Top of Your Class

Self-publishing, done right, ain't cheap. 

Yes, I know the correct phrase is self-publishing, done right, isn't cheap. But the use of ain't adds folksy emphasis. Perhaps it is even endearing. Pardon me while I look down at the worn toes of my battered shoes and mutter 'Aw, shucks.'

Now that the initial embarrassing moment is out of the way, I'd like to announce a new business venture aimed squarely at defraying some of the costs of bringing the new Markhat book to market. 

(Note: To read this in the large print edition, click here).

No, it's not a Kickstarter or a GoFundMe. You actually get something, for your 5 hard-earned bucks. 

You get an ornate, custom-designed diploma, printed on good heavy paper, suitable for framing. A diploma from a wholly fictional school, created entirely by me, customized with your name and your desired degree. Suitable for framing (I'll even send you a link to a seven dollar frame that works perfectly with the document). 

Curious? Then click your eager little clicky fingers on the URL below, and have a look at the offerings. All designed and executed by me. Website hand coded (obviously) by me. 


There's a diploma, signed by Mama Hog herself, from Mama Hog's School of Divination and Potions and Hexing. There's also one from Meralda's alma mater, the Tirlin College of Science and Thaumaturgy. And several others as well, so go have a look!


The Universe often plays mean tricks on its inhabitants.

Take me, for instance. I've always wanted to draw, or paint. While I've painted many a wall, badly, and drawn quite a few circuit diagrams or plans for sheds or roofs, I couldn't draw a marginally-convincing stick figure if you dangled a sack of money over the page.

I just don't have any talent in that area. No, that's not right.

I have a lack of talent so profound it's actually a negative talent in that area.

Which hasn't stopped me from trying. Most of my pen-and-paper efforts simply experience spontaneous combustion well before they are complete, presumably out of shame. 

My digital efforts were no more successful. I tried Poser 10, a well-regarded character creation program, until it started returning error codes that read 'Look, can't you find ANYTHING else to do?' and 'Seriously, dude, go outside and enjoy some sunlight.'

But hope springs eternal. 

I don't have Photoshop, because that bag of money I mentioned earlier was snatched away as soon as I tried to draw a stick-man's stick foot. But I do have two fairly powerful graphics programs, that I use to create images for this website, and just for fun. They are:

Corel Paint Shop Pro X8  (about 79 dollars new, for the Ulimate Pro edition)

Corel Painter Essentials 5 (20 dollars)

I play with them when I'm stuck writing. Now, from time to time, I'll post some of the images I've created using them here, in case any other hamfisted artist wannabees are curious.

The one below is of Darla, from The Markhat Files. In the new book, Darla and Markhat spend some time in Bel Loit, and go out dancing at a night club called Tall Thin Louie's. In the image below, Darla is passing in front of one of Bel Loit's many tumbledown cemeteries, in her evening gown.

Bel Loit, unlike Rannit, doesn't have a halfdead population (well, they do, but it's very small, and fiercely secretive). So no crematoriums, no dead wagons. Just graveyards. Which may or may not be peaceful places, after dark...

Markhat isn't pictured because he still looks like a crack-crazed Gumby and that's no fun for anyone. 

Coming up -- Meralda, Mama Hog, Slim, Evis, and anyone else I can manage.