I Aten’t Dead

Art, everyday, Writing

In fact, I just hit 50K words on my nosferatu novel!

And I submitted a fantasy story to the DuoLingo call for stories! That money sure would help me out in buying ISBNs! Or, you know…gas.Various characters and critters (and even a car!) done in ink and marker, made of random shapes

I’ve been using Habitica to help me take vitamins and do art and stuff more consistently. You know it’s an effective program because within a week of joining, I cleaned my desk. (My desk hadn’t been cleaned for MONNNNNTHS and was just buried in papers.) I’ll try to use it to help me update my blog more consistently sheesh!

I’m enjoying Aggretsuko on Netflix (Japanese only please, they added too many swears to the English dub!) and the Great Big Story channel on YouTube.

I’ve been feeling pretty blah this year, but things are turning around now, thank goodness!

(From a comment over at CoverCritics.com)

“I think this cover would not pass my test of imagining it with a title in an unfamiliar language. If you were to do that, would you still be able to tell anything at all about the nature, themes or even genre of the book?”

That’s a great idea. If everything about your book cover was the same (pics, typefaces) but the words were foreign/lorem ipsum, what assumptions would your viewer make?

Cool book cover design tip!

Indie Publishing Friends, Writing

Book Cover Makeover! Before and Afters, yay!

Art, Indie Publishing Friends

A friend of mine wrote a postmodern hypertext (like, CYOA) eBook called LOVE OCTOPUS TRANSFORMATION. My sketch has been on its cover for years now, but since I’ve learned more about eyecatching book cover design, I wanted to update it and make it purdy for her.

Here’s the before:

Sketchy octopus on black background.The test of a good eBook cover: does it catch audience interest? Does it signal the genre?

My old errors: I stretched the text, and you can’t figure out what the illio is in the thumbnail. Genre, what’s that?

Here comes the AFTER!

LOVE OCTOPUS TRANSFORMATION cover 2018. A woman's green face beneath pink tentacles, with the title in bold text.

LOVE OCTOPUS TRANSFORMATION cover 2018. A woman's green face beneath pink tentacles, with the title in bold text.

A mashup of CC-0 photos, a little Krita magic, and surprisingly little futzing in Inkscape for the text!
This one might be a little fantastical for the subject matter, but I think it’s striking! If I could do it again, I might move the author name to the top…but at least the typeface matches her other books! #branding

Do you love BEFORE AND AFTER style book cover makeovers? Comment below with some of your favorites!

 

Armello Fanfic THE STONE SEEKERS now available to read online!

Writing

For those of you who prefer reading your fanfic online instead of downloading files, I’m happy to announce that my unofficial Armello short story (starring Amber and a Very Special Guest) is now available to read here on Pixelvania Studios–no downloading needed!

Click the cover to get started!

Stone Seekers cover: glowing Spirit Stone in a pointy purple cavern

The followup novella, The Heroes of Houndsmouth is also available to read online.

The Stone Seekers: An Unofficial Armello Short Story: Chapter One

Writing

The last of the stubborn soil crumbled away beneath the rabbit’s paws. Faint blue light shone through the hole. Amber sighed in relief.

Finally!

She had the hole enlarged in a wink. A gust of new air puffed into her face, carrying with it the faint scent of spirit stones and ancient dirt.

On second whiff, the spirit-stone scent in the new cavern was fainter than it should have been given the intensity of blue glow. Frowning, she slipped off her digging gloves and bent to the hole, peering through.

Empty. Even without a torch, she could tell that. She wiggled her way through the hole until she could stand up.

Blue moss gleamed on the roof of the cavern, looking like a turquoise river of stars. But it was just moss. Not what she was seeking.

But it’s Wyld-touched. Nothing glows that color without the Wyld. I’m getting close!

The cavern had three exits. Amber studied all three, trying to see if any one tunnel held more moss than the others. No luck; they all looked to have the same amount on their ceilings.

Her long ears angled left, right, straight ahead, listening for water. Where there’s Wyld, there’s water.

But there was only silence. She raised up on her toes, nose twitching. Maybe the scent would make a better lead. Instead, her nose caught something else in the air. Cold fear shot through her.

The Rot. Her paw went to her sword. She sniffed again. No, not Rot, but something rotting…

A sound echoed from the middle tunnel. Her ears turned towards it: something scrabbling, barely audible.

The rotting smell was coming from that tunnel, too. It mingled with the scent of the Wyld.

Is someone down here with me? Maybe someone had found the spirit stone before her. Maybe she could trade for it. Or maybe not—a single stone could cure the beginnings of Rot, but if the King were as bad off as the rumor said he was, it would take more than one stone to excise the soul-poison from him.

If this fellow had just contracted the Rot, it’s likely he wouldn’t part with it—and Amber wasn’t in any shape to fight, nor did she have much on-paw to trade. After five days underground, her supplies were running low.

She stepped forward anyway. She had to try.

The Stone Seekers: An Unofficial Armello Short Story: Chapter Two

Writing

The soil grew rockier the further in she went.

Treacherous, her cousin Elyssia would have said. I’d rather build on carrot custard.

Amber was loath to agree with her, but she had almost turned her ankle twice in twenty minutes.

And a lame rabbit is a dead rabbit.

She put on her gloves and went to all fours. She bobbed ahead slowly. The rocking motion of her gait turned into a trance. Her mind wandered as she continued forward. Then the scent hit her: a fully-formed spirit stone.

That’s it! She broke into a wild run, zig-zagging towards it.

The treacherous soil turned sandy beneath her feet.

She scrabbled, but it was too late. The bad ground pulled her down a steep slope, then she was falling through the air. She landed with a thud.

She groaned. Then:

Toes? She wiggled them. Okay. Ankles? She circled them. No pain. That’s good. Legs?

After a full tail-to-ears check, she pushed herself upright.

She stood in a steep pit with walls too sheer to climb. The spirit stone scent floated tantalizingly above her, but down here, the rotting smell was overpowering.

Rasp-scrabble.

She froze at the sound, eyes searching the dark. She could only make out a silhouette—but she could tell it was close.

Amber pulled her sword out of its scabbard and held her steel parasol-shield before her.

“You’ll find no easy prey with me!” she shouted into the darkness.

The shadow froze. Then, the first voice she’d heard in a week:

“You wouldn’t hurt an old rat, would you?”