Thursday, June 26, 2014

No more yappy dog!

The neighbors moved away and took their noisy little dog with them. What a relief! I didn't realize how much of an ingrained annoyance it was until he'd been gone a few days. In my lovely, quiet neighborhood, the constant racket of a barking dog is very intrusive. Especially next door. Something inside me relaxed and I realized with shock - no yapping!

The owners of Yappy Dog would tie him outside several times a day for him to get a little fresh air and exercise. (and do whatever else needed to be done) From the minute he was out until they brought him back in he would bark. Yapyapyapyapyapyapyapyapyapyapyap...sometimes for hours. Sometimes at 7am on a Sunday morning. Or midnight on a workday.

I learned to block it out. It wasn't until a visitor of mine snapped, "Shut up!" that I realized I wasn't the only one going nuts.

Tying him out was a solution arrived at after several neighbors complained. Previously they were letting him roam the neighborhood. Before we spoke up, Yappy Dog would wander down the street barking as he went. (What makes a dog bark constantly?) He would also poop on my lawn, which I discovered while mowing. Not a happy discovery. Luckily, Yappy was a small dog.

So I have lovely new neighbors and extra bonus points Yappy Dog is gone.

Otherwise things are very busy. The veggie garden is starting to produce so I am picking something everyday. Lethal Seasons is out to the final reader. Yay. The line edits are nearly done. Once that is wrapped up, I can get back to working on the Asher Blaine sequel.

This is turning out to be a very busy summer.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Trailer and other things

First of all:

Lethal Season's book trailer

Please check this out! I think it is really well done. And you will get a chance to hear Alex's wonderful music. I would appreciate any feedback!

And the other things...

Here's a daisy. They are blooming right now. The yard is out of control, but the vegetable garden is doing really well. I picked nearly a pound of blueberries this week, and there are a lot more to come. The peapods and shelling peas are producing wonderfully. My tomatoes are all full of buds and green fruit. This year looks to be an especially bountiful one. And luckily the raised beds aren't demanding too much of my time.

I don't care if the grass gets too long, but the edibles always take priority. So what little free time I have this summer will go to the vegetable garden and fruit trees.

I am feeling a little overwhelmed and it is all my own fault. I want to do this book launch correctly... But I'm making it up as I go. The big publishers buy advertising and set up book signings, things I can't afford to do. So I am posting where I can and trying to make a little noise about this. And since I am making it up as I go, I can't be sure I'm doing the right thing. But the book isn't published yet, so I shouldn't be worrying yet, but...I am. Whew.

And here's Bertie hanging out, watching me work. Whenever I get too crazy, there's always a little cat ready to jump into my lap and demand attention. All three of them remind me that I am just here to do their bidding, and that always puts things in their proper perspective.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lethal Seasons Cover and Guest Artist Alex Storer

I am very pleased to display this fabulous cover that Alex Storer created for me. When I was first thinking about the cover, I ran across Alex's website. His artwork looked exactly right for this book. Two paintings especially caught my eye. After Hours, because of the mood and energy in it.
And Hope, because it showed a similar futuristic world.

I asked him to stop by and talk about the creative process.

From Alex Storer:
The obvious question when designing a book cover is how can you best represent a story through a single image or design? Fortunately in this case, Alice had a fairly clear idea in her mind of what she wanted, and it was my job to realise this, then refine it.

Being Alice’s first SF novel, part of the task was to present a cover which clearly represents the genre. In addition to the right visual elements, the cover painting also needed a particular atmosphere. Luckily, I got a lot of inspiration out of just the title itself – Lethal Seasons – it has a certain edge to it, and an underlying sense of menace. With this, I knew straight away the sort of lighting and textures I wanted in the painting.

What was essentially a landscape scene ravaged by climate change, needed that extra science fiction slant, somehow integrating or representing the killer virus that lies at the core of the story. We discussed various ideas of how to integrate a DNA helix into the tornado and other means of including viral elements – which is where the idea of framing the image with cells and particles eventually came from. This went through several revisions, before settling on a subtle blend of virus cells and molecules combined with spatters of blood, for a subtle suggestion of the underlying horror of Lethal Seasons.

We felt we reached the right visual approach with this combination – but I also wanted to extend this into the typography, so the title wasn’t merely text sitting over my painting, but an integrated continuation of the design with the broken molecule lattice and other viral elements contaminating the text.

Once the cover was finished, I started working on an idea for a video trailer for the book, using the imagery of the cover set against some of my own music. In the end I composed a new piece of music for it, to better reflect the impending sense of threat and disaster – it wanted to be dark and dramatic, and hopefully something that will draw people in to want to find out more about the book.
Next week I will debut that amazing book trailer that Alex created!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Updates on Lethal Seasons

Cover reveal coming soon!
Woo hoo!

Next week I will reveal the fabulous cover that Alex Storer created for Lethal Seasons. Alex will also be a guest on the blog discussing his artwork and music. I am very excited to have him drop by. I hope you will all be as blown-away by the cover as I was.

Lethal Seasons is about to go into the final edits. I am getting very good feedback on it. Which makes me do the happy dance (see above) and is sooo rewarding. It's one thing to finish a story and think it's good, it's a whole 'nuther kettle of fish to have people like it. And they do!

That doesn't mean its perfect. I have several plot tweaks and such to work on before I hit the PUBLISH button. But it's close! And it looks like I am still on course to publish by August 1st. Whew.

For this book, I am doing some marketing. It's hard work. Something that is not intuitive nor easy for me to do. I am struggling with some of it and dreading a lot of it. But I want people to know about this book. So I am working on it.

 Having a schedule and lists has really helped. I did a countdown starting at 12 weeks. Then I discovered that some reviewers need months to turn around a review. Some won't even look at it until it has a pile of reviews on Amazon. That seemed like a trick question to me...if I already have 25 reviews on Amazon, why do I need theirs? Name recognition, I guess.

Some days I feel like I'm floundering. Press releases, blurbs, bios, links, samples.... Whew. I would so much prefer to be spending that time on the White Lies sequel. But I need to know how to do these things, so I will soldier on!

Oh, and by the way, I changed the blog background. Any comments?