Monday, January 20, 2014

"total" creative freedom

A writer is never finished with a book. In the case of my own work, especially with the cover, I can't leave it alone. Behold the latest incarnation of The Silent Treatment:

This even happened by accident and I'm in love with it. Also, after seeing the cover like this (with no words -- we're dealing with silent movies, after all), I liked the idea of leaving the title off the front. Not many people have done this (maybe for good reason). Some argue that because the book will be sold next to a big paragraph of copy (including title and author), and someone handling a physical book can just turn it to a slight angle and read the spine, a title on the cover isn't totally necessary. They do it on CDs all the time.

But! CreateSpace doesn't allow for this. I even wrote them an email explaining my position and asking them to waive the requirement, but the answer was no. And yes, I tried looking for another company who would do what I wanted (one is a formatting disaster, and others want you to sign up for expensive packages), but that isn't happening. So the next proposed cover is this:

Kind of illegible, but that doesn't make a heap of difference to me (we'll see if it gets through the CreateSpace guy). This version is still sparse, still grungy, but maybe following the rules just enough.

So in the next few weeks/months/etc, expect to see a new version of The Silent Treatment: newly covered, newly edited.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in books

The past few years I've done a "year in review" post focusing on things I'd done that year. Turns out, nobody but me cares what I've been up to in a year, so how about something you guys can get behind? Yes? Yes.

What book has everyone been talking about? Gone Girl. I read it. It's difficult to give a review of this book without giving away any surprises (and there are lots). Two voices in this book: Nick and Amy. They're both so different from each other, so flawed, so real. I haven't been this jealous of another writer's style in a long time.

Another author I admire is Stephen King. Everybody knows this. Pet Sematary surprised me. I thought the old man's arthritic wife was going to be evil. I thought something worse was going to happen with the cat. I thought the dad would wise up at the end and not bring the absolute horror that happened. I mean, honestly, I thought a dead cat was going to be the worst thing (not really a spoiler if you've read the title of the book...). Solid all the way through.

The Internet is a Playground is a compilation of emails from If you've ever wanted to send 100% snarky emails to people who annoy you, this book will hit the spot.

I'm surprised I didn't review Habibi before now. When I read it, the artwork stunned me. The story was heartbreaking up until the very, very last word. I loved Craig Thompson's other book, Blankets, and marveled then at how he tackled the subject of Christianity while being respectful. In Habibi, he added Islam to the mix, comparing some  stories from the Koran and the Old Testament (some of which are similar), and asks which story is true (for example, in Christianity/Judaism, Abraham takes Isaac to be sacrificed, in Islam, Abraham takes Ishmael). To Thompson's credit, he never sides with either story, but leaves the question with the reader.

Another graphic novel I enjoyed was Daytripper. As you can probably tell by now, I'm not much into the superhero genre when it comes to graphic novels. I choose the ones I do because of the beautiful artwork and the way those pictures combine to heighten the emotion of the story. This book was absolutely no different -- and with a plot that deals mostly with death, the combo was brilliant.