Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pitch Dark Released Today!!

Talk about un-freaking-real! I am in shock. My first novel has been released today online in e-book format by Cerridwen Press at You can also click on the Pitch Dark cover to the right to navigate to the book on the publisher's site, with the blurb and excerpt. The book can also be located at - just search for Brooke London and you will find the book. Obviously, I encourage everyone who has a computer and a minute of time to buy my novel ☺.

The blurb for Pitch Dark is:

Alyssa Tiernan must protect her grandfather’s cutting-edge, environmentally friendly oil sands extraction technology—and his life. Forced into dealing with her grandfather’s chosen partner, Connor Donnelly, a wildcard business mogul and ex-CIA spy, she knows she can’t trust him.

Connor resents that she has the final say on his multi-million dollar partnership. When someone tries to kill them both, they are thrust together and their mutual attraction sparks hot enough to heat the sheets to searing intensity, despite their mutual distrust.

Together they race between his headquarters in Colorado and the oil sands of Alberta to stay one step ahead of the terrorists who are determined to stop them at any cost.

It will take their combined cunning and courage to survive the explosive and treacherous covert world of espionage, betrayal, terrorists and spies. But even if they do, can they survive the secrets they are keeping from each other?


You might be asking, what the heck is an e-book??? An e-book is a book that is in electronic format, meaning that a reader can download the book from the Internet, in a variety of formats (pdf, rtf etc) and read it on their computer, on their e-book reader (of which there are many, even iPods can be used for e-books), PDAs or print out the e-book onto paper if they so choose.

What are the advantages of e-books over traditional paper books? Well, for one, trees aren’t cut down in order to produce the paper used in traditional books. For another, the reader doesn’t need to drive or take the bus to a bookstore to get a book. There are no huge gas-guzzling trucks delivering the books to stores. The book is delivered directly to your computer. No wasted gas or additional pollution. E-books are also priced less expensively than paper books.

What are the ‘traditional’ views of e-books? Traditionally, the prevailing view was that e-books were of poorer quality than their paper cousins. This is no longer the case, especially with the e-publishing giant Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc, or ECPI, which produces the imprints of Ellora’s Cave, Cerridwen Press (Yay - that's me!), Lotus Circle and Cerridwen Cotillion. ECPI is the largest e-publisher in the world and growing.

Traditional publishers turn down many very well-written books because publishers want a sure thing, especially in these difficult financial times. Traditional publishing costs and risks are so much greater than e-publishing just by the nature of the beast. The risks are so large that publishers lean towards big name authors and to authors who write in the most popular genres. E-publishers don’t have that issue as much. Yes, they hire editors and cover artists and they promote the books, but since they’re not printing actual books, they can afford to take risks on lesser known but equally talented authors who write excellent stories.

E-publishing is the democratization of publishing. Less expensive books. Equal quality writing. Deliverable to any computer on the planet in seconds. Fewer costs. Less pollution. Decreased use of natural resources.

Traditional publishers are also realizing the benefits of e-books and many are now offering e-books themselves. Traditional publishers are interested in a less costly production and distribution model and e-publishing is it. No need to worry about book returns of up to 70%. Book returns are those books originally purchased from the publisher by a bookstore or book chain which did not sell. The publishers then must refund the money the book buyers paid for the books. So authors of books may only be paid once a year, once book returns are known. With e-books, there are no book returns. The reader has bought the book. End of story. The authors are paid regularly based on their actual sales, not on projected sales.

There are many e-book readers available - I have one of them, the new Sony PRS700. The screen actually looks like a piece of paper. And you can store many books in one e-book reader: you can carry an entire personal library of books with you in a package the size, and just a touch heavier, of a paperback novel.

The publishing industry is going through a shakeout, one that is being accelerated by the global economic slowdown. Traditional publishers are looking for ways to decrease their costs without decreasing market share or quality. E-publishing seems to be the answer, the wave of the present and future.

So that’s an introduction to e-books. But what is the background story of my debut novel Pitch Dark? The question upon which the book is based: What would happen if terrorists took out the Saudi Arabia oil production machine? Where would the terrorists go next to ensure the world oil supply was minimal? The answer, surprisingly enough, is Canada.

I’ll give a backgrounder into the politics and economics of the world oil market. At this time, Saudi Arabia is the big dog on the block. Their daily oil surplus of approximately two million barrels of oil make it possible for them to step into the world oil market and stabilize it at any time. They have the world’s largest proven oil reserves. This doesn’t necessary mean that they actually have the largest oil reserves, just that they are verifiable as such.

The area of the world with the second largest proven oil reserves is in the province of Alberta, Canada. In reality, there is probably more oil in Alberta than in the entire Middle East.

The current issue with oil in Canada is that it is tied up in what are called the oil sands or tar sands, also known as pitch or bitumen. Oil is mixed together with sand or earth making separating the oil from the surrounding matter an intensive process. The process is also environmentally damaging. Hot water or steam is used to wash or extract the oil from the sand and the chemical-laden water left over from the process is placed in huge tailings ponds.

While it costs the Saudis under $2US per barrel to extract oil from their traditional oil reserves, it costs anywhere from $36US to $40US to get one barrel of oil from the oil sands. The costs are dropping as more research is being done. In recent months, we’ve all heard that Canadian oil is “dirty” because of the environmental damage caused by oil sands extraction techniques. In the lab, they have found a way to essentially eliminate the environmental problem. The new process will not use water to extract the oil, so fresh water won’t be utilized. They are field-testing this process now and oil extraction in the oil sands will no longer be an environmental problem in the near future.

The problem with getting oil from Saudi Arabia, in particular, is terrorism. The Saudi government pays terrorists not to attack Saudi oil production facilities. In effect, they fund terrorism throughout the world, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan etc so that their oil supply remains safe. So when anyone in the world buys gas (a by-product of oil processing) or oil from Saudi sources, they are in actuality paying for terrorism. Oh, what a tangled web we weave!

In the USA, dependence on Saudi oil has dropped in the past twenty to thirty years. I think, and my actual figures may be wrong, that originally Saudi oil products accounted for 25% of US domestic consumption. Now I believe that figure is around 8% of US domestic consumption. The US wants to insulate itself, rightly so, as much as possible from Middle Eastern oil, since the region is politically unstable at best.

This is where Canadian oil comes in. America has access to oil from an economically and politically stable neighbor. According to Wikipedia at, “the Athabasca Oil Sands are now featured prominently in international trade talks, with energy rivals China and the United States negotiating with Canada for a bigger share of the oil sands' rapidly increasing output.”

So that’s the primer for my novel, Pitch Dark, and of the premise behind it. Yes, it is definitely a romance novel but I figure that reading should be entertaining and interesting. I’ve learned many things from romance novels and my aim was to have fun, be entertaining and be informative. Pitch Dark can be easily purchased in e-book format from Cerridwen Press. At your convenience, on your computer, today.

Good Reading!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jack Kerouac and Me

I am a member of Facebook and as it would so happen, I took one of the quizzes that abound on that social networking site named something like, “What kind of writer are you?” According to this quiz, I am a writer like Jack Kerouac. Now, these quizzes need to be taken with an entire salt lick meant for a herd of cattle but still, I thought I should at least know something about the man.

Jack Kerouac’s parents were French-Canadians who immigrated down to the States where he was born in 1922. He didn’t speak English until age 6. He was known as the Father of the Beat Generation. He was also an alcoholic, according to reports, and died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1969.

According to Wikipedia (, “he set down”… “his Spontaneous Prose method“ of which ”the most concise would be Belief and Technique for Modern Prose, a list of thirty ‘essentials.'" With my comments in brackets, they are:

1. “Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy” (Joyful writing is Good Stuff – don’t want to worry about secret notebooks and wild typewritten pages though)
2. “Submissive to everything, open, listening” (maybe a little too laid back for me but I think he meant be an informational and emotional sponge – Good Stuff)
3. “Try never get drunk outside your own house” (So it’s better to drink at home? Alone?)
4. “Be in love with your life” (Good stuff)
5. “Something that you feel will find its own form” (Good stuff)
6. “Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind” (It helps to be crazy to write – Good Stuff)
7. “Blow as deep as you want to blow” (Not a clue, but could have another meaning for a romance writer ☺)
8. “Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind” (Good stuff)
9. “The unspeakable visions of the individual” (Not a clue)
10. “No time for poetry but exactly what is” (Not a clue)
11. “Visionary tics shivering in the chest” (Not a clue)
12. “In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you” (Sounds like it’s drug-induced but he was into Buddhism for a while so maybe he referred to meditation)
13. “Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition” (Plain confusing for us ordinary folk)
14. “Like Proust be an old teahead of time” (marijuana can be made into marijuana tea but I’m not sure how this rule should be read)
15. “Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog” (Deep Point of View – Good Stuff)
16. “The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye” (Look beneath the surface – Good Stuff)
17. “Write in recollection and amazement for yourself” (He wrote largely autobiographical stuff so this would make sense)
18. “Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea” (Makes sense – start from a singular compact premise and swim out into your story with words - Good Stuff)
19. “Accept loss forever” (I’m not sure about this, it sounds like to suffer loss forever and I’d rather move on)
20. “Believe in the holy contour of life” (Good Stuff – I think there is a purpose to everything)
21. “Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind” (Good Stuff – get out of your own way when writing, for that matter, get out of your own way when living)
22. “Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better” (Good Stuff)
23. “Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in your morning” (Good Stuff - I think he meant to be aware of your surroundings and perceptions)
24. “No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language & knowledge” (LOL - To boldly go where no one has gone before – problem is you might be dead by the time anyone appreciates your work, or you may never be published, but still, points for originality)
25. “Write for the world to read and see your exact pictures of it” (Good Stuff)
26. “Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form” (Many writers have a more dense ‘cinematic’ style of writing – Good Stuff)
27. “In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness” (Sounds depressing)
28. “Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better” (Okay, but not so crazy as to be incomprehensible)
29. “You're a Genius all the time” (Good Stuff – believe in yourself)
30. “Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven” (a little out there but still Good Stuff)

Some of these things make sense to me, others seem like flower power rejects from the 1960s, which would make sense as his work largely became know after 1959. But I think he had some good points as evidenced by the ‘Good Stuff’ comments. I don’t pretend to know anything about Kerouac’s work aside from knowing his name. I can only go by his rules to see, at this point anyway, if I am like him in my writing style.

To a certain extent, I think modern writers use many of his rules naturally, just because it makes sense to use them. Obviously I was not a part of this generation of writers but I think many of Kerouac’s ideals have been distilled down over the years to the point where mortal writers can use and understand them. Instead of an omniscient viewpoint, which would have been more the style of writing during his time, modern writers generally use first person, second person or third person points of view. These different POVs, if used correctly, can tell a story more effectively and with more impact than a god-like perspective on the story.

Out of his thirty rules, I counted seventeen that I listed as ‘Good Stuff’, which comes out to about 57% of the rules. The others I didn’t understand or were not applicable to me or were dependent upon the type of experience a writer describes. My understanding is far from complete. Perhaps if I had an English Lit background, I would appreciate his rules more but I don’t – I can only go from my own experience and my own understanding of my time on this planet. But looking at the 57% that I do agree with, I can see how modern writers have used his rules to improve how they write and how they perceive the world of their story.

So, am I a writer like Jack Kerouac? I suspect all modern writers use at least some of Kerouac’s rules. Aside from being alcoholic, maybe a drug user, a spokesperson of the 60s beat generation (I was going to say a victim of flower-power but…), I think that the 57% is a decent enough match. Obviously, I am no Kerouac. But I am a Brooke London. And maybe that’s all I need to be.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pitch Dark Book Trailer

For a high quality video experience, please hit play then select the up arrow in the lower right corner and select 'HQ'.