Tag Archive: art



New Year’s is a time for reflection and looking ahead… or so I’ve been told. My first thought was “I didn’t really get that much done this year. I don’t have much to say or show for it.” Then at the urging of Helen I pulled out a pen and paper and started making a list. The results surprised me.

                   

I created not one but three book covers. This is the most art I’ve done in one year in I don’t know how long. Two of them were of course for Helen’s new The Forever Detective Series. The other was a new cover for “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which we re-released as the first Young Adult (YA) installment of our Para-Earth Series.

Speaking of Helen’s new series, we created not one but two book trailers, one for each book.

 

 

This was the first time I’d ever made a book trailer and it was a blast. Helen wrote a short script for each and also found a bunch of images she wanted used in them. I not only supplied the expertise in turning it all into a video, but also the voice-over.

Now all this voice-over work, as brief as it was, led to yet another new project. At the urging of many others, I started looking into creating audiobooks. I spent a couple of months researching equipment and software and how to use it all. Eventually, I finally started recording a couple of our short stories from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” and got some seriously positive feedback, as well as some solid tips.

Here’s one of them:

I’ve recorded several more in the meantime, with the hopes of eventually having the entire anthology recorded in the coming months.

This leads me back to my efforts to get into creating full-scale audiobooks. In spite of all my research and blogging about all the technical aspects of creating an audiobook (there are seven entries in this blog already with a few more to come) I still wasn’t sure I was ready to fully go for it. Then in early November I went to a class about voice-over work and got the reassurance I needed from a pro. As she told me in an e-mail “You’ve got the chords for this…”

With this in mind I’ve been fully throwing myself into completing the audio recordings of Helen’s first solo book “Forever’s Too Long”. To date 20 of the 22 chapters are recorded and edited. I have re-record two more and get them edited. Once their done and meet with her approval (I had recorded them earlier but neither of us were happy with the results hence the do-over) we will be submitting the entire set to Audible. We’re hoping this will happen no later than the end of this month (January 2020). From there I intend to continue recording more stories from the anthology as well as begin turning her second book “Forever Haunted” into an audio, as well as “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” in which Helen will be lending her vocal talents to bringing those characters more to life.

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t started turning “The Bridge” or “The Ship” into audiobooks, instead of jumping to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and “TVB – One Day At a Time”. The answer is simple, length. Both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” are much longer than any of the other books I’m tackling and will take a great deal more time to record. Plus, I still have to come up with voices for all the various characters in those two books. So until I’ve nailed down voices for everyone, those are on the slow track for now, but they will be happening.

But getting back to 2019, with all this artwork and recording, did I get ANY writing done? The answer is of course I did. Some of it was on the long-awaited sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.

“The Door” is fully under way, and will hopefully finally see the light of day by the end of this year if not sooner. As this book is a major turning point in the Para-Earth Series, I really want to get this book completed as much as people want to read it. However, some of it’s progress will depend on another writing project with my other collaborator Rich Caminiti.

“The Pass” has been one of the most ambitious projects I’ve worked on to date. It is also the only book I’ve worked on as a long-distance collaboration, which has involved trading off chapters and as well many, MANY Skype sessions. But Rich and I are closing in on a finished 1st draft and then the process of creating a 2nd cleaner draft will begin in another month or so. So I will have much to do on that front. After the 2nd draft, it will be sent to beta-readers and an editor for further clean-up. Our hopes is to have the book out by the end of the year, but we will see what happens. We refuse to rush the book without getting it as clean and exciting as possible. And on a side note, the 2nd installment of that tale is also under way as I write. So more on that will be coming in future blog posts.

Also on the writing front I completed 3 brand new short stories for our other site “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”. Two of those tales were rather lengthy and took several months apiece to complete. Yet in spite of their length, they are still considered short stories and not novelettes or novellas.

So that covers most of 2019.

What’s in store for 2020?

Well, I’ve already covered the fact that I’m close to releasing a complete audiobook, which I hope to follow with at least 2 more before year’s end. As I mentioned earlier, one will be “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” anthology, the other will be Helen’s 2nd book “Forever Haunted”. I’ve got voices prepared for both titles and depending on how things go I may get “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” under way as well.

When it comes to my own writing getting “The Pass” into a finished 2nd draft and sent to beta-readers and an editor are the top demands. Rich and I would like to see it reach readers by the end of the year, but I know from experience that there’s still so much to do before that can happen. But we will see.

I’m already planning several new short stories for “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” as well as beginning preparations to put together and 2nd anthology with several never before seen stories included.

“The Door” of course is another priority for me. I’d really like to see that finished and prepped for release this year. With luck, and patience, I hope to make that actually happen.

And of course, I’ll be making new book trailers as well as helping format Helen’s next two books in her Forever Detective series.

So that’s what’s been and what is coming. There’s a lot on our plates, but we’ll keep bringing you new posts regarding all these projects and more so stay tuned. Please accept this late wish for a HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all and as always keep writing.


Guess what?

 

September has been quite the month for me and Helen.  Some of you may remember that about a month ago, my little blue laptop became… ‘unreliable’ to the point I dared not risk any of our stories on it.  So it was sent to the wayside, leaving only our desktop (which I could not bring to work of course) and Helen’s laptop which she needs on a daily basis for her online college classes.  This put a serious dent in my ability to write or even be online as often as I wished, much less getting much writing done except on weekends.

We also had expenses to take care of, like college books for Helen which took priority over replacing my laptop.  Finally, things were looking up just on the eve of my week-long vacation at the beginning of September when illness and car troubles reared their ugly heads and forced us to push the laptop purchase back even further.  After getting the car situation squared away (over the course of most of my vacation), our desktop computer joined the little blue laptop by giving up the ghost.

This left us with just Helen’s laptop and my Kindle and little else.  Finally about a week ago, our finances were stable enough for us to purchase a refurbished desktop and a refurbished laptop together for about $300.00 (thank you Amazon, you guys are a God-send).  However, the delivery time for each computer was about another week or so, which meant I was still cut off from real productivity.  This led to a decision about pushing back the release date of our upcoming anthology book.  We had hoped to have the book ready for beta-readers by now, but with the delays in writing and the upcoming holidays, finding readers who have the time to even look at the book will be difficult.  Furthermore, the earliest we could get the book out would be a week or two before Christmas which is not a good time for indie authors to sell unless they have a huge fan base already.  It’s around Christmas the the big publishers make a massive push and getting your own book noticed at this time is a nightmare.

However, early January is an ideal time for new indie books because the holiday obligations are over and people have lots of lovely gift certificate cards they want to use on Amazon, B and N, etc.

With this in mind, we still wanted to catch some of the holiday spirit and have decided to release “The Vampyre Blogs: One Day At A Time” on January 5th, which happens to be Twelfth Night (or the 12th Day of Christmas).  This works great for us in a number of ways, especially since the first story in that anthology takes place around New Years Day (or on Twelfth Night itself, Helen has plans for a story that may be finished in time to add to the anthology… we’ll see).

There has been one other thing that forced us to push the release date of the book, namely getting used to the new computers.  Since both are refurbished, this means that all programs were erased from the hard drives and one is mostly left with whatever operating system remains.  This meant, no MS Office (i. e. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), very basic Anti-Virus protection, or other special programs a writer might really want/need.

Now, being that we are on a budget decisions had to be made about what to load up onto our new computers.  How did we handle that?  You’ll find out in our next post, but the word “FREE” figures heavily into the solution.

Until then, take care and keep writing my friends…


Here is the cover I’ve created for my 2nd novel in the Para-Earth Series, which will be coming this Summer.  I’m aiming for late-May or June for the release.

This story takes place during the one month lapse of time mentioned at the end of the first book “The Bridge”. It follows the adventures of Cassandra and Julie out on the west coast. Where they learn that not only is the evil they fought back in the first book truly gone, but a new threat has arisen from the depths of the Pacific. A threat known to Cassandra’s family and which is now hunting her…


By now,  you all know I’ve been working on the book cover for my Paranormal/Mystery/Sci-Fi novel “THE BRIDGE”.   It’s been an interesting experience, which I do not recommend it for everyone unless you’re an artist yourself.  It has it’s pros and cons.  In my case I love having way more control over the creation of the image that is going to basically be my “Introductory Handshake” to the world.  Remember, this is going to be my debut novel and I want to catch peoples attention who have no idea what to expect when they first see the cover.

Now, I’ve seen images used on books that I thought were interesting but did not always have all that much to do with what actually happened in the story itself.  In fact, I’m sad to say, there were a few where the image was more interesting looking than the story.  But what really got me on occasion was where there was some kind of really cool scene on the cover that never appears in the story.  I felt cheated in a way.  Oh the story might have been a good one, but part of me really felt frustrated by that ‘missing scene’.  Now, I know we all want to capture the audiences imagination and interest, but I want to make sure I’m being fair about it.

Now in my case, since the title of my novel is “THE BRIDGE” I could’ve just gone with a bridge from around the right time-frame as the one in that appears in my story.  But while picturesque, I wanted to add some clues as to what or who the reader may encounter on that bridge.   So I decided to add a figure and one in particular stood out in my mind, the “White Lady”.   She is a ghostly figure who haunts the bridge, supposedly searching for the baby she lost from it many years ago.   But by the same token I wanted to raise some questions in the viewer’s eyes.  Why does her hair seem to flow and move like Medusa’s?  Is she even human?  Are we seeing some kind of Gorgon?  Or is she something much more unique and different?

We all need to get  the viewers attention by capturing their interest in some subtle or intriguing manner with our book covers.  Mind you, not all covers have to be like the old movie posters of Star Wars where we see the tall and impressive Darth Vader looming in the background while Luke and company (who appear much smaller at the bottom) are racing to meet the HUGE threat overshadowing them.  It depends on the story itself.  It can be subtle with an intriguing character who somehow catches our interest with their good looks or pose.  Or can be even more subtle, a building or structure that evokes emotions or a memory that draws the audience towards it.

I’m learning that a lot goes into the creation of a book cover.  Luckily I’ve had years of artistic training to draw upon to help me reason out what kind of image I wanted to use.  Who or what the ‘star’ of the image was going to be and what kind of backdrop or stage would be helping frame it.

Well, the cover is nearing what I hope will be the final stages.  Here’s where it stands now, I hope you enjoy it and that this entry has given you all some good ideas of what to keep in mind when making or getting someone else to make the cover of your book.   Take care.

20121218_182356


The move is over, I’m settled in.  It’s time to get back to the business of blogging and writing.  Thanks for all your patience everyone.  In today’s Blog/Vlog installment, you’ll get to meet an artist who helps me explain how I try to create characters who feel more like real people.  Enjoy.

%d bloggers like this: