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  • Colossus: From Concept to Cover

    It’s time to take a look at the cover of Colossus. I’ll admit that I don’t know a lot about cover design, or specifically what works and what doesn’t, and what little I do know I found out after I had formulated the idea for the cover in my mind.

    The first decision was the format. I wanted to go for a simple artwork-with-text-overlay approach. Although fairly straightforward in concept, it puts emphasis on the artwork as that’s what has to convey the content. A single-word title reveals little, and I’m hardly the sort who can plaster their name in giant letters and be assured of sales. After all, nobody’s heard of me. The artwork then is key, and fortunately I already had the form in mind.

    Colossus Cover: Concept
    Colossus Cover: Concept

    What we see here is the sketch I made to try and convey my idea. The key elements were the idea of darkness, a visual likeness of the character of Colossus, a contrast in size between Colossus and the depiction of Alice. The two lead characters are the core of the story, and I also wanted to show the idea of Colossus appearing protective of Alice, looking out over her. I was also hoping that someone could see the image and the thought would occur to them, a curiosity as to who these characters are, how they are connected.

    What we see here is also about the limit of my artistic ability. Fortunately for myself I had the opportunity to live with a good friend whom I consider to be a skilled artist during my time at University. He was kind enough to transform the crude drawing into something I could put on the front of my story. I’ve waited far too long already to give him the credit he deserves, so you can find Chris’ deviantART profile here and his website here. He’s also listed as illustrator for the Kindle version of Colossus.

    Colossus Cover: Artwork
    Colossus Cover: Artwork

    Here we see the (shrunk down) result of that transformation. The moment I first saw this image the characters, Colossus and Alice, took on a new life in my mind. Until this moment they had only been visualised in my head and, to his credit, what we have here is pretty close to the mark. It was exactly what I needed to put the final touches to Colossus to make it ready for self-publishing.

    All that was left at this point was to add the title and my own name. I elected for a simple white text for maximum contrast with the background and readability. The only point of indecision on my part was exactly how to put my own name on it. For some reason I was apprehensive about pinning my full name to it, perhaps in case it was actually a terrible read and I would be forever shamed. (Which could still happen, admittedly.) I created two variations, one with “Daniel Smedley” and the other with “D J Smedley”, the latter of which I opted for mainly because I preferred how it looked.

    Plus having initials is all mysterious.

    Or something like that.

    Colossus Cover: Final
    Colossus Cover: Final

    And here is the finished article, in all its glory. Nobody could see that and not buy the book.

  • Pick up Colossus for FREE until the end of May

    That’s right, for the whole month of May Colossus will be available for FREE on Smashwords. I was intending to offer it for free on Kindle as well, but it seems you need to be enrolled in KDP Select to offer promotions. Boo.

    Here’s an image I made.

    Colossus Ad 3


    Clearly I missed my true calling in marketing.

    Go get it, read it, and let me know what you liked and what you didn’t. And review it if you get chance.

    Look, here’s a contact form you can use:

    [contact-form][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’What did you like?’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’What didn%26#039;t you like?’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’How would you rate it overall?’ type=’select’ options=’Garbage,I%26#039;ve read worse,Meh,It was alright,Yeah pretty good’/][/contact-form]

  • Beyond Myths Lie The Truths We Dare Not Comprehend

    It is the very essence of arrogance to assume we are alone in this universe. With what credulity can man say that upon every planet around every sun in every galaxy of our infinite cosmos there does not stand a creature with equal or greater sentience? If it is not beyond rational thought to believe that this universe is shared, it is not such a great leap to believe that this planet is also shared.

    Excerpt from The Visitor Hypothesis by Donald T. Blake

    One does not need to look far to see the evidence. Ancient texts and scriptures reference giants, although in our modern age little academic credence is given to such material. Many cultures across the world have threaded through their past stories of gargantuan man-like characters. It is easy, when looking at an isolated example, to see these as a simple stretch of the authors’ collective imaginations. When these stories are studied together, each a strand in the fabric of the whole, such a conclusion is far less easy to reach.

    Giants of the Earth – Harvey Dacker

    … the bulk of the vessel is beached a short distance from the wreckage at the cave mouth. The hull is heavily damaged, more so than recent weather and current activity can account for. The damage in places appears deliberate, steel plating impacted in some places, folded in others and in a relative few scrunched up like waste paper. Another question yet to be answered is how a derelict ship of such size managed to land so far above the high tide mark.

    Environment Agency report into the beaching of  the St. Margaret on the coast of Ireland, June 1974

    Until February 21 you can pick up a copy of Colossus for FREE! Just go here and use the following coupon code during the checkout to get a 100% discount:


    Then download in your preferred format, read and enjoy!

  • The Colossus

    So a little about the title character of Colossus.

    The character began life as a simple concept, little more than a physical description and an idea of exactly where he fit in the grand scheme of the Multiverse. But characters are people, and no person just pops into existence fully formed. They have a past, events, conflicts, mistakes and triumphs that each forge some element of the character as you envisaged them. In my limited experience as a writer, I have had characters who I created at the start of their journey, and so I have yet to see how they will develop until I write their stories. But others, like Colossus, I have initially glimpsed quite far into their development. When I had created the initial concept, I began to explore the questions that surrounded him. What was he? Why was he at this place? What had sent him down the path that lead him here?

    The answers to those questions formed the skeleton of his story, and once I had that it was just a matter of putting the flesh on the bones. Colossus is the first part of the story, addressing his origins and the first events that will utlimately lead him to the destination I have in mind. I wrote it purely because I wanted to explore the story of this character myself.

    The main aspect of this character is the fact he is not human. The Colossi have similarities to humans, but they have key differences. The main difference is simply a matter of scale. They are much larger than we are, and they live on a much longer, geologic timescale. They have a sleeping and waking cycle that spans tens of thousands of years, which serves as a mechanism to isolate Colossus from his people, and allow him to emerge into a world that is, by and large, unaware of their existence. It also presents an interesting challenge for me as a writer. The Colossus is still a child by the standards of his people, but he is already in excess of tens of thousands of years old. He remembers the first kindling of human civilization is if it were yesterday because, to him, it was. The challenge is in trying to convey an ancient child character, and I hope that, in Colossus and the parts to follow, I convey that as well as I intend to.