Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blog Chain post #3 Writing Goals

Sandra started this week's chain with the question:  

During National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), writers attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Do you set daily writing goals for yourself, either a certain word count or time spent on writing? Does this include other writing-related activities, like research, plotting, or revising? Do you focus on reaching the end of the journey (such as finishing your current project), or do you enjoy the writing process along the way?

Having read Katrina's preceding response to this chain, I have to say--I'm not that different from her, though I don't even have the great excuse she has! My kids are nearly grown (one a senior in college, the other in high school) but between my responsibilities as a professor of graphic design and deputy chairperson, my freelance book cover design business, figuring out how to promote my forthcoming book, BREAKING GLASS, and everything else, my writing is sporadic. I do, however try to write every day, even if it's just tweaking the same dang paragraph over and over.

Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I get on a roll and I can spew out three or four chapters in a day. Last month and this month, my concentration has been sorely tested--first by the sale of another book to Spencer Hill Press, VISION, for 2014, then by some crazy stuff at work, THEN by Superstorm Sandy, which though it didn't affect my electricity, basically shorted out my brain for an entire week. Then came Election Day--so now, this Saturday (after posting a day late) I am feeling like I may have things back under control. Now the words are beginning to flow again.

At my best, I can knock at an entire first draft in two weeks. I actually did this with BREAKING GLASS back in June 2011. My good friend and critmate, Kate Milford challenged me to finish the ms I was basically nursing for six months and had only gotten to chapter 8. Well--in two weeks I DID finish that baby. And, to top that, I wrote the entire first draft of VISION in the month of January 2012. So, for me, I guess the question is focus.

For LIFE AND BETH, the old ms I am completely rewriting, I'm having some gnarly plot issues, which, I am hoping if I can wade through, I can wrap this baby up before the year's end.

This is for Michelle. Hang in there, Hammy!
I now turn this blog chain over to my good friend and fellow "hamster" Michelle McLean, who is knee-deep in some serious output. I'm hoping her little hamster legs can keep running at the same crazy pace! She needs bionic hamster feet!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The making of the EXTRACTED , (The Lost Imperials Book One) cover and cover reveal

The Making of the EXTRACTED cover.
What you're about to watch below is a sped up version of the full cover for EXTRACTED taking shape before your eyes. It is composed of about 25 high resolution images on 57 different layers put together in the program Photoshop. In Photoshop a layer interacts with the layer below in very specific ways, sometimes blending or inverting and sometimes masking parts of the image you want to hide. I am continually learning new tricks! Working in Photoshop is a little like being a wizard as you can make almost anything your mind can dream up a reality--and create something that surprises even you.

Now that you'd watched the cover unfold, want to know a little about the amazing EXTRACTED? 
The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it.
The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens--their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream.
Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war.
When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back.
Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both…again.

Extracted: The Lost Imperials (Book One)
by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler H. Jolley
to be released by Spencer Hill Press (
11/12/13 (cool date for a time-travel book, eh?)

Formats: Paper, e-book

Here are all the EXTRACTED links you'll ever want:
Visit the Lost Imperials Facebook page at:
and find Sherry Ficklin on Goodreads at:
Now, you may think I'm silly, but my cover even makes me want to read this more. 
A cover designer strives to encapsulate the essence of the book into a memorable design combining distinctive images and typography. To do this, the artist must take the time to try and understand the atmosphere and style of the book as well as the target audience's tastes (since this is a marketing essential). A good cover creates a sort of "brand" for the book and constructs a framework for the reader to immerse themselves in. Authors understand this instinctively, and if the result is to their liking, are happy to embrace the artist's work as representative of their own creation. As an author myself, it is the greatest honor when another writer feels my design exemplifies their work.
If you want to learn more about my cover designs and follow new releases as they are revealed, you can visit my Facebook cover designer page at:
If you are interested in my forthcoming books from Spencer Hill Press,
BREAKING GLASS, July 2013 and VISION, May 2014 you can visit my Facebook author page at:
or my Goodreads author page at:
You can add BREAKING GLASS to your reading list on Goodreads, too. (and hopefully EXTRACTED will be on there soon as well).