3D render

Image showing three book covers by Pax Asteriae (Maddeson's Selkie, The Night Fair and The Fair Automaton) overlaid with the text "Revised Covers!"

New (More Blatantly M/M Romance) Covers and Book Layouts!

I've been increasingly dissatisfied with the covers of some of my books, but in a couple of cases the technology wasn't quite up there with what I wanted when I did them.  And in the cases where it was, unfortunately my hardware very definitely wasn't!

Anyway, over the course of several weeks I've been revising the covers, and I'm fairly satisfied with the results.  (Well, until maybe a year from now...!)  Additionally, I've updated the interior layouts of all four books with proper back matter - I suppose I should stop hiding that I wrote four stories, right? - which proved... interesting.

The 'several weeks' in question mostly refers to the amount of time it took to render the images.  My computer, albeit newish, isn't a dedicated render machine; I bought it for playing games I already owned, because I didn't anticipate falling back in to 3D work again. Poor thing hasn't quite grasped what's happening to it yet, but it does the very best it can which, if you give it enough time, is as good as any of the flashier machines with far more advanced graphics cards.

And then, to add insult to many, many days' injury, is that once I'd finished all the covers (and worked out which ones I was supposed to be using for The Fair Automaton) the ebook files kept throwing all kinds of mysterious wobblies.  Images would vanish from inside them, mostly, or suddenly pretend they weren't there when they were. I had to move them all to a cloud drive to keep them in line.

And speaking of 'in line,' I think these are a little more in line with what people expect from the genre. I can't really see them leading to any change in sales, but I'm much happier with them for myself, which is probably more important.  Not, like, a lot more important, but still.

The only thing I'm a little irritated about is that I really, really liked the new cover for The Night Fair, particularly Iphre's hair... but now I've finished, I actually prefer Maddeson's Selkie.  I'm sorry, Iphre!  And the cover for The Fair Automaton is a lot more in line with what I'd wanted - if it hadn't worked out, I'd have gone for a picture of one of the characters leaning over a wooden railing, a scene that happens in the story. But I'd feel a little like I was betraying the plot, since it's the machine itself that's so important to the story, and to North's confused feelings.

What's harder to see in the cover for The Fair Automaton, but what amuses me mightily, is that part of the reflection visible in the automaton's body is actually North.

Well, I suppose you've got to take your enjoyment where you can, right?

Status Update July 2020 - Of Renders, Awards, and Not Writing (featuring handsome naked Alex) - Pax Asteriae Fiction

Status Update July 2020 – Of Renders, Awards, and Not Writing

A 3D image of a naked Alex Jaska, created by Pax Asteriae for their cellphone. (Not this image, obviously; this one's far too small.)

The bank’s sorted, although not without my getting angry. They say they locked my entire account — in the middle of a global pandemic — because I hadn’t logged into online banking in 6 months. Which I would have known, they say, if I’d logged into my online account. But I hadn’t. And they failed to inform me of this in writing so unsurprisingly I had no idea.

I am genuinely considering contacting one of the financial pages in a newspaper to ask if this kind of asshattery is considered normal. I’ve banked with the NatWest for a depressing 20 years (the same amount of time, funnily enough, that I’ve had this mobile number). I can’t see myself banking with them for another 5 now, let alone another 20.

Corporate stupidity aside, life continues much as normal, which is with a fair bit of work and not much writing. My wildly self-indulgent project named itself last night. Peculiar, given I can’t get actual projects to name themselves, but there we go. It’s called The Bastard and the Deep Blue Sea (and I can call it that because it’s wildly self-indulgent and no one else is gonna see it~) and I can even see how the cover will look. I drafted out the text layout last night.

Now I just need to write more than four and a half chapters, when work and home life will allow.

Thing is, I got back into the 3D work I used to do a long time ago, and it keeps distracting me. At least this kind of procrastination is productive, though. To your left there is Alex, one of the Radial main characters. I can now finally render fairly realistic looking versions of my boys. (And that is my new phone background!)

And, bonus, I can now render smutty pictures of them, which amuses me vastly.

The strangest thing about it is, even though it’s procrastination — you can lose hours without even realising just from tweaking skin settings and minutely adjusting lights — it’s a little like digital colouring for me: it forces me to think. The wildly self-indulgent project came about from a render I did for a challenge: I fiddled around, created a character, and suddenly he had a plot and back story and was demanding I write about him. (He may now have changed his mind on that.) A weird but fun post-Fourth Arc story for Radial turned up in my head while noodling around with one of the aforementioned smutty pictures of Milos and Alex.

And, slightly more weirdly, another render I did for that challenge was an Honourable Mention and won me $5. Which I was happy about not for the cash, but because I really enjoyed setting up that render. It almost came together by itself and the end result both came out how I’d wanted and rendered very quickly (not a guaranteed thing!) so I was on the whole very happy.

Not sure what to do with all the renders. I’m having fun creating pictures of Alex and Milos’s everyday life to a certain degree — there’s a sparring picture from the Fourth Arc, and one of Milos training with his long-suffering martial arts instructor (who turned out to look a bit like Sean Bean). I should probably add them to Patreon, free for the ones I already shared elsewhere, and maybe figure out a tier (or add a new one) for the smutty stuff. I don’t know.

So… not dead yet. Still coming up with stories, even if I’m still struggling to actually write. Even when I remind myself that no one else is gonna read TB&TDBS, sometimes I still freeze up. I’ll get over it soon, at least for that. And I’d like to be able to figure out where the story’s going for this intriguing Radial story that seems to start with an unexpected romantic getaway under the guise of work, and then actually turns into work.

We’ll see how things go.

I’ll get around to sharing pictures of my bullet journal at some point too.