Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Picture's Worth...A Pen Name, and more.

Monday was the day of the professional photo shoot. Chriselda did an incredible job. It was a challenge; I needed head shots plus photos that would complement the Undead Bar Association stories, the science fiction book, and the fantasy series I'm working on.

Yes, I was planning ahead. In the perfect world (the one that only exists inside my head), I will publish one Undead Bar Association book, the science fiction book, and the first book of the fantasy series this year. So I thought, let's take pictures for everything! And we did.

You can see a collage with some of the photos here, on the Chriselda Photography blog. So far, the friends and family favorite is the photo of me in the cloak and hood. Clearly, that is the fantasy influenced outfit. But I might be using the shot before the fantasy books come out, because it is so dramatic and expressive.

The cloak has a connection to two parts of my pen name. The middle name of the nom de plume, Mackenzie, comes from my mother's side of the family. And it was my maternal grandmother who designed and made the cloak, as a gift for my mother. My mother then passed it on to me, when I left for college.

The last name of the pen name, Wells, also has a connection to the cloak. A few years ago, I played the hypnotised maid Miss Wells in a local production of Dracula. The play is referenced in the UBA stories “No Fracking Way” as part of the Wells family history. In real life, I took a part back stage when I wasn't needed on stage. My job was to unlatch the door of the hidden bookcase at a critical moment, and re-latch it after the actors ran through. There was no time for me to change out of my maid costume and help backstage. I needed something that would completely cover me, in my little white and black costume, just in case the audience caught a glimpse of me backstage. So I reached for...Grandma's cloak! The Mackenzie touched cloak, that enveloped Miss Wells.

The first part of the pen name had a part in the photo shoot, too. My paternal grandmother's first and middle names were Mary and Anne, hence Maryanne. I inherited one of her old brass candlesticks. We used it in the background of some of the first photos we took on Monday. The candlestick is not in any of the collage shots, but you may see it later on.

Unbeknownst to Chriselda, she picked locations with personal significance for me. The first location was on a stretch of road I drive often, not far from some of my favorite haunts. The field where we took the cloaks photos was near my parent's house. And the alley that hosted the final photos was across the street from the courthouse where I was sworn in as an attorney.

Once I get the final photos, I'll be updating the blog. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

UBA Wardrobe - Kimberly

I gave a designer friend of mine descriptions of some UBA female characters. She pulled together a look for each one. This one is for Kimberly, the Vildru sorceress.

Here's the description I gave Dacie, the Designer:

In physical appearance, Kimberly is like a beautiful doll. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. She's an evil Vildru sorceress, and has to hide her scarred left hand. She dresses with the goal of appealing to some of the evil male sorcerers in her group.

And here's the look Dacie designed:


Azzaro chain shirt

Nina Ricci ruched skirt
£1,155 -

Wedge shoes

John Lewis Women bow glove
£13 -

I know Kimberly's evil, but...I want her wardrobe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Announcement - We're Going from Blog to Books

After researching options, talking with readers, and soul-searching while sipping way too much coffee, I reached a decision. The Undead Bar Association stories will be changing into e-book format.

When this blog began, the possibility of publishing for profit wasn't on the horizon. The writing was all about blowing off steam and having fun. It still is about those things, but there's a change in direction.

Enough people have written to me, telling me what the stories mean to them, that I've come to recognize the audience beyond myself and the other original members of the UBA. If I can make something happen by changing the format, if I can find some financial freedom this way, I'll be able to devote more time to the series. There's a lot to tell. And I now know that more of you want to hear it, because you've told me that in the struggles and humor of the UBA you've found an echo of yourselves. Or you just like heroine's snark.

So here's how the transition will work. Each UBA e-book will contain two stories. The first will be an old story, and the second will be new, never seen before. As each story from the blog is transferred to an e-book, it will be removed from the blog (with one exception). A synopsis of each story, new and old, will be kept on the blog.

Eventually, all but one story will be removed from the blog. At that point, the blog will be used for writing updates and offbeat articles and the e-books going forward will have two new stories each.

What's the one story that will remain on the blog? The origin story, “Black Letter Law”. The story will stay on the blog for three reasons. First, it was the only story I co-authored with Naomi O'Conners. That makes it very special, to the UBA. Second, it is the origin story, and will give newcomers the best idea what the UBA is about. Finally, the story will stay because its evolving so much as its being edited. It is becoming an excellent example of what happens when you take a story from rough draft to finished product.

I'm currently editing “Black Letter Law” and writing the companion story, “Corpus Delicti.” The finished book will be published in 2012. Updates will be posted to the blog, of course.

In addition to the UBA, I have two other writing projects on my desk. One is a series of fantasy books, and the other (sigh) is a sci-fi oddity. Really, I don't know how to explain the latter. I can only say that its really fun to write. I haven't decided yet how I will publish the other two projects. We'll see how the UBA e-books go.

Final words, for today. The blog will get a facelift soon. I have a photo shoot scheduled with Chriselda, my favorite Texas Panhandle photographer. Once I get the photos back from her, I'll update the look of the blog.

Tune in later this week for UBA fashion! If you were an evil Vildru sorceress, what would you wear?