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July Update - Fracture AND Embers

Greetings, friends! I hope all of you in the US had a lovely 4th of July. I know I did -- I was able to take a couple of extra days off work and get out of town to visit family. It was a relaxing 5-day weekend. I fulfilled the Independence Day tradition and forced everyone to watch it with me. I'm pretty sure they all thought it was ridiculous and goofy but you'll never stop me from loving it.

No, I have not seen Resurgence yet.

I departed for my vacation with an extensive to-do list. (#YouKnowYou'reAWriterWhen you look forward to "vacations" because it means you'll have the opportunity to accomplish all the stuff you never have time for). 

Unfortunately I didn't accomplish much on that list; if anything, I added more to it. But I was able to play around a little with the cover art design I've had in mind for Fracture, and that was a lot of fun. I actually ended up kinda pasting everything together semi-haphazardly, then randomly tweaking a couple of layer settings, and miraculously ending up with almost the exact image I'd been seeing in my head. It's so awesome when that happens. I had kind of decided that the cover of Embers would have the exact same structure, since the books are merely two halves of the same story. I know I probably shouldn't even be messing with this stuff right now, but it's very exciting. Here's a preview of each cover (click the images for a larger view). The full designs will be revealed later!

I mentioned in an announcement a couple of months ago that as soon as I decided on "Fracture" as the new title for Ziva Payvan Legacy, Part 1, I saw a purple/gray/blue color scheme and a lot of broken glass. I actually included two images in that post: the glass overlay I used for the Fracture page here on the site, and a stock photo (conveniently with a purple/gray color scheme) of a woman whose face was shattering (both of which I discovered on Pixabay, which -- I'll say it again -- is an excellent resource for artists and designers and contains only free-for-commercial-use material). I was determined to somehow use both of those, and with a little tweaking, I made it happen. I'm extremely pleased with the outcome, and have even gone so far as to go ahead and order a few promotional bookmarks a) just to have on hand and b) to see how these colors would look when printed. On the left here you'll see a preview of the front of the bookmark, which makes use of the regular cover art and includes the tagline I have chosen for the book. It has a...variety of hidden meanings 😉

I think it was that same post where I mentioned I was seeing a yellow/gold color scheme for Embers, maybe with black accents (because fire). I've been hoarding appropriate stock photos and texture brushes ever since I thought "Embers" would be the title of Part 1. It all turned out a little more orange than I had originally imagined, but the darker scheme does allow the title/author/tagline to stand out a little better. I had been leery about using a script font because it can sometimes be difficult to read, but so far the response to the preview has been very positive. I liked the idea of using the more formal font but I liked this particular one because it's still a little rough around the edges. This also has kind of a hidden meaning 😉 I have yet to come up with a tagline but I anticipate it having something to do with fire or flame.

I can't remember if I've explicitly stated it, but for all intents and purposes, the Ziva Payvan series was complete at the end of Ronan. I designed it to simultaneously be an ending (which it is) and open enough to continue the story (which I am). While the two Legacy books are a direct continuation of the story, I'm still considering them separate (hence the non-continuous cover art). Both the main trilogy and Legacy are part of the overall Ziva Payvan universe, and while the latter installment features familiar characters and some overlapping details/plot threads, it'll have a mostly-new story line. As I explained very eloquently in a dinner conversation last night, it's going to be "the same but different."

You may be wondering if I've actually made any progress on these same-but-different stories lately. The answer is yes and no (I'm not being very helpful, am I?). WRITING had been at the top of my to-do list during my vacation, and guess what I did precisely none of? I did, however, go on a brief writing spree a couple of days ago, and was stricken by the realization that the solution for my lack of progress is the same, simple thing it's always been. Say it with me now: JUST. DO. IT. More on that in an upcoming blog post! 

And now, since I don't have any lengthy passages to share that aren't riddled with spoilers, enjoy these two snippets leftover from the #WIPjoy Twitter game I played throughout the month of June. The first one is from Fracture, and the second one is from Embers. But the second one actually happens first chronologically. Mind blown?

What I'm reading: Haven by J.S. Collyer. I read the first book, Zero, last fall and really enjoyed the characters and action. Haven came up when I closed my eyes, flipped through several pages of my Kindle library, put my finger on a random book, and looked to see what it was. It was the only way I could decide what to read next.

What I'm watching: Farscape. You can blame GS Jennsen for this. I gave this show a try a few years ago when I was looking for another fun, character-driven series after finishing Firefly, but it was juuust crusty and dated enough that I didn't make it any further than the second episode. I was sitting there re-watching the pilot episode the other night and thinking, "Wow, this show is so 90s." Then I realized it literally premiered in 1999. Honestly, I think Rygel scared me off initially; his character is hilarious but I have this insane irrational fear of puppets. Despite the hokey sets and special effects, however, I've made it far enough in that I'm attached to the characters, and of course once that happens, there's no turning back. And as a gamer, Claudia Black is one of my favorite voice actresses, and it turns out she's a talented screen actress as well. *adds Aeryn Sun to list of favorite characters*

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