Thursday, July 31, 2014

By the way; in response to questions about the way the names of certain people/dogs/places are pronounced, here's a phonetic list of some of the ones you'll most often encounter in the series:

"Abelyarde", Abel's first name as the Claire's captain, is pronounced "Uh-BELL-yurd".
"Caupoc" = "Cho-POCK"
"Lawrie" = "Law" rhymes with (appropriately) "chow", not "law".
"E-Etrusca" = "Aye-eh-TROOS-kah"
"Waraq" = "Wah-RAH-kuh"
"Marisco" = "MOUR (rhyms with "our")-iss-koe"
"Paruparo" (Coco) = "Pah-ROO-Pah-roe"
"Rube" (Cochrane) = "Ruby"
"Jadzsi" = "JAAHD-see"
"Mira" = "MEE-rah"
"Mount/Glenn Bracken" = "BRAH-ken"
"Espiridion" = "Es-peer-EE-dee-ahn"
"Tumac" = "TOO-mock"
"Ramon" = "Rah-MOHN"
"Kyeto Tlatli" = "KOY-eh-toe TLAH-TLEE" (This last name has a double "tongue-click" that's hard to pronounce; it's a sound common in Nahuatl, which is, by the way, pronounced "NAH-WATT").
"Lazario Belle-Aves" = "Lah-SARE-ee-oh BELL Ah-VAZE"
"Lucjan" (Cass's real first name) = "Loo-KAHN"
"BelCampo" = "Bell-KAHM-poe"
 "Anais" = "Ah-nye-EES"
"Akele" = "Ah-KAY-lee"
"Maiqui" = "My-KEE"
"N'Dolo" = "En-DOH-lo"
"Mbembwe" (Cyrus) = "Em-BEM-bway"
"Tia" ="TEE-ah"
"Mircea" = "MEER-shah"
"Miri (Burningwind) = "MEER-ee"
"Cholley" (Cap'n) = "CHAH-lee" (You'd be surprised how many people mispronounce "Cholley"!)
"Auguste des Anges" = "Ah-GOOST deh-SAHN-jas"
"Antwane Charbeau" = "Ann-TWAHN Shar-BOW"
"D'Senga" (the cabinetmaker) = "Doo-SHANG-gah"

AND: I should have listed it here, but comments regarding the DOPS series should come to; for info/comments regarding childrens' titles, the address is

This, by the way, is the Claire du Lac Cruise Line logo:
(The slogan, in French, roughly translates to "Set Sail & Celebrate!")

Below is the bow-art of the Claire du Monde, Abel's ship:

The latter half of July finds me with a new laptop, another HP Pavilion, which is lighter than the old one, and more importantly, runs much less hot; no more lugging that huge, 6-inch cooling fan pad around! The new machine also has more RAM, always a boon to those working with powerful 3D modeling/animation/graphics programs. The cons? WINDOWS 8.1. U.G.H.. While it only took a few minutes for me to learn the ins and outs of the new OS, I find it to be a tremendous nuisance; every time I'm working near the margins that silly column of icons flies out. There's probably a way to disable it but I'm too lazy after having to download and customize all that software to go hunting for it. The long and the short of it is that despite this machine's being easier to work with (and yes, I could reconfigure Windows 8.1 to look like Windows 7) I still like my heavy old workhorse better; it's outperformed Dell, Apple, and Toshiba (not to mention a geriatric IBM), and I give kudos to HP for this, despite the fact that their printers are not my favorite peripherals (ink-greedy).

This having said, I won't even go into what it took me to update the near-dozen Adobe programs I'm running; at the same time I "upgraded" to 8.1 Adobe decided to revamp its CC software (which is the online-only step above CS 6 versions) to CC 2014, which converted all my legit copies to trial-only versions...there went another 2.5 hours down the drain, chatting with the thank-God-helpful Adobe tech. computer, big deal, it's cool now, I'm cool now.

Since the release of all three versions of The Shadow-Dogs Journeys, work has continued sporadically on Collin O'Daurc, and DOPS VI (Nightingale). I've also done something I normally don't do, which is start on the D6 illustrations! Usually, I have to be pinned down and threatened in order to get me to draw anything, but this time I actually dove right in with a frontpiece of Kanga (who is "the Nightingale" introduced in D5). This was followed by a double-page spread of the captain's quarters of the Claire du Monde, with Abel and Baron; and a bonzer-fine crib it is, too! Then came the title page spread, which for the first time shows the top two DOPS "power duos", Cass & Lawrie/Abel & Baron, together. And, the Claire herself fills the page, behind Baron. This is one of the "really big things" to happen in the series so far, as it of course brings the Cass/Abel storylines together, and they thereafter continue for the rest of the series as an interwoven braid rather than two parallel but separate storylines.

Abel, Lawrie and Cass in Cormorant Atoll
(Baron, who's on the left, is on the other page, which isn't visible in this inset. This detail of the right-hand page of the title spread also give you a glimpse of the Claire du Lac logo on Abel's uniform, which insignia and slogan--"Celebrate & Set Sail" in French--also appears on the bows of all the Claire liners. A tiny bit of the Claire herself is visible as what appears to be a white building behind and above Abel on the left border.)

Readers have asked about character developments, and what happens to whom, and if there will be more major characters introduced; that last part I can't answer, since I've not gone beyond a rough synopsis for D7 and D8. I can't tell you the major things, because that would entail huge spoilers, but I can reveal or elaborate on the "minor" things, since most readers have already begun to note the changes.

Ramon, as everyone has no doubt realized, has become a more important figure than originally planned, as has Caupoc; Caupoc is at least as important as the Calderons (Evito & Tia), and Ramon even more so. (Caupoc's name is, by the way, pronounced "CHAH-puk".) However, in D6 you don't hear as much about Coco or Tumac, though Marisco figures as prominently now as Ramon, whose sidekick he becomes as unlikely as that seems. Marisco has been an interesting one to "flesh out", as he always seemed rather 2D to me, and it's been a challenge to "un-flatten" him and make him seem real. Which brings me to remark that Baron as a major character came out of nowhere; as far as I was concerned, as recently as the end of D4 he was just a leg-in-a-cistern (when he wasn't scaring the wee out of Gus at the beach). Well, THAT sure changed, eh what? He's catapulted to the front row, so to speak, and is now as important as Abel, Cass and Lawrie! 

Another character who's already been introduced but morphs later into a major player is Dr. John Birdee, the fiery Mohawk doc who can't resist piling into Lawrie every chance he gets. And, two important secondary characters who have yet to be introduced in person though I believe I've already referred to them (somewhere)--my guess is they'll become permanent in D7 though I'm not sure--are Marcus and Slate, an electrician and his apprentice who also turns out to be a talented welder/sculptor. Also, the Lawrie clan figures in the rest of the series, as does everybody's un-favorite pirate, Pilea. For other interesting folks like Auguste des Anges ("the Squire"), Pastor Musty and Captain Benjamin Silver ("Cap'n Ben") we can only wait and see. However, as you would imagine, Heidi and Lou Saperstein continue to appear as important "tertiary" characters (folks like Cato, Jon, Mario and Gus being "secondary" characters), and as the kids grow up, so do they, since adult-style tribulations loom...

So, that's the very latest in DOPS news, and as always, thanks for your interest and support, and God bless 'til the next time!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July has been a busy month; Sally Lightfoot's Journey, a children's picture book for toddler thru elementary ages, has been reissued, hopefully in a better Kindle format thanks to Amazon's Kindle Comic Creator software which is still fairly new.

However, the publishing of The Shadow-Dogs Journeys was rather unexpected; it was a project I pulled out of an archived folder, said, "Okay, this isn't too bad, and the pics are fun", and issued in large-print, digital, and 6X9 trade paper format.

This one's quite unusual; we'll see what reviewers think. There haven't been any reviews yet as this is still a brand-new release.

Work on the C. S. Walkingheart web site continues--it has pages for Pilothead Press and Sanderling Shores, and the individual books issued by each.

AND--the first review came back for DOPS V! The reader said it was a "beautiful story" and I'm very relieved, because it was rather a departure from the action/suspense of DOPS IV, dealing as it does with Cass & Lawrie's relationship, which has always intrigued fans of the series. May it continue to be as well the way, here's the D5 cover:

AND/'s the tentative conceptual cover for Nightingale, DOPS VI:

The only problem is that it's quite a gloomy color scheme, and D6 is a happy book! So some adjustments may well take place.

By contrast, here's the cover for Collin O'Daurc, a fantasy that's much more a quick-read than DOPS:

By the way, you can preview Collin in the Preview Gallery at CreateSpace, which prints my books. This book is completely different from DOPS, a for the most lighthearted fantasy about a hair-stylist who has a stroke and wakes up to find himself in Tahiti and in the company of the presumably-deceased artist Paul Gauguin and his (historically undocumented) daughter, Jaune Brilliant. Although DOPS is quite funny in many places, this book could be classified Humor as well as Fiction or Fantasy. The book isn't finished, however, and I'm not sure when it will be.

That carries me up to the present; my main project at present is the web site, which will of course be linked to this blog. Also, I've started on the illustrations for D6 (witness the cover conceptual), which is unusual--because I don't particularly enjoy any type of art other than design work, I always have a fight with myself to get these books illustrated! However, of late it's been better, I'm almost enjoying the process, which is a big, positive thing!!!