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Posts tagged “Writer

NaNoWriMo 2018

National Novel Writing Month is back once again, marking the 20th year since the event begun. If you’ve never heard of it, or if you’re only vaguely aware, I think it’s always worth sharing what this is at this time of year, because hey, even if you’re not ready to take the plunge yourself this year, there’s always time to get yourself ready for the next one! In today’s article, I’ll discuss a bit of the history of National Novel Writing Month, what you can do to get involved and also some tips on how to work through your writing bug, without breaking the bank balance.

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Crownroot Publishing

Publishing is hard to get into, especially for brand new artists who are looking to have their first proper shot at getting seen. But could there be a new way for artists to be seen, for comics to be read, for writers to be exposed to the world and media to be consumed.

Bristol and Cardiff Anime and Gaming Conventions are now both over and there was a lot of cross-over between the two. One of the crossovers was within the guests, where some of the guests from Cardiff were also a guest at Bristols event. They are Crownroot Publishing, a small group who are bringing small artists, comic artists, writers and more together to bring about magazines to those who want to get their voice out there.

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It’s a great premise too. They will publish peoples works for free. In return, these aspiring comic artists and writers get their pieces seen by many. It’s a great cause and I’m glad to know that a publication such as these guys exist. They wandered around the convention and for just £5, I was able to get a hold of a brilliant array of artists and writers stuff. It was a great read and there are some truly talented artists and writers with Crownroot!

This piece was simply just to highlight the work they do – I’ve yet to find them on Twitter and Facebook, but once I know more information, I’m sure we’ll be able to share more information about their services.


Emulators – Nostalgia or Nuisance?

Growing up in the 90s, I played a lot of what we now call classic video games. From Sonic the Hedgehog to Mario; Pac-Man to Tetris, I think I’ve played some of the greatest games of the early eras of video games and I’m happy to keep playing modern games. Now comes a time that these older consoles aren’t as easy to get a hold of, but there are ways to go ahead and get games of yesteryear.

Here on Ubuntu, there’s a wealth of emulators available for a variety of different old school consoles. Windows has even more native built emulators and I’m sure Macs have more unique ones to add to this list. With this in mind, I thought I’d pause and pose an open question to all of you.

Kega Fusion on Ubuntu

Kega Fusion start static on Ubuntu – Nostalgic!

What are your thoughts on emulators?

Now, considering I’m a fan of video games, I see them as a potential nuisance for a company. There’s a chance all of their hard work is stolen away by these emulators, which allows people to play whatever game they want on whatever device: But then there’s the gamer inside of me that says that it’s time we embrace the openness of open source and share older games without scrutiny. It’s a seriously grey legal area, so what are your thoughts on emulation?

I personally feel that emulators should be legal if a console is past a certain age, in hopes to provide users access to a console they might not be able to get. For example, SNES certainly isn’t still in production and a lot of video games from the SNES era are considered a “must play”. Same as how a book can end up for free in a library, is it so wrong to presume that video games get the same sort of catalogue available to the public?

Let me know what you feel about the subject in the comments below or on our Facebook or Twitter pages. As a gamer, as a developer, as a reviewer – Whoever you are, what’s your stance on emulation?


Blogging – Why I dun did it

They say reflection is a form of mental processing, so when I think about it, it’s only logical that I would finally do an article on why I started to blog and why I think you might want to consider it too. After all, it’s not like I produce the highest quality of articles, but I’d like to think the topics I touch upon are at least vaguely interesting to someone out there. Except perhaps my personal cosplay posts, those are a whole different beast.

We’re going to go quickly into the history of this website, along with the future of the site and what I believe are some universal truths about blogging. Hopefully someone out there will benefit from this knowledge from an “insiders point of view”, so if you benefited from it in some way, just leave us a comment and let me know.

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The money

What money?!

I know a lot of people actually start blogs with the intention of making a lot of money off of their free blogs. If you start with the intention of making money, let me tell you now: You may make a couple of quid, but you’re going to win no friends this way. I’m not sure about all of you out there, but I think the majority of you will agree with me that networking is one of the coolest things in the world.

If you don’t believe me, welcome to GeekOut South-West, a website built around the concept of having a geek social group. We exist: 450+ members of us. We have over 930 Twitter followers and rising. We have over 130 of you on Facebook too. We thank each and every one of you for every click, every like, every share you do of our little corner of the internet and don’t think that’s me just trying to appease our regular readers.

 

GeekOut Bristol - May 8th

GeekOut Bristol – May 8th

This is from the bottom of my heart – I honestly love seeing the, albeit small, sense of community we have here on this website… But more to the point, I love the community spirit of the greater blogosphere. Whilst all of this is great, it’s not why I started blogging, so now let’s go back and look into why I started blogging.

Ayacon Apocalypse 2013

Those of you who know the website well enough will be aware of the events of Ayacon, all the way back in 2013. This was when I first met Joel and this was actually a sort of prequel to the story of this website. Before this website… No, before Ayacon… I was really in a rut. There was nothing for geeks here in Bristol, not really. Now, suddenly, Bristol has exploded with geek activities and events… But let’s talk about this site.

When I begun, there was very little here in Bristol. The highly praised and much loved Bristol Video Game Social wasn’t a thing. Bristol Bad Film Club was still quite new, as they started around summer 2013 (to my knowledge). Other than this, we already had the amazing BristolCon… If I’m going to be brutally honest: Other than the Bath and Bristol RPG Meetup Group… There really wasn’t much else! I mean we had some cool shops, but that’s about it.

It was bleak, very bleak. So back in late 2013, I thought to myself that I would give myself a little bit of a run for my money. After Ayacon 2013, I needed to see more people so positive, so ready to allow themselves to be freely geeky and freely up for chatting to other geeky people. I attribute a lot of this to my fellow GeekOut writer, Joel… More on that shortly.

At Ayacon, I went with a costume that was so bad, I refuse to link to it. I say it was bad, but people somehow recognised it. So, clearly, something was right about it. The nicest thing was: People cared. They wanted to talk to me about the costume and the things I had made. They wanted to know how things were made. They wanted to know the cost. Everything. It wasn’t just one or two people: It was tens of people. A lot to me.

 

From humble beginnings...

From humble beginnings…

I knew these people had to exist in my home town of Bristol, so I thought to myself: How can I bring a convention feeling to the every day of Bristol, without running a full blown convention every single month? Simple: I had to form a social group.

Quotes from the Tabletop

Occasionally in life, you meet someone who far exceeds your expectations. Joel was this person and if he reads this, I hope you don’t feel so mushy about this post. Joel was a large part of why GeekOut South-West was even brought to life. I’ve told countless stories of this, but it bares repeating. One of our most important partner sites, Quotes from the Tabletop, is one of the pivotal points of this websites fledgling life.

When I met Joel, he was an incredibly enthusiastic individual who came literally rushing over to me and my friend Rob. I was wearing a shirt that I’m wearing as I write this post (don’t worry, I’ve washed it between then and now). It says: “I KNOW KARATE (And like 2 other Japanese words” I put a blonde wig in as my cosplay was completely destroyed… and I put a blue band around my head. Why? Because I was just having fun at the event and you know – it was funny to me.

Dice

When Joel rushed over to us, he wanted to chat to us about everything geeky and that to me was something I aspired to see more of. More positivity, more unification of a geekified world… So after I grabbed some details off of him, I bugged him day and night. No, really: I did. I bet he got fed up with having a little me bugging him whenever I felt like it. I set up the initial website of GeekOut… But never did I expect to get anywhere near the numbers that we received. The positivity of the scene alone was something I had always wanted to see.

I set the website up, I started to blog and when we got big enough: I asked Joel if he’d like to get involved. Interestingly, I think because of our friendship, he started to watch the website more and more. It was good to have a second pair of eyes, an ally, as it were, in my quest to bring a more geek front to the UK – Even if my initial reaction was to bring more of it to the south-west. Eventually, we’d like to expand and have more events happening across the UK… But this is a way off yet.

The point to take away from this is: You must always begin with a goal in mind. You need to have a reason to start a blog. Are you a gamer? Why not start a blog about your favourite video games and all of the really cool things you know about them that not everyone does? How about a writer? You need to have a blog about your upcoming releases! A blog can change someone for the better… So this begs the question:

How you can start blogging

This post focused on the life of GeekOut, which is more or less how I expected it to be, but I want to send you away with a positive lesson out of all of this. You’ll notice I’ve mentioned that I didn’t start this for money. I didn’t even think a site like this could make money (for the record, we’re currently not making money. A lot of expenses comes out of my own pocket!)

Don’t let costs of anything deter you. You don’t have to pay a penny to run a WordPress blog. In fact, it can even make you money for absolutely nothing if you really must earn money off of it. But what I want you to take away from this post is that you need to find a subject that not only are you passionate about, but you think others will be interested in too.

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A writer doesn’t usually write just for themselves… Although I’ve known a few writers write just because they enjoy writing. If you’re one of these people, do it. If you’re not one of these people who writes because they like to write, you don’t need to matter yourself too much. I don’t write for the sake of being a writer, I’m afraid to tell you all. I write because I believe people will read it… and people will come together, even if my writing isn’t the most riveting of prose written.

I hope you feel that you’re passionate about a subject enough to start writing. If you’re already a writer: Why did you start? Let’s talk about what makes someone a blogger, or a writer, and let’s share it with the world. Are you new to blogging and looking to other blogs for the first time? Share your experiences in the comments below, over on Twitter and Facebook.


Review – Goblins Know Best

When I found out about the Eventide kickstarter campaign, a wonderful sci-fi/fantasy writer from the south-west of England called Daniel Beazley had put together, I also found out about his fantasy novel, Goblins Know Best. But of course, I couldn’t get behind the Eventide campaign without knowing a little bit more about the works of Daniel. So I reached out to him and lo and behold, I received a box as he sent me a review copy of this awesome comedy fantasy!

Since reviewing literature is relatively new to me (I normally interview people, but we’ve already interviewed Daniel on here), rather than doing another interview with him, we’re going to review the novel. I thought I’d break this down into several sections, starting of with a bit of information on Daniel himself, then going straight into the review.

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The author

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This is the debut novel of Daniel Beazley, the award winner of the Fantasy Faction Anthology of 2012. He was born and raised in the South-West of England (sound familiar to our regular readers?) Since his debut, Daniel has gone ahead and made a Kickstarter to produce audiobooks for his existing Sepherene Chronicles series of books. In a short space of time, he’s found his footing as an author and has even dabbled with other ways to get his stories out there.

his love for writing followed him when he went and joined the army, as well as when he went to work for the police. He begun writing in 1996 and says that some of his biggest influences include Tolkien, Feist, Gemmell, Lewis, Livingstone and Dever.

From a personal point of view, I’ve found Daniel to be incredibly polite and easy to talk to. He’s great to have a chat with and he really appreciates hearing from fans of his works. It’s with this in mind, that I’m going to give you some links to his social media and his website:

Web: www.danielbeazley.com
Twitter: @Daniel_Beazley
Facebook: Writer Daniel Beazley

Novel details

You can pick up a copy of Goblins Know Best for the Kindle at £2.40.

Paperback retails for £6.99.

ISBN 978-0-9575217-0-4

Paperback: 372 pages.
Kindle: 220 pages.

Goodreads book page.

Overview

Goblins Know Best is a humorous fantasy novel set in a traditional fantasy setting, where goblins, orcs, trolls and gnomes roam the world along with humans. The cast ranges from greenskins that inhabit the lands, such as Bogrot Blistertooth and Gorag Bather (the books protagonists), to humans such as the kindly adoptive mother, Gert. The unlikely duo of Bogrot and Gorag set forth, meeting some strange characters and constantly finding themselves doing odd tasks in their misadventures.

The book is satirical in tone, giving the reader some little parts of flavour text to go along with it. As such, both Joel and myself came to the same conclusion that the writers style was a lot like Pratchett’s, but not quite as heavy to read. Whilst we’re both huge fans of Pratchett, we’re aware that he is a heavy read for some people. Thankfully, that’s where Daniel shines as a writer. He’s able to describe things not only in a humorous way, but in a way that you understand the logic of the world he’s painting. He’s able to do so with an easy to read narrative and that’s all thanks to the awesome characters he’s dreamt up.

Okay Daniel, we'll accept Bogrot and Gorag into geekdom.

Okay Daniel, we’ll accept Bogrot and Gorag into geekdom.

Praises

  • The use of “extra” bits of information.
  • Use of Bogrot’s voice as a narrator.
  • Great sense of humour.

The novel left me from start to finish a really interested and engaged reader. During the whole book, I never felt like there was a dull moment where I wanted to put it down. It was a proper fantasy collection of stories of Bogrot and Gorag’s (mis-)adventures.

“Extra bits of information” – I compared Daniels writing to a “lot like Pratchetts”. That might be because Daniel (or perhaps Bogrot) is very generous with giving you the extra details in sections you can gloss over if you want. They come in the form of parentheses next to the subject in question. Whilst Pratchett practices footnotes at the bottom of his pages, Daniel just inserts the extra information he wants to give you next to the piece he wants to expand upon. They explain more about the world that, quite frankly, is very different to our own. It allows you to fully appreciate why things are they way they are.

“Bogrot’s voice as a narrator” – One of the biggest themes you get throughout the collection of stories are the constant use of Bogrot being your narrator. This gives you a different perspective than “Bogrot said”. Instead you’re left with a really clever mechanic, allowing you to feel as if you’re part of the action with Bogrot. You also get to understand the somewhat cynical views of Bogrot and exactly what he thinks of those around him. It’s a great way to build the character, who comes across as bright but ultimately weary. He knows how the world works, even if he is an odd little chef.

WARNING: Minor spoilers incoming

“Great sense of humour” – This part should be self explanatory, but I will break this down by the introduction of a character. Bogrot is made aware that his buddy, Gorag, is in grave danger. As Bogrot sets off to go and help his friend, he buys two horses… One just so he could chop it up and put it in a nice stew and the other to actually ride to the trouble. On his journey, Bogrot finds himself talking to the remaining horse, who happens to be a talking horse! This horse doesn’t have a very good perspective on her circumstances and she is aptly named Mona Lott. It’s a simple introduction to a relatively simple character, but the banter between Mona and Bogrot is simply enthralling and believable… Which is why it makes for such good comedy. You believe the world you’re reading, so the predicament that Mona is in helps you understand the character and enjoy how she’s presented. Even if she’s just a horse!

WARNING OVER: I said it was minor

Criticisms

  • Front matter (first page) and the back of the book have a typing error on Gorag’s name (Calling him Garog).
  • Young writing voice (Let me explain that one).

Okay, so I’ve spoken about how good the book is and I’m very happy to point out that this guy, if he kept this style up, could be the next Pratchett. It’s a strong statement to make, but I honestly believe that his writing reads as friendly and as humorous as Pratchett, but it doesn’t have the the same heaviness of Pratchett novels. As such, this means his works would be quite easy to share with friends who aren’t necessarily literature fans.

“Garog, not Gorag” – The only criticism I truly have is with the back page and the very first page, the front matter, it appears that whoever had written this has put Gorag as “Garog“. Now, this doesn’t detract from the story at all, because the story itself doesn’t have this mistake anywhere, but it seemed strange this small error was on the first page of the front matter and the back page. Normally, a mistake would just be on one page, but as I say, this appears in two locations. It’s a simple oversight which doesn’t happen in the book.

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Garog.

“Young writing voice” – Other than this then, perhaps the writing style is a bit too simple for some people. Now, from my point of view: I loved it. I can imagine most of the people I know would love the heck out of this novel as it’s a proper fantasy novel filled with some amazing characters and proper fantasy creatures. However, for the serious fantasy fanatic, you’re not getting an epic fantasy. You’re getting a funny, silly little story about how Bogrot met Gorag… And how their lives changed through being around one another. Honestly, if you’re looking for a serious story, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a fun, easy to pick up story, this is it.

Final thoughts

I personally loved it. I loved the journey of hearing Bogrot go from his initial friend and partner, Barlek, to being best buddies with his brutish Orc friend. The few criticisms I gave above are ridiculously minor. The point of the misprinted name really isn’t a problem. It’s something that they can address for future prints… And to be honest, I’d probably even say you could work around it by saying “it’s a satirical book…”

The point of the young writing voice really isn’t much of a criticism at all. In fact if used correctly, this could be a major selling point of his. I know I was reading around reviews of the novel and other people were under the impression that the writing voice of the book was rather young. It could just be that was how Daniel intended it to be and as I say, it left me satisfied. It left me enjoying the world more than if it were more serious.

A box with several copies of the book?

A box with several copies of the book?

Overall, I’m very happy with the novel. It’s left some truly wildly imaginable characters in my mind and honestly, some of them I would love to see revisited in future novels. I noticed this was book 1 in a series called Trivial Trials, so hopefully we’ll be getting some more  Bogrot and Gorag in our lives. Everything that was in this story left me hungry for more, which is more than can be said about a lot of books. I managed to consume the whole book in a matter of days, because I was enjoying the story so much. Whether it was the infectious style of having Bogrot tell us what’s happening from his perspective, or if Daniel is just a word wizard, I will certainly be coming back for more.

Competition **NOW CLOSED**

Now it’s your chance for some fun.

We’re giving away two free copies of Goblins Know Best. If you want to be in with a chance of winning one of the two free copies, you will need to go to our Facebook page. Not only will you be getting a copy of Goblins Know Best, but you’ll also be getting a personal letter from myself, Timlah! … What? Doesn’t that excite you? Oh, I see how it is…

All you have to do is like the Facebook page and give us a comment on the post entitled –COMPETITION– – A duo of names befitting a Goblin and an Orc. You’re not allowed to use the names Bogrot Blistertooth and Gorag Bather. Well known Goblin and Orc names are welcomed, but Joel and I will be judging who has come up with the best Goblin and Orc names, as well as how well the two fit together.

You have until midday on Thursday 4th to get your answers in and we will be announcing the winners via Facebook and on the GeekOut South-West website. The prizes will be sent out as soon as we then get a postal address off the winners (Don’t give us any details unless you’re one of the lucky winners!)

Good luck!

What do you all think of Goblins Know Best? I’m glad to have read this novel from an exciting new author. It’s been a journey (somewhat literally, with how the book reads) but it’s been one I’d gladly take again. As always, comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter and let me know what you thought about this review. Has this made you want to read it for yourself? What do you think of the price point (£2.40 on Kindle, £6.99 paperback)?


Writer Highlight – Joanne Hall

Writer Highlight

Today we have another awesome writer highlight, where we’re joined by the lovely Joanne Hall. Joanne is a Bristol, UK based writer who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few times before.

In fact, it’s fair to say that Jo has helped GeekOut South-West a lot in the past, so it’s truly an honour to have her on our humble little blog. So, without further adieu, here is Joanne’s interview!


Writer Highlight – Jo Hall

Q: Thanks for taking the time to join us on GeekOut South-West. First of all, would you mind introducing yourself for all of our wonderful readers?

A: Hello lovely readers! I’m Jo – I’m a serial event-organiser, fantasy author, editor, greyhound mum and lover of all things geeky. I live in North Bristol and like chocolate (and gifts of chocolate), and you can find me blogging at www.hierath.co.uk

The lovely Jo Hall!

The lovely Jo Hall!


Q: You’re a writer, who has released a brilliant book called Rider, which is book one in a two part novel called The Art of Forgetting. What was the inspiration behind writing Rider/The Art of Forgetting?

A: The Art of Forgetting is one book in two volumes, Rider and Nomad and it’s in two volumes because, George RR Martin style, it was just too darn long to be published as one book. The inspiration behind it came from a loose thread left hanging at the beginning of an earlier series of books I had written (soon to be republished by Kristell Ink). I had a character, Rhodri, whose story was left unfinished, and the Art of Forgetting takes up his story and concludes it. You don’t have to have read the earlier books to enjoy this one, though!


Q: As a writer, do you already have both of the books planned out in your head? Instead, do you like to have your ideas flow naturally? What’s the writing process like for you?

A: I’m a complete pantser, I only ever start plotting when I get halfway through a book, and I plot very loosely. I think half the fun of writing is seeing where the journey takes you when you wander off the path. With The Art of Forgetting, which was a very easy book to write and a very hard one to edit, I woke up one morning with the opening paragraphs almost fully formed in my head, and I had to get up and write them down before they escaped (I had actually been working on a completely different book at the time, and AoF ambushed me!).

I do like to have my ideas flow naturally; that way ideas lead to other ideas and the story reveals itself naturally. I think too much plotting can force the story into a shape it doesn’t want to be, and then it’s harder to write. But that’s just how I work; as with all creative endeavours, your mileage may vary wildly!

The first in the two part story: The Art of Forgetting. It's a wonderful read!

The first in the two part story: The Art of Forgetting. It’s a wonderful read!


Q: You also work on running a local annual convention called BristolCon. What was the inspiration behind starting BristolCon?

A: I blame BristolCon on one too many pints. I was having a pint with my late great friend Colin Harvey, and we were bemoaning the fact that, while Bristol is absolutely teaming with SFF writers, artists, enthusiastic geeky types (as you know!), we didn’t have our own convention.

So, being a little sozzled, we decided it would be fun to organise one, and when we sobered up, we still thought it would be fun, so we did it. The first year we ran for an afternoon and we had about 60 people turn up, and it kind of snowballed from there. Booze is a great inspiration…


Q: You’ve worked closely with several authors thanks to BristolCon and indeed your Bristol Sci-Fi/Fantasy meetups. What more can you tell us about the meetups?

A: The meetups take place approximately on the last Monday of every month in the back room of the Shakespeare Tavern on Prince Street, as they are the most accommodating pub in the Centre and they do the best lemon meringue pie and let us bring in cake and dogs and children if we need to. (Go there, say Hi, tell them I sent you!)

The meet-ups are very informal, it’s basically geeky types getting together and having a nice chat over a couple of pints. And we’re very welcoming. There’s a Facebook group if anyone wants to join!

Click the banner and magically be taken to the BristolCon website!

Click the banner and magically be taken to the BristolCon website!


Q: Have you attended any other kinds of conventions or just any other convention in general? What makes BristolCon different?

A: I’ve been to FantasyCon and World Fantasy Convention, and Microcon in Exeter, as well as Collectormania and Bristol Comic Con. Obviously things like Collectormania and the big commercial cons are very different; they’re more about buying goodies and getting autographs, whereas BristolCon is a lot smaller and more author-orientated, and a lot more chilled out – we don’t have a green room so everybody gets to hang out together in the bars.

It’s very relaxed and we do our best to make sure it’s a friendly atmosphere. It’s like a get-together with 300 friends, and we have panel discussions and signing and all kinds of evening entertainment. We pack a lot into the day, and it’s a lot of fun.


Q: You seem to be very active on social media. Would you say that social media is important for a modern writer?

A: Again, YMMV, but I think it’s important for me. I think if you’re on social media it’s easier to engage with other people in the profession. Writing can be quite an isolated job, and it’s helpful to be able to talk to other people in the same position and gain and provide encouragement to each other. You can find out what agents are looking for, which markets are open to submissions, what’s happening in publishing. Obviously you can find all that without the help of social media, but it’s much slower and more complicated.

The other thing about social media is it’s a great way of staying in touch with and chatting to fans. It means you’re easy to reach if you choose to be, you can organise casual give-aways or let people know what’s going on with your writing. (Mark Lawrence is someone who’s really good at the whole social media side of things). As long as you’re not always up in people’s faces shouting at them to buy your book, it can be really rewarding and a lot of fun, if a bit distracting sometimes. You need to know when to turn it off and actually do some writing ;)

If anyone wants to follow me on Twitter I’m @hierath77

Part two of The Art of Forgetting - Nomad!

Part two of The Art of Forgetting – Nomad!


Q: When the pen (or keyboard) is down and you’re just being you: What are you like as a person in general?

A: Laid-back, lazy, cake-loving. I enjoy reading and gaming and long walks with my equally-lazy dog. I’m quite shy and home-loving, despite the fact that most of my social life seems to revolve around the pub…


Q: Outside of writing now then, what are your interests? Do you have any particularly “geeky” hobbies like the rest of us?

A: I’m not very crafty, I wish I could make costumes but I’m biologically incapable. I like reading, films, games, TV, comics, all the good stuff ;) Con-running is very time consuming, but I think that’s probably my main geeky hobby; organising fun things for other geeky people!


Q: Final question now and we’d normally call this question the “Super Sensei Guru” question. Bare with me on that working title. A budding writer has come to you asking for advice on how to get
noticed and social media alone isn’t doing that. What do you think is the best way for a new author to get their name out there?

A: Start by writing a really great book. Then get involved in everything you can; come to events, offer to help out at events, offer to do panels, socialise with people and help to promote their stuff. It’s a kind of drip-feeding into people’s consciousness, it won’t happen overnight. It’s very rare that anyone writes the next Ancillary Justice or Harry Potter and suddenly achieves instant fame. Don’t jump up and down shouting “Look at Me!”, just be nice and get involved in your community as much as you feel able to. Even if you don’t sell squillions you will gain friends, and I think that’s more important than focussing on Amazon Sales graphs and follower numbers….

Thank you for having me!


We’d like to thank Joanne for taking the time to answer our questions and talk with us all today.

For the record, we at GeekOut South-West have spoken to Jo before and we’ve managed to get ourselves a nice discount on BristolCon providing we get a good enough number to join us (It’s looking good so far)!

If you’re interested in joining us at BristolCon, please check this post from Friday 19th September.

Have you ever been to a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention yourself? What is the most important aspect of a book convention to you as a fan? As always, come join in the discussion and we’ll see you next time!


The Week In Geek – 08/09/14

The Week In Geek

 

Welcome to our first ever issue of The Week in Geek, where Joel and myself will be looking at some geeky news from the week just passed. Today we just have 2 articles to share with you all but please, do let us know if you like these small snippets and if you’d like anything featured for our next issue of The Week In Geek.

 


Minecraft – $2.5bn acquisition

This has left a sour taste in my mouth and I’m sure many other Minecraft fans are feeling the same.

Let’s talk facts here: Mojang is a company and at the end of the day, they are looking to make money. For this, I do not blame Markus ‘Notch’ Persson as it means he can move onto other things, which as a developer you can assume that’s what he’d want to do!

However the question remains: Will Minecraft remain the same experience, or will Microsoft do some stuff to the game that might end up hurting all of the mod creators? What hurts them damages the whole Minecraft experience. Yes, I am admitting that the vanilla game of Minecraft isn’t enough to keep a player hooked for long. It’ll keep you busy, certainly but the mods are what drew so many people back. Don’t forget YouTube videos from people like the Yogscast, who have spent years showing modded Minecraft servers and adventures!

Let’s keep our eyes on this one, let’s hope for the best and please Microsoft: Don’t let this be another product you’ve bought out that us Linux boys eventually are unable to use.

To further update people to this matter, it was earlier today announced that the acquisition has indeed happened. It’s still too early to see what Microsoft want to do with it, but as I previously mentioned: Mojang is indeed a company. Money is good for them. Minecraft 2 if it comes about, should remain as open as MInecraft.

 

Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes

Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes returns on the 17th! For those of you not aware, Goblins is a comic set in a unique D&D style world, and follows the story of a band of goblins who refuse to accept their lot in life and choose to take character class levels, and their struggle against a world of prejudice and challenges designed for “regular heroes.” It’s an amazing read, and well worth your time.

Well, Goblins has had some scheduling problems, mostly because Tarol Hunt – the author – struggled to maintain a regular posting schedule because of how detailed his work is. Frankly, the bulk of his audience were happy to wait on him, but eventually maintaining his own standards caused Tarol to have a nervous breakdown in February, which you can read about in the blog post under the comic on the home page. While you’re there though, take an opportunity to check out the awesome return announcement he made!


Also read Goblins. It’s awesome!

 


 

 

And that’s it for The Week in Geek for this week! It’s been quite an interesting week, but we’ll start to prepare more week in geek articles throughout the week. As I mentioned, let us know what you think about us doing these small week in geek snippets, as we’re planning to make these regular articles.

Until next time, take care. Share with us your thoughts on our two pieces of news. Is the acquisition a good thing, or a bad thing for Mojang’s future? What about the announcement that Goblins is going to be released? Let’s talk about The Week in Geek!


Writer Highlight – Stark Holborn

Writer Highlight

Welcome readers to another issue where we celebrate the works of writers.

This week, I’ve had the chance to have an interview with the awesome Stark Holborn, who is close to releasing more books in his or her series Nunslinger. If you want to meet Stark, he or she will be attending this years BristolCon! If you’ve not yet got your tickets, please do remember to do so! A few of us in the GeekOut crew will be attending, so do stop by and say hi. I’ll… probably have knocked up another costume or something for the event. It is me, after all.

So, read on and read about what the awesome Nunslinger series is all about and even learn a bit about the writer in the process.

 


 

Interview with the Writer – Stark Halborn

 

Q: Welcome to GeekOut South-West! As is customary, could you introduce yourself for our readers?

A: Stark here. Small time liquor bootlegger, moonshine brewer, purveyor of Penny Westerns and author of the Nunslinger series. Currently hanging my hat in Bristol, UK.

 

I tell you what, I'd rather see this style of avatar than the "games industry" ones flooding Twitter. You know the ones I mean.

I tell you what, I’d rather see this style of avatar than the “games industry” ones flooding Twitter. You know the ones I mean.

Q: So, you’re working on a series of books called Nunslinger. Before we go into the series, how did you get into writing?

A: I reckon reading is what did it: my parents read to me and my sister every night for years. Not just children’s books either. Pa started reading us The Lord of the Rings when I was 2 and my sister was 4. Took him nearly 3 years to read us the whole thing. I still remember hearing the end for the first time. My parents read us all sorts, basically whatever they were reading at the time, from William S. Burroughs to Brian Aldiss. Anyhow, that showed me that stories came in all shapes and sizes, and got me used to always having a book in my hand. From then, I guess it was natural to want to try writing them, too.

 

Q: I’ve read the first Nunslinger book which is awesome and really well priced on the Waterstones website. Can you tell me a little bit more about Nunslinger and how you began writing it?

A: Nunslinger follows Sister Thomas Josephine, a nun of the Visitandine order, who leaves her home in St. Louis, Missouri, to set out on the perilous journey west, in order to join a mission in Sacramento, California. It’s 1864, the heart of the Civil War, and the road is bristling with dangers. Of course, her journey is far from smooth, and before she knows it, she’s a wanted fugitive. Add in a mysterious drifter, a dangerously obsessed Cavalry Lieutenant, shoot outs, jailbreaks, snow storms in the Sierra Nevadas, deserts, bandits and steamships and you’ll be on the right track.

I began writing it… Well, to be honest I was sitting one Sunday morning, nursing a hangover and watching an old Western on TV. It was particularly bad one, featuring a nun who – when confronted by an objectionable grizzled ol’ cowchaser – seemed to forget every vow she’d ever taken in order to fall in love with him. “Jeez,” I thought, “that nun isn’t sticking to her guns at all.” (Sorry). So I decided to write one who would.

Seriously worth the read, jump to it!

Seriously worth the read, jump to it!

 

Q: I’ve noticed you’ve written a number of books in the Nunslinger series. How many more books are there and are there more books for this series? When are the next books due?

A: Nunslinger is a twelve-part series. The first nine e-books have been published in three-monthly instalments throughout 2014, with the final three due on 11th September. The Complete Series paperback is due for release on 4th December 2014.

 

Q: Who are your inspirations as a writer? Are there any common themes in their writing or do you like them all for completely different reasons?

A: You know, when I was 12 or 13 I was all about Tamora Pierce; she always had brilliant female lead characters and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that influenced my approach to Sister Thomas Josephine – at least subconsciously. From a more modern angle, David Mitchell is definitely an inspiration: he makes me want to be a better writer (after I’ve finished sobbing “WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER I’LL NEVER BE THIS GOOD” into the corner). In terms of Nunslinger, I’ve taken inspiration and research from Patrick deWitt’s The Sister’s Brothers, which I think has helped nudge Westerns into people’s attention once again, to Elmore Leonard, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Mary Hunter Austin and even 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich. So a bit of a mixed tub.

 

Q: What sort of research went into writing Nunslinger? How did you start the research and how do you keep track of it all?

A: Apart from the writers mentioned above, the quick answer is A TON. The American Civil war is a particularly well-documented time, which has its upsides and downsides. On the one hand, if you want to know what a fully functioning Philadelphia Derringer from 1859 looked and sounded like, there’s probably someone online who knows, and has posted pictures of it. On the other hand, it means that getting things wrong is pretty inexcusable. But there are some incredible resources out there, from internet archives to podcasts like Backstory, which help present a nuanced view of historical sources.

I keep track of everything using Evernote, and tend to research as I go. It certainly results in some weird Google searches, like: “which desert lizards are edible?”, “how to skin an iguana”, “history of mattresses” and “recipes for groundhog”. I also watched a man cauterize a wound in his own arm with gunpowder. He didn’t look very well afterwards but he put the video up on Youtube anyway.

A Philadelphia Derringer. I admit - Before this interview, I hadn't seen one of these before!

A Philadelphia Derringer. I admit – Before this interview, I hadn’t seen one of these before!

Q: You seem to be quite active in producing eBooks. Do you think eBooks are a good thing for writers, or should people be actively promoting physical purchases of books still? What’s best; digital or printed books?

A: I wouldn’t want to champion one over the other exclusively, but my heart, like those of many other readers, will always belong to print books. However: ebooks and digital works do have the ability to do things that print books simply can’t. My pa had a stroke, for instance, and isn’t physically able to hold print books open or follow the text from page to page. Not a problem with a Kindle. But rather than just shifting texts from print to ebook format and leaving it at that, I think it’s important to look at the differences between the two, and the potential of digital to explore not just what we read, but how we read and address that. That way, it’s about different experiences rather than competition.

 

Q: If anyone wants to keep up to date with your works, how can they get a hold of you or see any updates?

A: Y’all can always reach me on Twitter (@starkholborn) and that’s where most updates appear. But other than that, there’s my website, where most of the important things feature, but without tweet-based ramblings. There’s also Hodderscape for other SFF news, pictures of dodos and general taxidermy.

Ways to get a hold of Stark:
Twitter: @starkholborn

 

Q: Here on GeekOut South-West, we celebrate all things geeky. So what geeky hobbies do you divulge in?

A: I ain’t had much time for hobbies of late, apart from drinking bourbon and writing, but y’all can’t go wrong with watching and re-watching Firefly. Except that isn’t geeky, that’s MANDATORY. Recently, I’ve become partial to a board game or two of an evening, mostly Dominion, because I’m the sheriff in that town right now.

But first and foremost, reading. Always reading, and usually until far too late at night. I’ve just chomped my way through fantasy-western The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs and can definitely recommend it, it’s like Cormac McCarthy meets The Hobbit with a steamship and a bar brawl.

 


 

I’d like to extend my thanks to Stark for his or her interview with us today (we still don’t know). The enthusiasm he or she brings for their work is a delight to read and honestly, it shines through in the Nunslinger series. You can buy all of the released Nunslinger books from Waterstones.

Have you ever wanted to write a book but just didn’t know where to start? Just contact people who’re already releasing their works to the world, most of these authors are eager to share their experiences with people who are interested. Have you read any of the Nunslinger books before or ever heard of them? Let Stark know what you think of them, I’m sure he or she would love the conversation!

Until next time, this has been another Writer Highlight. If you’re a writer who’d like a little bit of exposure, get in touch with us via the Contact Us page – We’d love to do an interview with you!


Interview with the creators of Semi

Recently, I found out about a Kickstarter campaign for a lovely 200+ page comic called Semi.

Semi has an amazing art style and a really nice story behind it, featuring “Gods, Demons, Angels, Monsters and a spunky little girl who wants to be a gangster!”

Even better, there are 2 chapters available for free on Inkblazers.

After finding out about this lovely project, I decided I wanted to speak to the creators of Semi so I sent out an e-mail and secured us an exclusive interview with the wonderful duo! Let’s see what goes on with the creators of Semi!


Interview with the Comic artist and writer – Eudetenis (Artist) and Nezumi (Writer)

Q: Welcome to GeekOut South-West! First of all, as is customary on this site, please can you introduce yourselves?

Nezumi: I go by the name of Nezumi. I’m twenty-seven years old, and in my last year of college. I’m pursuing a bachelor degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment. Can’t wait to be done with it!

Eudetenis: I’m Eudetenis, the artist. I’m almost 24 years old, and it’s nice to meet you! :)

Q: You’re working on a new comic called Semi, which looks wonderful. What’s the inspiration behind the story?

Nezumi: I always wanted to create a long running story with a powerful females surrounded by equally powerful males. I’m a huge fan of series like, Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto, Inuyasha, Baki the Grappler and Hajime no Ippo. I’m also really big on mythology, demons, angels and all kinds of supernatural craziness! All of that basically came together to create the plot of Semi!

Q: What about the art direction? Why did you opt for a manga styled visual?

Nezumi: My love for anime/manga stems back to my childhood days of watching Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho on Toonami. It was the highlight of my day and during school the only thing I thought about. I fell in love with the Japanese art style and to this day I am a huge fan! I just love the look of it.

Q: You’re looking to raise $4,500 for this project. Most of the money is going towards getting the comic printed; How hard has the process been to get to this point so far?

Nezumi: I’ve been planning the Kickstarter campaign for the last year. I wouldn’t say the process was hard but I dealt with a lot of research. I literally had to read up on everything as I knew nothing about how the website worked. I also had to contact many, many different printing companies. Overall it was a lot of time-consuming work and I spent more hours then one would think on it!

Q: How long have you both known one another? Has this affected anything in the comic in any way?

Nezumi: I’ve known Eudetenis for over a year now! I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. In my opinion the length of time that we have know each other has made our relationship better. I don’t feel as if I’m dealing with just a ‘business associate’ I feel as I’m dealing with a friend and trust me this makes the experience far better. We get along pretty damn well and I hope that continues for years, and years to come.

Eudetenis: I met Nezumi on Deviantart around a year ago (I’m not so sure =p). She was looking for someone to do illustrations and her comic, called Semi. I accepted, liked the story, and then we talked about weird things everyday on my Livestream sessions. In some way, we started to really love each other. I want to support everything she wants to do and I’m so happy she wanted to hire me!

 

Q: You’ve been featuring two chapters for free via Inkblazers. Why Kickstarter and why now?

Nezumi: The volume is set to be complete by the end of this year, which means its time for us to go to print! I’ve started the Kickstarter so that we could make this happen! To have the actual book in my hands is going to be enough to have me dancing around the room with pure joy!

 

Q: The art looks absolutely stunning and the story is great; What advice would you give any would be writers or artists out there, looking to make their own comic?

Nezumi: As a writer the first advice I would give is to write a character, not a stereotype! Build your story around that character and what they have experienced in life. From there, craft your plot and jot down all the things you want to happen. As you continue to work on the story it will come together and you’ll notice that your characters will develop their own voices making them easier to write! All in all creating a story should be FUN! No matter what remember that! Write what YOU want to write not what OTHERS want you to write!

Eudetenis: Firstly you have to know: What is needed to make a good comic? Even if you just draw, it’s important to know the basics of storytelling so that the story will make sense. Second is the narrative: even if your drawing skills aren’t so great, with good narrative and sequence, your comic can be good. Third is all relating to drawings, from basic perspective to effects, practicing everyday will sure make a result!

 

Q: What’s in the foreseeable future for you both? Will you continue to create comics together, or is this a one off?

Nezumi: I really hope to continue making more comics with Eudetenis! I have a quite a few other ideas that would look great as comics! However, for now Semi is the main focus and will be for a great deal of time!

Eudetenis: I want to support Semi until the end! I like interesting stories and I’m sure Nezumi has many surprises awaiting us!

Q: You come across very enthusiastic about your comic and it’s obvious that a lot of care and attention has gone into every page. Other than your comic – What are your passions and “geekdoms”? What do you enjoy doing the most?

Nezumi: I really enjoy watching Star Trek and Dr. Who! I’m also a huge fan of reading fanfiction! Like… I’m a major fanfiction reader and use to write the stuff all the time. I still would if I had the time! I do enjoy MMORPG as well. I used to play WoW nonstop and recently I got into Elder Scrolls Online! It’s great and I’m totally looking forward to the justice system they should be introducing soon!

Eudetenis: I love my husband (he writes comics, novels and is also my manager)!! He taught me how to draw and how to create a story! He supports me everyday! I love to draw our personal comics! It’s marvelous to see the characters you were dreaming of for years come to life. It’s amazing how personal experiences in life can change the way you see the world and somehow find its way into your comics! Also I like to draw random things on paper – and I love my cat, portable videogames and music!

Q: Last question now; If people want to keep up to date with your future endeavors, is there any way for us to see what you’re both up to? Any websites or pages to watch?

Nezumi:  You can follow me here: http://www.inkblazers.com/authors-and-artists/Aka-Nezumi/detail-page/29035 and http://aka-nezumi.deviantart.com/

Eudetenis: You can check out my works at: http://www.inkblazers.com/authors-and-artists/EUDETENIS/detail-page/69301 and http://eudetenis.deviantart.com


I’d like to extend my thanks to both Nezumi and Eudetenis for their time with us today. Remember to check out the Kickstarter Campaign! Click here!

With a great looking comic, a wonderful narrative and awesome artwork, Semi is looking in good shape to be kickstarted. I’ve backed this, I can’t wait to receive an actual physical copy of the comic which’ll sit very nicely on my bookshelf (Once I’m done reading it, of course!)
The aspect I enjoyed the most however is the passion these two have for their work. They were eager to sit down and chat to us and for that, I’d really like to thank them.
If you’ve made a project and want to have an interview with us at GeekOut South-West, why not contact us at GeekOutSW@gmail.com or use the Contact Us page? Did you all enjoy the insight to this comic? How about the actual comic itself, has it enticed you to back it or even purchase it when it’s fully backed? Let us know in the comments below!