Posts Tagged ‘art’

Daniele Serra’s art for “Chaos at Feast”

When editor Robert Greenberger asked for suggestions concerning who we might ask to illustrate my story for his anthology Thrilling Adventure Yarns, there was only one name I wanted to put forward: Daniele Serra.

Because my short story “Chaos at Feast” is rooted in the Lovecraftian tradition of unspeakable ancient horrors, combined with the 1930s and 1940s adventure fiction that inspired the Indiana Jones series, I knew that Daniele’s haunting style would provide the ideal visual accompaniment to my prose.

Here’s a small slice of the image to whet your appetite:

To see more, read the full update here. Bottom line, I feel very fortunate to have one of my stories graced with art by Daniele.

#SFWApro

Rob Caswell on creating Star Trek book covers

Ever wondered what really goes into creating eye-catching cover art for Star Trek novels? Rob Caswell, the digital illustrator whose work inspired the creation of the new Star Trek: Seekers literary series, takes you behind the scenes into his world, in What Goes Into Star Trek Novel Cover Art?,” his guest blog post over on StarTrek.com, a follow-up to its debut last Saturday of the covers and synopses for the next two Star Trek: Seekers novels.

He also offers up some insights into how he got professionally entangled with the likes of Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, and yours truly, in addition to the usual rigmarole about his creative process.

Enough hard sell. Go read it, already, and get a glimpse of the mind that brings you awesome covers like this one for Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore’s Star Trek: Seekers #4 – All That’s Left

ST_Seekers_All_Thats_Left_Cvr

Oh, and happy Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), for those who celebrate it.

 

A Love/Hate Relationship

I love intellectual property law, and I hate it.

As a writer, I depend upon the protections of IP law to help me retain control over the works I create, so that I can earn a meager living from my labors. Although enforcing my rights on the wild electronic frontier of the Internet is exceedingly difficult, copyright law and the DMCA at least give me some recourse when I find my work is being propagated illegally.

Consequently, I understand why other kinds of IP creators — including musicians, filmmakers, and graphical artists — need to enforce their own rights. Things seem to have gotten a bit out of hand, with record companies and organizations such as the RIAA suing private individuals for outrageous sums as “punitive damages”, a tactic that I think undermines public support for IP creators’ rights, but that’s a topic for another time and post. Let it suffice to say that, in principle, I support the enforcement of IP laws.

But when I’m on the other side of the equation, I really hate our current IP laws.

As some of you reading this are no doubt aware, at the end of next month, Storming Heaven, the final volume in the eight-book Star Trek Vanguard saga, will be published. I’ve been planning some special pre- and post-publication promotions for the series’ finale, including some giveaways, some looks behind the scenes into the development of the saga, and maybe an audio interview with the series’ creators and writers.

However, there was one audio podcast I really wanted to share with the series’ readers: a piece detailing the music that inspired the series’ story arcs, characters, relationships, and key scenes. This would have been a really fun podcast, in my opinion, one that would shed light on my creative process and the musical subtext that informed my work on the series over the last seven years.

There is just one problem with that idea: It’s illegal for me to include within the podcast the musical tracks in question. I can mention them by name, describe them, and talk all I want about how they relate to the Vanguard novels, etc., but I can’t quote lyrics or play the music. Which, to be blunt, defeats the purpose of the podcast.

How can I ask a listener to compare and contrast two pieces that show the different sides of a relationship, when I can’t present the music? Without the music, how can I narrate the way in which a particular track provided the beat-for-beat inspiration for one of the saga’s most memorable action sequences? Or explain how one 15-minute track inspired the entire third act and major story developments of the third novel?

The simple answer is, I can’t. And that frustrates and saddens me.

While I respect the need for IP law, and I grasp why the music industry needs to control its products, it disappoints me greatly that, as a consequence of our overly litigious society, it has made creative discussions such as this one impossible to have unless one happens to be rich enough to license all the music in question.

I think it would be interesting to open up a discussion of the influences that various art forms have upon one another, but how can such a conversation be had when the works in question can’t be shared but only obliquely referenced? For instance, if a modern painting sparked a story idea that I executed, and I wanted to discuss that part of the creative process, it would technically be illegal for me to reproduce an image of the copyrighted artwork within the body of my discussion, unless I had prior permission from the artist (or current rights-holder).

I know, I know . . . these are “First-World problems.” But they vex me all the same.

Cover Art for The Calling

I held off on posting this until I had a chance to check with my editor, who assures me that it's okay for me to share this with the world at large. Behind the cut is the preliminary art for the cover of my upcoming original supernatural thriller, The Calling.

Cover Art sketch for THE CALLING

The art is by Cliff Nielsen.

The remaining adjustments will mostly be to the figure in the center; I've asked that he not be wearing a suit but rather a workman's jacket of some kind, and be a bit broader-shouldered. But this is basically “it.”

Hot damn, I love this cover!

It’s all coming together

Yesterday I received from my editor a digital image of the cover-art sketch for my upcoming original novel, The Calling. For a “sketch” it’s pretty far along and close to finished. There will be a few minor tweaks between it and the final version, but it’s mostly there.

And it’s awesome. Last month, my editorial sensei and I went to a Barnes & Noble and compared a number of covers for genre novels, and we discussed what we liked and what we didn’t. We settled on a basic concept for the book’s cover image.

I’m thrilled to say that artist Cliff Nielsen has absolutely nailed it. It looks as if he plucked the image directly from my imagination and brought it to life.

Now all I have to do is make certain that the book itself is as good as its cover art. No pressure. 🙂