Saturday, 11 April 2015

This website has moved

I can now be found at www.huckleberryhax.wordpress.com.

You can continue to explore this old site, however all new posts and updates will be added now only to my Wordpress site.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Farewell Blogger



To celebrate my eighth rezz day, I'm moving my blog to Wordpress.

I've been with Blogger since I published my very first novel online and it's been a good home.  Over the years, however, the development of Wordpress and the inexplicable stagnation of Blogger has left me wishing with increasing frequency that I'd chosen the competitor platform.  I kept hoping Google might eventually start investing in its product; I think Google+ is where its priorities lie in that general domain, however.

So, about a month ago, I decided finally to port my blog across to Wordpress.  Since then I've been fine-tuning all the posts so that they fit properly and I'm pleased to announce that you can now view the result at www.huckleberryhax.wordpress.com.

All new posts will now appears on the new blog.  If you link to me, I'd really appreciate it if you updated your links to point there instead of here.

Farewell, Blogger.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

An experiment

I'm carrying out a little experiment on reader engagement for my latest novel, 'AFK, in Pursuit of Avengement'.

I want to get more ratings for my novels at Amazon.  It's crucially important for independent authors that they get these.  A whole load of prompting and soapboxing on my part (see, for example, here and here), however, has only really managed to raise the number of ratings I'm getting by a very small amount.

I'm in the somewhat fortunate position that I've created a series of books which a few people, at least, seem to enjoy.  It's not like I'm earning a fortune or anything, but I do know that the number of purchases of my books far exceeds the number of reviews I get, and the reviews I do get tend to be positive.

So I thought I'd try a little experiment.  At the end of all formats of 'AFK, in Pursuit of Avengement' (pictured above, by the way, is the print paperback version that I read from at my launch event) you'll find the following text:

Thursday will return… or will she?

What’s that, dear reader?  You’d like more?
Ok.  I think I could manage that.  I reckon I have at least one more AFK novel in me.  There are even a few clues I planted in this book to a storyline that could be picked up in another entry to the series.  Did you spot them?
If you really want it, though, you’ll have to do your part this time.
Here’s the deal: I’ll write a fifth AFK novel when – and only when – I get a hundred ratings for this one at www.amazon.com.
How do you leave a rating?  You’re going to have to have an Amazon account, I’m afraid, but that’s the only real obstacle.  Log in, go to the page for this book and leave a rating.  You’ll have to leave a sentence or two review as well because the system won’t let you leave a rating without some text.  But that’s no big deal, right?  It’ll take you less than five minutes for a book that cost you just over a dollar.  I don’t need your review to be poetry; I just need more reviews.  All independent authors need reviews because we don’t have big promotional budgets like the large publishing companies do.  Reader reviews and ratings are all we have, and they make a difference.  Do you like independent publication?  Do you want this to be a world in which the writing you buy isn’t only that which big companies deem suitable for you to read?  You do?  Then please leave reviews.
100 reviews and I’ll write another AFK novel.  Do you think we’ll make it?

It’ll be exciting if we do.

Aside from meaning every word - I really won't write another AFK novel until 100 reviews is reached (I'm perfectly happy to write other stuff) - I'm genuinely interested to see if this achieves its aims.  I don't really see why it shouldn't in an era where crowdfunding involves large numbers of people actually handing over cash to get a project going (obvious, I would actually need 100 readers, since I have no interest in soliciting reviews from people who haven't read the book).  If it does, this could be a useful technique for series authors to engage their readers and encourage them into the habit of leaving ratings.

A note on anonymity.  On reader has raised the issue that since you create your Amazon account in your real name, this will mean I get to see your RL identities.  Whilst it's true that I will get to see your Amazon ID, so long as you don't indicate in your review who you are in SL (or tell me in SL which review is yours) this information is completely meaningless to me.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

REVEALED: Blue and black dress was white and gold all along

Image: http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/white-gold-taylor-swift-kim-5240816
In a shocking twist to the weekend’s viral obsession over the colours of a seemingly innocent dress, it’s been revealed that the whole thing was a scam orchestrated by the illuminati.

A mystery source has revealed that the photograph of a dress which appeared to some viewers to be white and gold and to others to be blue and black was the latest in a series of manoeuvres by our secret overlords designed to make us feel helpless about absolutely everything.

“Primarily, this is done through the news media,” the unnamed person said. “Stories giving completely contrasting 'factual' accounts about an issue are carefully timed to a Fibonacci sequence, leaving viewers unable to reach an informed conclusion.  The end result is that people fall back on what they want to be true and cite articles consistent with this view to back up their arguments.  It’s a hi-tech version of ‘divide and rule’: everyone’s so busy arguing with each other that no-one notices the secret power hierarchy and what it’s up to.”

And the dress?  It was white and gold all along.  Knowing that the seemingly innocent initial post would go viral and that the vast majority of people would see the colours as they really were, illuminati puppet-masters then 3D printed a blue and black version of the dress to be modelled for the media.  “All they want is confusion,” said the secret source.  “A population that can’t even agree on what colours they are looking at is ready to be led by the nostrils into anything.  You probably didn’t even notice that the footage of the blue and black dress was actually shot in Second Life.  That’s how gullible you are.”

In other news unlikely to be read, reports that the blue and black dress was white and gold all along have been found to be untrue.

Leka

After a big event, it's always nice to escape to the countryside for some new air and a change of head space.  I've come to Leka, the latest simscape by Kate Bergdorf and which opens tomorrow.

As always, it's Kate's use of open space which is the first thing that impresses itself on me when I arrive.  The landing point is a small bike hire shop and you walk out onto a huge, open jetty.  The size of interiors in SL seems to be steadily shrinking whilst the big outdoors reclaims its majesty.  Increasingly, I find myself waiting for the Oculus Rift.



There are several fields of long grasses.  A walk along a cliff-top path leads to the space pictured above, which also includes a small wooden performance area.  Everything is very carefully placed.  Kate has arranged builds for SL creators that include Ionic, Apple Fall, Post, Culprit and The Domineaux Effect.



What I like most about this place is the slight edge of decay. I enjoy seeing and touching faded wood and gently rusting metal.  I enjoy this most when these old things are framed by plants and sunlight and soil.  It is a counterbalance between energy and entropy.  Leka, which Kate explained to me is a Swedish word for 'play', is a very sensory environment.  I can almost smell it.  My favourite spot is in the greenhouse next to the potting shed.  It evokes memories of long-ago visits to an elderly friend I once had in Cornwall.



There's a beach at the western edge of the island, where a windswept fence struggles to separate sand and sea.




And, of course, there are horses.

AFK #4 launched!

Thank you so much to all who turned up for the book launch - I was unable to keep count once I started reading, but I think we had close on 30 listeners at one point.  I'm pretty sure this is the largest SL audience I've attracted for a launch event.  And thanks again to Canary Beck for providing the venue and her amazing work on the book cover.