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The Dwellers Below!

Those of us here at the Eighth City Blog are proud to announce the release of The Dwellers Below, the third installment of The Eighth City series. Follow Sebastian as he learns about the gang that has taken him in and strives to prove himself worthy in their eyes. How did a blind girl survive the hostile Below? How did it come to be that the kota, an ancient practice, is practiced beneath the The Clockwork City? And how are they all connected?

Find out the answers to these question and more in “The Dwellers Below!”

Now available at Smashwords and Amazon. Coming soon to all major online eBook retailers!The Dwellers Below Cover

What The Eighth City Would Look Like as a Graphic Novel

A Cradle for the FallenIf somebody out there is every interested in making a graphic novel version of The Eighth City I’d love to hear it! I think this came out pretty cool 😀

R.C.

 

Re-release!


The Eighth City Book Cover

We’ve re-released A Torch in the Darkness! It now includes The MapOur Bios, and many suggested edits from readers! Currently you can download it via Smashwords in any format you desire. It will be available on Amazon in less than 12 hours and most other retailers within a week! However, if you really can’t wait you can read it here on our very own blog or if you want to see all of the fancy pictures you can visit Scribd and read or download it for free there!

 

We’re really excited about the re-release as it is our way of thanking YOU, our readers for all the incredible feedback! And now to get the third one released for all of you waiting out there!

 

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Map of the Enlightened Continent!

Map of the Enlightened Continent!

Here is the map of the world the Eighth City is set in! Trish has been working hard on it for a while now and I would say that she has outdone herself.
A Torch in the Darkness will be re-released within the next week so that it includes this map as well as edits suggested by many of the readers. Can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks!

Aside

Left Behind….

The Egyptians have the pyramids. The Romans left the Colosseum. The Chinese built a great wall. Civilizations the world over have left landmarks as monuments to their tremendous power, their ability to control the people and land around them. These colossal structures require the coordination of thousands of people and millions of man hours. Job specific expertise, creativity, impressive mathematics, and technological innovations made each of these awe inspiring sights possible. In reflecting on today’s world, what some might call the technological apex of the human race,  one can’t help but wonder what is it we’re leaving behind (aside, perhaps, from extreme environmental changes) for future generations to marvel at.

As a reader and a writer I hesitate to say it but it seems to me that our legacy lives on in movies. Much like the Great Lighthouse they require vision, planning, expertise, and millions of man hours. And much like the Parthenon generation after generation has flocked to see them. I think it’s worth considering then, how we make and culturally value these monuments to our own legacy.

We’ve seen that the movie industry overworks and underpays the visual effects studios that make Hollywood blockbusters such beautiful and exciting spectacles. This is, in some ways, reminiscent of the way slaves were worked to their death to produce the pyramids. Furthermore, it doesn’t take too long to find successful YouTube channels like Honest Trailers and CinemaSins that poke holes in basic plot and continuity errors in million dollar productions. That is like going to see the Great Wall and finding out it has massive, mile long gaps in it because “That terrain was REALLY hard to build on”.

Perhaps, if feature length films (FBI warning and all) are going to be what we leave behind to remind future generations of our accomplishments, we should leave something that doesn’t share the bloody history of the pyramids or contain obvious errors. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies. I’m the same guy who came out of the Avengers, a decidedly imperfect film, going, “WOW THAT WAS AWESOME!” I’m just suggesting that we value them more, hold them to higher standards, and celebrate the people that make them as the cultural directors that they are.

Guest Post: Gaele from I am, Indeed

Gaele, a reader of independent books was kind enough to write a really interesting guest post for our blog about what reading and reviewing for Indie authors is like. Enjoy!

“We read to know that we are not alone.” — C.S. Lewis

This is one of the first quotes that I ever found that spoke to my thoughts in a complete and succinct way.  When people ask why I read books, they might as well ask why I breathe: books are an integral part of my existence.  I started reading and sharing the title I just finished when I was very young, and never really stopped, although the circles that I share information with has grown substantially.  I now consider myself a “professional reader”: not because I get paid for the time and effort (because I don’t) but because I am truly working every day to read and provide the best review possible for every book I encounter.  We edit, we rewrite, we talk to others who have book blogging experience and ask about books, how to phrase things: every time a review posts we hope it will be well received.   We care.  You want ‘professional readers’ to review your book, most of us provide information that will help other readers decide to read it as well.

The explosion of the eBook market and self-publishing has exponentially increased the pool of titles available to read and review.  I decided to focus on the Independent market specifically because I was seeing many lamentations about the difficulty in finding reviewers for their titles.  With over 17 MILLION individual titles on Amazon alone: it is no wonder marketing and getting the word out on a title is difficult.  The reality of the fact is this: traditional publishers with deep pockets, promotional budgets and marketing teams are options for a very few.  Most will jump on an author after they have a proven grassroots movement: not everyone who writes a book will make a living doing just that. This is not to say that there aren’t some authors who have everything – clean style, effective characterization, emotional pull, great ideas and world building, and a story that keeps you engaged.  But they need help being seen.  And that is where I and other professional reader/reviewers come into the scene.

To that end, most professional reader/reviewers will maintain a good/bad/good approach when drafting their reviews.  This means that we comment to the good parts: unique storyline, emotional conviction, character voicing and dialog, world-building.  We will use examples that detail the positive comments. We then will discuss what may not have worked for us – using examples that show anyone who encounters the review where they found the problem.  Each one of us is fully aware of our own prejudices and dislikes, and we are also aware that someone may read the book specifically for the issue we detailed.  People are funny like that.  But, it is important to example issues that you encounter. Personally I try to end a review with another positive note, find a reason why someone should read the book, what kept me reading the book despite the issues I found.    Understand that not everyone will love every book, but most of the professional reader / reviewers that I know really do want to provide a review that makes sense, and that a reader can use to make a choice to purchase and read.

As a reader, you can use a reviewer’s input to make your decision to purchase or investigate an author that is new to you.  One of the great things about the online book sellers is that most will allow you to sample the first few pages of a book. After you’ve tried that, look at the reviews.  Find a review that mentions and speaks to elements in a book that are important to you.  Read more than just one or two reviews – I always read the lowest rated reviews, and a couple in the middle to see what people think.  I discount all reviews that are summaries of storyline and those that don’t mention the quality of the book in any way: character development, plotting, pacing, dialogue, romance, action, or mystery.  I look for reviews that speak TO encourage you to read a book by providing both positive and negative information in a way that is helpful in making a decision.  Most of all, when you read the book description or sample a passage, it should excite you: you should want to read the book and want to enjoy it. If it doesn’t grab you by the throat and demand that you read it tonight – that most probably is not the book for you at that moment.  Tomorrow may be different, but today, when you are making the purchase, if you are not excited TO read the book, the book will not display its treasures to you.

~Gaele  I am, Indeed

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Updates!

Hello Friends!

We’ve been rather silent for a while and I must apologize for that. The good news is we haven’t gone away. In fact we have some exciting things coming up.

Gaele from I am, Indeed will be doing a guest post about what it’s like to read and review Indie books. The post will tackle Independent publishing from the angle of a reader and reviewer. Check out Gaele’s blog if you’re interested in finding great reads by self published authors!

Furthermore, we have an artistic surprise coming up. It was slated to arrive sooner but unfortunately Trish suffered an injury to her hand that prevented her from completing it. However, she is making a recovery so keep your eyes open for a really fun post coming about as well!

Lastly, the third installment is coming along slow but sure. It’s going to offer a deeper look at Pan and Sebastian and the dangerous world of the Below. I’ve been traveling a lot for a new job, which has slowed progress but once everything settles down they’ll start cranking out once again.

And just so you know I’m not lying, here is my favorite photo from my recent travel:

photo

 

R.C.

New Release! The Eighth City: A Cradle for the Fallen

The second installment to the Eighth City series is live! It’s on Smashwords.com (links below) in just about any and every format and on Amazon for the Kindle (It’ll be distributed to all other major retailers soon). Image

We’re so excited for this new installment that introduces you to one of my favorite characters: Pan. It also has a TON more action than the last one and some interesting intrigue as well as brief introductions to a whole new cast of characters. We hope you enjoy it!

We’re also excited to announce that we’re giving away free coupons to some of the people who helped us out with the first installment: A Torch in the Darkness, people who have been active on this blog, and everyone who helped on this newest installment!

Some of our recipients of the coupons are:

  • Dad, It’s OK!
  • Matt
  • Katie
  • Liz
  • Eddie
  • Robin
  • Vince
  • Jennifer (Jenny)
  • Ryan
  • Jasmine
  • Karl
  • And many more!

(If you’re listed above please contact us at 8thcityseries@gmail.com to receive the coupon!)

You can download the new installment here: Smashwords, Amazon

We’ll keep you updated as it reaches other major retailers!

Aside

Today is the day folks! Stay tuned for

Today is the day folks! Stay tuned for the second installment of the Eighth City series: A Cradle for the Fallen!

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Pan, an urchin of the Below with a strange history, encounters a strange boy understand stranger circumstances. He recalls his own unusual arrival in the Below, which suggests an unsettling pattern for the future of the Eighth City.

An action packed second installment in the Eighth City series, this book delivers a cadre of new characters and marks the beginning of Sebastian’s time in the Below. In the swirling mix of events Pan can’t help but wonder what happened to the well-dressed man and if he had anything to do with what happened….

The New Cover: How It’s Done (It’s Not Magic)

Hi everyone! Trish here. As you all know, the release of the second installment is only days away, and as a special feature before the release I’ve put together a blog post on how I illustrate!

Basically, this post will guide you through how I create a piece from start to finish. I hope you like it!

I start with a discussion with Robbie on what he’s looking for in the piece and what sort of things he wants me to incorporate into it. Robbie happens to have a very pro-artist vision, which essentially means he’s fine with me doing whatever I want as long as it integrates the elements he asked for (this is a wonderful thing, trust me).

For the cover of the second installment, Robbie and I agreed on a portrait of Pan, a character you’ll learn about quite soon! Robbie gave me the basic elements of Pan himself: olive skin, hazel or green eyes, unkempt hair, and “open” features. From there, I created a sketch in pencil of what the cover would look like:

No eyes. Be scared.

I didn’t include eyes or any background details because those are the sort of things I add later when I’m inking the piece. It’s not normal but hey, it’s how my art works!

Inking

Here’s the cover after I inked it with micron pens. Note how Pan looks remarkably odd and alien-like! This is an effect of the inking. It will be remedied!

Markers

Here’s just an artsy shot of the markers I used to color Pan’s olive skin. The purple-grey color was used for shadows and the dark circles under Pan’s eyes. I wanted to make him look gentle but also really tired and worn down (his life ain’t easy).

Skin

Skin almost done! I think he looks remarkably less alien-like now, which is always a plus. Next comes hair!

HairHair again (back tomorrow)

I used dull browns to make his hair look really scruffy and rough-cut because of a lack of proper haircuts.

Next, I colored his clothes. Given the circumstances of Pan’s life, there really aren’t many opportunities for finding nice new clothes. To make Pan’s clothes look really tattered and worn, I again used a multitude of browns to simulate patches and stains.

7 clothes

Almost done! Next came the coloring of the medallion behind Pan’s head. Metal is pretty hard to color so it involved a lot of patience, occasional swearing if the effect wasn’t quite right, and concentrated lip-biting.

Metal

After that came the background (minor smudges of color), and black framing with a sharpie. And we’re done!

After scanning the picture, I played with the contrast in iPhoto (I’m poor and can’t afford anything but free software) to make the colors richer since a lot was lost during scanning.

Here’s the finished piece!

Finished!

I hope you enjoyed this super-special blog post on my artistic process. Feel free to post in the Facebook page if you have any comments or questions (just start the post with “Trish,” so I know it’s for me). Also, feel free to check out some of my other stuff at my deviant art account: trishtal.deviantart.com. If you want more pictures from the process or have really detailed questions about anything, you can also email me at pvosburg@student.umass.edu.

Thanks so much for your continued interest in The Eighth City and for being a part of this project! We appreciate every single one of our readers.

Love,

Trish