Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Well, I've been busy. . . .

In early April, when I had my art booth at Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio, I got a commission to sculpt a horse pulling a two-wheeled carriage (with a driver in the carriage, of course) which will be used as a world championship trophy! I normally take about three months to do a single horse sculpture, and the foundry takes two to four months to cast that horse in bronze, but this trophy has to be awarded in October, so I have to HUSTLE to get the original made and shipped to the foundry! So that's one of the many reasons I haven't kept this blog up-to-date - I've been slaving away in my studio getting three months of work done in about one month's time! The horse is nearly finished (WHEW!), and I'll be starting on the carriage in the next day or two, hopefully (I'm waiting for the client to send me some measurements so I can get started).

On the writing front, I've been working on a new Harry Potter story to keep my HP readers happy, and letting both novels "rest" so I can read them with fresh eyes when I get back to them. I sent out queries to six agents back in March, all of whom stated on their websites that they report in six weeks. Each also accepted "partials" (a few pages up to 50 pages of the novel), which is why I chose these agents to contact first. I figure the novel will sell itself better than any query letter of mine! I heard back from three of the six, and have yet to hear from the other three, which seems rather odd to me (but maybe they're just swamped, I dunno). It's been way more than six weeks now.

The published writers on the Critters news group said to allow six months to hear back from them, but I'm beginning to have second thoughts, thanks to one of my betas. He suggested I try to benefit from the Harry Potter insanity that's coming this summer (due to film 5 and book 7 coming out within a week of each other!) and get my book out there ASAP. He thinks my HP fans will flock to buy my book now while they're waiting for Harry's next film and last book. So I'm researching self-publishing now, just to see what's involved in self-publishing fiction.

I self-published a non-fiction book, "Sculpting 101: A Primer for the Self-taught Artist" a few years ago (and that edition is nearly sold out - I need to revise and reprint it!), so I'm a "registered" publisher already, and know how to get the ISBN number and get my book listed on "Books in Print" as well as submitting the copyright application and a copy of the book itself to the Library of Congress. I did all of that for the sculpting book. I've had good art sales this year, so I can afford to print a certain number of books if I go the route I used for the sculpting book, which means shipping every book myself rather than having a Print-On-Demand (POD) company handle all that work for me (which is WAY expensive!!). So now I have a query into the local digital printer who did my sculpting book to find out what it will cost to print my novel.

I've spent a lot of today revising the formatting of my novel to a 6" x 9" "trade paperback" format and cleaning up some of the other formatting stuff that appears in a draft of a novel rather than in the finished book - and I'm only up to chapter 2, argh!! It's painstaking, annoying, frustrating work to reformat a 124,000 word book by hand, but that's how I have to do it. I can't do a "search and replace" because every instance of whatever needs to be changed is different!! For instance, the "internal monologues" (thoughts) had to be formatted with an underscore _before and after_ the internal monologue for proper "submission" formatting (or so I've read and been told numerous places). In the printed book, the "before and after" shown between underscores would be printed as italics. Apparently it's easier for a typesetter to find underscores than italics. Also, the existing format (the way I wrote it originally) is in 12 point Courier New, which is not a fun font to read in a book. I've changed the font to Bookman Antigua, which is attractive as well as easy to read, and I'm making the chapter headings in a different font to make them more attractive, as well (well, I AM an artist, after all!). I have to delete the extra space between paragraphs, indent each paragraph three spaces, and center the * * * that denote a scene change (they didn't have to be centered before). Argh. . . talk about a labor of love!!!! *sigh*

That same beta suggested I check into e-book publishing too, but I don't know if I want to go that route. I've done some research already, and found a software that SAYS it encrypts the files so they can't be pirated or shared, but who knows?? That's too much for me to think about right now!

The good news is, a friend of mine who's a *fabulous* painter (Elin Pendleton, has agreed to do the cover art! Now we just have to figure out what image would make the best impression as cover art! I have some ideas, but I've asked my betas to give me their ideas, as well. I may ask a few more folks for their opinions before I'm done. But getting Elin, who's a truly exquisite artist, to do the cover art is a real COUP!!!! And she's excited about the book and believes I'll make a great success of it! From her mouth to God's ear, that's all I can say!!!! LOL!

My horses are home from winter boarding at last, so some of my time is being spent doing barn work and taking care of my horses as well as riding. And that's on top of doing yard work, sculpting (of course), keeping up with orders (I just shipped two trophies to Kent, Ohio, and the week before shipped six trophies to a race track in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada! And I have fine art orders to fill, too - only one left to fill, but that piece hasn't arrived from the foundry yet).

On top of all that, I'm teaching a sculpture workshop at the K-12 Gallery in Dayton, Ohio, in late June. I need to do some preparation work for that. Then I have a sculpture show in Botkins, Ohio in July. By that time, the horse and carriage piece should be at the foundry and being cast, so at least that pressure will be gone. In the middle of all this, I have the Harry Potter story to finish and get to the betas, and the first novel to re-format, re-read and decide if I'm going to self-publish it, and the preliminary beta jobs on the second novel to read through and work with. Sleep????? Who has time!!!!!!! :D


  1. So how far has the trophy progressed? Got the carriage part done?

    About formatting the novel, have a look at the italics in the file I sent. I didn't do a manual search and replace. MS Word has certain features to search for specific text patterns and replace them. It takes some time reading them but once you understand them, changing the text between underscores and making it italicized alongside removing the underscores in one step (or vica versa) is just a couple of keystrokes and a click away. It also depends on which version of MS Word which you are using. I am using Office 2007, BTW, so maybe it's easier in it? I am not sure.

    E-book file encryption...I am a part of the Information Security and Research Group at my university. believe me when I say, no encryption or file format is totally secure. There are always ways to crack it. What you get is the level of security(or cracking difficulty) when the publisher says that the files are secure. Do share any more details you find about it. Since this is [sort of] an area of my interest, I would be delighted to know the details, if any.

    While talking about security, did you know that the AACS key for HDDVD has been cracked twice? That means all the "so called" protection with regards to HDDVD movies are null and void till they change the cracked key the third time. ^_^

    So much for abuse of consumer rights by MPAA/RIAA...

    Getting back to the post, you should go for a ride on your horses and relax. There is plenty of time for writing, and sculpting. I have just one exam left on Monday and after that I will be slightly free again for about a month. I know I would take the opportunity to have a ride on horses. Too bad it's around 45 C (113 F) around here during day time. - visible effects of global warming. :(

    Teaching a sculpture workshop? You really do enjoy teaching. Good luck with it!

  2. I did ride my horse today, thanks, and it was fun! And I got some sculpting done (the horse now has feathers on two legs and they look pretty good! He's a Friesian - they have curly feathers on their legs, kind of like a Clydesdale - you may know them as the Budweiser horses - only Clydes have long straight feathers that hide the shape of their legs. Friesians have curly feathers that follow the shape of their legs. I need to send a pic to my customer to see how he likes these feathers before I do the other legs. If he wants less feathers, I'll have to rework these two legs and then work differently on the other two, so I need a decision before I do the others, I think.

    "Got the carriage part done"???? You are a funny guy, Asad!!!! It's gonna take a long time to make that carriage!! I still don't have the measurements I need! The son of the man who made it is supposed to call me in the next day or two with the information I need. Whew! Once I hear from him, I can start on the carriage.

    I did start working on the harness today just a bit - started melting the wax I'll be rolling out in sheets to use for the harness. I haven't used this material before (Castilene), so I'll do his ears out of it before working on the harness, to learn how it works.

    Yes, I do like to teach! And doing a workshop not only looks good on my C.V., but teaching in this particular gallery is good exposure - it's a very well-known gallery in our area and "bigwigs" like to be "connected" with it, so my being on the faculty now (yikes, they're already planning on me teaching there again next summer, and they've never seen me teach!!) is a good thing, I think. I need to do some stuff to prepare for that class, but I still have a bit of time. I'm hoping to get the horse and carriage completed and outta here before I teach that class!!

    I don't have Office 2007, but I'll look at Word to see what I can do to replace the italics, at least, more easily. It's not the italics that are driving me crazy - it's removing the extra space between paragraphs and indenting the paragraphs 3 spaces. Argh. A tab is too far - three spaces is enough. I suppose I could set a tab (duh!), but I still have to delete those spaces.

    "There's plenty of time for writing" - HA! Nope. Not if I want to get this book published this summer during all the Harry-mania and benefit from advertising on the HP fanfic sites prior to the release of book 7. BTW - do you know how to tell if traffic on those sites is higher now, or if it's dropped off? I know some people are re-reading canon, getting ready for book 7, but I've also had a lot of new readers (mostly on FFN) reading my fics recently, and some folks re-reading them.

    I heard about the DVD code being cracked just today. I don't think I'll be doing an e-book. Too risky. I saved the link to that site with the software on my laptop (I'm on the desktop at the moment). Next time I'm on the laptop, I'll look for it and send it to you so you cna check it out.

    I'm working on the HP story right now - had to look for something online, and thought I'd check the blog, and here's a comment from you! :) After reading the post prior to my newest one, I can see I need to do ANOTHER one to revise some stuff. Argh. No time at the moment - I'm on a roll with the HP story (50 pages and still going strong - some "ficlet"!!! LOL!)

    Thanks for writing!


  3. Traffic stats?

    Here are some traffic stats for


  4. Jagged Angel7:21 PM

    Hi. I am in the middle of reading 'Refiner's Fire' and loving it. I have just discovered your blog. I am very pleased to know you have an original book to come out, and can't wait to see it on the shelf! Good luck

  5. Asad - thanks for the stats links!

    Hi, Angel! I'm glad you're enjoying my story! Welcome to my blog! Yeah, "Star Sons 1: Dawn of the Two" will HOPEFULLY be out very soon! The book designer is working on it now. As soon as his work is finished, we'll know the final page count and the rest of the cover design can be finished (the spine width can't be determined until the total page count is known). Then we just have to get the back cover put together (all the parts are done, it just has to be laid out) and it's ready to go! YAY! Thanks for your interest!

    I have a new HP fic nearly finished that will be posted chapter by chapter and the ordering info for "Star Sons" will be included with each chapter. I have to finish and polish the HP story and get it beta'd, and then it will be ready to start uploading - and by that time "Star Sons" should be ready to publish! I HOPE! LOL! So stay tuned!!! :D Thanks for writing!