Yes, you can judge a book by its cover…

Lukas A-Happy-Finish_wbanner_hi-res

My publisher, Sizzler Editions, has recently chosen the cover of my anthology of gay fiction, A Happy Finish, as part of its Cover Cavalcade of ‘Loveliest Covers’. Now, it is indeed lovely for me to be part of such a delightful, saucy and sexy cavalcade, and to pick up an honorary ‘title’ of Loveliest Cover, but sadly this has got nothing whatsoever to do with me. I didn’t design or make any suggestions for the cover. The only comment I was able to make about it was to ensureg that my name was spelt correctly – at some point I’d become ‘Lucas Scott’ and I was having none of it. However, I will take the tiara for the title anyway, thank you very much,  and sit here with it on my head . Look at me, I’m a princess, wearing my invisible crown.

I don’t know the cover artist for my book, and don’t really know what decisions they made or why,  in creating the cover image. But I do really, really like it. (Of course, I should point out that’s not my torso on the cover – I wish! And the snow topped mountain in the background isn’t where live, or write – again, I wish!) Yet, it can’t be an easy job coming up with any image for an anonymous author, whose selection of short stories sprawls from vampires to butchers to full moons and London buses  and science fiction clones. What I like is that there is a sense of mystery and beauty  about the image which I would hope is part of my work, an eroticism that encopasses  place as well as person. there’s an exciting and passionate naure to the cover which, again, I like and recognise in what I hoped to achieve in the stories themselves.

Authors rarely get any say in their cover images. And, to be frank, that’s probably as it should be. We can be precious, and contrary, and – well, quite illiterate in the Art Of A Good Cover. Only rarely have I been involved in choosing a cover picture for either my fiction or my non fiction work. And, yes, some of the covers I’ve hated. But, really, my job is to write the damned things, not wrap them up to sell. My publisher and the artist know much, much better than I do what is likely to sell, or what makes a good image. That’s their job. To be honest, for A Happy Finish I couldn’t even come up with the right title. Originally,  I’d sugested something clever, and wittty, and self-referential, and then my editor gently and sagely suggested something much simpler – like the title of a story that was actually in the cllection.

I chose not to go down the self-publishing route for A Happy Finish because I know there are other, more professional , more knowledgable and more experienced people who  have better insight  into the ebook trade than I do. On average, an author needs to write 48 books a year just to make the minimum wage! So you will see why it’s important to seduce you, dear gentle reader, into cooing and whooping at my sexy, exciting, intriguing covers as you browse through endless novels and books on the interweb, and for that cover to catch your flirty eye and poersuade you to part with your hard earned cash (or credit card, or bitcoin).

Some writers may well be control freaks, and want absolute say at every stage of the publishing process. In which case, you probably do need to self publish, and good luck writing those 48 books a year, or waving the magic wand that creates an overnight bestseller. For most of us, we need to recognise that you, gentle reader, most probably do judge a book by its cover, and then also decide if you like the writing .. or not.

Do feel free to tell me of your ‘lovely covers’ . In the meantime, A Happy Finish is available direct from sizzler .

And yes, I’m still wearing my invisible crown.

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more beautiful for having been broken

kintsukuroi

Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold paste, ‘to repair with gold’  has also been described as ‘more beautiful for having been broken’, or the beauty of being broken. It’s been part of this year’s blog experience for me as rogue and queen (from the Eartha Kitt song All By Myself, also about becoming beautiful through painfulexperience.) The proof of its fragility and its resilience is what makes it beautiful.  I even like the fact that the gold paste used is potentially poisonous – repair itself is dangerous.

My journey this year has been through cancer, strokes, heart surgery and loss of lovers and loved ones. The picture above is of something I chose not to repair, as it reminds me of my best friend Mary Harlot, who I wrote about in another blog entry Betty Bones And Mystery Of The Phantom Clipper Knicker. Mary was my oldest, oldest, oldest,  schoolfriend and I bought him the candle holder  as a birthday present to keep on a lovely glass table in his beautiful scarlet papered front room in his home in South Wimbledon home (once used as a setting for a hovel in an episode of The Bill which caused me no end of amusement.) At some point, in drunken revels, he broke one of the glass candle holders. He died suddenly and tragically over ten years ago and I read a poem , shaking like a leaf, at his funeral. When his parents cleared out his flat, they offered me the opportunity to take something away as a momento and I chose the candle-holder. When my Mum saw it, her immediate reponse was ‘you can get that fixed.’ I told her I didn’t want to fix it. Dad understood, but she didn’t – she wanted to repair it, as she always wantes to make things better. I keep it broken, because I like fragile things, and resilience. Not quite kintsukuroi, as it’s not mended with gold, but certainly more beautiful for having been broken.

This year, I’ve written two novels Second Moon and Endlings (which, to be honest, I should be working on finishing now),  and a collection of short stories A Happy Finish. Both novels have touched on my experiences of being broken, or beautful fragility and resilience. Earlier this year, I had a very polite thank you/but no thank you rejection for an earlier romance novel The Leading Man I had published a while ago which I was looking to re-publish. It was also written after a period of illness and brokenness.  Fortunately, as a writer, I’ve had very few rejection letters, but know it is part of most authors’ experience, and we have to believe in the beauty or resilience of our writing to carry on. I encourage myself, and other authors, to treat rejection with politeness and gratitude – not only might you need the contacts again, but someone has taken the time to read your work and respond, and you can learn something valuable both from their criticism and the experience.

We’re all broken. We’re all beautiful. I remind my counselling clients of The Power Of Gratitude – reflecting on the things we can be grateful for, however difficult or painful the experience might be. Often, they will choose to create Gratitude Lists – reflections on what is positive in their lives, as an antidote to the Negative Chatter we often experience. Gratitude often allows us to accept, to look beyond and through the pain itself, and move on.

I hope your experiences of being broken reveal your beauty in 2014.

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Free Reads from Lukas Scott

I’ve added a couple of links to some of my queerotica  (adult content) short stories. They’re both included in the collection A Happy Finish. You can read more about my work on the Lukas Scott page.

Scar was written based on experiences in hospital. I was tended to by a rather dishy and handsome nurse who used to eat crisps in the morning hand-over meetngs. He was planning his wedding, and I often overheard some of the plans between him and his fiancee (also a nurse on the ward.) He offered me a bed bath, and I felt embarrassed. I’m hoping he’ll still be working there when I return in a few weeks. This time,I’ll say yes to the bed bath.

The Clone Zone is a darker sci-fi and erotica work, originally published at the MindCaviar website. What happens if Narcissus creates a clone? In my mind, it’d be a great short film. So do get in contact if you have a vision …