Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dreams: Crazier than crazy

Had one of the most fab, exciting dreams I can remember last night...The dream advertised itself as me and some friends sitting down to watch 'The Ten Commandments', but quickly took a turn for the better. 

I was trapped in this remote, maximum security prison being kept prisoner for some unknown reason. There was absolutely no hope of my own escaping, though not for lack of trying. I'd done everything I could to escape, and slowly it was wearing me down--emotionally and physically.

And then, one cold but very starry night this young lady who I'd never seen before told me that the next night she was going to bust me out. She looked familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on how I knew her. As quickly as she came, she vanished.

I stupidly tried to escape on my own again, my only reward being more guards to keep a hawk's eye on me.

And then the following night came, and that young lady returned. She grabbed my hand, somehow whisking me out of that prison cell and said, "C'mon, this way!" I followed her, her complete and utter lack of fear bolstering me on.

It didn't take the guards long to see I had gotten out, and soon the entire prison was on lock down. Didn't matter to this woman. She let go of my hand, fished into a small bag she was carrying and pulled up (I kid you not) a windup grenade. She wound it up, lighting it and tossed it towards the huge (oddly placed) door leading out of the prison. Guards were swarming down the steps now, and I could hear all kinds of weapons being cocked and readied.

Another grenade and the door flew open. A veil of smoke kept us safe as she took my hand again, leading me out of the prison. The rattle of the guns started, and she told me not to worry, that everything will be ok.

She led me to a large, swampy area just 100 yards or so out from the prison. She said it was the only way to escape. And then a bullet hit her leg. She winced, but never once faltered. She told me to go on, but I refused. I picked her up and carefully stepped into the swamp. As I did so I slowly started to piece together who this girl was. Deeper into the swamp we went and now the voices of the guards could be heard, surrounding the swamp. None of them shot.

And it dawned on me: this woman had been someone I had known, a friend, maybe something more I wasn't sure yet. She had risked everything to come and rescue me. As the shouting of the guards became louder, she squeezed my hand and said she'd rather die here with me than back at the prison.
I agreed, and finally remembered that she had been there the day I got to the prison. She had been the only one who smiled at me.

Tragically, I woke up, leaving the dream unfinished. Darn you early mornings! 

But now I'm wondering. Is there a message furled somewhere in this dream? Is 'The Ten Commandments' a awesome dream brewer? Probably not, given that I haven't seen the movie in five years. But man, what a ride that dream was. Wish I knew that girl. Her image is still a little fuzzy. Maybe I do?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Evolution of A Book Cover

One of the most frustrating yet rewarding parts of independently writing and publishing your own book is creating the cover to the book. Now I'm sure there's a bunch of you who are regular wizards with Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, or a host of other programs and your covers would blow mine off the map. But I like how my cover turned out.

Now I promise this post isn't about glorifying how absolutely stunning my work on my ebook cover is. Nope. It's not. Instead, it's about the process I went through, how easy and painless it was, and hopefully to encourage anyone on the fence about making their own book covers to at least give it a shot.

Ok. Ready? I'm not! But as they say in Ratatouille "Let's do this thing!"

Daniel's e-book cover making timesaver finding #1: istockphoto is your FRIEND! I mean this. The website is brilliant and very easy and slick to use. For those who don't know, istockphoto is a site that sells stock pictures, vector images, movies, and other stuff for use in your own projects. I like it because it gives people who want to get their art (as I call it) out there, and lets those folks team up with folks like ME (the people who write weird stories) the chance to have access to artwork that they wouldn't otherwise be able to get, given their (or mine at least) lack of artistic expertise. There are also easy to understand rules about the copyright licenses, as well as information about purchasing an extended license if you need it. If you're an author, and you're fretting and wringing your hands over finding that perfect book cover, fret no more! Use the good ol' internet(s) and give istockphoto a visit. It's an indie's best friend.

Ok, so I went there, browsed around, and finally found an image I liked. I wanted something simple that got the theme of my story across. That's it. Here's what I eventually found:
(C) 2012 Chuwy. All Rights Reserved
I liked this picture for many reasons, but the thing I liked the most about it is its simplicity and sense of wonder if creates. It's beautiful, yet simple (side note, if you do decide to peruse the wares of istockphoto, PLEASE give this artist a look: Chuwy. This artist creates some of the most peaceful, yet beautiful art I have ever seen. I was more than happy to contribute to their beautiful work).

While I love this picture, I knew I'd have to tinker with it after I bought it. I mean, you've got to have a title right? So using my other best friend, the glorious free editing software Gimp. This is a great editing programs for newbies like myself, and is pretty darn intuitive. After messing around for a bit in Gimp, here's what I came up with:
Copyrighted material.
There, isn't that BEAU-TI-FUL? I thought so at first, but it was missing something. What? What was it missing? Sitting back and thinking about my title, I for whatever reason started thinking about the sun, and how when it rises I always feel happy and confident. I rubbed my chin, nodded, and went back to Gimp:
Copyrighted material.

Switching the font really helped, as did inverting the colors. But what I liked the most was the light manipulation on the side, mirroring the way the sun rises. Boom! Exactly what I was looking for!

There! This entire process probably took me an hour, and I ended up with a cover I'm really happy with. It's simple, but still says a lot. Ah, where would I be without istockophoto and Gimp?! Probably paying someone to make a super awesome cover, instead of trying to do it myself.

That's it for this post! Next up I'm gonna be throwing some themes from my story at you guys, sharing my thoughts, and hoping to hear yours!

God bless!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Attack of the Blog

So blogging. What does someone who's starting up a blog that's SUPPOSED to help promote a story they're writing actually write about? It seems somewhat vain to brashly promote my own writing, like those folks you see waving the 'Little Caesar's' signs on sidewalks, tempting you to whip out a $5 bill and go home with a pizza. Only in my case the pizza would be my writing. I don't want to be that author (we all know them) who can only talk about their writing, how great it is, and how you're not as cool as you potentially could be by reading their writing.

But I want to give folks who ARE interested in my writing a chance to learn about what it is I'm writing. I am working on a story after all, shouldn't I spend some time talking about it?

Here's what I'll do. The story I'm working on has several themes. So why don't I blog about the themes of my story? I mean, most folks can relate to themes and stuff right? Why don't I blog about ideas from my story and see what you guys think? Or blog about what runs through a character's head. Better yet, blog about who these characters actually are!

I'll try that, this 'teamwork' writing if you will. We'll toss around ideas, talk about them, and see how/if they'd work in a story. We'll talk about anything and everything. We'll make big chocolate cakes and cinnamon rolls. Oh wait, that's Julia CHILD'S FRIEND'S blog...So maybe not the chocolate cakes.

I am excited to share with you guys my passion for writing and story telling, and I hope you all will take the time to join me as I do this. It's a free forum here, idea wise. ANYTHING goes (well, within reason of course. Anything derogatory, inflammatory, or otherwise offensive will be deleted. Yup. Goes for me too!)! It'll be fun, right? *notes glazed over eyes of readers*  Well, if it doesn't work, so be it. The sun will still come up tomorrow, with or without my blog. 

Bottom line is I want you guys---YUP YOU THE READER---to be involved with the writing of my stories. After all, it's YOU the readers who makes writing worthwhile, because you are the ones doing the reading! 

I can dig this. I am excited! Hopefully you are too. If not, maybe I'll send you a cookie. Maybe.

Happy reading/writing, and God bless!