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I do prefer my animals alive...

Sleepwalker cover...but a taxidermist makes for an interesting character!

I've been working on this pair of stories for quite a while now. It started with a visit to a local state park where the ranger station has several dioramas of taxidermied local species. I find stuffed dead animals morbidly fascinating because they never look quite right. And if they are lifelike, they're actually all the creepier. Since the ranger didn't seem too busy I asked her a bunch of questions about the animals--in particular how to clean them. My story Sleepwalker was born.

Insomniac coverThen I realized I wanted to tell the followup story, and that I needed to know more than the ranger could tell me. My boyfriend is getting really sick of "Let's visit the taxidermy!" although I maintain that every time I pop in on them I get another new idea. neyronrose sent me a delightful book about taxidermy she unearthed--but it's about 50 years old! I felt like I needed to know who, in this day and age, would skin and re-create animals for a living.

I'm about to find out! A taxidermist is letting me visit his studio and pick his brain this Friday. WOO HOO! He even lives in an area topographically similar to my character. Yes! Score! I'm totally jazzed.

And here's a preview of the cover art!


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
Oh, Jordan, a taxidermist sounds interesting character indeed. I always love your story, I CANNOT WAIT to read this. When will it be released?
Mar. 4th, 2010 09:37 am (UTC)
Yay, I can't wait for it to come out! I'm not sure exactly when. It depends on how much re-writing I decide to do after my taxidermist visit.
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
I'm totally leery of dead animals (though I'm sure you'll make it work!), but those covers are phenomenal. Very striking! I kinda like the fact that you can't see his face very well, even in the second cover. While I thought the PsyCop covers were neat, I had a slightly different visual of Vic and the covers threw me off somewhat. And I love the arrangement of your name. It's very thriller-ish!
Mar. 4th, 2010 09:39 am (UTC)
Thanks, I was happy with the way the covers came out, too. I modeled them after thriller covers.

I was less creeped out by the dead animals when I discovered they're really skin on a framework. The meat and bones are all gone.
Mar. 4th, 2010 09:42 am (UTC)
Oh, and I meant to add about my decision to put a face to Vic... it's really a reaction against all those ridiculous head-cropped naked torsos in m/m. I really hate them. Even the ones that aren't poorly done are still ugly and add no appeal to the books.

For the flashlight shot, the photographer had already cropped it that way. I decided (despite my loathing of headless bodies) that it worked better than the "stupid naked manchest" because the focus was on the flashlight hand and the rest of the figure was less important.
Mar. 4th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, definitely. Headless torsos are very disturbing and I remember thinking your old Torquere covers were about 0% relevant to the actual books... I usually don't mind faces, though I prefer the models to be faced away or something (with the head still attached of course), but it's just a preference. I really do like the PsyCop covers because they're very well done and consistent, and you can tell they're a series. What threw me off was probably because I'd already read the books before the new covers came out so there was already an image built in my mind. LOL, I didn't mind the faces on the Channeling Morpheus covers. Doesn't hurt that those men were gorgeous!
Mar. 4th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
Agreed, the Torquere covers were completely generic. (They did allow me to do the gun/drug cover for the paperback of Partners myself, which I'll always be grateful for.) The guy on those ebook covers was problematic because if you looked at him one way, it looked like an arm, and if you looked at him another way, it looked like the underside of a chin.

I hadn't thought about the Channeling Morpheus covers at all. Talk about putting a definite face on a character. Although some readers tell me they visualize Michael differently, so that's a risk you take if you ever decide to show a face.
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
Excellent cover art!
I can't wait to read these two stories.
I'm intrigued to see what you've done with taxidermists :o)
Mar. 4th, 2010 09:46 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm intrigued to hear this fella's story about how he got started and how you make a living at it in this day and age. Although maybe it's a side job, I don't know. I'm sure that with the internet it's way easier to get supplies.
Mar. 4th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
A taxidermist... is going to let you pick his brains. That statement really, REALLY scares me. ;)
Mar. 4th, 2010 09:36 am (UTC)
Ha ha, I wondered who would catch that ;-)
Mar. 4th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
I read some newer books on the topic, but I didn't actually buy any other ones. I made a list of the recent ones which sounded good when I did a search -- Jordan saw that entry: http://neyronrose.livejournal.com/42100.html.

Here's my entry about the books I read: http://neyronrose.livejournal.com/44242.html. You really have to read the books yourself to get the full effect.

The book about the dioramas at the Natural History Museum in New York is really good, as well.
Mar. 4th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
You did a ton of research, especially since the fate of that story was so up-in-the-air at that point. Aside from the dead-animal aspect, I think taxidermy intrigues me as a pure handicraft.

I guy I went to art school with tried to do stuff with found-dead-animals but I don't think he managed to do more than clean the skeletons--which is actually really difficult, since bleach makes the bones crumble. I remember one year he gave me a coyote spine for my birthday. Yay! I still have it, actually.
Mar. 4th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
will these stories be released at the same time? (lol, a girl can hope, yes?)
Mar. 4th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
I'm not really sure...probably not, since I'd be holding back one waiting for the other! Sleepwalker may be almost done, though I'm open to the possibility of more rewrites based on whatever I discover during my meeting.

My loose plan is to finish Zero Hour and PsyCop 6 first. Then, concurrently, I'm working on a historical m/m horror for NaNoEdMo that may also end up being done this year. Also Josh and I plan to have another Petit Morts batch July/August. Since I know you like to plan ahead! :D
Mar. 5th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Well, you know I need to work your books into my budget!

(and I do... you, Josh Lanyon and KA Mitchell are my only 'must buys'. everyone else is only a 'maybe'!)
Mar. 5th, 2010 08:59 am (UTC)
I don't know KA's work. I'll have to check it out!
Mar. 5th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
She writes contemporary romance - normally not my thing, but she's really, really good. I'd recommend starting with Collision Course (very funny) or Regularly Scheduled Life (RSL is super angsty in the best possible way).
Mar. 5th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
You know only another writer would understand why you are so excited to go visit a taxidermist... LOL!

Let us know how it goes eh?!
Mar. 5th, 2010 09:00 am (UTC)
I was telling my ex-work cronies and got a universal "huh?" response, so I think you're totally right! I can't wait :D
Mar. 5th, 2010 12:18 pm (UTC)
The covers look great -- and taxidermy is fittingly creepy. Maybe you should check in here after your field trip so we know you made it back safe from the mad scie -- taxidermist?
Mar. 5th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
Checking in to let you know I survived! However, if I don't return from the pastry chef/chocolatier, you could always send in a search party. (I need to call her and see if she thinks it's too weird that I want to watch her make candy.)
Mar. 5th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
if I don't return from the pastry chef/chocolatier, you could always send in a search party

Now there's a search party I would pay to join.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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