Content Fatigue

Okay, so, if you watch the ‘What I’m Working On’ page, you may have noticed that Liberty is into the editing cycle and I’m now onto the ninth Fox Meridian book. It’s going to be ‘Fox 9’ for a while, I think, though it may end up being The Hellas Find. We’ll see.

Anyway, when Liberty hits the virtual shelves I’ll have done three Ultrahumans books in a row. Two of those were intended to be back-to-back since Guardian and True Dark are heavily linked together. Then I had no ideas for anything else, so I went ahead with Liberty. I’m happy with the outcome (or as happy as an English author can get), but I am really happy to be moving on to a different series. Ultra fatigue has set in. Three consecutive books in the same world is, I think, too much.

I’m used to this with reading. Generally, if I read the same author for a long time, I start to suffer from ‘content fatigue.’ I first noticed it with Anne McCaffrey when I was in my twenties (I think). I had collected the then extant Pern books (this was before they proliferated into the billions) and decided I would read them in chronological order (or as best as possible since some overlap). I was doing pretty well, but by the time I was reading The White Dragon it was getting really hard to keep going. I think Moreta came out not long after and I just couldn’t finish it. Too much of the same world/characters, and the same author’s style.

Writing is the same, but worse. There were seven Pern books to read, IIRC, but it takes a lot longer to write a book than to read one. (With you lot, that seems to be quite an extreme understatement.) Two books should be my limit, I think. After two books in the same setting, I’m starting to get tired of the same universe.

And now, back to researching Mars and living in Fox’s head for a while.

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Andrea

twilight-75Here’s an interesting one. I was messing about with something with speech synthesis and I got it to pronounce ‘Andrea.’ You know, the real name of Twilight, Andrea Morgan. It said it in a way which I had not expected, and I was wondering how you, the readers, think it’s pronounced.

So, is it And-ree-ah, or An-dray-ah? Let me know in the comments.

True Dark

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True Dark is now available.

True Dark Artwork

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I’ve put some of the character concept artwork for True Dark up on ArtStation (click on the image to go there. Pictured above is one of the Twilight redesigns which didn’t make the cut (though I do rather like it – the fishnets worked really well in this one).

The book will definitely be out on Saturday (the 4th of August) unless I have a sudden burst of energy and get it out a little sooner. This is your chance to find out what I thought the characters looked like before you read about them. Note: I’ve upgraded a bunch of models to Genesis 8, so they may look different to previous versions.

American Politics

Please note: This is neither a rant nor a statement regarding my politics.

Okay, so I take a lunch break, like most folks, and I tend to watch YouTube videos while I have lunch. I generally start with the previous night’s clips from Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, because I find them funny. They’re gateway drugs (though, I was gated into them by John Oliver; the idea of such an obviously British guy hosting an American comedy show was too good to miss). I’ll end up watching clips from CNN, or Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, or The Young Turks. Occasionally, I get fooled into clicking on something I really, massively don’t agree with, and then YouTube thinks I want to see more of that kind of crap, but that’s beside the point.

The point, or the question I want to ask my American readers, is… Well, it seems like American politics only has extremes. I’m English and used to UK politics. We have such glories as The Monster Raving Loony Party (who have been known to beat some of the major parties in elections, if never enough to get a seat in Parliament). Our two main parties (technically it’s three, but the Liberals only count as an afterthought) tend to be middle-of-the-road. The are known as the Conservatives and Labour (the Liberals used to be the Wigs; don’t ask). The Conservatives have been most successful recently by being liberal. Labour are socialist, but tend to do much better when they don’t really enact socialist policies (which is why they’re currently not Her Majesty’s Government, but Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition). American politics only seems to have extremes, and you don’t even call them by recognisable names! The Republicans seem to be Conservative (capital C). Your Democrats seem more in the middle-ground, but their supporters, while not rabid Communists, seem to be utterly fanatical about their support.

I tend to steer clear of too much politics in my books because I don’t understand the nature of the thing in America (where a lot of my stuff is set). I tend to avoid major characters-of-colour (to coin a phrase) for similar reasons (or I engineer a setting where the prejudice I’m told about is somehow mitigated; in the Ultrahumans books, some of the racial prejudice which should be there has been mitigated by prejudice against Ultras, for example). In True Dark, the 2016 Presidential Election takes place, but it’s not the one that really happened (even if I couldn’t stop myself putting in some… Trump-related elements; okay, so I didn’t want to stop myself). I got to fictionalise things, so it’s more my universe’s version of American politics, based on what I see and hear.

So, the question is: is the American political environment really so polarised? What’s the experience of people who live in it? In the UK, most people don’t really care (which is why we ended up with Brexit), but do Americans feel this stuff more deeply?

If we’re going to do this, let’s remain civil, please. I’m looking for how Americans feel about politics, not how you feel about particular parties or people, so let’s avoid bating the trolls. Thanks.

Update

Quickie. I was reading through Guardian and spotted some errors I decided to fix. I’ve updated the manuscript on Amazon and Smashwords. Smashwords readers can definitely download an updated copy as they wish. Amazon… has a weird system for handling updates. If you check your account, you may find that you can download a new copy. Anyone buying after this point should get the updated version anyway.

Pricing

This is the bit where I give you the bad news first and the good news later. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m going to be charging more for some of my books. Basically, I’ve been charging $2.99 (or the equivalent in other currencies) since I started publishing my books. I think it’s a good price for a typical ebook, though I don’t usually argue with slightly higher prices when I’m buying. Anyway… Costs have gone up, cost of living has gone up, and I need to face the fact that I need to charge a little more.

For now, I’m sticking with $2.99 for the shorter books. Most of my recent ones have come in between 70k and 80k words. That’s likely to remain the average, so most of my books will stay at $2.99. The longer ones are going to go up to $3.99. I haven’t entirely decided where the threshold is, but over 100k is definitely over that threshold. Which means that I’ll be charging $3.99 for True Dark, but on the plus side, there’s more story to read.

In other news, I’ve started writing Liberty, which will be Ultrahumans 7. I seem to be in a super-human mode at the moment and I have no idea why. True Dark might not be called that by the time it’s released, though the darkness theme is likely to be maintained.

Hope you’re all having a good summer. I’m going to go back to melting now.