Help! Need back cover advice!

My cover artist stopped responding to requests for new work, and I am in the process of redoing all of my novel covers in the series. I plan to go through Damonza for the cover design, but I am also planning on redoing the back cover content as well as the bookseller descriptions at Amazon, B&N, etc. Here is what I’m working right now. Feedback/guidance is appreciated.

Lucifer’s Odyssey

lo_oldcoverWhat if the war between angels and demons had a much more ancient history that spanned three universes and many billions of light years of space? What if humanity’s vision of apocalypse was really a glimpse into the mind of a god whose thirst for vengeance was only matched by his unique, omniscient intelligence?

The Lucifer’s Fall trilogy of the Primal Patterns series is the story of the most celebrated demon warrior and king in history, and the birth of a moral and intellectual renaissance in the Chaos Universe. The first book, “Lucifer’s Odyssey”, traces the demon prince Lucifer from his imprisonment on Earth to the betrayal of his parents in Chaos and a shaky alliance with the Elven people. Filled with irreverent humor and fast paced action, Lucifer’s Odyssey beckons you to take a journey through space and time into a story where elven technology meets the ruthlessness of the demon race and the potential of Jehovah’s great creations.

“Lucifer’s Odyssey” is the first book of the Lucifer’s Fall trilogy, and book one in the Primal Patterns series

The Goblin Rebellion

thegoblinrebellion_webLucifer has become King of Chaos, and the elves and demons have repaired their relationship. To those on the outside, Jehovah’s plans for the multiverse may appear to be in peril. But the Lord works in mysterious ways…

Jehovah imprisons Lucifer’s son and enlists the support of elven dissidents who have lost loved ones to Lucifer’s past deeds. Lucifer’s reforms in Chaos spark controversy at home and abroad, and the bond between the elven king Elandril and the demon king Lucifer grows stronger despite the protests of political elites in the elven capital of Arnessa. To get at the demons, Jehovah must isolate them. An enemy alliance is only as strong as its weakest link.

“The Goblin Rebellion” is the second book of the Lucifer’s Fall trilogy, and book two in the Primal Patterns series.

Shadows of Our Fathers

Angels and demons fall as the Great War between Order and Chaos comes to a close. For those who thought Jehovah’s days of smiting stopped in the Old Testament, it’s time to give the devil his due.

In the face of democratic and social reforms, the Chaos Universe struggles with its past while pursuing the future that King Lucifer promises. While the demons thrive, the creator of the Elven universe looks to his own past for the salvation of his favorite immortals. Jehovah’s wife Gaea and son Isaac seek asylum in Chaos as Lucifer and Jehovah have their final, apocalyptic battle.

“Shadows of Our Fathers” is the last book of the Lucifer’s Fall trilogy, and book three in the Primal Patterns series.

What do you guys think?

Updates on the workshop and Mary’s talk

So, if you missed me and Mary Robinette Kowal at CMU in Pittsburgh yesterday (Sunday, 2/12/2017), then you missed a really great time.

At 1:00 p.m., I gave a writing workshop called “The Art of the Character Study”, which talked about a technique I use to break out of writer’s block, deal with the dilemma of show vs tell, and write interesting characters. We had 16 people signed up, and I think the workshop went really well. If you missed the workshop, but you’d like to see the slides (not the example Character Studies I brought, which I think everyone liked), you can see the slides here:

The Art of the Character Study (PPT | PDF)

kowal1-500x496At 3:00 p.m., I introduced Mary and she talked about her career in puppetry and how it has influenced her science fiction and writing career. She also talked about diversity in science fiction, the obligations of being a writer, and a lot about the industry. Afterword, we had a book signing with both authors, and I gave away several paperback versions of Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion (if you haven’t picked up these covers, know that I am going to be changing these very, very soon). We then had dinner at the Union Grill with students, writers, and artists and talked about all kinds of fun subjects. Topics ranged from the Nebula awards to the future of robotics in science fiction and the real world. It was a lot of fun, and Mary is of course a fascinating thinker and speaker.

Other updates: I submitted a short story called “Remembrance Day” to the Parsec Ink – 2017 Parsec Short Story Contest – A Hidden Underlying Truth contest. The story is about a boy who learns about the real reason behind humanity’s collaboration and harmony in the near future. If you have your own ideas about “a hidden, underlying truth”, feel free to submit your own!

Two new short stories

I have written two new short stories that are intended for contests. I’m very, very excited about these right now. Each time I read them, I think they are the best short stories I have ever written. I love the messages, and I can definitely see me expanding one of them into a novel or series of novels (as if I needed more distractions).

One of them is a hard science fiction story called “Remembrance Day”. I wrote it as a response to the 21st Annual Parsec Short Story Contest, and I intend on submitting it after my wife looks over it. The other is not really firmly titled yet. It started out as “Shelly, the Mana Vampire” but it is currently trending toward “Shelly and the Contessa.” It’s more of a paranormal fantasy work, and I think it’s a lot of fun. The Shelly story was written for the Triangulation anthology for this year, which has a focus of “Appetites.”

Have your own ideas for these? I encourage you to send your stories in. Writing short stories is great practice. At least, I think so!

If my stories make it into these contests/anthologies, I’ll let you know. I think the first decision is Triangulation, which should be decided at the end of March. The Parsec Short Story contest will not be finalized until June or July of this year. I may forget all about these by then, but hopefully, it will be good news!

lo_oldcoverOn the novel front, I’ve decided to go with Damonza for a cover art redesign for the Primal Patterns series. I need to get some new back cover material in place (I’m planning to just say what Lucifer’s Odyssey is about, rather than the vague back cover that I went with when I was scared to death of stories about religious characters while living in the Deep South). I also need to think what I’m comfortable with in terms of covers now. The covers for Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion have been in place for half a decade now. That’s a long time to get used to something. Time to move on.

If you want to keep a copy of Lucifer’s Odyssey or The Goblin Rebellion as they are right now, you may want to pick one up now. Very soon, you will not be able to get that cover art again.

Writing Workshop in Pittsburgh

rex-jamesonI’ve been asked to host/present at a writing workshop in Pittsburgh on Sunday, February 12th at Carnegie Mellon University. I’m calling it “The Art of the Character Study” and it’s really more of an informal approach than a formal one (thus the “Art” part). I’m also going to be introducing the amazing Hugo award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal for her talk on the Intersection of Puppetry and Science Fiction. I’m expecting a really fun time, so if you’re around, the workshop starts at 1 p.m. and Mary’s talk starts at 4 p.m. There will be a book signing at 5 p.m. where you can mingle with Mary and me.

You can read more about venue, times and locations here:

http://parsec-sff.org/lecture-series/

 

Shadows of Our Fathers Update 2

I have received a copy of the novel back from Derek at Homunculus Editing Services, and I am working on the 2nd level of story and line edits to the draft. The content should be ready by the first quarter, but I’m still needing to locate a cover artist to help me finish the series.

There are two options, really.

  1. Hire a new cover artist who can match the style that Christopher Steininger did for the first two novel covers in Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion. This has been a rough job trying to find someone who can do this. I’ve had estimates between 500-1200 dollars, but the styles have clashed a bit with the first two books. How important is consistency in the series covers for readers?
  2. Go with someone like Damonza to redesign the entire series covers for 1500-1800 dollars. This is a huge investment on top of all the other costs of this final novel (story and line editing a 110k+ word novel is a big expenditure), but if it is the best option, I really don’t have much choice.

Anyway, regardless of which path I take, the novel is almost ready. Beta readers are appreciated, so let me know if you would like to take a look at the 2nd draft when I’m done. Your feedback would be welcome! Also, if you have any opinions on cover artists or redoing the whole series covers, let me know!

Shadows of Our Fathers Update

I’m going through the 2nd draft process for Shadows of Our Fathers, and I’m currently on Chapter 20 of 24 in my deep readthrough. If you’re not familiar with Shadows of Our Fathers, it is the 3rd book that completes the Primal Patterns’ initial trilogy (I’ve been calling the first trilogy “Lucifer’s Fall” for a while now, as it catalogues Jehovah’s and Lucifer’s battles across the heavens). The book is due to my editor on November 10th, and I have every intention of making that deadline. So, if you’ve been waiting for Shadows of Our Fathers, then that is good news.

However, there’s still a lot to do–even more so than was left to be done with the first two books. My cover artist is non-responsive to requests for a cover, so the look and feel of the series is going to have to change. And while I’m at it, I might as well redo the back covers and lay out the purpose of the series a little better there.

The latter might take a while. I am currently looking at potentially soliciting services from Damonza for book covers and formatting and potentially looking into a marketing service. You guys have suggestions? Feel free to leave comments.

Some Game of Thrones Wrap Up

This post is mostly just my opportunity to post this hilarious summarization by Samuel L. Jackson of the Game of Thrones plot up to this point. However, it may be a good opportunity to recap a bit about what predictions I made were correct and which were not.

Previous predictions:

End of Season 6 and Season 7, a GoT prediction

Who else is dying in Season 6, a GoT prediction

  1. The siege of Riverrun played out how I expected. Like I said, Blackfish would seem dead but probably escapes for later confrontations
  2. Rickon died, almost exactly as I had predicted in the Battle of Winterfell. I mean I almost completely nailed this one (no pun intended). I was both right and wrong about Ramsay. I anticipated they would imprison him rather than immediately killing him. I had messed up thinking they would leave him alive into next season before killing him then. His quick, painful death this season instead is one of the best ways they could have wrapped this up. Hats off to the creators on the way this was done with the dogs. Very nice.
  3. The King’s Landing plot was almost spot on how I predicted it. The Mountain kills people, but I thought he would just kill Septa Unella, but what we believe he does to her is worse. Some have claimed he is painfully torturing her, but Cersei’s call of “Shame, shame” says something more. He’s almost certainly assaulting her in that room. The burning of Margaery and everyone else is pretty much what I expected, and Margaery’s fatal playing of the cards here rather than letting her family rescue her with their legion is a reasonable way to tie this up, even if how we got to this point (as I mentioned in multiple posts) made no sense with the way the population had previously regarded Margaery. Whatever. Water under the bridge.
  4. Davos and Melissandre had the exact confrontation I predicted except I did not predict her expulsion from the North. That was a surprise. Slightly out of character for Davos since he let so many other people die by fire at the stake with only minimal mumbling to Stannis, but the scene played out fine and made sense. I can buy that the young princess was the final straw that made him snap.
  5. As I’ve said all along, Azor Ahai == Jon Snow. He’s the son of Rhaegar and not Ned, as I’ve been saying for years. I still expect him to team up with Daenerys, and he’s going to be a dragon rider. It’s probably going to be Jon, Daenerys as dragon riders. I still stick with my prediction of Tyrion being the third dragon rider, and my prediction on his parentage, I’m also sticking to for now.
  6. Siege at Mereen was finished immediately with the dragons, just as I predicted.
  7. Ultimately, the King’s Landing plot is not done yet. My prediction for this was that Cersei would try to ultimately burn the city down as Robert’s predecessor had tried to do. I still think Tyrion will throttle her to death, but it may actually be Jaime. Either is possible, and it’s really up to Martin and the showrunners on how they want this to go down. Both will have reasons to kill her, and both are little brothers, so each fits. My bet is still Tyrion. Jaime would come full circle with both Kingslayer and Queenslayer titles. I mean, that would definitely be the most poetic/impactful.

A recap of my predictions for Season 7 (mostly seen in End of Season 6 and Season 7, a GoT prediction) and some new ones (e.g. Arya)

  1. People with Valyrian swords are going to become superstars and the heroes of legend. Anyone who can kill a whitewalker will be launched from obscurity. Normal armies and commanders are going to have to take a backseat. Cersei’s position will obviously be weakened since Jaime gave his sword to Brienne, and Joffrey/Tommen’s sword is lost somewhere.
  2. Jon and Daeny team up after Daeny marches toward King’s Landing and the end of the King’s Landing Lannister plot ties up
  3. Tyrion kills Cersei as she is in the process of burning down King’s Landing, but Jaime may be the more appropriate choice since he will be near her and he’s had to do this type of killing before (would make a really strong, sad scene if they choose to do this with Jaime). If Cersei killed Jaime, though, Tyrion would have all the motivation he needs to throttle her to death, as the Cersei prophecy fortold. Jaime’s previously murdering of a Monarch was with a sword, whereas Tyrion killed his love by strangling her with her own necklace. It just seems to fit more with Tyrion to me. I think Jaime loves Cersei too much to kill her, but she’s crazy enough to kill him. She’s shunned his love before when he was too long in returning, if you remember.
  4. The Wall is quickly overwhelmed by the Whitewalkers. Specifically, I think if Bran crosses the wall with that mark on his arm, all of the magic in the Wall is going to shatter just as the Night King did to the Three-Eyed Raven’s sanctuary. The Night’s Watch will be slaughtered, and unfortunately, you’re going to see some of the few remaining heroes you liked that were left at the Wall (e.g. Eddison Tollett, the acting Lord Commander) turn into undead.
  5. Arya’s kill list will become complete by the end of Season 7. The list started with over a dozen names. Of these, Joffrey, Walder Frey, Myrant Trant, Tywin Lannister, Polliver, and Rorge are dead. The remaining names are Cersei, The Hound, The Mountain, Ilyn Payne, The Red Woman, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr. Cersei is going to be killed by either Tyrion or Jaime, so she’s not going to be the one to do that. The Hound, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr are all together and are likely to be joined by Melissandre at their camp as she rides South (and Beric and Thoros initially got on this list by selling Gendry to Melissandre). She’s probably going to kill all three in one go. What about The Hound? She took pity on him before and did not kill him. It’s the reason he’s still alive. I think she’s going to let him go again, but if she were to kill him, that would be fitting too, since he’s still on the list. BUT, I want there to be a confrontation between the Hound and the Mountain, and I want the Hound to kill the Mountain with a bottle of Wildfire. They’ll probably kill each other and die together smoldering in the fire. I think that would be the absolute best way to end that story.

Anyway, those are my predictions for now. I’ll hopefully post something else non-GoT-related soon. I need to get back to redrafting the first two chapters of Shadows of Our Fathers. I haven’t had time for it in months.

%d bloggers like this: