Saturday, July 30, 2005

Book Jacket blurb

I just got the first pass a the jacket blurb. I fixed a couple of very minor things, but here you go:

Front cover will say above the title:

A legacy of great power...and devastation.

The back cover will read:

For a thousand years, there have been no great wizards in the world--and even longer since a wizard-king reigned.

Now all must welcome and fear the coming of

As Gerin Atreyano takes his place as the Crown Prince of Khedesh after his father ascends to the throne, a stranger appears and proclaims that Gerin may be the amber wizard foretold long ago. Now young Gerin’s training, both as prince and wizard, must begin in earnest. But his enemies place a secret enchantment upon him, pulling him down a path of darkness. As opposing forces mass across the land, arming for bloody war, he inadvertently opens an ancient portal using forbidden magic. And suddenly Gerin Atreyano faces a dual destiny as savior or destroyer of a world in chaos--as he prepares for the dread reemergence of humanity’s most powerful enemy: Asankaru, the vengeful and terrible Storm King.

The inside front cover will have this excerpt:

Hollin withdrew a clear jewel from the leather pack. It was the size of his palm and cut with many facets. He held out the jewel and spoke in a language Gerin thought was Osirin. “Iva trestalkiri paran yi dakhal sethu…”

A spark of light flared at the heart of the jewel. At the same instant Gerin felt warmth ignite in his belly. It quickly worked its way outward into his arms and legs and up through his neck, as if he was being submerged in hot water. He felt the warmth in his skull and on his scalp; when it reached his face a faint amber light filled his vision, as if he were looking through a piece of colored glass like those in the windows of the hall. He looked down and saw that the jewel was glowing brilliantly with the same amber light.

Then the light was gone, both in his vision and in the jewel, as suddenly as it had appeared.

“By the Blessed Hand of Venegreh,” whispered Hollin. “It is you.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Map for The Amber Wizard

Those who are fantasy map geeks (like me -- I love to scrutinize maps and follow the action along them) can get a look at the map for The Amber Wizard here.

I drew the image freehand, using a pen I got for free from Sovereign Bank when they took over my old bank. It actually worked better than the other pens I picked up at an arts supply store. Go figure. About the only worthwhile thing I got from that lousy institution (other than a severance check).

After it was drawn, I had a friend of mine who owns a graphic design firm (thanks, Lori!) scan it in as an Adobe Illustrator file, which was the preferred file format I got in the specs from HarperCollins' art department. I then added all the text where needed, scaled it to the proper size, and shipped it off.

I have a map of the city Almaris that will be part of book two partially completed. This one I'm doing completely in Illustrator since I don't need mountains or other features that are much easier to draw by hand.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Battlestar Galactica this Friday

For those of you who've been watching the best show on television (and for those who haven't, tune in now!), the second season of Battlestar Galactica starts this Friday on the Sci-Fi Channel at 10:00 pm. I wish to hell SCi-Fi broadcast this in high definition. The Universal HD channel has been running the first season in HD and it's glorious to behold. I really hate watching shows in standard definition anymore (yes, I know, I'm an HD snob; sue me). The second season will run on UHD sometime later in the year, but there's no way I can wait that long to start watching.

This is an incredibly well-written and well-acted drama. I find the religious pieces of the show to be highly interesting. The Cylons -- a race of cybernetic beings created by humans who rebelled against them in the past and recently nearly wiped out the human race in a sneak attack -- have a belief in a single god, while the humans worship a pantheon based on the gods of the ancient Greeks. It's fascinating stuff. This is not a show about ray guns and gee-whiz gadgets (and has been criticized by the more fanatical hard-core science fiction crowd because of it). It's a show about people who are dealing with the literal end of the world and it's aftermath, and what it takes to endure such bleak circumstances.

Watch it!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

So what the heck have I been doing?

In late May I received the line-edited copy of the manuscript back from my editor, so I spent a few weeks going through and making those changes, then going through it again to make a few changes I needed (some things have evolved during the writing of book two that needed slight modifications in book one), and then I went through it a third time to create a glossary and pronunciation guide.

When that was all done, it was time to draw the map. I have sketch maps in pencil that I use for reference when writing, but I got the okay from my editor and the art dirctor at HarperCollins to do the actual map that will be in the book. They sent me specifications (size proportions, and their preference for an Adobe Illustrator file), and I set to work, meticulously drawing out the map in ink on very heavy (105#) white art paper. I did not label anything since my handwriting is horrid. I gave the map to a friend of mine who owns her own graphic design company (thanks, Lori!), and she will scan it as an Illustrator file. I'm waiting for her to get that back to me now. Once I have it, I will enter all the land/river/city/miscellaneous labels using Illustrator, since they can then be resized and moved around if need be. And of course I'm still pounding away on book two....

Friday, July 08, 2005

Book two update

I just passed the 184,000 word mark with The Words of Making, and still have six or seven chapters to go. I figure I'll top out around 230,000 words or so, around 700 manuscript pages (right now I'm on 517). At least the end is in sight, though I'm having a helluva time working on this current sequence that's going to include a naval engagement. I need to do some serious research here to pull that off, since I know next to nothing about how medieval naval warfare was conducted.

Harrisburg Magazine Q&A

I recently gave a brief Q&A to Harrisburg Magazine, a regional publication that focuses on -- you guessed it! -- people and events of interest in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area. It will be in the August issue, so for those of you who are local, be sure to check it out!

Tardy me

Yes, I know, I know, I've been pitiful in keeping this thing updated. Part of this has to do with simple scheduling. My son's full-day kindergarten wrapped up at the end of May, he was home for two weeks, and now he's going to a half-day outside program at a local park (today they're bowling!). Since my most prolific writing is done in the afternoons, I've been scrambling to fit writing time in whenever I can.

I can't complain too much. He and I have been going to the pool, to the movies, playing outside, etc. I love playing with him, so it's not exactly a hardship. And I already said I'm not much of a diarist (and let's face it, that all blogs are, for all the chest-thumping and self-importance some people make of them -- new journalistic paradigm my shiny metal ass!), so my drive to post here hasn't been exactly overwhelming me.

More a little later on what's been going on with the writing...