The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Tag: cover art

Midnight Snacks Release Date and Cover Reveal!

midnight-snacks-coverIt’s here! I’ve actually had this cover ready for ages, but as you may know, it’s been stuck in limbo on my non-functional laptop. I was finally able to rescue it last weekend.

This is probably one of my favorite covers so far. I’d ask what you guys think, but then I’d get twenty different opinions on the fonts and this version is locked in.

I’ve also set a release date: October 15th, which is timed to coincide with my Big Annual Halloween Book Sale, which gets a little bigger every year.

The book should also be available for pre-order pretty soon. I’ll keep you guys posted on that.

In other news, I’m now on the new social network, Ello. There’s a vast shortage of people I know over there, so if you’re on there, will you be my friend?

NaNoWriMo Prep and a Cover Reveal

shiny_web_copyI managed to accomplished two (TWO!) writing/publishing-related things last weekend: I broke through my block and figured out the main plot arc of the next book in the Damned series (and also what book three is about, and that it’s up to four books now instead of being a trilogy); and I came up with a cover for Shiny, my steampunk cyborg fairy story (previewed here), that I’m (mostly) happy with. This is probably not the final final version (I’m not 100% sold on the main font, thanks to the “y” looking too much like a “g”), but it’s close. At any rate, I’m aiming to have it ready for release in December, after Nano is out of the way.

Speaking of Nanowrimo, I had originally planned to do a series of posts throughout this month covering the whys and hows and wherefores of participation in the month-long writing marathon, but I’ve been too preoccupied and overwhelmed with getting my web design and marketing business back off the ground and, frankly, I just don’t have a lot of steam left. What little steam I do have, I should probably save for writing my novel.

The short version is, for those who still question the sanity of Nanowrimo and whether or not they should give it a try, is that I recommend doing it at least once, if you have any book-length writing ambition whatsoever. The primary reason I recommend it is because it’s basically boot camp for learning how to keep a deadline. It forces you to learn how to make yourself write when you just have a few free minutes here and there. If you’re someone who thinks you can’t possibly write unless you have a big, solid block of uninterrupted time to “get your head in the zone” and “find your inspiration,” much like I used to be, this is a valuable and necessary lesson to learn.

2013-Participant-Vertical-BannerAs for me, I still need to relearn that lesson from time to time, which is why this is going to be my seventh year (it would have been my 8th, but I took last year off). After so many attempts–some of which were successful, some of which gave me books that were eventually good enough to publish, some of which produced manuscripts that are best left forgotten at the back of my hard drive–I’ve also figured out that the way Nano works best for me is to use it to write a discovery draft, a “draft zero” that’s somewhere between an expanded outline and a full-blown manuscript. That’s why I’m not going in with a detailed outline. As mentioned above, I do have the main arc worked out, so I’ll know what direction I need to move in, but I’ll basically be pantsing it and figuring out the details as I go.

I am a little doubtful of my chances for success this year, because as I said, I’m not running on a full tank of gas and my day job is still pretty busy. But being that it’s a sequel, I already know the characters, so I don’t have to spend time figuring them out and trying to find their voices. That should help things flow more smoothly. At any rate, I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself to “win.” As long as I get a good start on my next novel, regardless of whether I reach 50,000 words, I’m going to consider it time and effort well spent. And I’ll probably be working on this manuscript for the next six to 12 months, regardless of how far I get in November.

At any rate, it’s only two days away! Which means that Halloween is tomorrow! Which means that my big Halloween book sale is about to draw to a close! Which means you should totally go snag all of my books for 99 cents each before the price goes back up at the close of October 31st (or when I remember to go raise the prices back up on Friday)! So go now!

Updates on Eucha Falls and the Steampunk Cyborg Short

Eucha Falls coverGood news for anyone who has been waiting to read my pseudo-Slenderman, loosely creepypasta inspired, haunted amusement park story Eucha Falls: the wait is almost over!

The bad news is that the anthology to which it’s been under submission for the last several months politely declined its inclusion (I received a very polite rejection signed by Ellen Datlow herself. I’m cheering myself up by pretending that they’re not all signed with her name and that at least one of the slush readers thought it was worthy of her attention). So, that gamble didn’t pay off. I’m really not at all upset by the rejection. I’m much more upset that I put my initial publishing plans on hold for several months only to be told that it’s not quite what they were looking for, when it could have been out there earning me royalties and, hopefully, some fans.

This is why I self-publish, y’all.

At any rate, it’s already been thoroughly edited and beta’d, so I’m going to do my best to get it ready to release this weekend. That should be doable, as the cover (seen left) is ready, and all I have left to do is add front and back matter. But I’m having company on Saturday, and this is also the weekend of my wedding anniversary (which is actually Monday), so I’m not making any promises. Still, it should be available sometime next week.

As an aside, I was briefly thinking about changing the title (again). There’s one element of the story that’s inspired by the creepypasta Candle Cove (which you should go read right now if you enjoy a slow build to the unsettlingly creepy). Last weekend I discovered that the author of Candle Cove, Kris Straub, has both a website and shared storyworld (though both have been on hiatus for quite some time now) that happens to go by the name of Ichor Falls, which hits a little too close to home, especially since I’m crediting one of his stories as inspiration. But I can’t really think of a more suitable title, and if he wants to take it as a shout-out (assuming he ever even discovers my story), that’s fine by me. [/aside]

As for the steampunk cyborg pixie story, which currently has the working title Special, it is very close to done. I only have time right now to write about 450 words per day, so it’s creeping along, but I’m at the climax and the denouement is outlined in detail. I originally started writing it to submit to another anthology that’s being produced by Clarkesworld,  but my experience with submitting Eucha Falls has made me decide to publish it myself rather than letting it languish in a slush pile for months on end. I posted an excerpt here last Friday, and now I’m trying to decide whether to go ahead and post the rest of it as a freebie here as well as making the e-book free. Right now I’m thinking that’s probably what I’ll do.

Also, and I know this is a long shot, but I have a very specific image in mind for the cover: a steampunk butterfly. If anyone knows of an artist or crafter or jewelry-maker who does that type of thing, who is a fan of my work (even of my old fanfic) and/or who is willing to barter for services or yarn-crafted goods or even baked goods, if you could put them in touch with me, or vice versa, that would be awesome.

Lawd Have Mercy! Also, a New Cover for Restless Spirits

Guy-friendly cover of Restless Spirits by Jean Marie BauhausProject: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and featuring Will Rogers and Tom Mix.

Writing stage: Researching, world building & plotting

What got done: Over the weekend I did a little more research into Tom Mix, and rounded out my cast with a couple of invented characters, including my requisite genius inventor and another BDD super agent, Madeline “No Mercy” Mercier, who will act as a foil to Betty. The part of Mercy will be played in my head by Sophie Okenedo (Queen Liz X to all you Whovians). And if you’re so inclined, you can see my whole dream cast, as well as research links and inspiration for costumes and setting on my RADIUM TOWN Pinterest board.

Today I used my writing time to publish the new cover I created for Restless Spirits over the weekend, which has gotten hearty approval from the guys who’ve weighed in. Upating the cover for the e-book versions on Amazon and BN.com was simple enough, but CreateSpace was quite a bit more involved. I also made minor modifications to the books themselves, including updating the cover credits on the copyright page and adding a link to buy Dominion to the end — a simple “No duh!” selling tactic that was nevertheless lost on me until I read a tip on it somewhere last week. A natural sales person, I am not.

C25K/UFYH: You know, we had all these lovely warm days in January and February, but now that spring is actually here, it’s cold. Yesterday we even had some snow. So the C25K thing is on hold until it warms back up and stays that way. As for UFYH, I didn’t do much over the weekend, but today I bagged up all the trash and recycling and took it out to the bins, and also bagged up all of the errant shopping bags that would take me far too long to fold and put away.

And of course I gave Sasha her meds. She’s feeling a lot better since the antibiotics and vitamins have kicked in, but there’s another suspicious place on her stomach where it looks like the cancer might have spread. We’re also giving her Interferon, and the hope there is that it will boost her immune system to the point where it will be able to kill the cancer, or at least keep it in check, without draining all of her resources. Poor kitty. She’s only 10, which isn’t exactly young, but it’s not old enough to have to contemplate saying goodbye yet, either. I think she’s tough enough to get through this, though, and I still expect that she’ll be around for several more years.

Cooking: Last night I cooked up the big spaghetti squash that I picked up on Friday, and used some of it as a noodle base for a Thai-peanut stir fry that I cooked up last night using ground chicken, shredded cabbage and a frozen stir fry veggie mix. It wasn’t exactly Pad Thai, although it tasted close enough, and it was a bit Sandra Lee what with the frozen veggies, but it was delicious all the same, and with the spaghetti squash I didn’t miss the high glycemic noodles at all. When I do cook I always make a big batch, so that’ll do for dinner for the next few nights; and the leftover squash is put away to serve as a pasta noodle replacement later this week.

Later: Client stuff. I need to keep my head down and get stuff done.

Cover Wars

Thanks to everyone who offered feedback on the potential cover concepts for Dominion of the Damned. The general consensus was overwhelmingly in favor of the third concept, featuring a girl with a gun standing on a desolate highway, the feedback on which ranged from “least cheesy” to “awesome.” Of course, for practical and budgetary reasons I was hoping the majority would favor the second concept, which wouldn’t cost me anything to produce. But both aesthetically and conceptually I’m in agreement with the readers—I think the cover representing my protagonist is the strongest.

Now the next step is to purchase a high-res copy of the photo, which will have to wait until my next payday, and then refine the concept into something that is hopefully totally awesome and not at all cheesy—although, when you’re talking about a cover to a novel about vampires subjugating the human race in the wake of a zombie apocalypse, I have a feeling that a certain segment of the population is going to find a certain amount of cheese no matter what. And I admit that my vision of zombie hands reaching toward the girl from out of frame probably won’t do anything to decrease the cheese factor. Although that would probably be stretching beyond the limit of my Photoshop skills, so that version of the cover very well may not happen.

Feedback is also starting to come back in on the book itself, and if the consensus agrees with the first beta reader, I’m going to have a fair amount of rewriting to do before it’s ready for prime time. So, allowing for uncertainty and the fact that I ALWAYS underestimate how long stuff like this will take me to get done, we’re probably looking at a June release. Which is fine, as that gives me time not only to make the cover as awesome as I can make it, but also to get new author portraits made. Not that the old ones aren’t perfectly lovely, compositionally speaking, thanks to the EXTREME talents of my baby sister, but they were taken at an incredibly sucky time in my life, and also in the life of my hair. So a new portrait is definitely in order.

My agenda for today also includes drafting a marketing plan for the book, which I’ll share here once I get it nailed down. I didn’t have any kind of plan or do any pre-marketing for Restless Spirits, so it should be an interesting case study to see if any of that makes a difference for Dominion.

But first thing’s first, and that’s perfecting the cover. I’m sure I’ll be hitting you guys up for more feedback once I get it closer to the final version.

More Dueling Covers For Your Consideration

This time for Dominion. I have an opinion, but I’m going to keep it to myself for the time being.

First, the cover I originally mocked up waaay back in 2009 for NaNoWriMo (which isn’t really up for consideration–it’s just so you can see where I started from):

 

 

And now a more stylized and abstract version of the same theme:

 

 

And finally,  one that puts the focus on my main protagonist:

 

Which one entices you the most, dear readers?

Also, thanks for all the feedback on the new Restless Spirits cover. Since opinion was divided pretty evenly over the light vs. dark versions, I went ahead and used both — the dark on the paperback and BN.com, and the light on Amazon and Smashwords. I’ll see which, if any, has the greatest impact on sales, and then go with that one across the board. That’s the beauty of e-publishing–nothing is set in stone.

Light or Dark?

Okay, I tweaked the new cover a bit more, and I need help deciding which I like best: the daytime version or the nighttime one?

Daylight

 

Dusk

 

This Old Haunt: New Title, New Cover

This weekend I’m planning to buckle down and make some headway on getting This Old Haunt ready for publication. In the meantime, since TOH was never intended to be more than a working title, and since the cover I created for the Scribd version two years ago doesn’t really accurately reflect the book’s romantic-comedic tone (and was also just bad), I redid them both, which resulted in this:

Some notes:

  • I toyed with a few different titles, including borrowing from myself (and Buffy) and calling it Something Other Than Dead; I also considered just Restless (another Buffy nod) and Restless Souls. But I think Restless Spirits fits the story best, and gives it that slightly playful vibe. I worried over it a little because there are a couple of books with that title already in the Kindle store, but their genres are different enough that I think I’m good.
  • For the longest time I was fixated on having a depiction of Sarah’s red ball on the cover, but that was when I was still telling myself that this was a horror story. When I got over myself and admitted that it’s not really that horrific, and that it is, in fact, a romance novel, I was able to broaden my image search parameters. I’m pretty happy with this picture. The model is close enough to the description of my protag, and she’s slightly ethereal and come-hither without being too on-the-nose ghostly.
  • I think I’ve decided that I’ll be going with Jean Marie Bauhaus for romance and stories that appeal primarily to women, and J. M. Bauhaus for my slightly more masculine works.

Thoughts?

Progress (such as it is), and a Poll Winner

I’ll spare you the daily word count and just tell you that I only wrote a total of 2,721 words on Dominion this week. Monday and Tuesday, I didn’t produce any words of actual story, but I did go over the outline and ended up adding several scenes. Yesterday, I didn’t write at all, using the day instead to run errands and do chores and generally be domestic. On the days I did write, I didn’t write as much as I would have liked to. I blame a client WordPress project that’s been giving me fits all week. The stress is definitely affecting my writing.

Said project came to a screeching halt today thanks to some installation problems that won’t get dealt with until next week, so I suddenly find myself with a couple of free hours. I really wanted to spend it writing some flash fiction. I would love to institute a Flash Fiction Friday for this blog. But I’m totally coming up blank. I’ve even tried several different story idea generators (of which I think this one is my favorite), but I’m just staring at them going “durrrrr.” Clearly, I can’t brain today. I think I’m just going to watch Glee instead.

But not before I reveal the winner of my cover poll. Each cover got at least one vote (and “none of them” got no votes, which pleases me), but Cover #1 was the clear winner, with four votes here and another two write-in votes on Facebook. So (barring a little more tweaking and/or the owner of the original creepy little girl pic getting back to me), here is the probably official e-book cover for Hungry Child:

Thanks to everybody who voted and left feedback. Y’all are a helpful bunch.

This, That and a Cover

  • First, my writing progress for the week:

Day Project Wordcount
Saturday Dominion of the Damned 572
Sunday Dominion of the Damned 0
Monday Dominion of the Damned 0
Tuesday Dominion of the Damned 1134
Wednesday Dominion of the Damned 922
Thursday Dominion of the Damned 0
Friday Dominion of the Damned 2001
Total   4629

That brings the grand total so far up to 18,367. I can’t remember why I didn’t write Sunday, although I think it probably has something to do with just needing a day off. Monday and Thursday were just too jampacked with appointments and client projects to even get in my 250 words. All in all, that’s not bad progress.

 

  • I’ve decided to go ahead with setting up my own publishing imprint. I realize that it would be silly to let my accounting software preferences be an obstacle to this, and who knows what kind of doors my own independent publishing company might open down the road? So Daydreamer Publishing is soon to be an actual thing.
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  • I’ve got two more scenes to go on the revision of Hungry Child. I think I actually don’t have to go anywhere this weekend for a change, and it’s too wet to do the yard work that needs doing, so I’ll be able to get ’em done.
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  • The other day while I was trying to transition my brain from Dominion to Hungry Child, I mocked up an e-book cover for the latter.
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