Stephen Smith's Blog

Musings on Machine Learning…

“Influence” – My First Novel

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Introduction

I am really excited that my first novel is now available for sale on Amazon as either a paperback or as a Kindle download. Here is the synopsis for the novel:

Influence is set in the present about punk rock hacker, J@ck Tr@de, who discovers a security backdoor in a large corporate server operating system to gain access to all of the world’s servers. He uses this illicit access to mine bitcoin and influence local politics via Social Media. He becomes criminally and romantically entwined with Mia, the creator of the backdoor and their plans escalate to increase their wealth and power. The FBI investigate and chase them, in a clumsy cat and mouse game. As the story progresses, J@ck’s Social Media altering Bots become more and more influential.l. They make J@ck a billionaire through stock market manipulation. The Social Media Bots continue to evolve…

Where It Began

I’ve been writing this blog since January, 2009. That will be ten years of blogging next month! I really enjoy blogging, mostly on my technology interests. This blog started by being all things ACCPAC, since that’s what I worked on originally at Computer Associates, then ACCPAC International and finally Sage. I find I really enjoy writing and was looking to do more. Almost three years ago I retired, and at that point mostly lost my main blogging topic on Sage 300 (ACCPAC).

I’ve always been a big Science Fiction fan, I’ve read Science Fiction since elementary school with books like Isaac Asimov’s Lucky Starr series. When I started at Computer Associates, I lived in Tsawwassen and had a long bus ride commute downtown. I spent most of this ride voraciously reading all the Science Fiction novels nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, as well as whatever my favorite authors published.

We spent this March down in Yuma, Arizona. One of the things we did while we were down there was attend the “Write On the Edge” writing group. This group gets together weekly at the Yuma Foothills Library to do some writing. They do some sort of writing exercise each meeting. The first time we attended, it was to write a few paragraphs on a topic that a moderator chose. Since Easter was approaching, the topic was “Easter Eggs”. There were a lot of short pieces on people’s favorite Easter family moments (whether real or imagined) and one about horrible carnivorous beasts hatching from the eggs. I took the approach of computer software Easter Eggs meaning little jewels buried in the code. This led to the creation of the J@ck Tr@de character and the few paragraphs around where he finds the W-Server backdoor.

Then as we did the 24 hour drive back home (over three days), I kept thinking about those few paragraphs and felt I had enough ideas to develop it into a novel. This then led to “Influence”.

A Lot of Writing

When I got home, I put the blogging aside (hence no articles here from March to July) and started my novel. I first wrote a very quick outline. Mostly a beginning and an ending, some settings and some notes on some characters. I then started writing. I tried to write at least two pages a day. Sometimes more, and there were only a couple of days when I didn’t write anything. I participated in a couple of writing groups, one in Gibsons and one in North Vancouver. These were get togethers at coffee shops where writers bring their laptops and write. My wife, Cathalynn Labonte-Smith is also an author. She has Creative Writing, Technical Writing and Teaching degrees. She has worked as an editor and would read what I wrote each day and edit it. I wrote the whole thing in Google Docs, so the collaboration was really easy. I was pretty happy to finish my first and second drafts in July.

It’s Written, Now What?

I then went to publish the book. Most of the bigger publishers only take submissions from literary agents. So I followed the submission guidelines for a number of agencies, but didn’t have any luck. I did quite a bit of online research and talked to quite a few authors. The consensus seemed to be that the publishers were publishing less and less each year and that they only picked up authors who’ve already made a name for themselves on their own. Further the published authors didn’t think the publishing companies do much to promote their work and that they have to do all their own promotion. Meanwhile self-publishing is getting easier and easier. I chose Kindle Direct Publishing form Amazon, mostly because its all online, there are no upfront costs and it was easy. So now my book is on Amazon for sale around the world.

Summary

Buy my book:

Paperback – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1730927661

Kindle – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L477CF6

It was a lot of fun writing. I planned this book to be the first book in a trilogy and I’ve already written sixty pages of the second volume.

 

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Written by smist08

December 5, 2018 at 7:08 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Congratulation!!

    Robert Tan

    December 6, 2018 at 1:34 am

  2. […] my novel “Influence”, the lead character J@ck Tr@de performs various hacking tasks. In the book he spends a lot of […]

  3. […] my novel “Influence”, the lead character J@ck Tr@de performs various hacking tasks. In the book he spends a lot of […]


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