There aren’t often ticket-checkers on my train in to work, and for good reason. My train starts out in the Thames Valley and doesn’t stop ’til it gets to the outskirts of London. Sure, when I get on at my stop, there’s a lot of room to maneuver (that is to say a person could walk from the front carriage to the rear one, unimpeded), but by the time it gets to my stop, the bodies are packed in so tight, one could simply fill the carriages with vinegar, or some other preserving agent, and market the carriage to giants as some kind of canned hors d’oeuvre. If it weren’t for the fact that half the train gets off at my stop anyway, there’s no way I’d manage to get out.
Today, however, there are ticket-checkers. The older one, a gentleman who looks to be in his late 50s, has already seen my monthly pass, has seen that it doesn’t expire until the middle of next month, and so he’s gone off to find other passengers to deal with in the next carriage. The other one, however, a very-nearly-attractive girl in her mid-twenties (are ticket-checkers allowed to be attractive?) has stayed in this carriage, and is eyeing us all suspiciously, as though she doesn’t trust that her cohort has properly checked us and that we might all be getting away with something. Maybe it’s my deep-seated sense of paranoia, but I think she’s particularly suspicious of me, as though my sitting here with my little laptop makes me a particularly nefarious character.
Maybe it’s the sunglasses. Sometimes, I don’t believe any other resident of England wears, or even owns, a single pair of sunglasses. I see them in the City sometimes, as I wander around the Thames on my lunch break, but I think they’re all being worn by tourists, all of whom hail from generally brighter climates (some of them, at least, are speaking languages other than English). My excuse? Well, I grew up in Phoenix, and putting sunglasses on when you go outside in Phoenix is a matter of survival. So, I’m going to say it’s a habit and leave it at that. Anyway, should that make me suspicious? Do terrorists have a tendency to wear tortoise-shell sunglasses? I highly doubt it.
“Knight of the Flame” is finished. Or rather, the interior is finished. The formatting for the printed version (courtesy of Amazon’s CreateSpace) as well as the Kindle version and the Smashwords version (the one that will ensure the book makes its way onto devices such as the Nook, the Kobo, and the iPad) are all finished. The chapter headings are nicely centered and in a font that looks decent, the page count is low enough so as to be affordable by most interested members of the public, and even the acknowledgements have been good and sorted out.
Things left to do now include, well, the cover. That’s it, just the cover. This, of course, includes needing not just the cover art itself, but also the back blurb, the UPC, and, well, I guess that’s about it (technically, the ISBN needs to go inside, too, so I suppose the bit in the above paragraph about the interior being done is a huge lie). I’ve spent the last couple of weeks figuring out how to go about this cover. An amateur artist I know is giving it a shot right now, but, if that doesn’t work out, I’ve got a couple of avenues lined up to get more “professional” artists onto the problem.
At this point, you may be interested to know that the first draft of the first chapter of the second book in the “Children of the Old War” series (of which “Knight of the Flame” is the first volume), has been completed. I’m not exceptionally happy with it yet, but that’s to be expected. If book 2 goes anything like book 1, there will be a number of revisions to it, after which the happiness factor will increase dramatically. The point is: Hey, progress!