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Posts Tagged ‘Diamond Eyes’

Blitzing the book trailers …

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on March 5, 2011

This Sunday we have a ‘call back’. In an interview with AA Bell, author of Diamond Eyes, she tells how the music that inspired her while writing the book led to a collaboration, that has created a killer book trailer. Then we hear from the musician involved in her project,  ‘David Meshow’.

We have a copy of Diamond Eyes to give-away. Watch our for the question at the end.

Blitzing the book trailers for many NY Times bestsellers this month is the non-traditional low-budget trailer for Diamond Eyes, by AA Bell.

Over 106,000 views in only 3 weeks! (Here and Here)


Interview with the Author:


How did music play a role during the initial creative process?

Since the main character is blind, music and poetry plays an increasingly important role in the Diamond Eyes trilogy, adding sensory depth to settings as well as a few main plot twists. During the research stage, I therefore searched high and low for musicians who could inspire me by playing as many instruments as my main character, and play them so well, they could do it anywhere – in a garden or forest, and with a quirky sense of humour too preferably, to suit the off-beat characters and varying paces of the story, from slow and melancholy to fast-paced action. That’s how I found French Canadian, David Meshow, a young musical genius who can play at least 8 different instruments (and up to 4 at once, while singing in English, which isn’t his first language!) He also taught me how to play the most amazing electric guitar melodies around a campfire, so I could use it to increase the ‘magical’ aspects of a specific scene in Hindsight (launching in June.)

And in post production?

It seemed only natural that such unique music should play a large role in post production too. So I wrote to David for permission to use part of the music which had inspired me so much during the creative process, and sent him a copy of the book, but he was so inspired by the story, he told me he was keen to write a brand new piece just to suit it. And wow, what a fabulous example of inspiration breeding inspiration. Over 5000 fans now agree it’s his best yet!

Interview with the Musician:

What inspired you when writing the Official Theme to Diamond Eyes?


From the story, I imagined how I would be if I was blind. Seeing nothing, but seeing something that nobody else can see, because it’s only in my head, gave me a lot of strange feelings. I first tuned my acoustic guitar with an unusual scale. After having found the main “chords” I recorded the guitar on my computer, just a simple test. Then i added some improvised piano. I love the sound of piano because you can get some smooth peaceful high tones and aggressive low notes at the same time. At the final recording step, I thought: What could I play to replace these testing notes? I tried different things but my final answer was; “Hey David, don’t change anything. The first recording test was pure emotion. It sounds deep.’ And finally, I used the soundless preview of the traditional trailer to get many ideas for the main ambiance and for adding different sound FX.

How long did it take?

A few minutes here and there, but if I calculate the full time of the composition, mixing and production to finished product, I’d say it took me a good full week. But i don’t like to calculate my time because it “scraps” my imagination and the mood I have when I’m recording a song. It has to be done with heart. The most difficult is the final mixing step because I have to admit that I’m never 100% satisfied. Sometimes I just need to stop or I’ll never release my work. Hehe!

What has this fabulous response from youtube fans meant to you as an artist?

Ha! I’m surprised! I’m the kind of person who is always anxious until I get the first comments. It’s always like that. I really wasn’t expecting such a good response. I wasn’t sure about making a video for the song either. I was wrong, I guess. A lot of fans have told me it’s my best yet. And if I’m here today, it’s thanks to them! This 50 million views could not have happened without them. I’m really happy about everything that’s happened!

To win a copy of Diamond Eyes, AA Bell asks: What music do you listen to when you write?

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Giveaway, Book Launches, Book Trailers, Creativity, Musicians, Promoting your Book, Sales | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Diamond Eyes – Winner!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on November 7, 2010

Trick question: You’re ALL right:

For Mira: different characters pronounce her name differently, so why can’t we? e.g. Mee-rah, when Ben’s frustrated with her, shaking his head, or Mi-rah! when it’s an urgent shout for her to get out… and there’s even a sociopath stalker who chants Mira, Mira on the floor, who’s the sanest one of all?

Kai-ron / ky-ron if you know your mythology of tortured heroes (Chiron was the centaur who taught Achilles and other warriors, which is appropriate to his relationship with Mira), or Ch-ron / Shee-ron if he strikes you more as a gentle-giant, which is also appropriate in his case.

Same goes for Beesh / Beach, which can even sound like bitch if you’re a character who’s being deliberately snipey at her.  The character is a French-Australian park ranger on North Stradbroke Island, which is virtually ALL beach… And yes, Jess nailed it as French… according to my Dictionary of Romance Languages, (published 1864), it was already lost from the language by the 1860’s – and it did originally mean bitch – which is ironic, because it’s back in the French language now with ma biche which means my darling… complete opposite, which is also appropriate to the evolution of this character.

So five winners… can still be six if Jess changes her mind, since I confess to mis-pronouncing Hermione too… She was Her-ME-on, to me… Or Her-my-on-ee once I got to know her better as a softer character, but I still can’t get myself to drop the “o” for Her-MY-nee… Then again, I love fantasy where silent letters are often drop’d as redundant anyway 😉

If anyone already has a copy, I can send them either an autographed book plate for the copy they have, or a copy that’s autographed to whoever they wish, so they can give one away as a gift.
(Rowena here, email me at-  rowena(at)corydaniells(dot)com – and I’ll arrange to have a copy of Diamond Eyes sent out to you)

Posted in Book Giveaway, Book Launches, Genre Writing, Visiting Writer | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Crossing Genres for Commercial Publication (Cross-dressing Styles using Advanced Editing Strategies for Any Genre)

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 31, 2010

The effervescent A A Bell has the first book of a new series out. Since Ms Bell has managed to sell a series ‘Diamond Eyes’ with a science fiction premise (with mystery and a whole pile of other things) I asked her how she managed to cross the genres. Take it away:

PS. Watch out for the give away question at the end.

Greetings fellow speculators!

Rowena has posed me with a doosie regarding how to get away with crossing genres in commercial fiction – a question which Richard Hatch (Apollo, Battlestar Galactica, original ’78 version) also raised with me during his recent visit to Australia, because it’s a question that’s also rife throughout the film industry.

“Lots of people have been saying that SF is dead… [but] you have combined SF with a paranormal element in a contemporary setting… how did you integrate the SF elements into the contemporary story?”

Specifically, how did I combine the seven genres of paranormal fantasy, science fiction, poetry, military action, crime, romance and psychological thriller without precipitating a toxic sediment?

To understand, first, I’ll have to argue that SF is not dead – from my perspective it’s morphing/maturing beyond the “pure” genre of science fiction into speculative fiction (the new meaning for SF[1][1]), in a way which offers room for a natural blend of genres which must also complement each other uniquely for each story. Effectively, this permits a wider scope for wider technologies and invites more possibilities and opportunities to cross-dress our genres. Whereas SF – the old definition – seems more to me like an emperor with new clothes; still out for all the world to see, but only those of us who are attuned to what it was can recognise it for what it is now, and as such, it’s infiltrating other genres en masse. Personally, I’ve secured contracts for 7 novels in 7 years under various pen-names (not counting numerous short stories), all with major publishers and all with strong SF elements – the strongest being Diamond Eyes, which scored a 3 book deal in one contract – and yet none have been reviewed as science fiction.

And it’s not just my take on it, because Diamond Eyes (which provides a new slant on time travel, offers a fresh take on ghosts and mentions a physicist who uses two math formulae to “prove and double-prove” the existence of God) is being pitched by the whole marketing machine as fantasy, while being reviewed as a psychological thriller or paranormal romance/crime/espionage thriller. I think one of the main reasons for this level of infiltration, is because the SF elements are all organically embedded within the setting and the “make-up” of the characters– literally drawing as much attention as the shade of the heroine’s sunglasses – while each of the new “fantastic” worlds seen by the main character are what command centre stage every time she opens her eyes.

In our own fast-changing world, which is already rife with “fantastic” opportunities and “tomorrow technologies” is it any wonder that such elements are so readily accepted in the environment of a wider story – often even expected – by a market that can still shy away from health food if we label it health food? To many people, it seems that science fiction sounds more like “homework” while fantasy sounds like a “holiday”, and yet how many wouldn’t go anywhere on holiday without their mobile phone, ipod or laptop?

There’s a lot to learn from others who’ve already passed this way – writers who’ve successfully lured skittish readers and viewers into loving their stories, regardless of the SF elements.




For example, my old neighbour has to be one of the top ten most recalcitrant science fiction haters in the history of the known universe, and yet he also loves:

  • James Bond, Mission Impossible, Iron Man, Spy Kids and anything else that’s dressed up with “tomorrow technology.” Arguably, even CSI, Burn Notice, MacGyver and others which stretch the abilities of current technology or human capabilities, or crunch time-lines, can also be lumped in with fiction that features scientific-based extrapolations.
  • The Stepford wives, dressed up as a “comedy thriller” where all the perfect women in town are robots… hello? Robots!
  • The Lake House, marketed as drama, fantasy and romance for Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, when the central idea is time travel. Hmmm…
  • Eureka, marketed as a comedy-crime series for TV about a laid-back sheriff who plays good shepherd to a “little town with a big secret”… i.e. top-secret town full of mad scientists and their wacky inventions… yep, definitely no chance for science fiction there either.
  • The Big Bang Theory; an almost fatally hilarious comedy TV series that’s basically a nerdy version of neighbours, laced with some of the wittiest takes on scientific facts and theories I’ve ever heard. Every episode is blatantly named after a formula or theory but there’s no sign of SF as a genre in the advertising pitch! Oh, and 3 of the 5 main characters are physicists, while the forth is “just” an engineer for the international space station. Sure, he only designed and built the lavatory, so mankind really could “go” where no man has gone before, but still… space is space, right?
  • And what about Numb3rs? Pitched as crime, drama, mystery and thriller – anything but fiction with science, yet the DVD covers and credits are all dripping with scientific formulae! And for any aliens who just landed, that 3 in the title, is not a typo. Never an episode goes by that we don’t get at least one full-on heavy-duty fully-foreshadowed science/math lesson, and it’s delivered so cleanly as an organic part of the main character’s “make-up” that even my neighbour can spot a pattern of murders in the news nowadays and say “Oh yeah, the cops are gunna need the hot zone equation for that. It’s like a lawn sprinkler…”

Let’s face it, even Star Wars is pitched to the contemporary market nowadays as action, adventure, fantasy and last of all, sci fi. It’s just a royalty saga in space now.

In each case, it’s not the scientific concepts or exotic settings that attract and maintain attention. It’s the people with problems.

I know some industry observers are deeply concerned that this still presents evidence of writers being forced to “mainstream” the genre, dumb it down or bring it down to earth (large E as well as small). And as an author who’s been asked to tone down or eliminate the science in a previous series under another pen-name in order to keep the series “focused” on the situation comedy and crime, I can fully appreciate how frustrating it can be. At times, it can even kill creativity stone dead. But I also think it gives us the chance to smarten up, take a closer look at what’s really important to the characters and their situations while also reaching a much wider readership/audience.

Best of all, I didn’t have to compromise my craft to achieve publication. Quite the opposite. By using advanced editing strategies, the work morphed completely into something new and more exciting, and yet the same with all the wrinkles smoothed over and agendas hidden more stylishly. Strategies such as:

  • re-vision-ing the original vision into something more commercially viable
  • re-framing through a new style of narrator
  • re-fielding, re-toning and re-moding the expanse, style and mood of the work
  • re-layering the text, subtext and metatext, and…
  • re-voicing the narrator from overt to covert…

… to name a few. I also rebelled and cranked up the SF elements for Diamond Eyes, which allowed me to revel and play with more exciting new concepts as well as fresh takes on old ideas. It took me ten years, and despite all the years of scratching my head, tearing out my hair and staring at screens, overall, it was really liberating. So many more unwritten rules for each genre, and yet so much more freedom to bend or break them.

Visionaries will always see the real deal. And we can still appreciate the hardcore “pure” SF genre inside such stories, no matter how they’re dressed, so long as they come with the same proviso as ever, I think; that they’re strong on people with problems, not just plots on planets (even if it’s just this planet.)

At least, that’s my two cents.

[1][1] Encompassing all speculative genres such as fantasy, horror, supernatural, science fiction and sci-fi, and yes there is a difference.

Give away question:

Mira Chambers, Bennet Chiron and Gabion Biche are the names of three characters from the Diamond Eyes trilogy.
Mira is an abbreviation, Chiron is a mythical character and Biche is from a lost language, but how did you pronounce Mira, Chiron and Biche, the first time you saw their names?
E.g., Rowena, would be row-ee-nah
(We’ll leave the competition open until Sunday 7th of November 6pm. Then A A Bell will pick a winner and I’ll announce it on Monday 8th November).

Posted in Book Giveaway, Book Launches, Creativity, Editing and Revision, Genre Writing, Pitching, Publishing Industry, Visiting Writer, World Buildng, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »