Sunday, June 23, 2013

What to Read When You aren't Gaming!

I've started a face book page to promote books and games and books about games and books that gamers like and.... Oh well, I bet you get the idea.  The page is at

There is also a Google+ Community at

I'm a gamer, and like a lot of gamers I find inspiration for the games I play from the books and movies that I watch. 

I'm also an author, and the games I play influence the books that I write, just like it does for a lot of writers.

Wouldn't it be cool if we could get gamers and writers together!

At What to Read When You Aren't Gaming we'll be promoting books and games.  We'll welcome reviews and suggestion.  And, we'll tell some stories whether is a short that an author shares with us or a funny tale told around the gaming table.

Stop in, pull up a seat and join the group.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

CreateSpace Book Covers

Recently I published my ebook on CreateSpace. When you list a book on create space you can have them create a cover for you, or you can submit your own. Since I had already created an ebook cover for Shaper of Stone, I wanted to use the same image on the print book.

The big difference between an ebook cover and a print cover is that the ebook cover is just the front of the book while the print cover is one big image that wraps around from the back of the book to the front of the book. It is the back, spine and front of the book all in one image.

To make the print cover you need to know the size of your book. The trim size will tell you how big the front and back covers should be, but to figure out the size of the spine you need to know how many pages are in the book and how thick each page is.

CreateSpace provides the numbers so you can do the math. Do the math? Hah! My degree is in math and I didn’t want to do the math. Fortunately you don’t have to. You can use the Artwork & Templates tool at .do to do the work for you. The page even has a great set of instructions right next to the form.

When it is done you’ll have a zip file that contains a pdf and a png for your cover. Open the png file in any art program and simply cut and past your image into the areas set aside for each piece. 

Since I already had artwork from my ebook that I was going to use, the entire process took less than an hour.

If you are going to use art from your ebook be sure to verify that you have the print rights to it. I’ve noticed that many cover artists have one price for ebook and a different price for ebook and print.

Good Luck!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shaper of Stone - Now Available

Shaper of Stone is now available at and the new website at is up and running. The numbers for the first week were much better than I expected.

I’m working on my second novel, Shaper of Air, and included a sneak preview at the end of Shaper of Stone.

Now that I’ve completed publishing with Amazon, and working out the final proofing issues with CreateSpace, I will be going back to my article on cover design to add a few things that I learned in the later stages of producing Shaper of Stone. Primarily it will be how to take the ebook cover and convert it into an actual paperback cover.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

With the upcoming release of Shaper of Stone, I wanted to get established.  For a few days I went back and forth on whether to link it to the blogspot account or to host it elsewhere.  In the end I decided to host it elsewhere.

I'll continue using this site to share any tips I learn about ePublishing, like the intro guide to creating a eBook cover in Gimp.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beware Evildoers

When I see this image on a graph, I always think Batman is watching.

And I'm really amazed that "evildoers" actually passed the spell check.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Great Stories by Jonathan Moeller

When I started reading books on my Kindle, Jonathan Moeller was one of the first authors that I picked up. I've never been disappointed with any of his books. The Demonsouled series is a great story about a troubled knight who must learn to overcome his own dark, inner nature. Each book in the series draws you in more than the one before it.

While I was waiting for the release of the latest in The Demonsouled series, I started reading The Ghost Series. This second series about a young woman turned assassin/spy drew me in even more than the first, and I found myself reading one after the other. I recently picked up Ghost in the Stone, the latest in this line and after only the first few paragraphs I expect this to be one of the best yet.

Each book is its own story and I can't stress how important I find that after reading so many series that never seemed to be able to bring a story to an end in any of the books.

I enjoy sword and sorcery fantasy. Knights that defend the weak, wizards tempted by dark powers, and heroes that stand against the forces of evil all keep me turning pages late into the night. Jonathan Moeller’s work delivers on all fronts.

Jonathan is a prolific writer. In addition to the ten books that make up The Demonsouled and The Ghost series he has two other series, The Third Soul Series and The Tower of Endless Worlds that add another nine books to his list.

My greatest concern with his books is that I'll eventually read through them and there won't be another to pick up. I try to pace myself so that I always have a new book to look forward to reading. Fortunately, he continues to publish, and I hope he will continue to do so for many more years.

You can find out more about his books by going to his website at As of today, Child of the Ghosts and Demonsouled, the first book in each of their respective series, are available free at Amazon.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Covers are Like Onions

When I'm not working on my the draft of my novel, I'm often looking at different options for the cover. Just like I have a working title, I have a working cover. It isn't much. Just something that I can attach to the manuscript when I convert it to a mobi document to read on my Kindle.

Over the weekend I decided to try my hand at creating my own book cover. The first thing to consider when I mention creating a book cover is that I have virtually no skill as an artist. My talents seem to be limited to a small range of cartoon-like characters. This meant my efforts would need to involve using simple tools or simple techniques.

I decided to go with GIMP. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulating Program, and it is a freely distributed drawing tool. Basically it lets you create an new image or edit an existing one. I've used GIMP for years on Linux systems for simple projects like resizing screen shots for a technical document, but I've never tried creating anything original with it.

It was time for that to change.

I've been told GIMP has a steep learning curve. Considering I'm relatively clueless about image software, I expect everything more involved than MS Paint to have a steep learning curve. The one thing that I like about GIMP is that I can search the internet any find an example for almost anything I want to do. This was really good, because at first I couldn't even draw a circle.

Here is the one thing I learned that I didn't find written down anywhere. It is probably obvious to all of the folks who normally create images, but to someone like me, I almost completely missed it.

GIMP supports layers. Actually most image programs do, I've just never had a use for them before. What is a layer? I think of it a transparent sheet of paper that I can draw on. Then the sheets can be stacked in whatever order I want to produce the desired final image. I place each element on its own layer. That makes it really easy to pull it our, or manipulate it without wrecking the entire image.

A very, very, very basic cover might consist of three layers. A background layer, an author layer and a title layer. What are these layers? The background layer is the stage that everything else is stacked upon. It is usually not transparent. Instead it will be a solid color or it might be a image like a photo that you scanned into the computer. The author layer is where the name of the author goes. In a similar fashion, the title layer is where the title goes.

Now, when I work on the image I can pick which layer I want to work on or even show. If I want to try a different background, I can create a new background layer. Then it is a simple matter to flip back and forth between the two backgrounds to see which looks better.

Is there a typo in the title? Then just change the title layer. There is no need to go back to a saved version before the title was added to make the change.

An actual cover will probably have many more layers than three. Embrace them. They make editing the image easier and reduce the risk of making a change you can't easily reverse.

I documented the steps I took to create a sample cover in case it is useful to anyone else. Click HERE for the Tutorial. And for those who are interested, no, the cover isn’t my cover. It just a sample I threw together pretty quickly.