Friday, 9 April 2010

The Muse: Making Movies

Despite my limited technical skills and computer gear, I've always been fascinated with the idea of making movies. So I set out once again to make a movie for a book advertisement, using only a point-and-shoot camera (albeit a slightly better one bought for the occasion) and a five-year-old editing program with a tendency to crash.

As you know from yesterday's post, I already had the main actor, Andrew. He turned out to have out of this world skills in an area he'd previously done nothing in! Great for us :) So I just needed to find a couple more people. Another housemate, Steph, stood in for Jilly the vampire author, and I was able to recruit Phil on the Internet (don't worry, we go way back!) to be the sci-fi author. He recorded his own scenes to send me by email.

The perfect finishing touch was the fairy princess, also an inhabitant of the house where I lived last year, which also happened to be very handy to a beautiful big forest.

Here's the finished trailer, followed by the credits reel:

Check out these member blogs this week for more info.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Muse: Cover Design

I used to be a great artist. Not in the sense of being great, no way, but in the sense that I loved it and used to doodle all the time - in my schoolbooks, when I was supposed to be writing essays or doing sums or whatever, I peopled the margins of my pages with fanciful images and also spent a good deal of time putting paintbrush to paper. That has carried over to graphic design and photography, and hopefully my results will continue to improve.

Anyway. Once it was settled that I was going to publish Fred's book, we began to cast about for a suitable cover idea. I wanted something striking and unique, and for that purpose a black background is always pretty good.

I messed around until I had a suitably spooky glowy text and spirally thing which I somehow got out of one of the effects in my ten year old graphics program. Yep, 10 years old and counting, and it still does everything I want it to.

Next I really wanted a picture of Stan, the main character. But who could it be? The answer turned out to be quite close to home, as I ended up photographing none other than my own brother when he came to town for a visit. My housemate at that time happens to own a wonderful fantasy sword, and things just came together after that. Over there you see one pic of many taken during that photo shoot. I was up on the veranda with the camera, and Andrew was down on the driveway so I could get that oblique angle. The black sheet was an aid to later pasting "Stan" onto my mostly black background.

All this of course in consultation with Fred. It's his book and he ought to like the cover, right? :)

Here's the final result a little larger:

Check out these member blogs this week for more info.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Inside Publishing: The Soundtrack for The Muse

There's a wonderful story behind the soundtrack of this novel. I have always loved books with songs that belong to them, and it's an idea which has not been exploited to its fullest potential - I feel. Anyway, as soon as Fred was contracted to publish The Muse with Splashdown, I went on the hunt for a suitable musical accompaniment.

It didn't take much thinking to go straight to Shoutlife. I already knew Clank a.k.a. Brian from England, whose sounds I first heard on Frank Creed's book trailer - and later I commissioned a couple of tracks from him myself, but that's off topic :) So back I went to the instrumental category. Just a few clicks later I stumbled upon Eleon a.k.a. Mike from Texas and I knew we'd found our man. I proposed the idea to him and explained the purpose.

Mike was enthusiastic - always a good sign - and very promptly delivered exactly what we needed. The soundtrack for The Muse provided an inspirational backdrop for much of the work needing done on the book.

What's that you say? I can hardly hear you over the music! Oh! Of course you want to hear it! Here ya go:

You can also go to for more of Mike's great music. I admit, I've become quite the fan!

In time things came together to create the book trailer using this very piece of music, but there'll be more on that another day. Watch this space!

Check out these member blogs this week for more info.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Home for my Brain

For many years now - as long as I remember, actually - our family has been on the lookout for a house to buy. It almost became a hobby. It does appear to be a national pastime, this moving house business. In New Zealand, the average house-owner sells up and moves on every 5 years.

We never did move, because we liked our own place too much. Then I went globetrotting and was based elsewhere for nearly eight years. More recently I've been on the hunt for a place to call my home. Reading real-estate magazines from cover to cover. Scouring the internet for interesting sales pitches. Spending weekend after weekend looking at houses for sale. Endless questions - how's the price, how's the location, how's the view, could I live here?

Well, all that is done with now. The search is over. I've found a home, and I’m moving in today. Yes, today. <<< That's it over there.

There is a sea view with the ubiquitous volcano on the skyline. In my hideaway at the top I will do my work while listening to the hum of traffic on the main road running above. It's a little on the large side. But I'm already filling it with people. And the timing is perfect: my aunt is going overseas and lending me her furniture instead of putting it in storage.

It won't all be fun. As one friend is fond of saying, 'mortgage' means 'death grip'. And that buck will stop with me if any of the rooms remain empty. That would mean more work for me to cover any deficit. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

In the meantime, there’s lots to do! But when it’s all over and done, I’m hopeful that having an inspiring place to work will assist me in getting all my various writing and publishing projects moving faster than they have been.

(cross-posted from International Christian Fiction Writers)

And just so no one forgets this is CFRB tour week for The Muse:

Check out these member blogs this week for more info.

Monday, 5 April 2010

The CFRB tours The Muse by Fred Warren

I am the publisher of this book, and therefore in an interesting position as regards writing a review. I can't really, not in the usual sense of the word. I'm not unbiased. But I was once, way-back-when I first got to read it. It was supposedly just for a critique swap, and Fred had one of my novels in return.

But for some months already the idea had been simmering away to start a publishing company, and this was the story that forced the decision. Why? Because it would be nothing other than tragedy if this amazing book never saw publication due to the author being a first-timer on the novel scene. "First novels never get published," says common wisdom, "put it in a drawer and write a better one." Never mind all the difficulties of getting anywhere with the Christian Fantasy genre.

I don't think I even had a name for my gig when I first got hold of The Muse. Soon after, Splashdown Books was born and I began to crawl up the learning curve. The rest, as they say, is history.

Check out these member blogs this week for more info.