, and the three Quirky Tales Anthologies packed with short stories of varying lengths and genres.

Perfect for filling your Kindle for you summer holidays! Just click the link in this post or the books on the right. Have a great summer.

Friday, 24 July 2015

I Think I'll Have Seen Everything ...

... when I see a Basset Hound fly. Well, technically he didn't fly, but he did survive a plunge out a window 30ft above the ground, and his owner is convinced he was saved by his ears.

When I was a child we had a Basset. She used to do the most spectacular somersaults. Not deliberately, you understand, but by the simple expedient of falling over her own ears. The Basset ear is almost a species in its own right, driven almost entirely by mischief and mayhem. So, I suppose it's possible that Remy the Basset managed to deploy his ears like a parachute but it doesn't seem likely. In our experience, they don't have a lot of control over them.

I heard a suggestion on the radio that the most likely scenario was that he did a combat roll upon landing. That conjures comical images of Bassets in cammo gear and night vision goggles, but they are surprisingly flexible and roll quite well. With ears like that they don't have much choice.

That said, I far prefer the image of Remy parachuting down, ears outstretched, to touch down like a feather. Good on you Remy. But stay away from top floor windows from now on.