Friday, December 14, 2018

Important Dates for Hell Becomes Her

It's been a long road / Getting from there to here.

Let’s talk dates!  Tears of Heaven is now out, available in both ebook and paperback forms, so that’s done!  Woohoo!  It feels so good to have all of that taken care of.

Now, for Hell Becomes Her we’re on a roll.

Dates Announcements—Today! (that was clever)
Cover Reveal—Let’s say Tuesday, December 18th, does that work for everyone?
Book Release—Friday, January 18th

If anyone wants their book autographed, just leave me a message in the comments below.  You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Misadventures in Publishing Part 3—Final Red Flags

Actual cover submitted for my approval.

“Okay, first, as per the contract, I have already approved Charles’s final concept . . .”—Maya the Publisher

I’ve really struggled with writing this blog entry.  The first and second ones were almost cathartic.  All the drama that surrounded the cover is painful to remember.  The cover art was one thing, but it wasn’t the only thing.  As I’ve discussed in my previous two posts, there were a number of red flags.  All of this wasn’t chronological—a single line of A to B to C. Rather, it came down like an avalanche of runaway evil on the slopes of increasing frustration.

This is especially difficult in the wake of the release of Tears of Heaven with a publisher I can trust to work with me and for me, rather than directly against me. It’s hard to go back and revisit the interactions that turned a once hopeful relationship decidedly sour.

That said, the cover was where the relationship with Maya took one it’s last, fateful turns down a dark alley in a dark Eastern European city and ran smack into a gang of thugs cleverly discussing their differences over firearms and meth-fueled rage.

The cover art was not good. The details don’t matter anymore. What’s important on this particular topic is that I hadn’t taken a good, hard look at Maya’s other covers before signing with her.  That was a red flag that I missed entirely.

Do your homework.

"Pretty, but boring." is what Maya called these covers.
Traditionally published authors generally have little to no say in cover art.  That may seem unfair, but in reality writers know writing. They may or may not know much about cover art composition, layout, and . . . other . . . art words. Even if they do, it remains the publishers job to handle the marketing, and cover art is the epitome of marketing.

Again, do your homework.

Bad art is bad.

So here’s your take away:

Research, research, research: If a publisher isn’t putting out decent cover art for other writers, that’s a bad sign. Walk away. Covers don’t have to be awesome and award-winning, but they should at least be within the range of expectations for readers. Even boring is ok, so long as the artwork isn’t bad. At the very least, the cover should not be an obstacle that keeps a reader from opening the book.

The cover art was not the final issue for Maya and me.  It is, however, the place that I’m going to stop. Maya used a bad contract to abuse her relationship with me, and the end result was nearly two lost years of publishing, and a wholly evil experience.  The best, the absolute only good that came from this is that I learned, painfully, how to look for a decent publisher, and avoid the pitfalls of my earlier mistakes.

Just to reiterate the five key take-aways:

1 - A too-quick response is not a good sign.
2 - Have an attorney read over your contract
3 - Small issues of the story shouldn’t be big problems to a publisher.
4 - Communication, communication, communication.
5 - Artwork is important.

It’s OK to walk away. It’s ok to run.  If you see issues like these, nod, smile, and back-away from the deal as quickly as you can.  If you're already in, consult your contract and your attorney and figure out a way to end the relationship.

There are other publishers than these, gunslinger, and you deserve better.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Tears of Heaven Rereleases Tomorrow!

Well, she's a half-angel . . . 

Tomorrow is the day!

Tears of Heaven will definitely release.

I was burned repeatedly by my past publisher on release dates—that’s a fun story!  It makes it pretty hard to market to people if they’re waiting and wanting to buy a book, and the book isn’t available.

So I spoke with my publisher this morning, just to be certain:


Yes, I say “groovy” a lot.  Fight me.

Don’t really.  I have carpal tunnel.

All this means that the COVER REVEAL for Hell Becomes Her will be here soon.

Since these things are all about you, what day works best for your schedule?  Tell me in the comments below.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Remembering President George Herbert Walker Bush

He was certainly my president.

President George Herbert Walker Bush had a lot of faults—he was, after all, human.

He also had a lot of strengths.  The following is one of those: Bush’s resignation from the National Rifle Association is short, sweet and to the point.  It’s well worth remembering during these divisive times:

Dear Mr. Washington,

I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of N.R.A., defended his attack on federal agents as "jack-booted thugs." To attack Secret Service agents or A.T.F. people or any government law enforcement people as "wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms" wanting to "attack law abiding citizens" is a vicious slander on good people.

Al Whicher, who served on my [ United States Secret Service ] detail when I was Vice President and President, was killed in Oklahoma City. He was no Nazi. He was a kind man, a loving parent, a man dedicated to serving his country -- and serve it well he did.

In 1993, I attended the wake for A.T.F. agent Steve Willis, another dedicated officer who did his duty. I can assure you that this honorable man, killed by weird cultists, was no Nazi.

John Magaw, who used to head the U.S.S.S. and now heads A.T.F., is one of the most principled, decent men I have ever known. He would be the last to condone the kind of illegal behavior your ugly letter charges. The same is true for the F.B.I.'s able Director Louis Freeh. I appointed Mr. Freeh to the Federal Bench. His integrity and honor are beyond question.

Both John Magaw and Judge Freeh were in office when I was President. They both now serve in the current administration. They both have badges. Neither of them would ever give the government's "go ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law abiding citizens." (Your words)

I am a gun owner and an avid hunter. Over the years I have agreed with most of N.R.A.'s objectives, particularly your educational and training efforts, and your fundamental stance in favor of owning guns.

However, your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country. It indirectly slanders a wide array of government law enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us.

You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre's unwarranted attack. Therefore, I resign as a Life Member of N.R.A., said resignation to be effective upon your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership list.

Sincerely, [ signed ] George Bush

What’s your favorite memory of President George HW Bush? Tell me in the comments below.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Growing Up—But Not Just Yet

Definitely not Satan.

Last night, as the end credits for The Christmas Chronicles rolled, my oldest (11yo) piped up.

“Mom, how long is your period?”

I blinked.

I did not look at my wife.

I did not look at my son.

My wife did not respond.

I didn’t respond.

I knew my son was growing up, and that things of this nature would inevitably happen. I didn’t know they would happen so soon.  On the one hand, I was shocked he was already aware of this. On the other, I was a little shocked that we’d managed to create an environment where he felt comfortable asking this kind of question.

On the that last part, I was both a little impressed and a little concerned. I want my boys to be able to come to me with anything. Facts are always better than guesses and urban legend. Much better to bite the bullet, and just have “the talk” even if that’s a conversation which takes place over the next ten years.

“You could show this to your class,” my son continued.

What? I wondered in my head.

“What?” my wife echoed my thought aloud.

“If you class period is long enough, you could show them this movie.”

My wife and I both died laughing.

What’s your funniest misunderstanding? Tell me in the comments below!

Shumshumschilpiddydah!—Release Date

And then . . . the world!

Thank you SO MUCH for your patience.

We have a release date.

TEARS OF HEAVEN will be available again Friday, December 7th.

Next month, some time in January, we'll release HELL BECOMES HER.  You can look for the cover reveal in the coming weeks.

I can’t wait for these books to be out in the world again!  I’m even more excited to see it on the shelf.

Yes, I have one shelf on a bookcase, that I use to hold my books.  It’s very small, but it’s mine, and it might be my favorite bookshelf in the entire house.

Do you have a favorite bookshelf?  Tell me about it in the comments below!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Heavy Metal Del—How a Cover Is Born

The following video was created by the cover artist as he was working on TEARS OF HEAVEN.  It’s so cool to see this process, and how a good artist can take a model and make the right adjustments to create the cover.

Has your image of a character changed after seeing the cover?  Tell me the character and book title in the comments below!