If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted much lately. There’s a few reasons for that, but one of the big ones is that I’ve been busy getting ready for the release of Manifestation, Volume One of the Arcana Revived series.
Manifestation began its life here on this blog two years ago. Since then it’s evolved from a post-by-post story into a full-fledged novel, the first book in what is (so far) a six book series. The story follows Gabby Palladino as she struggles to survive in a world being changed by the return of magic after centuries where it was considered to be nothing more than myth and legend. Arcane powers return and begin spreading to more and more people, none of whom understand these powers or know how to control them. The result is chaos and danger all around while Gabby tries to figure out why this is happening and what it has to do with her.
The cover was designed by the wonderful and talented Ravven. You can check out more of her work on her website or her deviantart page. She also designed the cover for the short story Radiance that was released last year.
The book will be released in ebook and paperback form very soon. I’ll post more here when I have the exact release date, but it’ll be within the next couple of weeks for sure. In the meantime, if you’re interested in a preview, you can always check out Radiance, a short story set in the same world as Manifestation.
Also, a special thanks to everyone who participated in the Kickstarter I ran last year. They’re the ones that raised the funds that paid for this cover.
Maelyssa “Mae” Southeby is one of the major supporting characters in the Arcana Revived series. She’s also known as “the girl with the belladonna tattoo,” and in addition to her supporting role in the novels, she’s the main character of the short story Belladonna. Her character inspiration is a model I only know by her online username, “Ledabunnymonster.” Here’s an experiment with adding both glowing arcana eyes and the manifestation of Mae’s power pouring from her palm:
Gabby Palladino is the main protagonist of the Arcana Revived series. Her inspiration comes from Anna Popplewell, most known for her role as Susan Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia. I’m experimenting a bit with how to use photoshop to give Gabby shining eyes glowing with arcana:
I’m a writer. Well, yeah, duh, the blog isn’t called “Writing Possibilities” for my health. But what I mean to say is, I’m just a writer.
I don’t mean that “just” to imply triviality. On the contrary, I take pride in the time, effort, and dedication I put into my writing. I’ve come a long way as a writer during the course of my life, and particularly over the last few years. I’ve graduated from Rowan University with a bachelor’s degree in Writing Arts, I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree, I’ve worked as a professional freelance writer, and I’m working on a novel series that I’m going to publish starting this year.
While I know a lot about writing, however, I don’t know a lot about other creative pursuits, like any kind of visual art (from drawing to painting to photoshop and whatever else you can think of). I have studied visual arts from a philosophical and theoretical point of view. I can analyze a work of art to explain the symbolism, the techniques of visual rhetoric, the semiotics, and the way it communicates its message to the viewer. That’s not the same, however, as knowing how to make that type of art.
Art and writing go hand in hand in a variety of ways, so as a writer I do think it can be valuable for me to learn art. I doubt I’d ever become a skilled enough artist to make my own cover art (I’d far rather hire professionals like Ravven who made the cover for Radiance, and with far more skill than I could hope to achieve). Aside from cover art, however, there are other options, like incorporating images into blog posts. I don’t often include images in my posts, because I’m just not a “visual thinker,” but I do find that images can work really well to make a blog post more interesting. I don’t believe in adding images that don’t add anything relevant to the piece, but they can be properly integrated into a post so that they aid the post instead of just being decoration.
A good example of a blog that makes good use of images is Drew Chial’s blog. He has some pretty amazing photoshop skills (see here, here, and here for some of my favorite examples of his art). While I have no expectations of getting up to that level of skill, I’d like to start practicing in order to develop some photoshop skills of my own. I think it could add an interesting element to my blogging.
I have a free version of photoshop, which you can find here. You’ll need to create a free account to access the download site, and the site warns that the version of photoshop that can be found here is about 10 years old and no longer supported by updates. As a result, it might not run on Windows 8 or some other modern systems, and it’s generally obsolete. However, the main photo editing functions of this older version work just the same as the newer one; mostly what’s missing is features like being able to sync your library online and uploading directly to websites, etc. Of course, a professional artist would surely prefer the most up to date version with its superior image quality and so forth, but if like me you just want to play around and not have to pay $99.99 for the program, this works just fine.
And I suppose I can’t write a whole blog post about photoshop without ACTUALLY posting a photoshopped picture, now can I? So here’s a little “first attempt” practice I just did (following a YouTube tutorial).
Here’s the “before” picture, of Alison Scagliotti from Warehouse 13. She serves as the inspiration for Tock Zipporah from Manifestation:
And here is the photoshopped version, showing how Tock Zipporah would look when channeling her arcana (as described frequently in the novels, the energy flowing through a person’s body makes their eyes glow:
So as of about one minute ago, the pledge drive ended. It ended as a success because 31 wonderful and amazing people pledged their support, and because many others helped spread the word by emails and tweets to help gather more support. Thank you all, you’ve been wonderful!
But you didn’t pledge just to get my thanks, did you? No! This was about getting some beautiful art! Well, as promised, the cover for the short story “Radiance” is here. Check it out, and keep an eye on your email inbox for the backer survey so I can get more information about sending you your rewards!
The cover artist I’ve hired has begun work on the cover for “Radiance.” At the current rate of progress, I expect the cover will be finished at just about the same time the fundraiser ends. Which means that as soon as this campaign is complete, I should be able to pay the artist’s fees and post a preview of the cover right away. Based on the initial proofs the artist has shown me, I’m certain you’re going to love it as much as I do.
There are still a few decisions to be made about things like what type of font to use for the title, etc. What we’ve done so far is discuss the themes of the story and how to reflect them in the art. The artist sent a few different initial drafts, and we settled on one that will be refined and worked into the final design. Even the rough draft I’ve seen so far is beautiful, just absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to see the final product.
The campaign is currently 119% funded. There’s just over a week left until it’s over. I’m hoping to be able to bring in one final surge of activity in this last week, so that I might be able to carry some of the funds over to a second piece of cover art.