Monday, 29 November 2010

Leslie Nielsen a Canadian Entertainment Export

Canada has lost a great actor, comedian, and iconic symbol of entertainment excellence. Felled by complications of pneumonia, Leslie is now on the other side making even George Carlin pee his pants. A popular dramatic actor for many decades here in Canada and down in the States, he found a new genre as a comedic actor in the disaster spoof film "Airplane" and the "Naked Gun" series of films. I loved his comedic work more than his dramatic work, which I think is due to the fact that he was such a prankster and funny man off camera. I remember seeing him on set of some film or TV show back in the late 60's when I was a kid and Paramount had studios out in the Mimico area of Toronto. They would always be filming around my neighbourhood and I would see and even talk to some of the biggest stars of the time. I never did talk to Leslie but do remember noticing his good nature and humourous personality between shots.

It's a shame that we have to lose someone so entertaining at so young an age of 84. But if Leslie took only one thing with him, you can bet that it was constant companion; his whoopee cushion.

Injuries Degrade Will to Write

I never would have thought that getting injured would directly affect my will to write. Not that I got injured in the upper torso at all. No arm or hand injury. No, I tripped and fell back on October 12, 2010, tearing the tendon from my right kneecap. Now, six weeks later after surgery, the cast is off and I'm wearing a physio brace. The pain in my knee is sometimes excruciating and the popping of pills only brings the threshold down one notch. Walking with a walker is slow.

Although I can now sleep in my own bed, which my wife is finally grateful for, I was relegated to the couch. I have my laptop here but whenever I tried to write, the desire, drive, and push was not there. Whether it was from the injury itself or the psychological side effects of it, I don't know. But my writing has suffered and has fallen behind what I would have liked to be at right now.

But now I have decided to press on and write. I have to. As a writer I have to keep writing. I need to keep writing. Rejection slips or not, I need to write, I need to get my work out there, I need the money coming in. Regardless of how "writer's block" occurs, a writer must overcome it somehow and continue to practice their art. "If you don't write it, it won't get written!"

Friday, 12 November 2010

Crash, Bang, Snap

A recent fall has torn my tendon from the kneecap and surgery has left me immobile and goofy on drugs while I recover, hence the lack of any blogs for a while. Hopefully I will be back to writing form within a few weeks.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Electronic Books Hitting Their Niche

While doing some research for a magazine article I was surfing the web and found myself coming across quite a few references to both the Kindle and Kobo eReaders. Both units allow a person to read electronic books in a similar fashion to the age-old way us ancient old folk used to do it back in the twenty-first century with physical books. Although eBooks have been around for more than a decade, the thought of reading a book on a small electronic device, even a unit like a Palm PDA, was more of a novelty than a norm.

However, with time comes progress, with progress comes change, and with change comes acceptance. eReaders are now better than ever and many folks who would have balked at the idea of taking one hundred novels in a little electronic book-like device with a screen to the beach or the park, now actually purchase electronic versions of books (whether versions of print books or ebook versions only) than ever had before. On average, electronic books cost less than physical books and are quick and simple to acquire (usually through download or via email.)

On the downside, that has been the bane of ebooks all along, is that anyone and their dead grandma can write and publish an electronic book. Take me for example. My self-published book, "The Complete Guide to Canada's General Mobile Radio Service" is available as both a physical book and an ebook. The ebook version is cheaper and arrives via email. But I am the author, editor, and publisher all in one. Does this mean that the book is of less quality than an ebook put out by a large respected publisher? I personally don't think so as I do have other books published by those houses.

Ebooks should be viewed the same as physical books. Some that are published by the big houses are nothing but crap, and some self-published books are better than what has gone through the typical publishing process, and vise-versa. What is clear from all this is that ebooks are now becoming an accepted version of the physical book. They will probably never replace the physical version, but like hardcovers and paperbacks are just another type of book to be enjoyed.

Friday, 11 June 2010

U.S. GMRS to Follow Canada?

The people are revolting! Seems that the United States is proposing to change its own General Mobile Radio Service to mirror the Canadian GMRS in every way. This has many users upset and the Internet is rife with comments, kudos, and nasty things that even I can't repeat here.

This is, I think, the first time the U.S. has aligned a radiocommunications service to follow the same rules and regulations as that of a foreign country, namely Canada, instead of vice-versa. So it is with pride that we Canadians giggle just a bit as the FCC tows the line and sees that Industry Canada is the puppet-master on this one. All the FCC has to do now is change its Amateur Radio service to mirror ours, and everything will be right in the world. (Or is this just a ploy to set up one more trick into creating a North American Union? Grrrrrr! Damn you, you sneaky Americans!)

To find out more information about the REAL General Mobile Radio Service, the Canadian one, visit my website at www.phillipjboucher.com, click on to read the first chapter of my book, The Complete Guide to Canada's General Mobile Radio Service, and then click the link after the text to learn more.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Branding with domain name and website.

Well, as a writer, you basically get business through your name. Now I did have a website on Tripod.com, but I've bitten the bullet and have acquired my own domain name and moved my website over to it: http://www.phillipjboucher.com

As well, I've added phillipjboucher@gmail.com as my new email. Now, everything I have, including this blog and my twitter account, are all under the phillipjboucher moniker. Now we'll see if the business follows.

Friday, 9 April 2010

More Focused Blogs

My blogging history has, to this date, been one of mostly a tirade of things that I find annoying. Not that getting stuff off your chest is a bad thing, but upon contemplation, it seems as if blogs should be more about information and entertainment, rather than rants of anger or frustration. So, on that note, I have decided to limit this blog to my writing endevours so that readers will have a more focused and enlightened view on what is going on with my creative works.

Dragonstoen - The manuscript was rejected by BAEN books. A simple form letter was the messenger, so whether they liked it or not, rather than whether it fit in with their current group of needs, is unknown. That's the problem with writing and submitting works. A writer never knows (unless they really do receive a detailed explanation) as to why a work is rejected. We simply send it out to the next publisher on the list. Right now, Dragonstoen is at TOR books. We'll see what they have to say.

Tattonville - Right now I'm researching other Canadian publishers (since the manuscript was rejected by Edge) that might be suitable for this work. Being a about Native spirituality (Shamanism, the supernatural) makes it hard to determine what I should classify it as. Fantasy is the most obvious genre, however the fantasy or supernatural elements (a dead Shaman's spirit, a Native able to heal small wounds almost instantaneously) are quite under the main plot of the town's police force clashing with the RCMP and CSIS. I may be sending it out to a publisher or two in a couple of weeks. I'll update the status of it here.

Sveta - The current novel I'm writing is about a young male American composer and a young female Russian military student who accidentally meet when the composer does a tour of Russia, and of course fall in love, which ruins the plans of the Moscow intelligence chief, who tries to break them up, etc. Sort of a political thriller romance set a short bit in the future after the U.S. and Russia engage in a small war and Russia is the winner. This one is hard to write as I keep going off in different directions with it. I'm sure I'll get a focus on it shortly.

Disturbance Call at the Fairy Bar - this short story, involving a southern U.S sheriff and his deputy who police a town that exists both in the real and fairy realms, is now at Realms of Fantasy magazine.

Dragonstoen: A Necklace for a Prince - a short story based on the Dragonstoen novel is also at Realms of Fantasy magazine.

I'm currently working on outlines for a couple of fantasy short stories, two more fantasy novels, a pilot script for a TV version of Tattonville, and a script based on the British show UFO from the sixties. Too bad the rotation of the earth doesn't slow down. Then I'd have more time during the day to get all this stuff done. A writer not only writes, but sells and promotes his works and services as well. Besides novels and short stories, I have a couple of freelance works on the go. Like every writer on the planet, I really need Dragonstoen to get published, sell, get made into a movie, and make tons of money. In the meantime, I must live in the real world, though fantasy does have its advantages.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Learning From Mistakes

Ok, enough of the Twitter, time to blog. As a writer, sometimes you take a chance on enhancing your resume and creating a body of work you think might be a success. I recently wrote a book on two-way radios and placed it on a Print on Demand site. Since the site would print and ship the books as the orders came in, it would save me a lot of time and effort in trying to find a publisher. This self-publishing avenue was, I thought, a good move.

I ordered several copies of the book for myself and was disappointed that the text was missing headings and was very poorly formatted, even though I followed all formatting and PDF conversion requirements for the site. It was not their fault, but my own, in working with my software programs. Now, I could spend the next several weeks or months trying to figure out what went wrong and redo everything all over again. When writing, you do have to crank out the product to keep productive, keep in the public eye, and keep the money coming in. What should I do?

To answer my question, I bit the bullet, removed the book from the POD site, and am now selling he book as an Ebook on my site. Click the PayPal button and once I get the order from them, bang, sent over as an email attachment, perfectly formatted and ready to read in PDF. Cheaper for the customer, less crap for me to deal with, and it let's me put this fiasco behind me and move on to other things.

In trying to save time and money (and I will NOT pay a vanity publisher to produce the book) for myself, and present a traditional product to my readers, I made a mistake and am not going to fret about it. If someone wants the book, they can get it in PDF. If they want the traditionally bound physical book, sorry, but I'm not wasting time in trying to figure out what went wrong. The product is still available, is niche enough that traditional publishers won't touch it, and I have other things to write.

If you're a writer, take this to heart. Whatever you write, fiction, nonfiction, or that epic poem, remember that if you want it published, either from a traditional publisher or through self-publishing, it's a business product you're producing. Not a baby, not a thing to be coveted from outsiders, but a simple product of your creativity. If things work out, great. If not, then move on. You must continue to write, not worry over why this story or novel got rejected or why your book is screwed up all to hell. Chalk it up to experience, and learn from the mistake.

Any more books that I decide to self-publish, will be in PDF. If they sell, great, if they don't, then that's fine to. As long as keep writing, I keep my desires alive.