Cover 99% done

The cover is 99% done. I’m finalizing the back-cover blurb tonight, and that’ll be it. The print version is fully formatted, so I should be kicking all that off to Createspace tonight in hopes of getting a proof by Thursday or Friday.

The ebook is mostly formatted. I need to clean up a couple of things, but that should only take another few hours, so that will hopefully be done by the end of the week.

So, crossing my fingers, knocking on wood, turning around three times and spitting… the book should finally be out around this coming weekend.

Getting close on the cover

I’m getting pretty close on the cover. At this point, I have all the texture work done, but I’m getting some weird artifacts in the mesh when I enable bump maps. To heck with it — I can fix those in Photoshop by merging the two selectively. Anyway, here are the two versions. (The artifacts aren’t so noticeable at this scale.)

Anyway, the formatting is almost done, and I’m really trying hard to get it all out the door by this coming Friday the 12th. It’s close enough to feel it, so I’m actually giving the date. We’ll see if I actually hit it.

More texture work

I had to redo some of the UV work. The tails and boxes came out all right, but the main hull was split right-left which was causing a problem and the wings were all skewed, so I switched which kind of UV default to use for those parts. I’ve left the grid lines on for now to show what I’m working with, but they’ll of course be gone in the final. I should be able to make more progress tomorrow, but for now I’m calling it a night.

UV Texture coordinates

It’s not much to look at, but I finally cracked the UV Texture problem I’ve been having, and that’s been the major holdup to completing the cover.

Each of those different colored bits represents a different part of the texture map, and now that I have the map, I can add all the little details. On the cover to Ships, I simply hand painted them on in postwork, but that was only possible (for me) because of the orientation of the ship. In this view, I really need to get them into the texture maps.

WHICH I CAN NOW DO!!!

So I really should have this out soon. Maybe not this week, but I’m pretty confident that it’ll be this month.

Smarter Artist Summit, plus me in a kilt

I’m at the Smarter Artist Summit this week having a great time. I’d thought about wearing my kilt, but I didn’t want to freak Dave out. Still, a few folks asked me if I had Scottish heritage — which I do — because they could easily imagine me in a kilt.

Well, imagine no more, because here I am in a kilt:

As for everything else, yes I’m making progress on the cover, and I’m nailing down a few last formatting issues on Debts of My Fathers. I’d hoped to have it done before I came to the Summit, but it was not to be.

Some Improvements

I thought I should post an update since my last entry was pretty bleak. I’m working with my doctors to make some changes to my current array of medications for treating my PTSD and chronic pain, and I’m already seeing some improvements. I’ll detail those some other time, but the short version is that it’s been a turn for the better.

I’m making progress on the books. Short version: I’m updating the old books a bit and getting closer to the new ones.

  • Beneath the Sky: This one is getting a new cover, a couple of minor corrections, and updated back matter to point to the current website, etc. The proof copy of the print is on its way from Createspace right now, and the e-book update is mostly ready. I’m still tweaking the link stuff in the back for that one. I hope to have all that done by the end of this week. Once it is, I’ll be putting it into Kindle Select, which means it will be available in the Kindle Unlimited lending library. It’s already Amazon-exclusive, but I haven’t properly enrolled it yet.
  • Ships of My Fathers: This one is just getting updates to the back matter and tweaking once sentence to clarify something a reviewer pointed out. I expect it will be sorted out by early next week.
  • Debts of My Fathers: The print version is mostly formatted, and the e-book version will follow shortly. Mostly I’m sorting out the details on Beneath the Sky to relearn Sigil on an existing book rather than starting with the blank slate of a new book. I may be setting up some review copies on that, but the final will have to wait a few more details. (I’ll say more about that once they’re resolved.) I’m working on this somewhat in parallel to updating the others, so it’s not entirely idle. I’m hesitant to put out another estimated date, but I am shooting for early October.
  • Hell Bent: This is that new Urban Fantasy series that none of you have any reason to care about yet. It’s effectively on hold until I get Debts of My Fathers out the door, but I may do some of the formatting work on it soon while all the formatting issues and skills are still in my head. I hope to get this one out before the end of the year, but there are elements to this one that are out of my hands.

So that’s the update. Things are moving, just never as fast as I want them to.

Not Quite FUBAR (but other acronyms apply)

"Shattered" (c) Dan Thompson 2006

I got an email from a reader recently basically asking if I was still alive, which reminds me that I haven’t posted to the blog in about four months. (Bad blogger. No donut!) He wasn’t asking for much and even said:

Even if you blog FUBAR us Veterans will get it.

Well, I’m not a Veteran, but I do know what FUBAR means. Unfortunately, I also know what PTSD means and from first-hand experience. Yeah, it sucks. My symptoms for it started about two and a half years ago, even though my first full-on “episode” was only last May.

I don’t want to get into the details of the T in the acronym here, but I will say that it’s almost embarrassing, since it doesn’t rise to the clear intensity of combat, assault, or even car crashes. It’s more akin to the frog in the pot of boiling water, and after long enough, the heat got to me. I am getting professional help (meds and therapy) and doing all the things you’re supposed to do when your brain goes wonky, so I’m on the best path reasonably available. I just have to watch out for certain noises in the meantime, and it makes a lot of simple tasks much more difficult.

So, yes, I’m alive, but the last few months have been particularly rough with this PTSD thing. I have made big changes to remove myself from the T part, but my therapist tells me that I’m now dealing with the P part, the maddening hypervigilance for a threat that is no longer there. As a result, I have made zero progress on Getting Books Out The Expletive Door (GBOTED). And no, I am not in a contest with George R.R. Martin to see who can drag it out the longest. That said, I’m actually pretty damn close. The sequel to Ships of My Fathers, titled Debts of My Fathers, is in final text form, i.e. final draft, post-copyedit. I just need to format it, slap a cover on it, and GBOTED. For my earlier books, that was a 3-week process when I didn’t even know what I was doing. So, I’m really only about 3 weeks out from GBOTED.

Which is exactly where I’ve been since April. Hence the Expletive in GBOTED.

I’d like to say I’m turning the corner. I mean, really, I see all the stuff that needs to be done, and I have a plan to do it. Which, again, is exactly where I’ve been since April. Hence the Expletive in GBOTGDMFD!

So yeah, not quite FUBAR, but only because I am too stubborn to accept the Beyond All Repair part. I’ll try to post more often here, and you can also follow me over on Google+ where I post pictures, revel in my geekiness, and occasionally rant a little about politics. I’ve also been doing a walking podcast in a similar vein to Nathan Lowell’s Talking on My Morning Walk. The walking is for my mental health (doctor’s orders), but I fit in 15-20 minutes of chatter at the end of it. Right now there are over a hundred episodes in the bank, and once I GBOTED, I’ll actually start getting them posted and provide links.

Marching Along

Books are moving along, and my health is a generally upward trend. I have the final text for Debts of My Fathers finished. I still have to write the front and back matter as well as format it for e-book and print. I’ve contracted an artist for the cover, and it should be ready sometime in April. So, that will be coming soon, at long last.

I’m still integrating the copy edits into Hell Bent, but I have started work with a cover design company for its cover, which should be available in June. The fire under that one isn’t burning quite as hot. I’m closing in on the end of the draft of its sequel Stone Killer, with hopes that I’ll be able to release that one by the end of the 2016.

I’m also in the process of rereleasing both Beneath the Sky and Ships of My Fathers. Don’t expect any major changes to them. I’m fixing one error in one and adding a clarifying sentence in the other. However, Beneath the Sky is getting a new cover. In fact, once I have Debts of My Fathers settled, I plan to contract that artist to redo the cover for Ships as well as the rest of the series.

And speaking of the rest of the series, I hope to be editing book 3, Oaths of My Fathers, by the time Debts is released with an eye towards releasing it later in 2016.

That’s it for now.