Progress Report


Time for an update, I guess.  I’m working on Ephialtes Part II, and making good progress.  I’ve been trying to beat the manuscript into something readable for the last few months and it’s finally beginning to take shape.  Early drafts are so full of typos, structural problems and placeholders that it’s difficult to appreciate what might be lurking beneath it all.  There is no flow whatsoever when you read through them as you’re constantly stopping to make minor (sometimes major) corrections, jot down notes, search your internal consistency checker and do a thousand and one other necessary things.

There’s still a way to go yet but it feels like I can see an end in sight.  It’s been bent into shape enough and polished to a degree that I can now appreciate what it is that I have written, and I think it’s not too bad.  There’s a few more things left to straighten out and some more very fine polishing to do but, essentially, I think we’re at the home straight.  I should have something for the beta readers within a couple of months.

Downloads for Ephialtes remain good.  Since it went permafree in the spring we’ve had over ten thousand downloads, hopefully clocking over to eleven thousand early in the New Year.  Sales of the Ephialtes Shorts haven’t been as robust, but they will be anthologised next year and as such should be easier to promote.

Ephialtes Short IV: Be All You Can Be (one of my personal favourites) will be released on 21 February 2017.   The longest of the shorts (I’m pretty sure that, technically, it’s a novella), I hope it manages to find an audience.  I came to like the main character so much she got to have a significant role in Part II and will, in all likelihood, be a major player in Part III.

The other thing I’m kicking around just now is the story for Part III.  I have two or three pages of notes and I know what the story is in broad terms but I’ll need to work on it and refine the structure in the coming months, especially since it looks like I’ll be in a position to begin writing the first draft by springtime.

That’s where I’m at, then.  There should be a couple of big releases in 2017 (The Ephialtes Shorts Collection and Ephialtes Part II) and I hope to have at least a draft of Part III in the can before the year is out.

Best wishes to all of you.


Gavin E Parker, 31 December 2016.


A Bigger Pile of Paper



I finished the first draft of ****** ****** Ephialtes Part II, yesterday.  There’s a huge amount of work left to do.  Aside from all the editing and proofing there are two sequences missing.  One, because I wasn’t sure how to do it, and the other because I’m not sure where it fits in.  I may end up cutting the first one, but the second concludes a subplot carried over from the first book, so it has to go in somewhere.

I experienced some ground-rush as I got toward the end.  As I got closer to the finish it seemed to be getting closer to me.  I was expecting it to top out at somewhere around the two hundred and fifty thousand word mark, but it’s actually just a little over two hundred thousand (Ephialtes was a hundred and sixty thousand).  It might get bigger or smaller in the editing process.

So that’s that for now.  For the next month I’ll try to forget it exists.  It’ll be nice getting away from those people for a bit.  I mean, they’re nice enough (for the most part) but, oy, always with the drama.

A Pile of Paper


As of this morning I’m halfway through writing the first draft of ****** ****** Ephialtes Part II, in terms of chapters, at least.  As you can see, I’m being coy about the title.  Not for any well thought out reason, it just feels like I should be.  The above picture is what it currently looks like; a typo-filled incoherent mess.

Sorting the mess out is the fun part for me.  At the moment it’s a bit of a slog, so I’m glad to be heading down the other side of the mountain now.  I hope to have a completed first draft by the end of the year (secretly hoping well before the end of the year) with a release date some time in autumn 2017.

This book is about twice the length of Ephialtes, so I have my work cut out.

Right then, Chapter 26 . . .


Free at last

This where we be at.

I did a five day free KDP Select promotion of Ephialtes last week with some additional paid promotion of the promotion over two of the days. Happily, that lead to 1,818 downloads and a good few hours at the number one spot on Amazon’s Free Space Opera Science Fiction and Free Military Science Fiction charts. Up to last week total downloads for the first six months of release were less than 250, so I’m very pleased with how that all worked out.

Today I’ve let Ephialtes’  KDP Select membership lapse. That means no more free days and no more Kindle Unlimited availability, though the book is still available for purchase through Amazon. The upside is that now I’m free of the KDP Select exclusivity agreement I’m able to publish with Smashwords and their distribution partners.

Ephialtes is now available through Smashwords for free. In the next few days it should start popping up on other outlets – Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Overdrive and others. It will be free through these channels, too.

Exciting, huh?

Number 1

To recap . . .

Let’s recap. Sometime around April last year I began setting down ideas on paper for a novel. At the time it was nameless, unless you count ‘Mars Shit’ as a name. I’d been kicking some concepts around for a while, and they began to coalesce that April. With a little bit of corralling I shaped them into the outline for a novel length story.
At the end of that month I started writing. There were so many reasons not to write it (I wouldn’t see it through; it would be rubbish; I had no experience, etc) that I bloody-mindedly thought I had to give it a shot. Yes, it might be rubbish, but at least I would have done it. And if I could do it, there were all kinds of super-modern channels by which I might be able to get it out into the world.
So I set off down that road, knocking out between one and three thousand words a day until I’d finished the first draught. I was driven on by the fear that if I stopped I would never start again. Some days words flowed and I was pleased, occasionally impressed, with what I had written. Other times it was a labour and I turned out garbage. But I pressed on.
When I finished in midsummer I put the draught away and was relieved to be shot of it. The last couple of weeks had been particularly trying. If I couldn’t have seen the finish line in the distance I might have fallen. I staggered to the end then put it out of my mind.
Around mid-November I had recuperated enough to dig it out again. I read it and began revising, rewriting and editing it into something readable. I moved house in late January, so there was another hiatus there, but from March on I worked on the manuscript until its release in September.
As the release date appeared over the horizon I stared to think about publicity. After poking around the internet for some guidance I discovered that I should have been working on building some form of public profile years before I even though about setting pen to paper. Ho hum. I had three months to build something, so I set up this site and one for the book. The point of this site was to generate a following who would then be curious about the book.
Well. Nice plan, in principle, but what would I blog about? I tried a few wibblings about my experiences writing the book but no one was biting. Why should they? It also came to my attention around this time that there are thousands upon thousands of wannabe writers hawking their dubious wares around the interwebs. There I was, trying to make my voice heard above a massive discordant chorus of dreck.
The book was released on 22 September. It got a couple of good reviews (see here and here) and I’m happy with the way it turned out. I think it’s a good book, and I stand by it. I’m currently working on some shorts set in the same fictional universe, then I’m going to be writing book two of the trilogy.
I gave up blogging for a while because no one was in the least bit interested. I’d get maybe five views for a post, and I’d suspect four of them were bots. But now I’m back. The book is out and I’m once again seeking the world’s attention. I’ve got some schemes in the pipeline and I’m planning to build on the tiny bit of interest I have manage to garner so far.
So this is a sort-of new beginning. The book, now called Ephialtes (a huge improvement on the working title, if still unbeloved by some) is taking its baby steps in the world and I’m back here to support it. Stick around, it might get interesting.

Finally finished at last again

I guess some things never end.

I read someone somewhere saying about – was it books, or music or film? I don’t remember, but they said something like, ‘You don’t ever finish them, you just let them go.’

I’ve completed my latest read through of Ephialtes in paperback. That must have been about the tenth time I’ve read it from start to finish, excluding all the times I’ve read individual chapters or scenes. And still they come – the typos.

This time around I picked up two hundred and fourteen required corrections. To be fair, around three or four of these were missing words or punctuation and a further five or six were minor editorial adjustments. The rest were hyphen-based.

Obviously, I’d like the finished article to be polished to a dazzling shine, but I think I may be at that ‘letting go’ point. I’ve been here before, of course, and how foolish those times seem to me now. But this time? I don’t know, I think this might be it.

I had a skim through my digital proof before ordering a hard copy. I noticed I had ‘air-lock’ in there somewhere, where it should be ‘airlock.’   I guess I’ll stick that on the pile for the next go-over, should there be one. If there isn’t, maybe I’ll come to treasure that one little rogue hyphen. Maybe that’s the necessary flaw that sets off the perfection about it.

Or could it just be that I can’t face going through the whole damn thing again?

Definitely the former. That’s what I’m telling myself; definitely the former.