Merona Grant Cover Reveal 2.0

My cover is finally done! It’s been crazy long in the works, so I can’t help pinching myself every time I look at it, but it’s real… I actually finished it! For a while it felt like I would never get around to completing the darn thing, but when the last pieces came together, I must admit, I was pretty happy with the end result. Hope it does the story justice, and vice versa.

Cover Art Sneak Peek

March 15, 2016

The cover art for my upcoming adventure novel has sat, mere brush strokes away from completion, for the majority of my writing process. It’s been displayed as my wallpaper, inspiring my prose as I’ve gone along, and now, at last, I’ve decided to share just one aspect of it with the world. A sneak peek, if you will, of my cover reveal to come.

Merona2

This image of my heroine, Merona Grant, has sat to the side of my writing sessions for some time, and what still surprises me about it, is the way it continues to reveal new aspects of her character each time I look at it. It no longer feels like a mere representation of her for me, but rather, a direct insight into her character, and her spirit.

Mount Writing

November 28, 2015

Mount Writing

Concept of Merona

July 27, 2015

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post this sketch of Merona, as it doesn’t seem to capture her personality the way I feel the first concept sketch did. But I still like it enough to share, and outfit-wise, it is a lot closer to my final design for the character. Plus it’s the first sketch of Merona with her dog that I did. He’s a lot bigger here than I plan on having him, and his face isn’t really at all how I picture him now. But that’s why it’s called a concept sketch. Right?

Merona2

One thing I noticed recently about my character and her design, was that before I had even written the first scene of my story, I had my initial sketch completed, and from that first image my lead was wearing her hat and hefty scarf, and was carrying rope, a rifle, and machete. I didn’t know how the story would go, or what she would need, but these few pieces of equipment and clothing just seemed a part of her character. And they looked useful enough to me, a survival non-expert.

As I wrote, I found my lead making her way around obstacles by utilizing these basic items in ways I hadn’t planned ahead for. Her hat, to me, looked cool, and seemed like nothing more than a guard against the elements, but in one instance it’s used as a makeshift bucket. Her stylish scarf was actually useful to filter bad air, or wrap up an injury. The rifle? Obviously for all those shootouts I never anticipated. The rope, which I had always seen as a lasso, became one of the most versatile items in her arsenal. And her machete? Well let’s just say, I thought she would use it to clear away pesky vines… not the other things she does with it.

In the end it was as if Merona herself had selected her attire and equipment, not me, because she knew exactly what kinds of things she typically ran into in her day to day job. It might have been easier for me, as the almighty writer, to just add to her arsenal to fit future situations, but I liked the way, with just a few items, she seemed to have things more or less covered. Naturally, I added a few things I pictured her carrying in her pockets that weren’t in my initial sketches; a lighter, dynamite, a rag to clean her gun. But I’m sure she would have figured things out even without my little additions.

She was one of those characters that seemed to know exactly who she was before I ever did. And to be honest, those are the characters I find myself most eager to write. The ones that seem to be alive before I’ve breathed life into them. The ones I feel like I’m uncovering, rather than creating.

Meet Merona Grant

June 5, 2015

I’ve been working on a little story (which has slowly, and against my will, turned into a big story) for a while now, and I thought it was about time I introduced its heroine to the world.

Meet Merona Grant. Adventuress, and treasure hunter for hire, with a predisposition for receiving black eyes, and a rifle which she keeps cleaner than she keeps herself.

Merona1

This sketch is one of the first I ever did of my leading lady, and though her final design differs quite a bit from this one, this image was what stood as my main visual inspiration while writing the initial draft of my story.

So, who is Merona you ask? Oh, you didn’t? Well, I’ll tell you anyway. Merona is the adventuring heroine I’ve been waiting to read about since I was… let me think… like nine years old. She’s as straight shooting with her words, as she is with her gun, can handle herself in a scrape (even if she herself gets scraped up in the process), hates bathing as much as I did at nine, and lives a life sleeping under the stars alongside her scruffy companion, a mongrel-dog who sticks to her side like glue, but rarely listens to a word she says.

I have numerous rereads, edits, and concept art to complete before you will have a chance to get to know her as well as I do. But until that time comes, you can feel free to gaze at her picture (if you’re inclined to do that sort of thing) and try your best to see past the brim of her hat for hints of her unseen depths, and, as yet, unrevealed adventures.

I wanted to post another piece of art from my mystery novella The Pale Rose, and thought I would include the character descriptions featured at the start of the book. Incidentally, this illustration is for the last chapter, and features the lead detectives, Charles & Amelia Humble.

Ch22, In Conclusion

Cast of Characters

Amelia Humble: A devoted wife and mother with a scandalous proficiency for probing the criminal psyche; though no one would know it to look at her.

Charles E. Humble: He would have gladly admitted to his wife’s marked hand in shaping his career, had she not forbidden him from doing any such thing.

Montgomery Townsend: Unwavering in his devotion to the woman he loves; hiring a private detective was only the first step in his endeavor to find his wife.

Josephine Townsend: An effervescent woman with expensive taste and a love for things of beauty.

Gregory Richards: A close friend of Mr. Townsend, he appeared to care little for much of anything, least of all his tiresome wife.

Victoria Richards: A woman very practiced at forgetting unpleasant things, and speaking only of pleasant ones.

Rufus Barrymore: Born to money, he had little need to think, which was fortunate for him, as he had little ability to do so with any degree of success.

Oscar Barrymore: Life’s wicked jokes had hindered any grand plans for his future, souring both his perspective and mood.

Patricia Bartlett: A dear friend of the missing woman, her appearance was as agreeable as her manner was helpful.

Mrs. Attwood: She was unable to attend the party on the evening of the tragedy, though this hardly meant she could add nothing to the investigation.

Forbes: He maintained an appearance of rigid strictness, but inwardly seemed to hide something more.

Matilda Oliver: A young maid who kept to her work, and tried her best to stay out of trouble; though trouble had a way of finding her.

Miss Kippering: The highly suspicious cook, her unpleasant nature made it no wonder at all that she never married.

Vincent Welling: Mr. Townsend’s bungling assistant, who still held his employment to the great marvel of all who met him.

Inspector Cole: The inspector in charge of the case, his disproportionate arrogance seemed to be the beginning and end of his character.

How not to write.

March 23, 2010

Again and again I see writer’s guides or tips on writing and a lot of them seem to give the same advice. They tell you what NOT to do. “This word is overused, don’t use it.” “This style is boring, don’t write that way” etc, they give you more road blocks to dodge in a process littered with obstacles as it is.

What in the world do they mean “You can’t use that word”? Every word has a usage and a place in writing, don’t tell us we can’t use them. Using a word in the wrong way should, absolutely, be corrected, but saying it should be removed altogether, either because it’s often used wrong or used too much, is simply ridiculous.

As for avoiding particular styles; many times I’ve seen articles that say not to let your sentences drag on for too long, but isn’t that a matter of opinion? Some of us like long flowing sentences, if done right, others like them short and concise, but isn’t that the point of it all? If you like wordy styles, then you find a writer who writes that way, if you like it simple, you find someone whose style fits your needs. It’s art, no style is wrong, it’s personal preference.

Now I’m going to get controversial for some. I’m going to disagree with Stephen King, or at least something he said.

I was reading his book “Stephen King on Writing” and a lot of what he said I agreed with. One point I remember him making, was that a writer should find their own vocabulary and use it, rather than attempt to use words they are unfamiliar with. This was great advice, as it gives all writers confidence in their words, no matter how simple those words may be.

However, there was something he said that I did not agree with, and that was the point about active and passive verbs.

He explained active and passive verbs thus, “With an active verb, the subject of the sentence is doing something. With a passive verb, something is being done to the subject of the sentence.”

He then said that the passive style was used by the timid or unsure writer, or in other words, if you write that way you have no confidence in your voice. As I read this I started to agree with him, but then I read some of the examples of, bad passive, and good active and I could see intriguing writing in both. In fact, I liked the passive better, and I started to think that this wasn’t advice at all, this was someone saying, “I don’t like this kind of style, please stop using it.”, which shouldn’t be in a guide to writing in the first place. Unless it’s made clear that this is an opinion not a rule.

He does begin this point with “I have my own dislikes” implying that this is only his opinion and not a writing rule. However, he goes on to make his case so forcefully, and in such a way, that you forget the set up, and some will take it as a rule, becoming doubly uncertain of their voice.

What I’m really getting at is… Stop telling writers what they can’t do, because all it really accomplishes is making writers too scared to sit down and write. Saying a style, or word, should be avoided because it’s not what YOU like, is simply bad comprehension of what art is.

To put my point in Stephen King’s own words “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing”. I agree with this wholeheartedly, but he said it as he put even more fear and uncertainty into the writer who was reading his words.

Sorry for the rant, but I have seen good writers become crippled because they tried to follow all those sorts of rules. It didn’t make them better writers; they just ended up thinking their work was never good enough and questioning every word they put on the page.

An artist’s condition

March 8, 2010

It’s an odd condition, the condition of the artist.

Most are recluses (myself included) and do their best to avoid contact with the world as much as is achievable. However, the whole idea of art is to communicate a feeling or message, a message from someone who avoids communication altogether, and more often than not the message conveyed is one of genuine significance to the artist. So it makes me think that artists aren’t recluses at all, they exhibit who they are more in one paragraph or painting than most people of the world do in a dozen trivial conversations.

Artists want to show who they are, why would they write or paint for the world if they didn’t? But they want to find the right way of saying it, they don’t want to be misconstrued as something they’re not. I think what it really is, is the artist has something to say and, whatever it is, cannot be said in passing or as an offhand remark, because whatever it is holds so much meaning to the artist that they feel it deserves a canvas or a page to call its own.

But that’s just a patient’s take on her own condition.