Graphic work: Done


Before:

This had problems; the original was worse

Not a lot to complain of, except that the main character featured on the cover was a man, without a doubt, and the kohl around the eyes and the truly bizarre hair – even to those like me who are somewhat familiar with the society makes you doubt it.

I had wanted it to be moving, the tears in the eyes – the story arises from a bereavement – but while I liked the composition and the color, I had to admit to myself (at the very least) that this was wretched and needed to be adjusted.

I liked the colors and the composition, and, as with the other designs in the cycle, I liked using statuary (in this case a bas-relief) that had some connection with the characters.

The hair was problematic, and there were several reasons why I was dissatisfied.



An improvement, but needs work…

Tonight I sat down, thought things through, and worked for severael hours.  I had an idea for a way to fix things.  Doing the hair differently, for starters.  

 After:


The final version

Better hair.  It looks better.  I may lift his chin a little, though he is mourning (hence the title…)

I adjusted it a little this morning and then the connection failed.  I’ll upload the ‘final’ version this evening.  I made the man larger on the page, and raised his chin, as I had intended.

…and here is the final version.  I also removed the hand from the frame, whihc reduced the ‘noise.

One more step taken.  *Sigh*.  I will miss this story.

September 6, 2015:
I am editing this to show the final cover.  I scrapped the cover image, which I realized was not up to par, and composed a different one completely:

Picture



Moving Right Along…


Things are coming together with Mourningtide.  I finished the cover design (with a few reservations – more below) with a mock up of the book itself in the works.
It is copyrighted and registered with the Library of Congress, with an edit scheduled.  I’d say it’s five months or less away from publication.  I will miss the characters, especially since I know I won’t be dealing with one of my favorites after this.
Here’s the cover mock up.  The back needs more of a blurb, and I’m not sure I like the black spine…
I write historical fiction, with or without fantasy or mysticism, and I have realized once again the big sorrow of dealing with people, whether real or fictional: they don’t stay around forever.
 
I said farewell to my father this summer – and I find myself thinking of things he would love – and realize anew that he isn’t beside me to enjoy them.  In the same way, though not as deep, there are characters who, following my timeline, are making their final appearances in life. 
 
Seti (the main character in Mourningtide) has been dead for five years in the time-setting of Kadesh.  I realized how he died when I was writing backstory about one of the main characters.  Lord Nebamun, who has been one of my favorite non-historical characters in the course of two books, is in his mid-eighties in Kadesh.  Will he be there to welcome the troops home?  I don’t know.  I will miss them both.
 
I suppose I could pick up one or another of my own books and read – but it is not the same.  But when it’s time to say goodbye…

In The Works – Lord of the Two Lands


This is from a story with the tentative title Lord of the Two Lands.  It takes place two hundred years after Pharaoh’s Son.  I had a strong idea of a character (years ago) and jotted down some things.  I had an idea, suddenly, for a scene, wrote it (or risk forgetting it) and the story has taken off.  Alas, it is on ‘the back burner’ because I must finish Mourningtide, which is going well.  But still…  It’s delightful to know that the springs have not run dry.
This takes place after a battle.  The king has been captured by rebels, who are holding him in a courtyard.  Herihor, who is to all intents and purposes the de facto  ruler of southern Egypt, has just arrived at the end of the fighting.  He has  found Pharaoh where he is being held. 

Herihor stopped and stared. 

A torch lay in a shallow pottery bowl, spilling light across the wall’s carved relief: Pharaoh lunged forward, his fist clenched on his foe’s upraised arm, the swing of his war mace caught at the moment before it descended. Movement – emotion: Pharaoh triumphant. It was magnificent, vibrant, awe-inspiring, from the king’s jutting jaw to the despairing faces of his foes. The dynamic thrust of the leg, driving into the ground, brought his eyes down in a diagonal to a figure at the carving’s feet.
 
 

A man stood half-collapsed against the wall, his shoulder against it, his lowered head turned toward it, catching the lingering warmth of the stone in the fading day. As Herihor watched, the man pushed away, staggering a little, and looked up at the carving.


The thought came unbidden: A flame cast by a shadow.

 

He had made some slight noise. The man glanced over his shoulder and then turned to face him with raised head. His hands and arms were bound behind him, wrist and elbow. They had not been gentle with the ropes. He was pale with exhaustion, blood was caked in his hair and sweat made lighter streaks in his dusty face, but the black eyes that traveled scornfully from Herihor’s feet to his face were as sharp as Herihor remembered. “You, too,” he said.


The contempt in his voice made Herihor wince as he moved forward. “Sire-“


Pharaoh frowned. “Will you spare my troops?” he asked.

 

Herihor stared. Blood was trailing from the side of the man’s mouth and he saw the dark smudge of a bruise at the side of his face.

 

Pharaoh tried to shake the hair from his eyes. “I am defeated: I admit it. How can I not? Do with me as it pleases you. My only request is this: those soldiers that fought for me, those cities and temples that assisted me, did so out of loyalty to their king. I beg you: do not fault them or punish them when you set up your–your dynasty. They will love you and yours all the more for that.”

 

The gallant generosity of that speech made Herihor pause and look down. He drew his dagger after a moment and stepped forward.


Pharaoh watched the knife leave its sheath. He lifted his chin and faced Herihor more fully.

A Gallery of My Kindle Book Covers


Since Kindle covers are hard to see at the best of times, I’m setting up a gallery of mine in the order of their appearance in my story line:
The City of Refuge,  

the second uploaded was, actually the third one I wrote but the first in the cycle, chronologically.  I recently located its very first appearance in my imagination when I was going through some old notebooks.  I had a notation about an idea for a story – and it grew into The City of Refuge.  One of the main heroes, Lord Nebamun, is one of my all-time favorite characters to write about, and I was delighted to be working with him again in Mourningtide, which was published June 1, 2013.
Mourningtide
Pharaoh’s Son

I hung on to Pharaoh’s Son, the third in the cycle (soon to be the fourth, with its ‘prequel’ set to come out in about a year) for a long time.  It is a lively story, the one I enjoyed writing most, and I had wanted to consider what to do with it.  I concluded that Kindle and paperback were best for it, as for my others.  I ran into my first experience of the delicacy required to handle historical fiction involving characters that actually lived.  In the case of Pharaoh’s Son, the names are real, the characters are my own – though I arrived at some insights into the character of Ramesses II during the course of writing about him.  I now have a strong disclaimer at the beginning of my historical novels.

A Killing Among the Dead

Chronologically, this is the last in the Egyptian cycle – and the first one I wrote.  Egypt was rocked by a scandal of tomb-robbing and desecration in the Valley of the Kings.  It happened toward the end of the XXth Dynasty (the last of the Ramesside dynasties) when Egypt was going into eclipse.  The scandal was far-reaching and implicated some of the great mortuary temples along the Nile.  The story came to life for me, and its main character, Wenatef, is the closest I have come to a true tragic hero in the Greek sense.

The Safeguard 

I have another Civil War novel with the tentative title of Crowfut Gap underway.  Another, The Bones, has its roots in the Civil War and involves events set in motion then, but it is set in the present.  The Safeguard features two of my ancestors, who appear as Union foragers…

The Orphan’s Tale

 Set in Paris in the autumn of 1834, The Orphan’s Tale is my newest book. 

‘Autumn is beautiful in 1834 Paris. But to Chief Inspector Paul Malet,   raised in a prison by the greatest master criminal in French history  the season’s splendor is overlaid by a sense of gathering danger: something is afoot.

‘When Malet learns that Victoria, England’s young Heiress Apparent, will be traveling to Paris at Christmas for a state visit, all  becomes clear. Her assassination on French soil would shatter the accord between France and England. And war can be a profitable business for those criminals daring enough to mold events to suit their own purposes.’

 This is a trilogy, with the second book set to be released next year.  While the cover for #2 is problematic (do I use the hero’s portrait – in which case I have to find it or the villain’s?  I don’t like the villain.  Decisions, decisions…)  I do have a projected cover for book #3: