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Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Cover Art Progress and Synopsis for ‘Circa Sixty Years’

Well, I have some good news and bad news. I’ll get the bad news over with first. Because of some technical problems with the software that I used, I didn’t finish the book cover art for “Circa Sixty Years Dead”. I was really determined to complete it and so was up late into the night Saturday/early Sunday morning so I could have it here for you. By the time I saw that it wasn’t going to get done, it was already too late to post anything and so I apologise for the late posting. The good news is that the illustration is closer than ever to completion and I have the official synopsis for the book.


‘Circa Sixty Years Dead’ Cover Art Progress

So I could have the best book cover art for “Circa Sixty Years” I took advantage of an update for the Paint.Net software that I use. Paint.net is a free software which is really useful for those basic needs of an illustration, mine being painting a solid black sky. I know, I had said that I was going to use black marker for the reveal, but I’ve put off the reveal too long. So I’m contradicting my philosophy of, what I believe is, true art. The sky turned out perfect but it caused too much of a highlight effect around the statue as you can see.

A six-armed goddess statue looming over a desert.
Credit: Steven Arellano Rose, Jr.



I’m trying to find the tools in the software that will best get rid of that highlight so the statue doesn’t look like a cut-out or ghost. “Circa Sixty Years” is a horror short story and so involves the supernatural, but I don’t want a ghost effect on the statue which is a crucial icon in the story. I also have to trim off some of the jaggedness at the statue’s edges. Jagged outlines are a problem that comes to someone like myself who’s more used to using a pencil or paintbrush than a mouse for making a picture.


‘Circa Sixty Years Dead’ Synopsis

On Saturday, just before I left for the Time Travelers’ Bazaar, an annual steampunk event in Sacramento, it occurred to me that somebody was likely to ask what “Circa Sixty Years” is about. It would have been embarrassing to struggle for the words that describe it. So I jotted down a short synopsis in my journal while riding the bus. I attended an author’s panel at the Bazaar and, sure enough, BJ Sikes, who was one of the presenting authors, asked me.
 
Somebody at the panel said something like if you can’t describe your book’s theme within 17 syllables then you don’t know what your book is about. They were actually referring to another author who said this, if I remember correctly. I add to the advice: if you can’t explain the theme of your book in one average length sentence (about one to one-and-a-half lines, typed) then your book needs a lot of work, particularly in the areas of focus and plot. In other words, if you can’t summarise your book within one or, at the very most, two sentences then chances are the story is going in too many directions for the reader to follow.

I pretty much explained “Circa Sixty Years Dead” to everybody as this:

A young archaeologist’s obsession with an ancient goddess statue is destined to haunt him for the rest of his life.

And that’s all it should be--a very basic summary of the plot or theme. Anything more than that risks creating spoilers.


I need to get this book rolling so, though I normally publish to my blog on Saturday or early Sunday morning (post-midnight), I may do a special post for the book cover illustration reveal or perhaps even full cover reveal between now and Saturday. The best way to keep updated is either by subscribing to the blog at the form below and to the right, follow me on Twitter at @starosep2 or Like my Facebook page. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or comments about what I’ve done with the book cover art so far, please let me know so I can see about making improvements. You can leave your comments in the box below.

Until next time . . .


Man steering a 19th Century-style time machine.
Credit: Steven Arellano Rose, Jr.


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