Posted in Uncategorized

Art Car Parade 2016

20160409_144339This past weekend was Art Car weekend, with the Art Car Parade Saturday afternoon. I love it.  Houston has the biggest and best Art Car Parade, and is home to a stunning number of Art Cars which one may see any day on the streets of the city.  Most of the entries are real street-legal cars. Some have additions, some are colorfully painted, some are towing trailers…music is a big part of the parade and there’s a prize given for best music entry. For the purposes of the parade, what constitutes a “car” is loosely defined, as there was a motorized  gurney, easy chair, and outhouse, along with numerous bikes, trikes, and less easily categorized things, but the heart of the parade are the cars.

20160409_142714The Art Car Parade has hundreds of entries by really talented artists. Check out the Art Car website which has a photo gallery from past years and a video gallery as well! The Art Car Museum is also worth a look.

 

2016-04-09 14.32.05I posted a handful of photos on my Instagram account, but they hardly do the parade justice. It’s hard to take photos, tag them, and share to social media, when you’re in the midst of watching the parade! A few made it to some of my social media accts, but in my haste none were tagged. Given the choice of experiencing something or distancing oneself from the ongoing hoopla to take photos and do the social media thing, I opt for more experiencing, at the expense of less sharing.

Posted in For Writers

Contemplating Cover Art

This week and last week I’ve been working on cover concept artwork for the cover of the science fiction novel, which is the one closest to publication. In browsing articles about cover art, I came across an article I thought I’d pass on to indie authors who may be thinking about using stock photos, or one of the pre-made book cover services — or who may use a cover artist that uses stock images as part of their artwork.

As a reader, I didn’t need this article to  make me aware of the “cover clone” problem because I’d already been confused by some very striking cover clones for different ebooks. But this piece, The Dangers of Stock Photos on Book Covers, elucidates some of the many other problems as well.  (The article is written by a book cover service; I know nothing about them and cannot vouch for them, but the points made in the article are valid points, nevertheless.)

The section on problems with licensing, however, only scratches the surface of the problem. While the scenario she poses may strike you as unlikely, there are more likely problems, such as that stock photo licenses typically have a numeric restriction on the use of the image. Your license will only be good if you don’t sell too many books. Some don’t allow merchandise at all, or have further restrictions. If the artist is licensing the image, then you get into interesting math with the number of times the artist is allowed to use the image and all the copies of your book. Some artists drop responsibility for additional licensing fees on the author if their book actually sells a decent number of copies. If the fine print of licensing stock photos doesn’t put you off, then the other concerns in the article may give you pause anyway.

Even if an artist assures you that they will only use the image for your book, there’s nothing stopping hundreds or thousand of other artists from using that same stock image for their client’s books. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever use stock photos, but if you aren’t using totally original artwork — or you don’t know if your artist is using any stock images in their artwork, you should read this article. If you’re an indie/DIY sort of author, you need to be fully informed and consider the implications of stock photos before making a decision.

Posted in For Writers

Great Commencement Speeches!

NPR has put together an amazing database of great commencement speeches. Give it a browse, read some of your favorites, discover new inspiring speeches. One thing I like about really good graduation speeches is that they aren’t just for youths embarking on their careers; they’re inspiring and uplifting for all of us. They’re full of good advice and who doesn’t need some words of wisdom occasionally? Some of the speeches also include video of the commencement address. If you’re killing time surfing the web, you can’t do better than this! 🙂