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 Ebook cover for the forthcoming novel. Print cover will be based on this.

Ebook cover for the forthcoming novel. Print cover will be based on this.

After about a year of composition, self-editing, beta reading, edits and rewrites, the Sea Goddess release is forthcoming soon. The image above is what I believe to be the final design for the ebook cover. The paperback cover will of course wrap around with a spine and back with all of the trimmings. But this post is about the art.

How does this look to you?

Please comment with your honest and tactful responses, especially about emotional tone. Does this cover give you an itch to pick up the physical book or to open the book’s preview and see if you’d want to read it? If not, why not?

The genre is literary and mainstream. The story is taken from life with my former wife who became a lifelong friend. Nancy was the inspiration for the character Jess in this book. It could have been a memoir except for that irresistible urge that drove me to enhance it slightly to create the most irresistible story I could tell.

Please use the comment function at the bottom of this blog post to offer any observations or suggestions about the cover. The icon is small so look carefully, on the left below the signature line.

Your constructive help is greatly appreciated. Does this cover pique your curiosity enough to give the book a chance?

Thanks in advance,

Joseph

Drunk Again

fall-leaves-3744649_1280.jpg

I'm drunk on love

In autumn's dawn

Soaked with pastel skies

Seduced by ground fog

Gray snakes find rivers

Water rejoins water again

Subtle miracles loop in time

Hushed visions beget peace

Bigleaf maple giants reach

To pastel dawn shades

Forging yet another ring

More wood before sleep

Then rapt in winter’s chill

They exhale patience

Whispered promises of

Gray geese flying home

Above a festival of green

I'm drunk again with love



I've Been Pregnant

  Tin Hau  before her name change, just before we acquired her.

Tin Hau before her name change, just before we acquired her.

I've “been pregnant" for the last nine months. Of course that's out of the ordinary for a man. No, I don't have some special physiology. But the metaphor isn't far off the mark to compare "birthing" a first novel-length work to what a woman might go through to reach a blessed event. There are long gestation and then a final agony of release that fulfill one's power to create life. Leading up to that event comes the long, slow march of ideas that starts with a climax of insight, and builds ever so slowly to another, and then another. Moments of new vision are some of our sweetest pleasures.

A baby starts as a few cells and gradually repeats all the stages of human evolution as it develops into that eventual sheaf of beauty and promise of a bright future, a new baby. Gestation lasts nine months, give or take, and that's how long it took to grow this book. Those weeks of toil were powered by sheer joy and pain recalled from my happiest years, the middle of my life.

Like many writers who may be new to fiction, I began with short stories, those sprints that prepare and strengthen a writer for the marathon. One day, three of my stories aligned like distant, luminous bodies on the horizon. They clustered to suggest one entity. On close inspection, they had gaps between them and like so many events in writers' lives, they pointed the way through to new work that a lizard-brain was trying to suggest, a new entity.

"What this needs," I realized, "is more narrative to close the gaps and flesh out this story into something whole and viable that can survive, and stand alone, strong and beautiful.”

Then came more months of revision, finding issues, fixing them, adding, subtracting; until that moment when the whole being emerged, complete. It drew its first breath and screamed out to my world "I live!" And it was not merely a tiny, squirming product of my intents. It was separate, powerful, a goddess. A Sea Goddess born of three parents; my wife, myself, and that trackless, watery wilderness full of life, that blood of our planet that we call the sea. Suddenly, breaking water astonished me. I had actually written a novel, forty-four thousand words in twelve chapters.

Sea Goddess is with her nurses now. She’s being readied by two sensitive, wise midwives who are helping dress her in her baptismal raiment. But soon, she'll emerge into the world, full of portent and for me, consequence, and maybe even some wisdom.

The release is soon to be announced and all are invited to attend, to meet her and enjoy her lines. Like a proud father, I'll sit on the side and absorb everyone's responses, both positive and negative, and learn. Then, after a little rest, I'll turn around and do it all again, hopefully even better.

Sea Goddess, a first novel-length work, lives and soon I'll be able to say where to find her.

JR