Howard Parsons's Blog
July 27, 2020
[image error]Most of you will be thrilled . . . OK, many of you will be excited . . . Alright, a few of you may be delighted to learn that the first words of the third book in the Tales From Colony Island series have been transcribed into bits and bytes. The words are precious few at the moment, but I’m damned proud of every one of them. The book, Life on Colony Island, will consist of three or four interwoven short stories. As I’ve mentioned before, Penelope and Peter will make an occasional appearance, but will not be main characters. (It’s in their contract. I have to give those two some time off in the third book.)
A New Character
This is the first I’ll be incorporating another author’s character into one of my stories. Other than the name and a few background bits, this is going to be Character 2.0 or the character from an alternate universe. In Urban Mermaid and Syrena, I’ve included a number of salutes to some of my favourite mer-authors. One of those authors even has a walk-on in Syrena. I won’t say just who that author is but I can reveal that she is Australian.
Getting back to Life on Colony Island, the character is Hailey from Pete Tarsi’s Flipping the Scales series. Other than her name and one or two brief references to her life in in that other universe, she’ll be a stand-alone character. Hailey is my favourite character from Pete Tarsi’s books and this is my (flawed) way of saying ‘Thank you’.
New Writing Software
Finally, I will be using Papyrus Author to cobble Book # 3. Urban Mermaid was written using plain old Microsoft Word. I was looking for something better and gave Scrivener a try. It was not bad, but I had two complaints about it.
The first was interfacing with Pro Writing Aid. The two products don’t really know about each other, so I have to export to a MS Word document an then run the tools In Pro Writing Aid against the document. Once I’ve made the corrections suggested by Pro Writing Aid, I must then import that document back into Scrivener if I am to do anything with it there. I did that cycle a few times and hosed a bunch of chapters. Thank Poseidon for back-ups.
The other complaint is that Scrivener has been promising a big update for years. The years have come, and the years have gone but no big update. Maybe that update wasn’t really coming but just breathing hard.
May 29, 2020
May 15, 2020
[image error]Masks, Masques, Masks: Well, it’s not Poe’s Masque of the Red Death but in some respects, we’re watching a modern interpretation of the story right before our very eyes. The fact is, I’ve found it hard to find a good mask or any masks at all for that matter. Some have delivery dates of over a month away. The simple ‘procedure mask’ is difficult to find, all quantities being routed to First Responders.
I am happy to report there is one source with a short turn-around time. That source, Oliveve Handbags, offers masks in a variety of colours and styles. I know this because my drop-dead-gorgeous niece oversees Oliveve’s manufacturing partner and she’s the one making the masks for Oliveve as well as designing their handbags. BTW, she’s a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC.
For each mask you buy, Oliveve will donate one to hospital staff and essential workers in need. The masks come in men’s and women’s sizes. To see for yourself, go to https://oliveve.com/collections/fabric-masks. You can also browse the handbags, if that’s what you’re interested in, at https://oliveve.com
April 18, 2020
[image error]With Book # 2 at the publishers, yours truly is not letting any grass grow under his feet. I’ve contacted the artist who did the cover for Urban Mermaid and she has agreed to do the cover for Book # 2. Now it’s on to Book # 3!
Book # 3 is called Life on Colony Island and will consist of three or four interwoven stories. These are stories I’ve concocted for potential books, etc. and rather than make them into full-blown stand-alone novels, I’m going to combine them into one book. It remains to be seen how many are going to fit into that one book. I may wind up making two books out of this stuff.
Penelope and Peter will take a back seat in these stories. They will, of course, make appearances in at least two of the stories, but the parts will be small, all things considered.
I’ve spent the past week outlining one of the stories and once I’ve had a couple of days off, I’ll start on another story. I’m using a neat – and a completely free – tool called Scapple. It allows writers to plot out dialogue, scenes, chapters and even entire books in a format resembling a flow-chart. Here’s a screenshot of some of the work I’ve done on the aforementioned story.
I’m not going to take up your time with two dozen screenshots and two thousand words detailing how to use all the cool features. All I’m going to say are those two words that authors just love to hear – “It’s Free”. There are versions available for both Windows and Apple platforms.
You can find it at Scapple home page.
The next scheduled book in the Colony Island series is Suburban Mermaid. Penelope leaves her job in the big city and decamps for Colony Island. Can the flipity flip of little fins be far behind?
That’s all for now. Book # 2 release target is September 2020.
April 8, 2020
[image error]I have two items of interest to share with you.
1. The cruise was cancelled at the last moment. Participants had been backing out of the cruise for over a week before cancellation. By the time Carnival pulled the plug, there were only a handful of people going
It was just as well the cruise was cancelled. The Delta flight we were scheduled to be on once the cruise was over was itself cancelled.
There is a silver lining (kinda, sorta). The organisers want to do this same cruise at the same time next year. This leads me into the second item of interest.
2. The manuscript for book # 2 has gone to the publisher. There is no timeline at the moment. It all depends if they (Gazebo Gardens) want to publish the book. If they decide to publish my work of fiction, it may be ready in time for the cruise in 2021.
February 5, 2020
[image error]The other day, I received a message from someone who said they enjoyed Urban Mermaid and asked to be a Beta Reader. I always appreciate volunteerism and decided to reply to this eager recruit. I waded through all my recent e-mail as well as the message queues from my various social (as well as anti-social) media connections and came up empty. Nada. Nowhere to be found.
At this moment actually, I’m looking for an Alpha Reader. This is some brave soul – or souls – willing to read through the current draft of the sequel to Urban Mermaid and faithfully report on whether it is absolute rubbish, partially crap, or something that just needs a bit of work. (The term ‘bit’ is open to interpretation.
Are there scenes/chapters that can be trashed? Am I banging on and on about superfluous ideas that just won’t fly, no matter how long the runway is? Should I just call it quits on this book and move on to the next one or should I just call it quits . . . period? (On the east side of the pond, that should be read as “or should I just call it quits . . . full stop”.
This is your golden opportunity to make a positive contribution to the creative process. I’m open to more than one Alpha Reader. All you need do is let me know and I’ll send you your very own Alpha copy.
January 13, 2020
I’m sailing away set an open course for the virgin sea
I’ve got to be free free to face the life that’s ahead of me
On board, I’m the captain so climb aboard
We’ll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I’ll try oh Lord I’ll try to carry on — STYX, Come Sail Away
Well, Judi and I are off on a cruise to the western Carribean in March. This is a combination 45th Anniversary trip/Book promotion/2nd chance for Judi to see some rare cats in Belize. (I just hope she remembers to bring more than one bag of kitty treats!)
As for me, I’ll be the author in residence flogging promoting Urban Mermaid. Now, I just have to think of something to say about it.