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Robert Batten

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author

THE BLOG

A God in the Shed Optioned

Those of you who follow my blog will already know I’m a fan of JF Dubeau’s The Life Engineered.
This week, news broke that his next book, A God in the Shed has been optioned by Skydance for TV development. See the announcement on The Tracking Board here.

So you’ve inadvertently trapped an ancient trans-dimensional god in your backyard shed; what do you do? That’s what Venus McKenzy and her friends would like to know.

This is exciting news -- both because I think Dubeau is a great author and I’m excited for him, and because it is another milestone for Inkshares as they continue to disrupt the publishing industry.
Congratulations to both JF Dubeau and the Inkshares team!

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The Launchpad Manuscript Competition- Top 75 Announced

Back in August I submitted Human Resources to The Launchpad Manuscript Competition. Today they announced their first round of finalists – the Top 75 – and HR made the list!
I’m still processing this news. The competition is a partnership between Scott Free Productions (Ridley Scott), Energy Entertainment, and Inkshares.
There are some heavy hitters involved in this contest.
Judging to select the top 75 involved industry professionals completing two reads of the submitted manuscripts and scoring the entries. Moving forward, there will be a whittling down from the top 75, to the top 50, to the top 25, then to a final 10.
I am humbled to have HR included in this group. Even if it doesn’t make it further in the competition, I have now received validation that the novel has potential to be successful.
I don’t believe The Tracking Board (who run the competition) have released numbers, but from what I have been able to tell (submission IDs) there were thousands of entries.
I have a feeling this is where the hard work begins, but I’m eager to ride the roller-coaster! Stay tuned for more updates.
You can learn more about my sci-fi Human Resources here.

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Recommendation: The Life Engineered

My “what I read” posts are self-explanatory – they are short posts highlighting books I have read recently and enjoyed. I have deliberately not called these posts “reviews.” The reason is simple – I don’t enjoy writing in-depth reviews. Each of these posts will be short, calling out a book I enjoyed and want to recommend, with a brief summary of why. Nothing more, nothing less. (more…)

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Writing Update - Human Resources

Human Resources is intended to be the first instalment in a series. I haven’t locked in how many books there will be, but there will definitely be two novels, with possibly a third. I have an additional prequel story planned that may become a novel, but will probably be a novella.
The world of HR started with a scenario rather than a plot – al a Steven King’s classic approach. Specifically, the novel started with a ‘what if?’ that evolved into the prologue – What if the zombie apocalypse came, and the ones who saved humanity were our enemies? What if they didn’t do it for us?
Ever since I sat down to capture that one scene, I’ve been unearthing a constant stream of revelations about the world I’m writing. This week, whilst coming to better understand the motivations of a secondary character (of all things), I made a discovery that may prove to be the most astonishing one of the series. In an instant the world – and particularly it’s destiny over the course of these books – shifted on its axis. I literally bounced in my seat as my brain deciphered the implications of this revelation and the monumental decisions it will force on my characters.
These are the moments I write for.
I can’t wait to share these events with you, but to tell you more right now would involve spoilers (emphasis appropriate). For now, let me say, “whoa.”

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On Meetings: a short story

A fresh voice speaks, identical to the preceding drone. Many words amalgamate, joining the growing mass of wasted vocabulary. An epic of empty sentences and meaningless points.
I blink, lids scraping over burning eyes — pleading to remain closed. I glance at the clock in the corner of my screen. Twenty minutes to go.
Twenty. Interminable. Minutes.
The weight on my forehead increases — a crushing sensation reminiscent of a vice winding shut. Fatigue has never been this heavy.
Someone new interrupts, asking a question. A goddamn fucking question. What are they thinking? How can they do this? I swallow my impatience and reach for my cup.
It's empty.
Tears threaten to escape, but I must not cry. The promise of relief for my weary eyes has fingers twitching, eager to flick the web cam off, but I resist.
I can do this. I won't be beaten by a one hour meeting.
Focusing on the words, I wrestle the stream of gibberish back into sentences. The shared screen thrusts a phalanx of numbers at my abused eyes. Row upon row of figures linked to unfamiliar GL Codes. Columns parading progress devoid of reference to any landmark. It doesn't matter; the speaker has elected to explain every cell.
I switch windows and open Facebook.
Why am I even here? How did I get invited to this?
Ten minutes to go, but the spreadsheet continues its assault. I bring up the agenda, ready to calculate the likelihood of finishing early.
My heart stops. My stomach shrivels. My tears flow free.
It isn't a one-hour meeting. It's a two-hour workshop.
I release a digital plea for help to the first of my friends I spy online. Save me. Save me from this purgatory.
LOL.
First World Problems.
An animated gif of an orangutan falling over laughing.
I need new friends — people who understand my pain.
If no-one will save me, I must rescue myself.
I cast about, searching for salvation. It comes in a sleek plastic case, merry LEDs mocking my torment. Possibly the result of caffeine-deprived psychosis, but the device trembles as my hand draws it near, smearing fingerprints over its proud surfaces.
I pull the plug. The condescending lights dim.
A message of deliverance blazes across my monitor, "connection to the server has been lost."

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Cite this for me

Someone in my social network recently tweeted about citethisforme.com so I checked it out.
The website is a free tool for rapidly constructing professional bibliographies for citations. Adding citations is very easy and accelerated with search – type in the book title (or ISBN), select the correct book from the search results, and the tool creates the citation details for you. The tool allows you to add a wide range of citation types:

You can have your bibliography formatted in a number of different styles:

Once your bibliography is ready, you can download it into word, copy / paste it, or export as BibTeX, Google Doc, or Evernote.

There are other features too, such as spelling and plagiarism checks. If you are working on something that requires professional or large bibliographies, it seems like a very useful tool.

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