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Jul. 6th, 2015

My wife bought me a motorcycle last year, because she’s awesome. It’s a 1999 Triumph Spring ST, a bike I’d always wanted but never dreamed I’d get.

But seriously, Brits, what’s with the name? The bike is a sport-tourer and looks like this:

And the best you could come up with is Sprint?

Didn’t Chevy have a lame-ass car named Sprint? That thing couldn’t get out of its own way. I think it had a singer sewing machine for an engine. When you stomped on the gas you could almost hear it shift from buttonhook into double-stitch.

The Japanese gave us bikes like the Honda Hurricane, the Suzuki Katana, and the Kawasaki Ninja, and sure that’s a bit of overkill. After all, the Hurricane won’t actually trash your house and flood your town, the Katana can't slice, dice, and julienne fry you, and the Ninja can’t sneak up on you and assassinate you—I think.

And the Sprint really does…well… sprint. It’s fast. But come on, Brits. You named your aeroplanes Mustang and Spitfire. Why shirk when it comes to naming your motorcycles?

Oh well, when someone asks I just say I ride a 1999 Triumph. That’s cool enough for anyone.
“Loved the new book, but seriously, what are you smoking? It can’t be medical grade.”

I’m Canadian. We get the good shit.

“OMG! This book was amazing, well worth the wait. So when’s the next one coming out?”

Seriously? *sigh*

“Another blasphemous book to lead us all straight to hell. You and the likes of Butcher, Lackey, and Arthur should be ashamed for the corruption you spew. At least this time there’s a physical book I can burn in protest.”

Well, at least I’m in great company. And hey, you have to buy them to burn them. Get the whole congregation together and make it a party!

Here's the thing about my books....

They’re mine. All mine.

I conceived them, wrote them, edited them, copy-edited them, did the cover art and graphics, and formatted them for print and eBooks.
I did this for two reasons:

1. No one else would publish me. (Or even represent me, for that matter.)

2. It’s part of backing up my talk with my walk.

What I mean is that I think a book is a work of art, and as such it should be written by the artist, and not by committee. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how a book might be better with the input of an editor, and a writer’s group, and a professional layout and cover design…um…person. (People?) It's definitely better with the input of a professional copy editor. For the most part these people are essential to selling your book, in creating a marketable product.

But if your book is art, if you’re telling the story you want to tell the way you want to tell it, should you treat it as a product? You plotted the story the way you did for a reason. You added the characters and events you did when you submitted that manuscript to your agent and or editor because this is the way you meant to tell your story. It's a peek into the way your mind works and sees things, the way you decide what's important or not. Any changes they make after that—telling you that you don’t need this scene or chapter, that this character doesn’t add anything to the story, or this or that isn’t moving the plot forward, that maybe you need to add a scene here, or write this part in third person (I was once told by an agent they would consider representing me if I totally rewrote DARKSIDE in third person) is a bastardization of your creative thought process and expression. And I’m not entirely convinced that editorial input necessarily makes your book better; it just makes it different. Anyone who reads your book will have a suggestion as to what they would do to make it better if they were writing it, regardless of their experience, qualifications, or talent. Often it’s just a matter of preference, and once you make these changes, your book is not really yours any more. It’s yours, and theirs.

Admittedly, I’ve taken this process to the extreme, by doing my own cover art, book setup, etc., but what you’re getting when you read my books are my books.

It’s also a bit of an experiment for me. I like the idea that little old me is producing a product it takes an entire company to produce. Especially seeing as I’ve had no formal training what-so-ever. I don’t have a Masters or a B.A. in English or Creative Writing or…whatever. To be honest, after grade four most of my English classes consisted of reading books and doing book reports. I think some teacher went off the reservation and taught me about symbolism and foreshadowing in grade ten, and no doubt lost her job because of it. So I’ve basically taught myself how to write. Or not.

The same goes for my paperback and eBook layouts. And my covers (which is where I think my amateur status stands out the most). All self-taught, done at home on my computer on MS Word and Adobe Photoshop.

So while what I produce may not be the best possible version of my work, it is my work. All of it.

This is me.

The 3rd Book in the DARKSIDE series out!

DARKSIDE: DAMNED IF YOU DO and the rest of the DARKSIDE series is now available in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon at,

and in most eBook formats on Smashwords at

If you everybody, that would be great.

Happy Birthday Jaime!!!

Happy birthday to stillnotbored!!!

How to Write a Novel Part 4: Software

There's a lot of good software out there that can aid you with the creative process. Sure you could just use a pen and paper, and maybe a thesaurus and dictionary--if you're Amish.

For the rest of us who have discovered fire, here's a short list of software that I find most useful:

Spacer software created by author Simon Hayes offers yWriter for free which allows you to write, edit, and keep track of just about everything from character descriptions to locations and timelines. Did I mention it's free?

For you Apple snobs who can afford to part with your beer money there's also Scrivner, with it's fancy dancy cork-board and hoity toity formatting features. You can also buy Scrivner for your PC but I'm pretty sure if you do Justin Long shows up at your house and makes fun of you.

Scrivener does have a nice feature which allows you to compile your manuscript into eBook formatting in case you'd like to self-publish and give your books away for free sell your books on Amazon.

While this software is nice, if you really want to push your creativity into overdrive the following is a must:

Planetside 2: Simply one of the best MMO FPS games out there. Battle for the planet Auraxis as one of three factions: the Terran Republic (Go team!), Vanu Sovereignty (nancy-boy Prince wanabee's in purple spandex), and the New Conglomerate (Vanu's bitches.) But be warned, it's not for sissies. (Unless you're playing as Vanu.)

Red Orchestra 2: You get to shoot WWll Germans IN THE FACE. Or you can be German and shoot someone else in the face. Either way it's win/win.

Batman Arkham Origins: Because if you can be Batman, hey, be Batman.

What? Hey, I said it would increase your creativity, not productivity.

You might want to invest in a headset to trick your significant other into thinking that you're actually writing and not...being creative. Luckily all your swearing as you're being team-killed should be enough to convince them that you are, in fact, writing.

Software can be a boon to your creative process. Just remember to back up your work or you'll have to play that level rewrite those hard won words all over again.

I keep several copies--one on my laptop, one on my desktop, one on a flash drive, and most importantly one I burn so the Russians don't get it.

How to Write a Novel Part 3: The Workspace

Noise can be a distraction at inopportune moments, for instance when you've almost nailed down the resolution to that plot point that's been nagging you, you've just noticed a gaping plot hole, or you're just about to place the black jack on the red queen. Any little break in concentration and you could lose your train of thought--or that game of FreeCell--and have to start over from scratch.

For most writers a noise free environment is essential.

Here are some locations you might want to avoid:

1. Airport
2. Heavy Traffic
3. Nickleback Concert -- as if you need another reason to avoid these.

Of course some writers thrive on noise and nothing distracts them--not screaming kids, gunfire, Bobcat Goldthwait--nothing.

These people are freaks and will probably never amount to anything, but their crappy manuscripts can clog an editor's in-basket and hide your masterpiece.

Ideally you should have your own office, somewhere you won't be disturbed while you play Grand Theft Auto work on your masterpiece. A nice quiet room where you can hide from your wife create without distraction can be essential to your "process."

Some of the things you might find useful here are:

1. Desk
2. Computer or laptop (An abacus just won't cut it--I speak from experience)
3. Comfy chair
4. Mini bar
5. PS4 (Xbox will do in a pinch)
6. The complete series of Firefly, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and random episodes of Doctor Who
7. Contact info for Pizza/Chinese/Thai/Sushi takeout. (I recommend Luigi's Royal Thai Dim Sum Emporium)

Some people prefer to write to music, a sort of sound track to their work, and while music can greatly enhance your creativity some can creatively lobotomize you—like Yanni, for instance, or the afore mentioned Nickleback.

Confirmation Question"

Your workspace should be a distraction-free as possible.


Answer: True—unless you're Helen Keller, in which case it may not matter. Sure, maybe you can write with SLAYER turned up to eleven while the kids are juggling chainsaws and the dog humps your leg, but most people can't.
If you send your masterpiece to several Beta Readers (that's industry speak for suckers--you know, the same sort of folks who aren't smart enough to get out of jury duty) and only one or two of them point out something that "pulls them out of the story" odds are it's safe to ignore them. They probably just forgot to take their ritalin that day.

If, however, several of them point out the same thing, then obviously you need a better class of friends--ones who aren't mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging cretins who can't read past a Dr. Suess level. (Yes mom and dad, I'm looking at you.)

On the off chance you happen to agree with them (because you lack faith in yourself, you mewling douche-waffle) then by all means make the change, and remember to thank them in your forward. (You'd be surprised at how much a little insincere pandering can endear you to the reading public.)

And remember, never respond to negative reviews of your work. It only demeans you. (Responding under an alias is a no no as well. Somehow the public always finds out no matter how well I disguise my...never mind.)

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I have to create a lesson to trial some Distance Learning developement software at work, so I made one on "So You Want To Write A Novel!" Here's an excerpt from the section on Inspiration:

We writers are inspired by a myriad of sources. Maybe you have a crazy aunt--I mean really crazy--like electroshock therapy-been-locked-in-an-asylum-most-of-her-life-crazy. There's a font of inspiration with every visit right there.

Better yet, maybe you're stark raving mad yourself. After all, you do want to be a writer, so odds are...

Sure, some posers get their inspiration from music, or art--even movies, television and books, believe it or not, but that just shows a lack of dedication.

That's almost as bad as writing a book based on your life experiences. Diary of Anne Frank? Seriously, a book about some German girl locked in her attic. Boring!

If you want to be creative and original, you have to really think outside the box. I find psychotropic drugs help, and the afore mentioned electroshock therapy. And never underestimate sleep deprivation!

What? Oh, fine then, pansy. Go watch a movie or read a book.

Confirmation Question: Match the following sources of inspiration with the kind of success you might expect after publication.

1. Books, Movies, Television
2. Personal Experience
3. Psychotropic drugs, sleep deprivation, electroshock therapy

A. Maybe your mom will buy a copy.
B. Runaway best seller!
C. You might guilt some people from work into buying a copy.

Summary: Nobody really cares where you get you inspiration from, as long as you don't steal it. Correction, as long as they can't prove you stole it. So whatever works for you. If you're inspired by running naked through the fountain in the center of the town square covered in mayonnaise while you throw marshmallows at spectators heads, go for it. Some of the best books were written from prison.

Happy Birthday Marsha!

Shout out to msisolak!!!