Epithets

I’ve been teaching my World History I classes about the Middle Ages the past week or two, which led to a brief discussion on epithets. Y’know, those descriptors folks had back in the day instead of a family name, it seems? Eric the Red, or Charles the Bald, or Charles Martel (which means “the Hammer” and is my favorite)…everyone seemed to have one back in the day. Brandon the Bearded. Lothar the Dungstomper. Steve the Exceptionally Irritating.

So I came up with a short activity: the students had to think about five adjectives that could serve as their epithets, then pick one and explain why that’s the one that they think best describes them. I’m not sure how seriously they’re taking the assignment (or any assignment I give them; this is a tough freshman class, y’all), but it got me thinking about my own description. What epithet would they give me, if I were a king or other important personage? Would I be Charlie the Wise? Charlie the Educated? Or maybe Charlie the Amiable. Charlie the Anxious. Charlie the Storyteller. Charlie the Diabetic. Charlie the Hopeless with Maintaining Basic Routines (that one is maybe a little unwieldy for daily usage). Charlie the Inept.

Epithets were both boasts and pejoratives, an elevation of character and a verbal jab at weaknesses. And I’m not so sure of myself that I’d be certain my epithet would necessarily be a positive one. I’m sure everyone thinks about their legacy and how they’ll be remembered when they’re gone. I’m not unique in that respect (or, possibly, any other respect. But that could be the depression talking). How would those who knew me best remember me? How would my students or coworkers remember me? Or my readers? It’s a frustrating question to ask, because there’s no one right answer to it and no way for me to know before I’m gone. I hope – as do most people, I’m sure – that I’ve left a positive impression in my time on earth. Or any impression. Being forgotten seems more than a little sad to me.

What would your epithet be?

Format

I’ve been busy since last week, getting files formatted and polished for the upcoming release. Book 3’s Kindle .mobi file is all formatted and uploaded; I’m currently looking at a PDF of the paperback version to make sure everything is in order there before final approval (which, thank goodness I am, ’cause I just noticed a pretty glaring typo in the title for Part Three of the book).

It’s got me going back to reexamine the eBook files for the first two books, just to ensure consistency (I did this with the paperbacks already; when I got the rights back to The Invisible Crown, I re-formatted the paperback completely so I could (1) understand how book formatting really worked and (2) so I could credit the new cover artist). What I’ve discovered is that I…wasn’t very consistent with how I set up the first two books’ .mobi files.

Yesterday, I fixed up The Hidden Throne‘s eBook file and re-uploaded it; that corrected version is now the one available on Amazon.

But I apparently never did anything to Book 1 other than slap a new cover on it and call it a day (probably because I didn’t put the new cover on it until a few months after the rights had reverted back to me). I’m having to go back and create a whole new .mobi file from the original text, setting up all the chapter breaks and the hyperlinked table of contents and all that. Thankfully, it’s a simple matter of copying and pasting from the original Word document into a Scrivener file, though I then have to fiddle with all sorts of formatting details to make it look right.

The upshot will be greater consistency in formatting and styling across the three books. The downside is it’s a tedious pain in the ass. But I think it will ultimately be worth it when everything is all done and all the books have a more uniform formatting.

Book Three Cover Reveal (and Release Date!)

I’ve been toiling away behind the scenes, getting things done on the third Hazzard Pay book. The good news is, all that hard work is paying off! The book is almost ready to release into the wild that is Amazon, where hopefully it won’t be eaten by wolves (or a grue. Those things are mean).

Anyway! I’m not the only one who has been hard at work. So has my cover artist, the always-wonderful rebecacovers over at fiverr.com. She’s put together a pretty awesome cover for the new book, which is titled Death Comes Calling. Care to have a look?

Charlie_Cottrell_1_ebook

Spooky and awesome, right? Here’s the blurb that goes along with said book:

Death stalks the streets of Arcadia, and no one is safe.

Eddie Hazzard’s mentor-turned-nemesis, John Bodewell, is out on parole and on his last legs. He’s looking to make amends, but Eddie isn’t having it.

Then Bodewell turns up dead, and Eddie is left with a cryptic message from his old partner hinting that a secret of epic proportions is out there, just waiting to be discovered. Whether he likes it or not, Eddie has to solve the mystery Bodewell’s death left behind. But Eddie’s not the only one after Bodewell’s treasure. If he’s not careful, Eddie might end up just as dead as his old mentor.

Now, for the fun part: the book will be release on March 27th of this year. Hey, that’s my birthday! What wacky guy planned that, I wonder? It’ll be $2.99 for the eBook and $11.99 for the dead tree edition.

So, tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbor who loves mysteries but hates having to leave the house: Death Comes Calling on March 27th! It’s definitely not a pointed commentary on my own aging and impending mortality.

Book 3 Status Update

Just got word this morning from my editor that he’s done with Book 3! As soon as I’ve sent him his money, I’ll get the manuscript back, and then begins the arduous task of making corrections.

It shouldn’t take more than a week or so to get the corrections and changes made, at which point I can start formatting. Once formatting is done, I can get the cover made. I already know what I want it to look like (a rough sketch is featured above), and I’ve got the stock photo all picked out. My cover artist has a pretty damn fast turn-around, so best estimate is that the book will be ready to go before my birthday at the end of March. And what better birthday present than a new book?

Sorry

A brief poem for you on this last day of January.

Sorry for the
Things I said
When I was angry.

They were just
My real thoughts
Unfiltered.

Anniversary Gifts

I recently celebrated my 11th wedding anniversary with my lovely wife. in the process of buying gifts for one another, we were reminded of the fact that we are not, in any sense of the word, all that traditional.

See, traditional wedding gifts (in the Western European tradition) are a well-established list by now. There’s an updated list as well, but it’s the same sort of stuff, really. You’ve got various materials (wool, paper, wood, various metals and alloys), or you’ve got items like various gemstones or clocks or whatever.

Now me, I have a very specific set of likes and dislikes. The traditional presents aren’t going to do much for me, at least not until I get my loom set up and start weaving my own textiles with the wool. So the wife and I came up with what we think are an excellent list of new anniversary presents for couples to buy each other. They are full of practicality and whimsy. See for yourself:

  1. Office Supplies
  2. Something practical but fun
  3. Books
  4. Groupon Jewelry
  5. Something whimsical and impractical
  6. Cat-themed
  7. Phone cases
  8. Matching Tattoos
  9. Face mug
  10. Write a song or poem
  11. Comic Books
  12. Cardigans
  13. Video Games
  14. Funky Glasses
  15. Tombstones because OMG we are old
  16. Better office supplies you’re fucking adults now
  17. Fun socks

Any other suggestions?

Poem – “Instagram”

I tend to work out my anxiety and depression through poetry, because I’m a tremendously original individual who does things in a way that no one else ever has. Anyway, here’s a poem that’s a work in progress to kick off the new year. It’s about hypocrisy, I think.

I saw the photo you posted online
The one with your head titled just so
And the filter that made it look old-fashioned,
The reds bleeding over into everything
And giving the whole photo the patina
Of 1974.
You weren’t even born until 1994.

I saw the photo you posted online
The one of your cat being cute,
Lying in a sunbeam on a crisp autumn day,
The dust motes playing across the shaft of light
And the warmth of kitten belly evident in the pixels.
You don’t like your cat. You call him “Asshole.”

I saw the photo you posted online
The one of the meal you were about to enjoy
Delicious proclamations of your support of farm-to-table
And locally-sourced, non-GMO food stuffs.
You say you’re going vegan,
But I saw you eat that McDonald’s hamburger last night.