Friday, 2 December 2016

A Conversation With An Artist

I recently had the opportunity to put a few questions to the artist who designed the cover images for 'Called Out Of Darkness'. I haven't met Caio Lima for many months since he stayed in our home during his studies. Even though he's in another continent doing things I will never do, reading his answers to my questions brought him very close again and I feel glad that I got to know him.

John Peace: Please tell us where you live and what you’re doing these days.

Caio Lima: I live in a small town called Moreno close to a region capital, Recife. Since I've just finished my undergraduate program I'm doing freelance works, like 'Called out of Darkness' and some game art.

JP: Are you still volunteering in a small art school for local kids?

CL: Yes, I recently started a new study group, the kids now have grew up a little bit and some of then are also starting their own projects and works. We now are more focused on drawing fundamentals and improvement on our art. The project is an independent initiative of mine, a local school support us by offering a room and equipment.

JP: I remember you enjoyed drawing superhero-type figures and anime (I think it's called that). What other art have you done that was similar to your Called Out Of Darkness cover art?

CL: I started to make a 'medieval fantasy RPG' themed series of illustrations, based on the characters of my Dungeons and Dragons group, in a similar style, using digital painting. I've also worked on some  game projects which I had the freedom to apply this style as well. You can find them on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/ilustralima/ and behance: www.behance.net/ilustralima

JP: Finally, let us into some of your secrets. How do you get your ideas for your art?

CL: That's a good question. The ideas usually come from short insights, brainstorming sketches, experiences, things that I read or watch. Since I've got an idea I like to refine it and experiment the possibilities of it. Working in a group the ideas also come from feedback and free talks, that's one of my favourite ways because we can achieve ideas and results you would hardly get only by yourself.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Called Out of Darkness - Cover Art!

I feel that I have spent the past year and a half making excuses for not finishing 'Called Out Of Darkness', but now it's so close to publishing!

See the new title picture on at the top of the Facebook page: this is Caio Lima's artistic interpretation of a key scene in the story. I love it. But it's so different from the Called To Battle cover, which was a fair bit different from The Calling's.


Drokstrak looms over Valin in the new cover image. Does Valin stand a chance?

Anyway, my next mission is to get the image and the story itself onto Kindle and publish it on CreateSpace.

Meanwhile I will try to get a few words out of Caio Lima about his art studies and what he's doing in Brazil.

Called Out of Darkness - Cover Art!

I feel that I have spent the past year and a half making excuses for not finishing 'Called Out Of Darkness', but now it's so close to publishing!

See the new title picture on at the top of the Facebook page: this is Caio Lima's artistic interpretation of a key scene in the story. I love it. But it's so different from the Called To Battle cover, which was a fair bit different from The Calling's.


Drokstrak looms over Valin in the new cover image. Does Valin stand a chance?

Anyway, my next mission is to get the image and the story itself onto Kindle and publish it on CreateSpace.

Meanwhile I will try to get a few words out of Caio Lima about his art studies and what he's doing in Brazil.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Book Covers

While I love sketching and imagining what the scenes from the book would look like, I know I'm not much of an artist. So I have recruited my friend Caio Lima to work on the front cover picture for Called Out Of Darkness.

Meanwhile, i wanted to try my hand anyway and design a quick cover for a one-off copy I'm going to order so I can proof-read the book more easily. My son Daniel makes a special appearance as Valin.


It's not meant to represent any one scene from the story - just the idea of a wild, unexplored, ancient tangle of places linked with portals.

I'm hoping to see the first fruits of Caio's work very soon.

Caio, by the way, is from Brazil and stayed in our house for a while when he was studying graphic design at the local college. He won a Brazilian government scholarship to get that far. Now he's back home in Brazil.

I'll give a preview of his cover once I have something to show!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Called out of the Study - Finished at last!

Yesterday while waiting for my son to finish his football (a.k.a. soccer) practice I typed in what might be the final words to Called Out Of Darkness. What a relief! All I have to do now is read through it at least twice and edit it, get a second and hopefully third person to read it and give an opinion, then find an artist to do a cover.

Then I will be able to send it off to Amazon and CreateSpace and it will be (independently) published.

If you would like to read through the draft and give me constructive, honest, helpful criticisms, please let me know. You can contact me at rjpeace (squiggle) 123mail (dot) com.

For those who are interested, my word processor tells me the story contains about 108,000 words. That's quite an increase on Called To Battle, which reached 82,000.

I was hoping to fit in a post giving an opinion on The Force Awakens and The Martian. That might come later!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Word Counts That Made History!

Did you know that it took J.R.R.Tolkien TWELVE YEARS to write The Lord of the Rings? 

Just sayin' ...

So since the series I'm writing is probably shorter and not on the same chart of greatness, how long do I have left to finish it?

According to the LOTR Project website, the trilogy contains over 481,000 words. And that's back in the days of typewriters!


Maybe Tolkien took 4 or 5 years just to draw the maps!
John Ronald Reuel certainly knew how to hit them keys! OK, now. So far, how many words have I written in Beyond The Elder Stars?

The Calling: about 68,000. Hmm. It's going to take a lot to catch up with Tolkien.

Called To Battle: about another 82,000, bringing the total to a whopping 150,000. It sounds like a lot, but at that point Tolkien had only got the Fellowship as far as, maybe, the edges of Lothlorien, before Boromir made his grab for the Ring.

How far is Called Out Of Darkness going to go? At this point I've reached 46,000 words and going strong. The way it's going, I'm hoping to reach those happy words 'The End' at about 90,000 to 100,000 words. That's a lot! says my son.
Anyway, the series may end up at about half the length of LOTR. So may I be excused another year or so in finishing it?
Where might this be? Elmarune? Or Mars?

I hope and expect it won't take that long.


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While you're waiting for Called Out Of Darkness to appear (at least I hope you're waiting - I hope you haven't forgotten all about it!) here's a sneak peak from one of my favourite parts.

In the first book The Calling, Valin meets his long-lost brother Feyjan in a head-on collision. He learns a little of what Feyjan's been through, but exactly who is this man? I decided it was time to find out.

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Feyjan Derojan had never felt so wretched: not when he had been a child, imprisoned and bullied by the Vreymaks; not when an enemy had marooned him and his Vreymak crew in a derelict space station and left them for dead; and not even when Drokstrak had punished him for attempting to take his crew for a break to a quiet planet. No, this was worse than anything he`d ever gone through. Not the physical suffering, but the pressure he was under – the impossible choices he faced.

It was only ten minutes since he had received the command to meet with Lord Drokstrak at his inner sanctuary, and already he felt he had been carrying a boulder on his back for a week. But he mustn't show it. He strode quickly to the ship's elevator and did his best to conceal the way his muscles twitched with the nervous tension. Raym, following close behind, still thought Feyjan was one of the greatest men he'd ever met. He didn't want to spoil the young man's delusion just yet.

He knew he still had the appearance of a tough leader, a hero to his crew, skin wrinkled and weathered like a lizard, body tall and muscular. He still acted as if he had no heart, and as if the multiverse belonged to him, and as if he hadn't yet met any man, beast or machine – except for Drokstrak – that could kill him, and as though he cared for nothing and nobody. He looked after his crew just enough so that they would not turn against him, and drove them so hard that they feared his violent rage.

But lately that was not much more than a clever act that he put on to fool them all.

As they rode the elevator to the dock level, Raym clicked on the soundbox at his belt and a rattling, throbbing kind of music covered their hurried conversation. Even so, they talked in choked-off mutterings. Feyjan hadn't been in command of this ship long enough to hunt down all the listening bugs. Drokstrak was always listening.

"You really want to go down there?" he asked Raym, without looking at him.

Raym grimaced. He managed to look more bored than terrified. He had recently shaved his head completely bald, as was the habit of some of the Vreymaks. Now, with his curved nose and his tall, slightly stooped body, he looked like some sort of skinny carrion bird. The way he sometimes picked at his teeth only made the impression stronger. "Better to get out of the ship now and again." He wiped his right sleeve across his nose. "See somewhere new."

Feyjan shook his head. "It's no sight-seeing. The Boss wants to see me. Right at the inside place, where almost nobody goes, and few come out alive."

This stirred a twitch of interest. "How do we get there?" asked Raym. He was making an attempt to prove how fearless he was, without appearing to be doing so.

Feyjan sighed. This was one trip he would rather never make. "We're docked with the fortress. Right inside. So with our security clearance – should be no trouble getting past the sentinels. Into the portal chamber. Through a series of interverse portals and past the strak-traps."

The elevator shuddered to a halt and the doors flung open onto a wide steel apron. None of the crew were about, just a couple of busy repair sentics working on the damaged F-shuttlle. Feyjan walked Raym across towards the exit locks as quickly as he could. He almost broke into a run. "Then… then through the final portal and down the space cable to the jungle. Through the jungle to the sanctuary."
"Nothing to it," muttered Raym. His eyes slid to and fro, ever alert. That alertness was one reason why Feyjan had begun preparing Raym for a position of command. The boy was constantly watching. He was a light sleeper, too. More than that, though: Feyjan had come to put some real trust in the youth's loyalty.

He had to trust someone. There were so much craziness going on and it was almost impossible to keep quiet about everything. He needed someone to talk to.

And he needed someone to join him in his most secretive of plans, the plans he hardly dared even think of.

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Oh, and by the way, I just remembered that I've already published this excerpt and a few others on the Elder Stars Facebook page.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Hard Copy!

It took a while, with so much else going on around here, but I got my hands on 20 hard copies of Called To Battle recently. Don't ask how... don't ask me about smuggling things across the border... Honestly I didn't!



I've approached the school which our sons attend, and the principal sounds enthusiastic for me to go into some classes and present a writing and science lesson. Then I'm hoping I can set up a table at their next Book Fair.
After that, what next? Honestly I've done almost zilch publicity for a long time. The truth is, there's not a huge market here in Thunder Bay. The biggest potential sales are online, and that means putting money into an online ad campaign.

I'll get round to it one of these days. To be honest, I much prefer writing to promoting what I've written. So I've started Part Three of Beyond The Elder Stars. Do I hear a request for a sneak peek? I hope not. I've only written the first chapter so far.