Good work, Keith!

 

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

While in Clarksville, Tenn. last week, my cover Artist, Keith Wood, and I did a Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price book signing at Rick’s Comic City. Something happened there that I’ve never seen in any venue where I’ve sold my books. First off, I’ve never seen book vending where both the Author and the cover Artist are present. Keith and I have done several together and have been well received in that. People are thrilled to have their Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books signed by the Author and cover Artist.

But at Rick’s last week, Keith did something that went beyond that. And I was blown away by how acomidating and original that was.

At one point, a copy of Torch, the new Hadley book was being purchased. The buyer asked Keith if he would do a sketch, in addition to signing it. I thought this was bit much to ask but after negotiating a charge of an additional five dollars, Keith agreed to do it.

Now five dollars is a give away price for orginial Keith Wood art work. But as long as Keith was good with that, so was I.

I proceeded to run the buyers debit card through the reader on my cell phone to complete the transaction. At the same, I was multi-tasking several conversations with people gathered around the counter where Steve (Ricks’ Comics store manager) had us set up. While doing that, I assumed that Keith would just run off a postage stamp size little drawing. Maybe Hadley’s lips and fangs, something akin to a minimalist tattoo.

But no. When I was done running that debit card, I looked over at Keith and he was doing a full page, head and shoulders of Hadley. The person buying that book couldn’t have been more amazed than I was. Keith was speed-drawning and I knew it. When he and I work together on a Hadley book cover or any other Hadley promotional materials, the pace is much slower to get it all right. He erased the pencil a couple times to redraw and I explained to those watching, that no line in an initial sketch is definitive. Playing with that is necessary to, as I’ve said, get it right.

I can’t promise that Keith will do that in any future book signings that we both attend. While book vending in various venues, things can get a little crowded with people and happen fast and furious at peek times. We may not have the time to acomidate that.

But it was way cool of him to do that at Rick’s. Good work, Keith!

Has anyone else seen something like this at a Con or book singing?

Get your copy of Torch, the new Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, in paper book or ebook here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Torch

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Klingons

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From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

A random thought-

Star Trek Discovery will have Klingons that look quite different than what we’re used to. And some people aren’t too crazy about that. I’m one of them, but not for the reason everyone else is.

If the appearance of Klingons is altered, why not alter the Vulcans as well? In fact, why not leave the Klingons as they are and make that change in the Vulcans-only?

Klingons are loud and in your face. There’s no subltey to them. It’s quite obvious that they’re a warrior race. Altering their appearance doesn’t do anything to better define who they are.

And don’t tell me that there’s some new fangled religious subtext in the new Klingons. I’m not buying it. If anything in the way of religion is introduced and it’s not based on Kahless, they lose me as viewed. I’m open to stories that may tread on territory that takes a few tentative steps that goes beyond canon, but not to stories that blatantly ignore canon.

In either case, why alter the appearance of the Klingons when altering the appearance of the Vulcans would be much more interesting? Think about it. Vulcans look entirely too Human. Base on what they look like, can any of us really say that we think of them as aliens? We tend not to. At best, they’re alien-ish. Humans 2.0.

But the fact is, Vulcans are aliens. Unlike the Klingons, Vulcans are mysterious and enigmatic. What you see is not necessarily what you get. There is nothing obvious about them. They’re quite subtle. If any change has to be make, why not change the look of the Vulcans to emphasize a more alien other-ness? Bring out that they are not-Human. Challenge the viewer to re-examine the riddle that they’re a race, with a Zen-like calm that’s based, not on any religion, but on pure, dispassionate logic.

What would that look like? I only have a few ambiguous ideas on that. But a more alien-looking Vulcans would better serve as inspiration for interesting stories.

A different-looking Klingons does no such thing.