When I made my own copy of How to Stop Wildfire about two months ago, I knew I was going to make copies for the rest of the series. Starting with the next book, of course—Harmonic Waves.

The cover used for the print/e-copy originally was a painted piece of paper that was supposed to look water-y. I was thinking of doing paints again for the cover for the self-bound book, but I wasn’t feeling it.

Then the idea came to me: use stones. Like glass-y stone pebbles. I liked the idea so I went off to the store to find something reasonable. I didn’t pick up shiny, heavy stones but instead went with aquarium gravel. I picked up this huge bag of it thinking I’d do the entire cover in it. Then I realized that would probably be a bad idea. I had tacky glue, but I was really skeptical of how it would hold. So I picked up some fabric and decided I’d mix the two.

At this point, I had the book already printed and bound. I had the holes be made a bit larger which made the stitching process so much easier. I …

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Here I am again with the recordings! This is the second of my additions to the novels. How to Stop Wildfire it felt natural to have a preface to explain the journey to it and explain it. With Harmonic Waves, my thoughts lingered on the content and what it meant rather than the journey so I chose to do a retrospection that is at the end of the novel. There are some spoilers within which is all the more reason it needs to be read following the book itself.

Read…or listened to. Yep. I recorded myself again. Enjoy!

Jumping On and On

If How to Stop Wildfire was practice that I could take a shred of story and transform it into something great through modernization and revitalization, Harmonic Waves was the first serious capitalization of that experience. It was the second, the successor of the messy first that was sourced from an even messier beginning.

How to Stop Wildfire is surely a testament to what I had learned, but it is still chained by it always being a long-time work in progress. Harmonic Waves, on the other hand, was written after I had achieved some semblance of …

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This is me reading aloud the new preface before How to Stop Wildfire. Once I get all the books converted Lulu, it will be in the print copy in addition to the new electronic copy version you can get from me.

You can also read it below if you hate listening to recordings like I do:

A Story Before A Story

Once upon a time, there were a few scraps of paper within a notebook that contained a story titled ‘The Creation.’ It had childish humor, a bizarre plot, and characters and ideas very dear to me. It stayed there for many years, gathering dust and the pencil marks slowing fading alway. The memory of it stayed with me, though.

The memory of it and the entire world I had constructed throughout my years. Races. Characters. History.

Stories. So many stories with ‘The Creation’ as just one of them.

One day, I had the mad idea to write out all those stories. Ideas and thoughts that only existed in the confines of my mind–to bring them into reality. To give them form like I had given ‘The Creation’ long ago.

It seemed right, it seemed so utterly correct, …

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A break down of the art I did in 2016. A best approximation of it, anyway. Went off of when I scanned it in because I had no other way to figure out when I actually drew it.

January

None.

February

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March

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April

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May

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June

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July

None.

August

The spike in art is because I started carrying around my sketch notebook on my daily train ride. I tried to keep up with it but I stopped when I water spilt on the sketchbook. Nothing was damaged too bad but I lost the motivation.

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September

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October

None.

November

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December

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Conclusion

So there we go. Kind of interesting what months were popular drawing months and which ones were dead. I’m actually pleased with how much art I did. I’m not sure if I’ve already done more this year. I’m planning on doing more art recaps to trace my progress as an artist. I can definitely see some vague form of improvement over 2016. I think. I …

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It took me awhile, but I got my act together in making a print copy of Expansion Expression. After my exciting divorce with Amazon, I decided to try new things with medium. Yada yada. I bound my own book. I pimped out my e copy. Who cares? It’s very froo-froo. What’s the basic version of this freedom?

Well.

That’s where I went looking. I still wanted simple print copies of the series to put on my shelf/shrine. That used to be CreateSpace….I was thinking about using again, but I reconsidered. It’s a time for change. So I went looking for different print on-demand services. Various articles and short videos were watched to figure out which service was one that I was going to try. This piece, a breakdown of four major POD services, was very helpful.

I ended up with Lulu because:

  1. No ISBN required. The idea of getting another CreateSpace ISBN for something private was distasteful.
  2. Could do 1 batch and configure the distribution settings so it was either direct/private.
  3. Heard positive things about quality in the past.

And so I tried to make a print version of Expansion Expression with Lulu.

The process was kind of icky. …

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In my attempt to further own my work, I went down the path to try to figure out how to make custom copies of my books.

For the the e-copy, I’m now using iBooks author, which is an overall great success. I been able to attach images, create glossaries, and add floating footnotes. All that has been making the book more personal. Now that’s just the electronic version.

For the hard copy version, things got a little bit more interesting. I started out looking at local printing and binding shops. Basically artisan makers of custom books for businesses or even personally use. I learned a great deal by going to the stores and speaking with the owners. There were things I never knew about printing and binding that I learned by speaking with the few businesses that still did it in an artisan fashion. I was highly intrigued as a result; I did more research in bookmaking, binding, and creating artistic copies of books.

After much deliberation, I’d rather try making my own custom copy of How to Stop Wildfire rather than pay someone else to make a copy that was slightly nicer than Createspace copies.

This meant going …

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I bring to you what I’ve mocked up as the e-cover for Expansion Expression (Book Five). It’s very minimalist–most of the power comes from the art. Like How to Stop Wildfire.

The process of how I made this one:

To start, I used water colors to give the paper a yellow-y-coppery background. Then, once it dried, I took oil pastels and sketched out the ‘Scorpion’ (the orange pincer). I used two different types of pastels and I smeared them all a little bit. After that settled, I made these little flicks off to the sides of it with a colored pencil and pastel. I scanned it in and did some color balance modifications with GIMP in addition to adding a Bump Map.

Before any photo-editing

The title text was added and moved around many times. I tried putting it in different places that weren’t necessarily centered. The series title/my name are further up/down than in the others as I was trying to feature the art as much as possible. But for the title I gave up as it was supposed to be ‘blaring’ in a way. The font is ‘Edo‘, if anyone is wondering.

Result:

It might …

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The story starts like this:

I write a story.

It takes me many years to get to a point where it is passable. It takes a few more to make me proud of it. It will take less than one afterwards to realize how far I’ve come since it. But we’re not there yet.

I wrote a story and I thought I wanted to share that story. So I shoved into onto sub-par medium (Amazon Kindle) because I hoped everyone would see my care for it. I hoped and hoped and then it never really came, but I didn’t stop writing and growing. It hurt a little to not get the attention, but my writing didn’t need anyone else’s attention on it because it had my own. So I kept going on until I really asked: Why?

I should stop now. I’m rehashing. I’ve gotten over that hurdle. I’m on the other side. The grass is greener. I’m writing and creating for me.

I’m cultivating my passion as a personal project.

As in personal. Sharing is optional.

What personal means is that I can do whatever I want without considering how many people it could reach or …

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I’ve been radio silent lately on most things related to fiction writing. I’ve been the occasional review on food and whatever movie and TV show I happened to have words about, but as far as fiction goes, I’ve been dead. That has primarily to do with pulling in as far as publishing for the public and instead focusing inward.

So what that means to say is that I haven’t stopped writing completely. Editing has been slow on Expansion Expression,  but my focus really hasn’t been attuned to it. It’s been on the formatting of the other books and on a massive personal project I’ve always wanted to do.

That project has been creating a cohesive internal wiki of notes and information. I have an excellent memory so I don’t need to write down much of anything, but having a few notes and wiki allows me to keep track of canon details and plot out well everything.

How I’m creating this wiki is by using TiddlyWiki, a program for taking notes and other stuff. It is very low key, which is what I like about it. I could have used something like Emacs org mode I suppose but I’m allergic …

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As part of my liberation from Amazon and other methods of distributing electronic book copies, I have gained the ability to format my eBooks in whatever way I want to. There are many features and capabilities that exist in the ePub 3 format that have not been present in any Amazon format. Some of them are, for sure, but how to actually get that in an Amazon copy is very annoying. It can be done, but neither easily nor in any sane manner.

No longer concerning myself with such things, I have taken a dive into the possibilities present in ePub 3 and actually executed them. The tool I used for this next-level formatting was iBooks Author. iBooks Author is generally used for making iBooks, an Apple-only format that has even more options for creating books. The iBooks format is being used mostly for text-books and more ‘visual’ heavy books. It has some format locking because of this and because of that and that iBooks can only be distributed through the iBooks Store (if paid), I decided to use iBooks Author tool for making ePub 3 copies. The documentation for the application is mostly focused on the iBook creation, but …

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