Thursday, April 19, 2012

Notice! Special on "Termite Queen" Tomorrow! Plus, What's Holding Up the Publication of Vol. 2?

For Friday and Saturday (April 20 and 21) "The Termite Queen: Volume One: The Speaking of the Dead" will be a special price on Amazon's Kindle and on Smashwords -- only 99 cents!  After that, the price will be $3.99, so if you have been wanting to read about my Shakespearean termites, the process of communicating with termites,  and the moving and sometimes humorous love story between Kaitrin Oliva and Griffen Gwidian, now is your chance to buy the book for practically nothing!

I'm not sure how long it takes KDP to change the price on Amazon, so if it shouldn't be ready right off the bat tomorrow, I'll make sure the special stays in effect for two full days.
The Champion and the Seer Receive
 the Speaking of  the Dead
Preparations to publish "Volume Two: The Wound That Has No Healing" are well along; I have only some eight chapters left to format for the print edition, so that isn't really a problem.  The hang-up is the cover art.  Since I originally intended to publish the novel in one volume, I didn't have a cover prepared.  I thought some of you might be interested in how I'm progressing and what the procedure is.  Here is a display of my current unfinished draft.  You can click on the picture for a larger view.
First, note the line a fraction of an inch from the top, bottom, and right edges.  That line encloses what will actually appear on the cover of the print edition; everything between it and the edges is called the "bleed" and will mostly be trimmed  off in the binding process.
The first time-consuming difficulty I had was constructing the fortress.  I must have been a bit addled to choose that for the background!  But I wanted it to look as realistic as possible, so I had to shape every one of those dang-blasted stones individually.  (I'm a glutton for punishment, it seems!)
Then I had the problem of where to put the title.  If I made all the stones dark-colored, the title wouldn't show up that well in any color except white, and I didn't really want white.  I tried three different things before I decided to simply shade the color to a light beige for the entire top portion of both towers.  I'm still not satisfied with the upper right and I'm sure I'll tinker with the colors some more.
The view of Ki'shto'ba and Kwi'ga'ga'tei in the foreground was the easiest part.  I already have many views of both of them and all I have to do is rearrange the positions of legs, antennae, heads, bellies, and wings.
But then I have a whole army of Shshi Warriors in the middle ground.  So I simply drew one form facing forward and then made a bunch of copies.  I then had to rearrange the mandibles, the palps, and the antennae on the heads, as well as the leg positions, and finally scale down the sizes to give a reasonable perspective. 
The worst thing is the antennae.  I've always drawn those moniliform (bead-like) antennae as little circles strung together.  That means any change of positioning requires ungrouping the antenna, changing the position of each circle by using either the arrow keys or the mouse to move it, and then regrouping everything.  Talk about tedious!
For the second row of Warriors, I changed the color to grayish and eliminated the legs.  Two many legs results in nothing but a jumble of lines.  For the third and subsequent rows, I mean to do the heads only, with the antennae and the wicked-looking mandibles.  The most distant row will probably be nothing but blurry ovals with hints of antennae and mandibles.
The Warrior to the right of the entranceway is Commander Hi'ta'fu.  The story calls for the Alates Mo'gri'ta'tu and Di'fa'kro'mi, as well as the Worker Chief No'kri, to be standing in the same location.  So I still have to construct and insert those. 
Then I'll need to add something along the right margin and in the lower right and left corners, maybe -- likely to be the heads of more Warriors.
And oh, yes!  What in the world is that purplish creature, you ask?  That's a Nasute Warrior.  Nasute termites are those species whose soldiers have only vestigial mandibles. Their primary weapon is a head like a syringe that shoots acid or sticky fluid.  The Nasute Cohort has an important role to play in the story, so I'll likely add a couple more of them to this picture.
And after all that is done, I'll still have to do the back cover.  That will be a snap compared to the front.
I don't know if I'll be as happy with this cover as I was with the view of the Highest-Mother-Who-Has-No-Name for Volume One, but you can't say I didn't do a lot of work on it!

If you care to share your opinions, I'd be happy to read them!

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