On Wings of Air – Free Promotion

5134_draft_2015-10-03BThe eBook for “On Wings of Air” is available for FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow! It will be back up to $4.99 on Friday, so act now!

Grab a free copy of “On Wings of Air” today: http://www.amazon.com/Wings-Air-Earth-Sky-Boo…/…/B0165SOFQA/

Please share with your friends!

On Wings of Air – Modern Relevance

It’s kind of funny. In some ways, it seems as if On Wings of Air has taken the pulse of our age. We didn’t set out that way when writing it–initially, we were just wanting to write a fun Fantasy story to stretch our wings a bit. But what came out was more than we had imagined.

In this time where prejudices abound, we all need a little reminder that just because someone’s different doesn’t mean their feelings and dreams and religious beliefs are something to be derided. The rulers of a region (like the king of the Skychildren, for instance) can certainly have a big effect on how people treat others who are “different.” We all need to learn to, like Skye, loosen our prejudices against others and practice religious tolerance. If we treat people ill and scorn all their beliefs, what sort of example are we setting? What we should be doing is trying to work together to make the world a better place, uniting in a common purpose just as the Groundbreathers and Skychildren begin to do in On Wings of Air.

Let’s all try to give our neighbors a little love!

Less Than One Week to On Wings of Air!

On Wings of Air

Here we are, less than one week to On Wings of Air, and Lelia and I are in a state of excited nervousness. This has been a much larger endeavor than either of us have ever undertaken before. The learning curve has been steep, and the amount of work which needed to be done has been staggering, but we’re almost there. And then the true work begins!

To those of you who have received review copies, you have our heartfelt thanks for helping us out. Your assistance has polished the final version of On Wings of Air and made it all that much better. Continue reading

Cover Evolution: Sky City Added

So we took a bit of a break from these for the last little bit while the final tasks for the eBook go live were being completed, but it’s time to get back into the cover evolution. When last we left this subject, we did have a ground city and color, but we only had a big white cloud where the sky city should be. Now, we have a first draft of the sky city. (Remember, it is only a draft; if you’ve seen the completed version on Amazon or one of the other sites, you’ll see quite a difference!)

5134_draft_2015-09-09

So, what’s going on here? Well, first of all, there’s a lot of white at the top. You’ll see this changed in later versions, as the sky city was never intended to simply sit on the clouds. We have a palace in the sky that sits in the center of the white, and you can see that it’s quite a different design than the ground castle; it’s a little more airy and flowing, whereas the Groundbreather castle is solid and blocky.

Next, you’ll note that the buildings in the sky are strewn haphazardly about. Again, as we’ve emphasized before, this is due to the fact that the Skychildren are a more free-spirited people than the Groundbreathers, and that reflects in their city design..

We’re starting to get really close to book release, and the shape the cover takes shows that. There will be even more changes for the next installment!

Character Bio: Hawkins

Earth & Sky - On Wings of Air

Hawkins is one of the antagonists of On Wings of Air, and he serves as a counter to Skye, the prince of the sky realm. Hawkins is the Seneschal to Skye’s father, Tempest, and the two men are at odds. It is understood that when Skye eventually becomes king, that the Seneschal will be replaced, if indeed Hawkins is still in the position at that time.

Hawkins is different from most of his people. Skychildren tend to be free and happy, wearing bright clothes, enjoying sunny days, and relishing in the ability to fly through the air with impunity. Hawkins, by contrast, wears drab clothing consisting of gray or black robes and makes no concession to the possibility of wind resistance during flight.

Hawkins is very intelligent, filling his role with competence and even a little flair. The court of the Skychildren is run efficiently, though there are some who complain that Hawkins surrounds the king with little more than toadies and sycophants.

The Seneschal advises Tempest with a somber voice, and rarely can he be riled. Furthermore, there have been some whispers that Hawkins has an unhealthy level of influence with the Skychild monarch. He guards his ruler with jealousy, rarely allowing anyone to speak with Tempest unless he is also present.

Publication Announcement: Bound by Love

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00002]

I’m a little late with this announcement, but here it goes. This is my latest, entitled Bound by Love. It takes quite a different tack than most of those I’ve written before. Bound by Love can be found on Amazon in both paperback here and in eBook format here. Here is a short excerpt from the first chapter:


Summer in Derbyshire was a remarkable time of year. The chirping of birds, the fluttering of butterfly wings, the sprouting of wildflowers, and the foliage budding from the trees all spoke to the life and wonder of a world awakened from a long winter’s sleep, and to the health and vitality of its inhabitants. Upon the air eddied a multitude of scents shifting this way and that, and the summer storms, which sometimes rumbled over the landscape below, held a beauty of their own, mighty and destructive in their power, but leaving behind a sense of newness and renewal.

In the distance, the fields of Pemberley were also coming alive. Plows and bags of seed hanging from the tenant farmers’ shoulders, the bounty carefully set aside during the previous year’s harvest to provide this year’s birth, had given way to newly sprouted fields of grains and vegetables. In other areas, too far to be seen, shepherds with were driving their sheep to their summer pastures, and the coats would already be growing, thick, fluffy white clouds of the finest wool to be bartered and sold. And in a still further corner of the estate, the miners were preparing to cut into the earth with their picks and axes, cutting vast quantities of coal from the earth to power England’s factories.

It was all as it should be, a great steaming engine of prosperity which drove the estate, and though he had considered the matter before, William could not help but feel the pride in the land and in the people who made up the instruments of success for the estate.

Riding through the woods and hills of Pemberley, Fitzwilliam Darcy—William to his family—could not help the feeling of contented satisfaction which welled up within him. He had known all his life he would eventually inherit Pemberley from his father, though at the age of eleven, he fervently hoped it would not be for many years yet. His father was a great man, and he had always counselled William to become one with the land—to feel kinship with it, and respect it as more than simply a means for a wealthy way of life. He was to treat it as a great responsibility, to deal with those who worked the land with the greatest of respect, while showing them that their problems were matters of concern, not merely complaints to be swept aside. William was to work alongside them, one of them, helping them bear their burdens and assisting them in solving their problems. He was determined to live up to his father’s example.

“I say, William!”

William reined in his horse and looked back, noting as his companions trotted up behind him. In appearance they seemed similar enough that they would almost be taken for brothers. They were both tall and fair of both hair and features, and if the elder was somewhat taller, the younger would, himself, not be short of stature. His cousin Anthony Fitzwilliam was the best of friends, supporting William and pushing him to be better, all with the touch of mischievous humor which was part of his very being. William felt pleased and humbled to have such a devoted cousin.

The younger boy, by contrast, was neither of the same exalted lineage, nor was he from a family of any consequence. In fact, George Wickham was nothing more than the son of his father’s steward, not that the circumstances of his birth meant anything to William. What did matter to William was the mean streak that the boy had seemed to develop in the previous months. William did not know, but through his observation, seeing the dark looks and accusing eyes when the other boy thought he was not looking, he suspected that George was jealous of his position. Furthermore, he seemed to be a magnet for trouble, and had often drawn the more serious William in with his schemes, at times leaving William to bear the brunt of his father’s displeasure when their latest escapade had been discovered. To William it seemed like he was on the verge of losing his friend, and he did not know what to do to reverse the trend.

“Eager today, are we not?” said Anthony as he rode up to William.

“And you are not?” asked William. “The summer is still young and too often I have been cooped up in the house with nothing to do.”

“Nothing to do!” cried George. “It seems to me that you always have something to do. Rarely can you be found without a book in your hand, and to me that means that you are always doing something, though it is a most tedious way to pass the time.”

“My father says that a man cannot be considered liberal and learned unless he spends time expanding his horizons,” said William.

George only rolled his eyes. Both of William’s companions were active sorts, rarely settling down enough to read a book. It was a commonly debated topic between them, though in this instance William thought the subject was one brought up out of habit. William did not doubt his companions wished to discuss the subject as little as he did himself.

Shaking the reins, William kicked his horse into a walk again, knowing the others would follow him. “It is a fine day, and I do not think that we should spend it bickering about books.”

“On that, I can agree,” said Anthony.

The continued on for some time, bantering back and forth as they rode. At times they kicked their mounts forward, racing to the next landmark or daring one another to jump over obstacles in their path. They behaved as boys who were experiencing the wonders of freedom, reveling in the warmth of the day and the newness of adventure.

They were passing a small copse of trees when a flash of color from the woods caught William’s eye and he reined in his horse.

“What is it?” asked Anthony as he stopped behind William.

“Over there, in the trees. I thought I saw something.”

“Probably just a hare,” said George with a dismissive wave.

But William was already dismounting, and while holding the reins of his stallion in one hand, he parted the foliage in front of him, noting in fact that he had seen something indeed. There, in the distance, was a flash of color, partially hidden behind a tree.

Intrigued, William tied his horse up to a nearby tree and entered the woods, taking care to make no sound as he moved through the underbrush. As he approached, the color came in sharper focus and resolved itself into a pink, flower pattern of the type of dress he had often seen Anthony’s sisters wear. And as he came closer, the pattern established itself into a dress, with a pair of stockinged legs protruding from behind the tree.

William approached and made his way around the tree in a wide arc, and when he had passed around it sufficiently, he was able to make out the figure in front of him.

It was a young girl, no more than about three years of age. She was sleeping on a bed of heather, with one arm cushioning her head, while in the other she clutched a gleaming chain of some sort. She was small and slight, the top of her head crowned with a riotous mass of mahogany curls, which at one time might have been fashioned into a plait. For a moment William almost wondered if the girl was even alive, until he saw the slow rise and fall of her chest. She was a pretty young thing, and he suspected that when she reached her maturity, she would possess an uncommon beauty, though her cherubic face showed only a hint of the future woman to come.

“What is it, William?” asked George as he thrashed his way through the bushes to William’s side.

“Quiet!” exclaimed William, though in a low voice.

Anthony stepped up to William, and upon seeing the girl whistled softly. “Well, what have we here?”

“Do you know who she is?” asked George, rather stupidly in William’s opinion.

“I have never seen her before,” said William.

“Could she be a tenant’s daughter?” pressed George.

William turned to look at him, his attention caught by an odd tone in George’s voice. He did not like what he saw in the boy’s eyes, though he was not certain just exactly what was out of place.

“I think not,” said Anthony. “Look at her dress. That is the dress of a gentleman’s daughter.”

“Then what is she doing here?” asked George.

“I do not know,” said William. “But it is obvious she needs help.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Look at her. She is too young to be out in the middle of the woods on her own. She must be lost. If she does not have shelter, it will be difficult for her tonight. The nights can still be quite cool.”

“We need to take her to your father,” said Anthony.

“Why?” asked George. “She is a trespasser; that much is evident. We should have a little fun with her before we run her off.”

Again William was struck by that sense of disquiet about George and he wondered at his friend’s seeming cruelty. Shaking the feeling off, he turned to look at his friend in the eye

“Do not be stupid, George! She is a child of three. How could she possibly mean any harm?”

George opened his mouth, no doubt to deliver a stinging retort, when the girl’s eyes suddenly popped open, and she sat up wildly looking this way and that. She quickly scrambled to her feet and seemed poised to flee when William approached her and held his hand out in as unthreatening a manner as he could muster.

“Please, we mean you no harm.”

The girl looked at William’s hand, eyes wide with fright, before she looked up at his face, her eyes searching out his, testing, seeking assurance. She must have read something in his eyes, for instead of running, she relaxed slightly, though she did not completely seem at ease. It appeared that however she had come to be in this place, she had received a fright along the way.

“What is your name?”

The girl tilted her head to the side as she regarded him, and then she spoke, though her words came out as an almost inaudible whisper. “Lizbeth.”

“Elizabeth?” asked William as he edged closer to her.

His slight movement caused her to tense up again, so he put out his hands in supplication, and backed away. She relaxed slightly.

“Your name is Elizabeth?”

The girl nodded.

“How old are you?” asked William trying to keep her attention so she would become more comfortable with him and not flee.

In response she held up three chubby fingers, which were stained and grimy, William noted absently.

“How did you get here?”

Apparently it was a wrong question, as her eyes lit up in alarm. She gazed at them through wild eyes for a few moments before she seemed to calm. Then she looked at William and said:

“You are not colorful people?”

“No,” replied William, though in truth he had no notion as to what she was talking about. “We are just normal boys, out for a ride on my father’s estate.”

“Oh come on, William,” snapped George. “She is trespassing. We should run her off before she has a chance to steal anything.”

“Be silent, George!” said Anthony, the warning note clear in his voice. “I do not know what you see, but I can see nothing more than a frightened little girl, not a thief.”

“You should come with us,” said William, ignoring the argument between his two companions. “My father can see that you are returned to your family.”

Her eyes lit up at the suggestion. “Janey?”

“Who is Janey? Is she your friend?”

“Sister,” said the girl.

“Yes, my father can see that you return to Janey.”

The girl considered this for a moment, but made no move to join them. William began to feel a little impatient; it was clear from her pronunciation that she was an intelligent little imp. It was equally clear she was stubborn!

“Are you hungry?” asked William, a surge of inspiration running through him.

Again her eyes lit up, and she actually took a hesitant step toward him. “Hungry,” she said, the eagerness in her eyes unmistakable.

“I have an apple in my saddlebag. You can eat it as we ride to the house.”

Once again the girl seemed to consider the offer, and though she was silent, William could almost see her weighing the benefit of the promise of food against the fear which still held her in its grip.

“Come, it is right over here,” said William extending his hand.

That seemed to do the trick, as after a brief moment of hesitation, her hunger won out over her reluctance, and she grasped his hand, allowing him to lead her from the copse.

Behind him, William could hear his cousin’s mirthful chuckle. “It seems you have a way with frightened waifs, William. I do not know what we would have done without you.”

William chose the simple expedient of ignoring him. He knew that his cousin—undoubtedly joined eagerly by George—would tease him about this episode mercilessly. But William was willing to endure it if he could see the child to safety and returned to her family. It was no less than his father would expect of him, and William felt warm at the prospect of his father’s approbation.

And thus he found himself astride his horse a few short moments later, the beast pointed back in the direction of Pemberley, his two companions following behind. In front of him, perched in the protective circle of his arms, sat the little girl, happily munching on her apple, excited at the adventure of riding so high off the ground. It was clear that though she appeared to be the daughter of a gentleman, she still had little experience with horses, no doubt due to her tender age. And yet she was happy, eagerly taking in the experience, though only moments before she was terrified and ready to flee as fast as her legs would carry her.

William did not care to speculate on how she had arrived in those woods. No doubt his father would coax the story of her arrival there from her, and arrange to find her family and return her to them.

Publishing Tips: Choosing a Format

There are a variety of options available to use in terms of format. If you’re doing a series, it’s nice because you can figure out one format and apply it to every book. But for that first book, choosing format can sometimes be a doozy. There are a lot of decisions to be made.

Book Size

This is potentially one of the most important decisions you’ll come upon. People do judge books by your cover, so when you choose a size for your book, it needs to reflect the genre. Look in a bookstore or just look at other books you own (by a variety of authors) in your chosen genre. What sorts of sizes do you see there? A size that is preferred by One Good Sonnet Publishing is 6 x 9. But that doesn’t mean your genre will fit that size.

HOWEVER, please take note that most POD publishers (like Createspace) charge by the number of pages and not by the size of the book. What does this mean for you? Well, the more pages your book has, the more your book will cost. If you choose a smaller book size, then your book will have more pages and cost more. This could potentially be bad for you (because it means lower royalties) or your reader (because it might mean the book cost will be higher). As a result, if you’re going back and forth between two sizes, you should probably go with the bigger size.

Font

This is another of those really important decisions. In terms of the body of the book, you’ll want something that’s readable. The smaller the font, the fewer pages there are (and the lower the cost), but you want it to be readable. In general, you’ll want a font size of 10, 11, or 12, but that can often depend on the font, as some fonts are smaller/bigger than others. That also means that your choice of font can affect the cost of printing a book.

Research what sorts of fonts are used in your genre. One Good Sonnet Publishing has used Garamond and Book Antiqua. There are also fonts like Times New Roman and Calibri. You don’t want to use a frilly font for the body proper, as that can be hard to read. Similarly, you don’t want to use a font that is permanently italicized.

Another thing to think about is how to handle the font for things like headers, footers, the title page, the cover, etc. It’s generally recommended not to use too many different fonts. I’d say you probably don’t want to use more than two or three. On Wings of Air uses Garamond for the body, Trajan Pro for things like headers, and Monotype Corsiva for the mythological sections. Monotype Corsiva would certainly not work for the body proper, as it is an italicized font, but for the short segments in which it is used, it provides a necessary feel (calling to mind a scribe).

Drop Caps

You know how sometimes a book will have a giant letter at the start of a chapter? That’s called a drop cap. There are actually lots of different types of drop caps, but rather than go into detail here, I’m just going to recommend that you research the issue. There are many different ways to do it and many articles about different kinds. To help with your decision, look at books in your genre. Maybe they don’t do a large capital letter and instead tend to have a few UPPERCASE WORDS at the beginning of the chapter. You want to fit in with your genre as best as you can. And if your story is a grisly one, you might not want frilly capital letters detracting from your mood (for instance).

Headers

Different genres have different conventions for headers, so again, look at what books in your genre do. Sometimes, there will be the author name on the top of one page and the book title on the other. Sometimes, the chapter title will be on one of the sides. Sometimes, the page number will be up there. Look at what you think looks good. Do italics work? Capital letters? Small caps? (Note that small caps is a Word function where all the letters are capitalized, but the actual capital letters (at the beginning of certain words) are slightly bigger than the others.

Footers

Like with headers, there can be a bit of variance. But typically, footers will either have a page number or be blank. You don’t want to get too fancy with your headers and footers, as they are meant to be helpful rather than to call attention to themselves.

Chapter Headings

Here is where you can get a little fancy. If you want your chapter title to be all frills, that’s fine. If you have, for instance, “Chapter One” and then a title, you might want to do one in a different font and one italicized. Often, this information won’t start at the top of the page but down partway on the page. There are options like lines and symbols which can be coordinated in this part. Feel free to get creative and have fun. Look at a bunch of different works in your genre and see what they do! Just make sure every chapter heading has the same formatting.

Indenting

You’ll want to choose an indention for your paragraphs. It needs to be easily visible, but you won’t want it to be too big, as that will lengthen the number of pages of your book.

You also need to come up with a standard for the first paragraph of a section. Typically (with the exception of the first paragraph of a chapter, which may have a drop cap), the first paragraph in a section is not indented. There will be a blank line between it and the preceding section. But sometimes, there is a symbol or series of symbols (like asterisks) to show the transition.

Again, the best way to figure out what would be best for you to do is look at other books in the genre.

Justification

Make sure you justify your text! You don’t want it to look jagged and unprofessional.

Spacing

Do not double space the body text or have an extra line between paragraphs. Not only does that make your book longer, but it is also not “how it is done” in the book world.

Front Matter

This is the fancy term for “the stuff that comes before the body text.” You need to decide what all you’ll need. You definitely need a title page, and you need a copyright page. The formatting of the title page can be an exercise in creativity–just make sure you have the title and author name. The publishing imprint name is good, too. The copyright page is all about information, so look at how some other folks do it, but you in essence need your name, the book title, the copyright year, and the ISBN.

What about other stuff? You have options: a dedication page, an acknowledgments page, and a table of contents are all possibilities. For a paperback, you probably don’t need a table of contents for a fiction work unless you have chapter titles. There can be a little bit of flexibility in what can be up front, but those are the typical sorts of things you see.

Back Matter

This is the stuff that comes when the book is done. You might want to place your acknowledgments here instead based on preference. If you have published other stuff, this is a great place to advertise it. Your author bio should also go back here. This is also a good place to put your website or social media contact information as well as an excerpt from an upcoming title.

Conclusion

All this is just a drop in the bucket! While your work needs to have its own life and allow you to express your creativity, you need to be careful to follow certain conventions if you want your work to be taken seriously. Your own bookshelves can be a great resource for figuring out what path to take.

Publication Announcement: On Wings of Air Available in eBook Format

It is our pleasure to announce that years of hard work have finally been realized in the release of our first fantasy novel On Wings of Air. What began as a little story meant to be one short book has evolved into a fantasy trilogy which combines the best of our imaginations and skills as writers and launches us into a new genre. We could not be more excited.

As some of you will know if you have followed our cover evolution series, a professional cover artist was contracted for this work, and we could not be more pleased with how it has turned out. Here is the completed cover (spoiler alert for those who are following the cover evolution but have not yet seen it!):

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00008]

In the past, we have generally provided only the Amazon link for the purchase of the book. However, this time I think that we’ll provide different options for all those Kobo, iTunes, etc., readers out there. Here is where the book can be found:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wings-Air-Earth-Sky-Book-ebook/dp/B0165SOFQA
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/on-wings-of-air
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/J_L_Griffin_On_Wings_of_Air?id=k46oCgAAQBAJ
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/on-wings-of-air/id1046392540?ls=1&mt=11
Nook: Coming soon!

On Wings of Air will also be released in trade paperback format through Amazon direct and also through the distributor Ingram, which distributes to all the major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble, Chapters Indigo, etc. More details on that to follow.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has followed us, encouraged us, helped by serving as a sounding board or a reviewer, or given us a pat on the back. Your assistance is very much appreciated!

WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15
%d bloggers like this: