• Art

    Jett: In And Out In Outer Space by Marayah Sweet


    Or, How I Learned to Channel My Inner Barbarella

    Jett: In And Out In Outer Space was one of the covers that I had the most fun doing. It needed to convey both sci-fi and erotica, as well as a sense of fun. Barbarella was one of the initial images that the author had sent, and it seemed perfect both in style and that very tongue-in-cheek sexiness that we wanted to convey. I’ll never be one millionth of the artist that Frank Frazetta was, of course, but it was fun to try a cover in that style.

    Reds, golds, tons of rich colour. Big phallic guns – or in our case a 50s style rocket ship. Tentacles. Alien sex, oh my! Did I mention how much fun I had while doing this cover? :)

    This is our Jett.


    Jett Book Cover Art

    I thought it might be interesting to add some images to show how stock photography changes during the creation of a cover, when a model goes from being a bland stock image to being a representation of a character. The girl that we picked had the right attitude, but needed flesh and softness and lushness. Boobs were enlarged, as were hips and thighs. The waist was nipped in.

    Book Cover Art

    Ah, if I could only do this in reverse in real life! :)

    A lot of work on done on her face to make her less angular, open the eyes and add a fuller, more lush mouth. Tons of copper hair was added, and Jett was born.

    Book Cover Art

  • Art

    Non-literal Book Covers: Mortality

    Mortality Book Cover Art

    As I’ve posted before, I’m not a fan of super-accurate, extremely literal covers. As a reader, they don’t necessarily draw me in, and as an artist I find it difficult to retain the utmost level of creativity when trying to portrary characters exactly in a precise replica of a scene. Mortality by Kellie Sheridan has always been one of my favourite covers, in part down to Kellie’s original vision for the cover (duality, girl/zombie reflection) and willingness to have a very subjective cover. It’s a very good book which I enjoyed enormously (even though the end really threw me for a loop) and it’s been getting great reviews.

    One of the most recent reviews really described exactly what we were going for in the cover, and why a subjective cover can be a lot more powerful than a more literal one. Dani of Refracted Light writes a great review of the book, and had this to say about the cover:

    I’d like to imagine that I’m above being influenced by a pretty, pretty, oh-so-pretty cover, but the truth is, I’m not. I’m susceptible to awesome, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Truthfully, upon spying this cover in my inbox for a cover reveal this past December, I just knew I had to read it based on the cover alone. (Because that always ends well, right? But…) What does the cover mean? Are these two separate girls? The same girl? Is it a literal representation of a character(s) or is figuratively showing the duality of an individual? Is it more complicated than that? I had to know.

    FYI, I’m not giving you any answers in regard to those questions, but justsoyaknow, in relation to the story, the cover is pretty brilliant, and even better, the story between the covers lives up to the pretty. Er. Kinda. I mean zombie stories aren’t pretty…but I think you get my drift.

    All of my favourite covers have had that exact effect on me. What does it mean? It’s pretty, and I’m drawn to that…but what does it mean? A cover has to clearly communicate genre and the main themes of the book in order to prevent readers from being unfairly disappointed, misled or confused. But they should leave room for magic as well – it should make you feel something rather than just conveying what colour hair and eyes the character has and what she wears. Who cares? What I want to know is how she feels, or how she is changed by the events in the book.

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the cover should convey one of the main themes of the book without spelling it out. It should entice and intrigue. It should be a mystery that the potential reader has to answer by buying the book.

  • Art

    Cover Reveal: Fall of Sky City by S. M. Blooding

    I’m so excited to be able to reveal this cover finally: Fall of Sky City, by the very wonderful S. M. Blooding. I love this cover so much; it was a lot of fun to work on and Frankie was great to work with.


    Fall of Sky City Book Cover Art

    In a world governed by the opposing forces of the mystical House of Tarot and the tribal Great Families, Synn is caught in the crossfire. He witnesses the slaughter of innocent people, and the devastating murder of his father. This act awakens his Mark of power, a Mark greater than any the world has seen in a very long time.

    Queen Nix thought she won a great prize when she destroyed Synn’s father, the leader of the strongest Great Families. She had no idea she’d be doubly blessed by capturing his son. However, before Synn can become her treasured weapon, before she can use him to bring the rest of the world to its knees, she must break him and bind his soul to hers.

    She does her job with brutal brilliance. Synn’s mind is broken and his soul is seared to hers in an unbreakable bond.

    That doesn’t stop him from wanting to be free. She may have broken his mind and claimed his soul, but he will find a way to destroy her.

    Experience a world of ships that sail the clouds and cites buried beneath the ocean, and survive the fiery battle brought forth by those who control the forces of nature!

  • General

    Just for WriMos: First Time Author Giveaway


    Following the inital post regarding this giveaway, I would like to update everyone on our contest for first-time authors and fellow crazy people who participate in NaNoWriMo. This has been posted on the community forums.

    Self-publishing can be confusing for first-time authors, many of whom don’t have the money to hire professional help or the knowledge or skill to do it themselves. It can also be difficult to find good beta readers – we all know how useful the “Omigod, most amazing book ever!” feedback is from friends and relatives. :) A bad cover can help to sink a book, as can a lack of proofing and editing. What we want to do is give something back to the NaNo community by offering our help and services to one person. If there is enough response to this, it may become a yearly contest.

    The winner will receive:

    • Beta reading and feedback
    • Proofreading and copyediting
    • A professional book cover
    • A Createspace print template
    • Interior formatting
    • Facebook and Twitter graphics to tie in with the cover
    • Marketing/PR advice
    • Blog tour


    • NaNoWriMo “winners” of the most recent National Novel Writing Month.
    • First time authors (first time to actually publish a novel).
    • Any fiction novel up to 150k words. (Less is better – I had second thoughts about this one, but it’s already on the forums and I can’t edit it.)
    • Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Horror. (These can be YA or adult.)
    • Prospective authors must submit a synopsis and the first chapter of their project for consideration. If the chapter is short, submit two.
    • Post on this thread if you are interested in participating and we will contact you. (The NaNoWriMo site will show validation of participation for the most recent year and total words for your project.)
    • The judges will chose a winner based on the submitted material.
    • Winners will be chosen on April 8th, 2013.

    Professional Services

    Huge thanks to the following people who have volunteered their time, advice and services. (If you are interested in helping out, let me know.)

    Judi Rohrig: Editing
    Honored with the 2004 Bram Stoker for Excellence in Non-fiction for editing and publishing HELLNOTES, a weekly International electronic and print newsletter that served the horror communities, I also edited an anthology called STONES and served as editor, project coordinator, and marketing director for Lone Wolf Publications. My stories have appeared in MASQUES V, Cemetery Dance magazine, and several anthologies published by Daw Books. My story, “Tunes from Limbo, But I Digress,” will be included in the SHADOWS OF THE NEW SUN, a Gene Wolfe tribute anthology, to be released by Tor in August 2013.

    Rabia Gale: Beta reading and feedback
    Rabia is the very talented author of Rainbird and Mourning Cloak, as well as several short story collections. “I break fairy tales and fuse fantasy and science fiction. I love to write about flawed heroes who never give up, transformation and redemption, and things from outer space.”

    Andrew Toynbee: Beta reading and feedback, proofreading and edit
    Andrew is the author of A Construct of Angels. “A Construct of Angels pulls you in from the first page. I couldn’t put this book down…Lots of humor tossed in with a fast paced plot that has you flipping the pages to find out what comes next. The highest of compliments I can give an author is: The words disappeared and the scene played out in my mind. A Construct of Angels did just that for me.”

    Kellie Sheridan: Marketing and PR advice, blog tour
    Kellie is the author of Mortality and a marketing professional in the publishing field. “I am the author of Mortality, a YA zombie story set in a possible near future when the second wave of the zombie plague has destroyed our world. I’ve become a bit of a zombie addict in the past year and wanted to put a new YA spin on a genre that has been going strong for decades. Mortality will be available in both digital and print formats in Spring of 2013.”

    Ravven: Beta reading, book cover art, POD template
    I am a professional artist specialising in book cover art. (Hit the jump for examples of covers that I have done.)

    Qwerty & Quill
    Phil Worthington is a professional copywriter, award-winning Head of Creative, printer and book designer who has offered ebook and POD interior book formatting services.

    What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

  • Art,  Writing

    Just For WriMos – 2013 Cover Giveaway

    As part of my New Year resolutions I’ve decided to do a cover giveaway in support of indie authors: specifically, all of the quirky and wonderful writers who make up the great NaNoWrimo community. I truly believe in supporting self-published authors and it is one of the reasons why I’ve kept my rates where they are. I’m also one of those people with dreams of finally publishing a book which is very dear to my heart, and I know from personal experience how difficult that can be to do successfully without a network of beta readers, editors and book blogger friends.

    What I would like to do is offer the things that I personally can do, such as a professional book cover and layout services (ebook formatting, Createspace interior print layout and POD cover template) in hope that I can gather together a few like-minded people also involved in NaNoWriMo who in support of the community would offer other services such as:

    • Beta reading
    • Proofreading
    • Editing
    • Facebook, Twitter and (some) site graphics to tie in with the cover. (I’ll probably do this as part of the cover work.)
    • A post after publication on your book review blog. This could be an actual review, a cover reveal, an interview, a spotlight featuring information about the book, etc.
    • PR services and advice.
    • A book trailer.
    • Anything else that would help a first-time author that I haven’t thought of or covered here.

    What do you think? I’d love to make this a yearly contest. I see it as being open to:

    • NaNoWriMo “winners” of the most recent National Novel Writing Month.
    • First time authors (first time to actually publish a novel).
    • Any fiction genre up to a certain word length. (Sorry, no one wants to work on a 600-page doorstop.)
    • Prospective authors would have to submit a synopsis and, say, the first three chapters. Best candidate chosen will be based on submitted material.

    Can you contribute some time and professional services to this project? Comment here or email me and we can work out what we can offer. As for WriMos interested in entering, once we have the details worked out, I’ll post on the NaNoWriMo forums. I’ll also be bothering some of you personally in email…be warned. :)

  • Art

    Crest by Heather London

    Another cover reveal that I missed! Much apologies to Heather London.


    Crest Book Cover Art


    Meredith thought she was safe.

    She thought the people she loved would always be there.

    She was wrong.

    Just as Meredith begins to embrace her new world, her life is again turned upside down. She finds herself traveling across the world to pursue the one person who has the knowledge and power to help her. As Meredith struggles with who to trust and what to do next, she is unaware that the biggest battle of her life is fast approaching.