‘Oti Rawa Ati’ – Finished at last

Six months and 73,000 words later I have finally finished my latest WIP – “River is Rising.”

Well what a long slog that was. The book began simply enough. Set in the not too far distant future, antimicrobial resistant pestilence forces humankind’s hand to strive for the stars. Three vast galaxy cruisers are created and set off for the far-flung reaches of the galaxy.

The twist that gave me complications as a writer, but hopefully depth and interest to the reader, is that a chance discovery based on an abundance of Bismuth in New Zealand, leads to the discovery of a highly oligodynamic metal compound, one that kills bacteria on contact. The race that rises to sudden wealth, and to fill the political vacuum, are the Māori people. At once the book took on another angle, the richness of the Māori language coupled with their ancient myths and legends, all set amidst a world ready for decolonialism, provided the flawed character of River Te Toa with a broader path to travel.

River has to navigate a new world founded on the brittle friction between ancient Māori traditions and science, while she strives to understand why the fleet of galaxy cruisers are being destroyed by some unknown means.

It was complex to write, but at the same time, carefully weaving the threads of custom, language and song into the tapestry of the story was a joy. I love research, so to gain an insight, even at a very basic level, into that rich culture was fascinating. The symbolism of Tā moko and moko kauae became central themes. You can read about the meaning, and the resurgence, of this art form by clicking on the image below.

Moko Kauae

I have moved to querying to see if I can hook a literary agent (any out there who happen to be reading this – don’t be a stranger!). In the meantime I have started book two, in what I believe will end up as a trilogy, I already have the outlines for all three books. If traditional publishing doesn’t work out I will self-publish all three towards the end of the year.

Follow the blog to keep updated on the status of the new book and the writing of the next two.

You can read two prior blog posts relating to the themes and topics within the book here:

As my flawed and personally challenging female protagonist, River Te Toa might say “Ko te tumanako i pai ki a koe te korero, whai mai i ahau mo etahi atu whakahou.”

Or in English (thank goodness for Google translate) – I hope you enjoyed the update, follow the blog and join the newsletter for more updates.

Postscript: In my earnest and honest attempt to represent even a fraction of the proud and ancient heritage of the Māori nation, I hope that any omissions or errors have caused no offence.

A writer’s winter’s tale

Good lord don’t you just hate the endless plethora of tedious self indulgent, self-gratifying, self-aggrandizing end of year summaries that plague our lives during the Holiday season? I certainly do, but I hope you are in the minority coz here comes mine!

I started my marathon of a journey as a writer and author on the 1st of January 2021, so we are fast approaching my first anniversary. We are two self-published books into that long haul trip. One more book is essentially complete and is in its final edits.

I have made a lot of mistakes and learnt an enormous amount about the business. Here are some stats from this last 12 months:

Stats (12 month period)

201 Total units sold

6074 KENP page reads

69 KENP full reads

43 Global Amazon ratings – average 4.7 out of 5

Stats (6 month period)

328 Total units sold

7298 KENP page reads

32 KENP full reads (much longer book)

12 Global Amazon ratings – average 4.5 out of 5 (this should be 4.8 but some wretch, you know who you are, gave me a single 3 star rating – no review mind, just a rating in the same week the book got released), not bitter, just saying…

So, you know what? Not amazeballs, I didn’t set the world alight if I’m honest. A solid B—, could do better, see me at the end of class.

For you few foolhardy souls who have read the books, you have generally really liked the writing and a lovely few have even taken the time to email me and let me know that, which is massively motivating. I started the journey wondering if anybody would bother to read them, and when strangers started to do so, I sat waiting for the 1 star reviews and criticisms to roll in. That definitely did not happen, quite the opposite. So I guess I proved I can actually write a bit, and possibly even craft a tale sufficiently well to engage with my readers. You know what, for year one, I’ll take that!

I started with something like 6 twitter followers and currently have 1,708 followers. To be honest I am not sure what to do with them, and 95% are fellow writers, they certainly are not buying my books! Maybe next year I will be struck with inspiration and find a way to leverage Twitter more meaningfully.

I played around with Instagram and TikTok but lets be brutally honest with each other, I’m a 56 year old bald white guy, I have no idea what I’m doing and its all just too embarrassing. Not for me.

I posted a total of 24 blog posts (this will be the 25th). I do enjoy writing the blog and it gets good traction and always drives traffic to the website. You can read them all, and sign up to follow the blog, here:

I finally got started on Goodreads and have a few reviews and a handful of followers. Give me a follow here:

I launched the website which has been a great success, not in sales you understand, but I think it’s pretty and represents well the brand I am trying to build.

The website received 1,390 views from 891 individual visitors originating from 26 different countries, that obviously included the USA, Canada and the UK but also from such unexpected outliers as China, Romania, Malaysia, Tanzania and Vietnam. My biggest referrer was Facebook which tells me (too late, because I just ran the report) that I should pay attention to my FB page. Sorry FB followers! I will do better next year i promise.

Follow me here:

I did start a newsletter and managed to get an email list started with 102 subscribers. but the percentage of “opens” was very low and I got disheartened and lost interest in this midway through the year. Genuine apologies to you, my sad and lonely friend, if you were my one subscriber waiting for the next release, I commit to a different and more innovative approach in 2022.

As far as narrow vs wide, I liked to keep this, as one might define, on a “loosey goosey” strategy, as in I just couldn’t decide what to do. As we move into 2022 I have decided to keep “Mistakes” on Amazon exclusively but move “Haunting” wide so that is now available on the following bookstores.

I am also going to have “Haunting” available, at a discount, on a niche boutique site that supports Indie Authors, called Godless. This is partly because the owners give a better margin than Amazon but they also support a cool charity called Children of the Night who provide intervention in the lives of children who are sexually exploited and vulnerable to or involved in prostitution and pornography.

Lessons learned:

Series sell better than standalones. That’s why I am writing a Sci-Fi trilogy. It’s not really the book, it’s more to do with the ability to flex one or more books in marketing to drive sales of subsequent books. With a standalone, it…well…it stands alone.

Write to your audience – hint #1 – you need to figure out who that is. Hint #2 unless you are writing about your friends and family, it is not your friends and family.

Amazon ads drove better sales than Facebook ads for me, but many authors state the opposite.

Reviews drive sales and ratings. BUT. It’s really, really hard to get reviews. Please consider that when you read any book by any Indie writer. Stephen King and Dean R Koontz really don’t need them, Indie authors live or die by them.


If you are new to the blog – welcome. If you have followed along its been a great year because of you. Your feedback, reviews and the occasional personal email telling me to keep going has been truly inspirational. In 2022 I plan on completing the trilogy and will try and seek representation within the first 6 months. If that isn’t successful I will self-publish towards the end of the year. I am also considering adding a series of books to Haunting.

As always, ping me on the website, on Goodreads or email me at author@andycwareing.com

Have a great Xmas and see you all in 2022!

Hard Sci-Fi (ciencia ficcion dura)

This blog is the long-delayed follow-up to the previous blog on Hard Science Fiction. Read the previous blog post here.

The original blog was posted on August 16th, so I have been extremely remiss in not getting around to the sequel. In my defense, I did move countries again (!) and have almost finished the 60,000 word Sci-Fi book around which this post is based.

So, in the last blog, I promised a discussion on Qualia and Quantum Consciousness. It is an extremely central theme of the book.

Qualia? Yup, it’s a word I hadn’t come across before I started writing the book. But in running through some research it popped up and I was hooked. My book’s (soon to be published, follow me here or on Goodreads for updates) major theme is interconnectedness, even across vast spatial distances and temporal barriers. Qualia helped me bridge those issues.

First termed by C. S. Lewis in 1929 (a bit of a pervert old CS, so factor that into your consideration of what follows), Qualia can be referred to as the phenomenal properties of experience, and experiences that have qualia are referred to as being phenomenally conscious.

OhhhhKayyyy? So let’s dumb that down a little. In terms that I can understand, it is the concept of why we all share a common set of properties of things that defy scientific explanation. The smell of a fine Bordeaux, the touch of the skin of a peach, the pain of a paper cut.

These things are essentially experiential, not experimental.

TBH – it is mostly a philosophical discussion, but it begins to touch on the subject of telepathy which of course makes scientists balk. For full disclosure, I am as far from being spiritual as is possible, but as one of the characters in my book states:

But isn’t that puzzling to you?” Aroha looked around at the faces of the other researchers. They all looked back, serious as they considered the conundrum. “We all recognize the sensation of red, and we all agree when we see it, but we have no way to communicate it, and there is nothing in science that tells us what it should be like. The color red and the smell of the rose are examples of qualia. We humans perceive them as strong and firmly unified properties of our surroundings, of the real world, whereas in actual fact they are simply products of our consciousness.”

It made me sit up and think, and the concept that perhaps we ‘share’ what we consider to be unified properties, precisely because we ‘share’ elements of our consciousnesses, lent itself to what I think is a very strong chapter and a lead-in to the later stages of the book.

I am 5 (FIVE!) chapters from finishing the first draft. Close to the current word count of 60K, I am certain it will end up at 63-65K. I always add even as I edit.

Shannon Hale said it best “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that I can later build sandcastles.”

It is such a true quote. I am both exalted and at the same time dismayed by some of the chapters and the work that lies ahead, but it is by far my most adventurous and far-reaching novel and I am excited to get it finished.

Good grief!

Did you really read to the end of that blog? You may be the target reader for this book!

Go on, go on, go on…sign up for the blog to keep posted on release dates. I honestly think it might be more than OK.

On the interconnectedness of things

Couple of inspirational quotes to begin this week.

“Learn to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci quote

We are all connected; to each other biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson quote

Sure, OK, I hear you mutter as you prepare to click away to see which minor celebrity is trending for absolutely no reason on Twitter.

Well, I bring it up because it’s the driving theme of my latest, and yet to be published, novel.

Set in the not too far distant future, the earth is on the verge of destruction, ravaged by climate and disease, a new and mighty nation rises to aggressive domination. Amid this ascendency, a rare combination of technological innovation and human brilliance makes off-world travel and new world colonization finally possible.

When three massive Galaxy Cruisers are built and sent to their separate destinations, they transport the hopes of the planet with them. Families and lives are torn apart, but some connections are not so easy to cut.

As the great ships approach their destinations, one by one they are mysteriously winked out of existence. Can River and her friends find the answer, and in time, to save the last Galaxy Cruiser and with it the last hope for humanity.

The theme of connectivity is threaded through the chapters lives and motivations of the characters, and includes such concepts as quantum entanglement and quantum consciousness (qualia).

You may have guessed that I have begun the largely painful process of writing blurbs and synopsis. I am still torn wether to tread the difficult and long path of seeking representation from a literary agent or simply self-publishing. The first draft should be ready for short submission before Christmas if I choose to go that route.

If you want your spirit and confidence crushed, but not immediately, submit a manuscript you strongly believe in to a number of literary agents.

It needs the last three chapters writing, but I finally resolved some of the outstanding issues and one very echoey plot chasm (man, that one was deep). Editing will take some time, as the story is complex and relies on interactions that need to be more carefully woven through the ARC of the story. Certainly more carefully than I have currently managed in the first draft.

Still, it is exciting to be so close to completion. It’s by far my most far-reaching work and has been a real challenge to craft.

Please feel free to give me some feedback on this first draft of the blurb. Drop me an email anytime!

author@andycwareing.com

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Thank you for taking the time to read. Please follow the blog for future updates and my largely random thoughts.

Hard SciFi (in more ways than one)

Science fiction is often thought of as a genre that depicts the future or some imagined world, but it also can be used to explore and explain present-day issues. This blog post will examine hard science-fiction. It’s going to get hard—in more ways than one!

The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell‘s Islands of Space. It is characterized by a focus on accuracy of logic and adherence to something achievable, or close to achievable with current technology. The subject of the genre should exist within the realm of scientific possibility.

The research for my latest book has been both arduous and fun in equal measure. One day I found a useful calculator that measures time dilation based on percentage of proximity to light speed travel which I spent way too much time playing around with. Try it here:

I tried to keep the space travel elements grounded in reality. None of the Galaxy Cruisers in my book can travel at anywhere close to the speed of light (c) ,so the journeys the occupants face are loooong.

I use Tokamak Torus magnetic reconnection propulsion systems for the space travel elements. It’s the same physics that can be seen on the surface of our Sun. Magnetic lines converge there and then split apart. When they re-combine they release truly enormous amounts of energy. The Tokamak Torus confinement field harnesses that energy and converts it into a plasma field that could be sustained (even using today’s technology) in the Mega-Ampere level, the sort of energy seen in the most powerful lightning bolts.

Hard SciFi
Solar Mass Plasma Ejection

The new book also delves into the bizarre concept of “Qualia” and how that interleaves with “quantum consciousness” but I will leave that for another post, as I just finished writing that chapter and my brain still smarts.

If you’ve been looking for a new science fiction book that is both “hard” and grounded in reality, I encourage you to subscribe to the blog or sign up for my newsletter. https://andycwareing.com/promotions/

I am roughly 70% done with the structure so hope to publish within the next three months, so let’s keep in touch on progress, release dates, early access to chapters and all things sci-fi!

From science nerd to Sci-Fi writer

I am definitely a bit of a science nerd. I was immediately hooked by the 80’s TV series “Cosmos” hosted by the wonderful and enigmatic Carl Sagan. The episodes had the most intriguing names to capture the eager mind of an easily influenced teenage boy. Sorry, for some reason Daisy Duke just came to mind. Catherine Bach and Carl Sagan – those were some formative years!

Anyway back to Sagan’s episodes. Episodes with names such as “The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean,” “One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue,” and the episode that deftly dealt with the possibilities of infinite universes and multiverses, “The Edge of Forever.” Incredible stuff.

A little later, I went on to read Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” and then continued on to battle through Brian Greene’s “Elegant Universe,” “The Fabric of the Universe” and “The Hidden Reality.” Despite the Washington Post calling him “the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today,” he constantly challenged the ability of my meagre brain to follow his logic, and truly comprehend the theories he posited. I must have read and re-read the chapters and books a hundred times trying to fully understand the nuances of his revelations.

When I started to write I dabbled with a couple of genres. My first book was based on a true life experience, our adventures of traveling from the USA to Spain during Covid 19. My next book sprang more from an idea I had when I read about the last few days of Edgar Allan Poe. He died in extremely strange and sinister circumstances after going missing for five days, and then turning up entirely deranged and wearing clothes not his own. That book tilted towards the paranormal. Not because that was the genre I wanted to write, but because the idea I had chose the genre.

But deep down, it was always Science Fiction for me and my nerdy brain. The new book (yet to be titled) is a work in progress that includes standards such as time dilation and quantum mechanics, but also pushes the boundaries of innovative (and almost to be attained) propulsion systems, and the entirely theoretical (possibly even pseudo-science) of quantum consciousness. Every chapter surprises me with the new directions I am able to take the story.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and found it interesting. If science fiction is your thing, be sure to subscribe or sign up for our newsletter so we can keep the conversation going! In the next blog I will talk more detail of the bleeding edge technologies I am leveraging in the book.

I will leave you with one last memory from the 80’s that also influenced me greatly…altogether fellow Gen Xers…”Your a wonder…”

A different environment

Writing is a deeply social activity, we write so that other can read our stories after all. The difference is that it is largely undertaken in complete solitude. I hear that some writers start their manuscripts in the hubbub of a noisy coffee shop, only moving to more peaceful surroundings for final proofreading and editing. I prefer silence.

It has been something I have struggled to find since moving back to the USA. We lived for eight months in a sleepy rural village called Somerton in the green rolling sheep speckled hills of South-West England. It helped that BoJo had everybody completely locked down for several months, but during that time I was writing at least a chapter a day (1800 words on average). My word rate had dropped precipitously since moving to the US and I blame the environment.

In the UK we would rise late, drink some tea and feast on Warburton’s toasted bread, piled high with hot melting butter, and then walk the dogs across a couple of miles of damp and muddy fields (often having to carry Pi across the deeper puddles).

After a lunch of bacon sandwiches I would settle in to write for at least three hours, intermittently working on a new chapter, and then editing the previous days work, before breaking to drink more tea and watch a Tipping Point on TV.

Here in the States, neither myself or Paula have managed to settle into a good and regular routine. There is always something to be done to the house, or the yard, or things to be purchased. The weather has been too hot and humid to really walk the dogs or play any tennis and my writing routine has largely fallen by the wayside.

Despite all of those things, I am still over half way through the latest work in progress. Its a science fiction story, which should yield a series if I don’t screw it up too badly. The story is set not too far in a dystopian future, where the warlike Maori nation has risen to control what remains of the worlds dwindling resources, and launch an attempt at off-world colonization. Layla and her friends are desperately trying to save the crew and colonists of the “Tuatahi” Galaxy cruiser as she nears her destination.

There are heaps of quantum entanglement and relativistic time dilation issues to deal with which has been fun to research.

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