The Riyria Revelations discussion

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Book 3: Nyphron Rising > Progress on Book 3

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 347 comments Mod
With the first book of my series, (The Crown Conspiracy,) at bookstores, and the second, (Avempartha,) at my publisher, I am working on the third. The manuscript is presently awaiting a rough edit from my wife. While I pride myself on avoiding plot holes, sometimes you are blind to openings a truck could haul freight through. Robin is particularly good at catching me. She is a bit like Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny—the magician’s greatest nightmare—poking at my plots for weak points.

“Wouldn’t they check to see if they could all enter the prison using just their hands first? I know I wouldn’t stick my head in there before I was sure. Wouldn't Myron be concerned about leaving the horses behind? What if they don’t come back? Won’t the horses starve?”

We have been known to debate these kinds of issues for hours and sometimes the debates can get heated and loud. I’ve always wondered what the neighbors think. “Hon? The Sullivan’s are arguing again about whether you would stay conscious long enough to see a sword pulled slowly out of your stomach or not.”

As it happens however, Robin has been too busy to take red pen to my scores of beautifully lined up black letters, which, while I am certain this is a relief to the neighbors (and my daughter) it leaves me turning to other projects.

This weekend I began the rough sketches for the cover of the third book, which like book 2 will depict a scene from the story. I will be continuing the tradition of avoiding any depiction of characters. It is one thing to have an artist paint a picture of characters that don’t look at all like how you pictured them, and quite another to have the author do it. When I was a young man just starting college I had hoped to be a professional cover illustrator, and I learned that usually artists only have the back cover blurb and a few brief notes to go on. They don’t have the luxury or the time to read the story and authors rarely have any control over the cover art, or the book title. (Tolkien never liked the title The Return of the King that his publisher imposed, feeling that it gave the plot away.) This is why black-haired, brown-eyed characters sometimes appear on the cover with blond hair and blue eyes. Wanting to avoid shattering carefully built dreams, I decided to restrict the covers to landscapes inspired by the book.

Book one is a loose watercolor of Melengar in late autumn, Essendon castle on the right, the Galewyr River curving around and leading past the Wind’s Abbey on the left edge of the back cover. Book 2 was a no-brainer, it is a depiction of Avempartha, a view that Royce becomes quite familiar with. For book 3, I ran into trouble. Nothing has come immediately to mind, or rather several ideas have come to mind—all bad. Sadly, I am not nearly as good an illustrator as I would like to be—part of the reason I am a writer I suppose. I can think of a few scenes that would be great, but I don’t have the skill to make them work. Maybe one day…until then this is what I am struggling with so far.



message 2: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Hi Michael. I know you are published now but I was curious what have you done for a living prior to publishing your books? I have talked to your wife before. Robin is a very nice woman and great to talk to you. Take care and good luck with your next book.


message 3: by Heather (new)

Heather (ham1299) | 232 comments I wasn't aware of the issues authors have to deal with - from selecting a title to the cover art.


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 347 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Hi Michael. I know you are published now but I was curious what have you done for a living prior to publishing your books? I have talked to your wife before. Robin is a very nice woman and great to..."

I began trying to be an illustrator. I got a job at an art studio, but soon resigned to raise my children and take up writing.

I wrote for ten years. Getting nothing but rejections, I gave up and went back into commercial art as a designer then an art director. Eventually I owned my own advertising agency in Raleigh, NC where I worked as the Creative Director. The company was very successful, but ultimately repetitive and boring.

I closed the business three years ago to pursue writing full-time. I was notified a publisher had accepted my book a year ago. The book was released three months ago.




message 5: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Thats great. Thank you for taking time to respond too. Not many would do that. I look forward to reading your books. Good Luck to you.


message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 347 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Thats great. Thank you for taking time to respond too. Not many would do that. I look forward to reading your books. Good Luck to you. "

Thank you for being interested enough in me to ask.

It is not like I have to fight through a wall of paparazzi with sunglasses and a hood to go to the grocery store in the morning. I really have no idea if anyone out there knows I exist, much less cares what I think or--in this case--what I used to do for a living. Your curiosity is very flattering. And if I don't answer a question, it is a certainly that I just didn't see it.

Robin is the one that prowls this site and knows its trails, glades and corners. I get lost and can't remember where I posted, in what group, to what person. I can keep the plot of six complicated books in my head, but I can't navigate this forum worth a D--n.




message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 268 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I wasn't aware of the issues authors have to deal with - from selecting a title to the cover art. "

Well actually...authors usually don't get much say into either. The publisher has all the power in these matters. Michael is published through a "small press" and they are pretty accomodating. One of the advantages with dealing with them instead of a big NY firm where Michael would get no input.




message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather (ham1299) | 232 comments The publishing company I worked with was quite different. It was smaller, and had the author(s) involved in almost every aspect of the publishing of their work. From title design to layout and just about everything else, they were as involved as they wanted to be. But, it's a local publishing company, so I'm sure that's why it worked that way.


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