Category Archives: The Gutter Chronicles

2018 Writing Plans

2017 is gone; 2018 is here. It’s time to develop writing plans for this new year, and publish them for the world to see. Okay, not the whole world—just the blogosphere. And, I know, not very much of the blogosphere. Alright, just a handful of readers or fellow writers. I’ve thought about this for months. What should I write next?

Will 2018 see a third novel added to this series?
Will 2018 see a third novel added to this series?

First, let me inventory my works-in-progress.

  • Adam Of Jerusalem: I began this a few months ago. It’s the prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant, showing things that went on in Augustus’ family before his involvement with writing the Gospel of Luke. I found the book somewhat more laborious than expected, and haven’t just rushed to my computer to work on it. I don’t know if that means it’s ill-conceived or not.
  • The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2: The second volume in my workplace humor series, poking fun at my own business, I began this more than a year ago (maybe two years ago), got 25% into it, and put it aside. I picked it back up again in November, and found the writing easy and fast. Holiday activities caused me to lay it aside for a while, but I’m ready to get back to work on it. It will be novella length, maybe 35,000 to 45,000 words, and I’m perhaps 40 percent there already.
  • Stephen Cross of Ipswich: This is a genealogy/family history book. Stephen Cross and my wife’s great-great-whatever-aunt, Elizabeth Cheney, married in 1672 and resided in Ipswich Massachusetts. I did this research as part of broader research on Elizabeth’s father, John Cheney, the immigrant ancestor of the family. Of all of their children, I found the least on Elizabeth. So last year I hit the research hard, and pulled a lot of information and sources together. The full book on John Cheney will have to wait a few years. Meanwhile I thought, since I have all this information on Stephen and Elizabeth, why not publish it as a smaller book? It may not sell much, but, who knows, maybe a few of their descendants will be interested.
  • Thomas Carlyle Chronological Composition Bibliography: I’ve written about this before on the blog. It’s a labor of love for me, partially to serve as my own research aid for Thomas Carlyle. I’ve worked on it off and on for close to three years. I’d say I have another year, maybe more, to go. I imagine I’ll work on it some this year, between other projects, or when the intense research bug flares up, but I don’t anticipate it will be a priority.
  • Carlyle’s Chartism Through The Ages: This book, a study of Carlyle’s short book/pamphlet Chartism, is close to 80 percent done. What’s left is some editing, seeking some copyright permissions, and writing a couple of my own essays to go with it. I could finish this in 2018 if I put my mind to it. Perhaps I’ll at least work on it, but I don’t think it will make the to-do list.
And, perhaps, a fourth to this one?
And, perhaps, a fourth to this one?

Second, I’ll list the works in “gray-cell gestation,” taking up creative space but which haven’t yet found their way to pixels or pen.

  • Documenting America: Constitution Edition: I’d like to write and publish a book in this series each year. This is the one I plan on doing next. So far I’ve done nothing on it, other than to brainstorm.
  • The next Sharon Williams Fonseca short story, tentatively titled “Tango Delta Foxtrot”. This will be only 4,000 or so words. The plot line has come to me—most of it. I should just knuckle down and do it, and perhaps I will.
  • A newly conceived book on life freedoms. This has come to mind from watching my grand-children grow and develop, but has solidified in being a care-giver for my mother-in-law. I’ve noticed that children get these freedoms in stages, and senior citizens lose them in stages. Parents and care-givers should perhaps understand these things. I have no qualifications to write this book, other than being a careful observer of the human condition. Having to qualifications, I should put this out of my mind and find other things to do. But, alas, it keeps tying up gray cells that I should apply to other works. I may find I’ll have to write it just to get it out of my system.
  • Publish one of my Bible studies, though not sure which one. I’ve prepared eight (I think that’s the right number) Bible studies to teach to our adult Life Group at church. I’d like to someday get them published. I don’t that they will sell, but I did a lot of work on them; why not put them in publishable form? Unfortunately, to do so will take a lot of work. I have notes, but not publishable notes. Yes, a lot of work.

These nine items are all candidates for my 2018 writing to-do list. I’d love to put them all on it, but, realistically, I can only accomplish a fraction of this. So, here’s the list in the order I hope to do them.

  • Finish The Gutter Chronicles, Vol. 2. Finish by the end of February; publish by the end of April.
  • Finish Adam Of Jerusalem by the end of the year; publish in 2019.
  • Begin work on Documenting America: Constitution Edition. I hope to be working on this by October.
  • Write “Tango Delta Foxtrot”. At present I’m not going to put a publishing target date on the list.
  • And, one other item, which is really planning for 2019: Decide on which of my Bible studies to publish in 2019.

I’ll revisit this list every quarter, as has become my standard practice, and report any changes on my blog.

A Little Progress

We just concluded a good Thanksgiving weekend. Four glorious days of nothing more than sitting around at home, a quiet home. Our family gathering will be for Christmas this year, due to our son’s work schedule. So, it was just me, the wife, and the mother-in-law. I had considered inviting an older couple to join us on Thursday. I should have, for they spent the day alone. No, not quite alone, for they did some neighborhood things in their retirement complex.

Thursday was cooking, a late walk, and cleanup. Plus watching some television. Friday we thought about going to look for a new car. But Lynda couldn’t find what she wanted on-line, so we decided against it. I cleared away leaves, then went to The Dungeon to write. This was probably 3:00 in the afternoon.

But what to write? For the last two months my new composition has been Adam Of Jerusalem, the prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant. I’m only in the second chapter, and have been laboring under it, as ideas and inspiration have been in short supply. Lately I’ve started to think more about the sequel to The Gutter Chronicles. It resides on my computer at work (actually, on our cloud storage, somewhere in the ether). From time to time I open the file and consider working on it. On our trip to Indianapolis and Branson this summer I brought a printout of it with me, and edited the three and a half chapters written so far.

Beyond that, I hadn’t worked on TGC-V2. But people at work have been asking me, “When will there be another Gutter Chronicles?” “Are you working on a sequel to The Gutter Chronicles?” On the other hand, no one is telling me, “Are you going to write a prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant? Knowing I could get 30 to 40 sales of a new volume of TGC, and maybe some sales of the first one, I decided to spend some time on it at home this weekend.

So, on Friday, I decided to work on TGC. Although the computer file was not available to me, I opened new file. With the manuscript in hand to see where I left off in the fourth chapter, I began. I worked only a little more than an hour Friday, and had just shy of 750 words in my new file.

It is now Tuesday morning. I had to interrupt my writing of this post yesterday, and I never got back to it.

On Saturday, after yard work, and after deciding I wouldn’t do my Wal-Mart run till Sunday, and after deciding we wouldn’t go out to look for a car, I went to The Dungeon and wrote. An hour or so later, I had a total of 1500 words. Sunday, after Life Group and church, bringing lunch home, going to Wal-Mart with Lynda for groceries, I sat down to write about 3:00. I stopped at 5:00 to fix something for supper, went back after supper, and wrote till 9:30 p.m. By that time I had 4,463 words as my three-day total.

That felt good. I hadn’t really thought through the two chapters I worked on (well, just a little), as I had Norman spend time with his love interest, and then introduced the CFO character, so I was quite pleased at how the words flowed. Clearly this is the book I should be writing now.

Last night I was unable to spend time writing, as the hours after supper were consumed with checkbook balancing, bill paying, and stock trading. Tonight will be a TV show we like to watch (The Curse of Oak Island), so probably no writing tonight. But tomorrow night may look good. I think I’ll plan on it.

The Crunch Continues

Today was an incredibly busy day. This came after two full days of hosting/facilitating an off-site training session, in town, something we do every year. It went well, with fewer glitches than normal.

Still waiting on the paperbacks to be printed and arrive. I have a grand total of 3 ordered.
Still waiting on the paperbacks to be printed and arrive. I have a grand total of 3 ordered.

But, while I was doing that, the troubled projects I took over haven’t advanced any. I should say I’m going to take over. I’m still just the old engineer who’s helping out the youngins with some difficult situations. Three particular projects have gone bad, all for one client. Last week I dealt with one of them, made decisions about remedial work that needs to be done, and gave that to the client. I understand that’s been given to the contractor, who is mulling it over.

The second project I also dealt with last week. Nothing has been decided, but we have to wait on some tests at the site, and a report by a geotechnical engineer. E-mails this week indicate there’s been a slight delay in that, but it’s getting closer. Meanwhile, they aren’t ready to do investigative soil borings on-site, so I won’t be heading to the St. Louis any time soon.

So this week, interspersed with the training, I have been working on the third project. Early in the week I studied a long e-mail chain, and came to a basic understanding of the problem. Today I started looking at our design and construction files to see what we did on the project. Then I had to look at City and Watershed District standards to see what the outstanding issues are. Today the client e-mailed the current project manager to get an update on what we’re doing. I was able to answer it and keep them informed.

By the end of the day, including working almost an hour past time, I think I figured out what needs to be done to correct some problems at the site. The main issue is the client has $290,000 in a financial assurance bond that can’t get closed out. By the end of today I think I figured out how to get half of it released why we keep the rest in place as we deal with the problems. I’ll try to confirm it in the morning, then contact the client—with good news for a change. Only moderately good, but still good. I will still have issues to investigate, and some modifications that will have to be made at the site, but I can see this third one coming together in the next week. Possibly easier than either of the other two.

So a few people want Volume 2. Maybe I should finish it.
So a few people want Volume 2. Maybe I should finish it.

Meanwhile, today, I attended a pre-construction conference in Centerton, functioning as city engineer for that project. I brought another engineer with me, the one who is preparing to take over for me with this client. She sat in on one pre-con already. Since this was her second, I said the next one she would be in charge. She doesn’t seem real anxious to take over that role. But she’ll do fine.

While in Centerton, the head of planning asked if I had brought my next book. She buys everything I have in paperback. I said no, it was ordered, but might not be here for almost two weeks. She also asked when I would have another edition of The Gutter Chronicles. I said I’ve started it, but was only on the fourth chapter.  Several people have asked about this, making me think maybe I’d better get back on it again.

I’m hoping to be able to put in a fair number of hours this weekend on Adam Of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, I’ll spend what time I can at work—breaks, noon hours, before hours—on the other one. Maybe I’ll get one of them done some day.

I Was Talking About the Gray Cells

The temporary cover is almost exactly like the one I ended up using.
The temporary cover is almost exactly like the one I ended up using.

In a recent post, I mentioned how my mind was starting to focus on things I might be writing next. Documenting America: Civil War Edition is finished. All except the print version, that is, but I think I’m not more than two days away from having that done and submitting it for checking by CreateSpace.  I have a few publishing tasks awaiting me that don’t involve writing, such as getting the Headshots print version done. And making corrections to the Smashwords edition of Preserve The Revelation so that it can be pushed out to other vendors via Smashword’s premium catalog. Yes, I have much publishing to do.

But that’s not writing. With one book finished, it’s time to work on the next. But what to work on? I have two obvious choices:

  • Seems like a long time since I wrote this, but it's only five years.
    Seems like a long time since I wrote this, but it’s only five years.

    The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2. The first volume of what I hope will become a series, of workplace humor about the engineering business, has been out since 2012. It’s one of my five highest selling items, mostly to people who work where I do. A couple of years ago I started the next volume, and got into chapter 4 (of a planned 15 chapter book), when I set it aside to do other things. I have the book mostly planned out, the humorous stories pulled from my past or manufactured. All that remains it to decide to write it and get it finished. Hopefully, I can find my scattered notes.

  • This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and "Preserve The Revelation" will be the fourth.
    This was my first novel; but, if plans work out, it will actually be the second in the series, and “Preserve The Revelation” will be the fourth.

    Adam of Jerusalem. This will be a prequel to Doctor Luke’s Assistant. It’s been on my list of things to write for some time. A few plot elements came to mind early, but not how I’m going to get it done. How do you squeeze a prequel ahead of a book when you never planned on it when you wrote the first book? You can’t go back and unwrite, or rewrite the second in the series. But ways of doing this have been coming to me. I’ve figured out how I want to open the book, and what the inciting incident will be. A few other scenes have come to mind.

What to do? The Gutter Chronicles makes the most sense, and I suspect I’ll at least give it a try. However, the gray cells have been giving me more ideas for Adam of Jerusalem. What to do? I could wrap up TGC Vol 2 in 30,000 words; AoJ will take about 80,000.

As an example of what I mean by the gray cells activating, until recently I have having a hard time figuring out how to show Adam’s slide from Judaism to adopting Roman ways. As mentioned above, I had decided what would be the inciting incident for this, but how to make it work in the story without violating anything I’ve already written in Doctor Luke’s Assistant. Well, the way to do this came to me recently. I don’t have every scene worked out, but it’s clear how I can accomplish this. I’m not receiving similar clarity on The Gutter Chronicles—although I’m further along with that book. Perhaps that will be less of gray cells stimulation and more of in-the-seat perspiration.

While these two books are prime on my to-write-next list, they aren’t the only candidates. The next short story in my Sharon Williams Fonseca series has been coming to mind. It will be set in Paris. Also on my mind is a book about the Stephen and Elizabeth (Cheney) Cross family of Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the 1600s. Last year I spent a month of intense work on this couple. It is intended to be a chapter in a book about Elizabeth’s father, John Cheney of Newbury. When I finished the Crosses, I saw I had between 60 and 80 pages (formatted as 5.5×8.5 pages), and was shocked. John Cheney had ten children who grew to adulthood. The work before me seemed to massive to continue with, so I set the project aside. However, I have the Cross portion done, and, I figure, why not publish it as a small, stand-alone family history? It would take perhaps another month of tidying up, expanding the narrative a little, and doing all the publishing tasks. I may do that, but not as the next book. Maybe after I finish whichever one I choose to do next.

So, while the gray cells are active, and I can sense writing in the near future (such as in August, if not some in July), I don’t know which book is next. Today will be a day of publishing activities. Tomorrow, who knows? I may take some time at work to read what I’ve already written on TGC. If I like what I read, perhaps that will be next.

Unfinished Writing Projects

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy intention for today was to write a lengthy post on the status of several writing projects. However, two things intervene. First, I’m in New Orleans on a business trip. I’m not sure I feel like taking time to do a detailed analysis of my writing-in-progress. Second, since around Sunday my gumption for writing has tanked. At present I don’t know that I care much if I write any more or not. The reasons for that are complicated and I won’t go into them here. Suffice to say these are not the days for me to be making bold plans for adding to my published titles.

I will say a few words about my projects. The easiest one should be to publish my last short story, “Sierra Kilo Bravo“, at Smashwords, making it available to Nook, Apple, etc. That means pulling up the file for the Kindle publication, making a few simple changes, and hitting Publish. Along with that I want to republish the other stories in the series to add a link to this one to it. Also fairly simple. But I haven’t felt like doing it, now a month since it went live for Kindle.

Another fairly easy project will be to correct typos in my two baseball novels, In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People and Headshots. I re-read them some time ago on my Nook, found enough typos in each to warrant fixing them. This is a one-day project for each book. So far, I just haven’t felt like it.

SBC book front coverThen, I have some typos to fix and new data to add to my family history book, Seth Boynton Cheney: Mystery Man of the West. This is a little more complicated. It’s a print book, so unless I want to have the cover redone due to pages added I’ll need to add the new data without too much lengthening. The good news is I sort of planned for this, putting a couple of blank pages at the end of the book. So long as the new data doesn’t take up more than them, I should be okay. I have some of these marked, and one of my wife’s cousins also marked some. She didn’t give them to me, but will when I ask her. This should be my priority, I suppose, but so far—you guessed it—I just haven’t felt like it. A related project, some cousins have asked me to publish a color edition of this. That will require rework of the cover, since the page thickness is different when you print in color, but otherwise is a simple thing. I need to do that right after making the corrections to the black & white edition.

So what does that leave as far as w-I-p go? I have three books started:

  • Preserve The Revelation. This is a sequel to my first church history novel, Doctor Luke’s Assistant. A couple of years ago, when in a period of uncertainty as to what my next project should be, I wrote the first chapter of this. Since then ideas for the book continue to find their way into my conscious thinking.
  • Documenting America: Civil War Edition. This would be the next in my Documenting America series. I got well into this last year and early this year. I’d guess it’s 40 percent done. I have pushed this far from my current thoughts.
  • The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2. The first volume was a reasonable success at the office. I’ve completed three chapters in that, and am well along with the fourth. It’s been over a year since I’ve worked on it, but I’d say I’m about 20 percent done. Ideas for remaining chapters of this have been bubbling up of late.

TCEEA print cover 01That leaves my two Thomas Carlyle projects, wanting to join their brother on my virtual bookshelf. These are the two I’m actively working on. At the office I use my free time to work on Thomas Carlyle Chronological Composition Bibliography. At home I use free time to work on Thomas Carlyle’s “Chartism” Through the Ages. Both are well along, though neither is close to being done. They are perhaps silly things to work on, as neither would be a commercial success. However, at least these two are holding my interest.

Well, this post ran longer than I expected. Still, it’s the short version. I write it not so much as to inform you, my loyal readers, about what’s coming, as to help me bring order to the chaos that’s happening in my head and finding it’s way to paper and pixels. May the order come soon.

Progress on “The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 2”

I began writing The Gutter Chronicles as a lark, to add a little humor to a stressful workplace. They were a series of “episodes” in the life of Norman D. Gutter, a newly graduated engineer who goes to work for a company named I.C.E. Engineering. Many odd and funny things happen to him.

At first I shared these episodes, one by one, with a few people at the office who I knew would distribute them around. This was in 1998 to 2002. But other things soon crowded out my Gutter time, and I let this lag. Sometime, maybe around 2008, I decided pick up the series again and finish a volume from this. I did so, and in October 2012 published it as an e-book: The Gutter Chronicles, the Continuing Saga of Norman D. Gutter, Engineer, Volume 1. Finally just last month I put it out as a print book as well.

Now, I’m engaged in writing the second volume. The first comprised 15 chapters and covered Norman’s first year with I.C.E. The second volume picks up where the first one leaves off. Several events in Volume 1 will come back in Volume 2 as things left hanging that Norman will have to deal with. Volume 1 included some trite characters, really caricatures of engineers and bosses and draftsmen and public officials. Volume 2 we’ll see more of that, again in 15 chapters with those same characters returning and new characters introduced. Ira Cheatum and Monte Grubber are two of the new, along with a landscape architect I haven’t named yet.

The flirtatious Malinda Mayes will be back, sending out her GUS Alerts, trying to get Norman off alone somewhere. Ned Justice will be wearing his jogging suits, the top unzipped, revealing a sweat soaked t-shirt. Uriah Serpe will charge off after his whims like a wild bull. And Norman will have a couple of love interests to consider.

At present I’ve completed three chapters, and the fourth is well along. The book is mostly planned out. Chapter subjects and names have been identified. I’m not working very quickly on it. One or two days a week I add a few hundred words. I have just over 9,000 words at present. The last volume came in at 33,000 words, clearly novella length. I’m running ahead on word count as of the end of chapter 3.

My main problem is trying to make this humorous again. I tend to drift off into serious presentation of engineering issues. The only feedback I’ve received from anyone in the office who bought the first book is from a woman who has been here almost as long as I have. She laughed uproariously at the first half, but thought the second half not as good. I suppose the second half isn’t as funny.

So I’ll have to watch myself, and make sure I keep things funny. Not sure how much humorous material I have, but I’ll keep looking and keep trying.

Almost a Book Signing

One of the things a self-published author is likely to not have, which a trade published author will have, is a book signing. That’s not an awful problem, as writers on both sides report that book signings really don’t bring a lot of people or sales to the writer. Still, there’s something magical about book signings. Just having one will, I would think, cause you to dream of long lines, piles of books flying off the table, and many fans saying nice things to you.

Yesterday my order of 25 copies of The Gutter Chronicles arrived at the office. I had pre-sold 19 of these (15 in the office; 4 offsite). I immediately began signing them, distributing, and collecting $8 per copy. I sat at my desk and signed. Then I took the copy across the building and delivered it. Then I went back to my desk and repeated the process with the next one. As I did this, two other people bought  the book and I signed the copies.

No, it wasn’t a book signing. But it was the first time I signed books in quantities and gave them to readers. It was a good feeling, even if it wasn’t a book signing. Perhaps, some day, I’ll have one of those too.

Typos are Killing Me

I consider myself a good typist and good proofreader. But, as the experts say, it’s difficult to proofread your own work. This has certainly come home to me lately.

First, in March I published the e-book version of Thomas Carlyle’s Edinburgh Encyclopedia Articles. I did much proofreading of the text, especially in the two longest articles, which were from optical scans and had all the usually scanning errors in abundance.  In April I was putting the print book together, which included my first print cover creation using the graphic arts program G.I.M.P. I posted the cover to my self-publishing diary at the Absolute Write forums, and a person pointed out a typo: Enclyclopedia instead of Encyclopedia. It wasn’t published as a print book yet, which made it easy to change. I clicked the “publish” button in April.

After I did, I had an odd feeling that I didn’t remember the contents of one article. I was pretty sure I had proofread all the articles twice, and the two difficult ones three times. I pulled out the print book and read that article. Sure enough, somehow I had skipped that in the proofreading. I then went through it, and found one optical scanning error. Not awful, but something I shouldn’t have let slipped through. I haven’t yet corrected it and uploaded revised versions for print and e-book.

Then, earlier this month I published my short story “It Happened At The Burger Joint“. Shortly after I did I posted about it on my Facebook personal page and author page. A FB friend pointed out to me a typo on the description. I think it’s a “the” that should be “they”. Since I was waiting on the Smashwords premium catalog approval, I decided to wait to fix the typo until I had that. That approval has come through, but busyness has prevented me from fixing the typo.

And last, in October 2012 I published the e-book version of The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 1. It’s a novella, not a full length novel. I’ve had only eight e-book sales of it. Finally last month and this I worked on completing the print version and getting it up for sale. I did that, ordered the proof copy, and did some spot reading. Found two typos, not awful ones. I decided to go ahead and publish it with the typos and fix them with a revised version ASAP. It went on sale around June 8.

My wife hasn’t read it, so last Saturday we read it aloud to each other, each taking a chapter or two and switching off. As we were reading, here and there we found a typo. At a few other places I noted where I could have worded something better. We marked those as I went along. Last Sunday I made the changes in the print book and uploaded the new version. It went live Monday (yesterday) evening. Error free? I hope so, but make no such claim. Since then I’ve typed the corrections in the Kindle version and uploaded them. The revised version went live sometime during the evening. Tonight I hope to make the corrections to the Smashwords edition.

These are way too many typos. I realize that even books by trade publishers have typos, that proofreaders are fallible people who don’t catch every error. But doggone it, I have to do a better job than that.

THE GUTTER CHRONICLES paperback is available

Print Cover-02

This morning the paperback copy of my novella, The Gutter Chronicles, Volume 1, went live at CreateSpace, and will soon be at Amazon. This was a long time coming. I published the e-book version of this in October 2012. At that time I had a place-holder cover, a poor one I had someone at work throw together for me. The cover made the book not worthy of inclusion in the Smashwords premium catalog, and thus was not available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc. Not her fault: she did exactly what I asked her to do. Finally, about two months ago, I found time to put together a better cover. I did this using G.I.M.P., and am pretty sure I blogged about this here.

Finally, last weekend the formatting of the print book version came to the top of my to-do list. That took one evening, working with headers, footers, page numbers, table of contents, page sizes, etc. That was the easy part. Then came the cover, which was the hard part, given the combination of lack of artistic talent and knowledge of graphic arts software. But I managed to do it. CreateSpace accepted the cover on the first submittal, so I did something right with the mechanics. The back cover text was messed up. When I redid it it was still messed up (tiny size), so a friend at work helped me create a PDF of it for submittal. It worked; I swapped out the cover and used a slightly modified interior file; and clicked “publish”. It went live this morning at CreateSpace, and will soon make its way to Amazon proper.

I have seven pre-orders so far, and hoping to get twenty. That will be a very nice boost to my June sale figures.

Print Cover-02 418x315

More On Creating Book Covers

I now know enough about using G.I.M.P. to create book covers to be considered dangerous. Last night, on coming home from the office, since the wife was resting and there was no immediate need on either of our parts for supper, I went straight to The Dungeon and began tweaking my two latest book covers. The one for Thomas Carlyle’s Edinburgh Encyclopedia Articles about killed me to have to do, since it had been accepted on first submission. But the glaring typo right on the front cover had to be fixed. I also decided to add some quotation marks to the back cover.

I made the tweaks, saved it in three different file formats, and resubmitted it to CreateSpace. At the same time I resubmitted the interior of the book, which needed two typos corrected and a minor tweak to the margins. So here’s the final cover for TCEEA.

TCEEA print cover 01

After that, I went back to the cover for The Gutter Chronicles. Even though it’s an e-book cover (at this point, at least) and thus should be easier than a print book cover, I’m finding it harder. The problem is the text I’m pasting over the photo of the computer monitor needs to be put in a double perspective view. It’s tilted back from bottom to top and from right to left. This looks like it should be easy with G.I.M.P. You just select the text layer, call for Transform Tools > Perspective from the menu, grab the four corners of the layers one at time, layer by layer, and click Transform.

The problem is, my text is in several layers. This is because the normal spacing between lines of text in a word processor (and the G.I.M.P. text entering window is a simple word processor) is too great for them to look good. Printers call this “leading,” and so I put each major line of text into separate layers (text boxes) and move them closer together than a word processor will allow. But then, in doing the double perspective work, I need to do that with each layer of text.

That wouldn’t be a problem, I imagine, if I understood what I’m doing. when I grab the corners and move them, a table of six numbers changes, the numbers going from zeroes to other numbers, some positive, some negative. The numbers are to five significant digits, and control of the mouse is such that getting the edges of the text in the right place is difficult. Fortunately you can undo and re-do to your heart’s content.

Of the five text layers, only one seems to be in exactly the right spot. So I wrote down the six numbers for that one, and went to work on the others, but the mouse control to get the numbers on those other layers to be perfect is impossible. And you can’t just click on the table and enter the perspective numbers you want. Thus, I have five layers of text, one at a perfect perspective and four at odd perspectives. Here’s where the cover stands now.

TGC-Vol 1 Cover

You can see how the lines of text aren’t all at the right perspective. My name on the “nameplate” is good, but the others are all askew. I’m sure G.I.M.P. has a way to handle that. There are Path commands, which perhaps allows one layer to have the same attributes of another layer. Maybe there’s a way to get into that table of perspective numbers and enter them, and—poof—the layer will go to exactly the right perspective. I’m still learning, and have much, much more to learn.

But, for now, this is the cover. And, I just sold a copy! I posted the new cover and link to the Kindle version on Facebook, and one of the women in our Accounting Department bought one. We’ll see where it goes from here. I must get back to doing some writing, and set covers aside for a while, but more work in G.I.M.P. is not far away.