Monday, April 28, 2014

Which Beautiful Beautiful Cover Do You Like Best? PLEASE VOTE!!!!!!

Recently, Author and Cover Designer, J. Gordon Smith has been helping us with our cover concepts. (You can check out all of John's books here! He currently has a fantasy, vampire, and NA series available.) As many of you know, my husband designs the covers of my books. He's a fine artist and has worked hard to learn graphic arts. However, there is a lot to learn! One cover we've particularly struggled with is Beautiful Beautiful. So John was generous enough to develop a couple of draft covers. But it's been hard (impossible!) to choose the best one. Would you please take a look at them, and vote in the poll at the bottom of this post?

Thank you for helping out!

About Beautiful Beautiful:

Every night, Kerrin tells her daughter a fairy tale. Mirabella's favorite is "Beauty Beauty"--the story of when her mother met her father. As Kerrin spins the tale wrapped around the most dark and equally light, period in her life, she considers these questions:

What is beauty? When is it nourishing... and when is it treacherous?

Indie-film director, Kerrin Mayham is the frontrunner for the Golden Pinnacle's "Director of the Year." Winning means generous financial backing for her next project, and the most beautiful men in the industry competing for the leading role. The opportunity Kerrin has sacrificed to achieve is within reach. So are her personal demons.

The novella is a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen tale "Beautiful."(Adult language & situations, no explicit sex)

Which Beautiful Beautiful cover do you prefer?
A. The man with the girl
B. The cutaway of the man
C. The man only
Poll Maker

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Thank you Mirren Jones for inviting me to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour!

MIRREN JONES is the pseudonym for the creative writing partnership of Marion Duffy from Scotland and Elaine Atkins from Wales. Authors of The Eight of Cups, they've been writing together for 17 years: non-fiction books, journal papers, articles, academic courses, workshops, short stories, poetry and a novel. And they’re still good friends! Their current novel-in-progress is Never Do Harm.

What am I working on?

Currently, I'm working on three projects. My next release will be Dreaming of the Sea, the second novella in my Once Upon a Time Today collection. These stand-alone stories are contemporary fairy tale tellings. Dreaming of the Sea is a retelling of The Little Mermaid that features the Sea Witch as the central figure.

I'm also working on revising and editing my fantasy series. The first two books in the series were originally published in 2012 as The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series. It will be re-released as the Daughter of Light trilogy, and will have a whole new look, with the first two original books combined into a single edition.

My final project is a yummy paranormal romance about a young witch who bakes magic cupcakes. It's a collaboration with Billie Jean Limpin, and we're having a lot of fun working on it.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Every good character has some evil qualities, and every evil character has some good qualities. I like the plot to turn on those ambivalences. For example, in Beautiful Beautiful, the main character, Kerrin Mayham, who's a talented film director, is so taken by the superficial aspects of beauty she's lost her way in the realm of love relationships. In Daughter of Light, the main character, Melia, experiences pleasure in the midst of her visions of violence and desolation... But both of these female characters are fantastic people!

Why do I write what I do?

I believe stories that fuel the imagination are our greatest hope for the future. We're capable of creating great joy in our lives, however, we must conceive that that is possible. As a reader, I've always been drawn to stories that either gave me a sense of joy and possibility, or brought me some sort of comfort or clarity with regards to the darker aspects of living. The awareness of how valuable those stories have been to me—and still are—infuse my work.

 How does my writing process work?

For me, I have to always remind myself that talking about writing, and thinking about writing, is not writing. When I sit down to write, even when it's a slog, something magical happens. A different part of my brain engages and the story begins to unfold. Sometimes it reveals itself somewhat as I've imagined it, sometimes it veers off in a totally different direction. Thus, the greatest challenge of my writing process is simply getting myself to sit down and write. That's the trick. That's the key. Beyond that I'm flexible, and don't have any particular process that I use. Every story is different, and I approach them all differently, as regards to research, plotting, characterization, etc.

Don't miss next week when Cat Amesbury, Kari Ann Ramadorai, and Meradeth Houston  share their writing process!

Cat Amesbury is the author of the contemporary fantasy book, The Guests of Honor.  She's determined to write contemporary adult fables that draw inspiration from Lewis Carroll, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Sun Tzu. She is also determined to have a hard time explaining her stories to other people. Cat has lived in both the small town and the big city, but knows that all the best mysteries are hidden where you least expect them. Her thoughts and stories are drawn from a lifetime of looking underneath the rocks and inside the trees rather than where she was actually going.

Kari Ann Ramadorai is the author of Olivia's Field. She belongs to the Pacific Northwest, though she spent plenty of time in the Sonoran desert. Keep the grass green and the sky overcast, and Kari Ann's a happy person. She loves research and putting phrases together. Human nature and theology fascinate Kari Ann. She also enjoys working with livestock and watching the trees. Keeping active includes family and friends, farm and fun. In her spare time, Kari Ann reads until the bookshelves overflow and enjoys general geekery. She's married to an asteroid miner and mother of kids who will someday run the world. She'll match your geek knowledge and raise you a website. When they come up with an internet IV, Kari Ann will be there, waiting with a screen.

Meradeth Houston is the author of The Sary Society. Although she's never been a big fan of talking about herself, here are some random tidbits about her:

  • She's a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot.
  • When she's not writing, she's sequencing dead people's DNA. For fun!
  • She's been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she's so happy to get to share her work!
  • If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she's terrified of heights.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Deadly Delicious by K. L. Kincy + Giveaway

Today we're excited to bring you the release week promo and cover reveal of the middle grade novel, Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy.  K.L. Kincy is a pen name for author Karen Kincy, author of young adult and adult novels.   To make things exciting we have the cover artist, Kirbi Fagan, here to tell us about the creation of the cover of Deadly Delicious!  Deadly Delicious is out now!

Creating the Cover by Kirbi Fagan

Painting the cover for for the novel started with an email. When I heard the story was set in the 1950's, I knew it would be fun project for me. I'm always eager to paint strong young girls on an adventure. The magical twist of the story was icing on the cake --- pun intended!
Starting an illustration is the most exciting part for me, it is when I feel the most creative. When you have a great story like "Deadly Delicious," feeling inspired isn't hard, the ideas flow. Below is the first scribble of Josephine, drawn while reading the manuscript.
After a many sketches, I worked with Karen to find a sketch that was just right. Flash, the dog in the story, was my favorite character and I knew I had to find a place for him on the cover. 
Next, I grabbed my camera and started shooting the reference material for the painting. I photographed it all. Another illustrator even helped me out and photographed her dog at the angle I needed. Below are few shots of the zombie hands, frosting covered and all.
A screen shot of a drawing in progress, figuring out Josephine's "look."
On to the painting. I used both traditional and digital media to create the final artwork. Working digitally allows me to experiment with things I might not have the freedom to do with real paint. The traditional element allows me to create rich colors and real texture.
Now about that type... what a mess! I won't be making a career change to a cake decorator anytime soon...
At last... the cover!
Deadly Delicious - ebook cover (1)
For more information about myself and my work visit or tweet me @kirbifagan
About Deadly Delicious:

Twelve-year-old Josephine DeLune can’t take the heat this sweltering summer of 1955, and she was out of the kitchen long ago. An awful cook, she ruins recipes left and right, and she certainly can’t compete with her family’s reputation for extraordinary food. Her daddy’s parents ran one of the best restaurants in all of Paris, but Josephine lives in Paris, Missouri. On her mama’s side, she’s up against a long tradition of sinfully delicious soul food. Rumor has it, her Creole ancestors cooked up some voodoo to make tasty even tastier. Josephine knows the secret ingredient: she comes from a long line of conjure witches with spellbinding culinary skills. Disenchanted, Josephine works as a carhop at Carl and Earl’s Drive-In. Just plain old hamburgers, hot dogs, and curly fries, nothing magical about them. She’s got bigger fish to fry, though, when a grease fire erupts into a devilish creature who hisses her name with desire. Turns out he’s the Ravenous One, the granddaddy of all voodoo spirits, and he’s hungry for her soul. Josephine thinks he’s got the wrong girl—she’s no witch—but a gorgeous, dangerous night-skinned lady named Shaula sets her straight. Josephine is one of the most powerful witches alive, so overflowing with conjure that her out-of-control cooking simply catches fire. Josephine would love to laugh this off, but Shaula warns her that she must learn to master her magic before the Ravenous One devours her soul. Spurred into action, Josephine breaks out her grandma’s old conjure cookbook and starts cooking. Nothing grand, just the usual recipes for undying friendship and revenge. But soon Josephine can’t escape the consequences of her conjure. When the people of Paris start turning into zombies with a strange fondness for cake, Josephine looks pretty responsible for their undead reawakening…
About the Author:
K. L. Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) loves zombies, though she hopes to meet only the cake-eating kind. Deadly Delicious is her first book for children. She has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

Monday, April 7, 2014

There's a Reason the Guru Stays on the Mountain

For a long, long time... I've been fascinated by the spiritual, the things we can't see, yet we know must exist. How do we know they exist? Because they're the things that give our life meaning, by nourishing our hearts with emotions that fulfill and satisfy us. And even when those moments are fleeting, they provide touchstones for our journey through life.

Of late, I've been in my own process of reconnecting with that THING.

When I look back at the path I've taken, over the past couple years, my head spins. And I realize, that in many respects I lost my way, my connection to that THING. It's too easy when starting a new endeavor to be overtaken by external voices and opinions... how true for embarking on the path of Indie Author.

What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to do it? There are so many answers, some tried and true, others full of hope, storming in upon a tsunami of distraction. Add in the nuts and bolts of the trade, the ecstasy of sales, etc. and one can find one's Self treading the ocean of information as the shore of deeper meaning and purpose fades from the horizon.

How to recalibrate? 

For me, there's been some soul searching, much inner quieting down, and considerable contemplation about why I write what I write.

The one thing I've decided with certainty is: There's a reason the guru stays on the mountain.
No distractions. No daunting pull of others' needs and desires. No market forces to mess with one's serenity, and if the THING exists in some realm above us, the mountain top offers sheer proximity.

And yet, the valley calls...

And spring blooms...

And I find myself renewed and hopeful...