What the #@$& am I Looking At??

After a busy, busy week around the house, we really need to drop some updates!

Firstly, the first book in the Parliament of Twilight series is back in the top 20 for LGBT Horror.

ep 1 top 20 lgbt horror - 1-19-18

And that’s super, duper exciting after our feature on Queer Sci Fi earlier this week.

In addition to that (and only sort of related to our books but still awesome), Nevi has been working with a new art technique and it’s turned out some amazing results. You can see the first of them on her Deviant Art page.

For those of you who are hoping that we’ll drop some more things for you to spend money on, there is our Patreon page. We’re working on some exclusive content that will (fingers crossed) drop around the end of February and you’ll be the first in the know about our upcoming releases, get sneak peeks at the new covers as they are designed, and exclusive looks between the covers of the Parliament of Twilight books. Also, free eBooks of all our new releases for anyone who donates $5 or more per month.

And I thought there’d be more to talk about, but editing is pretty boring. It’s mostly me staring at words and praying they make sense outside of my head.

pexels-photo-68594.jpeg

Evolution

For those of you who have been following along since we began publishing the Parliament of Twilight books in early 2013, you’ve seen quite the evolution of our book covers. You know that I have always designed the covers. And those first covers were drawn by my writing partner Nevi and put into cover templates I “designed”.

They were lovely but the large paintings didn’t translate well to thumbnails and they certainly didn’t appeal to audiences who were willing to throw money at us.

 

So, I went to work redesigning the covers to meet the expectations of our intended market. And they were….. well…..

They were what they were. Not bad, but desperately trying to cater to a very specific audience in the M/M Romance genre while still making a valiant attempt to keep the horror element that runs through the world was hard. Sort of got it, but not really.

Our long time fans (all three of you) will also recall that the books themselves had a fatal flaw. We were writing stories meant to eventually overlap, but each story line was taking place at three different places on the time line. With overlapping secondary characters. It was getting impossible for us as the authors to keep the stories straight and I don’t even know how the handful of readers we had would have managed if our original plan of 3 or 4 books in each story arc had played out.

We did the only thing we thought we could. We re-branded, changing our label name from Wandering Stars Press (which was also the name of a comic book company anyway and was really messing up our  Google search results) to Hermit & Star Books. And we took the stories that we already had, fit them onto a single time line and began writing the missing pieces to thread them together and give more life to the secondary characters who were the backbone of the over all plot.

What came out of this re-do was the ensemble cast that we all know and love today. The stories made sense, the time line was smoothed out, and we were writing at a record pace. But the new books needed new covers. So I put myself through the process of learning a new set of tools. Something more than a photo editor and GIMP.

And they turned out beautifully. With amazing characters on dynamic backgrounds. The response from our readers was awesome. We’re not NYT best-sellers, but we’re regularly in the top 50 for LGBT Horror, so that’s something. And we make a few sales every month, earning enough for a cup of coffee or two.

But there was something off about the Episode 1 cover. Something that made it look out of place next to the other ones.

It was the first. I have learned many, many more tricks to making amazing renders, the program I use (DAZ Studio 3D) has been updated several times. I’ve found hours of tutorials for making my final products amazing.

After dealing with this for almost 3 years (Episode 1 released in late Feb 2015), I finally broke down and did what I swore I wasn’t going to do. I risked the endless cycle of fixing and redoing my past work to take it that elusive place called Perfection. I sat down and redid the cover from scratch. New character design for Jacob. New background. Updating the font and graphics to match the other books.

Then this …

episode 1 full wrap cover

Which wasn’t BAD, but it certainly wasn’t good either. It became something else. Something new and amazing. It became this…..

Copy of episode 1 full wrap cover VER2

 

And I am so much, much happier. I am in love with this cover. So much in love.

And  by the end of the weekend, this new amazingness should be posted on every site where our books are sold.

A Picture’s Worth

Malachite and Marius
Just one of the ten amazing pictures that will be in the Parliament of Twilight Episode 2 Illustrated Edition!!

Finished the formatting for the paperback version of Parliament of Twilight Episode 2 tonight!  And the cover is looking super nice as well.  It just needs a few little tweaks.  We will probably be ready to order a proof copy by the end of the weekend.  The eBook format will take a little longer, since it is really tricky getting the pictures in just right.  We should have an official release date anytime now!

Also, while we are talking about the pictures, in the coming weeks, we will be updating our Zazzle and Etsy stores to include several different ways you can get full color versions of some of the illustrations.  Stay tuned for more info about that.

Is there one that you are particularly fond of?  Let me know via Facebook message or email at hermitstarbooks@outlook.com and I’ll pass the message on to Nevi so she knows which of the illustrations people want to see in color!  There are also some fanart and original pieces already available at our stores!  Don’t be shy about checking them out.  Every like, share, and of course, every sale, is greatly appreciated!