by Michael Leon
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A naturally gifted ex-national champion and a savant with a computer-like mind compete against the world’s best in the 22nd century’s most popular sport – CUBEBALL – the chess-like, technology-enhanced, snooker of the future where the world stage is dominated by gambling, drugs and massive audiences.
Jules’ gaze emboldened Mickey to reveal his special gift to her. He strode confidently to the cue-ball and lined up one of the most difficult shots in cubeball. Then with little thought, he cracked the cue-ball with a force that matched the passion he was feeling. The curve on the first line was more pronounced than the programmed line set by the computer.
Mickey had struck the perfect shot. Sam and Riley sat staring at the console, mesmerised by what they had just seen and eager to re-capture its perfection on replay. Only champions could play this way and it was clear to all that Mickey was developing into one.
“F*cking incredible,” said Johnnie. His eyes were wide. Filled with awe for Mickey’s skills and expectation with how much he could earn from it.
Mickey didn’t hear his appreciative manager. He didn’t see the small tear that had formed in his kid sister’s admiring eye. His gaze remained on Jules. She brushed her hair back on to her shoulders before resting her slender hands on her hips. Her mouth was wide open, breathing in her excitement for what she had just seen. Then her eyes revealed that there was more to her feelings than that of an adoring fan. Her gaze began to fill with a stirring hunger. Fate was beginning to move into Mickey’s life like an evening moon tide.
My ideal writing space
I am not very traditional when it comes to my writing space. I had a long career working behind a desk in an office and that must have affected how I wanted to go about my writing career. I do have a small table and chair in my lounge room that I use exclusively for editing my work and some marketing, but I never write my first drafts indoors.
My ideal writing spaces are spread out across my home state in Melbourne, all within walking distance. I walk most mornings to relax. I find it helps me to imagine scenes for my book, too. I never type my first draft, preferring the traditional pen and paper to scribble my very rough first draft. There’s something liberating about escaping technology, if just for a short while.
My ‘office’ varies from day to day. Sometimes I’m happy to walk through a park or along a beach to gather my thoughts. Then I find a comfortable bench or cafe and write my daily quota. I write more free hand, often not finishing sentences, as I leave that to the editing stage at home. This allows me to write more creatively as well as write more scenes. I usually imagine a full scene as I walk, then quickly write it, over a coffee – work swiftly, reward quickly is my motto! Try it yourself. You’ll be surprised how much more you can write in a day.
After lunch, I type what I have written, turning the précis/ideas into structured paragraphs. My first edit naturally happens as I type. I work through the afternoon, before printing the work that I have created and leaving it in my note pad, ready for the next day. That way, I return to it with fresh eyes, sometimes re-editing it before I go about writing the next scene.
My down time is the final part of my writing day, so my lounge room becomes the last part of my ideal writing space. Writers often forget how important down time is. It feeds creativity. If I don’t go out, I usually watch a movie, play music or talk to friends to unwind. When I need a larger break, I turn to my other great passion – travel, particularly to France! This is my perfect writing space. Pity it’s so expensive to travel to!
I worked in most continents of the world in my previous career, so my passion for overseas travel has endured. The highlight in that career was to study the London supermarket industry. I lived near the Strand for two months and carried out extensive primary and secondary research, completing a book in that period and presenting the findings to companies across Australia. That was when I realised how much I enjoyed the writing lifestyle. Now, I do all those things and get to choose what I want to write about and where!
I worked with national and international organisations as a business analyst in Australia and overseas. I authored many business books analysing the foodservice and food retail industry in Australia, Europe and Asia, as well as agribusiness global trends. I also ran a consultancy business that assisted Australian enterprises to develop new markets in Australia and overseas.
I commenced writing science fiction novels full time in 2009. It was a life-long interest of mine. I have written five novels – all exploring contemporary social issues in future speculative worlds. They are: Shadow Dance; Extinction; Cubeball; Titan Sages and Alive. My novels blend speculative science, new age and poetry. Readers of novels such as Carl Sagan’s Contact would enjoy my novels.
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