Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Tale

In my last post I mentioned that my novel What Lies Beneath had inexplicably dropped off the face of the earth (or, more specifically, Lulu's website).  Well, I'm happy to report that the problem has been quickly resolved and the book is not only accessible from this link but it is also available now through search at

I'll just use this post to add my thanks for all the interest and support I have received from people as I have bumbled my way through this project.  Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Taking the Good with the Bad

It's been an interesting week, that's for sure. After a handful of days, the book has sold over ten copies now (mainly family and friends but not entirely).

I've received a some really nice comments on the blog and via Twitter which is appreciated more than many people probably realise. I think I've quoted Matthew Reilly before but here it is again:
To anyone who knows a writer, never underestimate the power of your encouragement.
Last night I received this week's Google analytics for the blog. I've had a startling number of visitors compared to previous weeks - 149 visitors this week compared to 5 last week! The majority of these are from the US and Australia but I have also had visits from Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, Germany, Finland, Morocco and Malaysia which is simply brilliant.

Unfortunately, last night I also received an email containing an error message from and this morning one of my Twitter followers (Katherine from Toronto, Canada) said that she received an 'Item not available' error when she went to which is pretty annoying, especially when people make the effort to have a look at the online storefront.

Hopefully it's just a temporary glitch in the system. I'll put up a post as soon as tell me the problem's solved. So far this is all I know:

Perhaps I should start saving for my own printing press.

Monday, December 15, 2008



After months of paper supply problems and printing mishaps, the book is available. The waiting is over and the politely written emails to publishers (flavoured ever so slightly with a sprig of frustration) and awkward apologies to interested friends and family are now relics of the past.

In my small, grubby hands is a book whose spine bears my name. Can't help but feel a little proud. It's not that I've penned a masterpiece - the pride doesn't come from there. It's more that I've seen the thing through to its proper conclusion. In the maelstrom of holding down a full-time job whilst trying to be a full-time dad and husband, finishing a book and getting it into print seems like a triumph. Not a world-changing victory by any means, but a significant one to me.

Let's cut to the chase. If you were inclined to buy What Lies Beneath where would you go?

If you click on the link you will arrive at's online bazaar - specifically, my stall amongst the labyrinth of vendors all vying to sell you exotic goods. It's as simple as clicking on the Add to Cart button, and going through the sort of process familiar to anyone who has ever purchased anything online. There's a Paypal option (much like Ebay) as well as a few others like Visa.

Someone asked me the other day whether I expected to make much money out of the venture. I'll get this out of the way as it's something that seems to repeat itself like a sausage from Bunnings. I will make a few cents off each copy sold. Literally, a few cents. The price of the book as basically as low as I could make it - I want people to read it.

As I've stated before, it's a challenging book in some ways, but the happy few who have read it so far have told me that it's a rewarding read once the pieces of the puzzle start falling into place. I liken it to a difficult rock-climb. At first things seem daunting and the view is obscured by some difficult early sections, but perseverance pays off and by Chapter Six, patterns begin to emerge and the reader, like a good climber, should discover a rhythm to the way in which they traverse what lies before them.

I have a friend at work who is reading the book and she's picking up on things buried in the story that I thought would be easily missed. It's an absolute delight to hear of such discoveries (certainly worth more than a few dollars).

If anyone's reading this blog who hasn't wandered through the pages of What Lies Beneath's supporting wiki, please make a coffee, open up that tin of Christmas shortbreads and lose your way in the miasma that is

After Christmas, I'll start preparing Akin to Pity (the second and final book) for its transmutation into ink and paper, but for now I think I just continue to enjoy reading Matthew Reilly's Six Sacred Stones and catching up on Season Four of Battlestar Galactica.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wiki is go!

Well, that's done! It's taken a while but the Caliban's End wiki is going public!

What is it? It's a website of sorts containing the whole project. Basically, if wikipedia and my books had a drunken night of fun, the Caliban's End wiki would be their love-child. It contains a lot of backstory, a lot of geographical, historical, biographical and cultural details that are alluded to in the books, but more than anything, it's where my imagination ran rampart, creating things in more weird detail than even the books would allow. The wiki was the primordial ooze from which creatures such as sandkytes, mockworms, durnodaws and friggu came to life.

Now if you peruse the pages of the wiki, you will come across a lot of pages that contain people, places and creatures that aren't in What Lies Beneath (the first book). It should be noted, such things weren't just created for the wiki. You'll probably find them hiding in the pages of Akin to Pity (the second book).

So is the wiki an appendix? In a way, it is. I wanted to add another layer. The wiki provides quite a few twists on what happens in the novels. For example, there's a scene on a ship where one of the main characters trips a sailor so he falls overboard. It's a mildly amusing scene in the book. In the wiki you discover this character can't actually swim. So the wiki adds a twist here and there. I have tried hard to avoid spoilers, but if you read the wiki comprehensively, you may work out some things that are a bit more cryptic in the books.

However, no-one is going to read the wiki from start to finish - it currently numbers 742 pages!

Now I must add, even though the wiki is accessible, it's not complete. The beauty of it is I can easily add pages and fix errors with a few quick clicks. If you see any obvious mistakes, please let me know.

So what now?

I'm going to take a breather. Watch some trashy TV, play some Gears of War and read some things I didn't write.

Unfortunately, my frustrations with have continued. Although they conceded the recent printing alignment issues were their fault and the problem was being fixed, I received the latest proof last Friday and as you can see by the picture below, it isn't the result I was hoping for. Sadly, I'll probably take the whole project elsewhere. The book is available to buy from at the moment but I'm not encouraging anyone spend their money on something that's NQR.

Monday, November 10, 2008

'What Lies Beneath': MIA?

The past couple of weeks have seen some friends and family ask one question about the book - where is it?

Hopefully it will be in my mailbox tomorrow.  Now the problem with page thickness has been fixed, I'm just awaiting my copy.  If it's okay (i.e. cover on the right way, page numbers where they should be etc.) I'll flick the switch and anyone who is interested has the opportunity to purchase the book.

When you go to you are given the Prologue and Chapter One to preview.  This only amounts to a handful of pages so it makes sense to offer another chapter here.  This was a suggestion made to me by a reader of this blog and it's a good one as it gives people the chance to check out whether the book will appeal to them before they lay their hard-earned down.

Originally, it was my intention that the wiki ( would serve this purpose, but it has been a colossal undertaking and is still a week or so away from being finished. Basically every character, place, ship, institution and concept gets its own page on the wiki, even a dead pet fish.  The fish features for a sentence in the book but in the wiki it gets its own page.

Today's preview chapter occurs about two thirds of the way through the book but it has some minor spoilers (i.e. nothing that will totally ruin the story but please take heed - it does throw some light on some events that could be considered spoilerific).

Why this chapter?  It's one of the most self-contained ones and may be easier to read as a result.  Also, thematically and stylistically it's fairly representative of the novel and lastly, it has Sir Edgar in it who is one of my favourite characters.

Hopefully, I'll be putting out another blog post this week saying the wiki and/or the book is ready.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

May your news be good news

It's been a fairly long wait but I just received some pleasing news from It seems the issue that has held up my book What Lies Beneath is on the cusp of being resolved. Here's an extract from an email I received earlier this evening:
We do have some good news in the works; the paper issue will be resolved within weeks, possibly less, and we should then see these future orders on our normal standard of printing. This would also fix the misalignment issues of the spine, as the paper would not be so thin, which is what is causing the spine misalignment.
Why does this fill me with the happiness of one hundred warm puppies? Because I'm a virgoan and I like to finish stuff. I like full stops. I like to rub my little hands together and say, 'That's done!' Closure is as important to me as it is to a bear trap.

This correspondence means I can now (now as in soon) say to friends, family and that odd fellow who talks to me at the train station on Wednesdays: 'Oh yeah - the book's on sale now. Just head over to and buy yourself a copy.'

It's a good night to be me.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ten Tips for Reading 'What Lies Beneath'

On the eve of my first book going public, I thought I'd put out a top ten list to accompany its release. What lies below is a list of tips that may help you in your trek across the pages of What Lies Beneath.
  1. Make a mental note of anything that seems significant. If it seems important, it probably is.
  2. Don't expect all loose threads to be tied up in this book. Some matters aren't resolved until the final chapters of Akin to Pity (the second and final book in the tale).
  3. Give yourself time to read What Lies Beneath in uninterrupted chunks - it will be difficult to tame the narrative if you only read it a page or two at a time.
  4. Try to spot the literary allusions - there's quite a few although some are a bit obscure.
  5. Pay heed to the names. Many of them reveal a thing or two about the characters, creatures and countries of the Myr.
  6. Get attached to certain characters but don't expect them all to live.
  7. Consult with the Map on my wiki if you get a bit lost.
  8. Check out the Characters page of the wiki if you'd like some more details on the characters.
  9. Feel free to email me if you need clarification of anything you stumble across in the book.
  10. Don't expect literary genius. The book is - after all - a hobby. It's far from perfect, but I hope you find it interesting enough to read to the end.
I'll be giving details in my next post about where/how to buy the book.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Word from our Sponsors

Brief update: I received an email from Lulu saying they are endeavouring to fix the printing problem as quickly as they can, so that seems like good news.

Tonight I decided to create an advertisement for What Lies Beneath. If you look directly above, you will see a picture of the northern coastline of Morae with the words Play and Stop loitering about. In this space I have assembled some of the pictures I have created for the Caliban's End wiki (out of beta soon) and put them to music. I put it all together in SwishMax which is a distant cousin of Flash. Most of the pictures were found in Morguefile which permits artists and writers to use the images without fear of infringing upon copyright. Other images were either sent to me by friends or I took them myself. I modified the images in Corel Photopaint which I actually prefer to Photoshop ('Heresy!' somebody cried).

The music came from the Creative Common site ccmixter. The song is called Strange Love and it is by Manolo Camp.

This little video is actually the short version. I amazed how many pictures I have done over the past couple of years; the longer version of this video will include twice as many images as this one!

I hope you like what you see. Just click the Play button to start and Stop when you've had enough. Enjoy!

BTW: If you're wondering how I managed to embed Flash into a Blogger page, check here for the secret sauce.

Cheers, Paul

Friday, July 18, 2008

Going Dark

In software development, there's a phrase to describe periods when no-one hears anything from the code monkeys writing the software and the silence usually suggests a problem- it's called going dark.

Now whilst I haven't gone dark with my writing, things have slowed down a little due to a number of factors (i.e. other things that take up my time):
  1. Work - unfortunately I have to pay the bills somehow and lately work's been the sort of slog that leaves you knackered by the end of the day.
  2. The Caliban's End wiki - this is my wikipedia of the world of Caliban's End and it involves just as much writing. It's coming along nicely but it's far from finished
  3. Printing problems - at the moment, I wouldn't be recommending with the confidence I once had. Hopefully they can resolve the issue before I use another self-publishing company.
Anyhoo, it's all part of the experience. The book won't be available to buy any time soon but I'm determined to make it available before the seasons change again.

On a completely unrelated matter, I thought I'd throw the text of What Lies Beneath into Wordle to see which words I'm using a lot. Here's the result (click on it for a better view):

Friday, June 06, 2008


Something came in the mail today... it was rectangular and surprisingly heavy.

Now what happens now the book's here? Well, I need to reread it and make sure there are no printing issues. Then I make my changes and get the whole thing printed again. I am just euphoric about how the thing looks, but I will be making changes. The font is a little too small. My fault, not theirs. I wanted to save paper by making the text small, but it's a little too hard to read. I also need to shift around a few things like the dedications to everything is nice and symmetrical. This means it will be a little while before the book can be purchased, but - as I have to remind myself - it's a hobby, so I can take my time.

By the way, the cover photo was taken by Shaun Quinlan. I found it on Morguefile which is a wonderful site that contains free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits. The lake in the picture is Lake Wakitipu in New Zealand which is not far from Queenstown in the South Island. I chose it for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's a beautiful photograph. Secondly, I have a sentimental attachment to New Zealand - when I was a wee lad, my dad took our family for an extended holiday in New Zealand and my memories of that time are the most vivid memories I have of my childhood. Lastly, it's a perfect match for Lake Erras, the lake that features prominently in the early chapters of What Lies Beneath. It also comes back into prominence towards the end of the second book Into the Endless. The trilogy's title Caliban's End is derived from the great vortex that lies at the heart of this fictional lake.

View Larger Map

Thursday, May 15, 2008

An excellent gift for any occasion

Just a small but significant post tonight...

It's been a wonderful week. I took two days off work to finish the final edit of What Lies Beneath and managed to do everything I set out to do. Although I'm sure there are still a few mistakes hiding out amongst the pages like wily banditos in the hills above a dusty Mexican town, the first book is now online and almost available to purchase. The first copy is being printed as we speak and in a week or so I'll get a paperback copy in my grubby little paws. In the biz, this is called a proof (I'm in the biz now) and once I give the proof a nod of approval, it will then be available for all to read. I'll be getting an ISBN so the book can be sold through Amazon, Barnes and Noble (and Ebay once friends and family realise that the book's not their up of tea!)

The sale price will be $US 13.95. It will also be available to download as a PDF for 5 greenbacks. Start saving those pennies.

I have still got a bit to do on the Caliban's End wiki but that should be ready for public consumption by the time I give the green light to to roll the presses.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Before Hell Freezes Over

I need to explain something.

Late last year, the person who had kindly offered to edit my books had to tend to other matters. The job of editing fell back into my lap and I had no idea just how painful and time-consuming the task would be. Sometimes I have had to spend over an hour on a single page and when two of the three books number over 500 pages, that's an awful lot of time I have to scrape together.

Even though the book was finished, the work is not. Editing has led to a battalion of changes for which I had not planned. I have changed the names of a number of characters (including the tale's protagonist). I have also changed the name of the world in which the Caliban's End saga is set - it's no longer Terra. That's a lot of individual changes.

Editing is hard. You wouldn't wish it upon an enemy or a real estate agent. Squeezing the task into the small spaces that exist between work, family, friends and other stuff has been a wee bit challenging. This is the business end of the project and to be honest, it's the least interesting part.

So, if you have been able to sustain even a modicum of interest in this avocation o' mine, thanks for your curiosity - it is appreciated.

I have written a preface to the first book. FYI, it's below.

Caveat Emptor
(or 'Danger, Will Robinson!')

A Preface

Perhaps 'Preface' is the wrong word for it. Forewarning seems more appropriate. Please indulge me as I make one or two comments before your boots get muddy in the world of Caliban's End.

First of all, a confession. This trilogy was not written to be popular fiction. It breaks most of the conventions of popular fiction and ignores most of the sage advice given by writers who know a lot more about the craft than I do. This is not a book that is designed to be a best-seller. It won't pay off my mortgage any time soon.

This begs the question - why spend so much time on something that won't make bags of money?

The simple answer is that financial gain is not the only motivating force in the universe. These books have been a hobby and I have enjoyed writing them as a hobby. Whilst I did not play by the rules in terms of structure, length, number of characters etc. I did follow one piece of advice - write the book you want to write. This advice rests on the premise that there will be others out there in shadowy corners of the globe who are similarly enamoured by a particular approach to writing.

So in that context, I have succeeded. I think I've written the sort of book I would enjoy.

So what does that mean? Let me explain.

I've read The Lord of the Rings books three times. I've read Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter series twice. I've read Peake's Gormenghast novels three times each. As a child I even read the Finn Family Moomintroll series at least five times over. And in all cases, I found myself wishing for more. In my mind, I would expand the universe, follow the paths of characters who were only glimpsed at in the main narrative. For example, in The Fellowship of the Ring, whatever happened to Radagast? I wanted to follow his journey further but could only do so in the form of conjecture.

Caliban's End
is a little different. The world is made a little larger to accommodate the tales of ancillary characters. The first book What Lies Beneath spends some time in exploring the lives of a range of characters including lesser players (some of whom - unfortunately - do not make it to the end of the trilogy). A critic might dismiss this as undisciplined writing. Perhaps it is. But I wanted to properly explore this world I have invented and occasionally that meant I would stray down little laneways that led away the central narrative.

This perambulation means that the reader has to walk a long and twisted path - it is a demanding read. At times, there are more characters on the page than is probably necessary, but I am reluctant to remove them to make the book more accessible. The non-linear structure of the writing may annoy some readers, but I did not want to dumb things down in order to create a book that could be easily enjoyed in an airport lounge. I revelled in creating a dense, intricate world. Some may dislike the novels as a result, some may find them convoluted and some may put the first book down having struggled to get up the rock-face in the first chapter. But it is my hope that there are a few individuals who are captivated by it. The internet allows me to throw my net widely and there is a chance I might snag one or two readers who want to get lost in the stories of the people I follow in these tales.

I hope you will be one such person.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Know What I Did Last Summer

I know it's been a little while since my last post but I've been a little busy. In fact, so busy that I have something to announce - I finished writing the whole thing!

Yes, I wrote the last line of the trilogy this afternoon at about 5pm. It's a pretty amazing feeling to finish it. I won't write a long post but this is what I'm thinking... I take a month off before I look at the book again. Then I'll reread it, fix errors, get a bit of feedback and then off it goes to for printing.

I'll be fixing up the Caliban's End wiki after the time off and then working on getting some artwork happening. I might even record the books and put it up on Podiobooks or some such place. Once the books are online, I'll make this blog and the wiki public and see what happens.

Just for the stats, here's the final word count for the trilogy. (Ignore the page count - I used tiny font!)

Now to put this in some kinds of perspective, the average novel is about 80,000 words long. If you average my books out, you get about 165,000 words per book which puts it into the Epic (unpublishable) category.

Anyway, it's done and I'm a little proud of it. I really liked the way it all came together at the end. I hope I like it as much when I reread it!

Thanks to a ridiculously supportive wife for helping me out. She took this photo of me on the last day of writing. I'm trying to look a bit bohemian in the picture but I think the Superman t-shirt ruins the moody, anguished writer look I was going for.