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Chapter 1 of Ama

Death at last, Jason thought, as the rope tightened around his neck. He accepted the pain as a minor inconvenience, an unfortunate discomfort he had to endure while his life came to an end. He hoped his attacker possessed the resolve to finish the job, before a guard had a chance to stop him.

The prison chaplain once said that Emily would be waiting for him in paradise, a belief Jason didn’t share and thought was nothing but tired nonsense. A fairy tale for the bereaved that he wanted to be true but knew wasn’t. The preacher’s hollow words of comfort had no effect on the sickening sting of grief. Jason had concluded that the universe was indifferent to life, and of death, no doubt, cared even less. It wasn’t through a lugubrious veil of depression with which he saw the world; this was an unequivocal acceptance that life was abhorrent with no meaningful purpose, so why put off the inevitable. The eternal void was in the next room, and he had no intention of keeping it waiting.

Even th…
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Wishing I could be as chilled as my furry Angel

My wandering book

I’ve left a copy of my novel in a wonderful little book exchange in an equally wonderful little village in Cornwall. Inside this book is a note asking the reader to give the book to someone else after reading.


The note reads:Hello, dear reader. I hope you enjoy the horror within. Once done reading, please don’t put me on a shelf or throw me in a bin. Let the author know where I am in the world, then send me on my way, As he is curious to follow my journey and see how far I get each day. Say hi through his website and let him know where you’re from, It’s easy to do at DanielMacKillican.com. My journey started from a lovely book exchange in Cargreen, An old red telephone box that is a wonder to be seen. Give me to a family member, a friend, or leave me in a charity shop, Anywhere and to anyone you like, so my travels don’t stop. Many thanks, if you do play along with the author’s little game, He’s hopeful this isn’t it for me, as that would be such a shame. Please place this note back inside the fr…

Final book trailer test renders

Here are just a few of the final test renders I made before making the film scenes for the Ama book trailer. I actually rendered hundreds of stills, before I was happy with the result. These images are closer, than the early test renders, to what I had pictured in my minds-eye when I wrote the story; the temple, for example, is pretty much spot-on, and the creepy girl in the church graveyard, apart from her hair, looks the part.

I had a similar problem while simulating the girl’s hair to that of the nature scene: every time I ran the simulation strands of her hair flew off in all directions and, in a rather disturbing way, through her head too. It’s a shame that due to time constraints—I was impatient to publish the actual novel—I did not let my computer finish all the rendering so I could use them in the final version of the book trailer. To give an idea of the time scales involved in the rendering process: the original church graveyard scene would have taken, if I had rendered the f…

This pretty scene drove me nuts

This scene was going to be at the beginning of the Ama book-trailer, unfortunately, it did not make it into the final cut. Why? Because my sanity was in serious danger of being obliterated.

It was supposed to represent a healthy nature scene, with blades of grass glistening with evening dew, trees gently swaying in the wind, and flowers in glorious bloom. I worked for over a month creating all the elements in Blender: clumps of grass, which were added to my sculpted landscape; puff-ball dandelions, with individually crafted and carefully placed seeds; and fully animated trees, complete with fluttering leaves. The final cherry on top was a flock of birds that slowly flew over the mist-covered hills in the background. I tested each aspect of the scene, by which I mean I ran individual ten second animation cycles on the grass, trees, flowers, and birds, etc. Oh my God! I thought. It’s going to look bloody amazing.

I readied my computer; Days, possibly weeks, of rendering time (30 images …

Early Book Trailer Test Renders

These are some early test renders I made while learning how to use Blender, Makehuman, and GIMP to make the book trailer for my novel Ama. If you have read it you will know that some of these images differ from the descriptions in the book. The temple for instance, does not look like the one in these images. This is because it took quite a while, and a lot of head scratching, to learn how to do certain things within Blender that would enable me to mirror the book. Click here to find out more about the Ama book trailer.











About the Ama book trailers

Book trailers are a thing? Cool! I can do that...

No sleep, but fun One of my many geeky hobbies is messing around with 3D modeling and playing within virtual worlds of my own creation. I’m by no means a professional, not even close, but it can be a fun way to see hours of my life vanish without a trace—I’ve lost track of the amount of days that have blended seamlessly into the next, without a chance for me to pay homage to my bed. So, when I realised that a book trailer could be another means by which to shout about my novel from the digital rooftops, I thought, cool! I can do that.

While the Ama manuscript was off being checked by Richard Sheehan (A professional Copy-editor and Proofreader), I set to work creating a book trailer. Oh dear… Grand plans, high hopes, and an awful lot of banging my head against the nearest wall. I’m happy with the end result, but it’s far from the storyboard I’d sketched out within my tormented brain. The original idea was for a lot more animation, compl…

Lilith

This beautiful painting, titled ‘Lilith’, was painted by John Collier in 1887.


At the end of Chapter 2 of my novel Ama there is a description of a pub sign; ‘Lilith’ was the painting that inspired me to write the following:
“A naked and beautiful woman stood in a graceful yet strong pose, with a large snake entwined around her goddess-like curves—as if the two were sharing an intimate, almost erotic, dance. The woman’s fiery red hair was hanging down in long loose curls, reaching just below her alluring waist.”