Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Making of a Cover - Of Gods and Sorrow

The cover for Of Blood and Sorrow (OBaS) was designed by a professional. Erin Dameron-Hill is tremendously talented. I had no idea what exactly I wanted for a cover, but she knew just what to do. I saw the project go from the simple model image to the cover you see above.

A year ago, I received a month long subscription to BigStock, and I bought two images of the same model on that cover. I was determined to expand my skills and make the next two covers in this trilogy.

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned.

I've been practicing and improving my designing skills. My husband bought me a newer version of Photoshop, and it has so many more tools to play with.

Having finished the first draft of book two called Of Gods and Sorrow (OGaS), I set about making the cover with the image of the same model. It was going to be spectacular. I knew what I wanted. All I had to do was... use a different image.

The model is standing in an odd position. Does anyone naturally stand like that?

So I went through the many images I had collected and found one that worked much better. It's not the same model, but she looks very similar. She's squatting like on the cover of OBaS. Apparently my protagonist, Erin, is super at squats.

The coloring of the image was better for what I wanted too. One of the locations in OGaS is an underground cavern with a lake of fire. I wanted the drama of it. It would be a good contrast to the starkness of the OBaS cover. But it still had to feel like it was part of a series... and not just because Erin is squatting.

The trick to making the cover was layers. Many layers. Twenty-four layers, in fact. Some of the layers are little bits, but other layers are full faded images. If you look at the cover of OBaS, you can see several layers, and they blend together so nicely.

I had to change the coloring to make it look like a cave with a fire. I messed up Erin's hair, gave it some redness from the reflection of the fire. She needed pants too. Erin rarely wears dresses. Then the awesome weapon and some graffiti on the cave wall. Erin doesn't have tattoos, but she has spots. So yes, many layers.

The title font was hard to match, but I made it work. I originally wanted to go with a green surrounding glow, but it didn't look quite right. My plan had been to use blue for the final cover, but blue worked perfectly against this fiery cover.

My tips if you want to try your hand at designing a book cover:
1) Be flexible. What you have in mind might not work out. Always have a Plan B. And C.
2) Layers. It might look daunting when you first start, but if you do it piece by piece, it's easier.
3) Have other eyes on it. I have great critique partners that have seen all the rough trial covers. They'll help point you in the right direction.

And now, what you've been waiting for. The finalized cover of OGaS.

What do you think? Have you ever tried your hand at cover design?

P.S. I'm focusing on writing for the rest of the month. I'll see you on the first Wednesday of February for IWSG!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

#IWSGPit for January 2018

It's time for the January 2018 #IWSGPit!
This event is an amazing opportunity for writers. The first pitch last year was a trending topic on Twitter. We have a ton more agents and publishers involved with this one.

I hope you have your tweets polished and ready to go. The pitch goes from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Create a Twitter length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript. Leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. Tweet your pitch. If your tweet receives a favorite/heart from a publisher or agent, check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.


1. Writers can only send out one tweet per hour per manuscript. You will be monitored by the IWSG team to make certain it is fair for everyone.

2. Publishers and agents will favorite/heart the manuscripts they are interested in. Writers, please do not favorite anyone else's pitches.

3. No images allowed in pitches.

4. Pitches must include genre/age and the hashtag #IWSGPit.

#C - children's
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult

#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crine/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction

Good luck!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Tick Tock Cover Reveal!

The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglas, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

Release date: May 1st, 2018

Isn't the cover fantastic? Congratulations again to all the winners of the IWSG short story contest. It's an awesome collection.

Don't forget the next IWSG Twitter Pitch is this Thursday on the 18th. Writers, polish up your pitches and prepare your tweets. There are a ton more agents and publishers involved this year. It's a great opportunity. For the #IWSGPit rules, just click on the image.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Word Witch Wednesday - hooray for Story Genius

I'm starting off the year reading an incredible book on writing from Lisa Cron called Story Genius. I don't think I've ever been this excited about a book on the craft. While other ones have inspired me, Cron has opened my eyes and changed how I write for the better.

It's difficult to find a book on writing for pantsers. Most are for plotters, and many insist that pantsers will never be able to write good stories. This raises my hackles. Comments like that will make me put a book down and never pick it up again. One of my idols, Stephen King, is a pantser. A fact I delightfully discovered only recently.

When I write, I have the protagonist already forming in my mind. I know where the story starts and where I want it to go. How it gets there is always a surprise, but I love it. I write organically. The opening event happens, and it all flows from there. Action, reaction. Consequence, reaction. Action, reaction. Consequence, reaction. The story drives itself for me that way.

So how does Cron's book help me when I just let it flow like that? She bases her book on neuroscience. Of course that interested me in itself, but when she explained stories with science, it clicked with me. It's not beautiful prose or a clever plot that makes for a good story (though those things are the cherries on top), it's how the story connects to the readers emotionally. More particularly, how the protagonist connects to the readers emotionally.

There are no detailed character bios or elaborate plotting to be done in Cron's exercises. She helps bring you to the core of your story with the essential elements that make up your protagonist.

I did this with my current trilogy and totally blew myself away. I discovered what drives my story. It was the core of my story all along! No wonder my protagonist gives me trouble. She was fighting it and I was fighting it. But now I know how to write it so it's a specific internal conflict instead of something I knew was there, but couldn't properly get on the screen.

I want to rattle on and on, but you'll just have to read the book for yourself. I highly recommend it.

Have you read any of Cron's books? Is there a book on writing that has affected you this way?

P.S. I'm so excited that in February, Lisa Cron will be writing a short article for the IWSG newsletter. If you haven't signed up for the newsletter, click here. You don't want to miss it!

And don't forget that next week is the #IWSGPit. Polish up your manuscript pitches! It's a great opportunity and free for all writers. I'll see you then!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

#IWSG for January 2018 and the Flaming Crimes Blogfest

Happy New Year! Here's hoping that 2018 is a fantastic year for all of us. Cheers!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria!

We're starting off the year with great news. The IWSG short story contest last year had many amazing entries, and bravo to everyone who submitted a story. But the judges could only choose ten. Congratulations to the winners!

"Reset" by Tara Tyler
"Until Release" by Jemi Fraiser
"Center Lane" by Christine Clemetson
"One More Minute" by Mary Aalgaard
"The Tide Waits" by Rebecca M. Douglas
"Three O'Clock Execution" by S.R. Betler
"Cypress, Like The Tree" by Yolanda Renee
"The Little Girl in the  Bayou" by J.R. Ferguson
"Gussy Saint and the Case of the Missing Coed" by C.D. Gallant-King

Special mention - "Heartless" by C. Lee McKenzie

And the grand prize winner - "A Stitch in Crime" by Gwen Gardner

Look for the anthology, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime late this spring!

January optional IWSG question: What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

It depends on how you define schedule. I have a loose schedule for what I want to do this year. I don't want to put any more stress on myself than I already do, so I haven't set deadlines for the two novels I want to release in 2018. I will make them the best darn novels they can be, and if that happens later rather than sooner, so be it. I'm trying to be okay with that.

* * * * *

Congratulations to the awesome Chrys Fey on the release of her newest book, Flaming Crimes. In celebration of her release, she's having a fun blogfest which requires participants to answer one question.

What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire? (This is after you've saved your family, pets, and other important items.)

I'm including books as important items. It's not ridiculous to save them! As for the silly item, it would be my dice. Yes, I'm such a geek. But there are so many dice that have memories attached to them. And they roll well! It's not easy to find a set of dice that roll well for you.

Click on the badge above to find a list of the other participants and see what things they would save.

Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304 
Digital Price: $4.99 
Print Price: $16.99
Rating: Spicy (PG13)


BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could've been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they're trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links: