Tuesday, January 29, 2013

'Epitaph' Book Cover

We are inching our way toward a March 14, 2013 release of “The Epitaph of Jonas Barloff”.  As I type, a graphics artist is busy at work on the book cover.  So far, she has presented two drafts.  The second draft sufficiently tickled my fancy, but a few minor issues need correcting.  After the completion of these tweaks, we should be ready for the presses.
 The Epitaph of Jonas Barloff,
a supernatural mystery is coming soon.

As soon as the cover is approved, I’ll post it here along with a synopsis.  Eventually, I plan to release a blurb directly from the book – maybe a complete chapter.

By March 14, the novel will be available in soft back and eBook formats at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.  Whether you use a Kindle, Nook or prefer a traditional book, we’ll have you covered.  More to come…

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Formatting eBooks

For the past few days, I have been editing my manuscript and reviewing it with a fine tooth comb.  Now I am formatting the text and getting it ready for eBook and print publication.

I must say, I have a newfound appreciation for people involved in the nuts and bolts of pagination.  Getting the margins, indentions and spaces exactly where you want them is a fine art.  I spent all day Wednesday fine-tuning the title pages and eliminating unwanted blank lines within the body of the text.  When several different methods refused to solve the problem, I turned to HTML coding. 

Why HTML?  Kindle and Nook require scalable formatting.  Starting with a very clean Word Doc (and I mean spotless), you Save As a web page and then insert appropriate coding via NotePad.  Using Caibre software, the HTML document is then formatted as an EPub for Nook and MOBI for Kindle.  These files can be uploaded to their respective websites for testing.

Okay, so I made it sound easy.  Trust me, for a novice like me, it’s not.  Fortunately, I managed to stumble my way into two satisfactory files.

Once the art is finished, the book cover will be added and we’ll be good to go.  The Epitaph of Jonas Barloff is coming to Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and other on-line retailers soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Archie Manning At The Crystal Ball Gala

Most of us have a favorite sports figure, movie star or other celebrity whose work we admire.  We like to think back with fond memories at their game day antics, magical moments, or inspiring comments. 
This past Saturday night, I had the opportunity to film my all-time favorite Quarterback.  The Community Foundation of North Mississippi honored Archie Manning and his wife Olivia at the Crystal Ball Gala in Southaven, MS, a suburb of Memphis. 
Archie found fame as the number one draft choice of the New Orleans Saints in 1970 following a stellar college career at Ole Miss.  The bumper stickers read, “Archie Is A Saint.”  Today, with sons Peyton and Eli earning Super Bowl rings in the NFL, sportscasters refer to the Manning’s as the First Family of Football.
When the Community Foundation called me Friday and asked if I would operate one of the video cameras used to project the evening’s festivities on the two big screens, I immediately accepted.  Better yet, I got to run the shoulder mounted camera at the stage.
A big thank you to the Community Foundation for the opportunity to serve.  And thanks to Archie for all the great memories. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Snow In The South, An Unimaginable Evil

Those of us in "The South" understand.  For those of you beyond the Bible belt, lend me your ear.  You're in for an education.  In the south, snow is an unimaginable evil.  A menacing threat.  A looming danger.  A single flake can strike fear in the hearts and minds of ordinary men and womenA forecast of a wintry mix drives true southerners panic stricken to our local grocer for a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread.  Better hurry.  The shelves will be empty.  Prepare for the long haul.  One never knows how long the chilling intruder will stay.  Snow forces entire school systems to close.  Doesn't matter if the forecast is accurateOr if stealthy precipitation has been detected by radar.  And those dry streets?  Don't trust them.  They're a trap.  A siren's song.  A snare set to entice the weak and unsuspecting.  Whatever you do, keep a watchful eye...for...dare I utter the words?  Black ice!  The thought sends shivers.

And so it is on this fifteenth day of January, 2013.  This morning we awakened to piercing sirens and alarms.  From newspapers we read the foreboding message scribbled in sacrificial blood.  Beware the freezing rain!  Gas up your generatorsLock your doors!  It's coming! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Authors and the Characters we Create

As an author, how long did it take you to develop a relationship with your new characters?  Exactly how did you guys meet in the first place?  Hitting it off with a new acquaintance can take time – especially if you created them out of thin air.   

But it’s time well spent.  After all, if you and your little darlings, lovers or zombies are complete strangers, the next Gone with the Wind may have to take a back seat while you get to know the stars of your book a little better.  Have you ever wondered how well Charles Dickens, prior to sitting with quill and pad, knew the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come? 

Did Frank Baum immediately know the Scarecrow was no dummy? While writing chapter one, did Margaret Mitchell know Rhett Butler wouldn’t give a damn by the end of the book? 

Without a doubt, character development differs from author to author.  If you know your characters intimately from the get-go, they’re more likely to drive your story.  If you’re content to give the relationship room to breathe, the story may propel them.
There are Character Profiles on the web that will help introduce you to your next heart throb, mass murderer, werewolf or Fairy God Mother.  Do a search, fill out the prompts and prepare to meet the next Harry Potter.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cardinal Pitchers & Catchers Report Feb. 12

The 2012 St. Louis Cardinals went 88 - 74 in Mike Matheny's first year at the helm.  Finishing second in the National League Central division, the Red Birds earned a wild card birth in the playoffs and advanced to the finals before losing to the eventual World Champion San Fransisco Giants.  

So what's up for the 2013 Cardinals?  In this video, MLB.com Cardinals reporter Jenifer Langosch discusses the development of manager Mike Matheny throughout the 2012  season:   Report on Mike Matheny 

During the off season, St. Louis said goodbye to veterans Lance Berkman, Skip Shumaker, Kyle McClellan, Brandon Dickson and 16 game winner Kyle Lohse.  Free agents Randy Choate (south paw) and Ty Wigginton (infielder) will help fill the void.

On the mound, the 2013 Cardinals will rely on a mixture of veterans and up and coming talent.  Wainwright, Carpenter and Garcia will anchor the rotation with Lynn, Kelly, Miller and perhaps others vying for a starting role.

Questions remain in the middle infield.  Will shortstop Furcal shake off a nagging injury?  Who will start a second base?  Right now, the job is Descalso's to lose.

Holliday, Jay and Beltran round out the outfield.

One constant:  gold glove catcher Yadier Molina returns behind the plate.

Cardinal pitchers and catchers report Feb. 12, 2013.      

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finishing Touches

Proof reading, spell checking, copy editing.  This may not sound very exciting, but it's what I'm doing on a rainy Thursday.  Actually, I'm very excited about the task before me because I'm putting the final touches on my novel.  The Epitaph of Jonas Barloff is a supernatural mystery for young adult readers.  (It's classified as YA because the main characters are high school seniors, but old fogies like you and me will like it too.)  A small press in California wants to publish my book, so I'm preparing it for their editors.  They'll read the book carefully, look for inconsistencies, suggest improvements (or not), and then we'll move on to printing and eBook production.  Want to know what the book is about?  I'll get into that in due time.