Confessions of a Digital Novelist


It’s a Wrap! Evermore: Call of the Nocturne is Finally Complete!

by on Feb.15, 2012, under Digital Publishing, Personal, Writing

After eight years, more than eight drafts, thousands of hours of my life, and three computers later, I have finally finished the manuscript for Evermore: Call of the Nocturne. My god, that took far longer than I ever expected it to. When I started back in 2004 (and this is not considering pre-production planning), I thought that it might take me three or four years. When I finished the first draft by 2007 or 2008, I thought I was nearly done. When I started this blog in 2010, my goal was to publish it that year. Obviously, that was not to be.

That said, the time was not wasted. During that four-year period, I had two professional edits done on my text. A developmental edit by Erin Stropes and a line edit by Amelia Bennett. The suggestions made by those two led to immense improvements in the manuscript. I owe them both a debt of gratitude for their contributions. E:COTN is a much better novel now then it was before their help. Still, it was four years!

Having reached the end of the road, I admit that my feelings are a little bittersweet. On one hand, I feel relief for having finally completed it. One the other hand, I feel a little bit lost. Completing this novel has been one of the driving forces of my life and now that it’s over, I feel like I’ve lost a little bit of the purpose of my life. I have been thinking about this novel constantly for the last eight years, thinking up new plot elements, developing characters, and filling holes and inconsistencies. Now that’s it’s done, I no longer have to obsess about it. I’m also somewhat overwhelmed but the length of time I’ve been working on it. I’ve been working on E:COTN for about a quarter of my life. With its completion, a significant chapter of my life has closed. It will be a time in my life that I will always miss.

In an ironic twist, I started to watch Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator to relax after completing the novel. At the beginning, the protagonist Howard Hughes four years and almost every cent who had on a movie called “Hell’s Angels”. His level of obsession with the project was absurd. He bought or loaned every plan he could find, used no fewer than 26 cameras, and then reshot the film twice: once because he wanted to get clouds into the shots and a second time because he wanted to add sound! It was insane and yet, while I watched, I understood completely. When you commit so much of your life to a project, it can be really difficult to let go. You want to make it perfect, but perfect is impossible. At some point you have to let it go, warts and all.

Howard Hughes couldn’t let it go and I’ve difficulty letting go of Evermore. As I came closer and closer to the end, I became more reluctant to finish. I was always finding something that needed to be improved or worked on. But at some point, I came to the conclusion that the novel was about as good as I could ever make. It was time to let it go. I had fixed all the plot holes I could find, I addressed every concern raised by my editors, it was done.

There’s still more work to do, of course. I still have to get the cover art drawn and arranged, I have to register the copyright and buy an ISBN. I’ll need to prepare the epub file, test it and upload it to iBookstore and the Kindle store. I’ll probably give the manuscript one more read to be sure but the bulk of the work is done.

I’ll also have more time to write on my blog. I’ve been so busy trying to finish E:COTN that I’ve neglected my blog at a very exciting time for self-publishing. We have new services arising, more direct access to iBookstore and an exciting new tool called iBooks Author that I’m dying to play with. I’ll keep all of you posted on all of these developments and keep you appraised of E:COTN’s release date as we approach.

Thank you again for your patience. I hope that when it is finally published, you will enjoy reading Evermore: Call of the Nocturne as I did writing it.


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Cover Art – Suicide is a Tax Write-Off

by on Aug.28, 2011, under Books, Digital Publishing, Personal, Writing

Wow, my apologies. It has been almost too months since my last post. Between editing the final version of E:CotN, going home for a family reunion, taking a camping trip, and the tribulations of life, I have had great difficulty in finding the time to post on this website. With the end of a busy summer, I should be able to write with more frequency from here on in.

The big news is that I’m planning to release a short story that I wrote way, way, way back in 1997 for free on Kindle. This will give people a chance to get to know my writing and for me to get some experience with the steps of digital self-publishing before I release E:CotN.

One of these steps is to commission cover art for the story. When publishing for Amazon, cover art is essential. It is your firs to opportunity to grab the attention of the reader and get him interested in your story.

Since I have no artistic talents whatsoever, my editor Erin Stropes suggested that I work with Jordan Knoll, a graphic designer based out of Toronto. Working with him was great. We were able to pass ideas back and forth until we came up with the concept that you see above. By using a discarded receipt, Jordan was able able to create an interesting image that tells the reader a great deal about the story without revealing the plot. I’m really happy with it. Jordan did some great work on it.

Next, I’ll have to purchase an ISBN for it and upload it to the Amazon Digital Text Platform. I had also wanted to upload it to iBooks, but to do so I have to charge a minimum price of 99 cents. As I wish to give away the short story for free to promote my upcoming novel, I don’t really feel it is appropriate to charge for one platform and not another. So for now, it will be Kindle-exclusive.

Anyway, I hope that all of you like it. I’ll be spending the next week plowing through Amelia’s edits on E:CotN. I look forward to the day when this project is finally completed.

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Back to Ottawa, Back to Work

by on Jan.03, 2011, under Personal

Christmas at the Blurton household(s) was short and sweet. In my three and a half day vacation, I managed to do the following:
  • Chat with my parents into the long hours of the night.
  • Have Christmas dinner at my younger brother’s home.
  • Play with his adorable little daughter Hanna.
  • Go to my older brother’s house for Boxing Day dinner.
  • Play with his daughter and see the newborn – both adorable.
  • Get my butt handed to me in Settlers of Catan (at least Chris didn’t win).
  • Play Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer (short review: it’s awesome).
  • Sleep in a room-sized dollhouse.
  • Play Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood singleplayer (short review: it’s also awesome).
  • Have another Christmas dinner at my parents house with Gramma Blurton.
  • Fly home, get sick and work the next day.

So aside from the getting sick part, it was a pretty awesome vacation if not a wee bit condensed. My favourite moment was I was showing my little niece my iPad and the thirty or so Disney movies installed on it. This was her actual quote:

“I like your movies (pause). I love you.”

That one just about melted my heart and made me ask my brother if I take her back to Ottawa with me. This year it really hit me how far away from my family I have gone. I only get to seem them twice a year now and a whole new generation of Blurtons are growing up without me. It made me reconsider my move to Ottawa, until I remembered what Ottawa has that Enderby doesn’t:


I wonder if these are the same emotions that my ancestors felt when they made the trip over the ocean from Britain. They must have known that they would never see their families again and yet they still made the trip, looking for a better life. I guess I should count my blessings. At least I get to see my family twice a year.

After the vacation, I returned to work for a quiet two days and then spent the long weekend recovering from my illness. Unfortunately, I gave it to my roommate. In the meantime, I did finally finish the line edit of Evermore: Call of the Nocturne. I had never imagined that it would have taken so long (approximately 6 months). I still have a few pages of notes of things that I need to go to fix but for the most part, the next draft is ready. My next step will be to hire an editor to do another line edit, clean up the text and finalize it for publication). I pray that the final edit will not take nearly as long.

Oh yeah, my birthday party is coming up. This year I’m turning 32. Thankfully, I have aged well. The birthday party will be at Pub Italia on Wednesday at 5:30 pm. If you don’t know where Pub Italia is, then I probably don’t want you showing up to my party. :) Here’s to 32 more glorious years.

Until next time, keep the comments coming.

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