First Pass

Got the interior completed and uploaded last night.  More clumps of hair out this morning trying to get the front/back covers done.  At only 24 pages, there’s no ‘spine’ per se, so had to work around that.  Then, the primitive graphics program I was using decided it was done for the day.

The nice thing about flat-panel screens is they go much further once they’ve cleared the glass of the window.

*ahem*  After applying the typical IT solution (“Did you restart your computer?”), things were less bad.  Images formatted, converted, uploaded.  I’ve gone ahead and submitted them for review by CreateSpace, even though I’ve no blurb on the back cover, yet.  I want one of their proof copies in my hand:  until you’re holding a physical copy, you’ve no idea what stupid things you’ve screwed up (such as leaving page numbers out of my first novel; my then 11 year-old caught that one).

As always, I cannot thank Claudia Gadotti enough for her amazing illustrations.  Please go to her place and lavish her with commissions!

“HBD!” Adding text

Last night was crashing and burning:  came home hopped up on coffee (recall:  I’ve high blood pressure) to get things done on HBD!, only to be confronted with hysterical wife:  “my J-drama torrents won’t work!!”  An hour lost there, then another making dinner, I finally sit down to format some jpg’s to pdf’s . . . forgetting that twice 2700 pixels is not 1350, but, in fact, 5400.  Re-re-formatting everything, I do a trial upload at 2215.  All clear.  Time for bed.

Tonight, adding text.  As this is a book aimed at 2nd graders, I think there’s about 120 words, total.  This issue – ONCE AGAIN – is formatting:  my pages are set to ‘bleed-out’ on the edges, so when making text boxes, I have to guess where my perimeter is.  That’s been three tries so far.  I’d also some issues about ISBN’s, but would rather toss my desktop out my window than even think about discussing it.

Below the fold, a snapshot of page 17.  God bless Claudia Gadotti, my illustrator.  How she could reach into my mind from my poor, bare-bones description of my characters to make what she did . . . well, just wait until I’ve wrapped this all up in a couple of weeks.

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HBD! Update

With only seventeen days left to go in my self-imposed deadline, I just now figured out how to format the pages from jpeg to pdf and upload them properly to CreateSpace.  I’ve been spoiled:  for my traditional novels, I’ve used “Bookwrite” by Blurbb; a fantastic program, so long as you stay within its boundaries.  As this is an illustrated children’s book, I needed those boundaries to be elastic, so after a few days, out that went.

Then it was a matter of re-scaling Claudia’s wonderful drawings.  That took a couple of days to figure out… glad my wife told me to drink less:  I was about ready to throw my computer out the window.  I finally got a test of the cropped, resized, and split, pages successfully uploaded to CreateSpace.  I’ll – hopefully – reformat the remaining images tomorrow, then add the little bit of text (this is a kids book, after all) the day after.  Looks like the wife and daughters will be foraging for dinner the rest of this week!

Provisional cover is below the fold.

In other news, I’ve seen some huge character changes for my NaNoWriMo project this year; I’m quite pleased!  Set in a part of MachCiv I’ve not really been to, yet, and something of a horror novel, this should be fun!

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Book Tour – October

Apologies all around:  my awful “day job” – which takes place at night – has me to the point where I see my children for four freaking minutes each evening before I go to work.  Not happy about that.

Anyhoo.  I’ve been a tick busy getting questionnaires answered and blog-posts typed for an upcoming Virtual Book Tour for “The Fourth Law.”  Sure, I’m almost a year late doing this… I’m old, dammit.

Some of the questions are straightforward; a few have been very thought provoking.  Much more dangerous are the requested blog entries.  For example, the one I’m working on now said ‘topic:  author’s choice.’  Ooo!  What trouble I can get into!  In fact, that’s exactly what I want to do.  So, I’m writing a little (~600 word) entry about Lily’s Catholic faith.  Honestly, it’s something you really don’t see in current science fiction much, and I had some early reviewers tell me that “it will turn off some readers.”

Fine.

Politics is downstream from culture.  I want my daughters to have a better life than I have, and, honestly, that looks iffy these days.  If I can nudge WestCiv culture in a way that I think might help them – even if it costs me readers and sales – I’ll do that.  In “T4L” I have Lily freely admit that although she grew up Catholic, her faith meant little to her, until she was on her own at the hospital and orphanage.  Much of how she thinks and acts towards God and the Church now are heavily drawn from Niven and Pournelle’s two books about the Inferno.  A sharp eyed reader of “T4L” will see that every time Lily cries  “…God!  Help me…!” things suddenly change for her, but not in a way she expects.  Getting your prayers answered is like that.

Lily’s witness to her Catholic faith is so important, that by the end of the first book of Machine Civilization, one of Ai’s family is well on her way to a conversion… which will be played out when my 20-page children’s book is completed in a couple of months (go Claudia go!).  It is also something that sustains her on her trek across the former southern States of the US in “Echoes of Family Lost.”  In both books, her faith, and her charitas towards her friends, define who she is.

I’m tired and rambling.  Need to get back to that guest-blog entry.  Thanks for reading… and… (grins)… prayers would be welcome!

Henge Crosses the Tiber

I’m trying to get things sorted with a great illustrator in New Zealand for my next book:  a little 20-page thing about Henge (pronounced “hen-geh”), the youngest of Machine Civilization.

In the mean time, I wrote a short about what happens there.  It’s not much; the book will be better, but sometimes, you have to say something.  As always, please forgive WordPress butchering my formatting below the fold.

Continue reading “Henge Crosses the Tiber”

“You don’t have a Soul; you are a Soul. You have a Body.” CS Lewis

CreateSpace is now processing my final changes to “Echoes of Family Lost;” with luck and grace, it should be available this week.  So, what’s next?

“Henge’s Big Day!”  I’ve never written for children before.  Why not see what I’m capable of doing?  In an earlier post I mentioned the library at the school my two girls attend.  I’ve been a volunteer in said library for years… stacking, shelving, reorganizing.  I’ve had plenty of time to look at those books in the “E” section.  Easy?  Early Reader?  Don’t know nor care.  But I started paying attention to the format.

“HBD” will be about 10 x 10″ with a hardcover – if I can afford it.  I’d like to:  we withdraw softcover kids books after only two years of use, on average; they’re just too damaged.  Kids are natural entropy-bots; it’s one of the things that make them interesting.  I’d lost my point… so, about ten inches square (that’s blib quatloos for you on the metric system).  I thought about a story… I thought about Henge (pronounced “hen-geh”) the youngest of Machine Civilization and also something of a hybrid… although that explanation really doesn’t come out until late in “EFL.”  Even so, late in “T4L” Henge overhears a comment by Lily, and immediately applies it to herself.

On the one hand, MachCiv is all about so-called AI’s; on the second hand, I keep hammering away at their nature as people.  On the gripping hand, “T4L” is shot through with Lily’s re-discovered Christianity.  What if one of them looked at the evidence and wanted to become a Christian?

How do you baptize a string of code?  Throwing water onto a rack of servers would be a very bad idea.  But… the rest of the idea….

I cannot draw; once upon a time I could make 3D-parametric design software dance, sing, bring drinks and empty ashtrays.  Now…. Below the fold are some awful sketches from my 20-page “Henge’s Big Day!”  I wont say ‘don’t laugh,’ as I have, too!  I use it to try to let illustrators know what I’m looking for.  What’s sad is that I’ve gone looking for illustrators here and here and here, freely talking four figures of money, and after a month I have only a single, possible lead.  Is everyone so satisfied with their day-jobs?!  Is everyone so narcoleptized by the dole?  Why is finding an illustrator this difficult?  Twenty pages!  Little background!  Watercolors!

Sheesh.  It’s enough to drive a man to drink.  Let me get another Martini, then tell you about Book Four.  Now, that’s killing me.

Continue reading ““You don’t have a Soul; you are a Soul. You have a Body.” CS Lewis”