The Devil In The Details

“Hi, my name is Larry, and I’m a—recovering—perfectionist.”

Alas, I’m not aware of any twelve step program for perfectionists, but if there were one I should definitely sign up and attend their support group meetings. As hard as I try not to sweat the small stuff, it seems like I’m still compelled to try to keep an eye on even the smallest of details. What’s worse, no matter how much time or effort I invest, I inevitably find mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes I’m able to take a deep breath and let it be. Other times … well, suffice it to say I’m not able to let it go.

For example. With the help of my wife and kids, along with a few family members and friends who were simply too stubborn to be chased away by my obsessive/compulsive nature, we largely built our own home. To be clear, there are dozens of tasks that I’ve never done before which I undertook on our home. As you can imagine, I made more than a few mistakes as I ‘learned on the job’ so to speak. From painful personal experience, I can assure you that learning finish carpentry is not best done by trial and error in an unsupervised setting. There’s one particular door that I hung … Let’s just say, to this day I have to ignore it or it drives me crazy. My wife assures me that no one else in the world sees any problem with the door. Maybe not, but I know it’s there, lurking behind its veneer of beautiful oak trim.

This little introduction brings me to the motivation for this post. As you might imagine, I can be a real stickler when it comes to my books, not the least being the detail in my cover artwork. My illustrator has been a real champ as he has patiently corrected the numerous little nit-picks that I’ve brought to his attention as we’ve worked through the development of the artwork.

As I posted in early August, I recently had Brian rework the artwork for Whispers From the Past, expanding it from the original eBook sized cover to a 9X14 inch image suitable for the print edition. Well, I just received and reviewed the printed proof of my about to be re-released edition which displays the new artwork. I uttered a sigh heard round the world when I discovered that not only did I position the image incorrectly, but there was a glaring content problem.

Image with door handle and hinges on the same side of the door.Anyway, before any of you eagle eyed fans notice and point out my mistake, I’m donning the cap of shame and admitting that I missed this particular detail. Not only did I post the artwork on my blog, but it made it all the way to my proof cover before I finally saw it. (For those with older eyes like mine, here’s a close up of the offending image.)

Yep, as you can clearly see, the door handle and the hinges on the personnel door somehow wound up on the same side. I don’t know how it happened, but there’s no denying what is clearly visible. Trying to track down how it could have happened, I even went back through the original sketches. Not once in the revision process was all the hardware mounted on the same side. Admittedly, Brian and I did swap sides with the hinges and the handle, but through it all we managed to keep it straight in the sketches.

Deciding the revolutionary new door design is less than optimal, I’ve spent a few hours correcting the artwork and uploading the revision to the printer. At this point, other than the digital images on this blog, the only published version of the incorrect artwork is sitting on my bookshelf. I’m still arguing with myself about what to do with the one-of-a-kind eyesore.

My internal dialogue has gone something like this. “If my Chet series catches on and I become famous some day, this bizarre proof copy will undoubtedly become a collector’s item. If that happens, I’d love nothing more than to give it to some down and out soul, who after my passing will discover that they have a one of a kind proof that they can sell to solve their financial woes.” It’s a pleasant pipe dream, but at the moment that’s all it is. The fact is, I doubt I’ll ever be rich, or famous. Still, if you happen to disagree with me and wish to be considered to receive possession of a proof displaying a completely unworkable door design, drop me a note. Who knows, in another hundred years or two it might actually be worth something.

Stranger things have happened, at least I suspect there have been …

Chet III Cover Reveal

After more than seven months, and in spite of some ongoing technical problems, I’m finally revealing the cover for the third novel in the Chet series. The book is titled Hidden in the Heart and it picks up where Strength Beyond Our Own left off.

Drum roll please …

Cover artwork for Chet: Hidden in the Heart
Cover artwork for Chet: Hidden in the Heart

As you can see, the cover artwork is a twilight scene and therefore tends toward a darker palette. When displayed on a computer monitor the cover looks great. Even in the darker shadows you can readily see the incredible detail that went into the artwork. Unfortunately, the darker areas of the print version looses much of the detail.

Having exhausted my knowledge of image manipulation, I’ve enlisted the help of a graphic expert whom I hope will be able to resolve the issue with the print edition. I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting this release and I’ve been working long hours to pull off a simultaneous, or at least a near simultaneous release of both the eBook and print versions.

Unfortunately, I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to be able to pull of the release as planned, or if the technical issues will force a delay of the print version. Either way, I hope you like the cover and look forward to your feedback.

Until next time …