Book News (and stuff)

I must agree with Viktor on it this time.

The rough draft of Hunting the Dragon (Waves of Darkness book 8) is in the bag. The first 10 chapters are with my alpha reader, and she’s promised feedback notes, hopefully by next week.

The remaining chapters are still in handwritten form and need to be typed up. I will start on that soon. I have to admit that the back half of the rough draft is a hot mess and in need of some scene rearranging and serious polishing.

Meanwhile, I’ve completed inking all the Dragon Poker portraits. I will be doing a color accent version of them for special edition sets of the cards. I’m told those will be offered in a wooden case.

Next on my agenda is the reformatting and revision of Blood Curse (Waves of Darkness book 1). The new edition will be in the 5×8-ish (not sure of the exact measurements right now) size rather than the 6×9 trade paperback version it was previously published in. I plan to snazzy up the interior as well. All this is necessary before I can order a new cover design, since I need a page count to determine the width of the spine. The size change will change the original page count, of course.

Finally, happy news: someone bought one of the 6-episode mini-omnibus ebooks in my The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe steampunk serial. This is the first sale of the year and the first sale in months!

That is all for now. Thanks for reading!

Coming Up for Air

I think everyone out there already knows what a crazy, fly-by-night carnival roller coaster ride 2020 was, so I won’t dwell on it.

I hold hope but no expectations that 2021 will turn out better. It’s already off to a rocky start. Still, there is some promise. (Just try to ignore the ongoing political $#!t storms. Hurricane season has nothing on U.S. politics.)

Time for a personal progress report.

ART: I’m almost done with inking the Dragon Poker card art. Just 2 of the 17 left to ink. There has been some discussion of making a top tier version of the game available with color accents on the face cards (not full color). I will probably add those digitally. Antiquarian Boardgames plans to debut the cards at this year’s LibertyCon, provided it doesn’t get postponed another year or go virtual.

I will be putting some sort of promotional video for the cards on my YouTube channel later this year.

WRITING: I’ve made some progress on Hunting the Dragon, but not much lately. I’ve been concentrating on the Dragon Poker art during the longer winter shutdown of my day job. I do have plans to attack reformatting Blood Curse later this month. This is a necessary step before contracting for a new cover. The reformat may change the page count, especially since I haven’t decided whether to stick with the trade paperback size of 9×6 or a slightly smaller page size. The page count determines the thickness of the spine and is required data for most of the cover artists I’ve researched.

I also plan to have new cover art for the episodes of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe as well as The Girl Who Fell from the Sky done prior to publishing episodes of season 2 later this year. I apologize for the extended delay of the serial, but I’m still learning the tricks of self-publishing and the marketing of such.

YOUTUBING: Yeah, I think I have been a little over ambitious with my plans to revive the channel in relation to actual available time for all this. I’m not giving up, just not gonna promise a lot of content in a short time period. The new videos will be added as I can manage.

CONVENTIONS: So far, LibertyCon is the only regular convention I’ll get to attend this year. Chattacon is virtual this year. My dealer table/membership is supposed to roll over to next year. I do plan to check out the online program content, but I won’t be presenting any this year. ConNooga is canceled this year due to COVID. I have no plans for any other conventions at this time.

That pretty much sums up my updates for now. See you here again soon, hopefully.

Here There Be Dragons

Ruth, the white dragon from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series.

I’ve finally been given the go-ahead to talk about the art commission I’ve been working on since last year. I’m doing the art for the face cards of a 5-suit Dragon Poker set based on Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books. This is an authorized card game to be published by Antiquarian Boardgames. (The link is to their FB page, as their website is currently down.) It is in conjunction with a Dragonriders of Pern LARP.

Ruth will be the Joker for the deck. The Kings will all be Weyr Women, the Queens will be Weyr Leaders or wing seconds, and the Jacks will be crafters or holders. The aces will be a dragon in the each of the five dragon colors from Anne’s books: gold, bronze, brown, green, and blue. The dragon for the aces will also be miniaturized for use as the pips on the numbered cards.

I already have all the art done in pencil and have started the inking process. In addition to the cards Antiquarian Boardgames will be selling, I am authorized to sell prints of the artwork. I plan to have some sort of purchase link set up for the prints by convention season next year. I will keep you all updated.

“Young Queen and Rider”, which I did for Dragon*Con 1989, was the artwork which earned me this commission. This print was signed for me by Anne at a book signing in Longwood, FL for the release of Masterharper of Pern.

I’ve been a fan of all her books and various series ever since the early 1980s, when Donna Akehurst (then Varner) gave me a copy of the Harper Hall trilogy.

I even found my first publisher, Gypsy Shadow Publishing, because of Anne, indirectly. I saw their Facebook post about publishing the back list of Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, who wrote the Peytabee and Acorna the Unicorn Girl series with Anne. That led to looking them up, querying them, and the eventual first publication of my Waves of Darkness series.

As I said above, I will keep you posted about the progress on this project and my writing, as well.

Chugging Right Along

The latest news on the re-release of the Waves of Darkness books: I’ve chosen 5 or 6 potential cover designers from Fiverr.com to contact. My next step before doing that will be to revisit my original manuscript and reformat it for print with possible revisions and at least a new forward. The designer I finally pick will need the actual page count in order to get the spine the correct size.

I will probably pick one of the designers who offer an ACX version along with ebook and print cover sizes. I really want to get the books out in audio format, too.

My art commission is almost done for the 1st phase. I’m shading the last pencil sketch. Next up will be inking them. Color may or may not happen. That has not been decided yet. I will ask my commissioner if it’s okay to reveal what this project is. More on that later.

Books for Sale!

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I will have 9 copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Season 1 available for sale at my table in the Chattacon dealer room!

I’d ordered 10 copies, but I already sold a copy to a coworker who is a fan and a speed reader. He wanted a signed copy, and waited until I had them available in person. I guess he worried he might read any copy he ordered before he could get my signature, since we’re on different shifts. (He did over pay, at his insistence, which more than covered my shipping cost.)

I will also have copies of Silent Fathoms, Black Venom, Hell’s Dodo, The Daedalus Enigma, and Maelstrom of Fate, books 3-7 of the Waves of Darkness series available. The first two books in the series, Blood Curse and Demon Bayou, have been sold out since early last year. Rest assured, I do still plan on getting these titles back into publication, one way or another.

Speaking of the WoD series, writing has stalled on book 8 for now. I’m not happy with chapter 12 and plan to rewrite it, moving some of the events about. Otherwise, this book might end up a novella instead of a novel.

The majority of my free time has been taken up with working on a previously mentioned art commission. I’ve really been enjoying the challenge as well as exercising my rusty portraiture skills.

As soon as I’ve figured out my schedule for Chattacon, I will post it to my Appearances page here. I’m not slated as a panelist, so I imagine a large portion of my time will be spent at my table. Hope to see you there!

Happy New Year!

Looks like Mr. Grimm wishes to give a New Year’s greeting of his own.34

(Image “borrowed” from one of the many FB pirate groups I haunt.)

While my writing has stalled out a bit lately, I have been working on an illustration commission. Fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series will really like this one. That’s all I’m at liberty to say at this point, until I get the clearance from my commissioner.

I will be at Chattacon January 24-26. Click on the link for location and other details about the convention. I will have a table in the Dealer Room and will have copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Season One available for sale. Just placed my order this morning. If you’re in Chattanooga, TN that weekend, please stop by. It’s a fun con to attend!

Wholly Shake Up!

Had a slightly sour experience this past holiday weekend, one which led to a valuable lesson. However, it will mean an even further delay to the launch of season 2 of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe.

After a single denial to post on a particular FB book promotion group because the graphic on my cover didn’t meet the admins’ definition of “professional”, I did a little marketing research. I have to admit that cover art is not really my forte. As proud as I am of the cover I did for The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, it really does scream “self-published/amateur.” I’m better equipped to do illustrations and portraits.

A friend has supplied me with links for some better fonts, and I have a design in mind which I believe will look as good as anything put out by a large publishing house. I just need to find an affordable artist with the correct skills and digital tools to pull it off.

I’m also planning to do new, more detailed B&W illustrations for the book’s interior, when I get the time. I am keeping the pipework frame from the current cover for the new illustrations. I will probably enhance the line art for the current cover with more shading and insert it a splash page in the front of the second edition, as well.

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In the meantime, I will leave the current first edition up on Amazon. I will pull it maybe a week or two before releasing the second edition. This will allow me time to get everything just right as well as get and look over a galley proof of the new version.

I have not decided on a design for the individual ebook covers, but they will be uniform and without illustrations. That being said, yes, I will be issuing second editions of the first 12 episodes with new covers and a bit tidied up. There are some errors I’ve spotted since original publication that need to go away, after all.

Oh, and I am changing the publishing name from Steele Rose Press to Steele Rose Publishing. There is a winery with the name, and I don’t want any legal issues to crop up.

Heads Up

The second season of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe will debute January 2020. I had hoped to have Episode 13 out this year, but I can see that life isn’t going to make that very feasible for me. My current plan is to go ahead and get the episode cover art for the entire season prepped before publishing the next episode. My work schedule is slated to change once again at the start of the year, so this seems like the smarter play to me.

In the meantime, the season one omnibus, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, has sold a whopping three copies. I would like to get a little more traction with this book before rolling out the second season.

You know a book makes a great stocking stuffer, and $12.95 is CHEAP for a paperback these days. (I’m old enough to remember when paperbacks cost about what they charge for comic books these days, and when comic books cost about 35 cents.)

Also, I know it’s still over a month away, but come this Christmas break, remember to vote for The Girl Who Fell from the Sky in the critters.org Preditors and Editors Readers Poll in the Steampunk Novel category.

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Don’t forget to come see me at Chattacon January 24-27 at the Double Tree by Hilton in beautiful Chattanooga, TN. I will have copies available as well as my remaining copies of my Waves of Darkness series books.

Hopefully I can start getting them back on the market next year with fresh new covers AND added internal illustrations! Of course, what would really be great would be to get them released as audio books as well. I have had interest in entering that format with the series over the past few years.