Tag Archives: cover art

Small Victories

I had to cut back an old rose bush this morning. Morning because of the incredible heat we’ve been having. Old What’s Her Face ran the wood chipper and it really helped with the cleanup. We have room for the fencing crew to work now and I think the rose will recover.

Then, I dedicated myself to the final read of Lanternfish. I found a few mistakes, but they’ve all been fixed. Then I built a title page, double checked the links in my back material, and mailed it off to my formatter.

I might even be ready to publish by next weekend. Honestly, I wanted this done in May, but it is what it is.

If you’re ready for another dose of root monsters, con men, and Serang, it’s getting close.

I have some new monsters and fantasy creatures in this one. Honestly, creating them is kind of fun.

There are also a few new lands to be explored. I tried to flesh those out as much as possible without turning it into a weird travelogue.

I’m going to take my time with promo. I haven’t even tried writing blog tour posts. I’ll do it, but I want the book available first. I have a couple of Lisa Burton posters in hand, so Lisa will be participating in the tour.

It may not seem like much, but small victories add up. I have the cover for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony in the works right now. If things work out, I can promote Lanternfish for a few weeks, then publish Mrs. Molony in time for the Halloween season.

I may keep it boring tomorrow, on purpose. I am supposed to be on a pseudo-break of some kind. Maybe Charles Bronson is killing people on television somewhere. If noting else, The Santa Clarita Diet is hilarious. It’s on Netflix, so I can watch multiple episodes at at time.

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Missed it by thiiiis much

I hit it hard this weekend. I was so close to finishing H.M.S. Lanternfish I could taste it. Needless to say from the title, I never made it. I blame Rusty, but let’s concentrate on the positives.

I just received critiques back on one chapter, but have about three more written. I also received cover art, and followed this up with ordering the first Lisa Burton promotional poster.

My short story is in the can, but I need to pass over it one more time, then get some other eyes to check it out. I already checked with them, and they’re on board. I’ll probably send it out PDQ. I still need to figure out a title.

Inside Lanternfish, I have a lot going on in these closing chapters. There’s a bit of intrigue and some crazy things, too. I’m going to end it with a lot of daring do, and kind of a disaster at the same time. This is going to be a challenge to pull off, and maybe it’s good that I ran out of time. It might be best to tackle this when I’m fresh so the balance comes out well.

Remember when I said the middle volume of a trilogy is usually the shortest one? Yeah, I was wrong. This one is going to be every bit as long as the first, and may exceed it to a small degree.

All combined, I hit about 9700 words over the four days. That’s nothing to cry about. I’m down to counting weeks before I can send it to my formatter and think about publishing. Honestly, I’m probably about six or seven weeks out. That’s mid-July sometime.

That timetable will depend on me, my mentors and helpers, and Sean Harrington with the promotional posters. It may seem absurd, but I’m already concerned about my ability to have The Ballad of Mrs. Molony available for the Halloween season.

I think I’ll make it all work, and while Lanternfish is aging, I can add words to Mrs. Molony. I need to avoid taking on any more projects and it should be fine.

It’s fun to lament the completion of the draft, but honestly I couldn’t be happier. Even though I lost some time on Saturday and Sunday, I wouldn’t trade a visit with my daughter for a few more words.

Hope all of you had a great weekend whatever you were doing.

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Back to writing

Today was my flex day, and I intended to make the pixels fly. It didn’t exactly work out that way, but I’ll take it.

I decided to bounce back to Lanternfish. I’m right on the cusp of starting the end game of this book, which is the second of a trilogy. There were just a few bits of scene setting that I needed to address.

Don’t laugh, but I found a picture on Pinterest that relates to one of my characters. This will make a good Lisa Burton promotional poster, so I decided to write it into the tale. I even found some particular shoes this character needed. You never can tell what will inspire me.

Doing this gave me the opportunity for a root monster adventure, and I’m pretty happy with how that turned out, too. The downside is I didn’t crack 2000 words. I had a whole day, but it seemed to take forever to get all this down.

I’m happy with what I produced, and that’s what counts. I had the chance to write more, but quality matters and I feel this is good stuff.

I also ordered a cover and three Lisa Burton Posters from Sean Harrington. Both Lanternfish and Mrs. Molony are at about the same stage of completion. I had to pick one, so I went with Lanternfish. I sent Sean the ideas I have for the cover, and think it will look pretty cool. Now I need to wait patiently. I also have some great ideas for Lisa’s art, but those will have to happen after the cover comes.

In other news, I haven’t been on Twitter for two weeks now. I was a daily user, but it takes so much time. I’ve been tweeting out everyone’s blog posts and will continue to do so. I had some support over there and failed to reciprocate. I also had some new followers, and need to do something about all of them.

I checked in today and did what I could. I promise to try harder in the future. Twitter has been mildly productive for me, so I need to keep up on it.

I also sent off a promotional post for Grinders. It should go live by the end of the week, and I’ll share it here. I think it’s a good post and hope it draws some attention.

Tomorrow is another work from home day for me, so that’s about all I can manage. I got permission to take some time off at the end of the week, and may use some leave. I have hundreds of hours of leave available, and should use a little of it. It caps eventually. In that case, maybe I can move one of my stories ahead. That short story needs some attention and I should focus there.

Should focus doesn’t absolutely mean I will, but it kind of sounds like a plan. Sort of???

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Cusp of Night #CoverReveal

Mae Clair has a new book coming soon. To tease us along a bit, she’s sharing a blurb and cover. Check out this cool artwork.

***

Cusp of Night
by Mae Clair
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Mystery> Thriller & Suspense > Paranormal

book cover for Cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair

BLURB:
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

ADD TO YOUR GOODREADS LIST

Connect with Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon
Other Social Links

Promotional banner for author Mae Clair with bio and author photo, spooky house as header in wash of red

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Not my favorite kind of day

I was productive. I freely admit that, but I never worked on things I preferred. This is a slice of real-life for an author. There are things we must do besides writing new fiction. In a fantasy world, other people would do some of this work so we could be creative, but this isn’t a fantasy world.

In the last twenty-four hours, I’ve written my next Story Empire post, worked on more interviews for Lisa’s radio show, worked up critiques for my group. We meet on Wednesday night, so I’m prepared.

I also took a stab at two guest posts I’ve been invited to submit. I have more to do on this front. One of them required me to make a cover collage or two, and I’m not good at those. What I have will serve. I also made a meme type image for the other one.

It may sound like I’m griping, but it would be worse if I didn’t have this stuff to do. This kind of activity tells me the world is actually paying attention.

I intend to watch Game of Thrones tonight, and I might stay up late playing games with my son. Haven’t decided yet.

We’re both off tomorrow. I thought only I was off, and was looking forward to new words of fiction. I still want it to happen. If it doesn’t, I have more work like this I can address. We may decide to do something together, and I’m okay with that too.

I hope all of you had good weekends, and I’m worried about all my Texas friends. Stay safe down there.

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Blogging in arrears

I missed my usual Friday night post. The beta reads for The Enhanced League are pouring in, and I kind of want to jump right into my modifications. Experience has taught me not to do this, but the heart wants what the heart wants. It's better to get them all and look for the similar comments and address those first.

To distract myself, I turned my efforts to Lisa Burton Radio. I had several in various stages, because of my trip to Kentucky and all the catching up from being gone. I'm happy to be all caught up on that front, and Lisa's Thursday show is all scheduled.

Sean Harrington delivered the last poster for The Enhanced League, and they all look fabulous. I'm sure Lisa and I will need to have a discussion about proper baseball footwear, but I already know what she's going to say. Robot girl legs are probably more resilient than human legs.

Speaking of Sean, I sent him a fresh new inquiry about The Yak Guy Project. I haven't even started editing, and it needs some time to ferment, but it pays to plan ahead.

We're going to Guardians of the Galaxy II tonight, and I'm pretty stoked about it. My next project will be a paranormal adventure, but it's going to have a lot of fun/cranky banter. GoG has some of that going for it, so if I call it research, are my movie tickets tax deductible? Maybe I ought to dig up my last tickets to Ghost in the Shell, since it will help with my Grinders novel that I'll start in 2018.

Memory lane moment. This is what I did to my name tag at a conference last year:

It gave me a nice option to those tags that say, “Hello, my name is:” I used to write… Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.

I still need to get started on my short story for the anthology, and I have some reading to catch up on. This is on top of getting two books ready to go, and keeping my blog active. It's probably good to stay busy.

Today and tomorrow are my only real chance to get things done. Then I have one more hell week at work, and that event is over. I don't see any big-picture writing projects happening this weekend. There are a multitude of small ones though, and I probably ought to get to them… right after I add a new Otto video to Facebook. Old What's Her Face got one of those promotional plastic footballs yesterday. Otto thought it was scary, and took his time making it safe for all of us. (It's in pieces now.)

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Forward Momentum and Planning

I walked into the front office at the writing cabin and spread the artwork across Lisa’s desk. “What do you think?”

image

“Ooh, I like it,” Lisa said. “It has some similarities to the first Notebook, but it stands out as its own book too. What’s your plan now?”

“I’m out with beta readers right now. I already got one full read, and some great catches. One of them involved names, and you missed it too.”

“My spellchecker must have seen it as a real name.”

“It is, so I changed the name completely to make it simpler.”

“When the betas are finished will you publish it then?

“Not quite. While they’re working, we have some stuff to do ourselves. You need some promotional artwork.” I spread a list of story titles in front of her.

Lisa sifted through the titles, and pointed. “This one, for sure.”

“Last Flight of the Rocket-Men? I figured that would catch your eye. You love the rocket-pack. Do you suppose it should be Rocket-Men, or Rocketmen?”

“You could ask your blog friends.”

“Good idea, we need one more. Make a star next to that one.”

“A star, really? I’ll make an electronic list and use a cute emoji. It’s the twenty-first century, you know.”

“Fine.”

“I’m not feeling some of these. There isn’t much chance for me to be fun in a poster.”

“How about Jason Fogg? It could be like a romance cover with you in the shower, and fog swirling all around. He could be kind of visible, but kind of not at the same time.”

“Veto.”

“What do you mean, veto? I’m the boss.”

“I’m not doing it.”

“I would never let you be completely nude. You know that right. Most of those book covers show a shoulder or something.”

“It isn’t that. I’m not shy or anything.”

“Okay, so why not?”

Lisa Burton

“Jason Fogg creeps me the hell out, that’s why.”

“Is it his addiction?”

“If you want to call it that.”

“He’s trying really hard to get over it.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever have confidence in him. What else do you have?”

“Not all of these will work, but that’s always the case. Parade Wave, Magpies, Practical Geology. I’m not feeling it.”

“What about Fever, or Career Move? Or Angel, I would make a great angel. I still have my Victoria’s Secret wings.”

“That’s a good reason why not. Everyone’s seen the wings already. Questing might be a good one too. Maybe you could be like a scream queen prisoner.

“That could be kind of fun. We could have done Night Bump Radio, but I borrowed the idea already.”

“I need to think about it some more. Meanwhile; why don’t you get Sean Harrington on the line and see if he has a few ideas.”

“I’m on it.”

***

Okay, so I have cover art, and it looks pretty darned good. I need to get Lisa situated, but we’ll figure something out. Question for you authors out there, do you prefer Rocket-Men, or Rocketmen?

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It’s time to get some help

I made sure to water all the outside plants while it was cool, then went to the writing cabin. Doubt, the raven, still hates my short stories. He tends to hate everything, and being able to move beyond his concerns is part of the trick to this stuff.

I took a small break to go over the last critique submission. For some reason, my printer decided not to talk to any of my hardware and I had to completely re-boot it. That seemed to solve the problem, but I’ve never had to do that before.

I finished up a couple of final word searches, and I’m to the point where I’m debating the merit of the tales themselves. This was the time when I sent the first Experimental Notebook out to beta readers. That time, my fears were unfounded. Every story in that book was someone’s favorite. I have my favorites too, but I couldn’t have been happier with those results.

So, what to do now? Is it time to pull the trigger? I’m never really certain. I called for my assistant, Lisa the robot girl.

“What’s up, boss?”

“I think it’s beer time. What do you have?”

“It’s a little early for you. Are you sure?”

“I think I’m done here.”

“I have a nice Belgian beer, but it’s made in the USA. I think you’ll like it.”

“Call the beer horns, and have one with me.”

“You know I don’t have to eat or drink.”

“Yeah, yeah. It’s only to make others comfortable. So be sociable with me.”

She whistled and the beer horns came running; tails wagging and sounding off like baby tubas.

We had a couple of nice cold Belgian brews and I called it a day. So, it looks like I need some help.

“Enjoy the rest of the weekend with your family,” Lisa said. “I’ll clean up around here.”

“You’re the best.”

***

Beta readers really help with the writing process. I need someone to tell me when something just isn’t right. I did a bit of experimenting, which is the point of these stories. It’s great when it works, but I need to know when it doesn’t so I can fix it prior to publication.

I probably have the email address for all my regulars, but I would never force anything on anyone. I’m looking for up to a half-dozen people to read this book of short stories and get back to me. I have a schedule this time too. I want to publish this in late August.

This is my standard fare; science fiction, paranormal, and one fantasy. It also includes two non-speculative pieces that I really liked. Rather than waste them, I made sure this book included two more stories than the last one. In other words, these will be free add-ons.

If you sign up, I need to get your report back by the end of July. That’s nearly a month to read a (free) book that should read pretty fast. That way I can spend early August making adjustments and get the formatting finished to pull this all off on schedule.

I’ve never scheduled this tightly before. Cover art is on order. Lisa Burton promotional art will be next, and I need to pull everything together before I release the book. I am a little bit ahead of time, but something always seems to come up, so I’m starting now.

This is my email address (in code to fool the bots). Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com. Drop me a line and I can send out Word, Apple Pages, PDF, or ePub as you please.

There you have it. I need beta readers. Be brave.

In other news, my wife and dog are home. We might find a way to pull off date night and spend some time together for the rest of the holiday. Otto was a big hit with family, and everyone was surprised at how heavy he is. I admit he’s like lifting a lead block.

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Agony and Ecstasy

I'll start off with the bad stuff first. I like to close on a good note.

I haven't been around as much lately, and this is because of a WordPress/Apple problem. I'm blaming Apple, but who really knows. I'm posting this in hopes that one of the WordPress gurus will read it and offer some clarity.

I read blogs using the WordPress Reader and the Safari browser. I have options, and thank God for that. My preferred gadget is my iPad Pro. I also kept my old iPad, and it works normally. Yesterday, most of WordPress stopped working for iPads.

I can still log in, and read my own blog. I still get comments, and interaction. The link to look at stats produces a white screen, and the link to Reader does the same. This could be an iOS problem.

When I try my iPhone I don't have any problems. This also works on iOS. What the hell does that mean? I cleared the caches on both iPads and rebooted them – no help.

I tried the WordPress app (which I hate) and can read posts and comment from there. This is also an iOS product.

I tried the Mac, and everything is perfect there.

Using an iPad, I can still get to my WP Admin and upload images. Somewhere in this post I'll see if that works or not. I write my posts with an app called Blogsy, because it's easier. It seems to work, but I have something pre-scheduled tomorrow and am nervous about it loading now. Hell, I'm nervous about this post loading too.

These things drive me crazy, and surfing for answers doesn't help. I get top choices from questions asked six years ago. This is a today thing Google!!! Moving on…

I pulled on my editing jacket and managed to work through two short stories today. This is only the first pass, and I have several others to make.

I'm tempted to leave the jacket on as I fight with iOS and WordPress.

My number one goal was to finish reading Wings of Mayhem, by Sue Coletta. This I accomplished, but it worked kind of like this.

Open my Kindle app. Let Otto, the puppy outside.

Make coffee, let Otto inside.

Read a chapter, rescue the dirty laundry from Otto.

Microwave my cold coffee, let Otto outside.

Read a chapter, let Otto inside.

Read a chapter, rescue my foot from Otto's jaws.

Read a chapter, find Otto in my closet eating my shoes.

Read a chapter, walk the dog, repeat until the end.

I really enjoyed Sue's first book, Marred, but Wings of Mayhem is the best book I've read this year (so far). I gave her a five star review, and wished there was an extra star to award.

This never has been a book review blog so I'll stop here. Check out Wings of Mayhem yourselves.

I also sent off a list of desires for the cover of The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. I paid in advance and ordered four more pinup pieces. Some are for book promotion, and some are for other purposes. Fans of Lisa can watch this space, or host me when I'm ready to tour the new Notebook around and you can share the artwork on your own blogs. These will be pieces loosely related to one of the stories in the book.

I'm still toying with the idea of paying someone else to format this one. I could do it, but it seems like a reasonable thing to farm out. I scoped out Jo Robinson's services and they seem pretty reasonable. I have to finish editing and get some beta feedback before I decide. It should be finished before I send it out.

So ending on a high note; I did a small amount of editing, I have new cover art on the way, and I finished reading a great book.

Now that I have a few minutes to pay attention, Otto is sound asleep. I posted a video to the Facebook page of him in his new wading pool if you are interested.

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We go Spying With Lana, on Lisa Burton Radio

 

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and we're having a little difficulty getting through to Hogwarts. Maybe we'll play some music while we wait. I have a Runaways album that's pretty awesome.

Wait, we have a caller. “Hello, You're on the air with Lisa Burton.”

“Hi, this is Lana, calling from an empty warehouse in the middle of nowhere. First time caller, long time listener.”

“Lana, as in Spying with Lana?”

“Alas, yes.”

<Squee> “Spying has to be such a glamorous lifestyle. Beautiful locations, pretty clothes, hanging out with high rollers. Maybe knocking down the casino at Monte Carlo.”

“That's what they tell me. I'm still waiting for the glamour part to kick in. I wonder if the Agency is giving the glamorous missions to someone else behind my back…..”

“Where are you now, and what's involved with this mission?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. Today I was in a warehouse waiting to meet some guy, but he never showed up, so now I'm in a warehouse not waiting for anyone. Sean probably doesn't even know where this story is going, which he really should, since they're pretty repetitive.”

“It must be a really important mission, or the Agency wouldn't have sent you.”

“Of course! Once I battled a team of assassins on a mission to get a refund for the Chief's defective laptop. And there was the time he accidentally sent me into the middle of a rebel uprising when I was supposed to be on vacation. He also once sent me undercover to take down an arms dealer that turned out to be an employee of the Agency, but that's hardly worth mentioning.”

“Sounds to me like you're under appreciated. Still, you get to wear all those cool outfits. You know, until they get destroyed.”

“Yes, unfortunately the wardrobe department has suffered a lot of casualties on my missions. While I have been known to, er… misplace a few clothes here and there, most of the time it isn't my fault! It seems like every time a get a cute new outfit, it ends up getting ripped, shredded, or torn right off! Oh well, I suppose that as long as I stay in one piece myself on these ridiculous missions I shouldn't complain.”

“Doesn't running around naked distract you from completing your mission?”

“Oh, one get's used to it, and on some missions it can be quite helpful, as you can imagine! Unless the mission is in someplace really cold, then… well, you can just imagine that, too. Or maybe not? Being a robot, you probably don't get cold; of course, you probably don't run naked through the snow with guard dogs chasing you very often, either.”

“I'm going to order some sexy spy clothes. I could totally pull off a Lana cosplay at the next convention I attend. If it's in Vegas, maybe I'll take down a casino in your honor.”

“Wow, really? I'd be flattered! I'd be even more flattered if you'd take my place in this crummy mission while I go to Vegas, but never mind that…..”

“It looks like we have a caller. Hello, you're on the air with Lisa and Lana.”

“Hey Lana, this is the Chief with an update on your mission. You're going to get a good laugh out of this, but the guy didn't want to meet in that warehouse after all! His name is Ware and he wanted to meet you at his house! I rescheduled the meeting for tomorrow since it's about a 12 hour bus ride to his house from where you are.”

“How long would it take to get to where you are and strangle you?”

“Oh, don't make such heavy weather over such a minor mistake. Besides, the nearest bus stop is only an hour's walk away! You'll be there in no time.”

“More like three hours with all the snow outside, but what's the difference, right? It's already a lousy day.”

“That's the spirit! And don't forget, the secret password is 'Sasquatch'. Don't let anyone know.”

“This isn't a secure line, you know. It's a radio show being broadcast all over the world.”

“Really? Oh… Well, I'll call you with a new password tomorrow.” <click>

“He's going to call the radio station tomorrow isn't he?”

“Yeah, most likely. But don't worry about it. It'll probably be the wrong password anyway.”

“I heard some of your old missions have been collected into a graphic novel. What can you tell me about that?”

“I'd rather forget about most of my missions, but Sean keeps collecting them in graphic novels. The latest one is called Sweet Dreams, and it contains some of my craziest missions yet. It even has some new pages and scenes in it that readers have never seen before (and I hope I never see again)! It sometimes irks me that Sean profits from my misery, but he doesn't profit very much so I suppose it's okay.”

“I still think it sounds glamorous. Cute shoes, pretty dresses, catsuits.”

“Yeah, I'm living the dream. Say, can you wire me some money for a bus ticket? I don't have any pockets in my outfit. Actually, I don't even have my outfit anymore. It's a long story….”

“Um, yeah, no problem. I'll collect your info off the air.”

***

Sean Harrington is an extremely versatile artist. He creates all the Lisa Burton art for me. He also has some cool art deco pieces, and does great motorcycles and cars (and biplanes).

He made the covers for Wild Concept, and The Playground. Check out the GTO on this cover:

Lana

Spying with Lana is a funny webcomic. I'm still laughing over the time she flipped a tank; who flips a tank? It has some mature themes, and occasionally takes spy sexiness a degree further. I love all the perspective, reflections, and blur in this Lana image. The gun is pretty cool too.

You can pick up a copy of Sweet Dreams at this site. He says right up front that it's for mature readers, and it is.

This is Sean's Tumblr, for those of you familiar with that platform.

This is the site where you can hire him for book covers. He's interested in doing more, and I've found him to be reasonable, reliable, and fast. I hadn't seen this new site until now, and was pretty excited to see Wild Concept among his promo pieces.

Every artist needs a DeviantArt site. That's where I found this Art Nouveau piece. Maybe something like that is more suitable for some genres.

Keep Sean in mind if you're shopping for a cover artist. If you would like one of your characters to be on Lisa Burton Radio, check out the page of the same name at the top of my blog.

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