Tag Archives: Miira

Using the Createspace cover template with Corel X8

This post is a bit premature as I haven’t yet shown you how to find the exact number of pages of your manuscript, but…I’ll do it now while it’s fresh in my mind. So, here goes. To create the cover, you will need:

  • the trim size of your finished book – i.e. the finished size you want the book to be. Mine is 5.5 x 8.5. You’ll find info. on trim sizes here.
  • the number of pages you end up with when you pour your manuscript into the appropriate trim size template – i.e. with the margins, etc., preset by the template.
  • and some kind of graphics package. The one I use is Corel Draw X8.

Finally, you will need the Createspace cover template for the trim size of your choice:

You can find the ‘Build Template’ here:

https://www.createspace.com/Help/Book/Artwork.do;jsessionid=5C5EE350ED4B426685472D15E9996AB3.2129a643a7ae5ba6aeba4b626969fb21

To use the Build Template, simply select the trim size of your book from the drop down list like so:

Then type the total number of pages into the box for ‘Number of Pages’ and click the ‘Build Template’ button. The little app. does its thing, and in a moment you should be looking at something like this:

Click the ‘Click here to begin Download’ button and save the file to your computer. As the file is a compressed zip file, you will need a program to unzip it. Most people use Winzip. I prefer a non-Microsoft product called PowerArchiver. Whichever product you use, the file will be unzipped to look like this:

5.5×8.5_BW_230 is the name of the unzipped cover template and it comes in two versions – pdf or png. As I don’t have an app that works with pdf files, I imported the png version of the file into Corel X8.

This is what it looks like:

 

The instructions for using the template start with ‘Create a new layer in your image editing software. This layer will serve as the design layer.’ In other words, keep the cover guide separate from the graphic you build on top of it.

This is good advice as you don’t want to accidently meld the guide and your cover, with potentially drastic results. Nevertheless, I didn’t use the layers in that way. After tracing the dimensions of the cover template, I superimposed the tracing over my background image and worked with the tracing on the same layer as everything else. That’s what the faint white line is on the cover:

 

I could have used the guidelines in X8, but at one point I had so many of them all over the place, it would have been impossible to see what I was doing. Now I just have to remember to delete the guidelines before I send the image off to Createspace. [And boy do I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself!]

I hope you’ve all had a pleasant weekend,

cheers

Meeks


Corel Draw X8 – Miira cover final

I thought that X8 would be X6 with a slightly different interface, but it does actually have some nice features that I wasn’t expecting – like links to some very sophisticated fountain fills and a much improved transparency feature. Those features may have influenced the rather radical changes I’ve made to the cover of the first book:

Unfortunately, the image doesn’t quite show the depth of colour in the cover as the CMYK black has come through as a rather washed out charcoal in RGB [for web display]. Once the cover is printed it will be much sharper and the silvers will ‘pop’ more…I hope. Anyway, I’ll probably fiddle with the balance a bit longer, especially if you guys point out things I’m too blind to see, but this is basically the front and back cover spread that will go to Createspace for the print version.

One of the hardest things to figure out was what to put on the spine. Once I’d worked out the total number of pages for Miira, including copyright, Afterword, etc., I plugged the number into Createspace’s calculator, and it spat out the exact size the spine must be. Unfortunately, as the first book is quite ‘slim’ there’s not that much real-estate to work with.

I experimented with a number of fonts, but none gave me the crisp look I was after. And then, as I looked at the circuit board, I suddenly realised that I had all the components from which to make my own ‘font’, one that would mimic the wiring of the circuit board. Thank goodness, the end result didn’t turn out to be too kitsch. The new look circuit board also gave me the pattern for the back cover blurb. Making the text fit, however, was another exercise in patience.

And finally, a word about the new background photo. I was all set to use the bush sunset photo I’ve shown you before when I found a pic I’d taken ages ago of my own backyard:

 

I was trying to capture the amazing play of light through the trees and fluked it. The shot is nowhere near perfect, and I haven’t touched it up in any way – I don’t know how – but I instantly knew it would give me the feel I’d been searching for. Pretty happy with the result but annoyed at myself for wasting time and money on the bush sunset pic. Ah well…

I promise to do a how-to post about the Createspace calculator as soon as my eyes uncross. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 


Faces

The SamuraiWhen I was eight, I’d race home from school so I could watch a Japanese TV show called The Samurai.

It was about a noble Samurai called Shintaro and his lovable but slightly daft side-kick/friend the good ninja.That’s them on the left.

Needless to say, I loved them both, and I loved the beauty of the minimalist Japanese decor and the moral values each episode upheld. In a way it was a Japanese version of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. And it had a profound effect upon me. Fast forward ten years and it influenced my decision to study Japanese at university.

But what does any of this have to do with faces?

Well, I wanted to explain why I have always loved Asian faces. Some women go for Jocks; I like short, dark and inscrutable. And the other day I found the face that sings ‘Kenneth!’ to me.[Kenneth is one of the main characters in Innerscape].

I don’t normally attach real faces to fictional characters but this face was just so perfect I could not resist. Kenneth is not meant to be Eurasian but this face reminds me of a cross between say Jet Li and John Cusack:

maybe kenneth 1

I think I may have found my Miira as well, but she is Eurasian so finding the right balance has not been easy. This is how I imagine her when she’s being the Lady of Dhurai.

maybe miira 3

Let me know what you think. Do these faces enhance your enjoyment of the story, or do they hobble your imagination and put you off?

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


‘Real’ Virtual Reality one step closer

As the pace of writing Innerscape accelerates, I’m finding echoes all over the place, and today was no exception. I found the following excerpt in a Venturebeat article – one of my favourite tech news sources :

“The VR experience is set in the Lord of the Rings universe, with viewers taking on the role of a hobbit thief. It began in a massive treasure chamber, one so large that I had to crane my neck fully to see it all. Dimly lit piles of coins shimmered under my feet. I could see even dimmer caves in the distance, set off by massive statues on either side. I had to physically turn around to take it all in.

Some of the coin piles began to move, with gold sliding down toward my virtual feet. Smaug, an enormous dragon, pushed his face out of a large pile and began to swim around the coins, Scrooge McDuck style. He began to speak in a thunderous voice, claiming that he could smell a thief among his treasures. Smaug circled me, forcing me to turn around in circles to keep track of his motion. His movements and voice became increasingly aggressive — so much so that I caught myself stepping back as he moved nearby….”

You can find the complete article at the following link, including a great photo of Smaug :

http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/04/weta-digital-partners-with-oculus-rift-and-epic-games-for-a-new-vr-experience/

[Translator’s note : Nvidia make graphic chips, Weta created Gollum et al., for the Lord of the Rings, and I assume Oculus created the VR device used in the virtual reality experience.]

I’m definitely not the first to imagine a virtual reality world, but at this rate I may become the first writer to publish a VR story just as virtual reality morphs from science fiction wish list to real reality.

Ouch. I think I twisted my brain with that last sentence. Anyway, enjoy the article while I get back to Miira and co. 🙂

Meeks


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