Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
And when I say "giant book," it's not hyperbole. This thing is massive, just shy of half a million words long, in a 6"x9" trade paperback that's 800 pages long. This book isn't just good for your brain, it's good for your body, since you'll get a good workout just picking it up to read it. It contains all three of the core Bitterwood Trilogy novels, Bitterwood, Dragonforge, and Dragonseed. Then, as a bonus, it contains an entire prequel novel, Dawn of Dragons, plus a bonus short story, "Tornado of Sparks," as well as an introductory essay explaining my creative process in designing my dragons called "Building a Better Dragon." All this for a mere $27 cover price (as opposed to $40 for buying all the individual titles in print). And, to sweeten the deal, Amazon is already selling the book at a discount, at $24.30. Of course, if you are actively opposed to giving money to Amazon, feel free to wander into the book store of your choice and ask then to order you a copy. This is the ISBN-10: 1502906422.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
To say that this is tedious work is an understatement. But, I think I've finally got 99% of my widows and orphans on this massive document under control. There are a few places where I just couldn't figure out a way of fixing a widow without ruining another page, but for the most part I think I've wound up with a professional document.
So, I submitted my files last week and got the proof mailed to me this week. And... disaster! Something was wrong with the italics in Goudy Old Style. They looked fine on screen, but when they print, they print bold as well as italicized. So, I've had to try two other PDF makers before I finally found one that would create files where the italics printed properly. Foolishly, I approved the proof minutes after I got the printed copy, and it was only later as I was looking at it again, basking in the glow of how good the book looked, that I noticed the bold italics. This happened Friday. I've now uploaded the corrected files, but feel terrible that someone actually bought a copy of the book in the time between my approving the proof and finally noticing something was wrong. I feel terrible. It's not like the book is unreadable, but I've been in the business long enough to know that the proofing process should entail more than just quickly flipping through the pages and letting your mind see the book the way you think it should have printed, rather than the way it really printed.
Right now, the new files are still under review by Createspace. I'm hoping they'll be approved later today, or tomorrow at the latest. Then, I'll do a formal announcement that the book is available, and unveil the cover.
Now that I've got The Complete Collection formatted, it should be simple to peel out the individual books and get them prepped. The good news is, I can use a slightly larger font and let each book spread out to 250 pages instead of 200 each. The bad news is, when I change the font size, all my previous work on widows and orphans will be undone. Sigh.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Wise-reading differs from critiquing in a few significant ways. First, it’s not reciprocal. In critique groups, you critique the same people who’ll be critiquing you. Even in the fairest of groups, this creates bias. If a writer praised your last story, you might read his next story with the assumption that he’s a writer of great taste and overlook the story’s weaknesses. With wise-readers, I’ve seldom read anything they’ve written. I know they aren’t trying to influence my opinion of their work by saying kind things about my novel.
Second, wise-readers don’t offer solutions. They tell me what’s keeping them interested, as well as what’s boring them to tears. They don’t need to diagnose why. As the writer, it’s my duty to keep them immersed in my world. If they’re not engaged, it’s my duty to fix it.
A final difference between wise-readers and members of critique groups is the sheer volume of reading. A group might tackle two stories at a time, maybe twice a month, seldom needing to read more than 10,000 words per session. With my wise-readers, I throw four to six chapters a week at them and want feedback quickly. I’m not giving them pages of sparkling, polished prose. My second drafts are full of missing words and continuity glitches. Wise-readers breeze past all of these little frustrations and keep their eyes on the big picture. It’s a wonderful skill, and I’m fortunate to have worked with a terrific set of wise-readers on this project.
So, my heartfelt thanks go out to Susan Voss, Mark Barlow, James Marsh, Laurel Amberdine, Cathy Bollinger, and, of course, my lovely wife Cheryl Morgan Maxey. Bad Wizard is a better book because of their hard work and dedication. They waded through a lot of mangled prose and meandering scenes in pursuit of making this a better novel. I’m deeply grateful for their efforts.
And, of course, if you want to get your hands on their work as quickly as possible, Bad Wizard just happens to be available for preorder right now on Amazon!
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Zooming out a bit further, full title banner can be seen, with Esau's wings serving as the "W" in Bad Wizard. The spires of a crystalline city are becoming apparent, and the fact that Esau is falling from a gray sky into a full color landscape reflects gives further hints to the setting.
This Sunday, I'll reveal the full cover online in all it's glory! If, by chance, you are near Hillsborough this Friday (August 29) and want to get your hands on a poster of the cover, come by Purple Crow Books during the Last Friday street festival between 6 and 8 pm. I'll be set up out front selling books and will have a limited number of posters on hand to give away. If you aren't in the Hillsborough area, don't despair! Everyone will have a shot at getting a free copy of the poster next month. Stay tuned for details!