Cover Inspiration

“Hi Jim,

I was just wondering, Divinity’s cover looks really cool! May I ask where you get the ideas for yours? Like what makes you choose one scene in your writings over another? I want to create an awesome cover for my story and was hoping that you could point me in the right direction.”
-Abby

Hi Abby,

I’m afraid that you caught me…

The truth of the matter is that I actually put very little thought into my covers. Put it this way, take a look at my first cover, Magnifica: The Last Enchanter. Then compare it to the next one and the one after that. See how things start to change and improve?
Now this isn’t a strike against my cover artist, so please don’t take it as such. When I first started out, I told my artists exactly what I wanted and how I wanted things. I left virtually no room for creativity on their part… that was a mistake. The artists I went with did exactly what I asked of them and did a very beautiful job, by the way, I’d rehire either of them in a heartbeat.
However, when we got to Magnifica: Gravestalker, a friend recommended an artist to me who had done many of his band’s posters.
When I approached him about doing the cover and told him what the book was about, he started coming up with ideas before I had a chance to lay down any real guidelines. I did get to tell him what I wanted, but in addition to that, he showed me a few other ideas he’d had on the side. Before I knew what was happening, my original idea was all but gone. I’m not complaining, mind you, he taught me a lesson that day.
From then on, whenever I hire an artist, be it for comic art, or the a fore mentioned cover artist I give them free reign. All my cover artist asks me to do is give him a few chapters with key plot points to work with. He does the rest.

This is perhaps the best advice I can give you; hire an artist, tell him what your book is about, let him read segments of it to get an idea for himself, but other than that LET THE MAN OR WOMAN DO HIS WORK! That’s what they’re being paid for. Creativity is a big part of being an artist and the more creative freedom you give them, the better the results. Divinity is a perfect example of this. I let Brett do whatever he wanted. We’d worked together, I knew and trusted him, and frankly, I was thrilled with the results.

I hope this helps.
Readers, do you have other experiences with artists that you would like to share to help Abby? (Good or bad) or any hurdles you’ve had to overcome? Please leave a comment below.

Abby- If you’re looking for a good artist, any of the ones who did my covers are awesome and any would probably love to take on your project. You can find more info about them here.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Cover Inspiration

“Hi Jim,

I was just wondering, Divinity’s cover looks really cool! May I ask where you get the ideas for yours? Like what makes you choose one scene in your writings over another? I want to create an awesome cover for my story and was hoping that you could point me in the right direction.”
-Abby

Hi Abby,

I’m afraid that you caught me…

The truth of the matter is that I actually put very little thought into my covers. Put it this way, take a look at my first cover, Magnifica: The Last Enchanter. Then compare it to the next one and the one after that. See how things start to change and improve?
Now this isn’t a strike against my cover artist, so please don’t take it as such. When I first started out, I told my artists exactly what I wanted and how I wanted things. I left virtually no room for creativity on their part… that was a mistake. The artists I went with did exactly what I asked of them and did a very beautiful job, by the way, I’d rehire either of them in a heartbeat.
However, when we got to Magnifica: Gravestalker, a friend recommended an artist to me who had done many of his band’s posters.
When I approached him about doing the cover and told him what the book was about, he started coming up with ideas before I had a chance to lay down any real guidelines. I did get to tell him what I wanted, but in addition to that, he showed me a few other ideas he’d had on the side. Before I knew what was happening, my original idea was all but gone. I’m not complaining, mind you, he taught me a lesson that day.
From then on, whenever I hire an artist, be it for comic art, or the a fore mentioned cover artist I give them free reign. All my cover artist asks me to do is give him a few chapters with key plot points to work with. He does the rest.

This is perhaps the best advice I can give you; hire an artist, tell him what your book is about, let him read segments of it to get an idea for himself, but other than that LET THE MAN OR WOMAN DO HIS WORK! That’s what they’re being paid for. Creativity is a big part of being an artist and the more creative freedom you give them, the better the results. Divinity is a perfect example of this. I let Brett do whatever he wanted. We’d worked together, I knew and trusted him, and frankly, I was thrilled with the results.

I hope this helps.
Readers, do you have other experiences with artists that you would like to share to help Abby? (Good or bad) or any hurdles you’ve had to overcome? Please leave a comment below.

Abby- If you’re looking for a good artist, any of the ones who did my covers are awesome and any would probably love to take on your project. You can find more info about them here.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Damnation Status update!!!

Hi all,

I’m very thrilled to report that Damnation is going very well. The editing is underway and the cover design, care of Brett Warniers who did Divinity’s cover, already has ideas down on paper.

Another facet of the book’s cover that was recently completed was the inclusion of a representation of the main character on the cover. A very special thanks go out to the very talented Rick Chandler, the lovely Nicole Hailer, Jenny French, Nathan Prescott, and the Horrorwood FX team for all their hard work. This is going to be incredible.

Though everything is still being shaped and put into production, we are nearing setting a release date for the book. I thank everyone who has stuck it out this long and appreciate all of your patience with me as this work has caused me to be neglectful of my blog advice column.

Thanks all and catch you on the flip side.

-Jim


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

Damnation Update!

For all you crazy cats just waiting for even the slightest tidbit of news about my latest novel… 😉

I’m happy to report that things are progressing smoothly.

We haven’t set an official release date as of yet, but the book is going through editing, everyone I needed for the cover is onboard and working on it, and we’re officially on track. I personally am excited as what I have planned for this work is… ambitious to say the least. So stay tuned everyone, Divinity’s sequel is on its way!!!

Damnation Q&A

So I know that this may be a little premature given that Damnation is beginning the process of editing, but given the level of interest, I thought I’d provide everyone a little bit of info as to exactly what Divinity’s sequel will entail.

Spoiler Alert for those who have not finished Divinity, read no further!!!

Q: What can we expect from Giovanni and Adalyn in the next adventure.

A: Not much. Their story is over. This story is set in the same reality, during the same time period and many of the plot points from Divinity will directly affect what happens in Damnation, but this is almost a totally new cast with new character development and new obstacles to overcome.

Q: What!? So you’re cutting out your main characters!?

A: Not cutting them out, some of them will make appearances, but it will only be one or two scenes in the story to help further the plot. They’ll pretty much be restricted to cameos.

Q: Your first story was named Divinity, and this one is Damnation… is that any indication of what the tone of the story will be?

A:  Pretty much. I intended for this story to be far darker than the original. This story is going to take you places the first one did not and it will definitely be outside of what people got used to with Divinity. I don’t want to give too much away, but many might not consider the ending a happy one. It will be left open to interpretation.

Q: Will you be using the same cover artist?

A: I hope so. I haven’t officially asked him yet because I don’t want him to start working until I can pay him, but when the time comes, I really would like to see what he comes up with.

Q: Can you give us anything on your main characters?

A: I really don’t want to give too much away, but here’s what I can say.
Main characters:
Piero is a Florentine Soldier during the War of the League of Cognac.
Xaphan was a soldier in the army of the Most High who defected to Lucifer’s forces. She became Lucifer’s general and led his armies against the Most High, fighting a stalemate war of attrition for countless ages.

Untitled

Q: Divinity featured historical characters, can we expect the same here?

A: To a significantly lesser extent, yes. It takes a lot to research the characters to try to ‘get them right.’ However, you will see appearances by Emperor Charles V, the Pope, and Captain Francesco Ferruccio. How and will remain secret for now though.


Divinity Sequel?

So I’ve gotten a few people asking about it. Honestly this is one of the few times people have actually asked me whether or not I’d be writing a sequel, so tickle me humble.

Thanks to everyone who bought, shared, and enjoyed my book! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it.

Well to put your questions to rest, yes there will absolutely be a sequel to Divinity. I’ve actually posted a few times describing how difficult it was to entertain the idea of writing one, but thankfully I’ve been slowly polishing one for a while that is now ready for review.

Synopsis:

“A soldier fighting a hopeless war, a broken angel torn between three worlds, and the fate of a nation hanging in the balance.
Piero Lorenzi was used to danger. He’d been a soldier since was old enough to handle a sword, but nothing could have prepared him for the journey to come. As the army helps to evacuate a city being overrun by revolutionaries, Piero happens upon a mysterious young woman lying unconscious in the remains of a destroyed building.

This woman holds a dark secret that will lead Piero to gates of Hell itself. Surrounded by enemies waiting in the shadows, he may be forced to make a choice between the nation he fought for his whole life and the one he loves the most.”

 

More updates to follow soon!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

Divinity Q&A

Hi all, thought I’d do a little question and answer session about Divinity. Some of these were questions that people have asked me over time in working with the book, others are just questions that I know some people are wondering, or may ask after reading, so I thought I’d get them out of the way now. If I miss any though, please feel free to leave a comment, I’m always happy to respond to my readers!

Q: If you had to categorize the book, how would you?

A: Historical Fantasy. I think it fits almost perfectly there.
Q: How long have you been working on Divinity.

A: A LONG TIME! I’m not kidding… I think I was still in College when I wrote the initial draft… it was about 60k words and not very good at that point, and back then, the title layout was going to be more like Magnifica, which I decided against this time around.

Q: Where did you get the idea to write about Divinity?

A: It basically came to me after writing several flop short stories and fan fictions. I took a few subjects that I knew a lot about and molded a story around them. However, the initial ground work for the story came from two places; The music I listen to, and the teaching of my High School Religious ed teacher, Dr. Pirozzi. His teachings about belief vs. mythology vs. reality was key in creating the central story.

Q: What is the central themes

A: Do I have to choose just one? Well, there’s more… Forbidden Romance, overcoming adversity, faith, and challenging one’s own worldview.

Q: You seem to be very highly critical of organized religion and blind faith… are you an atheist?

A: NO!!! Far from it. I’m a catholic. I attended catholic school and even taught religious education for a few years to middle school kids. I want to make it clear that I believe in God and follow the teachings of my church. That having been said, I’ve always felt that questioning one’s beliefs, the wisdom of our leaders, and taking a close look at the writings and rules of a religion is a very healthy thing. Blind faith with no reasoning can be a very dangerous thing as history has shown us over and over. Asking questions isn’t a sin and should be encouraged.

Q: Are any of your characters fictional based on people you know.

A: There are historical characters based on real people, but as to whether or not I based any of the fictional characters on anyone I know… ummm… no comment.

Q: Are you planning on writing a sequel to Divinity?

A: Shhhhh!!! 😉

Q: What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in your writing?

A: Well… being a slightly above amateur historian… I’m a stickler for historical accuracy. I know how that must sound, given the fictional premise of the story, but even in fiction, there should be fact, especially if you’re writing about people and places that actually existed. Let me give you an example… take Pearl Harbor… watch the battle scene…

I could spend all day going through the inaccuracies of this scene… but I’d like to point out one glaring one that always vexed me. Go to the end of the video where the heroine is running away from gunfire as the Japanese peppered the hospital… IT NEVER HAPPENED! It was reported by American and Japanese News sources alike, as well as witnesses on both sides that the Japanese NEVER FIRED on the hospital. Sure, some stray shots may have hit the hospital during the battle, that’s expected, but this portrays the Japanese not just as aggressors, but cold-hearted killers. Even though it’s historically documented that even when the Japanese had a clear shot, they would not fire on the hospital.
To me, that’s a serious crime and a disgrace. If you want to come up with a completely fictional story that’s fine, but when you write a story around fictional characters and then give the impression that the events around them actually happened, it’s a different ball game. So to answer the question, the hardest part was making sure that I did not make the same mistake. I had to carefully research the historical figures that I was using in my story to get as close to accurate as I could… but given that a lot of these characters lived over 500 years ago, there really isn’t much on many of them, so a lot of their personalities are based on my own opinions and research.
So in the end, the biggest hurdle that I had to overcome was creating the story in a way that it could happen without altering history. That’s right, as far as the reader is concerned, what I wrote should be historically possible.

Q: Where did you come up with your characters’ names?

A: I’ve gotten a lot of praise for using very distinct character names and I’m proud of that. I research the names of people, not only by country, but by region and came up with my cast that way. For the Angels, that was a bit more complicated. If you’ll notice in most texts regarding angels, their names almost always end in either ‘iel’ (Gabriel, Uriel, Jophiel), ‘lyn’ (Roselyn), or ‘ael’ (Michael, Amael, Samael) with a few exceptions (Lucifer, Layla, Xaphan). So I basically took the names that already existed and used them to create new ones like Adalyn.