January 2010


The marvelous, Austin-based cover artist for Strongman Volume 1, Paul Adam, is back on board for Volume 2.  He managed to find a few minutes to work up some sketches for the cover, which I’ve included below:

Paul Adam's first passes at the SM2 cover.

As you can see, the basic idea is to take the iconography of the Volume 1 cover and change it up a bit to reflect the things happening in V2.  I think the colors will be different (I’m thinking blue and purple, but we’ll see), and of course the background elements with Tigre’s face will change as well.    There will be a mirroring image on the back, also as we did with V1.  The big question, really, is what to include in the background.  One concept is to have the good guys Tigre works with on the front, and the bad guys on the back.  Another is to include some elements of the screwed-up Mexico he finds when he returns home.  Another is just to have an assortment of the crazy things he runs into when he’s there, sort of a fun mish-mash.

It’s hard to say, and I have to think on it a bit.  What I would really like to do is figure out something that will convey the basic conflict of the book – that Tigre feels personally responsible for the hellhole in Mexican hometown has become in his 35 years of absence.  And, of course, it should convey that the book’s awesome, action packed and sort of fun/funny too.  That’s what a good cover can do.

Last time, Paul pulled out not just a good cover, but a great one, and I have no doubt he’ll be able to do it again here.

Been a little while since a substantive post – the holidays really took it out of me.  I was home in Michigan for a good little while, which was more stressful than the holidays normally are this year.  Actually, I don’t generally buy into that “the holidays suck when you’re a grownup” trope.  Yes, there can be some family friction, but that can happen at any time of year.  I like the food, the drinking, the camaraderie, the movies, even the weather.  I also like that it’s a time when the whole country seems to go on vacation.  It’s one of the few times I can let up some of the pressure I put upon myself to be moving forward on my various fronts.  No one’s going to be calling and asking for anything.  (The other few days like this are July 4 and Thanksgiving weekend – the rest of the year’s holidays are a little too nebulous to count, as far as I’m concerned.  For example, we have a three day weekend this weekend, for the deservedly celebrated and observed Martin Luther King Day, but it doesn’t have the same feel as one of the other biggies.  Shops will be open, people will be in offices, and so on.  I’ll try to muddle through somehow.)

So, anyway, the holidays – they were intense and very difficult, but then I also have a memory of my brothers and myself out on my dad’s driveway (which is essentially an incredibly steep hill), trying to salt it down in the aftermath of a serious freezing rain deluge.  Everything was covered with about half an inch of ice – EVERYTHING.  It looked amazing, but this was at about 8:30 PM, well after dark.  I had hiking boots on and so could remain somewhat stable, but my little brother was in dress shoes, and kept sliding down the hill.  We were all half- to three-quarters lit, and so the whole scene was pretty damn funny.  After about half an hour of that, a salt truck came roaring up the driveway and saved us from further labors – also funny.  There’s a story that’s at best mildly entertaining to anyone reading this who wasn’t there, but for me… well, the last time my brothers and I did anything together like that was at least five years ago.

2010 – the year we make contact.  I hope so.

Projects – I’m well into The Thousand Ships, and it’s a corker.  I still have to find an artist, but I have several great prospects in mind.  I haven’t done serious world-building since back when I was working on Cockroach back in 2004, and it’s always incredibly fun.  I’ve devised a socio-political structure, a few interesting technologies, a military and four cultures, plus a pretty great story to hang over that framework.  It can be heartbreaking to put in all that time and not have a story come to fruition (and believe me, I’ve been there), so I’m going to do my best to try to get this one out into the world.  27 is still being drawn, but my artist on that project seems to have picked up steam.  We’ll see – he’s been much more responsive and speedy since Christmas.  I think it’s because I pay my bills.  Strongman 2 is also chugging along.  I’ve got some cover sketches in, and I may post them up here, just to see which people like.  The cover’s crucial to a book’s impact.  I’ve also got a screenplay I’m maybe going to write once 1000 Ships is done, called The Wall – I was supposed to one day produce it on a low budget with a friend of mine, which may or may not ever happen, but in my opinion having as many things written as possible is really the way to go.  You never know when you’re going to hit in a big way (if, really, but I prefer the confident path), and when that happens, I want to have a backlog of material to use.

Schizophrenic post!  I’ll end it here before it gets worse.  Hopefully something soon on music, spring conventions I’m planning to attend, and, of course, my Jeopardy! show wrap-up.

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