You might be noticing a few changes to Beautiful Desolation—I’m streamlining, consolidating for the purposes of simplicity. Eliminating some pages, expanding or creating others.
The end result will be that you’ll be able to navigate around my blog more easily, find what you’re looking for in less time. The new look will also highlight the growing importance of short films and music in my creative life. Technology has allowed me to explore disciplines other than writing and for that I’m immensely grateful.
You’ll find tons o’ free material to download—novel excerpts, stories, personal essays, films, ambient music, spoken word pieces…hours of fun and entertainment.
But the idea, of course, is that once you fall completely under my spell, want to read everything you can get your hands on by this whacked out Cliff Burns dude, you simply visit my bookstore, follow the link(s) and drop a few shekels my way. Because I gotta tell you, without the occasional sale, some actual coin in pocket, this indie guy finds it hard to pay the bills. The “freeconomy” is fine and dandy for some, but as far as creative artists are concerned, it’s also getting harder and harder to make a buck. And, like everybody else on this side of Heaven, sometimes we find it a real squeeze.
If you notice any glitches or broken links, drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll effect a fix ASAP. Might be a few bumps in the road along the way but, when all is said and done, this blog will be more navigable and user friendly and that’s worth a little short term pain and frustration.
Thanks for coming by.
A number of longtime readers have written to me, noting the recent updates and retooling on this blog.
It was time for a change. It always bothered me that I’d chosen a lunar motif as a background—it brought to mind Buzz Aldrin’s famous depiction of the moon as “magnificent desolation”. While that phrase may have been in the back of my mind, a subconscious influence when choosing a title for this blog, the allusion was not a deliberate one, I assure you.
I recall quite clearly when the name came to me. March, 2007. Sherron and I were standing in a school library and she was trying to interest me (for the umpteenth time) in giving the on-line universe another shot. She told me the technology had changed since I made the first, tentative foray into cyberspace—she showed me the WordPress site, a sample template…
I finally gave in. Why not? I was a fool to ignore the march of progress; miles behind the technological curve, trying desperately to play catch up (still am). But I knew one thing: wherever readers went, it behooved me to follow.
“What are you going to call your blog?”
Ah, now, that was a poser. Obviously the purpose of the site was to highlight my writing, but just calling it “Cliff Burns’ Blog” or what have you sounded rather self-centered and pompous to me. “Hmmmm…” Wracking my brain.
“You can always change it later.”
I think I might have been channeling Bob Dylan. “Beautiful desolation,” I blurted.
Sherron said it a few times, pronounced it acceptable.
And that’s what it’s been ever since.
Sorry, Buzz, but no homage intended.
Before I go, a tip of the hat to photographer Alain Derksen for allowing me the use of his eye-grabbing picture. I found a number of images relating to Mario Irrarrazabal’s amazing sculpture but Alain’s was the one that, to me, perfectly captured the piece’s remote, austere beauty. Sadly, the sculpture has been defaced by graffiti and messages left by stupid tourists with no respect for a cultural artifact.
There’s a special ring of hell waiting for them. Gibbering demons poised with blunt tattoo needles, hydrochloric acid instead of ink…
Yes, my friends, this is the new look for the front and back cover, courtesy our pal Chris Kent. Ado Ceric’s gorgeous cover art is still predominant, but Chris has given us a different font and overall design. My only instruction to him was “make it look like a fun read because that’s what it is”. And Chris came through for us—hoo, boy, did he ever!
You can click on the individual pictures to view them full-sized.
We’ll soon be loading these illos on to Lightning Source’s templates, along with the complete text of So Dark the Night and awaaayyyy it goes. But this is our first crack at this here new-fangled print-on-demand process so there are bound to be complications and glitches. Thank God I’ll have Sherron to do all the dirty work while I pace back and forth behind her, cursing a blue streak.
But even with the foul-ups—the folks at Lightning Source have been very patient with my questions thus far—we should still have a proof within two weeks and the book ready for publication by the end of April (as previously announced). Cover price $17.95. You will also be able to download half the book (.pdf) here at Beautiful Desolation (or over at Scribd) and read that excerpt for free, download the complete e-book for $10…or (at some point) listen to an MP3 of me reading the book for nuthin’. Your choice.
The book has been polished since the earlier version I posted, tightened and pared down. I’ll be purging that previous draft in the coming days/weeks (it has served its purpose and can now be deleted).
Don’t have much else to add—let me know what you think of the cover and please spread the word near and far that So Dark the Night is on its way…and there’s some great spring/summer reading ahead.
You’ll find it by looking to the right hand side, under the “Stories” widget. Just click on “Audio” and you’ll discover a large selection of my stories, poems, commentaries, even an excerpt from my novel So Dark the Night. All available for free listening and downloading onto whatever device (iPod or cell phone) you currently favour. Many of these pieces are accompanied by music, which provides dramatic highlights, a soundtrack that is either pleasing or provocative (or both).
The most recent offering is a six-minute chat about “indie” writing I recorded because I’ve received a host of questions, both here and in various forums where I hang out. People want to know what it means to be an independent writer…and I want to do what I can to dispel this notion that one goes the indie/self-publishing route because your work can’t cut it with traditional publishers. Hey, kids, I chose to go my own way because after 20+ years of dealing with inept, sociopathic, moronic editors, I’d had enough. New technologies like blogs, podcasts and print-on-demand put more control into authors’ hands, a situation I welcome with open arms.
For the record, here’s what I said–
–and after giving it a listen, I hope you’ll have a clearer understanding of what I’m trying to accomplish with this blog. And please check out the rest of my audio releases, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the production values and the power and intensity of the work.
Theatre of and for the mind…
Welcome to the revamped “Beautiful Desolation”.
The old template was limited in terms of certain key options (widgets, etc.) and there simply wasn’t room to grow. Now, thanks to the tireless efforts of Sherron, I can post my novels, some short films, podcasts, music…yup, lots of good stuff envisioned in the coming months.
Starting with So Dark the Night, my occult thriller, a funny, scary, endearing novel featuring the dynamic duo of Evgeny D. Nightstalk and his gorgeous, brilliant partner Cassandra Zinnea. Edits are in the home stretch and I’ve moved up the release date to mid-March. Mark it on your calendar, boys and girls.
Sharp eyes will also spot the “Donation” button off to the right. I thought it was time to give those of you who are so inclined the opportunity to support a starving artist whose annual income would make a medieval peasant scoff. I emphasize that this is a voluntary process–you’re welcome to read whatever you like for free, keeping in mind that any downloading or printing of copyrighted material for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. Anyone who abuses this privilege risks legal injunction…and dealing with the nastiest writer west of the Greenwich meridian.
There are exciting times ahead and I hope you’ll keep abreast of new content constantly being added to this site: the 4 novels I plan to release in the next 15 months, the rants and invective, reviews and updates.
With the film version of my novella “Kept” heading into production, I’m hoping traffic will increase substantially. The new template will help, methinks. It’s far more readable, easier on the eyes and just plain nicer to look at.
As always, your comments and remarks are welcome, your input greatly appreciated.
Thanks for dropping by.