Comfort in Numbers

The Formatting of Part Two has commenced.  I opened up the file and started in on it, and just as I was getting ready to head off to bed, I was through with the chapter.  The next awaits me tonight, and I’m going to try and burn through three or four this weekend.  My intention is to get through as much of Part Two before next Monday, then get into Part Three next week, and try and finish up as much of Her Demonic Majesty before the end of the month.

No promises, but if all goes well, I could have the final version heading up through Smashword’s Meat Grinder on 4 May–and not because of any “The Forth Be With You” shite, because that is shite, but but because that would be the first Saturday where I’ll have time to send it up after I finish with the formatting.  If there are issues during the upload, I’ll have the opportunity to fix the problems and send it up again.  And again, if necessary.  But if I get up to Smashwords okay, then I can upload to Amazon as well the same day.Finished-sm

So the first weekend in May is my target publication date.  If it slips–hey, stuff happens.  Oh, and just so you know–I have a second cover!  Just look over to the right and you’ll see it . . .  So the plan now is to use one on Smashwords/Barns, and the other on Amazon, and then after a few months switch them.  Or, maybe not.  Maybe I’ll do like Marvel, and offer variant covers, so if you want them you have to buy everything.  Before you know it, I’m offering the equivalent of the copies of Firestarter with the asbestos covers that once sold for $250.  Not sure how that’s gonna work with ebooks, though . . . maybe that’s where I get the hard copies of the books printed . . .

There is a strange sense here, watching it all come together so quickly.  A month back I was in the doldrums, feeling as if I was getting nowhere fast.  I’d been on Suggestive Amusements since the end of December, and the novel was crawling to an end–or so it felt to me.  I was speaking with a friend the other night, and in discussing my publishing plans this year, I said something along the lines of, “I don’t feel I’m writing now as much as I did last year.”  They asked about what I’d done, and I replied, “I did that novel, that’s about seventy-two thousand words; and I’ve done about seventy thousand words in the blog . . . add a couple of articles, and I’ve written about a hundred and fifty thousand words since the start of last December.”

There was a slight pause, and then came their reply:  “What?  You think you’re not writing anything?  Are you kidding?”

Being so close to the center of the storm, you lose track of what’s going on around you.  Yeah, I know there are some who say blogging isn’t writing, but then, what is it?  Nose picking?  Here’s what it is:  it’s a continuation of the habit that is writing every day.  You need an idea, you need to get it down, you are writing.  And then novel–enough said.  It’s figuring out characters and creating a story and making sure your plot doesn’t fall apart on you.  It’s work.  It’s a lot of work.

And even when you think you’re slacking, you’re probably just kicking yourself for no reason.  As I’ve said, writers are their own worst critics, and this is the pudding full of proof.

So keep on keeping, I say.  Set your goals and work them.  And when you think you’re falling behind–check your data first.

You’ll likely be surprised.

Closing on the Cover Rag

The last couple of days has been a bit of a drag.  Thursday was Project Runway night, and I almost never get anything done when that show’s on.  Only a few more episodes to go, however, so I can soon get back to having a productive Thursday night.  As for last night . . . I stopped off after work to give blood.  This is something I used to do all the time, but after being laid off, then going to The Undisclosed Location (which many of you have figured out was Indianapolis, Indiana) for a year, it was hard to find a place where I could get a needle stuck in my arm.

I did it yesterday, and while there were a few interesting things that happened, the upshot was by eight-thirty last night I was nodding out.  I think it was a combination of being up about four AM, then a long drive to and from work, that helped put me down.  So today, I have busy writing day–at least I’ll try to stay busy writing.  Who knows what will really happen.

So while I sit here with my coffee, my leg and head bouncing up and down while I listen to the Duke Suite–pretty much the same way Tony Banks did when he played it–I’m getting this blog out of the way.  Then on to some other work, editing Replacements, then maybe start an article . . .

But first, something to show.

As many know, I’m going to self publish Her Demonic Majesty this year, maybe by the end of May, maybe the end of June, but it’s getting done.  One of the requirements is that I have a book cover, and since I am the suckest when it comes to doing covers, I asked someone to do it for me.  I’m even paying them in cash, which is just as good as money–  (That’s a Yogi-ism, if you didn’t know.)

That said, they’ve shown me what they’ve developed, which were five panels to start.  One I discounted right away, because it didn’t speak to me.  Of the remaining four, I like two very strongly, then worked my way to the final one–

Which is here on the right.Cover Red 02

I had one of my writing friends tell me that this will be another “eye” cover, since my story Kuntilanak used an eye as well.  What I told them was since I’ll likely go with this cover for Demonic Majesty, that will give me the opportunity to change the cover for my Kunti story and go with my original idea, which is to show a rural Bali scene in a mysterious fashion.

I may do something with the font still; I like it, bu I wonder if I should have it a little bolder?  Probably not.  Don’t over-edit, otherwise I’m spending all my time second guessing myself, and I don’t do that with my writing now, so don’t do it with my cover selections.

So, better or worse, this is going to be the cover, though by the time it hits the Might Amazon servers, Ms. Nom de Plume will be gone, and . . . there is an issue with the author’s name.  I’ve had at least one person tell me to write under a pseudonym, because then I can write different genres and not worry about alienating fans.

But my fans–the few I have–know I’m all over the place, genre-wise, so I don’t mind if people discover I’ve published a story pertaining to mild BDSM, and a horror story–and soon, a strange sort of science fiction/fantasy novel.  About the only time I’ll dive into the pseudonym is when I start writing Centaur Porn with Ms. Penelope Poffer, because I figure I’ll need it then.

It’s coming together, as you can see.  A few more weeks, a couple of months at best, and I’ll have this sucker out for sale.  Then get Replacements done, get it covered, and it’s done.  That’s two of four.  After that–

Who knows?  You’ll know as soon as I, you can bet on that.


Animating My Days

Last night was a time to reflect, and think about things to come.  Stories, pictures–animations?  See, it’s like this . . .

First, someone sent me a tutorial on how to create things in DAZ 3D and import them to Blender.  Of course I had to go look, because I wanted to see what it was all about.  It’s easy to see why you’d do this:  you create your model in DAZ, then import it over to Blender to place inside your world.  This is something that interests me, because building a book cover is all about getting the character into a world.

In doing this, I found another tutorial on Blender, so I downloaded it.  I haven’t open it yet, but I will, very soon, and play with it alongside the tutorial I already have for Blender.  Because when it comes to software, you  can never have enough tutorials, nor enough examples of how to do something the right way.

Then, off in another area of the Internets, I ran into a friend.  Said friend is someone I know from Second Life, and they are setting up their own grid away from the Trolls of Linden Labs.  They know about the stuff I do–which is to stay, they know I write–but they’re very interested to hear about my adventures in 3Ding.  I mentioned that it might be possible to make avatars and clothing for their new grid, and then sort of off-handedly said, “Oh, and I might be able to create walk animations, because you need it.”

So my mind began working that last out.  I know DAZ and Blender can do animations, which led me to wondering if they could do the same for a Second Life-life virtual world.  So off to my favorite thing:  research!  Well, almost my favorite thing, but you know what I mean.  And behold . . . I find things.  I find information about how you have to download these avatar skins from the Second Life wiki, and you can import them into DAZ and make them your slave, then you save off the object and import the animation up to SL . . .

Oh, yes.  I was happy.  So happy that I pulled up another program I’ve had for years and started playing with that–

This is the thing one runs into when they have a bit of a creative streak:  they can find themselves off and running in many different directions before they get settled down into one particular thing.  Yesterday I said I was going to do one thing, but I ended up doing all the stuff I’m talking about now.  I know there is the possibility I will when I get home tonight, but I also want to do these other things, and damn it, there just aren’t enough hours in a day to find the time, you know?

I’ve had a bit of a holiday from writing since editing those stories a week or so back.  One needs to change gears now and then to keep from getting stale.  When you aren’t ready to write, then work on something that caters to your creativity, and these modeling programs are doing exactly that.  When I’m ready, I’ll work on my writing, and put this in the background–

But never out of mind.


The Face On the Page

Yesterday was time to play.  I started looking at the NaNo page, and was thinking about what I was going to do with my book cover.  Yes, I’m doing that as well.  But you have to expect this from me, ’cause I’m crazy.  There, I said it.  Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

So I found a picture–something that came off the Creative Commons Flickr, which means people don’t mind if you use their work for usually non-commercial purposes.  And, yes, Mister I’m Letting You Know You’re Stealing a Photographer’s Work, But You Know That:  yes, I do know that, because I’m not a brain-dead fool going around ripping shit off from the Internet as so many do.  That’s why I did my homework, that’s why I know about Creative Commons, and use them when I can, as should you, and you know who you are.

In short, back off, man:  I’m a professional.

As I was saying, playing.  Yeah, I like doing things like that.  I wanted to get something that looked spooky, something that had a similar font as the one I used for Kuntilanak, and something with a touch of green.  That’s right, green, and there’s a good reason for that, but not one I’m going into now.

I used a couple of free things to play with the design:  Gimp and, which I’m trying out because I want to see how they work; both are free, by the way.  I also used PhotoPlus X4, which can now be had for $20.  Each has it’s good and bad points, and it was sorta fun to play with them.

So what was the end result?  Feast your eyes, if you will:

That’s taking a stock picture, giving it a little of a black and white overlay, then darkening it a bit, and turning up the green filter.  I’m thinking of adding something in the doorway, something that is hiding just at the edge, something that makes the picture just a little spookier.

Don’t know if this is going to be the actual picture I post on my NaNo Novel Page, but it’ll be something along these lines.  There is something else I want to try, maybe try it tonight or tomorrow.  I’ll compare it to what I’ve already created, and then see what the consensus becomes.

Though, in the end, it’s my say.  Or the Muse’s say.  Or both.  Though I’ve been told by the Muse to just shut up and listen to her.  Which is usually how it goes, right?

This is pretty much the end of the prequel leading up to NaNo Novel 2012.  I don’t need a cover, but I’ll likely throw one up there for the hell of it, because . . . yeah, why not?  But this is it; this is the end.  I have my outline, I have my times, I have my death list, I have my cover.  There’s nothing left to do but wait for a minute after midnight on 1 November, and crank out a few hundred words to get the party started.

Two thousand words a day–or more–everything.  For thirty days and nights.

Yeah, chill the hell out.  I got this.