On Writing

I’m back

No Comments 20 August 2012

About 4 weeks ago I stopped blogging. If truth be known I was a bit fed up with it. Continue Reading

On Writing

Nights of Villjamur

No Comments 17 April 2012

Its been a little quiet here on a Rush of Green but that’s because I was on a well earned break over Easter.

One thing I was able to do was catch up on my reading and one novel I read moved me to write a review which is unusual for me. Nights of Villjamur is an unusual book. I discovered the author Mark Charan Newton through Social Media. Who says it doesn’t work! He has a great blog. If you like all things green and drenched in whisky then it’s for you! He also writes fantasy novels. Continue Reading

On Writing

Where Sci meets Fi

No Comments 12 March 2012

Last weekend I had the pleasure of reading PetroPlague, a first time thriller from Dr Amy Rogers. I came across the book through her blog, http://www.sciencethrillers.com/,a brilliant review site for all things to do with science based thrillers. Continue Reading

On Writing

Bloggers Block

No Comments 15 February 2012

I, perhaps more than anyone, am qualified to talk about bloggers block. After all I took nearly ten years to write my first novel, The Human Race. During that period I wrote little and rarely, embracing any excuse that meant I could avoid writing a single word but secretly berated my inability to put the proverbial pen to paper. I am sure you are all familiar with that feeling. It’s the life of a writer hey. Continue Reading

On Writing

Is Writing Dead?

No Comments 01 February 2012

Have you got one of the new i-phones? The one with Siri, Apple’s new voice recognition technology which, whilst still a work in progress is also pretty impressive. You can ask it questions and also issue simple instructions, ‘please text my wife and tell her I am running late for dinner.’ Apparently it learns as it gets to know your voice and also your habits. Scary in one sense but very exciting in another. Continue Reading

On Writing

How to survive a recession by Tom Peters

No Comments 13 January 2012

I know this has nothing to do with writing, technology or the environment but I still love it for reasons that will become obvious once you start reading. I can take no ownership either. It was written by the Business Guru Tom Peters back in 2008 during the last recession, which I’m not even sure we ever pulled out of. Anyway here it is. Read it, feel inspired and get to work! Continue Reading

On Writing

Steve Jobs’ six lives

No Comments 12 January 2012

I’ve just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography on my iPad and I have to say it granted me everything I could have wished for and more.

Some of the reviews I’ve seen are quite critical, mainly because people have felt that the biography doesn’t offer any further insight into a man who has been written about and studied for the last three decades. I certainly am not one of them as I have only recently started using Apple products. I didn’t really know that much about Steve Jobs until last year and the little I did know wasn’t first-hand. Continue Reading

On Writing

Michael Crichton’s Micro: How not to preserve a legacy

2 Comments 04 January 2012

As readers of A Rush of Green will know, I am a huge fan of Michael Crichton. In fact, he is the reason I became a writer in the first place. If you have read my debut eco-thriller The Human Race, you will know that Michael Crichton also helped to define the genre of my storytelling. Known as “science faction”, it is a mash of fact and fiction so closely woven together that you don’t know where one starts and the other begins. Continue Reading

On Writing

A Rush of Green: one year on

No Comments 15 December 2011

It’s been almost a year since A Rush of Green launched – and what a year it’s been!

When I pressed publish on my inaugural post back in December of last year, I had no idea how popular the blog would be and if anyone would be interested in my ramblings. Thankfully, it turns out that plenty of you are – and I am very grateful to you all. Continue Reading

On Writing

Blogs for thought

No Comments 06 December 2011

With the sequel to The Human Race now safely tucked away in an editing suite, I’ve been enjoying reading plenty of environmental and science blog posts.

Each of the five posts below really got me thinking, and I wanted to share them with my readers. Continue Reading

breaking dawn

On Writing

Abstinence makes the heart grow stronger

No Comments 02 December 2011

Has anyone seen the latest ‘Twilight’ movie, Breaking Dawn? I went recently with my wife. We thoroughly enjoyed the previous three movies and were really looking forward to the latest in the series, particularly as non-readers of the books. It has been a delight to have the plot revealed on screen and not be disappointed by over expectation or your mind’s creation destroyed by someone else’s inferior interpretation.

But to say we were disappointed is somewhat of an understatement. It really wasn’t great. The plot is quite literally ‘bonkers’; the CGI is poor – the wonky wolves and their ridiculous conversations were laughable – but worse of all, it is pretty boring. A wedding. A honeymoon. And then the action belatedly kicks in with a pregnancy that would put many girls off child birth for life! I did wonder whether the commercial decision to split the book was the heart of the problem. It felt stretched, as if they were trying to fill time.

Reading some of the reviews, it’s clear we’re not the only ones who felt this way. However the 200 or so teenage girls in our theatre didn’t care about any of our misgivings, much like the other countless millions boosting the film’s box office takings.

Maybe we were missing the point.

For one, it is aimed at teenage girls not their parents! Most cinemagoers know the plot and love the story; they want to see the wedding and the honeymoon. These are the moments that the entire series has been building up to. Viewers have invested emotionally into each second and they adore the characters, both on the page and on screen.

As parents, perhaps we should just stick to celebrating this series. After all this is not just about vampires, it’s about promoting abstinence. As the father of two girls, I have loved this central theme running through the story. Who wouldn’t want their children to watch a proper wedding between two people who clearly love each other and have ‘held off’ until their honeymoon? It is good old-fashioned values played out in a vampire costume.

It’s a very different story from the rubbish spewed out into the boy markets, such as in the Transformers movie franchise. There is no story and the messages are appalling. Women are only sexualized objects and violence is glorified. There is no emotional investment in the characters and the whole movie descends into robots hitting each other. Utter garbage.

So when a half decent franchise comes along with a great message at its heart, perhaps we should excuse a minor slip-up in the fourth enactment. They have earned the right to a blip and it is still a great story. When all is said and done I suspect that, like millions of others, I will be queuing up with my wife in 2012 for the final installment. After all, I’d rather put my money behind a sensible message. What about you?

On Writing

The best of the blogs

2 Comments 21 October 2011

Since finishing the sequel to The Human Race, I’ve taken some time out of writing to catch up with life in general. And for me, that has meant reading. A lot of reading…

Regular readers of A Rush of Green will know that my own posts tend to focus on developments in science and technology and the environment, or look at how I’m fairing with my writing. So with this in mind, I’ve decided to pull together a list of my favourite blog posts over the last few months, each of which focus on one or more of these themes. Continue Reading

project gutenberg ebooks

On Writing

Is the path to enlightenment paved with e-books?

2 Comments 07 October 2011

Michael Hart had a grand vision, which he named Project Gutenberg: e-books for all, for free. He aimed to provide “a million e-books each to a billion people all over the globe”.

Hart was the founder of the e-books industry and, in the week that The Human Race came out on Kindle, I read about his passing. Had Michael Hart lived, he planned to achieve his goal by 2021: fully 50 years after his light bulb moment when, as a student at the University of Illinois, he first conceived his plan. That year he published none other than the Declaration of Independenceon the university’s mainframe computer. Apparently six people downloaded his submission and the first Project Gutenberg e-book was born, fully 36 years before Amazon launched its Kindle.

As of June 2011, Project Gutenberg e-books numbered some 36,000, with an average of more than 50 new titles being added each week. Most are books with copyright that has expired in the US, and this is evident in Project Gutenberg’s “most downloaded” list. The top 20 is dominated by American and English authors who died years ago. They include Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker, Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens.

There are, of course, some surprises. The number one Project Gutenberg e-book download is the Karma Sutra. The illustrated edition, no less! And the 2010 CIA Fact Book holds strong at number 16. Sex and spying: a potent combination. Especially when it’s free.

Project Gutenberg is clearly a worthy cause and Hart deserves to be celebrated for bringing some of the greatest works of fiction to a wider audience who are thirsty for knowledge. As stated on the Project Gutenberg website: “E-books are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature. Access to e-books can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy. Literacy, and the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.”

Hart was a revolutionary. Project Gutenberg always stayed within the law, but he believed that copyright obstructed his vision. For this reason I suspect he would have been absolutely delighted to see the disruption to trad publishing. I wonder if Michael Hart wasn’t delighted to witness some of the disruption that e-books are now bringing to the “in-copyright” market place. As a recently published author I find it both scary… and liberating;

  • The internet has been a great leveler for authors, allowing their voices to be heard in numbers unimaginable just five years ago. E-books have enabled that, for precisely the same reasons that drew Hart to them back in 1971. However the internet has also created a huge amount of noise above which you now have to shout very loudly to be heard. Having a fancy web site, a great blog and loads of Twitter followers are no longer enough. Instead, such media has become the base line – and both publishers and authors need to up their game as a result.
  • The reduced cost of entry has also destroyed pricing models. This is great for the consumer.  Look at the top ten paid books on Kindle UK: five are less than a pound. However it also means that substantial sales are required to make a good living as an author, especially if you are just entering the market. For many publishers and authors, this new pricing model may prove to be unsustainable.

I have no problem with any of this. It’s the market we are in and, as in any market, the best deserve to win handsomely.

In the meantime, e-books are here to stay and Project Gutenberg e-books will continue to be given away for free. And so I will continue to work my socks off to add to my readership, one e-book lover at a time!

This post was selected for Book Marketing Blog Carnival – October 26, 2011, hosted by Selling Books and Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #14, hosted by The Book Designer.

carbon free

On Writing

How to become a carbon-free writer

1 Comment 30 September 2011

I was horrified to discover that writing the sequel to The Human Race had produced 13.62 tonnes of CO2 – and even more horrified after I found a way to visualise that number. Determined to reduce  my carbon emissions, I have drawn up the following plan of action:

1.       Following in the footsteps of Ray Anderson, I’m aiming to cut my business emissions to zero over the next ten years. I plan to do this while minimising the impact upon my lifestyle. This could be tricky. As you know I’m a committed – if reluctant – environmentalist, so I’m not even sure whether it is possible. You could argue, however, that I have already taken the first steps. Ten years ago I didn’t pay much attention to global warming. Ignorance was bliss! Nowadays, every activity I undertake carries some green guilt.

My lifestyle is important to me, as I’m sure yours is to you. I love to travel and will be loath to give it up. What’s more, I would like to become a bestselling author – an ambition which, I am sure, comes at a carbon cost. Even so, from now on I intend to pursue my pastimes and ambitions in an environmentally friendly manner. Ray Anderson did it: he grew his business to a $1 billion turnover, while cutting its carbon emissions by more than 60 per cent.

2.       I will offset the tonnes of CO2 that were generated while I wrote the sequel to The Human Race. In fact I have already done so, thanks to the website www.carbonfootprint.com. It cost me £190. Essentially I bought one tree per tonne of carbon emissions. I have requested they be planted locally in Yorkshire, my home region.

3.       And I’m not done yet! As my books continue to sell copies, I will continue to offset the carbon cost of their production. I spent a long time trying to come up with a scientific formula for doing this, but failed. There appears to be no accurate method of measurement (please tell me if I’m wrong).

For paperback copies, the closest I can find is The Wisconsin Paper Council’s reckoning that 128 cubic feet of wood produces 942lb of books. Then there are distribution costs. E-books are lighter, but they still cost carbon. E-readers all require charging, manufacture and eventually, disposal. Again, I could find no calculations – please contact me if you can.

In the meantime I am going with the following formula:  for every 100 paperbacks or 1000 e-books sold, I will offset my carbon emissions by planting one tree. I will place a counter on this site, so readers can monitor my progress.

So that’s my plan. I’m sure it could be better- but at least it’s a start.

My challenge to you: what are you waiting for? Begin offsetting.

At the very least, work out the carbon footprint for your home or business. If you are like me you may well be shocked, embarrassed – and inspired to do something about it.

This post was selected for Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #14, hosted by The Book Designer  and Lovely Words Vol. 39, hosted by Writing as a Sacred Art.

On Writing

The Human Race – now on Kindle!

3 Comments 23 September 2011

There has been a lot of excitement in the Heaton household this weekend: my publisher has just launched the Kindle edition of The Human Race! It’s been a while coming and, as you can see, this new edition also has a new cover. I like it a lot. I like the original cover too, but some readers found it off-putting. Since it was first published the book has found a wider audience, and the decision to review the artwork was taken.

It also seems fitting for an eco-thriller to be published online. So, as I’m sure you can tell, I’m very pleased. But I’m also a little sad. Continue Reading

On Writing

My writing progress: I’m a summer writer!

5 Comments 22 September 2011

Earlier this year I blogged about my obsession with my writing progress. I am scrupulous about recording my “writing statistics”, and either beat myself up when I fail to meet my targets or celebrate with high fives when I hit them.

Having just finished the second book in The Human Race “Thrilogy”, I am taking a short break before starting the third and final instalment of the series. This week, contemplating the best time to put pen to paper, I decided to compile statistics for my writing progress for the last four years. As you can see, they make for some interesting viewing: Continue Reading

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Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

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The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

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