Fake Book Cover #2, Round #2


Poking at the horror cover some more. Thank you all for the feedback (I think I gotta backburner the garden one for a bit–I’ve hit the point where I’ve stared at it for so long that it no longer has any visual meaning.)


On this one, I discovered that it got a little less saturated in my posting of it, so here is another version–bumped up the saturation on the colors, lowered the brightness on the title, made the blurb bolder, and bumped up the kerning between the letters by about ten points (not sure if anyone can tell…)

This feels almost too easy–dark woods, slap title on, call it a day. I suspect I may have gotten lucky that I have a very creepy driveway and a lot of photoshop actions at my disposal, but still, shouldn’t there be some way that I can do ten times as much work and make it ten percent better? (Pardon, my Catholic is showing…)

And then I start thinking that maybe there’s a certain sort of cover where any photo you take of anything is creepy if you flatten it out and make it dark enough and then put a particular sort of font on it and what if I could make a supernatural horror cover out of anything, I could wander around taking photos of pigeons and my long-stuffering barista and the recycling bins behind the coffee shop–“RECYCLING: TERROR COMES BACK OVER AND OVER AGAIN!”–and go MAD WITH POWER and then I need to go lie down for a minute with a damp cloth over my eyes.

Fake Book Covers, Round Two!

After all the great input (and I appreciate it!) on Livejournal, here’s round two of the first fake cover!


I lightened the background and ran a light green gradient over it to make it contrast more starkly with the dark swatch, ran the author name to the edges to match the title, and increased the size of “THAT.” Ditched the words at the top, and made the little memoir bit not-a-script so it doesn’t contrast so starkly. Feedback welcome!

And now, for another small design amusement, here’s my attempt at a horror cover:


There is actually a chance I will someday publish a horror novel called “The Twisted Ones” since I have it about 30K written, but it’s a ways off. (Actually, I should probably put a THIRD pen name on these suckers so that people don’t trip over the images a few years hence and think I’ve written books I haven’t written…unngh. Too many of me! Still, maybe I’ll finally get a chance to be Ingrid Quaile…)


I make a big deal about the ruthlessness of gardening and all, how I am a mighty slayer of weeds and bane of invasives, but the truth is that I just transplanted a plant that wasn’t doing well, and when I lifted it out, an earthworm was left behind in the hole.

So then I had to go back and get the plant’s worm for it because I was afraid that they might be friends.

Book tour!

Book Tour Public Events:

Monday 3/14:

7:30 pm
Takoma Park Library
101 Philadelphia Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

Thursday 3/16:

6:30 pm
An Unlikely Story Bookstore
111 South St, Plainville, MA 02762

Wednesday 3/23:

6:30 pm
The Red Balloon Bookshop.
891 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105

(ZOMG I used to live down the road from there!)

If you’re local, please come out! I love to see people who know me as not-a-children’s-author. It reminds me of my real life, where I am weird and not entirely respectable and eat regrettable food and plant bulbs and have a pen name.

Year! In! Review!

Well, 2015 draws to a close, and I think I speak for most of us when I say “Wait, how is it not still October?” I think I lost the last quarter of the year somewhere.

It was a year. Yep. Twelve months, apparently.

Let’s see. Professionally, it was quite a year. In 2015, I published four books and re-released another–Castle Hangnail, Hamster Princess 1, and Dragonbreath 10, as Ursula Vernon and Bryony & Roses and Seventh Bride as T. Kingfisher. Three short stories–“Pocosin,” “Wooden Feathers,” and “Telling the Bees.” Sold 3 more hamster books and a standalone middle-grade novel, wrote and sold two short stories and a novelette that will be out next year. And got my first movie option, to Disney, for Castle Hangnail.

In prep for next year, I finished off art for Hamster 2, did all the art for Hamster 3, and the art for Dragonbreath 11. (That’s around 350 drawings, all told.) I also wrote Dragonbreath 11, Hamster 3, and am about halfway through both Hamster 4 & another standalone, Illuminations. Finished The Raven & The Reindeer as T. Kingfisher. (Books often span multiple years for me, so I’m never sure how to record them. Here–“Worked on other future books.” There, that should cover it.)

Also, I won a Nebula and a WSFA Small Press award and got an Alfie and got nominated for a World Fantasy Award, which basically went down and ticked off a bunch of boxes on the ‘ol life goal front.

I am still a little boggled by all that. It would be hard to top 2015 in terms of professional goals accomplished. I’m on track for almost the same number of publications next year, lord willing and the creek don’t rise, but I’m really quite okay if things take a bit of a breather in 2016.

Creatively, I did fairly few paintings last year that weren’t for a book, but I did at least four I’m quite proud of. And I started doing these weird little journal pages, which is probably the greatest accomplishment of the year, and they clicked somehow, because I didn’t get bored with them after doing three, which is my usual M.O. Recorded a bunch of podcasts–like 150 Hidden Almanacs, if my math isn’t wrong, and a couple dozen KUECs.

In the garden, I laid a couple thousand pounds of stone, finished off one of the paths, got the front Under Control (at least for a few years.) Grew a lot of beans, one perfect squash, a bunch of cherry tomatoes and ground cherries, and All The Peppers, including the terrifying Carolina Reaper. I also cracked 500 species recorded in the garden! (Mostly moths.)

When I look over all these things, it seems like the story of whales eaten one bite at a time–huge projects completed just by plugging away, day in and day out. Which is basically what I’m good at.

In travel, went to Botswana. Which was amazing. The big thing. This will be the year I remember as “the year I went to Botswana.” It was huge and wild and mind-boggling. Did a few local trips in the US as well, did some birding, did a book tour, met a lot of people.

Personally is where the year got hard. We lost both Brandon the dog and Angus the cat at the beginning of the year. Brandon was expected, somewhat, as much as you ever expect these things, but Angus was out of the blue. Our eventual quest to get another dog was much more fraught and stressful than expected, but near the end of the year, we wound up with Lacey, aka New Hound, aka Houndoom, who is a lovely, loving, cheerful dog. (She thinks her name is “Sweetie-bear” but as she does not come when called, this is not a problem.) We also got two new kittens, Tiny Orange & Tiny Tortie, who have real names which no one uses, except occasionally Kevin.

And this was the year I finally went down for the anxiety count, and had to go back to meds. Which was a damn good thing, ultimately. Too many whales to eat, I think, and too much stress on top of it. I hope that next year will run a little more smoothly as a result.

But, y’know, Kevin and I continue to enjoy each other’s company and have each other’s backs. I have hobbies I like (and when the garden gets away from me, as it always does sometime in the summer, I have video games.) I have projects that I still like poking at, and people keep paying me to make weird podcasts and write weird books.

So–mixed bag of a year, all around. Great stuff, terrible stuff, a lot of stuff in between. Which is life, after all.

Happy upcoming 2016 to all!