Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where have I been?  Trying to get DotS to the top of the charts at  It shot to #7 in a just a week, but got stuck between the #7 & #8 spots for November.  It's currently at #4 and if I can keep it in the top 5 for the rest of the month then HarperCollins will review it.  This could lead to a book deal.  So here's hoping.

I really didn't think being on the site would be work, but as it turns out, I have to approach each of the 20-30 new members each day and convince them to read the book (well, 1/2 of it is posted on the site) and then Pick it as one of their favourites.  The problem is you can only 5 favourites, so the book gets bumped off lists after a while.  This is going to be a long nerve-wracking month.

In other news, I just finished my local book tour which went pretty well.  Sold lots of books and hopefully word about the DotS will spread after Christmas since most of the book sold are going to be Christmas presents.

I keep waiting for a little downtime from this book promo stuff, but I think there never actually will be any.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Game of Gaming

Well that was an intense 2 weeks.  I was at GameOn Finance one week and the Vortex Game Design Competition the next with my book promo party on the weekend between them.  Talk about a serious lack of sleep.  It also including an all-nighter with some of the big players on a Wednesday!

On the game side, I didn't win the competition but I made the finals and generated a lot of buzz.  I have a pile of business cards an inch high to follow-up on and a couple of them I've already scheduled meetings with.  If I'm good, I should have some deals in place by January.

On the book side, the launch went fairly well.  I hired a guy that looked like Alex to walk around and promote the book and I dressed up my niece to look like Dara.  The party went until close for some of us and I didn't end up at home until 4am. (Then I had to get up early and start prep for the competition.)

The very cool news was from the book promo this last Sunday.  A lady came in and bought DotS for her grandson because it was on his Christmas wish-list!  DotS is on wish-lists!  How cool is that?!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not just books...

In case you haven't heard, I don't only write.  I design too.  I'm currently entered in a game design competition here in Toronto.  The deadline for the 1 page proposal is Friday.  It just checked up on that today and thank goodness I did.  I thought it was NEXT Friday.  I might have missed it.  I managed to write up 2 proposals today.  I'll tweak them over the next day and hopefully they'll get me into the semi-finals.  Wish me luck!

Meanwhile I have a game finance conference to prepare for that takes place next week.  So I basically don't get a break for the next 2 weeks between the games and the book, and I'm not getting paid for any of this.  I really must be crazy!

A review that's not a review and more!

I've been so busy getting ready for the first book promo (that took place last Sunday) that I haven't had time to post.  Here's a quick recap on the reviews that came in over the last week:

My Life In Not So Many Words "The book is full of rich characters, fantastic adventures and danger all the way through it. It even has pirates! So much fun!"

The Bookologist "Shiraz's flowing and effortless writing pulled me into a world of magic and fantasy. In other words, it's amazing."

Ramblings of the Teenage Bookworm "There was never a dull moment, there was a lot of action, adventure, and fantasy."

Today's Adventure "Mysterious and magical- I was entranced."

Wow.  That's pretty good for one week!

The big surprise, however, came from a blogger who didn't read the book.  Check out what Gwendolyn at A Sea Of Books wrote!

The first promo wasn't bad.  I need some good signage (which I'm working on) and a better audio-visual display (also working on).  I think I'll have all the kinks out by the big 8 hour promo on Halloween.  Rupinder (one of the creators) said he's hiring 3 teens to play Alex, Scorpius, and Maya at the event.  I've got a room booked at the bar across the street for afterwards.  It'll end up being a 16 hour day for me promoting then hosting.  I'll collapse shortly afterward.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The continuing evolution of the English language

(I'm sure this topic has probably come up in other places, but I'm new here, so it's my turn.)

As I see the word nite appearing with increasing frequency, the writer in me cannot help but cringe. However, the programmer in me looks at that as an efficient way to spell a word that, given its spelling, should not sound like that.  Any Monty Python fan will tell you that knight is pronounced kinnigget! (Yes, you need the exclamation point ... and a French accent too.)  Being in Shakespeare plays has taught me that we used to pronounce the "ed"s when we made things past tense.  So I'm going back and forth on whether "night" should evolve into "nite".  The pronunciation is clearer when you read it.

I think the question that haunts me is "Where does it stop?" Will we pick up a novel one day and read: "Tonite ur life will becum what u hopd 4," sed Annie." and accept this as prose?  I don't mean anytime soon (I hope not anytime soon) but say 50 or 100 years from now.  It's a scary thought, but think of what someone from Shakespeare's time would say if (s)he read a book today.

There's an American joke that asks why "snow plow" doesn't rhyme.  Hmmm, maybe because it's snow plough?  But then shouldn't "plough" rhyme with "though"?  Argh!  Maybe we should spell it "snoe plow".  I know I'm rambling, but the thing I'm getting at is, can we force the evolution of English in a direction that makes sense?  I don't want to spell "your" and "you're" as "ur".  Enough people don't know the difference already, and I don't want to have to decode the book I'm reading.  I can learn to spell colour and honour without "u"s (as much as it hurts) but I think we have to draw a line somewhere.

"Ain't" is in the dictionary.  Has anyone seen used in prose and not just as dialogue?  Because apparently it's allowed now.  And with blogs becoming a standard information source, and many bloggers either not doing or not having the resources to do a proper edit, bad spelling and grammar is being read and learned from a new group of "officials" and accepted as correct.  I can't tell you how many news articles I've read online have made me cringe.  Half the time I don't want to comment on the article, but on the writer's lack of skill with writing.  I just don't want to appear anal to everyone by saying, "Guy, 'Their massing troups along the boarder' is just so wrong!" when the concern should be the imminent war. (I'm also hoping I haven't made too many errors in this post while complaining about them.)

So just where is our language headed?  Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More cool reviews!

Here're the reviews that came in while I was trying to get from point V to point M.

All Booked Up "This is in many ways an absolutely spectacular book."

Violet Crush "Honestly, I don’t remember when I had so much fun reading an action packed fantasy novel before."

Wordsmithsonia "I found this to be a wonderful story of Good vs. Evil."

Thanks to all the bloggers for their time and great feedback!

Back in the T-dot.

Yes, it's been a while since a post, but moving across the country two days after my last day at work while still doing all the regular DotS stuff has had me pretty busy.  I have the book promotion starting next Sunday and decided to have a few posters made up to display behind me.  Due to a miscommunication, the printer made prints 1'x1.5' instead of 2'x3'.  Now I've got these gorgeous pics but don't know what to do with them.  That happened on the Friday before I left Victoria, B.C., so there wasn't time to do a correction.

Friday was also an interesting day in terms of things to do.  I went into the UPS to see if I could borrow a trolley on Saturday to cart my 30" monitor in for shipping.  They then informed me that they are closed on the Saturdays of a long weekend (Thanksgiving in Canada) so I'd have to drop off the monitor before close.  This meant giving up my lunch hour to go home, pack up the monitor, and get it to them.  Annoying, but not too difficult except for the fact that at sometime during the day a guy would be arriving at my office to take my car away to be shipped by train to Toronto.  (That sounds wrong. Shouldn't it be "trained" to Toronto?) So now I'm in a race against the clock.  Only I can't take the easy route and just go home and pack the monitor right away because I've meetings at work to close up everything I've been doing. Ack!

God was on my side, however, and set fire to one of the ferries between Vancouver and Victoria, delaying all ferries for the rest of the day, including the one the driver was on.  He didn't need to go to such great lengths, but it was appreciated.  So, I got everything done and am now safely back in Mississauga, Ontario, until at least the end of the year.  I'm already missing my car and my monitor but won't see either until next week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Back after the flu tried to kill me

Last week was bad, very bad.  Teeth chattering cold flashes and sweat drenched hot flashes.  It felt like my rib cage had shrunk so that it hurt whenever I inhaled.  God help me whenever I coughed or laughed.  Luckily, my ribs have expanded again and just in time for some great reviews and one ok one:

My Blog 2.0 "I enjoyed this mystical magical adventure wholeheartedly."

ForeWord Reviews “Non-stop action adventure.”

The Mommy Rambles "Loved, loved, loved! this book!"

La Femme Readers "I couldn't help but get lost in this world Shiraz and his team created."

These bloggers are really boosting my confidence that DotS may one day become a best-seller.
Big thanks to everyone!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The meeting

I have to tell you about a meeting at work I had recently.  It was very technical but I'm going to use a restaurant metaphor so everyone can understand the frustration I went through trying to get the information I wanted.  It went something like this:

Shiraz: Can anyone tell me how to get to the Benefits restaurant?
Consultant1: Why are you going there?
Shiraz: To eat.
Consultant2: How are you getting there?
Shiraz: Will that change its location?
Consultant2: No but it'll change your route.  If you take a bus it'll be different than taking a car.
Shiraz: But I just want to know where it is.
Consultant1: They make good fish there, but avoid the prawns.
Shiraz: That's nice, but where is it?
Consultant2: And they have specials on Tuesday.
Consultant1: Tuesday?  I thought it was Thursday?
Consultant2: Hmmm, it may be Thursday.  I'll check.
Shiraz: Can you check where it is at the same time?
Consultant1: No, that's a different look up.
Shiraz: Look, I just want to know where the damn restaurant is.
Consultant2: Oh, look! It IS Thursday.
Consultant1: I thought so!  I'm glad we got that settled.
Consultant2: Yes, it's been a productive meeting.
Shiraz: ....

They came through!

Well, my family finally came through today and 20 copies of my book were sent out.  Now I just have to send out the outstanding books and that mess is behind me.  Whew!

Also I posted the promo video last night.  It uses the Ladyhawke theme intro. One of my favourite soundtracks and one of my favourite movies.  I know it'll probably get pulled eventually because I don't have the rights, but I've sent an email to Alan Parson's manager in the hopes of maybe getting them for just a little while during this promotion phase.  I actually wouldn't mind hiring Alan to do the music for the movie for DotS (if it ever gets turned into a movie).  I think the medieval music with electric guitar works great for a book set in a medieval world starring an electric guitarist.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

If you want something done right...

Well, I'm out in Victoria, B.C. and I ran out of books a couple weeks ago but I had a stash across the country at my parents' place in Toronto.  I had many more bloggers I promised books to, so a call went out and I asked if they could send the box of books to me.  They volunteered (with the help of my brother and sister) to mail out all the books for me.  This was Sunday two weeks ago and the books were to go out Monday.  Well on Monday there were "issues" so they said Tuesday and on Tuesday things came up and they said Wednesday. This continued through the week until I said, "Just send me the box!", but they wouldn't calmly assuring me that the books would get sent the following day.  One of the other things I asked them to do was check to make sure they had enough books. They, of course, didn't check ... until Thursday when they told me that they were short 10 books.  So now I had to order 10 books, which I could have done almost 2 weeks and the bloggers that were waiting for already late books will have to wait an additional 2 weeks while I wait for a new shipment.  At this point I'm thinking the odds of the books going out on Monday are slim to none, so I'm making sure to get enough books to send out the whole shipment.  My book launch party is on October 31st and I was hoping to have a lot of buzz generated by blogger reviews, but that's going to be tough when many of the bloggers will only get the books around then.  I love my family and I know they have the best intentions, but this is ridiculous.  Why don't they just give up and send me the damn books???  If you're blogger who I contacted and haven't gotten a book from me yet, this is why.  I'll be sending a bunch of apology letters out this week.  I'm so embarrassed about this whole incident.  I really would have been faster for me to have driven across the country, grabbed the books, driven back, and sent them myself.  How sad is that?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Second blogger review

Review by A Bibliophile

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Blogger Review

Big thanks to Amy for the great review.  I can't believe she read it in a day!

My Overstuffed Bookshelf - DotS Review

Monday, September 14, 2009

I managed to get a 3 column blog going thanks to Mavie at

She pointed me to this page:

Now I just need to add a little character to this place...

Google knows about the book!

Each day for the last month I've been checking on google for news about DotS.  Yes, I know you can get google alerts and I do, but whatever crawler it uses sends me random alerts sometimes pointing to things weeks or months old.  Anyway, you know how google now pops up words as you type to help to quickly form your search phrase?  Today Defenders of the Scroll finally showed up in the list. Woo hoo!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ok, I just tried to upload a pic and I came out looking like one of the Blue Man Group.  Maybe it just looks this way in preview.  I'm going to attach it to this post to find out...

Look a blog!

Welcome to my blog, something I should have started months ago but kept putting off because of the insane list of other things I had to do. This should be a good time to have one however, since Defenders of the Scroll will be in the hands of about 60 bloggers in the next few weeks and I'm anxiously waiting to see if any of them like it. Okay, that's all for now. I have to go customize this sucker.