Category Archives: Pre-release

Happy Turkey Day; Progress Report

Kind of late in the day I realize, but Happy Thanksgiving! Please give thanks for all the really important things in your life – family, friends, the freedoms that are all to easy to take for granted. Think how great a life you have when a big event is shopping for luxuries on sale because we have so much necessary stuff already. All but the very poorest Americans (the bottom 0.01%) are well off by world and historical standards, and the opportunities are legion.

As to the story: as painful and frustrating as editing is, I am starting to appreciate how a book can get stuck in editing for years. My writing is improving from the constant critique, review, and refinement. Time gives a distance to provide needed perspective as well. We finally finished the “major editing” pass through the book. That took months. I’m now wading through a “final” pass that is catching far more mistakes than I thought possible (many of them introduced during the major editing), and resulting in many more text changes than I expected. The most interesting thing is that I’m catching a lot of mistakes that I had to have pointed out by my editor all the way through, but even then she didn’t catch them all (or at least was so busy pointing out all the other problems she passed them by). I use “a bit” and “suddenly” and “as if” and “a lot” and italics a lot. Repetition can be a powerful tool, but done on accident it’s a killer for readability.

Cover art is just about done. Minor tweaks, nothing more. Working on a logo that I think people will like for a near-the-end scene, and will become the “calling card” for later stuff if it does well and becomes a series. Logo will be suitable for tee shirts and things. Paul helped with the Latin on it, but a Prof at Seattle U helped get it “more correct.” I think people will like it. Hmmm… Guess that means I need to get set up at Cafe Press some time soon.

So the good news is that I’m a lot closer to being finished, but the bad news is that I’m realizing that trying to put a fixed date on finishing an iterative and constantly improving process isn’t a good idea. Not getting it out in November. Christmas? Hope so. but we’ll see.

Love-Hate relationships

I have a much better understanding of the expression “love-hate relationship” now.

Working with an editor is an incredibly frustrating experience. It’s their job to be critical and brutally honest in their opinions, but I can only hear “wordy, cut out half of it” so many times before I want to scream. Often her specific recommended changes, and the changes they lead lead me to make, really do improve the writing. That means I cannot just get annoyed and dismiss them, I have no choice but to face the criticisms squarely each time, only taking considered action when reworking my writing, item by painfully disputed item. It’s like getting back into the boxing ring again and again with a sadist, knowing that I can’t give up or I lose, I have to just keep getting pounded on, ducking, dodging, and hitting back. I wrote things in for a reason, and hacking out large chunks isn’t happening without a REALLY good counter-reason, but the constant justification, explanation, and second-guessing is draining. Making things more concise is great, but it is harder work in many ways than the original writing. So the writing really is getting better, the process is educational, but it is painfully frustrating and slow.

I strongly recommend that everyone write a novel, and work with an editor to get it properly polished and readable. You’ll enjoy it… when it’s over.   🙂


Well, that was … whelming. Not overwhelming, just… odd. The ad I place on Craig’s List got a lot more responses than I expected. No, that’s not right. I’m not quite sure what exactly I expected. I had hoped that I would get a few inquires from people with sufficient skill and interest in a price range I could afford. Having trolled through the ads from many artists advertising their services and finding a lot of nothing topical, I thought maybe by telling folks exactly what I DID want would narrow the chase a bit. Continue reading Whelming

Cover Art Illustrator needed

The artist I had contacted and exchanged a few emails with, and even a concept drawing, backed out of it. So, I am now without artist / illustrator  again. Anyone know anyone that does these sorts of things? I’m trying to find an artist / illustrator willing to get paid to do cover art, to create a picture that looks more or less the way I want it, rather than the way they like drawing spaceships. I’m looking to commission a piece because none of the “stock art” I’ve looked though looks like what I want, or even close enough to say “good enough” if you squint just right in poor lighting.

I can’t pay a lot, but I can pay. So, anyone out there know any friends, nephews, nieces, cousins, coworkers, or something that has some bit of talent and wants to draw some spaceships colliding in space, at least one of which looks like the ones in the book (not just any old random spaceship)?

Thanks to Paul, I’ve simple engineering drawings , some images of Taj, TajSpaceLowAngleTajGroundRampDowneven a simple animation, takeoff, so I don’t just have to explain what she looks like, but can show the artist. It should be, or at least CAN be, a pretty simple, clean image. No people. Smaller spaceships colliding with and splattering on Tajemnica, another of the smaller ships being “grabbed” by the glowing drive field. Background planetary and moon stuff optional.

Anyone out there?

Elevator Pitch

The “elevator pitch” for a product is what you say if you find yourself in an elevator with a potential buyer or investor. It is something that has to get to the core of the item, pique  their interest, and be very brief. It has to grab the attention, give enough to make them want more, not give away to much, and it must not misrepresent the item. I’ve been working on it a little bit, trying to get it “just right,” with enough mystery and enough “feel for the story” in a few brief lines. The current version is over on the main The Stars Came Back topic page, and below. Let me know what you think of it. Continue reading Elevator Pitch

Sunday Traffic Spike

On a daily basis, this site doesn’t get a lot of traffic. But the last two Sundays it jumped considerably, from ~5 a day to over fifty. Did I get found by a web-crawler just tracing links, or are people starting to check in once a week to see how close things are to finishing, and just dropping by for a moment? Drop a note if it’s the latter.

Editing is moving, but never as fast as I’d like. Cover art is even slower, but I’m ever hopeful. Any volunteers out there want to help it along?

Update: Looks like it’s web-crawlers. Sudden spike to 30 page views in a very short period of time.

Found an Editor

I found an editor that I think I can work with. She’s edited the first 25 pages or so, and I was astonished how many minor things got changed, and what I missed. So, now we send stuff back and forth for a while, making changes, approving them, fiddling here and there. Our current working calendar date is no later than the end of October; that’s a lot further out than my idea of this last mid-summer, but she’s also got a full-time job, and this is being done after-hours. Continue reading Found an Editor