You can now download the first four Apprentice stories as a collected volume at Smashwords. We chose Smashwords because they allow downloads in every major e-book format, and you can re-download in different formats if you need to. This release includes all of the illustrations and supplemental material in the print book. The only significant difference is the lack of attractive text formatting (drop caps and such don’t transfer well to all ebook formats, so they were omitted). The physical book is still the prettiest, it wants you to know.
We will be at Ramencon in Merrilville, Indiana this weekend, and if you stop by our table, you can purchase the e-book at a slightly discounted rate. You will also get a nifty badge which contains the code that lets you download at Smashwords.
If you decide to buy the print book at our table, you will get a card that lets you download the e-book as well at no additional cost.
Unfortunately, we were not able to finish the second volume in time. (The individual issues five through eight are still available of course.) The cover painting derailed and I had to start over. This was somewhat upsetting, as I’d already sculpted an elaborate maquette of Dorian’s bow, and had a real one pointed at my face for reference. (See our Facebook page for more on that.)
I realized midway through the size I’d chosen for the painting was all wrong. It was simply too small for the composition I had in mind. It was turning into an interesting painting, but it would’ve made a poor cover. I will probably finish it at some point and include it in a future volume as supplemental material.
I did take time lapse video of the process, so I’ll probably post that sometime soon. I’m having a little bit too much fun with those. It’s interesting to see the process from the outside. When work is going smoothly, you rarely notice what is actually happening. (At one point, I chewed on a kneaded eraser for a good minute thinking it was the worst cookie I had ever had. Note that my friends and current colleagues watched me do this without stopping me.)
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