Thursday, 28 April 2011

THE CONVERTED Gets a New Cover

I've been playing around with covers for my novel THE CONVERTED for the last few days, being generally unsatisfied with my current one. Since I'm not much of a graphic designer or artist, I had a lot to learn, but I've got myself a cover now that I'm happy with. It is being uploaded on Amazon as we speak, so it should be up in a day or two. The Smashwords version won't be up for a few more days, since I'm having some small issues with their Premium Distribution service.

I've also taken this opportunity to correct a few typos that have come to my attention, so the book is generally improved.

I've got several reviews lined up, so hopefully they start coming in soon.

Anyway, without further ado, here's the new cover. I hope you like it.

Thank everyone!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Week 3

Welcome back to another Writing Prompt Wednesday. If you missed the last couple of weeks, you can find them under "Writing Prompts" in the labels.

All right, without further ado, here is your next writing prompt. You might want to view this picture full-size, so click on it to get to the original site.

Happy writing!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Asimov's Three Laws of Second-Hand Book Shopping

This weekend I returned to my hometown to visit my parents over the Easter break. While I was there I discovered the local Rotary Club was holding its Annual Easter Book Sale. People from all over the city donate their books to the sale, and all proceeds go to charity (I believe funds from this sale went to help victims of the Christchurch earthquake).

Naturally, I was all over that shit.

After battling my way through the crowds swarming the Romance tables, I managed to reach the Science Fiction and Fantasy books. Several minutes later I emerged with several well-loved books, among them two short story collections: The Best of Isaac Asimov and Tomorrow's Children, edited by Asimov.

Beautiful, aren't they? I especially love the artwork on Tomorrow's Children. Naturally, the stories are even better than I hoped. Tomorrow's Children has stories from many of the greats of SF, including Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein and Asimov himself. I had to tear myself away from these classics to write this post.

Inspired by Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, I have created the Three Laws of Second-Hand Book Shopping to aid any intrepid travellers who want to put down their Kindles and Nooks to fight the frenzied masses and inhale the scent of mothballs and paper books.

C. R. Hindmarsh's Three Laws of Second-Hand Book Shopping
  1. A shopper may not leave with more books than he can carry or, through inaction, allow another shopper to become crushed by the sheer weight of his books.
  2. A shopper must obey any impulses to buy classic or awesome-looking books, except where such impulses would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A shopper must protect the books he has claimed against all comers as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
So there you have it. You are now prepared to brave the madness of a book sale and come out with both your health and some sweet finds.

Go forth, my children!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sample Sunday Again

Here is another #SampleSunday from my novel THE CONVERTED. In this section from Chapter 4, the protagonist, Anton Springmann, has departed Orton by train after the town was attacked by creatures the townspeople call devils. He travels with a girl named Elisa who was found unconscious after the attack, along with her father and two other people from the town, Ben and Nina. Enjoy!

* * *
A crash cut through the rhythmic sound of wheels on the train track. The carriage shook and people screamed. Anton jerked awake. It was dark outside, but a few oil lamps had been hung in the centre of the carriage. Ben twisted around in his seat to look around. Jarvis had one arm across Elisa and was peering out the window into the night. Nina yelped, her eyes wide.

The carriage shuddered again, and the train began to slow. The other passengers yelled for information. Anton stood up.

A gunshot. The next window over shattered, showering a man in glass. Ben drew his revolver. Anton's head spun. Sweet Jeza. It was happening again.

Ben pushed past Anton and rushed down the aisle towards the back of the carriage. The only things Anton could hear were screams and the sound of glass crunching underfoot.

Anton shook his head and turned back to hurry Jarvis out of his seat. A movement outside the window caught his eye. A gray face came into view, the skin cracked. The devil bounced up and down, reins in its hand. It snarled and raised a shotgun at Anton.

Anton dropped to the ground as the gun went off. Jarvis hit the floor in front of him, his body shielding Elisa from the falling shards of glass.

Anton realized he was holding his revolver. He raised it, pointed it at the window, pulled back the hammer with his thumb. He fired. The gun kicked in his hand. He aimed and fired again. Again. The gray face dropped back from view. Anton didn't think he'd hit it. It would be back in a second.

Anton grabbed Jarvis by the shoulder and hauled him to his feet. Nina followed, covering her head with her hands. A few other male passengers were firing out the side of the train. The women and children stayed low in their seats. A man lay slumped in the middle of the carriage, blood pulsing from his neck.

Ben was at the end of the carriage, firing out the space between the two carriages. His lips were pulled back in a grim snarl.

The train was slowing. The wheels squealed on the tracks. Anton could see gray shapes jumping onto one of the other carriages. They were boarding the train.

"Ben!" Anton shouted, making his way towards him. He stepped over the wounded man's body without stopping. "We have to get off."

Ben fired off another round then ducked back inside the carriage and began to reload. "We'll have to jump."

"What about Elisa?" Jarvis said. He crouched behind a seat, his daughter in his arms.

Ben slid another round into the cylinder and flicked the loading gate closed. "We have to risk it. Come on!"

Anton stood and fired the last two rounds at a figure galloping outside the window. It screamed and the horse fell behind.

A man shoved past Anton and came alongside Ben. His eyes darted around at the bush rushing past. He braced himself on the handrail beside the door.

"Wait!" Ben yelled.

It was too late. The man jumped. He tried to roll as he hit the ground, but his foot caught a root from an overhanging tree. Anton heard the bone crack before the train bore them onwards and the man was lost to their sight.

Ben swore and fired his revolver at another rider who had appeared. Anton holstered his own weapon and leaned out beside Ben. The corner of the carriage exploded in a small shower of splinters as a bullet slammed into it, but Anton ignored the shots.

"Up ahead." Anton pointed. "The bush thins out."

Ben nodded. "Jarvis, Nina, this is our shot. Get ready."

Nina braced herself against the side of the train, mouth half-open, and Jarvis moved beside them in a crouch, his whole body covering Elisa.

"Ready?" Anton said.

"As a whore on payday," Ben said.


* * *
Check out THE CONVERTED at Amazon or Smashwords.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Week 2

Hello friends. Welcome to part 2 of Writing Prompt Wednesday. I'm your host, C. R. Hindmarsh. If you missed last week's writing prompt, you'll find it under "Writing Prompts" in the labels.

So the idea is simple: let this picture spark your imagination and write something. Got it? You sure? I don't need to repeat myself? All right. Let's get this shit moving.

You can find the original here.

Now get writing!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sample Sunday

Welcome to my very first #SampleSunday.

This short section is from Chapter 10 of my upcoming fantasy novel, THE CONVERTED. Felix Wulf is a Criminal Affairs agent tracking the protagonist Anton Springmann across the country, intending to bring him to justice. But Felix isn't known for his kindness.


*  *  *

Felix Wulf tapped his cane against the door of the law station. He rubbed a handkerchief over his face and it came away coated in sweat and dust. It was only just after dawn, and already the day was heating up. New Alania was just too hot. Why would anyone want to live here?

There was no reply from inside. Felix sighed and banged on the door with his fist. He was annoyed that he had to come all the way out to this little piss-puddle of a town. He couldn't even remember the name of it. Ivy something. He doubted ivy had ever grown within a hundred miles of this pathetic village. Still, it sounded like a solid lead. The man at the train station--the station closest to the devil attack--had a good story to tell. Felix smiled to himself. Devils. Bloodthirsty, vicious devils. These New Alanians were too superstitious for their own good. Felix played out the conversation with the man in his head again. The man's description of Springmann was perfect.

Felix was about to knock again when the door opened. A bloated peace officer with a moustache opened the door, his eyes crusted and blinking.

"Ah, good morning Officer," Felix said, smiling. "I trust I'm not disturbing you?"

The officer squinted out at the sun rising slowly over the mountains and grunted something noncommittal.

"I've been led to believe you might be able to help me with an inquiry I'm conducting," Felix said. "I'm looking for a friend of mine, a Torlander. About my height, dark hair, wears glasses. I believe you had him in your custody recently?"

The officer scowled. His hand dropped casually towards his revolver and he shouted into the station. "Hey, Lee. Got someone here you might be interested in talking to."

Another fat officer stepped into view, a shotgun dangling from his hand. The man's left cheek was a deep purple. Felix fixed him with a smile. Small town morons.

"This guy's friends with that fucker yesterday, the one making eyes at the squid," the first officer said.

Felix's mood brightened. A Skia. The man at the station hadn't mentioned that. Springmann always did have a soft spot for minorities. It was amusing, really, when you considered how he treated everyone else.

The bruised officer brought his shotgun to rest in both hands and strode towards Felix. "Oh yeah? That true, stranger?"

"I'm trying to track him down," Felix said, shifting his weight on the thin cane. "Do you happen to know where he went after he locked you fine gentlemen in your own cell?"

The officer shoved the barrel of his shotgun in Felix's face, his upper lip twitching. These New Alanians were so easy to antagonize. It was almost no fun.

"If you don't want a slug embedded in your ugly face, stranger, I suggest you scram."

Felix sighed. "I've come a long way, Officers. All I ask for is a little information."

The officer took a step forward. "I said get--"

Felix whipped his cane up and struck the man's right wrist. Bones cracked. The officer yelped. The shotgun dropped from his hands. Felix's cane was moving again before the shotgun hit the ground. He stabbed forwards into the man's neck. The officer's eyes bulged as his windpipe collapsed.

While his friend stumbled back, clutching his throat, the officer with the moustache yelled and drew his revolver. Felix's left hand flew out. He grabbed the man's gun hand and slammed the forearm against the door frame. The officer screamed as a bone in his forearm snapped.

Felix returned his cane to the ground and kicked at the man's kneecap with a heavy boot. There was an audible pop, and the officer collapsed to the ground. Tears of pain streamed down his face.

Felix squatted down, bringing himself face-to-face with the officer. The officer tried to scramble backwards, his broken arm flopping uselessly, but Felix snatched his collar and held him tight.

"You see your friend over there?" Felix said. "His windpipe is causing him some trouble. He won't be able to talk. So that just leaves you and me. We're going to have a little conversation."

Felix smiled at the man's fear.

*  *  *
I hope you all enjoyed that. If you'd like to read more, check out the first chapter under the link "THE CONVERTED" in the banner at the top of the page. You can subscribe to my blog or Twitter feed with the links to the right.

And look out for THE CONVERTED when it is officially released April 25th (although if you're feeling impatient, you can already find it at Amazon or Smashwords).

P.S. Copies of THE CONVERTED are still available from the Giveaway program at LibraryThing. Go check it out.

Saturday, 16 April 2011


My fantasy novel, THE CONVERTED, is on schedule for release in the Kindle store and Smashwords April 25th, shortly followed by distribution to all other major retailers such as Apple iBooks and Barnes & Noble.

(Actually, as of the time of writing THE CONVERTED is already available at Amazon and Smashwords. If you'd like to get your copy or view a sample before the official release date, go check it out.)

THE CONVERTED is also out with several book bloggers and fantasy book reviewers at the moment, so stay tuned for the verdicts.

If you'd like to get your hands on a free copy of the ebook, you can head over to LibraryThing and sign up for the chance to grab one. I'll also be giving away copies this #SampleSunday, so watch out for that.

To top everything off, you can check out the book trailer below. I noticed the trend among book trailers was that they were all cheesy. I decided to crank up the cheese to the next level. In the words of one of my early viewers, it is "delightfully and tragically melodramatic." It's like a car wreck, you just can't look away...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Skynet and Internet Legislation

I'd like to take a break from scheduled programming to have a short rant about the internet legislation law that was just passed in New Zealand.

Basically, its fucking stupid.

Really, incredibly, idiotically stupid. Its completely unworkable, pointless, and it won't do a damn bit of anything to stop piracy. Basically, I think it comes down to a complete non-understanding by the National Government of how file-sharing actually works. The bill allows copyright owners to request that people who repeatedly share protected material have their internet account suspended for 6 months.

First of all, having copyright holders put the onus on the ISPs is just freaking stupid. Why would an ISP want to cut off its own customers when they have done nothing to them?

Secondly, the Government passed this bill under urgency, which means they got to neatly avoid any chance for public discussion on the bill. Urgency is supposed to be used in emergencies, such as legislation relating to the Christchurch earthquake. Piracy has been around forever, and it ain't going anywhere fast.

And thirdly, it just won't work. I will be most surprised if it stops a single person from pirating anything. The way to reduce piracy is to use the technology available to make things available legally and for a fair price. A war against internet piracy is even more hopeless than a war against drugs.

To really get an appreciation for how little the government understands the issue, go to this link and watch the video where MP Jonathan Young compares the internet to Skynet.


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Writing Prompt Wednesday

Welcome to a brand new series on the blog: Writing Prompt Wednesday. The premise is simple, I'll present you with a picture or a short video clip, and you use that as a jumping off point to write something. It can be a short story, flash fiction, a poem, or a literary treatise if you like. As long as you write!

I'll be participating too, and feel free to include anything you've written in the comments below.

Ok, drum roll please. The inaugural picture is:

Enjoy, and happy writing!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

More classic steampunk

For some reason I seem to be re-finding several awesome old-school steampunk-related things on the interwebs these days. The following postcards have been circulating around the web for the last few years, and I reckon they've got a sweet quaint charm about them.

They're illustrations by French artist Villemard in 1910, depicting what he thought the world might be like in the year 2000. I don't know about you, but that firefighter picture is sparking an idea for a steampunk short story. Something with a bit of darkness in it...

Find more here.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Steampunk: Old School

According to Wikipedia, Georges Méliès' classic 1902 silent movie Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) was the first science fiction film. I think it's a brilliant example of the mixture of turn of the century values and strange science that makes steampunk such a popular subgenre and subculture today. Check it out!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Change is in the air

My approach to self-publishing has changed recently. In the few short weeks I've been querying agents for my novel THE CONVERTED, self-publishing has really come to the forefront of the blogosphere and the mainstream media. I've followed the news with great interest.

It may be starting to sway my resolve to pursue traditional (or legacy or commercial or whatever we're calling it) publishing. If you haven't read the long yet interesting conversation between JA Konrath and Barry Eisler from a couple of weeks ago, I suggest you do. Even if you're completely opposed to self-publishing, it's an intriguing take on the way the industry is changing.

So have I been convinced? I've gotten a few bites from my query search, but I'm beginning to wonder if self-publishing is a better road for me. I like to think of myself as a pretty independent guy (read: doesn't play well with others) and I like the idea of being able to hold onto my rights and get my book out when I want it out.

Stay tuned...

EDIT: A couple of hours after I posted this, I got another partial request from an agency I'd really love to have representing me in pursuing publishing with a traditional publisher. So I'm still on the fence. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, but I'm determined to get my work out there one way or another.