Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A last minute crisis averted!

So, as I was reviewing the final FINAL print edit of The Human, I asked my husband (who doubles as my attorney), how I needed to credit the lyrics I'd used in my book - specifically, Merle Haggard's, "Okie from Muskogee." He did some research & happened to mention "I hope you aren't using more than one or two lines - more than that and you need permission from the artist." WUT? I was using 6... Ok, so in hind site I really shouldn't have been surprised, but as I said above, I was reviewing the FINAL print edit of my book when I discovered this. To say that I panicked would be an understatement - I had to get revisions to my editor that night if we were going to get everything done in time for our print deadline. Y'all, those lyrics were a huge part of two major scenes in my book. Perhaps with a few days to brew and think about how to rewrite them without the lyrics I could have done it, but to try to do it RIGHT THEN (at the end of a very long day I might add), my brain was fried, and I was in no state to write. I'll admit it, I cried. I threw a pillow at the wall and screamed. Then I went into my bedroom and stared at my draft trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do. I thought it was the end of the world. I can be a bit dramatic at times... 5 minutes later Ron came to the rescue. "Hey baby?" "Yeah?" "Are you dead set on those lyrics?" "No. I only used them because my dad used to sing them when I was a kid." "Well, if you use a song that's out of copyright you don't need permission." *SUDDEN HOPE* "Like?..." "Well, anything where the writer's been dead 70 years or more I think. Or any traditional songs like 'Danny boy'." So, I went with the traditional Irish folk tune "Whiskey in the Jar" (sometimes known as "Kilgary Mountain"). While it didn't have the same childhood sentimental value for me that "Okie from Muskogee" did, my husband has been singing it around the house for the past 11 years, and it was t [...]

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I have a cover!

YOU GUYS! YOU GUYS!!! I HAVE A COVER!!!! Betsy did an amazing job on the art - I love love love it! Just what I wanted - she saw into my head perfectly! You can see her previous concept art for this here. Kelli (also my editor) did a wonderful job on the layout - I especially love the font she picked for it. SO PERFECT! :) You guys - this is REALLY HAPPENING! Clickable thumbnail of the full cover: Just the front cover:

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Digital Revolution

A couple of interesting things I've come across in the last month, some to do with self-publishing & some to do with eBooks sales: eBook Sales have tripled in the last year. - Which is fantastic news for all authors - well, those of us who have embraced going digital. For those who haven't, well, eventually a tipping point will come... and they'll be left playing serious catch up. I also have to agree with what Mike Stackpole later said in a recent blog post: Trade Publishers: By clinging to the traditional distribution model, they have fallen seriously behind the curve. Their suppliers (authors) and their true customers (readers) realize they don't need them anymore. The idea that they serve as gatekeepers has fallen to the wayside and has been replaced by free sample chapters so readers can make their own decisions. The "legitimacy" offered by Trade Publishers has also vanished because they've turned around and offered contracts to self-published digital stars so the traditional publishers won't seem so terribly out of touch. It's akin to some segregated country club electing an African-American club president so it can seem that they're not still mired in the past. That doesn't mean th e writers aren't good, it just means that Traditional Publishing's crown is seriously tarnished. Traditional publishers lack the money, personnel, vision and drive to become players in the digital market. There is no way they are going to move it in a different direction. Mike has been preaching the digital revolution for years and years - he saw this coming & no one would listen at first. Or rather, [...]

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Monday, May 9, 2011

My Origin's Schedule

As I've posted before, I'll be launching my first YA Lit novel, War of the Seasons: The Human at Origins Game Fair June 22nd-26th, 2011. One of the really exciting things I'll get to do there is be a part of several panels/seminars - now the official schedule isn't out, but I do know the names of the panels I get to be on & when I'll get to do my reading of my book. And of course, when I'm not at a panel, I'll be at my table in the Author's room in between Bryan Young and Mike Stackpole. COLOR ME EXCITED! Dancing 10 SO, what panels am I going to be on? Here you go (be warned, this schedule is subject to change - nothing is official until the convention program is out - and even then something could change): Thursday, the 23rd - My BIRTHDAY, BTW ;) 1 PM: Author Meet and Greet. Origins' Writers' Symposium (aka The Library) has brought together a group of highly talented and bestselling authors who will spend the convention teaching classes, doing readings, hosting meals and gaming. This is your chance to meet them on an informal basis before the festivities begin. 2 PM: Quick Critiques. Did you have a few manuscript pages in your game bag? Fiction or game material will suffice. Our authors will look at up to three pages of it and offer you an on-the-spot critique. Don't pass up this opportunity for some free one-on-one advice. Authors available: Jean Rabe, Janine Spendlove, Bryan Young, VJ Waks. 3 PM: When the Villain is the Hero. Can your main character be something less than a knight-in-shining armor? There's something definitely attractive about a "bad boy." If carefully executed, you can make the star of your story downright dirty. We provide insight in how to handle the anti-protagonist. Janine Spendlove, Bryan Young [...]

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Friday, May 6, 2011

More on covers - how about some sketches?

I spoke with my cover artist, Betsy, today to see if she minded me posting her concept art for my cover. She said to go for it! So here goes, but please keep a few things in mind: 1- These are very rough concept sketches, intended to explore layout and ideas. 2- They are very small (thumbnails) 3- They were taken with an iPhone camera, so not the best quality, but you'll get the idea. 4- These drawings belong to Betsy - any use of them must be done with her explicit permission first. Now for Betsy's sketches/concepts (very mild book spoilers in the text): So here are some ideas I've got flying around. I really think we should focus on the tree. So many trilogies have important knives on the cover (...) I think you really have an interesting thing going with the tree. Images that also resonated with me: Morrigann's fiddle Faerie Ring the rocks where Morrigann met Story. The cave with the portal - 1 aspen tree at the mouth The painting of the tree in the cave The fairy lights Morrigann's wooden throne I don't want to pull too much imagery from the second half of the book, because there's nothing I hate more than reading a story and all I can think about is how the cover art depicts a scene that hasn't happened yet. Thumbnail 1: Wraparound cover. Includes the tree on the spine, overlapping to front & back covers. On the back on the left is the cave with the aspen tree. On the cover you've got Morrigann's fiddle leaning up against the rock he kept sitting on. That swirl you see starting at the bottom left cover and curling around the front up to the title is just a path the fairy lights would take. The fairies themselves would have no distinct character faces, just a few lines and sparkly lights. Thumbnail 1 Thumbnail 2: More art Nouveau graphics. Cover: Tree front and center, but a less literal d [...]

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On book covers

Who knew that actually giving input on your book cover could be both FUN and ANXIETY ridden? Part of the reason that I want to go the self-publishing route is that I am a control enthusiast (or freak, if you will), and like having the final say on, well, everything - to include my book cover. How did I decide on my cover artist? Well, Betsy and I have been friends for a couple years now, and I love her art. I also knew that she'd be able to convey through her art what I wanted on the cover of my book. I'm not saying we're exactly like minded, but we've talked enough, and she knows me well enough by now, that I knew she'd be able to take my ramblings and create something beautiful out of them. So, I called her up out of the blue and asked if she'd do the cover for my book. She immediately said yes, and we went to work from there. Several texts, phone calls, heytells, and emails later - I think we had a solid understanding of what I wanted, and what style she was going to go for. Believe it or not, I wasn't actually that specific (at least I don't think so). My requirements were essentially: 1- No people. I don't like it when a book cover tells me what a character looks like. The reader's imagination & the author's words should do that. 2- The cover for all three books need to stylistically be similar/have a unifying theme. 3- Nothing in black/white/red super emo/angsty that seems to be all the rage & style on YA Lit covers these days (I'm not naming names, but you know what books I'm talking about). 4- Something that makes it clear that it's a fantasy novel/faerie tale. Beyond that, I left it up to Betsy. She's the artist after all. Yesterday I received 4 thumbnail sketches from her. I was so excited because a) HOLY COW THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! and b) it was really cool to see a visual representation of things from my book. I loved all 4 concepts, but one of them really stood out to [...]

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