Life hands out a few surprises from time to time one of which, for me, was the difficulty in getting my cover artwork which took something close to a year and then my frustration with the company I had decided to publish with. Still, I used the time productively, reading through my novel again and ensuring it was what I genuinely considered to be the best it could be at that time. The lack of progress broke my resolve and, as a result, I decided to look around and, taking advice from another author I knew, I eventually got in contact with Fiction4All. Within a day, the company's owner and editor had replied with some very useful advice and within two I had had a partial and constructively critical review as well as the kind of advice I needed to progress again.

Fiction For AllFiction4All advised me to be patient and that it would take several weeks to create an eBook. The book, I was told, was to be considered for a print edition and would be put on sale globally including in the UK, UK and Australia. They gave me a reasonable overview of timescales and told me some of the stuff that was coming up within the company, stuff that could help authors like me. The editor came back with constructively critical comments in effect saying not much happened in the first chapter and I agree... it is, or rather was, a slow burner. It was clear there were some uncertainties...Fiction4All  were prepared to give my book a go but made some gentle suggestions such as creating an opening action sequence and addressing the early low levels of conversation. I gave that some thought and, acknowledging F4A's expertise, decided that the best course of action was to temporarily withdraw my novel and make some changes.

Stars, Hide Your Fires cover

The probable cover for "Stars, Hide Your Fires" (sans text)


So, two months later, I have finally resubmitted my first book having made the following changes:

  • A new "prologue" chapter which provides a high-action opening sequence but carries on to create some links for material later in the book. The action sequence is loosely based on a real-life battle and tries to deal with the fact that on companies such as Amazon, the potential reader can "look inside" to get a feel for a novel.
  • Simplified sub-headings for all chapters to provide a clear location and date with all chapters now following a logical timeline and relatively little reference to past events.
  • Information segments moved to the Appendices, significantly shortened compared to the book's earlier iteration. Detailed information is still available but, rather than burden the book with it, it has been moved to the web at The Extent (
  • More conversation sections have been added into the novel.
  • "Drop-back" sections have been removed and reintroduced in shorter and more plot relevant ways so that they no longer disturb the story flow.

I now believe that the book flows better and addresses some of the concerns Fiction4All's team had.

So that's it, book one is (for the third time at least) complete. The book is now some forty-two chapters i.e. 96,000 words long, 87,000 words of actual story and about 9,000 titles, preface, acknowledgements and appendices.

All the books chapters are named after the books and short stories of science fiction and/or fantasy authors ... my small way of saying thanks to them for the entertainment and education they have provided me over the past forty-five years. In addition to those chapters, there is a prologue-not-prologue (my new opening action scene) and an epilogue.

Now all I have to do is wait it seems, household chores beckon, but suffice to say, although I know I am already a writer, in a few weeks' time I feel I will finally be able to call myself an author. What on Earth am I going to call my website then?

Thx for reading :)

J. C. Rocks (aspiring author: "The Abyssal Void War" series)

film passengers 2016With stunning graphics and a stellar cast "Passengers" (2016) is a film that should have blown us away but instead it received heavy criticism but was that criticism as deserved as some would have us believe? I received a copy on Blu-ray for my birthday so I set about finding out if I agreed with the film's critics. Everyone knows it's rare for Hollywood to get it right in terms of the science and this film is no exception but, since just about every other film is the same, I feel it's unfair to unduly criticise it for it. And besides, "Passengers" is not really a science fiction film any more than "Titanic" is a film about a ship hitting an iceberg, it's a romance.

Chris Prat, Jennifer Lawrence, Laurence Fishburne and, my favourite, Martin Sheen deliver excellent performances and the film certainly doesn't lack for action. The music was good throughout and only spoiled when it accompanied the closing credits, a jarring track I assume was intended to boost the film through the music charts.

In the end, I felt most of the criticisms levelled at the film were explained within it and despite all the criticisms I could level at the film's science, I still enjoyed it perhaps because of the chemistry between the actors.

mofinabloodofothersA book with moments of extreme violence, but not pointless, violence and one that I think is very much worth a read. It opens with a brutal murder, the victim gruesomely, yet artistically, displayed which leads both the lead detective and a reporter to the conclusion that the murder was likely to be one of a series, the murderer a serial killer. In writing this book, the author has woven a story around complex characters with believable personal motivations using good dialogue as well as nail biting, harrowing and gripping scenes. Definitely a book worth a read.

Webb DefianceIt seems to me that the science fiction bookverse (for lack of a better term) is awash with books that seem to tell the same basic story, that Earth is under attack (again) and that evil dastardly aliens are afoot. Whilst I understand that an author wants their readers to care about their characters and their story (if only to make them buy the sequels) I find this kind of scenario unadventurous and frustrating. I've read a lot of science fiction in my time and it is possible to get your readers to care even if the Earth is not in immediate danger of destruction.

battlefieldearthIt is said that opinions are like ****holes, we all have one but nothing about possessing ones means you're right, not unless you can justify it. With that in mind I am reviewing a book I happen to like by an author I happen to revile, especially the misbegotten abortion he spawned. I'm not saying it's a good book, just that I like it for various reasons.

Kiyo FemaleWith hindsight, a somewhat optimistic review of my first book's progress. Yes, the book is still coming along, still "completed", it just appears that getting the thing published is a lot more complicated than I first thought it would be.

peanuts keepcalm

Well there it is, the book, my first ever, is largely done and I am now just waiting for the cover art to be completed. Two hundred and fifty-seven A4/Letter pages (line and a half spaced), fifty-four chapters and approximately eighty-five thousand words.

I've given details of the book itself before and I still don't want to give too much away right now but it is set nearly eight hundred years in the future, not ours, but that of an alternate history (which is why I call it an alternate future history) and humanity is once again engaged in what it does best, blowing the hell out of each other.

Fiction For All



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