Posts

Showing posts from 2012

JukePop December Rankings

Image
Thanks to all of my wonderful readers, The Sixth Seal is currently ranked at #18 at JukePop Serials. I want to say how much I appreciate each and every one of you. I will do my best to keep delivering an entertaining reading experience for you each week. I have roughly thirty chapters planned and we are only at eleven currently, so there's much more adventure to come.



Remember, you can vote for each chapter, and you can also leave comments on the site as well as on Twitter using the button at the bottom of each chapter. I welcome any and all comments, and even though the story is mostly plotted, you can leave me suggestions for the kinds of things you'd like to see in future chapters. I'm also working on a second book tentatively titled, Alpha and Omega, and I will probably be posting samples of that work here when book one is nearly complete.

For all of you who have been reading along week to week and helping to lift The Sixth Seal in the rankings, I plan on offering you …

Ana Eloise

Image

Trust your reader

Don't overwrite, instead, build a framework for your reader's imagination.

Chapter ten excerpt

The Sixth Seal, Chapter Ten...

“Where are we going, Lee?” Lee didn’t answer. Instead he pushed her to the ground and dove to his right. Ana looked up just in time to see Lee unload the last four rounds from his gun into a man stepping out from behind the SUV. “Stay down.” Lee rose slowly, then approached the fallen man. Ana could see deep red splotches appearing on the man’s back, absorbing into his shirt and fanning out like ripples in a pond.

Stay tuned for this exciting chapter coming this Saturday. In the meantime, you can get caught up with chapters one through nine. Don't forget to give it a +vote if you like it.
http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/241

Chapter 9, Sanctuary, is live

Image
Chapter 9 of The Sixth Seal is live on JukePop Serials. Hannah seeks her contact in the French Resistance, but will she find him before her secret is discovered? Read and find out, and remember to give it a +vote if you like it.

Thanks to your generous support, The Sixth Seal is in the top thirty at JukePop :) I'm currently hanging in at 29th place, but I'd love to climb a few more positions so I can keep my JP 30 ribbon :)



Chapter eight is live

Image
Chapter eight of The Sixth Seal is live on JukePop. This one is definitely a nail biter. There's a car chase, some gunfire and even a little blood. So fasten your seat-belts and get ready for a ride. :)

Remember to give it a +vote if you like it. I really appreciate everyone's support.

The Sixth Seal



















It's official

Image
I just crossed the NaNoWriMo finish line (barely) with 50,168 words. It was a tough one again this year. Life always has a way of throwing you a curve ball, but I guess it makes the victory that much sweeter.



Most of what I wrote is pretty rough, but it did leave me with a lot of material for The Sixth Seal. I also managed to make a tentative plot outline for the second book, but I'm not going to get ahead of myself. There are still twenty to thirty more chapters of the first book to publish on JukePop. Speaking of which, they released a nifty iPhone/iPad app that allows you to read your favorite serials on the go. If you don't have an iOS device, don't fret, they're working on an Android version.

Well, I'd better get back to work. No rest for the wicked :)

The next installment

The next chapter of the Sixth Seal is available at JukePop Serials. Things get pretty crazy and Ana wreaks quite a bit of havoc.

You can find it here.

With your help, The Sixth Seal has risen in the ranks to number 32. I just need about twenty more votes to crack the top thirty. If you like what you read, don't forget you can vote for each chapter. There are six chapters up now, so it would only take a few readers to get the numbers up. Of course, I don't want anyone to vote for it if they don't like it, I just want to remind people that it's a nice way to support the stories that they enjoy.

Thanks again for your support.

By the way, I wanted to mention that we had a winner for the Sixth Seal Promotion contest, but don't fret, I'll probably come up with another one pretty soon.

I also wanted to mention that my plan is to eventually publish the finalized serial, so I may do some sort of contest where readers can promote the serial in order to win a free copy of…

The Sixth Seal Promotion Contest

Hello, fellow writing enthusiasts! In an effort to get more exposure for my serialized novel, The Sixth Seal, I'm kicking off a little contest. It's super easy to enter and I have some great prizes for the winner, or winners, to choose from.

To enter the contest just share the link to my serial, The Sixth Seal, on your Facebook page. You can even tweet it if you'd like. You can share the excerpt below, or just write a few lines yourself. It doesn't have to be fancy, just something letting people know what it is and where to find it.

Here's the excerpt if you want to use it:


Anastasie Eloise Bertrand has spent the better part of fifteen years in a state mental hospital convinced that she is the reincarnated protector of an ancient and powerful book. After an unsuccessful escape attempt, she befriends her new psychologist who begins to believe Ana is not as crazy as everyone thinks. Ana is soon torn between the good doctor, and escaping the hospital to seek out the bo…

Sammy Boy

Image
Here's a picture of my mom's dog, Sammy. She hasn't been feeling well, so I thought I'd post his picture here to brighten her day :)

Love you, mom.


Chapter three is live

Image
Chapter three of The Sixth Seal is live! We get a glimpse of one of Ana's past lives. All I'm going to say is, she kicks butt and takes names :)



Go check it out at:

http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/241

Don't forget to add it to your bookshelf, and please don't forget to vote. Votes help my serial's rankings rise which could help push it into the top thirty. The top serials are eligible for modest cash awards, but more importantly it raises their visibility among potential readers.

Enjoy :)

Chapter three is coming soon

Image
Chapter three of my serialized novel, The Sixth Seal, will be available soon. Things are going to get very interesting. We'll be getting the first look at one of Ana's past lives, all I'm going to say is she kicks butt and takes names :)

If you haven't already registered at JukePop, I would encourage you to do so. There are a ton of great stories to read there across a wide range of genres. Of course, I highly recommend mine, but you can read as many as you'd like and all for the low price of free. If you like my story, or any other for that matter, you can add it to your bookshelf. This will allow you to receive email alerts when new chapters of your favorite serial are posted.

Don't forget to vote and comment on the stories you read and like. I would greatly appreciate your comments as well as your vote. If a serial gets enough votes to get in the top thirty, they are eligible for a modest cash prize. I think this is great incentive for writers to offer their…

Chapter two is live

Chapter two of my serialized novel, The Sixth Seal, is live on JukePop Serials. Come check it out, and don't forget to vote :)

The Sixth Seal, Chapter 2 - Gabriel

In this chapter we meet Doctor Gabriel, and get some more insight into Ana's past. This chapter isn't as fast paced as the first, but that's just to give you a breather before the third chapter.

I hope you all enjoy it. Please sign up at Jukepop, so you can leave me comments and suggestions.

Thanks,
Josh


The Sixth Seal

Image
If I could do a backflip, I would. My serialized novel, The Sixth Seal, has gone live over at JukePop Serials, and I am absolutely ecstatic. In case you didn't read my previous post on this wonderful new serial fiction site (shame on you), it's a great place that hosts serialized works by new and established authors alike. The thing that sets it apart from similar sites is that they encourage interaction between the writer and reader. You can vote for your favorites, and even make suggestions to the authors.



The Sixth Seal is a novel that I wrote during last year's NaNoWriMo. However, anyone that has ever participated in this delightful event knows that despite how creatively liberating it is, one is often left with a very dismal and often incomplete first draft. Unfortunately that was the case with the Sixth Seal, so I was more than a little interested when I first heard about JukePop. What better way to allow some of this work to see the light of day. Of course I had to …

An old familiar friend

I was browsing on Amazon, as I often do these days, when I came across an old favorite, Ross Macdonald. I remember reading his Lew Archer novels when I was in high school. I was completely wrapped up in them for a time. They're quintessential hardboiled detective novels steeped in gritty realism.

I think the thing about Macdonald's detective stories that makes them really stand out from the crowd, and in fact stand the test of time, is Macdonald's adept handling of character. All of the characters in a Lew Archer novel are rich tapestries of motive and emotion. Macdonald had a knack for getting into the mind of the character, and entwining their hidden desires and neurosis into the plot.

I tend to take my time reading a book, but I remember how fast I sped through the Lew Archer novels. They were just so good that I couldn't put them down. Since I discovered them after the author's death, I was able to read them all back to back. At least I thought I had, but some…

Flash fiction

I just entered a flash fiction contest over at Mysti Parker's blog, Unwritten. She challenged writers of all levels to write a horror story for her October Flash Fiction contest. It had to be under 1,000 words, and it's supposed to give her the chills. All I can say is, mine's 1,000 words. It's more of a sci-fi piece than horror, but I had fun writing it, and it's always good practice.

Mysti added some great images to the story, as well as a fancy futuristic title. Do yourself a favor and go check out her blog. There are some great interviews and resources there, as well as information about Mysti's great books.

Thanks again, Mysti :)

JukePop Serials is Live!

You heard right, JukePop Serials is live. You can tell I'm excited because that's the first time I've used an exclamation mark in a blog title. In fact, I think it might be the first time I used any punctuation at all in a blog title.

Seriously though, do yourself a huge favor and go setup a free account at JukePop so you can start reading the awesome stories. I have put quite a few in my bookshelf, but one of the first that I read, and highly recommend, is Larry the Horrible Time Traveler by Andrew Coltrin. It's amazingly brilliant and hilarious. It reminds me of the sort of thing that Douglas Adams would write if he were still alive, and if he had the itch to write a time travelling story of epic proportions.

Anyway, there are currently 112 serials available across a wide range of genres, so there should be something for everyone. I've got to go now...so many stories to add to my shelf :)

A little tact goes a long way

I thought it might be nice to post a little information on critiquing since I'm serving as an intern for this session of F2K, the free writing course offered by Writer's Village University.


Writers are sometimes a solitary lot, and often don't like to hear criticism. Who does really? After all, you pour your heart and soul into something you think is great, and then some uncaring sot tears it to shreds. The nerve. How dare they? Well it need not be like that at all. As writers, we should embrace criticism, and use it as a tool for growth. In the end, our readers will be our critics, and if you don't learn your craft, and put out the best work you're capable of, they will ultimately be the ones to tear your work to shreds. Or worse yet, they won't read it at all because of some bad review they read online. Criticisms offered in a writing group should almost always be seen as a positive thing. First, you are probably all there for similar reasons, and secondly, …

Inspiration

Why does inspiration always come at the most inconvenient times? I've been kind of stuck on my novel for a while now, even though I have an outline. I know what needs to happen to get to the next plot point, but I was hung up on a scene that would get me from point A to point B. Wouldn't you know it; it finally hit me at work this morning. I had all weekend to work something out, but just couldn't manage it. Oh well, I guess that's the way of things :) Fortunately I took a short break to jot down some notes and email them to myself. For the first time in a while, I'm excited to get home and write. I might even be able to sneak in some writing at lunch :)

Gallery of covers

Image
I thought it would be nice to showcase some of the covers I've made all in one place. Plus, it's another excuse to plug the books of some great authors.


Dangerous Presence


Journey to Rome

Hadrian's Rome

My own work in progress.

A serial fiction project I hope will be accepted by JukePop.



A smashing good read

The publisher of Smashing Magazine, an online magazine for professional web designers and developers, has compiled an ebook of some of the best articles. The beauty of it is, that it's absolutely free. It's called the Best of Smashing Magazine, naturally.

The magazine has always been a little too in-depth for my needs, but it has a lot of really interesting articles and examples of good web design. They put it together as a thank you to all of those that have supported them for the last five years. I highly recommend checking it out, even if you're not a web designer.

Remember the good

I know most people are probably marking this day in solemn remembrance, but as for me, I choose to reflect on something else. My grandmother, Virginia Anderson, or Ginny Lee as my grandpa called her, would have been 92 years old today. I miss her and my grandfather terribly, but I also have many happy memories.

I lived with my grandparents for quite a few years, so I was very close to them. I'll share a little fond memory of my grandmother with you. Grandma's house was just a few blocks from my elementary school, so naturally I would walk every morning. There was even a crosswalk that ran between the houses in the middle of the block, so my walk wasn't very long. Every year on the first day of school, before I ventured out, my grandmother made sure I had my lunch, and then she made me stand on the porch so she could take a picture with her little Brownie camera. I'm extremely light sensitive, so I would always squint, but I stood still all the same. Then she would anno…

The return of the serial

Image
Serial fiction is nothing new. After all, Charles Dickens did it with the Pickwick Papers way back in 1836, and you can be sure he wasn't the first. But just as in most things, everything old is new again in regard to fiction. That's right, serial fiction is back in a big way. You might have heard, in Amazon's recent press event, about their new kindle line, Kindle Serials. It looks pretty promising, but another company actually beat them to the punch, and in my opinion, they've got a better game plan. At least it's a better game plan for the indie author. It's a new site called Juke Pop Serials.

Where Juke Pop differs from Amazon, is that they are accepting submissions for story starters, and allowing readers to rate and give immediate feedback to authors. Essentially, accepted authors will post their work in single chapters at least once a month. Then the readers can find stories they like, read them, and rate them. They can also tell the author what they lik…

Pop Art

Image

Royalty free clipart

Image
As you know if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, I enjoy creating cover art. I generally use royalty free stock photos from Big Stock Photos, but recently I found another great source of royalty free images, Dover Pictura. I've bought their clipart books with cd's before, but now they have an online store where you can purchase an image sheet or an entire collection. They're very reasonable, and you can use them royalty free in all of your graphic creations. Of course, their vector images are the best, and as a result more expensive, but I've managed to do quite a bit with their bitmapped offerings as well. Here's an image that I modified to use as an illustration for my work in progress.

The original is a 600 dpi jpeg.






Then I masked out some areas using Pixelmator, and applied some patches of color.




The result is this colorized version which was created by using a color dodge effect. Basically the original image was blended with my color ma…

My most productive writing sessions

I seem to have my most productive writing sessions late in the evening while listening to music. I think the music helps me to write the scenes with a cinematic quality. It's as though the energy of the music forces me to push the story forward, never allowing me to tarry too long in one place. I imagine once I get past the first draft and start revisions, I'll probably need to concentrate on the words more and the music less. For now at least, it's working for me.

I managed to get down another 1,500 words while listening to my new favorite musical muse, Two Door Cinema Club. I found them on Spotify, which is becoming my new favorite way to discover music. I like it so much, that I signed up for the premium service. The higher quality streaming alone is worth the price of admission. I'm probably not telling you anything new though. It seems like all of my friends are already using Spotify, and I was a little late to the party. Oh well, better late than never. Right? :)


Happy Birthday, Mom!

Image
This one's for ewe :)


Pixelmator 2.1

Image
I just upgraded from Pixelmator 1.6 to version 2.1 Cherry. I can't believe how far this software has come since I first started using it a few years ago. In case you're wondering what I'm talking about, Pixelmator is like a scaled down version of PhotoShop for the Mac. Only with this new update, it's just about as versatile as Photoshop for a fraction of the cost. I bought version 2.1 for just $14.99 on the Mac App store, and that wasn't even an upgrade price. Compare that with PS CS6 which runs around $600.00. Even Adobe's light version of PhotoShop, Elements, is $99.00.

I know that Photoshop does quite a bit more, but what it does that Pixelmator doesn't do, I don't need. Take a look at another sample cover that I created in the new version in a matter of minutes.



I think I'm really going to have fun with this new release :)

Finally starting to come together

Image
My floors are completely done, and now all I have left is the trim. I've completed all of the entry, office, living room, and hallway. Just have the bedrooms to finish.

Here are some photos of the results. The quality isn't that good since I took them with my phone. I'll try to snap some shots with the good camera later.





Hopefully I'll have more time for writing soon :)

Another writing friend is published

Image
Another one of my good writing friends has published her novel,  Journey To Rome: Hadrian and Reisha-Book One. It's a beautiful and engaging read, and once again, I had the privilege of designing the cover. Go pick up a copy at Smashwords. You won't be disappointed.


Something for my writing friends

Some snarky and humorous words of "wisdom" that my writing friends will get a kick out of. Of course, even if you don't write, now you're just dying to click the link. Go ahead. Click it. I won't tell.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do

A friend is published

Image
A good friend from my writing group has recently published her novel, Dangerous Presence. I had the privilege of getting to read many of the chapters before it was finished, and I also got to design the cover. It's a fantastic book, and I must admit it has been pretty neat seeing the cover I designed in the Amazon Kindle store. Do yourself a favor, and go buy a copy. If you like mysteries and thrillers, you won't be disappointed.


I'm a Kindle owner, so I bought my copy from Amazon, but it's also available from Smashwords and Apple I believe.

Princess Anna of Övrigmark

Image
Princess Anna
Duchess of Pärlastad
Siren of the Safir Sea


All these names
One and three
The very same you see


Keeper of the light
Mistress of the sea
Return to the land and to me

Out of chaos, comes order...I hope

Image
In case you're wondering why I haven't been posting much lately, this is the reason. I'm having all of the floors in my house replaced. The pictures below are of the kitchen and dining room after the contractor pulled up the old linoleum squares and the horrid carpeting.


Both of these rooms should be completely tiled and grouted by next Tuesday if all goes according to schedule. My contractor, Tim, seems to be making quick work of it, so I think we're going to stay right on track.
By the time he's finished, the kitchen, dining room and both bathrooms will have new ceramic tile, and the rest of the house will have oak laminate flooring. It's going to look like a new house. In the meantime, it's going to look like a war zone. Hence the blog post title :)

A song for mom

I was just thinking of my mother this morning and how much I love her, when an old song popped into my head. I have fond memories of listening to this tune with my mom. Sun roof open on the midnight blue, Honda prelude, a little Paulie on the tape deck, and miles of open road. I think we wore that tape out mom :)

Teddy Boy - Paul McCartney

This Is A Story of A Boy Named Ted 
If His Mother Said Ted Be Good, He Would 
She Told Him Ted About His Soldier Dad 
Then It Made Her Cry, Oh My 
Ted Used To Tell Her 
He Could Be Twice As Good 
And He New He Could 
Cause In His Head He Said 

Mommy Don't Worry Now Teddy Boy's Here 
Taking Good Care of You 
Mommy Don't Worry Teddy Boy's Here 
Teddy's Gonna See You Through 

Then Came The Day She Found Herself A Man 
Teddy Turned and Ran 
Far Away 
OK 

He Couldn't Stand To See His Mother In Love 
With Another Man 
He Didn't Know 
Oh No 

He Found A Place Where He Could Settle Down 
And From Time to Time 
In His Head, He Said 

Mommy Don't Worry N…

The more things change...

Image
Wow! Looks like my grandparents' generation was a bit friskier than I ever gave them credit for. Check out this nifty vintage label art that I got from Dover. They make all kinds of royalty free clip art books that come with compact discs. It's my new addiction. I've bought nine of these things. Lucky for me they're relatively cheap :)



Just so you don't think I'm some sort of ne'er-do-well or depraved individual, here are some less spicy varieties for your viewing pleasure.



Didn't want you to think I was just looking at pin-up girls all day. Heaven forbid :)

An interesting commute

My wife and I commute to work every morning. We have about a forty-five minute drive, so she often reads little news snippets to me from her iPhone to keep me awake. This morning she informed me that it is International Sauntering Day. So here's how that conversation went:

Dorothy - Hey did you know it's International Sauntering Day?

Me - No. I didn't even know there was such a thing.

Dorothy - I'm going to saunter through the office today (mimes the act of sauntering through the office) and see if anyone notices.

Me - Why don't you sashay while you're at it?

Dorothy - Absolutely not. Sauntering only. (mock serious face)

Me - So I guess lollygagging is completely out of the question? (smiles playfully)

Dorothy - Indeed.

Sometimes a morning commute is a good thing :)

Ray Bradbury

1920-2012. He made science fiction a respectable genre.

"I don't believe in being serious about anything. Life is too serious to be taken seriously." - Ray Bradbury.
We'll miss you, Mr. Bradbury.

Opportunity for nonfiction authors

I rarely post anything interesting on Twitter, so it always comes as a surprise when someone follows me. Of course, I think they are following me due to the types of people and sites that I follow, rather than my less than staggering amount of twitter posts. But that's beside the point. What I wanted to post was this interesting opportunity that I found when this nonfiction ebook publisher began following me. Here's a brief snippet from their site:

Collca is an electronic publisher specialising in bite-size ebooks and apps for the Apple iOS devices - iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
It looks like they are trying to branch out into more subject areas and onto more devices. So this may be a great opportunity for nonfiction writers to get their work out there. Collca's bite-size books range from 12,500 to 17,500 words and are aimed at the general public rather than experts. I've never heard of them before, but their terms look interesting, so it might be worthwhile to check th…

Good novel writing advice

Here's some really sound novel writing advice from a veteran author, Crawford Kilian. I think most of this document comes from his book, Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. The content probably isn't anything earth shattering that you haven't heard before, but Kilian delivers it succinctly and covers a wide array of topics. You'll get everything from plotting, to manuscript formatting, and even some general guidelines on writing a synopsis. And as I always say, you can't beat free :)

A bit of fortune cookie wisdom

Character is much easier kept than recovered.

A great offer

As you can probably surmise from some of my posts, I'm a bit of a geek. No really, it's true. And as any geek worth their salt, I love a great deal on software, especially good software. That's why I thought I'd pass this info on to you, in case you're interested.

Softpress, the makers of Freeway Express and Pro, are offering a 60% discount on their award winning web design software. That means you can pick up the very useful and versatile Freeway Express 5.5 for the low price of $27.60. That is a truly amazing deal on such a robust piece of software.
I won't go into the technical details of the software now, other than to say it is a page layout style web site designer as opposed to template based programs such as, Rapidweaver or Sandvox. That means you have complete control over the design, but it also means a bit steeper learning curve. In my opinion it's a worthwhile trade off.
I might do a more in-depth review later, but for now, I would strongly urge y…

The heart of Övrigmark

Image

The hidden gems of Googling

It's funny how a quick internet search can lead you to something you probably would have never come across if it hadn't been for the perfect set of circumstances. For instance, I belong to a writing group over at Writer's Village University, where fellow members critique each other's work. Having other writers read, evaluate, and critique your work is invaluable, and in my opinion, a necessity. However, often when I'm critiquing another author's work, I come across something that I think might be wrong, or at least used in the wrong context, but that I can't quite put my finger on. So, naturally, I pop over to Google to do a bit of Googling. I usually just type in the phrase in question and choose from a myriad of results. That's exactly how I found the nifty little site that I wanted to tell you about today.
The only problem is, I forgot the exact phrase that I typed to find it. I was searching for the difference between aisle and isle at the time, be…

The Writer

I just found out that my favorite magazine, the Writer, has opened up free access to all of the subscriber content on their website from May 7th to May 14th. Normally to access the premium content (denoted by a gold letter "S") you would need to be a paid member, but this week you can browse it all. They have fantastic articles for writers of every genre and skill level. They also have a great market section where you can research agents, publishers, magazines, etc. It's an invaluable resource and I highly recommend that you check it out.

By the way, I'm not affiliated with the magazine I just really enjoy the content :) Now quit reading this and go check outthe Writer. Seriously, why are you still here?

Ahoy, matey!

Image
That's pirate for hello. It's also my pathetic attempt at a segue into this week's post. I know this is going to come as a big surprise, but I designed a book cover for another of my very talented writing friends over in Hemingway Hall.

The book is a swashbucklingly (Is that even a word? It is today!) good pirate story with a not so typical main character, Captain Kate. She's an adventurous lass that sets sail on the high seas, guiding her rag-tag band of pirates on many an adventure. Dennis...er...I mean Cap'n Duffy is a masterful writer who really knows how to lay down a good tale. I'm sure we'll be seeing this one on bookstore shelves in the near future. (Probably quicker than you can shake your cutlass at a hornswagglin' landlubber.)


Here's to you, Captain Kate! Yo Ho Ho! (and a bottle of root beer...it is a children's story after all.)

Joy

"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day."  Henri Nouwen

Cover alterations

Image
It always amazes me how much font choice can affect a book cover. The font you use can communicate much more than just the title. It can imply tone and help to reinforce the theme. Of course, if people have difficulty reading your title, then no matter how lovely the font is, you must choose a different one. After looking back at my own font choice for my cover, I realized it was a touch on the difficult to read side. I could certainly read it, but I'm the one who created the title so that's not a very accurate gage.



So I picked a cleaner font, Harrington if you're interested, and made subtle changes to the background behind the text. The new font and the spacing also allowed me to bump the size up a few points. I think it's a marked improvement, but then again, I'm a little biased, so let me know what you think. Feedback on these kinds of things is very useful.

By the way, you may also have noticed that I changed my pen name again. I did this for a couple of reaso…

A thrilling book cover

Image
As you can probably surmise from previous posts, I've been having quite a bit of fun creating book covers. The nice thing is, I've also been learning quite a bit in the process, such as, how to better use the tools available in my graphics program, what works best as far as layout is concerned, and where to find really great images.

Before I tell you about the cover I've posted here, I just wanted to say a word about the images I used. I purchased them from Bigstockphoto.com. I do this for several reasons. First, I like having a large database of high-quality, searchable images to choose from (their search features are excellent by the way). Second, the price is right. For book covers, you don't really need anything better than their smallest images sizes, which as luck would have it, are also the cheapest. Third, their standard usage agreement specifically mentions that you are free to use images from their site on book covers. That's a pretty big deal because it…

Writing goals

Image
If I'm ever going to get my novel finished, I'm going to have to set some goals. And the only way I'm likely to stick to a goal, is if I tell someone else about it. Since I know at least a couple of people read this blog from time to time, this is as good a place as any to state that goal. So here it is, I'm going to finish the first draft of my novel by the middle of June.



That means that I'll need to write approximately 1,000 words per day. Theoretically, that shouldn't be a problem, since I managed to write 1,700 words per day when I participated in NaNoWriMo. However, NaNoWriMo is an entirely different animal. For one, there are lots of other writers that are posting their progress, so it gives you some competitive incentive. Secondly, when you're writing for NaNoWriMo, you're really focusing on quantity over quality, because the whole idea is to get your creative juices flowing while ignoring that inner editor. For my novel, I want quality and qua…

A new cover

Image
A new sample cover that I made for my work in progress, Beyond the Gates of Övrigmark. I made it in about an hour using three stock photos that I purchased from Bigstockphoto. The smallest, and cheapest as luck would have it, file sizes work best for book covers. The photos I used were $2.99 each, so my cover cost me just under $9.00. I used Pixelmator to put it all together, but you could just as easily do it in a free program like Paint.net or Gimp.




Beyond the Gates of Övrigmark - A thirteen-year-old boy steps through a mysterious arch and into a magical world to find his sister.


By the way, Brann is my middle name. It just fits on the cover better than my last name :)

All the Beauty

Since this is supposed to be a blog about writing, I thought I'd post some actual writing for a change. Actually, I've been wanting to post this story for quite a while, but it was entered in the lesson six contest at F2K so I didn't want to 'publish' it anywhere else. It didn't win the final competition, but I'm happy with it nonetheless.

For lesson six of F2K we had to write a complete story with a beginning, middle and end incorporating everything we'd learned over the session. We also had to keep it under 1,500 words. That's always a challenge for me, but I find the limit actually forces me to choose my words carefully. Ultimately I think it results in a tighter story.

My story is actually a fictionalized account of a very real person, Pinchas Tibor Rosenbaum. If you can get your hands on this great documentary about him, and many other brave individuals from WWII, Unlikely Heroes, I would highly recommend it. I hope I did him justice in this v…