Cover Art

So humor me for a minute. My bookguy (trans: independent bookseller with whom I love to have SFF-related discussions) had me borrow a book from him to ‘take a look at it’. It’s the 1970-edition of Katherine Kurtz’ Deryni Rising featuring this kind of cover art.

Uh…yeah…Do I need to say more? Let’s just say I skimmed through it just for the heck of it and yes, the book definitely lives up to his hideous cover art… For anyone who thought the Wheel of Time covers were bad or is ranting about the cover art for the upcoming Scott Lynch book – may this cover be burned into your retinas 😉 Back in 1970 (or nowadays if you purchase Russian translations like Steven Erikson’s Deadhouse Gates) things were much worse.

It still doesn’t remedy the fact that most fantasy covers are horrendously cliched and don’t reflect the book at all (though I have to admit that I did like the equally cliched coverart for Shadows Return, but that’s just because Seregil is real eye-candy and because Michael Kormack generally does an awesome job) Let’s hear it for awesome fantasy artists and covers that we don’t need to hide in public.

Maybe I should make an effort at getting into photoshop and work on creating my own coverart? Hm.

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Moving woes

Okay, so besides reading, finishing a huge 30×40″ painting of Stephen’s and mine WoW characters and wallowing in procrastination as far as rewriting Shadows is concerned – what did I do this weekend? Well given that in all likelihood we’ll be moving around August 8th and 9th, I’ve been contemplating packing. Sadly enough, after filling four boxes with books, I had to realize that a) I don’t have enough boxes and b) I apparently do have to concede that I do have too many books (though I’m still on denial here). Four boxes don’t even hold one fourth of my little library so I’ll have to go and beg my sister in law for more of her Avon boxes get some more boxes. Might even end up buying some, because my in laws’ moving boxes got peed on by  Angel one of their more vicious kitties.

Did I mention that it was probably the same mean-hearted cat that saw it fit to pee on my brush set whereupon I had to throw away most of them along with my palette? No, Nym’s not very happy about that and I’ll probably make another trip to Hobby Lobby tonight to get me some new brushes, because even though the huge painting is finished mostly to my satisfaction, I already have a handful of other ideas whirling about in my head.

Did I mention how long oil needs to dry and that I’m really glad that most of my thirteen -yes, it’s that many by now- paintings are already dry? Moving those, but the 30×40″ one in particular (since it’s anything BUT dry) will be a bitch.

It would have been the reasonable way to wait to paint it until after we moved, but noooo since when am I among the reasonable people? No, I had to get this out of my head and on the canvas, because I already picked the perfect place for it to go in the new apartment. How sad is that?

And yes I’m OCD, so what?

Dear Gods, my German sucks…

Just a random aside, but you really don’t want to know how long it just took me to write up a rather lengthy – and appallingly spelled – email to a bunch of friends from Germany. It’s embarrassing really 😉

Ouch.

Gratuitious Kitty Posting

August 2007: Tiny Nazca sleeping in my lap

Gottcha! Daddy has the kitty by the tail

Nazca loves Converse!

Roadtripping!

Tiny Nazca’s favorite spot: on my shoulder

I iz a bat!

Best friends: Nazca and her teddy bear

Computerkitty – Nazca looooves the laptop

What goes down there? Curious kitty in the bathroom

June 2008: Ey, Rini stole my spot!

‘Kay, I still like to cuddle with you!

Drinking in style or the kitty who refuses to drink out of a bowl

The world is coming to an end! Nazca in one bed with her arch-nemesis Angel and Rini

The Dork Lord on his Dork Throne: Nessa owns all kitties on her TV-empire

I’m notorious – I win at life!

Seriously, conversations like this make me all kinds of happy:

Me, talking books: I just really wouldn’t suggest those to a LDS audience, but you know what I mean. Too much homosexuality, too much language…you know.

Bookstore guy: With you, I already figured that.

Hahaha, amen, brother.

Seriously, if you’re looking for the traditional Terry Brooks/David Eddings fantasy recommendations, I’m the wrong person to talk to. Also, if you tend to get easily offended by language or subject matter, better stay away from me, because my company gets you straight to Hell. Yes, all seven of them 8)

When characters talk…

Most writers that I know (myself included) often love to refer to their characters talking to them, telling them what they want to do, thinking inside their head. I just wanted to drop a few lines affirming that yes, characters sometimes doe things that go against the author’s original ideas. I think it’s rather common that characters suddenly decide to add their own twists to your carefully-devised plot only to laugh into your face while throwing it all over.

During the drafts of Light that I’ve done so far (this one including the Osiris-zero draft from back in 2006 as well as the first draft that’s now physically there), a couple of those things happened, here are some examples.

First off, the original main character in Light was supposed to be Osiris, his plot basically starting where the first draft of Shadows left off. Honestly, Osiris just decided that he’s too utterly insane to be a good protagonist and that overall this wasn’t his story, so he decided to retreat until further notice to maybe jump out of my notebook for a later book of Light.

Then, luckily, Ares pops up. Ares, originally the son of two of my roleplaying characters makes the perfect protagonist with a good deal of emotional baggage. Also, Ares decides that he definitely does not want to be the hero, because man, everyone knows: Heroes die and that’s something Ares isn’t quite up to (yet).

Oh and there’s Damian, who originally was supposed to play the role of the brotherly friend, who’s in a relationship with Naerya. Guess Damian decided he wanted to be gay and dump Naerya for Ares…or something like that.

Then of course there are the villains who a) are outsmarting the good guys from top to bottom in Shadows and b) are much more complex and not just on one side at all. Against the original idea of the prologue, Arturiel Valyr actually feels pretty bad about what he’s done and is still looking to cope. Don’t know if he’ll ever achieve that, but hey, he can always try, right?

Anyway, to somehow bring this character ramble to a conclusive end: I’m really glad that over the first draft and even before my characters have evolved as they did and if they’d had to beat me to it occasionally, then that’s fine with me.

Characters talk, which means yes, there are voices in my head that only I can hear. Don’t tell me you’ve got a problem with that :p

My little editing arsenal…

Just thought I’d mention that I had to clean everything off our kitchen table to have enough space for editing Light (there’s paper etc. all cluttered around me now). Here’s what I’m using:

1.) my manuscript: 523 pages, printed out in Courier New, double spaced, first line indent. I printed front and back of the sheet so Kinko’s would be able to bind it – they did a good job at comb-binding it (happy)

2.) highlighters, sharpies, pencils etc. for scribblings in the manuscript as well as scene cards

3.) a stack of index cards (to make scene cards, which is what I’m doing right now)

4.) my trusty laptop (to get distracted, but also to make a new, more detailed plot spreadsheet)

5.) 2 notebooks to write down spontaneous thoughts, while the second notebook is basically for random thoughts that occur for book 2, Clairvoyance 😉

6.) Roget’s Thesaurus – always handy that

7.) Mittelmark & Newman’s “How Not To Write A Novel”

8.) Kelly Nickell’s “Writer’s Digest Writing Clinic” – on editing

9.) Jordan E. Rosenfeld – Make a Scene

10.) music (because I can’t work without listening to the right music – currently Apocalyptica, again 😉 )

11.) caffeine (same reason, but caffeine probably takes priority even over music :p )

I guess I can survive editing like that. Making scene cards/plot spreadsheet is progressing well and maybe I get done with this today 😀