Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Covering Amy

"What would you do if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ear and I'll sing you a song, and I'll try not to sing out of key.
I get by with a little help from my friends." With A Little Help From My Friends, The Beatles, (Lennon and McCartney), 1967

Writing is, for the most part, a solitary pursuit. Quality alone time and immersion into the story produces hundreds, sometimes thousands of words. Rarely does a good working environment include multiple interruptions. Sometimes (as now) the wrong music - even LeAnn Rimes doing the glorious How Do I Live - is intrusive.

That's where the "I, me, mine" of writing ends. It is especially true of aspiring, small-market authors. Even those lucky enough to attract the attention of a publisher do a lot of the work themselves. Layer on self-publishing and.... I get by with a little help from my friends. Friends who offer suggestions, help develop characters, preview dialogue. Friends who read raw text (God love them!), friends who endure countless questions.... Friends who can take pictures of friends wearing uncomfortable cop gear.

A Miracle of Zeros and Ones features police sergeant Amy Painter. She is a SWAT leader, a patrol supervisor and a mom. She finds herself torn between.... Competing interests, shall we say. It is the first manuscript I began, but it has yet to find a home. Tattered Cover Press charges what amounts to a nominal fee to print it, and will put it on their shelves (yes, I will post a picture of that). Except.... I need to provide a cover photo.

I know plenty of police women who would volunteer. They are used to the gear, don't mind standing around while others get their act together and the playfulness of the whole situation engages their banter-brains. Unfortunately, none of them look enough like Amy.

A very gracious friend of Pat's (who, like Pat, is an academic director at University College, DU) agreed to "participate." This meant -

Putting on an unflattering SWAT uniform (generously donated by Precinct Police Products).
Putting on a rigid, heavy plate carrier. (Lent by friend Wil Cochenour)
Having a Kevlar helmet plopped onto her head (Wil's SWAT helmet)
Oh, I haven't mentioned the AR yet?
And enduring "Look mean, look sad, look up, look down, LOOK OUT!!"

The photos were fabulous! Alison was perfect in the role - patient, unflappable, willing to try different angles and facial expressions, all with a sense of humor. Heather Leider of Leider Photography is wonderful at putting people at ease and drawing out just the right perspectives. I now have the cover photography I need. Yes, I will update this when the proofs are available.

Amy is one step closer to the Tattered Cover, thanks to a little help from my friends.

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