Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for the 'Cover Art' Category

Free Short-Story Ebook

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Through Your Eyes by Linda Nagata; cover art by Dallas Nagata White

Cover art for “Through Your Eyes” by
Dallas Nagata White (click image to view large version)

Update: July 19, 2013
This promotion has ended, but the ebook is presently available for purchase at Mythic Island Press LLC for $1.25.

My short story “Through Your Eyes” was published in Asimov’s Science Fiction‘s April/May 2013 issue. It’s never been generally available — until now.

“Through Your Eyes” is a prequel story to my newest novel, The Red: First Light. Right now, I’m offering an ebook copy to everyone who subscribes to my newsletter.***

To get your copy, just fill in your email address and a name in the “New Book Alerts” form at the top of the righthand column, or if you’re using a feed that doesn’t show the column you can go here to fill in the form.

After you submit the form, you’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you do that, you’ll get a thank-you email that includes the web address where you can download both EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) versions of the “Through Your Eyes” ebook, which also includes an excerpt from The Red: First Light Note that it usually takes ten or fifteen minutes for this email to arrive.

My newsletter doesn’t go out very often. Generally I send it when I have new publications to announce, so you won’t be spammed. I hope you’ll sign up. It’s the best way I’ve found to stay in touch with readers.

*** The download is also available to current subscribers. An email has been sent explaining how to get it. If you’re a subscriber and didn’t get the email, please check your spam folder.

Patty Jansen on Hard SF

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I missed Patty Jansen’s post when it came out at the start of May, but finally discovered it today, and recommend it if you’re interested in a thoughtful look at hard science fiction. The post is called “There are girl cooties on my space ship — on women writing hard SF.”

I’m not a fan of the term “girl cooties” because, going by my personal experience, it vastly over-simplifies a complex dynamic in the hard SF genre. That said, Patty had a good reason for using it. Her post starts with a description of her encounter with an editor who admitted he was reluctant to consider a hard SF novel written by a woman: “I hate to say that, but yeah, that is a problem”

(My own hard SF novels were sold at or before the turn of the century — a different age.)

But beyond this experience, Patty has a lot more thoughts on the subgenre, including the very thing I’ve gotten so agitated about lately:

Books are about people and the perception that hard SF is only about tech and not about character is rubbish.

Absolutely.

There is also blunt discussion on the gender ratio of hard SF readers, which leads to this:

A book that doesn’t sell fails to reach the right audience, never mind the gender. How about we stop trying to push books to the same old, same old group who supposedly don’t read women, and try to engage a general audience? In other words, pull the space ship that is hard SF into the garage and give it an overhaul. Get rid of the retro shit. There is certainly none in any of my books.

I strongly believe that if you want to sell a broader range of hard SF you need to step outside the current narrow audience with the narrow marketing messages.

This is an interesting point to me because, you know, marketing. The idea, in part, is that most hard SF books have “gendered” covers that say “this is for dudes.” So take a look at my books — the covers are there on the left; scroll down to see them all. With the exception of The Red: First Light I don’t think they’re aimed at a particular gender — and of course they don’t exactly sell in great quantity either.

So now I’ve got something else to cogitate on. There will be more to come on the subject of hard SF, but in the meantime, do go read Patty’s post.

The King-K Artists

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

King Kekaulike High School is the public high school that serves all of upcountry Maui. It’s named for Kekaulike, ruler of Maui from 1700 –1736. Since “Kekaulike” (kay-cow-lee-kay) isn’t the easiest name to say, the school is popularly known as “King K.”

Both my daughter and son are graduates of King K. When they attended, the art department included two fantastic teachers, Ms. Melanie Seaton and Mr. O’Conner, whose guidance produced an impressive crop of working artists. Three of those artists have now created book covers for me.

And here they are, the King-K artists:

Sarah AdamsSarah Adams did the cover art for both Puzzle Lands books, Skye Object 3270a, and Limit of Vision. Sarah still lives on Maui and does all sorts of art commissions, from graphic design work to digital paintings to oil paintings.

Emily Irwin with MEMORYEmily Irwin created the new cover for Memory. Emily now lives in Montreal**, where she continues to work as a graphic artist.

**Update 5/4/2014: Emily is back in the USA now, but still working as a graphic artist.

Dallas and KodaDallas Nagata White, my daughter, created the cover for The Red: First Light. Dallas is married to Edward A. White, and lives on Oahu now where she works as a professional photographer, specializing in fashion and art photography. The photo in the magazine spread is hers.

All three graduated from King Kekaulike High School within a three-year span. I feel truly lucky to have benefitted from their talents, and to live in a community where art continues to thrive.

The Cover Flat

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

As promised, here’s the “cover flat” for The Red: First Light. A cover flat is the full, wrap-around book cover that will appear on the print version. The digital painting is by my daughter, Dallas Nagata White; the text was added by me. Click to see a larger version in a new tab.

Cover flat for The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata; digital painting by Dallas Nagata White

The Red: First Light — Cover Reveal

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

My newest novel is The Red: First Light. It’s a near-future thriller, with a boots-on-the-ground military theme, and it’s my first science fiction novel in ten years. Read the back cover copy here.

Right about the time I finished the first draft, last September I think it was, I asked my daughter, Dallas Nagata White, if she was interested in doing the cover art. Dallas majored in art in college and works now as a professional photographer. I described the plot of the book to her, and asked if she could come up with some sort of photo art. She readily agreed to work on the cover, but decided to do a digital painting instead of a photo project, since she’d been wanting to get back into painting anyway. She read the book, loved it, and was more enthusiastic than ever, but project after project kept rolling her way and she didn’t really get started until midFebruary…but the result was worth the wait.

Just as a disclaimer, I put the text on the image, so all of you true graphics people, please blame me for any deficiencies! 🙂

And here it is! Be sure to scroll down to see a second image, showing the detail of the face.

The Red: First Light; digital painting by Dallas Nagata White

The Red: First Light; digital painting by Dallas Nagata White

Cover detail for The Red: First Light; digital painting by Dallas Nagata White

Cover detail for The Red: First Light; digital painting by Dallas Nagata White

It’s a wrap-around book cover, but I’m not going to show you the back cover until I’ve figured out the text. Hopefully by tomorrow…

Update: click here to see the full, wrap-around cover.

The ebook will publish in just a few days. The print book will follow. Please use the “New Book Alert” form on the right sidebar to sign up for my very occasional newsletter, and I’ll let you know when The Red: First Light is available.

New Cover For Memory

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Emily Irwin has created a new cover for my novel Memory and I love it.

Click the image below to see a larger version in a new window:

MEMORY - cover art by Emily Irwin

Emily is a graphic artist currently working and living in Montreal, but she grew up here on Maui and went to high school with my kids. She first read Memory in high school and has read it several times since. My daughter knew I wanted a new cover, and suggested I connect with Emily–which I did.

Emily listened to my very vague cover ideas, and created a series of thumbnail sketches incorporating my ideas and some of her own, and then, as a whim, she added one more concept, much more abstract and fantastical than the others. That was the image both my daughter and I immediately gravitated toward, and the end result is the cover above. I’m very pleased, and I hope this cover will give new life to the book.

Emily’s cover will be going live on the ebook over the next few days, and will be featured on a new print edition of Memory, coming soon.

Updating the Ebook Cover of Dreamsnake

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyreDreamsnake is the classic novel by Vonda N. McIntyre that won the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, and Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, and is presently available in ebook form at Book View Café.

Recently Vonda asked if someone wanted to re-do the text on the ebook cover. She was very happy with the cover photo of a cobra by Tanith Tyrr, but wanted an update on the font.

It had been a while since I’d played with Photoshop, so I volunteered. The first image at right is the cover as it was, at the size used for display at Book View Café’s website. The text is silver/gray. The font is Mistral. Vonda wanted an easier-to-read text in white to increase the contrast.

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyreBeing literal-minded, I started out doing exactly what was requested: changing the font face and color, but leaving everything else the same. I also added a tiny line of color between the image and the black panel. The result can be seen at right. The title font is “Matura MT Script Capitals”. I don’t have a big selection of fonts on my computer. I chose this one because it was big, thick, sharp-edged and interesting. The font used for the author name is Mona Lisa Solid ITC TT, which I chose because it uses very tall letters that can be packed close together. I thought the result was interesting, but I wasn’t happy with it. I felt the text was too crowded. To fit everything in one vertical line, I had to make Vonda’s name too small to truly read.

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyreSo I decided to try a half-frame: put the title across the top and let the author’s name have the left column. Of course this left less room for the image of the snake. I decided to keep the image the same width and just crop off the bottom. In doing so I had to eliminate the curve of the snake’s body. I had some doubts about that, but I did it anyway, and I was pleased with the result. The title font was dramatic, the author’s font, “Trajan Pro,” was distinctly different but complementary, and both were very easy to read even at small size.

I sent both versions to Vonda.

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyreShe agreed with me that the second version was better, but she really wanted that beautiful, curvy snake’s back to be part of the picture. To get the full height of the snake photo, we had to sacrifice width, so the left-hand black panel became wider.

Vonda also wanted something lighter for the title font and gave me a list of suggestions. I’d already tried almost all of them and thought they were too light in weight to make effective title fonts. But then I plugged “Handwriting – Dakota” in, played with it a bit, and really liked the result. The “D” is of course a much larger font size than the other letters. It’s at normal weight, while all the smaller letters are set in a faux-bold that Photoshop allows you to do. Strangely enough, the weights balanced quite nicely. And with their bright white against black, the fonts are very legible, even at small size. This was the final version of the cover, at least for this round!

Dreamsnake is available in epub, mobi, and PDF formats at Book View Café.

Weaponry

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Just had to share this detail illustration from the print cover of Hepen the Watcher. On the front cover, the ax is clutched in the hands of my anti-hero protagonist. I like to include a decorative element on the back cover, and the ax seemed ideal, so I tried to separate the layers in the Photoshop master file, and pull the ax out. That didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, so I went back to the artist, Sarah Adams, and asked if she could pull out the detail of the ax, and isolate it for use on the back cover–which is exactly what she did, and overnight too.

The shame is that I can’t show you the full-resolution image because the file is too big. But trust me, it’s awesome. And if you ever need some illustration work, give Sarah Adams a tweet at @sarahadams23

Getting Closer…

Friday, February 24th, 2012

I’ve got an e-ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of Hepen the Watcher with a placeholder cover that looks like this:

The final cover art by Sarah Adams is getting closer to completion. Thanks for your patience!

Find a synopsis and sample chapters here on my website.

Cover Art Reveal — The Dread Hammer

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Back in late November I wrote a post titled Re-Thinking Cover Art: The Dread Hammer with the subtitle:

The option to change your mind is one of the great advantages of indie publishing.

I had changed my mind about both the cover style that I wanted for the book, and the use of a pen name. See the earlier post for my reasoning, but in the meantime, take a look at the new cover, with art by Sarah Adams:

I’m pleased.

The last question remaining before I re-issue the book goes to copyright. Since I originally published under an open pseudonym, I’m trying to understand what to put on the copyright page. I haven’t been able to find any resources on the web or in The Copyright Handbook. The writers I’ve seen who have re-published under a different name tend to do it as “Author Name 1 publishing as Author Name 2,” which I don’t want to do. I have a query in to the US copyright office, and will try again today to call them. But if anyone out there has experienced this or can point me toward a useful resource, I’d appreciate it.