Friday, 28 September 2012

School Holidays and the grinding halt

The final read through is progressing at an agonizingly slow pace. School holidays has not made things any easier. Back to the days of the thousand "Daddy's".

The process of writing this novel has taught me many things and hopefully the next novel will be far more efficient in its production. This final phase has been very hard indeed. But, as they say, the wisdom of hindsight allows for reflection and change.

All the Indy author blogs I lurk around all say that beyond all other forms of marketing, the best is to just keep writing good novels. They also say you have to have regular installments for your fans/readers. Three or four a year, they say. Keep them coming or you will get forgotten.

I'm sure they would also agree that the first novel was also the most difficult, but once you develop a good production system, your efficiency can increase and those levels of outputs become achievable. That's what I'm hoping anyway. What I do know, I won't ever make the same mistakes. Just new ones :)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Unconfirmed leak

Sources close to the author have told, Of dreamers and storytellers, that sometime over this coming  weekend might actually be the launch of the long awaited novel, The Elemental Cloudy.

This is, of course, unconfirmed information and the author, T.L.S Clarke has declined to comment, sighting the general rumor mongering of the internet as the origin of this disclosure.

When pressed further, however, he did not deny the rumor. 

Interesting stuff... we'll keep you posted.


In an effort to squash the rumor, the editor of the novel has been quoted as saying, "Given the two dozen under graduate assignments I have to mark, I can't see any way the the novel will be released this weekend. There is still the final read through to be completed."

Back to... "Coming Soon!"

Update #2:

The final manuscript is printed. 1.5 spacing, 12 point, Times Roman Numeral. 460 pages....... the horror.

The 'editor' sneaked in 7 chapters this weekend. (I'll have to buy her something nice.) The final read through is much faster, but she is still picking up bits and pieces. Hats off to the editors of the world. You are fundamental to the process.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Cover Artist

Editing is going well. I had a power weekend, and we're almost there. I won't cry again. I know it made you feel uncomfortable.  I have just got the last 3-4 chapters to finalize with my editor (wife). Then one final read through. (which I am doing on my kindle, so I know what it will look like when you read it) and next weekend I press the upload button.

Maybe we can return to Imminent?

No? Okay, still   --   Coming soon.

Anyway .... out of interest, I wanted to show the process of how the cover design for The Elemental Cloudy came into being. The genre for the novel is - Contemporary Urban Fantasy.

The main protagonist, is a young man called Cloudy Radford. He is your typical twenty something who gets put into an extraordinary situation. He is recruited to hunt demons.

As part of his initiation, Cloudy is given a weapon. An ax, called the Executioner. It has been crafted from a substance that is from another universe, and it plays a pretty big role in how he is able to defeat the demonic beasts that he faces.

With that in mind, I found some imagery from the internet and put together a mock up. Pretty basic, but it gave me a visual of what I wanted to achieve.

So one of the themes I wanted to get across from the cover, is that Cloudy is a normal guy. He isn't all muscles, but has the body of someone who has developed their body through a sport or exercise, not at the gym posing in a mirror. He has the body of a swimmer or an athlete.

When the time had come, (and I had saved some money, being the poor house husband that I am) I went looking around a website called Deviant Art. There are some incredible artists there. Sometimes I just go there to get a desktop background.

I initially found an artist from Indonesia, but as it turned out, he had a contract with DC Comics and could not take on any extra work. At least I had an eye for good talent.

Then I stumbled across, Kamikazuh, an 18 year old, self-taught artist from Finland. A young man named Mika Harju

I think I had found my man. 

I approached Mika for the commission, and after a few emails of negoication, a deal was struck. I gave him a design brief, which stipulated my need for the imagery of the cover to represent Cloudy in an Urban environment holding an executioners ax. Cloudy had to look tired, with an expression and posture displaying a feeling that he doesn't like what he does. Actually he hates it.

I sent through my mock-up, for a visual primer of what I wanted, and placed an extra emphasis in the ax design. Dig deep Mika. This ax is used to kill demonic entities. It has to be HARD CORE!!!

He sent me through these:

Wicked!! I was very happy with the initial concept and thought he nailed the design brief pretty well. We had a bit more of a chat, and then he came up with:

Wow! Very happy -  though I still was um, and er about the ax. I wanted it to be more of the cresent shape that would be unmistakably an executioners ax from the by gone era. I also loved the idea of the city scape in the background. It spoke of the urban aspect of the setting. Mika also came up with the concept that the ax was transparent. LOVED IT!! I even altered description in the story to suit. 

The final product. The size here doesn't do the detail in the artwork full justice. (check out

Mika has sent me through print quality file sizes that will allow for Print on Demand and some vanity posters I am doing for family and friends. The thing with cover design for Amazon Kindle titles, is that the cover also has to look good at the size of a postage stamp. (which is thumbnail size for browsing titles on Amazon) I think this one will stand out. It would catch my eye. You?

I will say, that Mika has excellent prospects for a commercial future. Not only was he able to answer my brief, but he added value. He was prompt and professional; a pleasure to deal with. I have every intention of working with Mika on my future projects. So, if you're every thinking of getting a book design done or wanted to commission a piece of art. Mika Harju could well be your man. It only takes an email to get started.

And Mika, good luck to you my friend. Kiitos kaikista ponnisteluistanne. Olet ykk√∂nen. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Imminent - can this word be used prematurely?

Um...... yes.

Let's just call it - pretty soon now, with a caveat of 'soon' as being defined as a purely relative concept of time that is directly proportional to ongoing external influences and factors that continually effect deadlines.

Are you buying that?

<Bawl> I'm in editing hell. <sniff> <sniff> I'm wondering if I even have a basic grasp on the English language.

<sniff> The release is still a couple of weeks away. I'm getting there. <sniff> It's the children! (can I blame them? Yeah, parents out there will accept that.)

If you are ever thinking of writing a novel, be under no delusion as to how intensive and time consuming editing can be. Not re-writes. Just finding little tidbits that your eyes gloss over. You read words that simply are not there. You skip over obvious errors, like your mind somehow compensates, and automatically replaces the word.

But, as I keep telling  myself as I read through my prose for the brazillionth time, all 140,000 words:

It. Is. Worthwhile.

You know I am doing it for you too! So be patient. <bawl> My eyes are bleeding brain fluid.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Imminent Release - The Elemental Cloudy

Finally. The day is almost here. The release of the novel is imminent!

I thought I'd give you sneak peak at the cover and the book description. I know how much you have been hanging out to see what all the fuss was about. There is still a little bit more 'final editing' to do before I can upload onto KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Will I make the deadline? Hmm... To be honest, I actually had to have a day away from the children on the weekend. They can .... be.... exhausting.

So, anyway, that forfeited the dedicated day my wife would have spent working her way through the final chapters. Oh well. Another week won't be so bad. We've all waited this long. You just can't rush art!

Here's the teaser....

• The Elemental Cloudy • 

Available mid-September on 

Book description:

When a freak accident almost kills apprentice chef, Cloudy Radford, he finds himself at the precipice of death. There, hanging by a thread, he is offered a choice by ancient interdimensional entities known only as Bagnia. In exchange for his life, Cloudy must agree to serve the Bagnia, and become a hunter of the vile and malignant beasts that have plagued humanity since time immemorial. Monstrous abominations, summoned from the pits of hell itself, they are called Ethrane. But to Cloudy, they have always been known throughout the ages as — Demons.

As Cloudy struggles to confront his own fears, a dark and sinister parallel world is revealed to him. Soon, he finds himself embroiled in a veiled, never ending war that claims the souls of humankind as the ultimate prize.

The Elemental Cloudy is a full length novel of approximately 140,000 words.