Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year of the Snake - Gong Xi Fa Cai!

It's Chinese New Year -- the Year of the Water Snake.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! (Good luck! Get Rich!)

The snake is a wiggly creature and so many Asian soothsayers expect a turbulent year, especially since it's a water over fire year.  But snakes are also smooth operators and good businessmen, so it could be a good year for business.

Welcome Back to the Blog

This week I start blogging every day but Saturday again.  We'll see the wrap up episodes for Test of Freedom. (There will be a credit cookie and some info about what's to come for this series the week after).  We'll also have an episode of Miss Leech.

And I'll be talking on BOTH Wednesday and Friday about Frances and Richard Lockridge, a pair of cozy mystery writers who had a strong influence on me.  They've been out of print for a long time, but one of their books, The Dishonest Murderer, recently made it back into ebook form.

The Lockridge books are a little old-fashioned to the modern ear, but I think it's about time they made it back into print.  They blended elements of several different styles -- both in plotting and voice -- into their mysteries, and maybe the fact that they are a bit dated makes it easier to see what they were doing.  I'll be talking about their omniscient voice, and blending sub-genres in plot.

Also, I'm on a bit of a George Sanders kick (who was always a smooth operator himself) so I'll be getting to some interesting pictures of his coming up this month too.  Probably Lured (1947) and Man Hunt (1941) if you want to follow along at home.

In the mean time, because I'm coming back to blogging full time, I have experimentally turned off the catchpa on comments.  Last time I did this, I saw an incredible rise in spam that drove me nuts. So I may turn it back on again, but for now it's off.

Artwork and Covers, Oh My!

The only reason I haven't been doing pre-designed covers yet is because I don't feel like setting up the business end for it.  I don't want to create and manage a site, deal with the customers, etc.

Well, this week, a new author support service started up.  Self-Pub Book Covers is poised to fill a niche, if they can pull it off.  Artists do quick designs, mostly by combining several stock images (though some, like me, use their own artwork) to create unique cover designs.  With stock images, the same picture gets reused again and again, so that many people could end up with the same cover.  The goal of this site seems to be primarily to make the stock art experience more unique.

The down side of this site is that the authors (not the artists) do their own typography with an automated system.  While the tools offered for this are more sophisticated than LOLcats, the options are still very very limited and authors are simply not typogrpahers, so imho, this will limit the ability of these covers to look professional.

All the same, I think they provide an interesting service, and I've started submitting some designs to them. I still haven't got the hang of designing for amateur typography, but I'm getting better at it.

I will do this: if you buy a cover of mine off Self-Pub Book Covers, and can't quite get the type right?  Give it your best shot, and then send me the results, and if I feel I can fix it with one go 'round of my Magic Photoshop Type Tool, I will do the typography on that image for free.  (Such a deal!)  No redos, unless I do something stupid like mispell your name.

My image page is at: Daring Novelist at Self-Pub Book Covers.

You can always find me by searching for daringnovelist.

Also, they are just getting started and have a lot of work yet to do on their site.  If you take a look at the site and see anything missing -- like all the images are spooky and you want to see more silly, or you think the selection is sadly lacking in iguanas -- let me know.  I don't know that I'll do what you are looking for, but one of my goals is to provide things that people otherwise can't find.

Now, I must get back to work on Miss Leech....

See you in the funny papers.

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