Work in progress

I didn’t make any of the prints available for sale because I wasn’t happy with where they had ended up. I’ve had a chance to rework the artist’s proof and this is on the way to what I wanted.

Vinyl plate, Gamblin black ink, Phthalo Blue watercolour, and gold leaf. Stamps yet to be cut and printed.

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After the smoke clears… #curseofkerevesdere

The launch party went amazingly well. I’ll post photos and the video of the speeches shortly. I’m so lucky to have so many wonderful friends and colleagues who showed up to help me launch the book!

Someone has already finished it and used the “hidden” trigger to ask for the next book! I’m amazed, flattered and surprised in equal measure.

This weekend is a quieter one, catching up on some art projects and resting a little. And then onwards to the next book!

Thank you for following me here, it should be a little more subdued for the next little while. But we’ll see.

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One. #curseofkerevesdere

I often say that my iPod is where music goes to die. The 70s and 80s strut and shimmy up against sparse electronica and grungy self-indulgence from the 90s onwards. The Doobie Brothers, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Stockhausen segue to Nouvelle Vague, Nine Inch Nails, Bananarama, Hot Chip, Spiro and Bryan Adams.

I’m listening to Bryan Adams’ “Straight From the Heart” as I write this. Because, by happy coincidence, that’s what this whole project is about.

I’ve read history. I know what happens when people go to war. To the countries. To the people. I know that it’s not over soon nor does it end cleanly. To draw from the Princess Bride: “Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

The Romans sacked Jerusalem several times, causing the Jewish population to flee over nearly a century of war and revolt, then merged what was left of Judea with Syria in around 135CE to form Syria Palaestina. We are still dealing with the repercussions of these actions, nearly 2,000 years later. Modern politicians are being forced to recognise that a wound which has endured for two millennia cannot be healed with an election cycle’s application of salve.

But, despite everything, despite the moments of horror, despite the terrible realities that many people endure, there is still enough to lead me to believe that we can have a better world. A beautiful world. A wonderful world for everyone. The fact that we haven’t managed this yet is not proof that we can’t, although it’s often an excuse.

I wanted to write something that shared my belief that humanity is a wonderful thing, with the occasional terrible person. I wanted to write something that said that we needed to think about who or what our real enemies are, before we sail back into war over issues that are dark reflections of negotiations between the powerful. I wanted something where the issues of warring humans are placed against a background of true threat.

When I read the writing of the 1930s, I noticed that many writers were coming to the conclusion that, despite the War of 1914-1918 being The Great War and The War to End All Wars, Europe was about to plunge back into war. And you could read the fear and despair as people desperately tried to stop the slide.

I wanted to write an enjoyable yarn with humour and adventure that carried a more serious message.

Together, we can defeat anything.

Launch is tomorrow. Enjoy the yarn.

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Oh, dear. Two. #curseofkerevesdere

I think it’s fair to say that I’m not ready for the launch. The prints are done but there’s still work to do. The long weekend, and associated shop closure, has set me back a few days and it’s a busy work week leading up to the day.

Claudia dropped by today and asked me if I was excited, then paused when she realised that I had totally put it out of my mind because the looming work calendar.

But she’s right. I should be excited. I’m about to launch my first book! Despite conflicting events that will take some people away who I’d like to have there, despite having friends all over the world who can’t be there, despite the fear that no-one will show up and I’ll be standing in an empty room. despite the gnawing feeling in my stomach that I’m indulging in hubris… I should be excited. Because this is an amazing thing and it should be exciting.

Wednesday’s resolution: Be excited by Thursday night.

 

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Three! AAAAAAH! Three!

Three days to go. The trinity is a powerful concept in religion, narrative, and speech. All of these revel in three-fold resonance.

Churchill’s “Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears” is more often remembered as “Blood, Sweat and Tears”. Why? People are just more likely to remember slogans if there are three components.

The old Australian “Slip, slop, slap” campaign for increasing sun awareness and reducing burn damage and skin cancer was incredibly effective. If you find a random Australian and say (or sing) “Slip, slop,…” then there is an almost irresistible urge to close the trinity with “Slap”. Now they’ve added other words: seek something, slip a wallaby a fiver or something like that and… I’ve forgotten.

They made the message less memorable, which makes it less effective. “Slip, slop, slap” was not, quelle surprise, the complete summary of the actions required to reduce skin cancer but it was better than confusing people. Threes are effective.

Three days left; time is short. Three simple messages:

  1. Self-publishing gets you read sooner.
  2. Good works exist outside of traditional publishing.
  3. You can do it.

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Four days to go! #curseofkereves

In honour of the day, here are four things that are good about self-publishing and four things that aren’t so good about it.

Good

  1. I’m about to publish a full-length novel, roughly a year after first having the idea. That’s a really short time from idea to production.
  2. My book didn’t sit on someone’s desk until another someone told them it wasn’t worth publishing, when it then got sent back after a few months or so. I was able to get feedback from many people and use my own editor, without someone else having to give it the green-light.
  3. I didn’t have to get an agent.
  4. I control distribution and know exactly where all of the money has gone or is going.

Not-so-good

  1. I keep wondering if I should have spent longer on it!
  2. I haven’t made it through the process that is often used to confer authorial legitimacy. (Well, actually, I have on the non-fiction and technical side with a PhD, multiple papers and a text book… but not on the challenging fiction side.)
  3. I have to look after all of my own business and it’s surprisingly time-consuming.
  4. I have little marketing and nothing large-scale, which means that I may have total control of a distribution mechanism that will sell very few books.

It’s a net positive but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little nervous.

Ok, a lot nervous.

Four days!

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