Tag Archives: illustration

Back to Work!

I went on family vacation and forced myself to NOT write during it. I only turned on my laptop to upload photos. Surrounded by mountains, one might think an internet connection impossible, but my eighty-year-old engineer father is a geek and actually sprang for a router at camp. Now you can get WiFi in the outhouse.
Seriously.
It felt odd NOT to write. I’m used to thinking of vacations as time away from “real” work, time to do whatever I want, all the things I don’t have enough time to do while commuting to my 40-5-60 hours. This is the first official vacation I’ve taken since writing became a full-time pursuit, and the first time I’ve had to look at writing as “real work”, too.
So, I didn’t write.
I sat in the sun and quilted, I swam, took pictures, and picked blueberries. We kayaked, played outdoor darts (which, for some reason, are much more fun than indoor darts), had camp-fires, made smores, and we grilled everything in sight. (Except the blueberries.) It was great.
I tried very hard NOT to think about writing, and only partially failed.
The break was good for me, though. I’d already paused at a crucial part of the new novel, re-imagining that section, and staying away altogether freed me up to think of other things. I came up with a couple of ideas for new short stories, which I’ve begun writing more regularly, and put some more thought into the next two books, resulting in several creative leaps.
Also, I refrained from checking my Amazon sales for an entire week, and came home to discover I’d met my sales goal for the month early! As I’m currently more committed to writing than promoting, I have extremely modest goals, but it’s nice to unreservedly check something off the list.
My favorite short story by anyone, ever, is The Cask of Amontillado, though The Ransom of Red Chief is a close second. (Poe and O. Henry, respectively.) My favorite short story by me, so far, is Popcorn, Lollipops, and Porn, which has no porn whatsoever. It’s on Smashwords, Amazon, and all the usual suspects. It should be free on all sites, if Amazon’s price-matching has kicked in.
I like the main character so much that I’m outlining a novel around her, though there’s so much research to do for it, I don’t expect to put pen to paper [sic] for at least a year.

Make sure to scroll down for free links and the rest of the story…

Short story, available free this month at all the usual online retailers.

Short story, available free this month at all the usual online retailers. Give it to me free!

glass house

One of multiple “failed” flash fiction pieces- I just couldn’t manage to keep them under 1000 words! Give it to me free!

 

For fellow writers- when I started writing short stories again after a 20-year break, I found this article very helpful : Short Stories: 10 Tips for Creative Writers
It’s a good resource for learning, or re-learning the basics.
Well- vacation’s over, so it’s time for me to get BACK TO WORK!

Sibling Rivalry

My sister Stefanie, who criticized me viciously for every sex scene I ever wrote, calling them “shocking” (I’m not kidding!) and worse, has been writing erotica! She’s so into the genre that she published a reference book “geared toward the writer of romance and erotic fiction”. It’s called “TheSEXaurus: Sexy Words for Writers” and do NOT ask me how to pronounce that. I had to cut and paste the title to spell it correctly. It’s live on Smashwords, 99 cents for a variety of formats, and will arrive on Amazon for Kindle later this week. Meanwhile, the PDF is free on her site. And it’s illustrated by me!

In my everyday obsessive manner, I started with her cover design and went way, way, WAY overboard. I had an idea to write a stereotypical romance story, drastically shortened to hit just the highlights of the genre, and use the illustrations to separate each section. Because it’s absolutely impossible for me to let something go, I worked on the vector illustrations for ages before I was satisfied. I ended up with results I absolutely love, though. (Oh, yeah, Stefi likes them, too! I suppose that should have come first, but we are sisters!)

Check out the book HERE on her site, whether you’re a writer or just curious. Here are a couple of the illustrations from the story inside, which I call “The Princess and the Pirate”. Apparently I read too many Johanna Lindsey novels when I was pregnant, a hundred years ago! Too funny.

Princess' Ship

The illustration above is the second in a series of eleven divided throughout the book, and a fairly good representation of what I chose to do: putting the text of the story into each image, aligned artistically when possible, and using words from TheSEXaurus as background texture. I think they came out well. These are JPEGs of the original vectors.

Below is an early version of an illustration from later in the story. See how one of the words split up near the end? I use Adobe Illustrator, and it’s a giant pain getting all the text to go where you want it when you align to the shape of an object. Text is a pain altogether in any illustration, in my opinion. This time, though, I actually think it was worth it!

Moonlit Night

Choose my new book cover!

I’m posting a desperate Please-help-me poll on the website today because I can’t decide on a cover design by myself! I swear, it would be easy to spend more time christopher wilhelm eckersbergdesigning a cover than writing an entire book! The most difficult part, of course, was making sure it’s clear and eye-catching at the small size of a website preview image (around the same size of the images in the cover poll) but a close second would be making the design fit the genre.I must have read too many mysteries, because the first few covers all looked like that. I felt the need to be especially careful NOT to do that since I have the word “perjury” in the title. With a darker, moodier cover it would be easy to assume someone’s getting killed in the first few pages.

I found a lot of literary fiction covers are photos behind floating text. I tried that too,vermeer but I wanted a template I could use for future books. I’m satisfied with the template- I can change the color of the black “stripes” to a different dark color and still keep the “look”, but I just couldn’t decide on a graphic. The Eckersberg painting I tried first (above, right) is still the one I think fits the novel best thematically. There’s even a scene with the main character studying herself in the mirror, but it doesn’t read well as a graphic at the small size most websites display, so I went back to the drawing table.

Next I chose the Vermeer portrait of a young girl (above left) also La TOurappropriate for the story. After I cropped it to emphasize the girl’s eyes, however, one of the comments I heard was that she looked like a sad baby, definitely NOT my point! My two favorite potential covers utilize waterhouse“Boreas” by John William Waterhouse (left)  and The Magdalena with the Smoking Flame by Georges de La Tour (at right).

I’m sure there are a few artistic purists out there who will object to the use of fine art being for a [hopefully] popular work of fiction, but I’m comfortable with it as a form of tribute. I like the idea of someone formerly uninterested in fine art seeing a painting on the cover and being intrigued enough to go look up the artist. Plus, as an artist myself, I don’t think Eckersberg, et. al, would mind at all.

So- thank you if you already voted, or is on their way to vote now- I really need the help!!