Tuesday, July 27, 2010


So, almost done with my edits for Leafkin. I still haven't received two stories, which is worrisome, but if worse comes to worse I can start the formatting and stick those in when they are finished. I'm still nervous about the formatting process. InDesign is a big, scary program.

I think for the actual publishing we're going to go with Lulu. Last year we paid for the printing and then took the project to the local bindery. That process appeals me because it involves local businesses in what is essentially local art. I liked the 'grass-roots' feeling of it all. But a place like Lulu has definite advantages. For one, you can get an ISBN, which we didn't have last year, (Unfortunately we miss out on the free ISBN because we're using a custom cover and not their 'cover service'.) and a spot on It's a bit more expensive than our process last year but not too terribly much so.

This whole thing has my nerves tied up in a knot. I'll be glad when it's over and I won't have to think about it for another six months, until it starts all over again

Saturday, July 24, 2010

To Edit is to Listen

The title of this post is actually a quote taken from page 2 of the text I am, in brief, going to be discussing: The Artful Edit by Susan Bell. Bell has been editing fiction and non-fiction professionally for over twenty years for such places as Random House. So, it's safe to say this woman has some major editorial chops. The book is actually about the act of self-editing and I, honestly, would recommend it to anyone. It blend's Bell's own wealth of experience with the voices of real (successful) authors and real (successful) editors. 

But self-editing isn't what I'm going to be talking (blogging) about. As I've said, it's Leafkin season and we're moving forward with volume two, which, if all goes as planned, we're set to release in early September. We're still in the editing phase, which is what moved me to pick up this book again. I was re-reading the introduction and was struck by how many good reminders are packed into it. 

As this is a book about self-editing, it's introduction, naturally, goes over some aspects of professional editing. She highlights the fact that there are different types of editing, contrasting the minutely minded edits Gordon Lish gave to Raymond Carver and the broad scope story ideas editor Maxwell Perkins gave to F. Scott Fitzgerald. The job of the editor, according to Bell, is to listen to not only what the author needs but what the story needs as well. No two edits are going to be alike because every author and every story is different. Her main point was best summarized, I think, by:

 "A text deserves to be pondered and nudged, not simply bullied into place. ... Editing is a conversation, not a monologue."(pg.6)

I am absolutely a nut for quotes so I could go on quoting her forever but I'll spare you. Suffice it to say that I have found this book helpful in my own work as well in my latest efforts to help pull together this anthology. Bell reminds us that the wise editor does not strong arm the text in front of her and, following in that example, neither does the wise self-editor.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Arts! ... again

So more art by L. H. Reid, my personal art slave. Really they're just some sketches she's done of my characters while we were hanging out (not at all comparable to her completed portrait of Lauryn) but my fabulous little brother bought me a new printer/scanner for my birthday and here they are!

 This is the first sketch ever done of Lauryn. And this is after Lily went over it a couple times to make her less pathetic ... poor Lauryn.

It should also be noted that this was drawn quite some time ago in Lily's old cartoon style.

This is a costume concept we were playing around with for Lauryn. Apparently I don't think about what my characters are wearing in anything more than the vaguest of terms. So I bug Lily and sketches like this are born. At the end we went a different route with Lauryn's clothes but this sketch remains.

And this is just a sketch of Lauryn with a book. She doesn't have much in the way of hobbies and books are easier to draw than harps.

Meet Lady Faline Laure, one of Lauryn's two friends. She and Saeran kind of disappear for awhile after Chapter Three but they really are important to the rest of the story, I swear! Anyway, I think she looks like more a vixen than she actually is in this but all in all it's a pretty good representation.

And this is Saeran Marret, Lauryn's other friend. This, also, is drawn in Lily's old, cartoon style. I kind of think she looks a bit like Disney's Belle. Not that I mind.

Here is Kieran, who is ridiculously stoic and, in my opinion, quite dreamy. I like this (granted I'm inclined to like anything that involves Kieran) but Lily was never satisfied with it and keeps promising to draw a better version.
This is Syrus, the Mage-King. He has absolutely nothing to do with story, he just kind of exists in the world but I love him so I slip him in whenever I feel I can get away with it. Lily wanted me to point out here that she doesn't really like any of the faces on the older drawings but says the costume design is okay for concept. 

And on ending note we have a quick sketch for the lulz. On the right is Lily's character, Karn. On the left is  my character, Kieran. Karn is very sensitive about his freckles and Keiran is being insensitive.

Lily is horrified that I posted these, and honestly it's completely self indulgent, but I love these sketches and, well, it's my blog. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I have resolved to let Lauryn finish saying what she needs to say. If at the end, she needs to be scrapped (which is a real possibility) then scrapped she will be. But I will at least let her finish her statement, whatever that may be.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Writing Exercise

So a couple of years ago my brother-in-law (my sister's husband) bought me one of those writing exercise box things. I was messing around with it the other day and it was surprisingly fun. So I thought I might as well post the result here.

He swore on his mother's grave, but then he swore on just about everything. My mom used to warn me about men like him; loud-mouthed, hot-headed and insincere. And yet, though I had known better, as he swore, I believed him.

It wasn't so much that I had been blind to the truth so much as I saw it differently. I mean, yes, he tended to lie and yes, he tended to kill things. But that didn't mean he wasn't sweet. Because he was sweet, in a lying, killing sort of way.  So. He swore. I believed him.

And then everything went to hell. Because you can't really agree to shelter a supernatural bounty hunter without everything going to hell. It's like a law of the Universe.

It wasn't so bad at first. My apartment is small but we kept different hours. And he was usually pretty good about not bringing his work home. But then there was that weekend in Duluth.

I don't even know where Duluth is to be honest. Texas maybe? One evening I was doing the books over take-out  Chinese. He came in (through the window, he never used the door) looking like he was going to kill something. I was beginning to realize that was his normal expression. I think I might have muttered a hello but most of my attention was on the books. I'm not exactly known for my financial acumen but as I ran my own business, there wasn't really anyone else for the duty to fall to.

Anyway, one moment I was eating Chinese, the next I was swimming back to consciousness in a dingy hotel room. In Duluth.