The Nameless Horror

Working sample

Working! Pub Friday [or at least it was when I wrote this] and I’m working. The book is weird, but good. And all I’m writing on first pass is dialogue and basic stage directions.

S: And the sea, the sea is something else. It wants you back, always just over that horizon. It’s why the guys who work the boats are always so angry. You notice that? Every brawl I ever broke up was fellers off the boats. I like the trees. There’s a world in there, and when you want to, and it’s close enough, you can just walk into it.

G: She got off the ferry, and she had a bag with her. And no one saw where she went.

S: One day the fog will come down and never leave, and that’ll be that. Boats or no.

G: So where did Riley go?

S: Probably wanted to get away from the water.

G: Same as Arlene.

S: She should’ve had a coat. We never found a coat.

G: Why was Eric going to shoot you, Chief?

S: I explained things to him he didn’t want to hear.

G: Worth killing for?

S: He didn’t kill me.

I once explained this story as being “something close to a cozy”. And it is, but not. Very much not.

Don't know much about typography

I have been Very Busy of late. Partly this has been due to a mag deadline, which are always something of a cram job. Partly this has been due to editing work, which continues to keep my filthy hands from falling idle. Partly I’ve been (painlessly, as it turns out; which was nice given that my editing services page is by far the most critical element piece of web real estate I’ve ever had) switching over to Amazon S3 hosting for convenience and cheapness. And partly it’s been because I’ve been rejiggering cover designs to finally sort out my typography.

At the start of this month I alluded to having to decide what to do with my increasingly decrepit shelf of existing work. I was thinking of setting it all free, switching over to a tipjar, and forgetting about it. This is what I’ve done (although setting things free on Amazon means tediously spamming the “report a lower price” link for each until SUCCESS). But since I was going to do final updates to each - stripping out afterwords, finalising the ‘also by’ page, and including a big note at the front saying “you shouldn’t pay money for this” - it gave me the chance to sort out cover typography.

Now, I quite enjoy jacket design, and (I like to think) I’m reasonably proficient at it on the graphics side. But I’ve always struggled to get my text right. The old versions were OK, passable, but not quite slick enough. There’s also the question of “branding”. At Polis, Jason was going to release everything under one name, regardless of what they’d been under before, to make for a consistent identity. Which is a fine idea, but in the UK I’ve had two and I’m not sure which has more pull (for a given value of “pull” roughly equal to the strength of a soft fart on a warm summer’s day). “John Rickards” was probably more commercially successful, but “Sean Cregan” was better and more recent (and for some reason is a lot easier to get correct results for in the shitty search engine used by iTunes). An alternative to using a single name is to adopt a single look, a shared design used across both. Which, after much monkeying around, is what I’ve got.

The Touch of Ghosts The Darkness Inside Burial Ground The Desperate, The Dying, And The Damned Day Zero Murder Park All You Leave Behind

The only time I had to break format slightly was with DDD, but thankfully with three equal lines in the title it just meant missing off the tagline. TDI came close - “the darkness” turns out to use a lot of wide characters - but thankfully once properly kerned, the top line just about fit.

I’m happy with the design, and it’ll be easy to use in future. One thing I’ll certainly think about now that I’ve never really considered before is whether or not a putative title for a book will actually work on a cover without totally changing the look you use. AYLB was always a nuisance in the past, but works OK here. DDD has a nice rhythm to it and it should be easy to balance each line with the next, as I had before, but it became a real pain. I’ve noticed I’m starting to sit on a reasonable pile of finished or near-finished work of one sort or another, so I suspect I’m going to have to bear that in mind before too long.

Anyway, as you were.

The Escalating Scale of Drunkenness, Explained

The thing about one drink — a glass of liquor we’re talking about, hopefully a stiff pour — is that it doesn’t involve enough alcohol to make anything stop working. Your eyesight, your natural grace, your moral compass — they’re all left intact. Because one drink doesn’t compromise anything.

Link roundup Mar 6