Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Back to Books

Well, it's been a while but with heavy commission work, illness and day-job upheavals over the last couple of months to contend with, I am, just about, back to books again. Specifically the prequel to Maranatha.

A friend on Deviantart recommended a fine book entitled "How to Write a Damn Good Novel", and I picked this up at the start of the year. It's not a big manual, it isn't stuffed with the usual "Thou Shalt/Shalt Not" statutes that most books in this field try to ram down the writer's throat. It gives concepts and advice, and illustrates them amply to show why this advice should or should not be followed. It was rather heartening to go through many of the chapters with "Maranatha" in mind and mentally tick many of the boxes which James N. Frey presents. So, in a roundabout way, it got me back to "Venus in Saturn", the prequel, which has remained a bit stuck since last year due to the enormity of the story arc, and the need to build up the concluding backstory which concludes in the sequel, "The Keys of Heaven".

Slowly but surely, I'm beginning to see the emergence of the finished first draft. And in the meantime, because I've been on a bit of a roll artistically, took another shot at putting together a new cover for "Venus":

Venus in Saturn WIP 2 by ~Lord-Retsudo on deviantART

It still needs work but I'm a lot happier with this one now. And it helps that my digital art ability has improved enough for me to be confident enough to put it out on a book cover. But paid client commission work can have that effect!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Cafepress deliver the Goods

I ordered a few bits and bobs for myself from the Fenriswulf Cafepress.com store the other weekend, and they arrived today. It's always nerve-racking when you first open a package of something you've created this way - suddenly you have crises of thought: will the printers have messed it up in some weird and totally unfathomable kind of way? Was my original source file formatted properly, and of a high enough resolution? Or will the quality overall be a bit disappointing - just a general kind of "bleargh" ?

I needn'e have worried. I'd used Cafepress in the past for a couple of T-shirts, one of them designed to promote the "Last Gas Pump" comic (available here), and their quality really impressed me. To be honest, the art has printed beautifully, on really high-quality glossy stock. Sure, they're not cheap - and I wouldn't like to have to use them regularly for stuff that wasn't a one-off or a present - but they definitely do deliver the goods, and don't seem to outsource to unreliable third parties the way Lulu do (that said, I'm still with Lulu for the meantime - they continue to hold the entire Fenris back catalogue to date).

The print of the mythical Princess Andromeda really blew me away. It's the first time I've ever seen digital artwork of mine reproduced profesionally, and I can foresee a few more before too long. It's almost worthwhile considering a Premium cafepress shop, to be able to sell an entire series of such things...maybe once I've been paid from my current book illustration job, and have some money to invest. I'm also looking ahead to getting some Fenriswulf-branded postcards or notecards produced for my next (as yet unscheduled) trip to a new bricks-and-mortar store to try to offload some produce...

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