Sunday, June 24, 2012


At this moment I'm driving around Lake Superior in an Odyssey (a Honda, that is). It's a research trip to test the feasibility of a plot line involving Sheriff Steve Martinez tailing a murder suspect through Ontario.

He's outside his jurisdiction—way outside—and this will pose complications. His revolver, for instance. So long as he is in the United States, a law enforcement officer can legally carry his service piece across state lines in the execution of his duties. But does such reciprocity extend to Canada, which has stringent laws against concealable firearms? I'll have to find that out. Can't see Steve haring after a dangerous bad guy without protection.

Maybe Steve locates an old Gulf War I chum in the Ontario Provincial Police who doesn't mind bending a rule or two for a brother officer. But did Canada send troops to that war? I'll have to find that out, too.

Steve is tailing the suspect with the help of a GPS locator affixed to the bad guy's car bumper. Is this legal? Did Steve have to get a warrant? Or does it really matter? LEOs sometimes will break laws if they think preventing another crime trumps building a legal case against a killer.

Lots of things to research while on the road.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Maybe this is it

Of all the attempts so far at a cover for the e-book of Flight of the Gin Fizz, I like this one best. Bigger title and byline, better positioning of the airplane. What do you think?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Still another try

We're getting closer to the ideal cover for the upcoming ebook of Flight of the Gin Fizz. The Lady Friend has commented that the small text at top is easily legible in this version. I think the blue of the sky could be faded a little, though. Like yesteray's attempt, it still seems a bit too intense, too saturated.

Maybe a writer who does his own cover art is as much a fool as the lawyer who represents himself in court, but hey, it saves a couple of hundred dollars.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another try at the cover

It's better than yesterday's attempt, I think -- but maybe the clouds are too strong. I'll try lessening the contrast, or maybe find a less intense shot of clouds, perhaps with feathery cirrus instead of billowing cumulus.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

'Gin Fizz' cover

Here's my first stab at a "jacket" for the upcoming ebook of Flight of the Gin Fizz. Not too shabby, I think, but it's lacking something. Maybe it needs subtle cumulus clouds in the background over the entire blue expanse. Maybe a title font other than Stencil. Maybe a title color other than yellow.

Maybe the title should go above the airplane.

But it'll do for now, unless inspiration strikes or an artist better than I am makes a suggestion.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cover shot

Bruce Vinal Jr.'s portrait of Gin Fizz
Now that Flight of the Gin Fizz is all scanned and (mostly) proofread for upcoming ebook re-publication, and the Afterword that updates the book is well in research, it's almost time to design a "jacket."

Book covers are as important for ebooks as they are for tree-books. On a monochrome Kindle or Nook they may not be so vital, but in the online catalogs they're necessary for catching the eyes of prospective readers.

I rummaged through my photo gallery for shots of N5859E, the 1959 Cessna 150 I used for the transcontinental odyssey that was captured in hardcover in Gin Fizz back in 1997. Nothing really good jumped out at me.

Then I went online and Googled "N5859E," hoping to get lucky. And I did.

Fourth from the top of the Google listing was photographer Bruce Vinal Jr's Aerial Perspectives page—and clicking on the link yielded a beautiful shot of Gin Fizz climbing away from the runway at Nashua, New Hampshire. It was taken in February at about the time the airplane's current owner, Eamon Fee, earned his private pilot's ticket in her.

Clearly Eamon has taken good care of the airplane. She looks as if she has just emerged from the paint shop—and that livery was put on her away back in 1999.

The shot is perfect, just perfect.

I asked Vinal for permission to use the photograph on the "cover" of Gin Fizz, and he granted it.

Some days are better than others.

CORRECTION: Eamon tells me the photo is dated 2/23/11, not 2/23/12, as I'd thought, and the pilot at that time was Gin Fizz's then owner, Bill Sanchez, the fellow I sold her to.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Converting old hardcovers into ebooks is sweaty enough work, but I imagine the publisher who put up a translation of Tolstoy's War and Peace on Barnes & Noble's ebook section may have nodded off once too often at the search-and-replace controls, inadvertently changing every "kindle" into "nook" to avoid pissing off B&N. The sad story is told at this Yahoo blog.