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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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Oh, Monday.
c is for cat
Many of you may have wondered if I have seen the discussion and letter-writing on behalf of the proposed cover of The Habitation of the Blessed.

I have.

In fact, it's been seen far and wide.

What I know today is that there will be a redesign of the cover, with input from me. Hopefully this will not delay the book, but it might.

I have optimism that things will be worked out now. I am grateful both to you all who cared so deeply about the book and to Night Shade who responded so quickly with reassurances. It will be a good book, and a beautiful one.

All will be well.

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I think even if there is a delay, it's worth it.

Icon love for Russell.

Golly, but I do love your Russell icon. :)

Brilliant! I'm so glad to hear it, and, of course, can't wait for the book.

Hooray! Thrilled to hear it.

Excellent! My kudos to Nightshade and Jeremy for being perhaps the first publisher, ever, to listen to the future readers in such a matter. <3

...wait. Am I reading this right? Fans saw the cover, disliked it, spoke up, and the publisher responded? By changing the cover? As if the fans knew what they were talking about or something?


Rly? That's gotta be a sign the apocalypse is nigh. Or, that you landed an exceedingly awesome and nice publisher.

I didn't dislike the previous cover. I thought it was kind of pretty (disclaimer: I know nothing about perspective or art or anything) but it didn't look like a Catherynne Valente book, if that makes any sense. I thought it wouldn't be what it appeared to say on the tin, but I wasn't sure if that would necessarily be bad.

Anyway, my wittering aside, go, Nightshade, you are awesome.

SWEET! Oh, this makes me so happy! Here's hoping for something emblematic, like a tree dripping books, or something.

Well, the art likely won't change except to fix the ethnicity issue. But the design will, which will make all the difference.

I'm tentatively glad to hear it, barring a repeat of the level of "fixing" that In the Night Garden saw.

Have I just completely forgotten what happened there?

Wasn't the central girl+goose drawn in later, after you complained?

After my editor complained. It was in there by the time it got to me.

Well, the sentiment is similar. It was "fixed" by what I always thought was a half measure.

Hooray!!! So glad it helped!!

Hooray! It's so great when letter writing actually makes a difference. :-)

Well yay! That's good news.

I am happy they relented, because any cover you put in on is going to be better than that sack of mess they were trying to sell, full stop.

They're still getting the side eye and no cookies from me, because not everyone has us to back them up when this happens, and the fact we even had to push it this far to get them to jettison the whitewashed cover makes me make a Bert face in their direction. "Don't whitewash things" is pretty damn basic rules of conduct, IMPO.


That icon. I cannot stop staring at it. I think the sensation flooding my heartybits is love.

Are you a the Cheat fan? :D

Also you should contact me, I have review type treats for you.

I have only ever seen that character in people's icons!

And, ooh? Contact? Treats? Eee!

The Cheat is from the wonderful homestarrunner.com, which I think would delight you. Gimme a holler about treats and we'll make it happen, although my tomorrow is looking overfull - got more time later this week. :D

Hooray! I hope they give you a cover you can love with no reservations.

I hope your new cover more closely represents the book and characters you wrote, without the whitewashing.

Very glad to hear it. I thought the picture on the former intended cover was pretty enough -- but the writing had a whole lot of problems, from the disappearing author name to the too-small indication that This Is A Prester John Novel. And the picture, while pleasant, gave me zero indication that it was a Prester John novel, or indeed of anything else I wanted to know about it. It was a pretty picture. If I'd run across it at a convention art show, I'd have smiled mildly and enjoyed it for a moment and moved along. That's not the kind of reaction you want someone to have to your books, for cryin' out loud.

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It's a shame this all happened, because I think the illustration itself is really pretty good. It may not be the most accurate cover, and I'm glad there's going to be a revision that will make you happy. It will be good to have everyone feeling satisfied here.

That said, sometimes artists don't deliberately "whitewash" things... sometimes the art direction is vague, and there's no sinister intent. It bugs me how effortlessly I've been seeing some people throw around that word nowadays, here and other places. To be fair, I don't think anyone here has blamed the artist specifically, and that's good since we outsiders don't know who was the person, if anyone, to say "make these characters look X way". Sometimes art direction leaves out ridiculously important things like that.

Cat: It's probably not something you want to answer, and I totally respect if you don't, but do you know who was really the trigger-puller on wanting the characters to look the way they look, or if it was even in the art direction at all?

For my part, I know I read the hell out of whatever I'm supposed to illustrate and make sure I try to accurately represent the characters visually. Do you know if the artist had access to the manuscript and read it? If they had a real dialogue about the characters?

I agree that the cover needs to be reworked if it's causing this much discomfort. I feel for the artist, though, who's probably feeling like hammered crap over it all. Which is a shame, since she/he is a damn fine painter.

Good point. It is *not* the artists fault if they were given bad instructions from the get go. I liked the artwork a lot, but felt it really belonged to another book and was accidently paired with hers instead of where it belonged.

That said, sometimes artists don't deliberately "whitewash" things... sometimes the art direction is vague, and there's no sinister intent.

But why is the default assumption that the characters would be white unless specified otherwise?

I'm glad it's getting reworked. Can't wait to see the fionished version on a shelf somewhere.

That's wonderful to hear!

Just go with the Ghost Rider cover!

SO glad the ethnicity issue is being fixed! YAY! And everything else too :)


I'm so glad people spoke up and were listened to! *HUGS*


I did like the cover, but it belonged to another book. It had nothing to do with what has been said about your story.

Happy! I know the book's going to be good; now the cover can match, and be more reflective of your work! It's wonderful that you got such a response from people who like what you do!

So happy about this :).

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