Yesterday, another excerpt went life on Karin Rita Gastreich’s blog. It was nice to meet yet another person with a surname originating in the German language. 😉
And I’d like to apologize. I had meant to post yesterday but completely forgot to schedule it. I couldn’t do it in real time either because I had the house full with birthday guests. We celebrated the 19th birthday of my eldest daughter and I didn’t have much time for online stuff. Thus, the post comes now, and it’ll highlight one of the most important people involved in this novel: the cover artist.
Corona Zschüsschen, Dutch illustrator and graphic designer
Corona comes from Enschede (if you like her art, she’s available for international freelance work and her prices are reasonable). I stumbled over some of her art when I was looking for things to pin to my Pinterest boards, and I immediately liked her drawing style. Since I was having major trouble getting a shutterstock picture to work that I had originally planned on using (but the resolution was crap, every detail looked pixelated), I contacted her. She was lovely to work with. So here she is in her own words.
Why did you become an artist? Was it a childhood dream? My first childhood dream was to start a cat-shelter. I even wrote a letter to my 20-year old self when I was 10, outlining my plans and ideas! While I really love cats (and I have 3), that never happened. I moved around a lot when I was young. Drawing was something I could do anywhere, anytime. I had always loved illustrating, but I never thought I could become an actual artist. Sometimes I still can’t believe I am. I have to remind myself. 🙂
What’s your greatest obstacle in creating?
It’s me. Illustrating can be very mood and inspiration depended. I think it must be the same when you’re a writer. Sometimes inspiration comes at the most impossible of times. Or I can make a lot of different versions of something knowing they simply won’t work. It can be very frustrating! But all the different versions are still part of the journey. As long as I like the destination, it’s all worth it!
What makes your art different?
I don’t know how different I am… though of course no artist is the same. I have found artists whose style looks similar to mine, or sometimes the subjects or thoughts behind an illustration can be the same. I’m not bothered by that. I tend to branch out to a lot of different styles, because I like to adjust my art to the subject. What works for one book cover may not work at all for another. I also like to know as much as possible before I start illustrating. For example, with designing characters, I want to not only know how they look, but also their motivation and background story.
What was the most exciting thing happening when you are creative?
You mean for me as an illustrator? It was about 4 weeks ago when I found out one of my illustrations is going to be used for for very VERY big ‘thing’. But I can’t say anything about it. I’m contractually obligated to be silent about it. I can’t even show the illustrations. I want to shout it from the roofs, hahaha! Also, every time I receive an e-mail from a potential client my hart rate spikes. I can’t sit still before I answer the mail.
What was the biggest challenge with my cover?
The best thing about working with a writer is that they often know exactly what they want, even if they don’t! So the challenge was to get the idea that was in your head onto the cover. Being able to read some chapters of the book really helped. You were very specific and I really like that. You knew what you wanted. I hope I have fulfilled your book cover wishes 🙂
Who is your favorite Indie artist?
I guess any artist that’s not affiliated with a publisher could be considered independent. But most are a combination of both. One of my favorite contemporary illustrators is Loish (Lois van Baarle). I’m so jealous of her skills. Her character designs are stunning and magical. Her illustrations are incredibly pretty. Another illustrator I really like is Yasmin (chubbytentacle.com), her style is so much fun. I can’t help but smile when I see her illustrations.
Who is your favorite traditional artist?
I really like John William Waterhouse. I can stare at those paintings for a long time. I also enjoy the work of Berthe Morisot, a female impressionist painter. I have a lot of respect for the female painters in history. Often their pursuit of art wasn’t taken very seriously. Though I can’t identify with the era they lived in. There have been people in my life who don’t see how being an illustrator can be a actual job.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I can only pick one? 🙂 I am quite happy with my life as it is now. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get here.
Yesterday, Mathew Reuther, a fantasy crime writer using considerable more gore than I do, posted an excerpt from my novel on his homepage. Also, one of the most successful Indie authors from Germany published my guest post on Mixing and Balancing Genres on his site (German only).
Today, German book-blogger Katja posted my guest post “Developing Swordplay” in German on her site (this has also been posted in English). She read the book and liked it a lot, so she’ll be writing a review in a few days.
Sabio Marten is probably the most intelligent person on the Gendarmerie Magique. Aside from doing his work and inventing new gadgets to improve crime scene investigations, he teaches in Salthaven’s university. Here is one of his lectures for freshmen of Investigative Crime Detection (Sabio insisted I use his original papers including his graphics so I won’t get things muddled). Please keep in mind that the information presented is difficult, so if you don’t get it, don’t worry. You can eat your greens without understanding the details of how plants create matter from sunlight and magic.
Lecture on Photomagysynthesis by Commissaire Sabio Marten Basic Magical Theory – Transcript
In my opinion, Magical Basics should be obligatory for all university courses. It isn’t. Thus, I’m all the more grateful that so many of you attended this course. Let’s dive right in.
I’m sure all of you know the basic formula of Photomagysynthesis. However, I’m better safe than sorry. Photomagysynthesis is the process plants, from tree size to the smallest algae, use to turn sunlight, magic, water and carbon dioxide into sugar while giving of oxygen. For those of you chemically challenged, specialists would write it like this:
6 H2O + 6 CO2 + magic + light –> ΘC6H12O6 + 6 O2
Just to make sure you understand this correctly, the numbers of hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and carbon (C) have to be the same on either side of the arrow. The Θ indicates the magical enhancement. For those of you who don’t know, most sugars have a ring like structure of carbon atoms with hydrogen and oxygen atoms attached. In enhanced sugars, the magic curls up like a ball and sits in the center of the ring of carbon.
With the basics in mind, let’s look at how plants do what they do. Surely you’ve all heard of cells. All plants have cells with green organelles called chloroplasts. These contain so-called thylakoids. Those are membrane-bound compartments inside chloroplasts that look like piles of green coins stacked on top of each other. Their membranes contain molecule-complexes which absorb all colors of light except green. By the way, that’s the reason why plants are usually green. Only a few organisms use predominantly molecules reflecting red or yellow, and they don’t do Photomagysynthesis. They create unenhanced sugars. Their process is called Photosynthesis which is part of every basic biology lecture, so I won’t go into details here.
To make the molecule-complexes very effective, they have antennas using chlorophyll and other light absorbing molecules. Each antenna holds two to four hundred molecules absorbing energy and is referred to as a Photosystem. So, the membranes of the thylakoids hold everything necessary for the first step of the Photomagysynthesis, the light reaction.
During the light reaction, the chlorophyll molecules in Photosystem II use the sunlight’s energy to give off electrons that are then snatched up by a chain of electron transporting molecules. Every molecule in the chain uses up some of the electron’s energy and triggers the combination of Magie Sauvage with ADP and Phosphor to ΘATP. Yes?
Student: What is ADT and ATP?
Oh, you really want to know? Don’t say I haven’t warned you. ADP’s full name is Adenosine diphospate and ATP accordingly Adenosine triphosphate. You can imagine the molecule as a lorry for transporting energy to places where energy is needed – say for growth or movement. It’s just that ATP-molecules don’t keep, so life had to find a way to store energy for longer than the normal ATP-lifecycle. That’s where the sugar comes in. And that’s why we need to know about Photomagysynthesis.
Now, to get back its electrons, the chlorophyll steals new electrons from water inside the thylakoid. That action breaks the water molecule. This process is called the photolysis of water. The oxygen atoms combine into O2 and travel out of the plant. Lucky for us or we couldn’t breathe.
light reaction part one
They leave behind hydrogen atoms that are missing an electron – and a lone rider like that is called… correct… a proton. The protons are transported out of the thylakoid by an enzyme that works like a one way revolving door. As the proton is pushed from the inside of the thylakoid to the outside, the enzyme creates more ATP, this time unenhanced. To fill up the void left by the protons, new water streams into the thylakoid through the membrane, thus keeping the photolysis going.
creation of ATP and transport of protons out of the thylakoid
At the same time, the electrons that went through Photosystem II and the chain of electron transporting molecules reach a second photosystem. Photosystem I re-charges them with sunlight, and hands them to a second chain of electron transporting molecules. At the end of this chain, the electrons are used to combine two waiting protons with a stuff called NADP… what? No I won’t tell you the full name this time – go join a biology class…
As I said, two protons combine with NADP and Magie Sauvage to ΘNADPH2+. This molecule is like a shopping cart for protons. It takes them to the place where the second step of the Photomagysynthesis takes part. Here’s a graphic presenting the whole light reaction at once.
full light reaction
Now for the second step – The molecules produced during the light reaction are used to build sugars out of carbon dioxide. Since the second step isn’t directly dependent on light, it is often referred to as light-independent or dark reactions. But because it uses molecules from the light reaction, it still is indirectly dependent on light, so the expression is misleading.
The second step of the Photomagysynthesis is called the Calvin cycle, named after a poor guy who spent half his life watching the grass grow. It takes part in the Chloroplast but outside of the thylakoids, and it starts with an enhanced five-carbon-sugar grabbing a carbon dioxide molecule. The newly produced six-carbon-sugar splits up into one enhanced three-carbon-sugar molecule and a normal three-carbon-sugar molecule.
The normal three-carbon-sugar molecule grabs more carbon dioxide molecules and uses ΘATP and ΘNADPH2+ from the light reaction to recreate the initial five-carbon-sugar in several steps. It’s a form of recycling to make sure the plant doesn’t run out of five-carbon-sugars.
The second, enhanced three-carbon-sugar merges with another of its kind. The result is what we commonly refer to as sugar. Since it was built from two enhanced molecules, it is also magically enhanced with the magic caught in the center of the ring structure.
This sugar is then transported out of the chloroplast and distributed to wherever in the cell it is needed, or it is put into storage. When the enhanced sugar gets digested, the magic inside the molecules has been significantly altered by being balled up. It is set free as Magie Générale.
Herbivores or omnivores like us keep part of the enhanced molecules in their metabolism. Carnivores and omnivores receive their share of Magie Générale from what remains in the food chain. Are there questions?
Student: So I get more magic when I eat more greens?
Unfortunately not. It has been proven that the limiting factor for the amount of magic a human can hold is not related to the amount of plant matter consumed. There’s no need to become a vegetarian if you’re not so inclined.
Student: Is there a way to make someone’s magic stronger? What does limit the accumulation of magic?
The limit is defined by a genetically predetermined threshold that differs for every individual. Research suggests… No, I think I’ll better stop here. This is not about Photomagysynthesis any more, and I don’t think the university would be happy if I held you captive for one of my rants. Thank you for listening today, and I hope to see you again when I talk about our relationship with nerls, next week. Good bye.
(editors note: Did you understand all that? Where did you stop? I did tell you he’s a geek, right? Let me tell you a secret: so am I – I love this stuff!)
Today, the first volume of my first ever Fantasy series went life, and I feel like bubbling over with joy. I don’t know why but it took me nearly a month to get everything in place. Formatting seemed to take forever. I wish I could afford to get someone else to do it for me. Sigh…
That said, I simply love the way the book turned out, and I’m really looking forward to sending out a couple of print copies (although shipping will take a while since the books will be delivered to me here in Germany first and then get sent out again).
So without further ado, here’s “Swordplay”, the first volume in the “Gendarmerie Magique” series.
Swordplay – A Gendarmerie Magique Novel
About the Book
CSI with magic but without the gore
Despite her obvious lack of magical talent, nineteen year old Moira Bellamie apprentices with the Gendarmerie Magique, the magic police. She puts all her effort into solving a burglary at the National Museum where antique weapons have been stolen, to keep the hard won job. Falling for her partner Druidus wasn’t part of the plan. When more and more people are murdered with one of the stolen weapons, Moira must tame uncontrollable magic, or the people she cares for will die, her partner first and foremost.
For lovers of Fantasy and Mystery from 14 years up
…is for my novel Urchin King. It was the first Fantasy novel I Indie-published and although the reviews are extremely favorable, I’m not getting the results I had hoped for. However, I do not think it’s a quality issue (it was semifinalist for the KBR 2012 Best Indie Book award) but a visibility issue. Hopefully this will change with the tour.
There are going to be interviews, reviews, giveaways and other goodies. I’ll post a schedule as soon as I can with links to the sites involved.
If you’ve read the book (or plan to) could you tell your friends about it? I’d love to have as many participants as possible on the tour. Grab the graphic below and send them to my homepage.
or grab the code:
<a href=”https://www.katharinagerlach.com” target=_blank”><img alt=”Blog Tour Badge” src=”https://www.katharinagerlach.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Blog-Tour-Badge.jpg”” width=”247″ height=”531″/></a>
Thank you for your help. I will post more information as they come up hoping we’ll have a great time before Christmas.
Sign up for a countdown for Christmas. The first Advent-eMail-parcel will be delivered on the first of December for all who sign up in time (the others get their parcels later). In total, you will get 25 eMails with stories, Character studies, recipes and original music from six talented authors. And the best is, it’s absolutely free.