Friday, June 20, 2008

Just shoot me. Please. Somebody.

If you had a window open four or six hours ago, and heard assorted and random screaming sounds coming from the general direction of the Adelaide hills ... that would have been me. A mob of crazed, mad-eyed loonies had abducted me, staked me out over the nest of bulldog ants in the backyard, and were rummaging through the pantry for honey, treacle, strawberry jelly (ants don't seem to go for Vegemite).

Or at least, that's what it felt like for several hours. Not quite on a par with having burning bamboo skewers jammed under the fingernails, or taking the written test for your driver's license, but -- you get the picture. All kinds of fun.

[a sneak preview of the new TWILIGHT cover. Dave modeled for the Nick Crane figure, and the rest of the pic is an amazing composite of images from all over the globe]

We were trying, for the THIRD time, to solve what calls 'font issues' in the prepress stage of both the vampyre novels, NOCTURNE and TWILIGHT. Basically, you embed a Too Tripe, sorry, a True Type, font, send the document to, and various parts of it come back printed as gibberish, for no reason that can be easily discerned from your own end of the pipeline --

Notice I said EASILY discerned.

Which is the same as saying, if you tear out enough of what little remains of your hair, bash your head hard enough against whatever walls happen to be handy, suuuuure, you can get it figured out. Eventually. By the time you have it sussed, of course, you're both concussed and bald, but what the hey, it could turn into the new metrosexual chic look.

Turns out, there is a world of difference and exquisite incompatibility between Too Tripe fonts and EPS fonts. EPS stands for (the) Extraordinary Psychoanalysis Society (Inc.) and the story of how they became involved in fonts, typesetting, and independednt publishing makes grim reading. Their 2001 Special Committee on Research Analysis Models (SCRAM) found that it was 4.73 times easier to render perfectly sane individuals into drooling vegetables by making tiny, secret adjustments to their fonts (changes so subtle that not even the computer itself can tell anything was done -- until the document is printed, at great cost, after monumental effort) than by, say, tying them to the railroad tracks just ahead of the Indian Pacific.

So, if you're intending to make professional-quality PDF documents, intended to be produced by Post Script printers on the other side of the world, be aware that your favorite, cherished TT fonts may or may NOT work properly, and if they don't ... well, the reason is most likely a basic incompatibility with the world of EPS printing. The question being: what the [expletive deleted] do you do about it?

The most thorough fix is to buy some new fonts (which we're doing at this time); but in the short term you can also download some to get you going again.

I have a favorite place to go for free font downloads: ... and the best place I know for software of almost any description is ...

Still, 'font issues' and all, we're well on pace to have the new Mel Keegan OnLine site up on the first of July. Just a handful of jobs to be done for it now. I admit, I'm looking forward to having this done, because I can then sink my teeth into a new project. I'm working up a haunted house novel, which I would love to see published this year. DreamCraft has been after me to get another novel done for the last few months, and the fingers are starting to itch to write again, so...!

Cheers for now,

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