Book cover design: a diy approach

Though I’m still deeply undecided about whether to self-pub or shop around my first novel (hooray, I’m still editing, so I’ve got plenty of time!), I found this post about using public domain artwork to help you design your own book cover using public domain artwork. floatingmouth

The writer, and amateur designer, Casey Dexter turned to reddit for feedback. By far the funniest interaction on that thread:


I’m saving to bmp as often as I can. I’d love to center the text, believe me, but there’s no way to do it in the version of ms paint I have. Each word is a separate text box, and I tried to line them up visually with the ruler. I told you my tools were simple! The text needs to be done in photoshop or something, the main problem is the kerning.


               As a designer the things you’re saying are giving me a brain aneurysm.

Everyone’s a critic, eh? Haha. To the right, you can see his results.

Bram Stoker Award Winners

This past weekend was the annual World Horror Convention, this year hosted in New Orleans. I jealously read the tweets from attendees. While it would have been amazing to go (especially to such a perfect city for it), my heart lead me to my third year at Gen Con.

As part of World Horror, they also host the Bram Stoker awards. Highlights for me: Caitlin R Kiernan won the best novel for The Drowning Girl and Jonathan Maberry won best YA novel for Flesh & Bone! Congrats to all the winners, see the rest at the Galley Cat blog.

Looking forward- Plans for the SFWA Bulletin

The whole sexism thing with the Bulletin blew up literally hours after I paid for a subscription to the SFWA magazine. Call it dumb, bad luck I guess, because they’re now going, “on hiatus for a period not to exceed six months.”  I’m glad these issues are being addressed however, and I agree with the folks who had a problem with the tone and content of the magazine of late. Anyways, here’s the full release or you can also read it on their site:


On the advice of the task force, and with the approval of the board, the president has authorized the following plan: 


As we refresh the magazine and search for a new editor, the Bulletin will be put on hiatus for a period not to exceed six months.

During the hiatus, SFWA will honor its contracts with all authors and other professionals whose work has already been accepted for publication.


SFWA will conduct a membership survey and consult advisors about the Bulletin and its future direction. Many aspects of the Bulletin will be discussed, including but not limited to: its format, its aesthetic, its content, its budget, and its inclusivity.

Once these tasks have been accomplished, we will assemble a clear outline of duties and responsibilities for the Managing Editor and open the position to interested individuals.


After the interview and hiring processes are complete, the new editor will relaunch the publication, aligning to the redefined goals and mission of the magazine.

For a period of time after relaunch, appropriate SFWA personnel will work with the editor to help ensure that the magazine meets expectations as defined in this ongoing process.


Separately, the task force would also like to announce that they are being joined by Tansy Rayner Roberts, incoming Overseas Regional Director.

Time challenges: My short fiction conundrum

The journal continues, and I’m surprised at how much pent up reflection, brainstorming, story ideas and more it’s generated for me. I journaled (I don’t care, it’s a verb to me) for years and never felt like I got much out of it. Maybe I should take a look back at those stacks of notebooks and reassess.

This morning I sat down and started thinking about short stories. I’ve never focused too much on them. I enjoy reading them but I usually defer to reading full-length novels rather than shorts, novelettes or novellas. And I feel pretty much the same about writing them. I could focus my energy on writing short stories, but I’m always afraid it will distract me from novel writing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of novelists who aren’t very good at or flat out just don’t write shorts.

On the other hand, I look back at this blog, and it’s been going in this incarnation for pushing two years now. I’ve been talking a lot about writing, the writing business and issues related to my genre. The only problem is that I don’t have anything to share with people and it occurs to me that generating some short fiction would be a quicker way to allow people to get familiar with my work.

It’s not for lack of ideas either, I’ve got a collection of story ideas that I’ve been cultivating for a long time now. I always thought they were novel ideas but being able to pick what stories can support a novel is a discussion for another time.

In the interest of starting to get some exposure around my work, I’m reconsidering my reticence to go short.  More importantly though, I’m coming at it with a definite need to become more well rounded as a writer. I need to be able to identify for myself the short vs. long boundary and be satisfied with both. Regarding time concerns, I may have to accept that this will delay the editing process on my first novel and the writing of the second. There are, unfortunately, only so many hours in the day.

Are you a traditional novelist considering getting into shorts? Are you someone who is or has been in my situation? Leave me a comment!