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Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

This week I will make this short. Merry Christmas.

Oh...and books make great gifts. (Did you know that you can purchase an ebook and send it to someone as a gift. If you have someone who loves books but lives far away, don't just send them a basic little ecard, send them an ebook and give them a real gift they can open and enjoy again and again.)

And, of course, you can give a great gift to that YA fantasy fan in your life. Legacy of the Dragonwand.

Now for some Christmas pics by yours truly...enjoy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I hate this book!!

Happy week before the week of Christmas. As you should have already heard, Legacy of the Dragonwand part 1 is out, came out last Tuesday and has enjoyed decent sales and two very good reviews already. But, that aside, I hate it.

"But you wrote it?" You might ask, you could also say, "you want us to buy something you hate?" or "why do you hate it?" or....okay, enough with the questions..sheesh is this some kind of interrogation?

Anyway, I don't hate it now. But I wanted to tell you a little about what it feels like to be an artist. Some artists, not all but some, have mixed feelings when they create. As I was writing Legacy of the Dragonwand I had ups and downs in my feelings toward the story. I worried that it absolutely stunk, had no chance, no one would read it...and so on. The truth is I was worried that it would not live up to the expectations I had already placed on it before I wrote it.

I have heard from non-authors that they think that authors are arrogant about their work. It is a logical deduction considering how hard an author is forced to promote themselves and their work. It could easily appear as ego when it's just trying to sell books. Now I have known some authors with giant ego's about themselves and their work, but they are actually in the minority. Truthfully an author worries that every last word is wrong, that something in the text wasn't written right, or that there is a small but problematic plot hole that they missed.

Honestly I do the same thing with my artwork, my embroidery, my stage work, anything that is artistic of mine I have moments of dislike over it during creation.  I almost gave up on the book cover for Legacy of the Dragonwand and just went with something generic from Amazon. Ask the people who have commissioned work for their covers, like the Kai's journey series. They will all tell you that on more than one occasion I told them that it wasn't going to be good and they wouldn't like it.

In the end, though, things change. Once the completed work is sitting before me I love it. Yes I can still fix it, work on it, even fuss over the tiny details that may or may not be a problem. But, as a whole I am satisfied.

I am not alone: Here is a story I read that confirmed that even some of histories greats have gone through this.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who wrote the famous ballet The Nutcracker, in his own words
said that it was "far weaker than 'The Sleeping Beauty'- no doubt about it" and when he finished the score, he even called it "all ugliness". But the composer eventually grew to like his creation and wrote "Strange that when I was composing the ballet I kept thinking that it wasn't very good, but that I would show them what I can do when I began the opera. And now it seems that the ballet is good and the opera not so good"
(note: he was promised the freedom to write and produce an opera if he finished the Nutcracker, which was a commissioned work.)

If a giant of artistry can go through such ups and downs emotionally over his own creation, especially something as fantastic as The Nutcracker, then I am not alone.
(I am in no way comparing my meager work to the work of someone like Tchaikovsky, just using this as an example.) 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Before and After

I am so happy that tomorrow Legacy of the Dragonwand finally gets to see the light of day, and the hands of readers everywhere. I have worked especially hard to make this release work out better than any other I have done before.

Back when I released The Crystal Needle I had never heard of self publishing like this and it was a stumbling mess. The first cover was junk, the formatting wasn't done correct in any sense of the word, and the publicity was nil. I struggled through 5 different covers over time before settling on the one I have now. I learned a lot of formatting tips and had a friend help out so that it looked better. I condensed and refocused the back cover text from a long mess to something much more simple. And I learned how to tell people about it. By the time I was finally satisfied with it, it had already been out for 2 years.

Taking all that knowledge and lumping it together I was able to look at this book with a much more experienced eye. I knew how to format, I hate doing it but it actually looks good. I worked for over a year on making the cover so that it was something that I hope catches eyes. And, most importantly, I have talked it up and really tried my best to get the word out there. Without money to make this happen, getting the word out is almost impossible. But, "almost" just means a lot more work and reliance on friends to help out. And boy did you guys help. I have a lot of people sharing for me on different sites. I have bloggers doing interviews and posting about the book. A Thunderclap campaign that worked out pretty well and succeeded in getting done with extra help to spare. I even have a friend who is helping me set up and run the online release party tomorrow night. I feel so blessed right now I want to burst. I truly thank you all.

Now for some fun stuff. My cover for Legacy of the Dragonwand has gone through some changes. My biggest critic, mom, told me that my cover was lacking. That it needed to be cleaned up and made to look a little better. She really didn't know how, but that it just felt wrong. Mostly it looked like I attacked it with Crayons, which is what I think of my coloring by hand. So I went to work....okay first I moped about being criticized THEN I went to work. I discovered a computer program that let me work on the color one tiny click at a time to make it smooth out and appear like a painting. I won't go into the details, but I will show you the before and after.

 To the left is the before, to the right is the after. You will note that I was able to give it a more painted finish. But, I didn't stop there, with the help of this program I was able to do a few repairs to parts of the image that I felt didn't turn out so well. (I really wasn't too fond of the way I drew the face of Markus, the boy in the middle. So I fixed that.)

I have had a few who liked the before better than the after. But, they are in the minority. I like the after and so does mom...along with a lot of other people. I hope you like it as well.

Now, I go to bed tonight and when I wake in the morning, Legacy of the Dragonwand will end its 2 year journey from inception to publication. Part 1 hits the shelves...well virtual shelves, and you can get yours to read. Tell you friends, tell your enemies, just tell everyone.

If you want to come to the release event, you are more than welcome. We are giving away a lot of fun prizes and having fun. Just follow this link: DRAGONWAND RELEASE EVENT

Monday, December 1, 2014

Let me tell you a story

As you should, hopefully, know by now, Legacy of the Dragonwand releases soon. Very soon, in fact next week is the big day. I have worked very hard to get the word out and you have been kind enough to help. Let me tell you a little more about the story.

Legacy of the Dragonwand is set in the mythical land of Gallenor. The land is gripped by a fear of dark magic. Almost all the wizards of the land have been put into a deep sleep inside a prison so that they do not become corrupt and turn against the kingdom. The only way to stop this darkness from spreading is by finding the last Dragonwand and using it to destroy the dragon statue that has stood outside the capital of Thendor since the end of the wizard war. At least this is what Hallond, the head wizard under the king, has told everyone.

Markus, a young man from the valley, does not know what has transpired in the kingdom and unwittingly heads off to find a full wizard to help him get into the wizardry college at Thendor. He encounters an old wizard named Tolen who gives him a wand and a mission. He wants Markus to find the Dragonwand before the king and his loyal captain of the guard get to it. Markus isn't given much information to go on, only not to trust Hallond, the king, or the kings captain. Markus is reluctant, but Tolen promises him one thing, the dark and terrifying dreams that have plagued Markus his whole life can be ended by completing the quest.

Armed with little knowledge and a new and powerful wand, Markus leaves his home and family behind in search of the elusive last Dragonwand.

Be sure to get your copy of Legacy of the Dragonwand part 1 on December 9th, and why don't you come on over to a nice little Facebook party event that my friend Katherine is running in honor of the book. There will be games and prizes all evening.