Monday, June 24, 2013

My Online Interview with Helping Hands Press

I'm a bit nervous . . . okay so I'm a lot nervous . . . but if you're interested, listen to my online interview with Helping Hands Press at 11:00 AM. We'll be discussing my forthcoming tween fantasy novel Whispers From Forbidden Earth. Click the link:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Perfectionist in a Paint.Net World

I broke the most important rule of blogging – write frequently and well. Okay, that may be two rules, and perhaps to some, I violated both! Well, I’m jumping in again with both feet, correcting one rule and, hopefully, improving on the other.

In Webster, I found a definition of perfectionism: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m the poster child of perfectionism (with a smattering of anal-retentiveness thrown in). I HATE making mistakes or seeing mistakes in any of my projects.  

Take my tween novel, Whispers from Forbidden Earth (soon to be released by the good folks at Helping Hands Press). I spent years on the story, adding/moving/deleting scenes, deleting characters, adding plot twists. I literally agonized over every punctuation mark. Then I had the bright idea to add sketches to the story. BIG mistake!

First off, I am NOT an artist. For years, my only exposure to graphic software was Microsoft Paint. So, I reached out to others more skilled than I (Hi Chris and Jason!) and then I discovered free image and photo editing software called Paint.Net. What a revelation!  As my sons and I worked back and forth on the book cover, I would load the image into Pant.Net. I discovered I could zoom down to the individual pixel level! I spent hours manipulating little squares all over the image. One time, my wife Kathy came into the home office and watched as I added a line of tiny black dots. “What are you doing?” she asked. Wasn’t it obvious? I zoomed all the way back out on the image and pointed to a dragon wing, explaining that one of the ribs wasn’t sharp enough. It neededmore detail. Being such a sympathetic soul, Kathy said, “You’re nuts,” and walked out of the office.

Well, the cover turned out perfect without my intervention . . . or as close to perfect as I’ll ever admit to. But I’m forever doomed now that I know I can draw on the individual pixel level.

God, please keep me sane and Kathy sympathetic to my plight. Amen.