Saturday, April 27, 2013

Book Covers and Fruit's Skins


Today I’m not going to talk about books.
Well, not about the meat of them, but just skin. You see, books are like fruits: they have a skin, a pulpy meat, and some bone, too. That’s the ways a see them.
We are attracted by the bright color of a mature fruit, its enticing hue suggesting a juicy promise of sweetness to our craving mouths. The same goes for book covers.
A cover artist must strive to catch the reader’s attention amidst a jungle of similar products, and most of all, must be able to give out a sampler of what to expect just beyond the cover conveyed in a single image.
And that ain’t easy.

As an example, look what I did for ‘Enoch’s Devil’, a short, but intense tale from Suzi M.


This is a short story set in the same universe of ‘The Immortal War Trilogy’, a series mixing up mythologies from the Biblical to Classic Horror fiction. In this specific add on, Lovecraft’s Great Cthulhu gets mixed in the bag. Suzi M’s style is out of those angst ridden vampire’s rpgs of the late nineties, so I envisioned the cover like one of those game supplements.

First, I designed a burned papyrus-like background.



Next, I layered the image of a rack of skulls and bones on it. Yet, I didn’t want them to completely catch the observer’s eye, so I faded them a little and gave the whole cover a leathery outlook.



Then, came the central piece, the one I wanted to be the real lure for the reader: Cthulhu. I wanted to cover to look like something out of Lovecraft’s fictional library of forbidden tomes, so I placed a big seal at the center. This seal had to appear like something embosomed on the cover, so I used a tattoo stencil. All I had to do was to use different layering and textured effects to have it look like it was actually coming out of the cover.


At last, I added the title and the author’s name in the same style of the seal, but with a silvery-white hue to have it flash out.
Here’s the final result.



When I do covers I try to keep in contact with the author as much as possible for feedback and suggestions. What I may envision could be completely different from what the writer has in her mind, and since I want my customers to feel satisfied by the final product, I always send samples and different versions of the same cover until a final agreement is reached.

A book cover needs to say it all at a glance. Reader needs to feel motivated and moved to buy a book because of these qualities.
Just like a ripe, juicy fruit does. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Multi-Tasking And Writing - A Guest post by Armand Rosamilia



I currently have thirteen projects in varying levels of completion open on my laptop. My obvious goal is to get them all written, edited and submitted to publishers or self-published. Will I get to all of them? I hope. I figured out if I finished all of them within the approximate word count I thought they'd end up, I'd need to write another 152,000 words.

And that's if I don't add anything else to the pile… I currently have a list of nineteen more solid story ideas I haven't written a word on… yet. I'm sure if I looked deeper I could find another two dozen unfinished stories and notes on napkins with other great ideas. When will it end? When I'm done writing all of them, of course.

I took the liberty of asking a few writing friends how many projects they work on at one time. Here is my scientific study results, all on a bell curve, and all completely random and unscientific.

"I actually have four or five going on right now. One may end up being another novel… Hell, the other one may end up being a novel, too, along with a few short stories for anthology submission. I like to write more than one thing at a time just for sanity’s sake. If I get motivated to work on one story over another one, I can work on that one rather than forget what I was going to add to the other story by saying ‘No, you have to finish this one before you can work on that one.’ It would be akin to parents telling their kids they can’t have their veggies because they haven’t finished their meat. As for me, I’ve always been a fan of eating dessert first." - Suzi M., author of the Immortal War Series and many more tales of terror. Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Suzi-M/e/B003TTLGP2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

"Normally one. Although, I do have an electronic index card program to jot ideas down with for future possibilities." - Kat Yares http://www.katyares.com

"I work on whatever comes to me. The most I've ever had going at one time has been four." - Jaime Johnesee http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B008D2VVXC

"Writing, I will sometimes work on two projects at a time and break up the sessions with editing work that acts as the palate-cleansing sorbet in between. As for why, it sometimes is as simple as I get an idea and do not want to let it die. If I do not work on it... it tends to fade and I lose it forever... sort of like dreams. You wake up and, if you do not take a moment to think about it... it vanishes." - Todd Brown http://twbrown.blogspot.com/

"Usually only one. I find if I write on more than one at a time I get too into one and lose track of the other." - Vincent Hobbes http://www.amazon.com/Khost-ebook/dp/B00AA46MJE/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1363636444&sr=8-1&keywords=khost

"Usually more than one. Most of my career I'd work on a novel and write short stories when I was invited or when an idea hit me. I still do that, but this year I'm working on two books at once, a new novel and my memoir. Plus short stories when ideas come to mind." - Billie Sue Mosiman http://www.amazon.com/MOON-LAKE-ebook/dp/B00B8H4TFQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1363280207&sr=1-1&keywords=moon+mosiman

"I tend to stick to one project at a time. Yet, I admit that’s difficult; sometimes a new idea invades my mind and I find myself struggling to keep it out, so I end up with a ‘Sleeping Tales’ folder with three or more half-written stories. Some will see daylight, others … never. " – Jeffrey Kosh http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0074F2VGU

So, what have we learned? Who knows. I just wanted to do another blog post with quotes from cool people I like who are great writers. You need to figure out what works for you. For me, it's a baker's dozen stories to hit at once. You might only be able to do one at a time, or maybe the magic number is fifty open. However you decide… good luck!

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Armand Rosamilia is quite possibly the sexiest man alive (although Tim Magazine sucks and won't recognize his write-in votes). You can find his brilliance and humbleness at http://armandrosamilia.com and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, New Myspace, etc. because he is a media ho. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The ALEXANDRIA PUBLISHING GROUP



Since May 2012, I am a member of the Alexandria Publishing Group.
The purpose of the group is to give quality writers a place to be recognized for the work and effort they put in to creating a good book, yet also to maintain high standards of professional behavior of Indie members on media communication.

For those who would like to join the Alexandria Publishing Group, please understand they have an invitation only submissions policy. To be considered for invitation to submit they ask first that:

a.) You have a completed manuscript

b.) Said completed manuscript will pass the scrutiny of their editors and formatters. (Typos and occasional errors might be overlooked, if the overall manuscript is generally well done. Consistent spelling errors will be not.)

c.) That said completed manuscript actually has a good plot, decent characters, and relatively good reviews

d.) That you behave in a professional manner the majority of time. If considered for inclusion you will be approached through direct message and asked if you would like to join. If you choose to accept, understand that there are no fees, although there may be joint expenditures for which you may be asked to contribute. Each member contributes what they can afford – some better for one expenditure, while money is tight at the next.

Responsibilities within the group – maintain good standards of writing, cross-promote by adding the logo to your new releases (and old if you wish), join promotional efforts within the group (blog tours, group free releases, within reason) and twitter/Facebook post your good reviews, new releases, etc.

It is NOT required that you use any of the service providers in the group, only that you get good help with covers, editing and formatting so your books look professional. Nor are any of the service providers required to provide discounts to members of the group. 

All members will treat each other with respect.

THE WRITERS

VALERIE DOUGLAS



Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. A fan of authors of almost every genre from Isaac Asimov to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, she writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road!
Happily married, she’s companion to two dogs, four cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank.
You can find more information at www.valeriedouglasbooks.com

D KAI WILSON-VIOLA



AKA – Sabrann Curach, Jaden Trinsic, Lady Fayth C. Reeves, Kai Viola, Donna Wilson, Brittany Harkness (Britta Harkness).

D Kai Wilson-Viola, or Kai is a veteran writer with a career that spans print, blogging and ebooks. Moderating on various sites for writers, she spends her time playing with code, editing, writing and offering social media advice.
You can always tell someone’s been writing a long time when she shakes her head and says ‘and that’s not all of them’. Kai’s been writing so long, she swears her pen names have pen names, and she’s only listed a few of them.
At 33, she’s been writing for close to 30 years, and published for nearly 20.
Whether you consider her loony, or someone that you’d really like to get to know more, her books are available in various places and she’s always got her fingers in *something* to do with Indie writers.

DONNA K. FITCH



Born in Huntsville, Alabama, the “Rocket City,” Donna K. Fitch grew up hearing the sound of rocket testing at Redstone Arsenal and graduated from a high school named for Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, the astronaut who died in Apollo 1. She also heard tales of the ghost of Sally Carter and the “old Grizzard Mansion” near her home, said to be haunted. This background, when mixed with an early diet of Dr. Seuss, the reference section of the Oak Park Public Library, 1930s mystery stories and the Gothic novels of Victoria Holt, set her to writing her own stories at age 13. Later literary influences spilled into Donna’s writing–Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Tim Powers–to give it more than a tinge of paranormal and the macabre. Her love of research led her to a Master’s in Library Service, and her fascination with HTML led her to switch careers from academic librarian to web designer. For fun, she visits cemeteries–the older the better–and plays roleplaying games.
Her books include Second Death, The Source of Lightning and The Color of Darkness and Other Stories.
Learn more at www.donnakfitch.com.

PAUL KATER



Paul Kater was born in the Netherlands in 1960. He quickly developed a feel for languages but did not pursue a career in those as his native language, Dutch, did not offer many options in that time.
After learning far too much about computers he started to make a living with them. During all that time he always wrote short stories, little things to entertain family and friends and also himself with.
Since 2003 he’s been writing more seriously, first posting his scribblings on an amateur writer’s mailing list, and then publishing shorter and longer stories on the internet. Due to the international character of the Internet, all Paul’s stories so far are written in English.
Paul currently lives in Cuijk, in the Netherlands, with his books and the many characters he’s developed in the past years, who claim he is a figment of their imagination.
You can learn more about him at his website.

MARY ANNE PEDEN-COVIELLO



Mary Ann was born in Northern Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., in 1948. She has lived in five states, all below the Mason-Dixon Line.
She has been married to the same man since 1976 and, somewhat to everyone’s surprise, there are no bodies in the back yard (no human ones anyway) and no permanent hearing loss from the shouting.
Mary Ann and her husband have two sons, one daughter-in-law, and one who might as well be a son, all of whom are the very apples of Mary Ann’s eye. She is owned by any number of animals–dogs, cats, the occasional rodent, you name it.
Mary Ann has been creating stories since she was a little girl. Back then, her mother called them–depending on her mood–tall tales or lies. Now she writes horror and paranormal short stories and novels, all with a little bite of humour. (Yes, she likes British spellings. Too many imported Agatha Christie novels in her impressionable youth.)
She also does freelance editing. Her strength is in copy editing. Grammar, spelling, punctuation–all those sneaky, tricky snares the English language sets for the unwary.
She reviews books, too, sometimes on Amazon, sometimes on her own website.

TERRY C. SIMPSON



Talking to the characters I imagine has become an intriguing experience especially when they disagree with me. – Terry Simpson.
Terry grew up on the tiny Caribbean island of Barbados. He always had a love of writing for as long as he can remember. His genres of choice are fantasy, either epic, dark, or urban.
Somehow, he grew to love fantasy more than any other although his early days were spent reading his father’s books from Louis L’amour’s westerns to Don Pendleton’s Executioner series.
When Terry moved to New York in 1986 to live with his mother, his love for books developed into him reading and loving fantasy authors such as Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Terry Goodkind , Brandon Sanderson, George RR Martin, Brian Lumley, Laura K Hamilton and quite a few others.
Terry began building the world for what is now called the Aegis of the Gods series in 2001. At first, it was just a hobby because of his love for fantasy and the written word. Slowly, it became a part of his life. Finally, in 2010, Terry decided to sit down and pen the first book based in his world.
When he isn’t writing, Terry enjoys reading, movies, gaming (especially MMORPGS), working out, watching sports, and playing with his beautiful daughter Kai.


JONATHAN GOULD



Jonathan Gould has lived in Melbourne, Australia all his life, except when he hasn’t. He has written comedy sketches for both the theatre and radio, as well as several published children’s books for the educational market.
He likes to refer to his stories as dag-lit because they don’t easily fit into recognisable genres (dag is Australian slang for a person who is unfashionable and doesn’t follow the crowd – but in an amusing and fun way). You might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.
Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons, Dr Seuss and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).

STEPHEN H. KING



A Mississippi native, Stephen H. King was moved in high school entirely against his will from the small town of Corinth to a large city he ended up loving in southern California. After, a series of mostly unexplainable decisions led him through a strange sequence of events beginning at the United States Military Academy, where he double-majored in physics and electrical engineering, through a fairly short career as an Infantry officer and then an electronics technician, a product engineer, a carpenter’s helper, and an elementary school janitor, to ultimately finding himself on the faculty of a small college in Anchorage, Alaska.
During those years, he learned that reading science fiction and fantasy allowed him to escape the strangeness into the more understandable worlds crafted by Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and many other great writers. As time went on he began to mold his own worlds.

Important Links:
Web site: http://www.theotherstephenking.com

JEFFREY KOSH

Well … you know me.

Have a look at the official website: