A simple post this week for several reasons I won't bore you with.
I've posted some photos from New London and the museum outside Submarine Base New London, the setting for The Code. My visit there last year was wonderful - joyous and to a degree overwhelming. To see the place I'd written about and where my characters live really was indescribable. We didn't have much time there, and as you can see the weather wasn't the greatest for sightseeing. I saw enough to be content with my descriptions.
For those who have read the first two books in the series, I hope you can see the characters here the way I could.
Morse first was developed around 1837 when someone developed a method of transmitting electrical pulses along a wire. The need to create a language using these pulses saw the earliest form of Morse. The current International Morse Code came into use around 1865 and is still used by aviators, amateur radio operators, and the military, and others. The best-known Morse code message is the universally acknowledged emergency call of SOS—three dashes, three dots, three dashes, all without spaces in between ‘---...---‘.
The idea of using Morse code in The Code came simply because I wanted to make the messages more mysterious, easier to leave (faster than writing letters), and to add to the confusion around what the messages meant. The Navy uses Morse code and its personnel are trained to use it, so it seemed appropriate for it to be used in a Navy setting. It also meant that it could be read by the people finding it.
I found a fun tool while researching Morse code – the SCPhillips.com Morse code translator.
.. / ..-. --- ..- -. -.. / .- / ..-. ..- -. / - --- --- .-.. / .-- .... .. .-.. . / .-. . ... . .- .-. -.-. .... .. -. --. / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. . / / - .... . / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. . / - .-. .- -. ... .-.. .- - --- .-. .-.-.-
For the record, this Morse message is a simple repeat of the sentence above it, created using the translator. Check it out here and have some fun!
And yes, the Morse on the cover of The Code reads 'code'.
I'm thrilled to announce that the third and final novel of the New London Books, The Code, will be released on April 29th!
Writing the series has been a wonderful journey. There was never meant to be a series, but like so many other things in my writing, it just had to happen. This final story - Ryan's - is the perfect way to finish and it's given me huge satisfaction to share the stories.
NCIS Special Agent Ryan Gilmour finds himself back at the New London submarine base, the result of a posting swap with a friend. He settles in to wait for a chance to lead an investigation and for a woman who can capture his fickle heart.
When a vandal carves a Morse code message onto a building on the base, Ryan crosses paths with librarian Alex Ware. Her ability to avoid answering his questions leaves Ryan convinced she is hiding something. Determined to find out what it is he seeks her out, but his persistence only leads to conflict and frustration.
As a second act of vandalism rapidly follows, and then a third, Ryan is given the lead in the investigation. The attacks become sinister, the trail of Morse code messages with each act taunting Ryan and his team, daring them to break the code before it’s too late. And at every turn is the elusive Alex Ware.
Will Ryan and his team find the key to solving the case? Will Alex let down her guard and tell Ryan her secret?
Can they uncover who is behind The Code?
Preorders are available now!
Ebook - Amazon
Print - from the author here
Book covers are one of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about. All of the advice out there says you should never design your own cover, and its great advice. Even those who have graphic design skills are advised to leave cover design to others. And yet I do my own. The decision is generally a financial one. Enough cost goes into producing my books as it is without adding cover design costs on top—it’s not something I’m willing to add onto my publication budget. Okay, so if my books had nicer covers perhaps they’d sell better. My cover for Secrets Within recently scored me an equal first place in a popular vote, so I’m going to keep doing my own designs—for now, anyway. At least I have only myself to blame if it doesn’t work.
One of the ways I get ideas for covers is to search book cover images for the genre of my books. This is where I come across my biggest issue. A large number of romance suspense novels feature sexy men and women, ripped abs, etc, but I can’t put that on my covers. Not because I’m a prude, but because it would be false advertising. I don’t put sex scenes in my stories, so covers like that would be misleading to the reader. I also worry that the people on the cover may influence the reader’s imagination. I want my readers to be able to picture the characters in their own way. As my books also fall into the romantic thriller description, I tend to go with the more thriller type of cover. More representative of my books than the abs! They can still feature the couples, etc, but more of them focus on setting. Where is the book set? What is one of the pivotal scenes and where is that set? Much easier to do—until you try to find the right image! It is generally easier than trying to find the right looking person/couple in the correct pose. And when you’re an amateur like me, setting is easier to work with. Colours can be adjusted to set the right atmosphere and simple Photoshop tweaks can change things in an image that aren’t quite correct.
I’ve recently done a short course through the Australian Writer’s Centre on cover design. It was very helpful and reinforced some of the things I’d worked out for myself (and they didn’t use any of my covers as examples of ‘poor’ design – phew!). On the whole, I’m happy enough with the covers I have for now. I have no plans to change them anytime soon and will continue to enjoy putting them together.
I’ve always loved Facebook. It’s given me the chance to connect with old friends and overseas relatives, plus those closer to home. I’ve also made lots of friends in the Australian and international writing community, something I would never have been able to do otherwise.
Facebook isn’t so friendly these days. There’s the data mining issue that has become big news in the past few days and then there’s the news feed issue. I’m not referring to the algorithm and its effect on Pages, but my personal news feed. Facebook has decided it knows what my important posts are and puts them at the top. I prefer to see the most recent first, and I can change my feed to reflect that. And I do. Every. Single. Time. As soon as I move off my news feed, Facebook changes it back and I can’t stop it happening. Sigh.
I’m not taking my Page down nor am I going to reduce my posting on it. For all its current flaws I still love Facebook. I’m going to be adding to it instead—with Instagram.
I’ve always loved Instagram too. I’m a visual learner and love images, and now I’m going to focus more on using them. One of the beauties of Instagram is the ease of sharing between it and Facebook. By using Instagram more, I’ll be using Facebook more, too.
Will that mean there will be more posts on my blog as well? I don’t know at this point in time. If there is one thing I’ve learned about writing, social media, and blogging, it’s that it is all fluid and can change (and will!).
A reminder about my newsletter. The next one will head out on March 31st with an exclusive look at my new book, and yes, there will be free chapters to read! Interested? You can sign up using the form on this blog, or here.
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My thoughts on writing, the research I do, and what interests and inspires me as a writer.
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