The covers that weren’t

A rough sketch of the book cover motifs for three of our four upcoming titles. Now that a third-party service will be designing all four covers, we can refer to these as covers that weren’t.

Design: C.E. Alexander
Photography: C.E. Alexander
Intellectual property research: C.E. Alexander
Legal inquiries: C.E. Alexander

Three Covers rotated

Book of Constants: a middle-aged widower and his son relocate to a small development in rural Wyoming. Within weeks of moving he is urged to lead a murder investigation, his first act as law enforcement. (July 20)

My Wounded Specular: a young man–suffering from apparent and severe amnesia–places himself in the care of a much older woman. She seems also to struggle with her memory, although she can cite future events with precise detail. (August 20)

The Shallow Cittern: our first horror story. In post-National Assembly Cuba, a new, mysterious, possibly artificial language has complicated the transition efforts. (September 20)

Bar Juchne: a grief-stricken woman leaves her husband for the physician who tended to her dying mother. Her idea of home security has unexpected results. (October 20)

For those ready to read, might we suggest C.E. Alexander’s fiction debut, The Music and the Spires?


Franz Reichelt’s Eiffel Tower jump

There’s not much we can tell you that you can’t divine from the clip. On February 4, 1912, Austrian-born French parachutist Franz Reichelt attempted a jump from the first deck of the Eiffel Tower. The experimental parachute failed to deploy, and Reichelt fell 57 meters to his death.

The footage is gorgeous and exquisitely lit. Just be aware, any readers with less-than-iron constitutions will want to skydive from this film at about the 1:19 mark.

Find our first book trailer here. William Ryan Fritch contributed previously unreleased “Ledabella” to this found footage of Soviet Russia, early aviation pioneers, and, purportedly, the captain of the Titanic. Ledabella is a character from C.E. Alexander’s The Music and the Spires. As we peruse possible footage for trailer #2–promoting Book of Constants, Bar Juchne and My Wounded Specular–we’re sharing some of the highlights.

Jack Johnson vs. James J. Jeffries (1910)

The boxing newsreel: you can’t browse old black-and-white footage for a minute without running into one. Turn-of-the-century prizefighting predated the fifteen round limit and, largely, the padded glove mandate. Bouts turned savage, like the April 6, 1893 Andy Bowen/Jack Burke contest, a seven-hour ordeal spanning 111 rounds, during which Burke broke every bone in each hand. Bowen would be killed in a subsequent match with Kid Lavigne.

The 1910 Jack Johnson/James Jeffries newsreel is fascinating for historical reasons, but it is simply beautiful watching on its own. Shots of 1910-era Reno are amazing, and the images of crews building a wood-framed stadium in expectation of the fight are jaw dropping (the promoter invested $120,000…in gold). Jeffries came out of retirement and lost 110 pounds during training. That proved a fateful number as temperatures soared to 110F, and the bout came nowhere close to its 45-round limit. Johnson knocked down the challenger twice in the fifteenth round, and Jeffries’ handlers stopped the fight.

If you haven’t yet seen our trailer for C.E. Alexander’s The music and the spires, you can do so here. The promotional film for short stories Book of Constants, Bar Juchne and My Wounded Specular is coming soon. In case you were wondering about all of these scratchy old videos.

Rescued from an Eagle’s Nest (1908)

Here is a third picture that turns up frequently when perusing old, silent films. J. Searle Dawley released Rescued from an Eagle’s Nest in 1908, starring D.W. Griffith as a woodsman whose baby is carried off by an eagle. This 105-year-old film is ridiculous by today’s standards, but the exposure issues, primtive special effects and ominous bird lend it a nostalgic beauty.

Subsequent to his acting debut for Edison Studio, D.W. Griffith would become an influential film pioneer in his own right, directing and producing hundreds of films such as The Birth of a Nation (1915), Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916), and Broken Blossoms (1919). Intolerance is an interesting choice of names: Griffith was the son of Confederate Army colonel Jacob Griffith, and his signature movie The Birth of a Nation advanced a pro-slavery, pro-Klan viewpoint. In 1999 the Directors Guild of America renamed its longstanding D.W. Griffith Award, opting instead for the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award. Of the decision, DGA President Jack Shea said: “There is no question that D.W. Griffith was a brilliant pioneer filmmaker whose innovations as a visionary film artist led the way for generations of directors. However, it is also true that he helped foster intolerable racial stereotypes.”

If you haven’t yet seen our trailer for C.E. Alexander’s The music and the spires, you can do so here. The promotional film for short stories Book of Constants, Bar Juchne and My Wounded Specular is coming soon.

“That’s horrible”

This is another clip that frequently comes up while browsing old black-and-white footage. A Scottish inventor and Edison protégé attempted film-sound synchronization using live wax cylinder audio capture alongside 35mm video. Over the next twelve decades the project suffered its share of clerical errors, aging, oblivion and restoration. But here we are, 118 years later, and the work has become a kind of spectral supermodel, known by a single name: Dickson.

All this is to say that Zidi trailer #2 is one post closer to completion. If you haven’t seen its predecessor yet, you can find it here. Featuring the astonishing–and previously unreleased– track “Ledabella” by William Ryan Fritch, the film represents Alexander’s The music and the spires. And months upon months of Exedrin.

(Capsule review by Alex’s eight-year-old son.)

“Trapeze Disrobing Act,” by Thomas Edison

We’re hard at work on Alexander’s next book trailer (after months of hand-wringing, we finally released our promotional film for The music and the spires last week). The forthcoming trailer will promote three short stories, published individually on Kindle: Book of Constants, Bar Juchne and My Wounded Specular.

This brief Edison clip–depicting a lively, if nonscandalous trapeze tease–kept turning up in our search for footage. We took that as a sign.

Look for Book of Constants to publish on June 16, via Kindle Direct.


“I…really like the sense of dread and unease in both, and how it’s not so much a dread of physical violence so much as ontological violence. There’s a sense in both that reality is very thin.”
–Dave K., via email, about “A song for Magsa” and “Back and forth,” from the short story collection The music and the spires.

Ending the week on a high note. Thank you, Dave!

(Oh, and Elysium’s name change to The Lotusland? That’s yesterday’s news. We’re rolling with Bar Juchne, and that’s final. Maybe.)