Introducing “Awkward Hawk, the Socially Awkward Superhero!”

I don’t know you that well, reader, but I feel like we have this – this connection. I feel like I can trust you. I wouldn’t loan you money or give you a key to my house or anything – we’re not at that level yet so stop smothering me. I do feel like I can share a secret, though, and here it is.

I live a double life. At home, in the comfort of my cave, I am the mild-mannered writer/blogger/amateur mind reader you’ve come to adore, or at least tolerate. When I step out into the world and interact with what we will loosely call humans, though, I transform. I become…

Awkward Hawk, the Socially Awkward Superhero!

I will give you a moment to adjust your worldview. Good? Okay.

Yeah, I lack social grace. I was okay as a kid, but as I mature like a fine boxed wine, I increasingly embody the shy introvert archetype. It can actually be painful if I let myself dwell on it.

Classy.

So painful I might need one of these to black out for a bit. It’s okay, because if it’s a metaphor for myself, it’s like drinking my own tears or blood. That’s normal, right?

This is why I’m going to write some (hopefully) humorous posts about the many quirks that make up my condition. Because sure, I may suffer, but you can have a laugh about it! It’s cheaper than therapy. Well, cheaper monetarily speaking. Probably more costly in mental scarring.

I will begin the actual series soon (Maybe later this week?). For now, enjoy a brief glimpse of the superhero that will win the hearts of the people, even while not answering their calls and letting them go to voicemail.

*   #   *

A casual observer would take the young (-ish) man as a typical guy. No, not even that. Unremarkable. Easily forgotten when not in sight. Could use a new pair of shoes.

Certainly not the kind of man with…a secret identity.

He sits in his home, lazily surfing the net – I mean, studiously doing research for his next great story. The computer screen’s glare leaves a faint green ghost on his glasses (which do not make him look like a hipster, so don’t even).

His phone buzzes and flashes red, breaking the peace. His demeanor goes from casual to business casual, and his eyes focus like a raptor’s. He punches the button to answer. “State your emergency. Yes. Yes. Okay. Rest easy. I’m on my way. Try not to provoke him until I get there. Then you can provoke him all you want.”

Tossing the phone aside, he leaps to his feet. A burst of electric blue energy envelops him, and he becomes…

Awkward Hawk, the Socially Awkward Superhero!

He unfurls the wings that now spread from his shoulders. They are unkempt, ungainly, and some say one is shorter than the other, but they are just jealous. “I’m a real fly guy!” he cries, not regretting the pun, never regretting it. Awkward Hawk launches into the air, on the way to heroic adventures…in awkwardness!

Majestically awkward

This didn’t take me five minutes to make, no sir!
…It took thirty-seven minutes and four drafts.

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Cover Art Wish List

Warning: This post may be more interesting to me that anyone else. You’ve been warned.

I’ve written no novels yet. However, why let that stop me from issuing my demands — excuse me, preferences — for book cover art? I have simple tastes, but I know what I want. Might as well get thus on record now for when artists clamor for the honor of catering to my artistic whims. And there will be whims, I assure you!

In all honesty, if the time ever comes that I do write novels, I’ll be honored to have someone represent my work with his or her art. Let the record show my gratitude in advance, as well as the promise of future praise and gifts of exotic beetles. Okay, not the beetles. Those are mine.

Anyway, my book cover art wish list. In list form!

1. I’m not here to sightsee.

I care more about people (and other things that might not be considered “people”) than I do about the scenery. So, characters front and center. Since I care so little about the location, should they be floating in some kind of void or limbo? Mmm, maybe not. At least give me a lamppost or something. Or a tree. Two trees, if you’re feeling adventurous.

I want readers to meet my characters right away. So, the cover is the handshake of introduction. I don’t want my readers shaking hands with a mountain or a castle or something. That’s just crazy talk, and I will thank you not to continue this talk of human/landscape intermingling. It ain’t right.

Exceptions? Well, maybe if my story has some kind of interesting machines conveying characters around the story world, like airships or steampunk mechs or something, I wouldn’t mind seeing those. Maybe.

2. Smile, you’re on candid camera.

Is anyone reading this even going to get that reference? *frantically googles Candid Camera, praying he didn’t just make himself look old and unhip, daddy-o* Oh good, it actually made it to this millennium. Carry on, then.

How many people are just standing around, posed for dramatic effect? I mean really? Unless they’re staring into a mirror and considering growing a beard and are trying to decide the proper style and length that finds the sweet spot between hipster and Sasquatch. Heh, Sasquatch would make a funny hipster. “Clear pictures are too mainstream.” Then the Loch Ness Monster would scoff and sip his half-caff mochaccino because he was being photographed before it was cool.

Whoa, I digressed big time. Back on topic!

Standing around, posing, dramatic. No. What is this, Facebook? Instead of having characters who obviously knew the artist was watching them, let’s have them ignore the “camera lens” and do something freaking amazing, or at least not yawn-worthy. Cutting up some goblins, perhaps. Casting mad spells, yo. Riding a flying guinea pig named Sven. I could go on, but I’m afraid I’d start talking about cryptids again.

And no staring at that “camera,” characters. You’ve got more important things to do than moon for your fans, you puffed-up popinjay. Pretend you’re an actor…an actor pretending to be a character (and don’t keep that train of thought going or the paradox will melt your cerebellum). Actors do not look at the camera. You know, ignoring mockumentaries and stuff like that. Neither should you.

Exceptions? This one, while not ironclad, is at least bronzeclad. I can’t think of any “posed” cover I would find interesting — wait, I got one. If it was a scene where the character was actually posing for something, like another character painting him, or like a Civil War photograph, I suppose that’s kind of interesting. Oh, and I suppose a close-up shot of a character’s face might work, but only if that face is damn fascinating, and perhaps bloody.

3. You going to use that or are you just holding it for someone?

Too often we see characters holding a gun or a sword in a thoroughly non-dramatic way. I want that gun aimed at something, a finger squeezing that trigger. I want that sword being the only thing standing between that character and a messy end. If a character is holding a prop, can we have her using it? Especially if it’s a death ray because those make pretty lights.

Exceptions? Not sure. If anyone wants to suggest props that are better held than used, feel free to suggest them.

4. I prefer pie to cake, especially if the cake is beefy or cheesy.

I don’t want beefcake or cheesecake. I know, I know, “sex sells,” but I plan to keep all the sex appeal on the inside of the book in a section called “About the Author.” Awwwwww yeah. *waggling of eyebrows*

Ahem.

Why no scantily-clad people? It just seems…silly to me. Like when a female warrior is wearing impractical armor that bares her midriff. Insert sword here, it might as well say.

Exceptions? I don’t know. Barbarians? They don’t wear much by design. Let’s say that skin is allowed if the characters are blasé about it. “Oh, my muscles are glistening with sweat and hypnotizing you? Can’t think about that now, man, I’m too busy wrestling this koala bear. This DIRE koala bear!”

5. No dog poop.
No clever heading here. No explanation even needed, right? I don’t want people picking up my book and seeing a piece of doggy doo. Why am I even still talking about this one?

LIST OVER. You made it, buddy! Have a Gatorade.

So that’s it. I guess I just want book covers that are as riveting as my books (hopefully) will be.

Like this one I found by doing a Google search just now.

Check this guy out. He don't even care.

Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk. Cover art by Michael Komarck.

This is awesome. Neither character is looking into the camera. The man is crouched, but in an active way, ready to spring, ready to make with the stabbity stab with those wicked daggers. Plus there’s a freaking ghost right there. I’d be proud to have art like this.

I hope I do, someday. Guess part of that is up to me.


The crest of the wave

In case it wasn’t obvious by the gap between this post and my last, I go through periods of time when I just don’t keep up with things. Productivity comes in waves. I’m at the crest of a wave right now, or at the very least climbing upwards. I’m hoping to revive this blog and keep up with it this time.

I don’t want to disappoint all you loyal readers out there, right?

*a cricket chirps. Yes, one cricket. I don’t even rate high enough for more. Why do you feel the need to point this out to me?*

Lazy crickets can't even show up for their own chirping these days.

Oh, son of a — it’s not even a cricket, it’s just an ant playing the leaf kazoo!

But seriously. I’m struggling to get back into my writing, and the blog is one of the steps in my journey. I’ve already broken the “no ideas” barrier. I can brainstorm and gather inspiration just fine most days. I just need to get beyond the “page of freewriting done now I can do nothing for the rest of the day” wall. I need to work on projects again. Actual stories, man. Beginning, middle, end. With titles.

The most important goal is to gather so much momentum, every single day, that the next time I feel myself dropping from a wave, I can surf my way right up the next with minimal delay.

Hang ten, dude.