Busy with Business

Wow, two anthology posts in a row! I’ve never done that before. I’ve been kind of busy, doing some cool things.

Early in May I attended a workshop on how to do POD books — covers, interiors, marketing and selling, with a lot of really shocking info on how the business has changed very recently. I spent the time between my April anthology post and the workshop itself fiddling with Photoshop Elements (which it turned out I didn’t need for the class 😛 ) and InDesign, which is an awesome tool — once you’ve learned even the basics of ID, it becomes clear why it’s the industry standard. Once you have your art (for about fifteen dollars off a stock art site — and yes, they have art art as well as photos) you can do the whole cover, beautifully, in InDesign.

Flowing the text in is easy. Front matter goes in first, then your story or novel text; ID will create as many pages as you need, and you use master pages to set the layout. The fiddly part here is making sure the formatting works at the line- and paragraph-level. Hunting for widows (the first line of a paragraph alone at the bottom of a page), orphans (the last line of a paragraph alone at the top of a page, and widowed orphans (the last line of a paragraph, totally alone at the top of a page, with no other text on the page) can make your interior look much better. Most of these can be fixed easily by using the tracking tool on a whole paragraph at once, tightening or loosening it enough to pull a lone word or two up onto the previous line (re-flowing everything up to close the space) or to push a word or two onto the next line (pushing everything down a line) while not changing the spacing so much that someone casually reading will even notice.

InDesign is an incredibly powerful tool, and there are usually multiple ways of doing just about anything, which means it can be overwhelming at first. Having personal classroom instruction, one-to-three instruction with Allyson in small groups, and people coming around to give us one-to-one help during lab periods, was worth the cost of the workshop, and then some. The workshop was taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Allyson Longueira (Allyson is the publisher at WMG), with help during labs by a couple of local writers who are old hands at this and came to help out. Lee Allred was particularly awesome in giving assistance to all of us newbie book designers.

And really, that’s what it comes down to: the design. You can achieve the same results with other tools, but what’s important is the design. Look at other books in your genre — professionally published books, not just indie books — and see what they look like. What elements are on the cover? How are they laid out? What’s large or small? What elements are associated together, and placed near one another? Notice those little tags — “Bestselling author of Popular Book,” or “Book 3 of Author’s Cool Series” — that are too small to read in thumbnail? You still need them on your e-books. Even if they’re unreadable in an online bookseller’s catalog, they’re design elements and readers are used to seeing them, even as a little line of unreadable text, on professionally designed covers. The cover will look naked and unfinished without them.

What’s included in the front matter, and how is it laid out? What do new chapter pages look like in a novel, or new story pages in a collection or anthology? What does the spacing look like, between the headers and the text, the footers and the text, the text and the margins? If your presentation is amateurish, potential readers (buyers) will notice, even if they can’t articulate what bugs them about a particular cover or interior. New York has conditioned us to expect certain things about a professional book, and if an indie book doesn’t have all those things, or they’re not laid out the way we’re used to seeing, that’ll ping our “amateur” alarm, even if we can’t put our finger on why. Learning how to design the book, and the cover, is more important than learning to use kerning tools or feathered gradients in a particular software package. (Although you really should learn those things in whatever software you’re using.)

So before the workshop, I was playing with the software and watching instructional videos online. Then I was in Oregon for a week and a half, and a lot busier than I thought I’d be. The day I flew to Portland, I met a writer friend [waves to PD Singer] at the airport, along with a friend of hers who lives in Portland, and we went and had lunch with a few other writers in our genre who are local to Portland. I love meeting internet people in realspace, so that was very cool. After lunch, Pam and I drove out to the coast, and we roomed together for the workshop itself. We sat next to each other in class, swapping help and opinions and angst. 🙂

After the workshop, we drove back to Portland and Pam dropped me off at my hotel. When I’m at these workshops, I like staying an extra night in Portland; not having to scramble to catch a plane that day means that I can flex my schedule to match that of whoever’s driving me. One of the writers we had lunch with on the way out came to my hotel that evening. [waves to Amelia Gormley.] We chatted, had dinner together, and chatted some more.

The biggest bomb dropped on the workshop, though, was during the evening sessions, which were all business discussions. Remember Ella Distribution? I mentioned them a couple of months ago — they were set up to distribute indie books by small publishers to bookstores. Well, Ella is gone. It was well organized, with an awesome web site, and had great people working on it, but within less than half a year, the industry changed. Now, not only is Ella no longer necessary, but it can’t compete with the big kids on the playground.

Dean and Sheldon McArthur (Shelly’s one of the best known booksellers in the country) talked to us about what’d changed recently with the distributors. Basically, 1) Baker and Taylor no longer marks books as POD published, and Ingram and the others followed suit; 2) B&T (and the others) now offer POD books at a good discount to booksellers, about 45%, and more if they keep on top of their bills; and 3) B&T (and the others) now allow returns on POD books.

There are indie-pubbed books in bookstores right now. If you go through Createspace, and pay the extra $25 for extended distribution, your books are available to bookstores through their standard distributors, on terms that make stocking them attractive. The only barrier right now is your book’s presentation — mainly cover and summary blurb. (Again, does your cover look professional, or does it look amateur?)

The playing field between an indie-pubbed book and a midlist New York published book is now level when it comes to getting into bookstores.

Shelly talked about how he finds books to buy for his store, through the distributor, through publisher catalogs and promotional material, and through sites like Goodreads, where he’ll go to see what books people might be talking about that he hadn’t heard of. He’s been buying indie books ever since the distributors changed their policies. He doesn’t care where a book comes from so long as it’s a good book, professionally presented, and neither do the readers.

Dean and Kristine Kathryn Rusch are talking about this all month on their blogs, in much more detail. As always, there’s good stuff in the comments, too. I highly recommend you read their posts on the subject. (Actually, if you’re a writer I highly recommend you read their blogs all the time. Lots of great stuff there.)

During all this, I had a deadline on the 15th to get a story turned in for an event running in June on Goodreads, and the story I was writing was getting longer and longer and longer…. [headdesk] When I wasn’t futzing with InDesign during the workshop, I was writing, and after I came home I was still writing. I got it done, a 60K word novel that’ll be available on Goodreads some time in June, and as an e-book on Goodreads and ARe some time after that, depending on where it is in the very long list of books the group’s volunteers have to work on. I’ll be doing a paperback version some time after that. (I did a cover for it at the workshop.)

And now I’m back to writing other things.

The business is changing while we sit here. If we stay on top of the changes, and take advantage of them, they’ll work for us. This is a great time to be a writer, and a wonderful time to be indie publishing, or getting into it if you’re not yet.


February Stuff

I’ve been on the Oregon coast for the last week and a half, doing two workshops back-to-back. It was a grueling experience, as the single workshop I did last year was. And it was awesome, and I’ll definitely be doing it again. I got lots of writing done, and I SOLD A STORY!! Which got the all-caps treatment because it’s my first professional sale, as in more than five cents per word, holy freaking yay!!! 😀

I’m going to have a story in Fiction River’s anthology How to Save the World, edited by John Helfers. (Scroll down a bit — it’s the second book.) Holy sheep, I’m gonna be in a book with David Gerrold!

I’ve been trying to break into mainstream SF/F for ages, so this is a huge deal for me. I’m still getting this really silly grin on my face whenever I think about it, so I beg pardon of anyone who sees me and thinks o_O about my state of mind. 🙂

I wrote almost 29K words in February, which is good — I’m still well ahead of quota for making my 2013 goal. My wordcount meter says I’m at 27%, so I’m where I was hoping to be at about a week into April. That’s great; I love having padding on my quota. I was hoping for more in February (January was over 35K) but there were several days when I was in the workshop and frantically reading rather than writing. I count those days well spent, though. I also killed my streak, but I was anticipating that, too. No prob; doing an Oregon workshop is one of the better reasons I can think of for having days with no actual writing.

The workshops I did were The Business and Craft of Short Fiction, and the Anthology Workshop. The Antho Workshop is a repeat for me; it’s worth doing over and over, and many writers do. I took a ton of notes, especially at the first one, and learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know before, which is the point. (Wow, a story that’s in a continually extended option with Hollywood can make you a buttload of money, even if they never make the movie!) Great info; it’s going to take a while to absorb it all.

Currently I’m sitting in a hotel room in Portland; I have a flight home at 2:30. I’ll do some writing today, then fall into bed (ten hours last night, still not caught up) and my next Thing To Go To is a dentist’s appointment on Thursday.

Oh, yeah, didn’t blog about that before. :/ So on Wednesday two weeks ago, Jim and I were having dinner at this little cafe across the street. They have these really good ice cream sandwiches — two chocolate chip cookies, made in-house, with in-house ice cream in the middle, then freeze the whole thing. So I was eating my ice cream sandwich when one of my crowns (upper incisor) snapped off at the gum line. 🙁 Luckily I had a root canal before they put the crown on, so it didn’t hurt; I was just damn startled, and then all ACK!! when I realized what’d happened. And that I was getting on a plane Saturday morning to go to the workshops. [headdesk]

I went to my dentist the next morning and they put in a very fragile, non-functional, temporary tooth-like object, cemented to the teeth to either side on the back. I was warned not to bite anything, and not even to brush. And when your dentist tells you not to brush, you know your fragile dental work is FRAGILE. I was very careful, but it was a bit wiggly within about 24 hours. I had some vague hope that it’d last at least until the second workshop, but no luck; it came out just a bit over three days after having been installed. So I’ve been going just over a week now with this huge gap in my front teeth, and talking a little funny.

I feel like I’m seven again. 😛

Anyway, this is fixable, although it’s going to be expensive. Civil Service has notoriously lousy dental insurance, and the Pacific Northwest has notoriously expensive dental care, for whatever reason. So the bill for an implant is going to be very large, and our insurance isn’t picking up a dollar of it. This is our tentatively planned cruise for this year, going into my mouth.

I just hope my other crowns last longer. At least I know to stay away from the Market Cafe’s ice cream sandwiches; that was the most expensive dessert I’ve ever eaten, by a couple of orders of magnitude.


Definitely Not an Oncoming Train

Jim is reading paper books. We didn’t have to wait for his new glasses; his vision has cleared up — literally — enough that he can read paper books again. It’s a huge relief, like the best Christmas present ever, almost three weeks early.

He’s currently working on Bujold’s latest, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, which I already read and enjoyed a lot. Jim sits in his chair reading and periodically laughs or snorts or snickers or whatever, because Bujold is great at inserting a steady stream of low level humor into her writing, even when the book isn’t a Humor Book. I’m on the couch doing whatever on my laptop and enjoying his enjoyment, because damn, he can read paper books again. 🙂

Awesome stuff, had to share.


Emerging Magic Is Available

My new Sentinels novel, Emerging Magic, was released today, and is currently available on the Torquere Press site and through ARe. Amazon and B&N aren’t showing it yet, but should be soon. It’ll also be available in paperback (along with a paperback edition of A Hidden Magic, the first novel in the series) through Amazon; I’ll post when those show up.

Emerging Magic picks up shortly after A Hidden Magic wraps up, with Rory discovering something that changes his perception of the last decade of his life.


Rory’s mother took him to psychiatrists, let them circumscribe his life, let them give him drugs, while knowing all along there was nothing wrong with him. When Rory finds out, he’s angry and confused and just wants to get away for a while. His mother’s betrayal plus another kidnap attempt make a visit to the father he hasn’t seen in ten years seem like a great idea.

When Rory, Paul and Aubrey get to Seattle, though, it’s obviously not going to be just a normal family Christmas. Someone north of San Jose tried to kidnap Rory twice before they left, and to Paul, it’s too much of a coincidence that Nathan, Rory’s dad, has magic talented friends. While Rory tries to reconnect with his only other family, Paul is trying to figure out whether anyone in Nathan’s group is after Rory. They definitely have secrets, and at least one of them has been playing around with things he doesn’t understand; the local fey are after him, and elves aren’t known for caring too much about collateral damage.

And there’s a master wizard in the area who’s up to something big and would really like to have Rory’s help….


Paul, Rory, and Elizabeth strolled along the sidewalk, between pools of moth-filled light and patches of murky darkness. It was after eight, but the sidewalks were still pretty crowded; it might be a Thursday but it was a Thursday within two weeks of Christmas and the shoppers were swarming. The downtown shopping area wasn’t as insane as the malls — Paul wouldn’t go near Valley Fair at gunpoint until after New Year’s — but there were enough people around to slow progress down the street.

So when Rory suddenly stopped, Paul’s first thought was that someone ahead of him was blocking the way for a moment. But then he saw that Rory was peering into the darkness down a walkway, a narrow, bricked area where a restaurant had outdoor seating when the weather was warmer. It was currently unused and unlit, and apparently empty.

When he paid attention, though, Paul could hear a noise, something like a dog crying from behind some bushes spilling out of a planting area, back in the shadows.

Rory glanced at Paul as though checking that he’d heard something too, then started off toward the bushes. “It sounds like something’s hurt. Maybe a dog got hit by a car and dragged himself back in there?” he said over his shoulder.

Paul was about to agree when Elizabeth said, “Rory? I don’t hear anything, baby. You’re having another one of your episodes. Let’s find a place where you can sit down and meditate for a few minutes.” She hurried after him and took his arm, trying to tug him away, glancing toward a bus stop bench up the street, but Rory stood his ground.

“No, it’s a dog, Mom. I just want to go check. Paul hears it too.” Rory looked up at Paul for support, but Paul held up a hand in a “wait” signal and switched to magesight, frowning into the darkness.

There, behind the dark confusion of foliage, magic glowed a dim blue. The central shape was humanoid. It was stocky in build, and looked like it might be short for a human, but it was crouched down and Paul couldn’t quite tell.

The sound of the crying dog faded away and a blob of magic swelled blue-green, then pulled back slightly. Paul got an image of an arm winding up to throw.

He called, “Down!” and spun around, grabbing both Rory and Elizabeth by the arms. He shoved Elizabeth down onto the pavement, used a quick jerk of leverage to get Rory down next to her, then threw himself over them both while activating a bronze pendant shaped like a shield.

A blue-green flash reflected off the pale pavement, and a cluster of moths, perfectly immobile, fell to the ground around them in a rain of gentle pattering.

Elizabeth was squawking in outrage and Rory was struggling to get up. Paul ignored them both and raised a binding spell, invoking the magic in one of his pins — a tiny pair of handcuffs piercing his jacket near the collar — and then focusing all his attention on directing it at the small, stocky fey thing that was swirling blue-green magic again in a clear attempt to prepare another spell.

Hurrying would be incredibly stupid at that point, so Paul didn’t. He ignored the two people protesting beneath him and cast the binding just a moment after the fey threw something at him. It crackled. The back of his jacket flared with heat for a moment, then he smelled something burning.

He muttered, “Fuck!” under his breath and smacked out his smoldering hair with both hands. It’d been barely two weeks since a salamander had taken an inch or two off the back the same way; he was going to look like an eighties reject if the back got much shorter while the top stayed long.

Burning hair distracted Paul long enough for Rory to squirm out from under him and stagger to his feet, then help his mother up. Elizabeth was still squawking, and Paul took a moment to pay attention to what she was saying. Then he stopped, rolled over and stared up at her in shock.

“–one of those magic people! I knew you were no good, sneaking around Rory, pretending to be his friend, making him think you actually like him! You’re just using him, you lying bastard! You just want his magic, trying to seduce him into helping you with whatever plan you have for power or riches or whatever it is you’re doing that’ll get him killed while you slip away to find some other victim!”

She actually whacked Paul with her purse, something he’d never seen outside a movie, but he was too stunned to even duck. The sturdy bag hit him a good crack in one cheek, and the pain startled him out of his shock. He rolled to his feet and backed out of range, ready to fend off any more physical attacks.

Rory had stepped back too, and was staring at his mother with his eyes wide and his mouth partially open. When Elizabeth paused to take a breath before continuing with her harrangue, Rory said, “You knew.”

Elizabeth stopped, then turned and stared back at Rory in dismay. “Rory, baby–” She raised her hand to Rory’s face and moved toward him, but Rory dodged away.

“You knew.” The pain and shock and betrayal in his voice stabbed into Paul like a spike.

“Rory, no–”

“Yes. You knew all along. You knew it was real, you knew, and you let me think I was crazy! All those years! You took me to doctors, let them poke and question and give me thousands of pills, and all along you knew it was bullshit, that what I saw was real!” Rory’s voice got louder as he went, and by the end it was raw with fury. “You bitch! You ruined my whole life, let them convince me I was crazy, and for nothing!”


Get the whole book at Torquere, ARe or Rainbow eBooks.

Emerging Magic Cover

April Stuff

Writing: 5058 = 1pt
Editing: 67,875 = 13pts
TOTAL = 14 pts

Koala Challenge 9

No subs last month, sucky writing, but lots of editing. That’s probably not going to change this month, either, with my novel in process. I’m going to have about 5 days to do edits on 114K words toward the end of May, then it’s going through two rounds of proofing (which I’ll get to go over and make changes on) and they’re looking to release in late July. [flail] This one’s definitely going through faster than the last one, and once I get edits back I’m not going to have time for much else. Oh, did I mention the spousal unit and I are going on two out-of-town vacations…? We leave for a cruise (Alaska) this coming Friday, edits should be waiting for me when we get back on the 18th, I hope, and they’re due on the 25th, which is when we fly down for BayCon so I have to get it all done in time to send it before I go.

I’m actually lucky my vacations dovetail with the schedule so well, otherwise we’d have to do some scrambling, and with a schedule this tight, that could’ve been awkward. On how long we have, I guess it’s just a matter of what they have in the pipeline at the time and which slot they decide to put a book into. Hidden Magic got slotted far enough down the line that the schedule was almost leisurely (although it didn’t feel quite so slow then), while Emerging Magic was slotted sooner and needs to hustle.

Still wish I were writing more, but at least I’ll have a new book out soon, which is very cool. 🙂


New Contracts and a Sale

I just sent back the contract for Emerging Magic, the full length sequel to A Hidden Magic. At the same time, I signed a contract for a paperback edition of A Hidden Magic, which is awesome. 🙂 I’ve been hoping for a paperback for a long time; I’m looking forward to signing a copy and handing it to my mom. I’m also interested to see whether there are any differences in the process, from my POV, for a paperback. I don’t know whether Torquere does paper galleys, frex.; I never had a reason to ask before. I’ll find out now.

Hidden Magic took almost exactly six months from acceptance to publication, and Emerging Magic is about 50% longer, so I imagine it’ll take at least six months. At least it’s in the pipeline, though. I haven’t had anything new out in a while and I’m looking forward to getting back into it.

While I’m on the subject, Amazon has two of my books at 20% off:

A Hidden Magic is $5.59
A Spirit of Vengeance is $3.43

I have no idea how long these prices will last, but if you’ve been thinking of getting one or both, this is a good time.


November Stuff

Writing: 60,826 = 29 pts.
Submissions: 1 = 1 pt.
TOTAL = 30 pts WOOT!

Koala Challenge 9 NaNo 2011 Winner

NaNo went wonderfully, as you can probably tell from the above. 🙂 I wrote just over 50K on my NaNo project, which was the third book of my Sentinels series, and another 10K and a bit on book two of the same series. Sentinels 2 (the book that comes right after A Hidden Magic) is almost 85K words and I think I’m about two or three more chapters from finishing.

Doing both at once actually worked out well. The two stories take place at the same time, with most of the team up in Seattle in Book 2, and the guy left home to hold the fort having an adventure of his own back in San Jose in Book 3. I had to go back and do a couple of tweaks on chunks of Book 2 I’d already written to make the timeline work with Book 3, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I’d finished 2 and turned it in (especially if it’d already been published before I got significantly into 3), so I’m glad I decided to start 3 even though 2 wasn’t done.

The current plan is to finish Book 2 in December and get it submitted and in the pipeline, then finish Book 3 (maybe before spring?) and submit that. If I can have two novels published in 2012, I will be absolutely delighted.

Jim and I went to Reno to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and brother, and we had a wonderful dinner (on Wednesday, because my brother is a retail manager and worked both Thanksgiving and the day after) at a very nice steakhouse at the Atlantis, the same hotel WorldCon was at this last August. I had American Kobe beef for the first time, and I now understand what all the fuss is about. It’s sublimely beefy, tender and flavorful and rich. I could have eaten three of them, except then I wouldn’t have had room for the excellent beef-vegetable soup or the great cheesy-buns that came in the bread basket or the very good creamed spinach or the creme brulee (yum!) I had for dessert. The service was great, not at all snooty, and the little extras — like the coffee service, which came with rock sugar on sticks, cinnamon sticks, white lump sugar, brown lump sugar, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, and I don’t remember what-all else to put in your coffee — made the whole dinner a wonderful experience. It was expensive but very much worth the price. If you’re ever at the Atlantis and have a week’s food budget to blow [cough] I highly recommend the steak house.

The Friday before Thanksgiving, Jim slipped on an oily metal grate or something on his way home from work, and banged up his knee pretty bad — all scabby and sore — so he kept it bandaged and went on with life. A couple of days after we flew to Reno, his leg from the knee down was incredibly swollen and red, and a bit warm to the touch. Mom and I persuaded him to go see a doctor; the local urgent care clinic was on our insurance, so Sean dropped us off on his way to work. The doctor took one look at it and said it looked to her like he had a blood clot, and she wanted him to go to a hospital for an ultrasound immediately. She said that if they found a clot, they’d keep him at least over night, because you don’t mess around with those things. We took a cab to the medical center and after some really ridiculous run-around about where we were supposed to be and who we were supposed to see — the urgent care doctor called and talked to an ultrasound tech and made an appointment for us, but no one else seemed to have ever heard of Jim or of the tech — we finally got in and he got his ultrasound. She didn’t find a clot, which is good but kind of weird; she said that just looking at the leg, she’d have assumed there was a clot too, but no. Apparently it’s just an odd case of cellulitis, or however you spell it, and so he’s on antibiotics. If it’s not back to normal by the time he’s out of pills, he promises he’ll go see our regular doctor.

That was scary for a while, but it looks like he’ll be okay. :/

I did my usual travel-sick thing, which continued after I flew home, yay. I missed going to the movies with the rest of the family, but they saw The Immortals and from all accounts I didn’t miss anything. I’m used to the whole post-flight sickness now, though; I’m just glad I have my pills.

I hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving, or if you’re not in the US, had a great November anyway. 🙂


Cover Art — A Hidden Magic

I got my cover art for A Hidden Magic and am very pleased with it. 😀

A Hidden Magic -- Cover

Fey incursions into the mortal world have been on the rise lately, and Paul MacAllister’s trying to figure out what the king of the local elven enclave Under the Hill is up to and how to stop it. Rory Ellison was caught up in one of those attacks and nearly killed by a gang of goblins. He doesn’t believe they were real, though, and is resisting anything Paul might say to the contrary.

Normally Paul would be willing to let Rory go his own way, at least until he’s taken care of more immediate business. But Rory has a particularly rare gift, one the elven king needs to have under his control in order to carry out his plan. Keeping Rory away from the fey who’ll use him — to death if necessary — means protecting him night and day, whether Rory agrees or not.


Working with my artist, Skylar Sinclair, was interesting, and less stressful than I’d been anticipating. [wry smile] Skylar was eager to get my input, and to try different things to make sure I was pleased with the final result, which I am. I was half afraid I’d end up with a two-nekkid-dudes cover by marketing fiat or something. Not that I can’t appreciate a nice looking nekkid dude 🙂 but this isn’t that kind of book; having people see a nekkid-dude cover and buy the book expecting a lot of sex, then be disappointed and say disappointed-type things on their blogs would’ve been Very Bad.

Skylar suggested another stock photo site, iStockphoto, which I have to say is better organized than that other one I mentioned a while back. Or at least, the photographers who hang out there are better able to sort their pics into the proper categories, or maybe they just have staff to weed out the blatant errors. Whichever it is, it’s not perfect, but the glitches were minor rather than being a significant percentage of the whole, which was much appreciated on my part when I was combing through pages and pages and pages of thumbnails.

I actually found three models who could’ve worked for Paul, my main protagonist. None were perfect — a bit too young, a bit too pretty — but they all came closer than I’d honestly expected. Stock photo models tend to be either fitness/underwear type models, very young and very pretty and very ripped, with lots of skin showing, or they tend to go in the other direction and be photographically interesting but not necessarily the sort of face one would write a romantic fantasy about. Paul’s sort of between the two, but most of his attractiveness is charismatic rather than classic handsomeness, much less prettiness; I wasn’t really counting on finding anything even vaguely appropriate.

When I did, Skylar picked one of the three which she thought went best with the art and superimposed the face over the lighter foliage section of the picture, sort of a misty blending thing. I’m sure there’s some technical term for it of which I’m ignorant, but hopefully that’s descriptive enough? [squint]

Anyway, I stared at the two of them for a while. I really liked the photo Skylar chose, and I’d wanted a character on the cover, assuming I could find one that worked, and I had. But at the same time…. Huh. I liked the one with the face, but there was something about the one without — in the one with the face, the focus was the face. The rest of the image was relegated to background, and didn’t draw the eye or have anywhere near as much impact. In the one without the face, the focus is on the landscape, on the setting, which I think draws one in and creates an atmosphere of fantasy without actually having pixies flying around in it. Skylar said she liked that one best as well, as did the head of the art department, but that it was my choice.

I thought about it overnight, and decided to go with the one without the face. It’s good to have a specific picture of Paul in my head now — I’m really not good at coming up with specific facial images out of whole cloth, and my characters are more collections of characteristics in my head than actual faces — but I decided that as a cover, the picture with the landscape alone worked better.

As it is, the cover suggests a fantasy world, something beautiful and mysterious Out There, something that beckons an explorer. It’s completely different from anything I’d envisioned while trying to figure out what kind of cover I wanted, but looking at it, I think it works wonderfully. Of course, that’s why Skylar’s the artist and I’m not. 🙂


Held for Consideration

I just got an e-mail from Elisabeth Waters, who’s editing Sword and Sorceress these days. She’s holding my story for further consideration. 😀 Seriously, S&S usually bounces a story within a day or three if they don’t want it. I’m delighted that she’s interested enough to want to sit on it for a bit. This isn’t any kind of guarantee, but just the fact that she wants to hang on to it to see whether anything better comes along between now and the fourteenth is awesome!



I just got an e-mail from Shawn, one of the owners of Torquere, saying she read A Hidden Magic and they want to publish it! 😀

They said they weren’t going to be in the office until Monday because of the holiday, but it looks like they’re still working. Not exactly shocking with a small business; I thought it might happen quickly, but I didn’t want to really hope, you know?

Anyway, this is awesome. [beam] If you want me, I’ll just be wandering around six inches off the floor somewhere…. 😀