Monthly Archive: September 2013

Working on the back cover…

As the days pass, it seems I get a little closer to wrapping up the cover to Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III. Got the front pretty much in place. Wrote out a pretty good back copy- thought my editor will probably dice it to shit and back. Just need to keep churning on the back cover.

This was my issue with A Child of Byne, my most-recent publication. I simply couldn’t get the back cover done. Weeks turned into months. It’s available in Kindle format now, and the print version is supposedly at the printer. (Have to check with the publisher on how that’s going.) Don’t know what it is, but it seems to be a trend. I had a start-stop-start thing with Witchblood, the second book of the trilogy. But I really like the way that one eventually came out. As previously mentioned, the back cover on Byne was nothing short of a churn. I tried one idea, scrapped it, tried another, scrapped it. Third one stuck, but the end result wasn’t very satisfying, to be honest. (I consider it a learning process.)

I’ve already junked one idea for the Witch Warden back art. It just wasn’t feasible. I’ve settled on a new one, and so far it’s going pretty well, all things considered. But it’s a lot of work. And I’m not sure just how much of that will show up in the final artwork. Oh well. At least I’m playing a lot in my expensive graphic software. And I’m sure in the end this will be a learning process too.

 So, this is what I have so far. The landscape is done in Bryce 7.1, the house in Maya. It’s far from done. I did add shingles to the roof. I still need to model Copperfox’s pyramid-shaped craft. It’ll be hovering near the back. Haven’t decied yet if I’m going to add flames and smoke to the house from damage. Probably will, but that may have to be done in After Effects.

Click for a larger image.

Residue of hard drive crash behind me now…

So, I got the HP Phoenix PC back from HP last Saturday, and I’ve been restoring the software I use. Got most of it back in place. Threw in the new 1TB hard drive. I’ve been using that to store my program files when the installation process lets me. Hopefully this will save wear and tear on the C: drive, where the OS resides. And hopefully the new hard drive will last a bit longer than the original. But I do have to give HP kudos for making the process relatively smooth. And the new motherboard beneath all the wires and stuff looks pretty cool. Oh, and I got my new Nvidia GeForce 9800GT GPU in the mail right before the tower arrived. So even that part worked out!

On a sad note, my Vista tower now won’t even turn on. The power box might have fried or something. And yes, I’ve checked the plugs. So, I might be bringing that in the shop. I might give replacing the power box a try first. Should be simple enough. I’ve replaced plenty of stuff in the tower before. We’ll see. I’ll probably wait until I actually need something off that hard drive…

While dealing with this issue at home, at work I threw myself into the cover art for Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III. Got the front cover mostly done. Early critics suggest adding stuff to the sides of the walkway to show it’s a walkway and not some sort of pyramid. They also thought the two shadow figures were Egyptians of some sort. Well, not going to fret over the look of the figures. But I will play with the idea of adding stuff to the walkway’s edges. That really should be simple enough.

For now, here’s a peek at the cover so far. Click on it for a larger image.

Waitch Warden cover art

Progress on a Few Fronts

It is my hope to soon get back to twice-a-week postings. Tuesday and Friday were my original days, but that sort of drifted to Wednesday-Saturday. But those work just as well. We’ll see what I end up doing. Probably a combination of both.

One issue that should help is the repair of my main PC tower. According to an email from HP, it is on its way home. The hard drive and the motherboard both needed to be replaced. I fear the hard drive will come to me with the original software load of mostly useless programs. I’ll spend as much time cleaning those off as I will loading the stuff I really need. With luck the new drive will last me far into the future. Regarding the motherboard, the issue there was a loose SATA plug. I discovered that the first day I had my desktop. I managed to clip the loose plug back onto the motherboard, and the hard drive I’d hooked up to it worked just fine. It wasn’t an issue but I’m glad it’s been fixed.

I’ll be glad to get off my old Vista desktop. Every day it seems there’s a new issue with it. Today, the sound stopped working. Though the speakers were plugged in (I checked), Vista was convinced they were in fact not. So I rebooted. But that only kicked off the USB ports, which I needed right then. So I rebooted. Ugh. Always something. Don’t get me wrong- I am glad I have that system up and running. I was able to start the cover for Witch Warden and do some other work on the Kindle versions of my already-published novels. The Vista tower still showed its usefulness. I just can’t shake the feeling that one’s about to crash soon. Maybe it is time to put it through an extensive diagnostics.

Speaking of Witch Warden, I have indeed started the covers, both front and back. I hope to have the front cover artwork done by Monday morning- the start of my three-day weekend. Then I hope to have the back cover done by the following Monday morning. I’ve done the hardest part, I think- the back copy. Writing that can sometimes be harder than writing the manuscript. In all, a tight schedule, but I think I can swing it. I know what I want on the covers this time- unlike A Child of Byne, with which I pooped around for months before picking a scene and sticking with it. I have a feeling Witch Warden will be a breeze to put up for sale. If all parties involved do their work.

And speaking of A Child of Byne, I am pleased to announce the Kindle version has been posted. It should be on sale tomorrow or Saturday. I even put in a sneak peek at Witch Warden at the end. Time to begin thinking of using some of those free promotional days. Maybe I should even advertise this time. Get the word out the trilogy is nearing completion. I always said I wanted to wait until I had the full series out before giving it a big marketing push. Well, that time is upon me. Now I have to explore my options. I have three really good stories there- four if you count the novella (and why wouldn’t you?). Got to let people know.

I will also have to update the blog here. Time to add some meat to the Ux-Blood pages. After working on the trilogy for over three years now, I can finally see the end. I will bask in a sense of accomplishment. But only for a short time- maybe an hour. I still have far too many stories in my brain juices for it to be healthy.

Desktop PCs Update

So, it’s been a while since the last post. Thought I would throw out an update.

The new desktop, my HP Phoenix, is going back into the shop for fixin’. Turns out it’s still under warranty so I’ll get fresh new equipment out of this. That equipment includes a new hard drive and a fix to the motherboard- one of the SATA plugs is loose. (It still works but a good pull on the cable will yank the plug off the motherboard.) In tinkering with the desktop I discovered my Nvidia GeForce 9800GT had also crapped out. So I put the original graphics card back in. I can boot to normal Windows now, with my dual monitors, but the hard drive still throws up an error code 303 and 304 when I run a SMART test. That means the hard drive is on the verge of completely pooping out. I got very lucky in that I was able to pull off all the info I needed while the drive was still alive. I will have to reinstall all of my software when I get the tower back from HP and I’ll never get it back the way I have it now, but that may be a good thing. It’ll give me a chance to clean some things up. And I have a new GeForce 9800GT on its way so when I do get the tower back I should have all my hardware options as they were.

On the Vista desktop I used to recover from my HP Phoenix disaster I found a few loose plugs, stuck them back into the motherboard, and got all of my USB ports working again. And since I downloaded a number of free software tools to diagnose my Phoenix I also ran the Vista through the wringer and fixed some minor issues with that one. It’s working well enough that I am not worried about trying to finish the cover art for my latest book, Witch Warden. I’m writing this from my Vista desktop, as a matter of fact. Got music rocking and everything. My Vista has Maya 2011, Poser Pro 2012, Bryce 7.1, and Adobe CS5 installed, so I’m ready to go where my cover art is concerned. I have three weeks or so to get it done- plenty of time. So things could be worse.

My laptop remains in trim fighting form. The one bright light in all this. As long as I don’t drop it or do something stupid… I’d like to throw in an SSD drive for the OS, but that’s for next year.

A Child of Byne coverOn the writing front I have spectacular news! My author’s proof for A Child of Byne is finally(!) on its way so I can proof it, make corrections, and make it for sale. And Witch Warden: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book III is in the hands of my editor. I expect it back from her in about three weeks. Should leave me time enough to incorporate her suggestions, fit the cover to the template (I need a final page count for that), and send it off in time for an October 31st publication. Two books in two months. Makes it look like I’ve been a busy beaver. Truth is I procrastinated on Child most of the year, and then there were issues with the printer. It should have been out for sale by the end of August. Well, we’re coming to the end of that road finally. It’ll be fun to see how things go with Witch Warden (probably embarassingly smooth).

And that will probably be the last book I publish for a while. I have three shorter stories brewing in my head that I want to hammer out. One of them is a long short story set in my Ux-Blood universe. I also want to throw more effort into selling the short stories I do have already written up. Most of those need some good tweaks so I’ll spend time getting those up to speed. The plan is to sell one or two of these before I settle into writing my next novel, a fantasy entitled Dew Drops. I plan to have that out for sale by Christmas, 2015.

And now we’re all caught up!

 

UPDATE: It’s later in the day now. The box to ship my Phoenix tower to HP came while I was out walking. So I packed up my poor ailing tower and brought it down to a Fed-Ex pick-up spot in neighboring Chaska. The tower is on its way to the fix-it shoppe. I should have it back in all its sparkling glory in about two weeks- about the time A Child of Byne might be finally on sale. Stay tuned for further updates!