A few days ago I was introduced (via a Twitter friend’s blog post) to Pixlr. It is a free photo editing website that authors can use to design posters, banners and such when funds are low. Needless to say, I’ve been glued to the site the last few days doing mock-ups of cover designs for Blood of Esta.
Below is a gallery of some of the designs I’ve come up with. The first two were done in MS Paint (before I learned about Pixlr), and the rest were done in Pixlr. I really wanted to go with a background of black and red hair, because my main character, Pastella, has iridescent black and red hair. The first set of covers also feature a Uruguayan-flag-style sun. I like the idea of the sun on the cover because it is the symbol of the Tribe of Sansolo (Pastella’s race). I nixed the sun for the final mock-up, and instead, went with a picture of a woman holding a sword. Pastella is a sword fighter, so that image seemed like a good fit.
Of course, all of these covers are just for me to see what type of cover I would like the book to have. I’m still a ways away from publishing. And when I do publish, be it with a publisher or on my own, I won’t be designing the cover myself. Either the publisher will design the cover, or I will hire a professional to do it. But in the meantime, I’ll keep messing around on Pixlr and sharing my designs with you.
Introducing WIP Wednesdays (“WIP” stands for “Work in Progress.”) On Wednesdays I will share a passage or chapter of one of my many WIPs. One WIP is a MG (middle grade) fantasy about a group of middle school kids who have special abilities that work in inconvenient ways. I posted the first chapter a few weeks ago. Below is what will likely be the second chapter. Next Wednesday I might even share the third chapter (if I ever finish writing it), or most likely a passage from some other think I am working on.
From Untitled MG Fantasy:
Russell Mickelson rubbed his sleepy, dark eyes and rolled over in his bed. The morning light peeked through the gaps in his curtains, shining on the dozens of sailboats painted on the pale-blue walls of his bedroom like a lighthouse lamplight. He hated this wallpaper. He might’ve liked it when he was a kid, but twelve-years-old was too old for wallpaper sailboats. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to will the tacky, childish boats away.
“Russell,” his mom called from the bottom of the stairs, “your breakfast is getting cold.”
While on my weekly stroll through Barnes and Noble last month, I picked up a trade paperback copy of Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence simply because I liked the cover art (it was simplistic and straight forward–a cloaked boy standing on a pile of bones). I read the blurb on the back, and since Game of Thrones was about to have its season finale, I purchased Prince of Thorns to help quench my thirst for medieval violence.
After glancing through some of the Goodreads reviews I noticed that people either loved or hated this book. I read the book in two days (the entire trilogy in three weeks), and give it 4 stars. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to read a Game of Thrones type story narrated exclusively by the one main character (no head-hopping in this book). Continue reading Book Review: Prince of Thorns – Book 1 of the Broken Empire Trilogy→
In May, I participated in an online auction for Diabetes Research where the prizes consisted (almost exclusively) of publishing related items: i.e., ARCs of novels, book collections, author meet-and-greets, and editor/agent critiques. I was fortunate enough (by making a hefty donation to the cause) to win a critique by a senior editor at a small publishing house. The critique is of the synopsis and first 3 chapters of my unpublished manuscript; however, since the critique has not come back to me yet, this post is not about that. What I want to write about today is a question that the editor posed to me when she sent me her instructions on how to submit my materials. What she asked from me was this:
“When you submit, be sure and tell me anything and everything about where you are. Are you new, have you been working on your craft for a while, a frequent contest finalist, are you self-publishing? […] Are you getting requests easily but then polite declines from editors who look at your work? Is this a new genre or sub-genre for you? […] Please offer any context or information that could be helpful so I know where you are in your writing career.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this request. I was floored by the fact that she was willing to not only ready my writing, but to learn about me and my journey. Writers don’t often have the opportunity to share our journey with editors and agents when we submit our work. We have to cut those things out of our query letters and let the agent focus on the manuscript itself. I have been working on BLOOD OF ESTA for ten years, so it was refreshing and exciting to be able to share a decades worth of struggles and successes with an editor. I am glad she will get to understand were I am at in the process while she reviews my work.
I give The Maze Runner between 3 and 3.5 stars. It gets 4+ starts for the overall concept, plot and world building. But only 2.5 stars for writing quality, character development and story structure.
I felt that the voice was bland, overly passive and highly repetitive. Most of the characters were one-dimensional, which made it hard to distinguish who was who. Most of the Gladers seemed highly interchangeable as characters, even the Keepers. Only Thomas, Minho and Chuck had any depth. Terasa had the opportunity for depth, as the only girl in the crew, but she was as one-dimensional as the rest. As a result, I couldn’t really connect with the characters at all. Not being able to connect with the characters made reading The Maze Runner a bit of a chore. Continue reading Book Review: The Maze Runner→