The Download Page has been updated

The Download page, available from the menubar, contains a variety of reference sheets, such as the catalog, a maturity guide for young readers, and other things that might help a reader know what to look for.  Occasionally, I’ll update the catalog and some of the other sheets.  They are PDF files that people can download and optionally print.  While I attempt to keep everything up to date, if you find something there that is dated, let me know so I can fix it.

Downloads Page

Posted in Uncategorized, Website

Judge’s Commentary for Humanicide: Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

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Below is a brief commentary for your entry in the 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. If you received the incorrect review by mistake, please contact Writer’s Digest immediately at this email address. With so many books to judge/record, our judges may accidently input the incorrect review into the system. We do our best to catch all of these, but there are always a few that slip past. Thank you for your understanding~

Entry Title Humanicide

Author: Henry Melton

Judge Number: 10

Entry Category: Genre Fiction

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking. Our system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations. As a result, a “0” is used in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry or a how to manual, would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal and may therefore receive a “0”. 

*If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*:

HUMANICIDE by Henry Melton is an excellent entry into the science fiction genre. In Melton’s hands, the story is skillfully crafted and not off-putting at all for even the most casual reader of science fiction. The drama of humans coping with advanced technology and living conditions is relatable and causes the reader to ponder what could be possible in the future. An excellent read.

The book cover seems simplistic at first, but a closer look reveals more interesting details. I’d like to see more vivid colors, but that is a matter of personal opinion and not actually a fault of the cover. The back cover copy is engaging and will entice potential readers to pursue. On the back cover and inside, the author lets us know this is one book in a series. To his credit, I didn’t have any trouble picking up the story and becoming interested in the outcome. The author photo is a great touch.

This author brings to life interesting concepts I hadn’t thought about, such as conducting a funeral and the care of a body during a situation when people could be endangered by a deadly virus. I appreciate this author’s attention to detail and, as noted before, bringing a relatable human element to a situation that seems strange to us today. Kudos to Henry Melton. I believe his fans will definitely want to read the entire series. I hope he has more books planned.

Posted in Book Review, Books

New Interview — Henry Melton by Jamie Marchant

Jamie Marchant, Fantasy Author of many stories of ghosts and demons and such has been kind enough to post an interview of me on her site. There’s quite a bit about Humanicide there as well. Go take a look and then check out all the stories she offers. It’ll be worth your while.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Project Saga Universe Timeline

Project Saga Universe TimelineI have, over the years, outlined the whole story that takes place in the Project Saga Universe.  Today, I thought it was about time I made up a chart, showing where everything went.  Full-res PDF version At this point in time, seven of the eighteen books are published.  Two of them are completely written, but not published.  Two more have detailed outlines, which means that they will be written fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, that means I’m really only half-way to the finish line.  Being of the gray-haired persuasion, I do worry about my available time, so I have a backup plan that consists of reducing the Wizard of Mars trilogy and the Children of Earth trilogy to a single book each, which would reduce the book count down to fourteen, but that would leave out so much!

For those people who hate to buy a partial series, this chart also shows how the books are related.  The Earth Branch is completed.  It consists of five books that can easily be read independent of the others, but is richer when read as a group.

The U’tanse Branch actually consists of Tales of the U’tanse which contains a set of novellas that tell of the beginning of the U’tanse culture plus the Free U’tanse trilogy that is more tightly connected.

Coming up as soon as the U’tanse Branch is completed is the Lunar Alpine trilogy, taking place with the same main character on terraformed Luna long after the events of Humanicide.  The first book is written, the other two have been outlined.

The grand reunification of humanity takes place in the Wizard of Mars trilogy.  I may change the title of the trilogy, but that’s the name of the first book of the three.

Reunited, the Children of Earth round out the final trilogy, where humans and their children take their place in the larger galactic civilization.

I greatly hope everything plays out according to plan, because this is a story I’ve been telling for decades and I would love for the rest of you to have the chance to share it.

Posted in Books, Publishing, Uncategorized

Finalist Awards with the Next Gen Indie Book Awards

Humanicide Cover

Free U'tanse

Free U’tanse

Humanicide has been named Finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in Science Fiction for 2016.

 

Free U’tanse has been named Finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Young Adult section for 2016.

Expect the covers to be adorned with appropriate stickers in the future.

Posted in Books, Cover Art, Publishing Tagged with: , , ,

New Midwest Book Review for Humanicide

Midwest Book Reviews has just posted a featured review of Humanicide.  I thought I’d copy it here for reference:
Humanicide
Henry Melton
Wire Rim Books
www.wirerimbooks.com
9781935236634, $14.99, PB, 276pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Mars was terraformed, and the biotech engineers could walk on Luna without breathing gear. Earth had three moons and hundreds of orbiting habitats in the Clusters. The great Terraforming Project was hitting its stride, but there were conflicts over which nations would get favored colonization sites on Luna and the anti-technology Three Sins cult was demanding that it all stop. But what disturbed Dr. Bet Nomad, circuit doctor for many of the minor habitats in the Clusters was a simple cough that seemed to be found every place she visited. The more she learned, using banned genetic technology, the tighter her own limitations restricted what she could do. She was banned genetic tech herself, living in the shadows lifetime after lifetime. But she was certain something was wrong — something evil. “Humanicide” is the final chapter of the Earth Branch of the Project Saga.

Critique: Deftly crafted and compelling from beginning to end, “Humanicide” is an especially recommended read for all dedicated science fiction enthusiasts and one in which author Henry Melton demonstrates that he is a master of the genre. Highly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Humanicide” is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/mar_16.htm

 

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Interview with the Artist — Mary Solomon

As I sit at my table, talking to people looking at my books, people often ask about the artists.  “Who did that cover?”  In this and a few other interviews, I’m hoping to answer that question.

Chipper Flies High

Chipper Flies High

My first children’s book was quite a different project than my novels.  This was a collaborative project with my sister, noted artist Mary Solomon.

Introduce yourself.  What kind of work is your specialty? How long have you been at it?

I have been painting or drawing my entire life as I can remember some first memories as crayon art.   Then I learned to draw!  A whole new world opened up for me.  I had seen remarkable sketches made by my father and uncle of mechanical things.  I had no real interest in drawing airplanes and  such but was so interested in fashion and the drawings in the newspapers of the new styles out.  At that time, there were no pictures of the clothing, only drawings.  I studied these drawings of women and hairstyles.  I would copy them and make them my own.  As I progressed, I did my own designs and remember entering a national magazine contest while in high school of fashion drawings and won.  It is interesting how having this skill made a shy little girl feel empowered.  I enjoyed the attention I got from these drawings and wanted to go further.  I have developed my style of art through the years, taking a class here and there and learning to use different media to accomplish my goal.  I now paint in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel and pencil.

How did you meet up with Henry Melton and why did you decide to help him with his art needs?

I’ve known Henry since the day he was born.  I remember the day he was brought home from the hospital in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.  I have adored, loved, admired and picked on my little brother throughout his remarkable life.  Henry has wanted me to do covers, etc for his books for quite some time, but I realized his books deserve a more graphic type of design for the covers.  They are remarkable science fiction books, but I would have them looking more like a lovely afternoon read.  Henry asked me about illustrating a children’s book for him and was instantly on board.

Many artists collaborate with others to produce the final image.  Did you create the cover art yourself, or with the help of others?  If this was a collaboration, then who did you work with?

I did not collaborate the idea and the images in my head for this book.  I spent hours looking through space picture books because I did not understand much about the mechanics of it all (back to my dad’s mechanical drawings.)  I loved the script and message from the book and I hope every child gets to read it.  I think we all go through insecurities for one reason or another and this story exhibits how our insecurities or inabilities can be made into something positive.  I want every child to feel good about themselves.

Were there any notable difficulties, or high points in creating the image?

The high point was developing Chipper.  I wanted him to be vulnerable and very positive at the same time.  The difficult part was the mechanical aspects of the drawings.  I wanted to make Henry proud.

What is the hardest part of doing cover art for novels?

Since this was my first one and it was an illustrated book for children, I wanted Henry to pick which image he wanted for the cover.  I approve of his choice.

Do you prefer to work from a single concept?  Or would you rather read the text and create an appropriate image?

Definitely read the text first.  Don’t know how you could do it any other way.

Where is your artwork leading you?  Do you intend to do more cover art, or have you passed that by and are heading for other goals?

Mary Solomon

Mary Solomon

I have had a working studio and gallery for 10 years and prior to that had a gallery at home.  I do mostly commissioned portraits and as I call them “paintings of your favorite things” such as florals, landscapes, animals, etc.  I plan to continue on with what I am doing in the present and as always improve.  If the right cover came along, I would always consider doing another.

Where can the reader see more of your work?  Do you have a website?  Are there other notable works they can find?

You can find me at marysolomon.net, or visit my gallery in Amarillo, TX., 3701 Plains, Ste.68.

Thanks Mary, for answering these questions.  Now if I can just talk you into doing the art for the next children’s book.

 

Posted in Books, Cover Art

Beneath the Amarillo Plains has Won the REBA Award

BAP-badgedThe Regional Excellence Book Awards has just given my book the Young Adult Fiction award for the Southwest Region. Now I’ve got to get the new stickers in to decorate the books.  Oh, and change several of my promotional fliers to highlight the award.  And… lots of things.  I wish I could just take a second to bask in the moment, however, I’m leaving for Aggiecon shortly.

Posted in Books Tagged with: , , ,

Interview With the Artist — Djamila Knopf

As I sit at my table, talking to people looking at my books, people often ask about the artists.  “Who did that cover?”  In this and a few other interviews, I’m hoping to answer that question.

Tales of the U'tanse

Tales of the U’tanse

Since I have different styles of books, some YA adventures, some short story anthologies, and now, my big multi-book saga, I wanted a different look to quickly distinguish the series from the adventures. At first, I created the covers for Star Time and Kingdom of the Hill Country myself, using photographs, but as the story broke free from the current time and place, I needed a particular look,  especially the characters, that was far beyond my ability to cobble together.  I started hunting for just the right look, and after many days of hunting through the deviantART pages, I found the look, and sent the artist a message.

Introduce yourself.  What kind of work is your specialty? How long have you been at it?

My name is Djamila Knopf and I am 24 years old. Currently, I am studying Art and English education in Leipzig, Germany. Besides that I’m doing illustration jobs, but as soon as I graduate next year, I’m going to move from part-time to full-time freelancing. Like most kids, I spent most of my days drawing. Back then, I drew my favourite cartoon characters over and over again and invented my own characters as well. My passion for drawing people hasn’t gone

In the Time of Green Blimps

In the Time of Green Blimps

away. Character portraits are still my favorite thing to draw and paint.

How did you meet up with Henry Melton and why did you decide to help him with his art needs?

Henry found me through my online profile on deviantART and asked me if I could paint two characters for his Sci-Fi novel. When he gave me the descriptions, I was in. I’m a fan of the genre anyway and the world he created in Tales of the U’tanse was fascinating.

Many artists collaborate with others to produce the final image.  Did you create the cover art yourself, or with the help of others?  If this was a collaboration, then who did you work with?

I created the work myself and then Henry composed the background and typography. I have never collaborated with anyone on a painting. So that would be something to try out in the future.

Captain's Memories

Captain’s Memories

Were there any notable difficulties, or high points in creating the image?

The difficulty with each commission I get is having to paint things that I’ve never painted before. Each time, I need to do some research and studies to find out how things work and what they look like. For example, I know how to paint gas masks now. The research part can be just as much fun as the painting itself.

What is the hardest part of doing cover art for novels?

The hardest part is having to step out of your comfort zone, but at the same time, that’s the best thing about it.

Do you prefer to work from a single concept?  Or would you rather read the text and create an appropriate image?

The more information I can get, the better. The brief gives me a general Idea of what the characters look like. But it is the story helps set the mood more than a short description.

Free U'tanse

Free U’tanse

Where is your artwork leading you?  Do you intend to do more cover art, or have you passed that by and are heading for other goals?

Book illustration is definitely what I love the most. I could also imagine working on card art. In general, I still want to paint characters and portraits, but move a little more towards bigger scenes and environments.

Where can the reader see more of your work?  Do you have a website?  Are there other notable works they can find?

You can find my work on several social media sites:

http://shilesque.deviantart.com/

https://de-de.facebook.com/people/Shilesque-Illustration/100005783265621

http://shilesque.tumblr.com/

http://instagram.com/shilesque

Thank you Djamila for all the great art you’ve let me use, and for making it easy to work with someone on the other side of the planet. Thanks again for answering these questions and letting my readers get an idea of who has been creating those interesting faces.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity!

Posted in Books, Cover Art, Stories Tagged with: , , ,

Editions and Updates

I would love to produce a book that was perfect. The idea of having a book free of typos and grammatical errors drives a lot of the pre-release work of a book.  Right now, Free U’tanse is off in the hands of beta readers who are marking up all the errors I didn’t see as I worked through the book several times. When I’ve removed all the errors that they find, I’m sadly confident that there will still be errors.  Every author I know of has the same problem.  Whether small press or big time NYC publishers, no book is free of typos.

My first book Emperor Dad was an extreme case.  I didn’t know what I was doing, particularly in book formatting and details like pricing the book and how much distributor discount to offer. When, in spite of it all, the novel won the Darrel Award for best novel, I knew I wanted a new cover with the award highlighted.  Biting the bullet, I reworked the novel, applying the layout changes I’d learned the hard way, as well as correcting the typos that had been reported by readers.  I shifted the printer from Lulu to LightningSource and lowered the price.  It was a new book, with a different number of pages, in spite of the fact that it was very much the same story.  So I gave it a new ISBN number and marked it as Second Edition.  That’s what I’m selling today.  I still have a handful of First Editions that I don’t bring to events.  Maybe someday someone will want them.

However, I have received error reports from other books.  These are usually simple typos.  I can sneak into the master files and change “on” to “in” and not affect the layout or page numbering at all.  Posting the changed version to the printer costs money however, so I tend to wait until my inventory is very low.  It’s possible a book that sells poorly will never be updated.  Sad, but true.

Updated Book

Updated Book

I’ve decided to mark these “Updated” books, not as new editions, but with just a little mark so I can keep track of which book has been corrected and which hasn’t.  On the copyright page, in the printing history, I’ve added a little date stamp (e.g. •215) when a book has received minor typo corrections.  The same mark will carry through into the ebook versions as well, and I suspect they will be updated more frequently than the paper version.  Sadly, the main limitation on processing these updated versions is my time.  If I have to choose between writing the next book and posting updates of the old one, I’ll choose to get the new book out sooner.  I hope you understand.

 

Posted in Books, Publishing, Stories Tagged with: , ,