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 …

Continue Reading...

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. …

Continue Reading...

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 …

Continue Reading...

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 …

Continue Reading...

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 …

Continue Reading...

So what happened in 2016? More than can be iterated here, certainly, but this is mainly a focus on what transpired in my writing career and how The Adventures of the Trinity and the One developed. Which isn’t short list, to be sure, but it is definitely more focused.

So where to begin?

Well, let’s start with the novels.

Two novels were published! Half the current series was released in 2016 and the other half in 2015. That feels consistent.

But I wasn’t just content with publishing novels–I did my fair share of other writing, too.

Among all the other blog posts I did, some more interesting than others, and the promotion work I did for the SIA book blasts that happened in 2016.

This is all avoiding the elephant-in-the-room. That being, well, the result of my decision concerning what to do with my writing in general. As it is hopefully clear …

Continue Reading...

When you put yourself out there, you are opening yourself up to criticism.

You are putting your product and passion up for the scrutiny of others. Others that may not be aware of what you were trying to do, may have different tastes, and may just be cruel with their words. This is the game of being a creative, of producing anything. There will be critics.

I am a critic. I have a food and movie review blog. I like talking about my feelings on things for my benefit and for the benefit of the creative. There have been movies and TV shows that I simple don’t like and that didn’t fit my tastes. I don’t usually review them. I say I don’t like them casually, but I don’t write long reviews hating on them. It feels wrong to tear into something out of a fit of angry passion when I know my words mean something to someone. I have torn into movies, but I have positives to balance it out.

That’s what a criticism should be. A thought out explanation of where the critic comes from, any prejudices or bias, what they experienced, what they liked and didn’t like, …

Continue Reading...

Well, it’s been a crazy ride. It has been one full year since How to Stop Wildfire was originally published. This is the one year anniversary of How to Stop Wildfire. One whole year. Wow. It doesn’t feel that long at all.

So much has happened and the time blew by pretty quickly. What exactly happened? Well, I’m going to list off what I can remember. I think it is good to do retrospectives sometimes to see how far we’ve come and all that  jazz. So that’s what’s going to happen.

So April 22, 2015, I released How to Stop Wildfire as my first published work. The cover was originally this crap:

How to Stop Wildfire Original Cover

Please forgive me for it. It is terrible and I knew it at the time but I was so excited to get HTSW out there and to the world that I didn’t pay attention to covers and stuff. I just wanted to show off my book to the world and I did.

I spoke about my work. Blogged. I didn’t get any attention.

So I started thinking maybe I should re-do the cover and re-brand it. Make it look nicer and slicker. Also do a print copy. …

Continue Reading...

I’ve rambled about genre before. I’m not going to repeat myself and say what genre is or isn’t or what not.

This is, instead, a vague response to a trend I’ve noticed. I’ve seen a lot of posts recently discussing why science fiction and fantasy are important. How they can help society and such. I don’t disagree with such things on principle. The use of genre can make a theme resonate more. Genre is a device of its own that must be used well so that your story is expressed the way it ought to be. What genre your story is in affects how the story is told and what is being told.

Going back to science fiction, there is one example that show cases its potential for showing the truth of society. That piece of sci-fi is Star Trek. I’ll be referring to The Original Series here, but it doesn’t really matter: I’m not using specifics. The use of setting as a future idealized world allows the show’s narrative to tackle the same topics from a different perspective. Instead of presenting race issues as they existed in the 1960s, they are ignored. It shows a world where the …

Continue Reading...