It’s been a very long time since my last post and it’s because I’ve been devoting myself to the editing of TC2. But here’s a treat I can’t resist bestowing: the “Mothman Empress” illustration is finished, holy cow! This isn’t the book cover, mind you, this is rather what I’m putting in the hands of the book designer come September 13th when she has me scheduled. Not this cell phone shot, but a professionally photographed and digitized version that will happen early next week and will look even better. The original illustration is colored pencil, 22” x 30”.
Devoted readers will recall the first version of the cover that I posted many months ago but now, I’m empowered to amp things up so you’re going to see a redo!
I think this is a fantastic, dramatically mythic image and a remarkable expression of the future-is-the-past, science-fiction-meets-mythology iconography that I study. It does everything right; namely, it’s a gripping style that inspires the around-the-horn narrative that all great mythic images express: your eye follows things all over the place and back again. The compression intrigues the intellect, the finesse delights the eye. There is a compelling push-pull, play-of-opposites effect, too: it drives things psychologically inward, communicates a transporting vitality, is obliquely harrowing and like the very best affecting images, it celebrates playfulness and humor. It’s a TIME CRIME 2 Update: quad-vision spectacular!
It’s very true to the novel, also, in the sense that I had developed the idea that the Empress would undertake the pupation process, long eschewed by the Mothmen as a primitive, disturbing and very risky form of physical and psychological transformation that reflects aspects of their culture they would rather suppress. In the story, the Mothmen are losing the Great Conflict against the Molemen and, with the Emperor dead, the Empress – not all together psychologically stable to begin with – seeks this ancient way in desperation and by way of her unhinged ambition.
She emerges in possession of unmatched psi-power – she’s capable of seizing control of virtually every mind in the cosmos and this, of course, instantly turns the tables on the Molemen who were convinced they had victory in hand. I say “instantly, but it’s not quite that rapid. Fresh from her cocoon, the Empress must learn to both effectively wield and harness her power and Mr. Z. is keen to exploit this learning curve, this gap in her supremacy, however long it lasts, nobody can know. Meanwhile, regarding the image, the Empress’s quad-vision, as we’re calling it, almost steals the show – that was K’s idea (and as it happens, a similar physical condition, polycoria, exists in real life with none of the SF-world advantages) – and I’m inspired to exploit this physiological quirk as both symbolic of all things hyper-dimensional and a truly alien trait. In short, this image delivers all the mythological and SF goods! – do you agree?
Akin to TC1, the Empress image is going to appear within the layout of the text in a black & white version (a color image would skyrocket the cost of the book) but, regarding the all-important cover design we’ll see if we can’t incorporate some narrative and movement, preferably in the same style as the first novel but not merely aping it. Of course, we could just use the illustration as the entire cover and add typography and call it done but I’m looking forward, as is K, to seeing what kind of magic the book designer can come up with. After all, the TC1 cover definitely possesses a bit of the pulpy charm I was seeking, and it seems to get people’s attention – it generates a ton of clicks within my Amazon ad campaigns.
The writing in TC2 as compared to TC1? I couldn’t write that book twice – it was all new then and for better or worse I’m never going to be that naïve, cavalier, breezy and concise all at once again. It’s like any first thing: you whole past is in it, undiluted, and your vision is untarnished. That the first thing can’t be repeated, that you can’t go back, is okay, it’s part of my interest and scholarship to investigate what happens within the context of mythological text and imagery. Which is to say that while the novels are a study in themselves, they are also, from my perspective, a study of themselves.
But the books aren’t for everyone. I endured a 1-star rating recently on Goodreads and I suppose that’s going to happen, but it hurts and it baffles me. With the lengthy synopsis, the other positive ratings and the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon – all that advance information and opportunity to get a feel for things – I can’t figure how you order a novel that would be so disappointing that you effectively “hated it” which is what that rating is intended to communicate. Perhaps somebody gave it to them, who knows? It’s up to me to let it go and focus on the positives. Someday, hopefully, the books will garner enough positive reviews that a bad one here and there won’t be so affecting.
Meanwhile, it’s been a great month of sales – fifteen copies divvied up between all five formats and four markets, including USA, UK, France and Germany, Yay! I even sold two eBooks via my website – the $0.99 Bookfunnel promotional price finally ends on September 4th. I just need to somehow get from 15 sales a month to 15 sales a day and then I can break even on expenses. But one step at a time, right? Perhaps one of these days a copy of TC1 will end up in the hands of an appreciative person-of-influence. Until then, here’s to the new artwork for TC2 and the new members of the Time Crime Tribe reading TC1 – I so much hope that you enjoy the novel and please, if you like it, it helps a lot to say so with a review! Thanks.