GEOFF O'BRIEN, the active-minded author


Update November 2019

My third novel, Better Together, is finished!

My second novel was a 134,000 word effort that needed a fair bit of thought and work, as it was so unusual. My upcoming fourth novel (after Better Together) will be my first in the philosophical science fiction genre–a novel which I hope represents the beginning of an ambitious, one-of-a-kind lifelong project. In between novels two and four, I thought that writing a simple, shorter, light-hearted novel would be a welcome change of pace. Easy, even.

Writing an easy novel is like climbing an easy mountain. I sort of knew this already, but the last couple of months has really pushed this concept into me for real. Regardless, here we are: Better Together is a hundred-percent complete, at last. Reading through it at the end, it’s exactly what I’d been aiming for, and I’m happy to have written it. I hope you’ll be happy to read it.

Before that can happen though, I need to finish up some non-writing-related stuff: cover art, FAQs and sample pages on this website, creating/formatting the ebook and printed versions, uploading to distributors, etc. All of this will occur without notice or fanfare (outside of this update) over the next few weeks, so you might want to check back every so often.

By mid-December at the latest, everything should be setup and Better Together will be available for perusal and purchase.

Catch you then,
Geoff



"Just forget your gender."

Congratulations to Xiaomeng Li, aka 'AKLiooon', for winning the 2019 Hearthstone Global Finals. Watching her win inspired me to say many things. Fortunately, a Washington Post article has saved me the effort. The finals match she won(spoiler alert) may be seen here. Watch her reaction after winning here - you may want to have tissues or a handerchief handy.

Seeing her so emotional at the end caught me off guard. I watched many of her matches at BlizzCon. She impressed me as quite a stoic player, remaining in control of her emotions and playing well, even during the tense moments. She won most, if not all of her games at Blizzcon. According to the casters, she'd performed well to earn her place there. I'll have to take their word for it...I hadn't even heard of her until a few days ago.

Way to go, AKLiooon! Hopefully your $200,000 achievement will propel you onward to bigger and better things, as well as inspiring all players - regardless of gender - to do the same.



Update October 2019

G’day everyone,

This is going to be a ‘stop, drop and go’ sort of update, rather than morning tea and biscuits.

First, I may as well stick the blurb for Better Together here, on the main page. That’s below.

Second, as Better Together is coming out soon, I’ve started sending out emails to various type-one diabetes organisations around the web. One of my latest ideas to improve my prose and marketability is to contact relevant people or organisations before a novel comes out. Genius, am I right?

Seriously though, I’m a one-man band: novelist, website builder, marketer, cover art designer and self-proclaimed Good Cook. To be honest, the majority my time goes into the first vocation. Everything else–as well as the little thing we call life–share the rest. So, if you’ve received an email from me, or if you’ve somehow stumbled here from elsewhere, I reckon we can work to improve each other’s lives–to become better, together.

I write fun, thoughtful and/or inspiring novels for you to experience. You better enable that by assisting with other stuff. Deal?




During school holidays, twelve year old Frida is asked by a boy to play rugby league on his team. She can’t believe it. Didn’t everyone know that she was a type-one diabetic? No one ever picked her for sports, much less rugby league - only boys played that. Encouraged by her father, she accepts the boy’s offer and has a try. To her surprise, she ends up having fun.

Frida wants to play more, but that’s tough. She gasps for breath after running for a few seconds. Exercising makes her blood sugar levels erratic. What’s worse is hardly anyone seems to care. Her mother thinks rugby league is too rough for a girl. Her best friend is annoyed, because it’s only stupid sports. The big girls on the team say Frida is too small. Oddly, Frida seems to be the only one worried about her diabetic condition.

Nah, none of that matters. Frida only wants to have fun. She’s ready to try something different. What’s wrong with that?

Yet everything isn’t about Frida. Rugby league is a team sport. She must understand how to fit in and play with her teammates - especially the surly girl she dislikes so much. The only way Frida will win is to learn how to respect her and earn respect in return.

That goes for the other boys and girls on the team, too. Somehow, they each have to put aside what they want and don’t want. The only way the team will win is to learn how to become better, together.

Win-Win For The Win!



Update September 2019: Announcing Better Together.

The first entry in my new Win-Win For The Win series is Better Together, a lighthearted middle-grade(childrens) novel. It should be available for purchase by December(2019).

Last year, I was wondering what novel to write next. One of my goals as an author is to write in different genres. For example, I’ll draft or edit about a deaf girl playing an online CCG for several weeks. When that’s finished, I’ll liven things up by switching to a different project–say, philosophical science fiction(more on that in the next month or two). On a personal level, this helps keep my day-to-day and week-to-week more interesting. On a professional level, I hope this will better help me gain word-of-mouth and sales.

One day, after several hours of writing, I’m spacing out on the couch, watching a replay of the last rugby league game. An ad pops up during the game, letting viewers know about the women’s State of Origin. ‘That’s an interesting story concept’, I think to myself. Women playing rugby league. Unusual enough to keep me interested. Plenty of opportunities to show drama and achievement. I file it in the back of my mind where the dozen-or-so other ideas I wish I had time to write about reside.

Maybe a week later, I watch The Mighty Ducks for the first time in a while. At last, the penny drops: a children’s novel! A shorter, more lighthearted and fun version of a ‘women in rugby league’ story, similar to The Mighty Ducks. I had my next novel in a different genre.

In fact, I had my next series: Win-Win For The Win. Better Together is my first novel in this series. Yes, for all my blather about wanting to be different and interesting, one of the market realities in fiction publishing is that series-based novels tend to sell better than standalones, apparently. Plus, a series of novels will allow me to really explore a given subject in depth, both literarily and in reality. In Better Together, though the main character is a girl, she’ll play in a team of both boys and girls. Novels two and three will feature all-girl teams.

Finally, I wondered if an ordinary person, albeit a girl, was an interesting enough main character to have playing rugby league. How could I make her unique? As in SPZ, I thought she should have an additional problem or condition to make things even more challenging. So, I decided, rather arbitrarily, that she should have type 1 diabetes. As mentioned in Better Together, type 1 diabetic athletes are people that exist, including Steve Renouf, an accomplished ex-rugby league player.

I’ll upload extra BT-related stuff soon, including cover art, a sample page and faq page covering (anticipated) questions about type-one diabetes, junior rugby league, etc.

Catch you next time,

Geoff



Update August 2019

I've been sending off the odd email to people or organisations that I believe would be interested in Siren Plays Zeperno. Those seeds are beginning to bear fruit, in the form of inclusion on a books featuring deaf and hard of hearing characters(.pdf) page and a book review.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Deaf Children Australia and Hearing Like Me for their interest and assistance. I do appreciate it.

Also, I've been touching up my online shrine in small ways, trying to make it more pretty and mobile friendly. Next time I update, it should be with new pages related to my upcoming middle-grade novel.



Update July 2019

G’Day everyone,

Got a few quick things to cover. First, I owe a well-overdue apology to any particular upstanding, productive, time-deprived yet curious individuals whom I might inadvertantly lead here. I have to. You understand. Few achieve their dreams without stepping on a few toes along the way.

Next, work progresses on my first sci-fi novel. Work also progresses on the worldbuilding surrounding it. Outlines for the entire trilogy are set in stone, with plenty more in store after that. The notes file alone for this sci-fi project already exceeds thirty thousand words–had several false starts with this over the past few years, but now I’m nailing it. Once I get around to basic marketing-related tasks–writing descriptions, blurbs, working out keywords and possibly another web page–I’ll be ready to announce the first novel. Tentative release date is February/March 2020.

I’ll also announce my first middle-grade novel, which is also the first in a series. The novel itself is all-but finished. I’ll give it a final edit, then pass it along to someone else for a copy editing and proofreading. Once all the editing, cover art, and basic marketing (again) is all done, I’ll release it, sometime around December 2019.

Until next time, have a good one,

Geoff



Update May 2019

Open up your favoured search engine and try typing 'pro-disability card game', or even 'disability card game'.

...

Yeah, the dearth of results surprised me too. Good news is, I can help with that. No, I'm not a game developer making a pro-disability online card-collectible game(or CCG). I've created perhaps the next best thing, though: a novel about a deaf girl playing a (fictional) disability-themed CCG.

Yes, I'm dipping my toes into marketing. Above is my 'call to action', as the slick people say. Allow me to assure you that I'm a much better novelist than I am a marketer.

Seriously though, wouldn't it be awesome if someone created some sort of Hearthstone-like CCG where the heroes are called Ables, each with their own distinct 'ableity'(ie, hero power) and cards, all related to all sorts of disabilities?

Imagine, for a moment, that some board of directors for a big game company has convened for their monthy how-do-we-cram-more-expensive-dlc-and-microtransactions-in-our-uninspired-clones meeting - or a few indies over a round of drinks at the local bar. I reckon that meeting/social might go something like this:

CEO/ambitious-parents'-basement-dweller: Alright, where are we on our Next Big Thing?
Active-minded person: I've got this cool idea, boss: an online CCG with a pro-disability theme. With -
CEO/APBD: Uh-oh. Someone's been hitting the coffee/booze.
AMP: Think about it, boss. With halfway decent game mechanics and presentation, it could be a 'Hearthstone killer'. Throw in the theme, and the marketing takes care of itself
(Geoff: I wish). Everyone wins.
CEO/APBD: Hmm, that would tug at the feels. Okay, let's keep that idea on the backburner. Next time we get caught up in some gamer-gate thing, we can trot that out to absorb some of the fallout.
AMP: But I believe this represents a real opportunity -
CEO/APBD: - for which no significant market exists. Get the stars out of your eyes, kid. If hardly anyone buys that game, how are we going to pay our developers, artists and skinner-box packers?
AMP: I thought of that. Check out this book, called Siren Plays Zeperno. It's about a deaf girl playing the sort of game I'm talking about. She plays online and even ends up in esports. How many girls do you see doing that? This novel has sold millions of copies so far
(Geoff: wishing again).
CEO/APBD: Huh. Millions, you say? So, people are interested in this sort of thing. Alright, let's make that game. We could use that author's input. Someone book him a place on our next holiday cruise/pub crawl.

You get the idea. Bottom line is, if you'd like to see a game like that made, my novel could be your call to action. You might even enjoy reading it!

There was something else...oh, right, the writing thing. My middle-grade novel is close to done. That one is about a pre-teen girl, recently diagnosed with type-one diabetes, who wants to play junior rugby league - which might be easy if she didn't have fifteen issues getting in her way. This novel will be the first in a series, similar in theme and tone to SPZ, but a lot simpler and shorter for the kiddies. It's been fun writing it and should hopefully be fun to read, too. It should be out toward the end of the year.

However, that's simmering on the backburner for the next month or two, because I'll be finally resuming work on my sci-fi novels. These novels are what's really exciting me. Original ideas and themes, plus distinctive characters, all set in a post-apocalyptic world (a context not at all original, I'll admit).

Having drafted the first novel, I'm doing some world-building and planning for the next few, as well as standalone novels to be set in that world. If I do these novels halfway right, they'll be impossible to ignore. All of that will take much more time and effort than anything else I've done, so you won't see anything tangible until early next year, if not later.

Lastly, I should probably also mention that I have established author's pages on Amazon, Goodreads, and Books2Read. Don't get too excited, they're pretty much the same as my website bio. Again, marketing. They tell me to 'establish an online presence'.

Until next time, have a good one,

Geoff



Update April 2019

Siren Plays Zeperno is out now! Blurb is further down, past this update.

By the time you read this, it will be available wherever you purchase books(online) in print(Print-on-Demand paperback) and ebook versions. In other words, you can find SPZ for sale at Amazon - ebook or paperback - and just about everywhere else(ebook). These links can also be found on the sidebar to the left. At this stage, you probably won't find it at your local 'brick-and-mortar' bookstore. Sorry about that.

That last link is known as a Universal Book Locator(UBL), something created by the folks at Draft2Digital(an ebook distribution company). Their UBL should easily facilitate purchasing ebooks from your prefered retailer(Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, etc). If you click on that UBL link, it will take you to D2D's sister site, Books2Read.com, where you'll find a complete list of online retailers  selling my ebook version.

As mentioned in the novel's postface, I've started an FAQ for SPZ, which you may find here. To begin with, it details answers for questions I anticipate readers will ask. If you want to know about something mentioned in SPZ that isn't there, feel free to ask, and I'll probably add that Q and A to the FAQ.

SanjaArt over at 99designs did a fantastic job with all my cover art. I mention this, because those of you holding my print version and perhaps wondering why Thelsea is looking a little plus-sized on the spine...that's totally on me. I initially underestimated the number of pages, which dictates the width of a print novel's 'spine'. So when the page count turned out to be higher, I decided to edit the spine part of the cover art myself, 'stretching' it in order to make it 'fit'.

Just another challenge/mistake/lesson learned in the art of self-publishing...

In that spirit, I'm totally(sort of) looking forward to learning about the two-dozen other mistakes I no doubt made, whether it's in my novel, this website, or whatever. If a nice person were to spot something like that, I'm sure that person would let me know, because that's something a nice person does(hint hint).
Siren Plays Zeperno Facebook cover art Thelsea is struggling to move on after her mother's sudden death last year. Her father doesn't tell her they're moving to a new city until they've arrived. A reclusive girl, Thelsea deals with it all as she usually does: playing video games and writing short stories starring Siren, an alluring secret agent who lets nothing get in her way.

The latest game Thelsea enjoys playing is Zeperno: a free-to-play online digital card-collectible game themed around disabled protagonists known as Ables. She meets two vivacious teenagers - a boy and girl, each hard-of-hearing - who like Zeperno as well. In fact, wherever Thelsea looks, she finds more fans. Grown beyond it's target audience and played by anyone, Zeperno commands a presence in the esports scene: competitive video gaming involving players from around the world.

Easy to understand yet difficult to master, Zeperno engages Thelsea like nothing else. She and her new friends team up with an aloof Asian boy to dive head first into an online video game streaming service. There, they're shocked by a viewer's vicious act that sends her reeling.

As Thelsea contends with well-meaning people and trolls alike, she considers playing Zeperno professionally. A girl competing in esports? She would be completely out of place! That's okay: being totally deaf for her entire life, Thelsea is used to being out of place.



Update March 2019

Siren Plays Zeperno is finally getting a copyedit! That should be done by the end of March. After some final editing and tweaking, I'll upload it to the world. The end is finally in sight!

In other developments, the first draft of my first sci-fi novel is completed. The first novel in a planned trilogy, it is quite different to anything else I've ever done. Set in a near-future dystopia, the three novels will distinguish themselves from others in the field because each are based on certain philosophic principles that I rarely see discussed or espoused anywhere, ever.

Oh, and I've started editing that middle-grade novel. That should only take a couple of months. In time, I will divulge more details of these other novels.



Update November 2018

Details about all my novels have been added to the pane on the left. I will update these details periodically.


Siren Plays Zeperno

Siren Plays Zeperno front cover

A deaf teenage girl and her mostly hard of hearing friends learn to play an online digital card-collectible game with a pro-disability esthetic called Zeperno. Despite trolls and well-meaning parents, they soon hone their skills enough to compete in esports.

Standalone novel.

Amazon: print and ebook
Everywhere else: ebook (universal book locator)
Blurb and sample (on this website)
FAQ


Better Together

(No cover art yet)

Release Date: December 2019.

A twelve year old girl with type-one diabetes wants to play sport, but she has problems. Her diabetic routine must change. She’s horribly unfit. Her mother forbids it. Most of her team either don’t care or dislike her. Winning the odd game would be nice.
Oh, and the sport is rugby league.


First book in the Win-Win For The Win series.

Notes/1st draft: 100%
2nd draft/1st edit: 100%
Content edit: 100%
Third Parties: 30%


Next sci-fi novel

(A sci-fi novel - Book one in a trilogy)

(No cover art yet)

Notes/1st draft: 100%
2nd draft/1st edit: 40%
Content edit: 0%
Third Parties: 0%


Note: Above values are loose estimates.




About me



Webpage bio
Amazon author page
Goodreads author page
Books2Read author page




Website and contents copyright (c) Geoff O'Brien 2018-2019.
Some elements used under license.
Certain images in cover art used under license from Shutterstock.com and istockphoto.com.
This website wouldn't be possible without the tutorials and information from The Site Wizard.  If something's wrong here, it's probably my fault, not his.
Initial basic layout from thesitewizard.com.