Discovering music, discovering books

As a recent iPad purchaser, I’ve been reading forums and guides looking
for useful and fun apps to add to my collection.

One of my favourites is Aweditorium.

Now, I’m old enough to have browsed through vinyl album covers in record
shops, and to have enjoyed the ceremony of opening up an album cover, and reading the lyrics, checking out the photos and so on.

With Aweditorium, the screen is filled with a mosaic of photos of bands.
Like the look of one?  Tap on it, and you get an enlargement of the photo, some text about the band and their music playing.  Fancy another song by the band?  Tap here.  Like it enough to buy it?  Tap here, straight to itunes to buy it.

I’ve spent hours discovering new music with this app, and bought a number
of albums as a result.  
The experience is so much more enjoyable and engaging than the “other people also bought this” method on itunes.

And likewise, more enjoyable and engaging than that same approach on Amazon.

Got me thinking, what would the “book” version of Aweditorium look like?

Mosaic of book covers, tap for info, photo of the author, audio of someone reading the opening page, links to more works by the same author and click to buy or download a sample.  Throw in a customisable universe of browsing – say by genre – and you’ve got an experience that is much more like what we all love doing in a bookshop. So, there’s today’s idea for a new customer experience for buying ebooks given away for free.

We are only at the start of the technology-driven revolution in changing our shopping, reading and media experiences -a scary thought.  

Aweditorium is an imaginative insight into what is yet to come.

Why write a collection of short stories?

One of the first ebooks I read on my kindle was A Land of Ash, edited by David Dalglish.  It is a collection of short stories written by a group of writers branching out from their usual sci-fi genre.

The context for the whole book is that the Yellowstone Caldera has “blown”,  the western part of the US is buried under metres of deadly ash, and a global calamity is unfolding.  Each of the short stories in the book is set in this time, but each is different – some are set close to the Caldera, and therefore oblivion is imminent – others are farther away.

This gave me the idea of writing a collection of stories set in the current time – in the context of the Global Recession, or Global Financial Crisis.  The stories are not about the GFC as such, but are set in its wake.

Each of the stories has its own perspective, reflecting the struggles and hopes of ordinary people as they cope with the circumstances that are dealt them: losing their jobs and homes, helping friends in trouble, making their own success, having to move across town or across the world to survive, having to go back to work after losing their retirement savings.

This unifying theme has allowed me to explore a range of issues, points of
view and writing styles while creating a coherent work that is hopeful, insightful and at times humorous.

Cracks in the Ceiling will be available soon on all good ebook platforms.

At my desk

Here is where it’s all been happening.  I bought myself a small desk with a keyboard tray, and found a well-lit position upstairs, looking out into the trees.  It’s been great to write there.


A new venture and a new blog.

This week has marked six months since I left my job.  After 27 years, it was time for a change.

What have I been doing?  Relaxing and unwinding at first, slowly leaving all the “corporateness” behind.

Then, I wrote a book.  And it’s very nearly finished.

Join me on the journey of publishing Cracks in the Ceiling, the hopefully writing some more.