In or around May of 2010 I made the decision to independently publish my short stories on the Kindle and Nook. Each story was to be published as a stand alone. A friend, A. R. Falcone, agreed to put his graphic design skills to work with the intention of generating a bookcover for each short story. If memory serves correctly, he delivered three splendid covers before the nature of the project shifted. I had changed my mind at some point concerning publication format, preferring to lump all the stories into one collection titled Shadows Beyond the Flames and Other Stories. Fortunately, the news did not anger Falcone who has a rather intimidating brawler's voice, which made truly destructive under his impecable reasoning skills. He is also unable to let a project go once he has become involved. He continued to work even after the short story collection was published.
The leading short story chosen for the collection is The Manual. The short is set in space, a survival story that goes horribly wrong. Of all the short stories found in Shadows Beyond the Flames, Falcone says The Manual is among is favorite:
When you finish reading The Manual you are left with a victory that will disturb you long after it’s finished. The mix of emotions created by The Manual often feels like an uncomfortable touch. I find interesting the subtext critique of military planning, which is merely a set piece for the book, however; this was lived by the both of us during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Military members can relate to the notion of being driven mad through inadequate engineering and planning. It is the individual psychology of a single soldiers’ experience that is at stake. The Manual drags you to places you don’t want to go and allows you to ask yourself; what kind of man am I? When do your sympathies for a victim wane? You feel for the protagonist as the situation continues to worsen. Eventually we all draw a line.
Last month Falcone posted his latest bookcover for The Manual. His work was more than impressive. It was exciting! I find myself regretting I have no use for the bookcover beyond posting it in this blog. An alternative is to publish a special edition of Shadows Beyond the Flames in eleventy-first months with the intention of providing each short story with its very own cover for a tenth anniversary edition. I'm sure by then Falcone will have generated all I need, though he is under no obligation.
Scroll up to the top of the page to take another look at Falcone's bookcover for The Manual before clicking on the next blog.
Shadows Beyond the Flames and Other Stories on Lulu
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