Thursday, October 23, 2014

Primordial Soup - Published Books

Artist-Ann Reishus
I sat for this painting in my teen years.
I recently read two books which were like reading my own personally owned piece of art. The lush covers and color art reproductions within Sacred Bleu by Christopher Moore and An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin screamed that the publishers knew these books would sell. The publishers would never considered them if Moore and Martin had been first time authors and unproven to deliver sells.

Christopher Moore made his fan following with such titles as Lamb and You Suck. The first book I read of Moore’s was Coyote Blue. Fans of Christopher Moore will buy his books without even reading the back cover because they know he is a wordsmith that delivers. Sacred Bleu’s cover of a blue naked women lounging on an artist's palette with the Eiffel Tower and a man in the background would definitely warrant a pick up, back cover read, and thumb through from many bookstore patrons including a few middle school boys. If you thumb through it, the art reproductions and the blue type would, most likely, intrigue you further.

The initial whiteness of the cover of Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty would attract a bookstore patron. The second impact are the large letters revealing bits of a red painting. When you pick up the book the tactile ridges gives the feel of canvas invoking a reader curiosity as to its contents. If you didn't know that the comedian, actor Steve Martin writes, you might question if this was that Steve Martin. If you knew Steve Martin authored books then you probably had read or at least watch the movie, The Shopgirl. The cleanness of the type and modern art reproductions within would indicate further what the book could be about without reading the back cover.

These two book covers and a quick thumb through tell a potential buyer about the book. The object gives you the sense that its contents are worth your time. The popularity of the author names guarantees the purchase of the objects will be worth it even if the buyer couldn't handle the books because of looking online. The publishers probable didn’t even blink when handed the manuscripts containing color art reproductions.

As an artist and an author, perhaps, I am jealous that my first book could not be a printed piece of art, but neither of these books are the author’s first either. The business of publishing is exemplified by these two books. Once proven that your books sell then the level of expense to produce a book becomes a non-issue. These books suggest it is not just the author’s name that sells the book but cover art is a big part of marketing a book. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Primordial Soup Ingredient - Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction-What is it? In encountering this genre in all different forms, I've been curious about it-How to write it? How many words constitute a Flash Fiction vs a Short Story? How is not like poetry?

My curiosity led me to delve into it without research. In the tabs above, The  234th Time, is my first Flash Fiction writing. I wrote it for a Flash Fiction prompt from the blog site terribleminds: chuck wendig which is a site I’ve enjoyed reading for a time. The prompt was to write a 1000 word Flash Fiction using someone’s sentence that was written the previous week.

And, yes, I wrote a sentence for that prompt - She banged her head on a sign, the lizard scattered and her day went to rot.
And, No, it was not chosen by another writer as their prompt.

In writing a Flash Fiction, I found other sites with similar writing Flash Fiction writing competitions. I recognize that these are great ways to lead writers to your blog and the benefit to the writer is that it leads people to your blog when you leave a link in the comments. Some of the Flash Fiction blogs encourage writers to enter with prizes for the best while others are about self promotion for all involved.

I notice an increased in traffic to my site from entering my Flash Fiction to the mix. It was also fun and encouraging, but should I continue to engage in Flash Fiction blog writing. The benefits are increase time spent writing, increased blog traffic, and discovery of the depth of writing short pieces. The downside is the time away from editing my novels and from working on critiques to receive critiques on Critique Circle. Critique Circle has also been encouraging to the writing process. I am also worried that I have too much, other than working on editing and getting my novels published, busy work distracting me.

The questions I will have to wait while the golden leaves fall and I turn my attention to NaNoWriMo. The loyalty I feel towards Nanowrimo has given me several manuscripts with which to work and I plan to use this years novellas as my first self-published books.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Primordial Soup ingredient: Travel and Steampunk

Capital Building in Victoria

My recent trip to Victoria, Canada and writing plans for the upcoming Nanowrimo has really put my head into Steampunk. When I first discovered this genre, I just couldn't believe that I had been missing out on something so excitedly fun. I went to my library looking to read Steampunk novels, and only found one collection of books within this genre. And what a collection - The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger. I was hooked.

Looking at the movies and other books that were my favorites, I discovered that I liked Steampunk before I knew the labeling -timetravel, mechanical machines, Victorian era, Edgar Allen Poe, Sherlock Holmes, and HG Wells. I also discovered it is hard to pinpoint exactly what is Steampunk and there are sub genres within this genre. I’ll I know is that it is a very creative fantasy/sci-fi genre that is an inclusive world of history, manners, and imagination. There are books, movies, music, gatherings, and tea dueling. And, I do not feel that I have come too late in discovering the Steampunk world because it is populated by a wide range of ages.

I am editing a Steampunk fairy tale and for this Nanowrimo, I will be writing a set of three Steampunk novellas set in Yellowstone National Park. I have been reading history for these novellas about park rangers, Theodore Roosevelt, and Yellowstone.

During my visit to Victoria and my head full of turn-of-the-century history, I couldn’t help but see Victoria as the perfect place for Steampunk adventures. It is a lovely city with a Victorian historic hotel, a small china town area, waterfront with boat taxies, and brewpubs in historic buildings. It was a great place to let my imagination run wild and to fuel me for the next busy month of writing.

With renewed energy of a fabulous visit to Victoria, BC, historical research, and Steampunk fuel imagination, I am excited about the busy fall months of writing and holidays.

Water Taxi ride