Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Cover Art by Reese Dante

Book Cover and Artist Month Continues

Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante

When people ask me to name favorite cover artists, Reese Dante’s name pops immediately into my mind.  Over countless stories, from Amy Lane to Mary Calmes to T.J. Klune to C.S. Poe and so many other authors, there has been one stunning cover after another.  These book covers offer an amazing arrange of tone, coloration, composition, and even style depending upon the needs of the author and novel.  But they never fail to pull you in, hold your eye, make you linger over the artwork, and then want to read the story within.

These covers are gorgeous, compelling, and often magic.

Reese Dante’s designs can run from singular images to complicated forms and everything in between.  From explosions of color to subtle hued covers in greys and whites, both carrying an impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t wait to hear Reese’s answers to our questions.  So on to our interview.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Artist Reese Dante!

Thank you so much for the invite!

How long does it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

That varies with each assignment. Image hunting is extremely time consuming, especially when character modifications are required. But once I have the images selected for a project and know all the character changes needed/requested, I move rather quickly through the design process. Start to finish (including finding the right pics to work with) can take anywhere between a few hours to a full week or more. Again, it all depends on the project.

How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere?

Most of my work involves photo manipulation. I would say about 80-90% of my covers use licensed stock material as a starting point. There are times when I can’t find a resource I need or I’m just too stubborn and want to incorporate something specific. In those instances, I digitally paint what’s needed (such as a tattoo design element, a piece of missing clothes, etc).

How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

That varies with each assignment and client. With publishers, there are house styles to consider and some are more restrictive than others regarding the level of input to incorporate. For my non-publisher work, all assignments begin with a spec completed by the author. The responses address a mix of questions about their story (characters, tone, time period, design preferences, etc). Some authors start the process knowing exactly what they want while others give me total creative freedom. Even with that creative freedom, the idea is sparked from something the author noted in a response. And ultimately, the tone and theme in their story determines the colors and style I use to finish off a design.

How did you get to become a cover artist?

Years ago, one of my friends needed a cover for a poetry book and asked me to design the cover. When he published his second poetry book, he asked me to design the cover for that one as well. I enjoyed the process and it was a welcome escape from my corporate office job. Some time later, another author friend asked me to design a cover for his first book, and I agreed. After he published his story, word started spreading and I received requests from other authors. One cover led to another and so on.

What mediums do you use?

I would be lost without Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. I also use a mix of software for my vector and illustration work. And when push comes to shove, I revert to my older drawing days and sketch something out with pencil then scan it in.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done?

That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. 🙂 In truth, there are too many and for different reasons (the author, the story, elements of the piece, or the overall experience). Some designs have challenged me to try new techniques and illustrate something original. While others provided a creative outlet to help me cope while dealing with something personal in life. I have many favorites, whether the author knows it or not.

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

There are tons of cover artists who create beautiful covers and some are truly gifted in what they can do with their creativity. I have favorite artists for different reasons and specialties. It’s impossible to pick one. Some have a gift for using vivid colors, digital drawings that leap off the page, and some can make something so simple look absolutely breathtaking.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

As a book cover designer, I do look at other covers in order to determine market trends for the various genres.

As a child, I spent more time watching movies than I did reading books. 🙂 I was obsessed with movie posters while growing up. When I was a teenager, I reached out to two store owners who received promo items for movies they were selling or renting at the time. When they cycled through movie posters and promos, rather than throw them out, they would give them to the nagging teenager (*me*). My bedroom walls were wallpapered by movie posters—even the ceiling (I did mention I was obsessed). So I can easily say movie posters are a huge influence on my work.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

So many things. I get to do what I love and I’m forever grateful. The creative freedom feeds my soul and the author squee is priceless. There’s nothing more exciting than an author telling me I’ve nailed their character or story on the design.

If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

Do you realize how much you obsess with details?

What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

Unless you’re an auto-buy author for the reader, the book cover is a critical marketing piece. The cover is the first encounter a reader has with any story when book shopping. Its job is to entice the reader to stop and take a closer look at the book.

How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

Book covers are still important when book shopping. With the dominance of eBook formats, book covers now need to show well as B&W images and at thumbnail size, more so than a printed paperback on a bookshelf.

What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future? {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse ,generic covers ,etc.)

Trends cycle (and sometimes recycle) and vary by genre. Whether it’s a cropped face or naked torso, there’s a recent push toward single model covers.

How do you feel about them?

I don’t have an issue with single model covers (or any trend) if it fits the character and/or story.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. And thank you for all the amazing comments, gifs, and messages over the years. ❤

For more of Reese Dante’s artist, don’t forget to check out her website and the portfolio.  You will recognize many of your favorite stories and covers there!  I’ve only given you all a tiny sampling here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more about Reese Dante, visit

Reese Dante | Book Cover Artist & Designer

 

 

Original drawing by the artist

About the Artist

Art has always been a part of my life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved art. There wasn’t a safe piece of paper in my home. I doodled everywhere and everything…papers, magazines, envelopes, brother’s homework. Then I started sketching people. I’d go through a magazine and rip out ads, preferably in color, then try to redraw them in a pencil sketch. I’d obsess until I thought it was just as strong as the color photo.

I’m a perfectionist and enjoy a challenge.

I’ve drawn and designed for years, but my first professional logo was used in 1991 for a community development and my first (published) book cover design appeared in 2005. I hold both a BBA with a specialization in Marketing and an MBA. After working for a national corporation in a marketing position for 15½ years handling all creative aspects of the company, I realized it just wasn’t enough…something was missing. The day-to-day slowly overpowered the creative elements of the job until there was nothing left but management tasks and responsibilities. I realized I enjoyed art a little too much to let it go. I started actively designing book cover art in December 2009 to fuel my creative need. People began asking about my covers and availability (thank you – I am forever grateful). I am now a full-time book cover artist and designer, using my marketing background to create art that grabs the reader’s attention. And I’ve never been happier.

My only regret…not having started this sooner.

As a teenager, my walls were covered by movie posters.  Maybe it’s subliminal after staring at movie posters for so many years.  I don’t know, but I do love a good story, especially those told in a picture.

Reese Dante
Book Cover Art & Design
rdante@reesedante.com
reesedante.com

Twitter: @ReeseDante
Facebook

I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Reese Dante. Next week Paul Richmond will be visiting with us. It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond
Until next week, happy reading and listening!  Here is our schedule at the blog this week.  Enjoy!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 24:

  • Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Ties of Destiny by Caitlin Taylor Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review : Letting Go (The Knights Club Series#2) by CJ Baty

Monday, February 25:

  •  PROMO Empire of Light by Alex Harrow
  • BLITZ Severed by Shona Husk
  • Blog Tour Post for A New Life by Mel Gough
  • An Alisa Review: Fire and Ink by KL Noone
  • A VVivacious Review Snowed In: Nen and Anani by Nell Iris
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall  and Adam R Watson (Narrator)
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Case of the Arms Dealers (Kanaan & Tilney #1) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne

Tuesday, February 26:

  • Release Blitz – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Between Us
  • Release Blitz – Anna Martin – Helix
  • ECHOES by LA Ashton Promotion
  • DSP POMO Cooper West on Mixed Signals
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review: Helix by Anna Martin
  • A MelanieM PRErelease Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Treasure by Megan Derr

Wednesday, February 27:

  • Release Blitz – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  •  PROMO Emory Schneider
  • Cover Reveal – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Skin and Bone (Digging Up Bones #2) by TA Moore
  • A MelanieM Review: Echoes by LA Ashton
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Concatenation (Lost in Translation #1) by Catherine Lievens
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Milo by Lily Morton

Thursday, February 28:

  • Release Blitz, and Blog Tour – The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • Cover Reveal – Murder At Oakschott Hall – Jim Austen
  • COVER REVEAL Becoming D’Vaire by Jessamyn Kingley
  • An Alisa Review Temporary Dad (Bad Valentine #4) by Dev Bentham
  • An Alisa Review:All He Needs (My Truth #1) by Ann Grech
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Empire of Light(Voyance #1) by Alex Harrow

Friday, March 1:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell
  • Release Blitz – DJ Jamison – Rapid Response
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – Dance For You by Colette Davison
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2)by Megan Derr
  • A MelanieM Review A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz

Saturday, March 2:

  •  Release Blitz and Review Tour – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Between Us
  • Redeem by Christina Lee Release Blitz
  • A Stella Review – The Ghosts Between Us(The West Hills #1) by Brigham Vaughn
  • A MelanieM Review:That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James

Blog Tour for Ties of Destiny (Curse of the Crown #1) by Caitlin Taylor (excerpt and giveaway)

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Ties of Destiny Tour BannerTIES OF DESTINY

CURSE OF THE CROWN, BOOK 1

CAITLIN TAYLOR

GAY FANTASY/ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 10.26.18

Ties of destiny (1)


Cover designer: Dee Aditya/https://decorousanarchystudios.wordpress.com/

BLURB

When forces both inside and outside the palace walls threaten the life of Crown Prince Akoni, he finds himself in need of a guard. Someone who will protect not only him, but also his secrets – and he may have found the perfect man for the task.

Being a soldier is Jeffery’s life. He won’t be defined by his past, but fights for the present, not some future he will never see. Yet, his mandatory reassignment to the palace as Prince Akoni’s personal guard forces him to set aside his plans. His role places Jeffery in the presence of nobles whom he despises, and Prince Akoni is worse than most.

Can two men learn to trust each other, or will the secrets they carry bring about their own demise? Will having Jeffery close to him help Prince Akoni to become King – or cause more deaths? They need to depend on each other, for the sake of the future, because if they cannot, the past will only repeat itself and neither of them will survive.

If you like fantastical adventures, a blending of magic, sword fighting and technology then you will love this intriguing first installment by Caitlin Taylor.

UBL: https://www.books2read.com/u/bWz2Jz

Amazon US: https://tinyurl.com/y75vputs

Promo graphic (1)

Promo graphic(2)

Promo graphic (3)

EXCERPT

Jeffrey clenched his fists, digging his nails into his palms so hard he would not be surprised to draw blood. He tried to take a deep breath, to calm himself, but his heart beat so fast, and his mind was a hazy mass of memories. A flash of a boy being hit and falling backwards, a soldier dragging him away to await his flogging. The panther tore his leash and pounced. “You’re cruel and vicious, taking your anger out on others who cannot defend themselves against you. You’re mendacious and pernicious, careless who in your path may suffer from your actions. You were born a prince, given privileges beyond reason, and all you do is squander and abuse it.”

“That’s quite enough.” The prince sat back in his chair, his gaze leaving Jeffrey to stare at his palm. He flexed his hand as if testing its movement for the first time.

Jeffrey wheezed hard, his outburst not easing his tension in the least, instead fanning it, like wind did a flame. How could the prince remain so calm? “Do you not even care a small bit about the people around you? About the pain you inflict?”

The prince rose, closing the distance between them. Jeffrey stood unflinching. He could smell the prince now, a dark and musky scent. An unwelcome spark shuddered down Jeffrey’s back. There were only inches between their faces when the prince spoke.

“Pernicious and mendacious. Those are some big words for a solider. Do you even know what they mean?”

Jeffrey’s gaze was momentarily drawn to a pair of pink lips, full and curved. He glowered but remained quiet. They were so close, he could see the prince’s eyelashes, long and curved, framing deep-blue eyes, as closed off as the rest of the prince. Yet, Jeffrey could see depth in them, a depth he knew from another. The desire sparking inside him was utterly unwelcome, and his anger flared all the more.

“You’ve been wanting to say all that to me since you first met me. Haven’t you?” The prince’s gaze bore into Jeffrey’s, almost as if searching for something. It dropped lower. A pink tongue came out to wet dry lips. His gaze lifted when he continued, “Is there more? I bet there is.”

“You callous—”

The prince cut Jeffrey off by wrapping his hand around Jeffrey’s throat. He did not press hard—yet. Jeffrey’s skin prickled where the prince’s hand lay.

“Enough.” The prince spoke quietly, his gaze drawn to his hand where it touched Jeffrey. He cocked his head to the side and frowned. Their eyes locked again. “What are you?” he asked, gentle, curious.

Jeffrey scoffed. “To you? Another toy to play with it seems.”

“Another toy? I never had one…”

The prince worried his lip, and Jeffrey found his gaze drawn to the sight.

“Play with you? I would enjoy that, but not the way you think.”

“Do you take anything seriously?” Jeffrey kept himself still. It would be easy to shake the prince’s hold, but to do so would constitute an attack on royalty. Even in his current state, he knew better; he could not cross that line. He must not.

The prince smiled wryly. “I take a great deal of things seriously. You think I don’t care, that I sit around in my castle playing games. You’re a soldier, you couldn’t possibly understand the battles I fight every day. They may not be with swords, but they are no less lethal.”

“Battles.” Jeffrey laughed. “You’ve no idea what a battle even is. You’re not even able to fight with a real sword.”

The prince’s frown deepened. “What makes you think that?”

“You practise with the marshal, and every time you leave him you’re in pain. You can hardly walk. I bet you’re covered in bruises.”

“You’re observant. This week was the first in many years that I’ve not been able to defend against him. Thanks to you.”

“Me? I wasn’t even there!” Jeffrey sneered.

“But you are. I feel you all the time…” The prince trailed off, his gaze once more returning to his hand wrapped around Jeffrey’s throat. He let his thumb move over Jeffrey’s skin.
Caitlin Taylor Logo

Caitlin Taylor is the author of the Curse of the Crown series.

She lives in the west of Ireland – that is, until the rain stops being a good enough excuse to stay indoors with a good book and mug of hot cocoa! She has lived in Germany as well as Canada, loves travelling and exploring foreign places and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Reading has always been a beautiful escape for her and she has been creating fantastical worlds in her head for as long as she can remember. Ties of Destiny is her debut novel.

With a focus on LGBT and specifically m/m romances, expect fantastical worlds to get lost in with a side of sexy men, (probably kinky) sex, sword fighting, magic and more…



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCJTaylor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCJTaylor

Website: https://caitlintaylorbooks.com/

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An Alisa Review Letting Go (The Knights Club Series#2) by CJ Baty

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Calypso knew he looked good. He loved bright colors, makeup, and most of all, high heels. The higher the better. The sassy mouth and self-assured man he presented to the outside world wasn’t how he felt on the inside. At the Knights Club he hide the self-doubt and depression. Until, Benedict Hart walked in bringing all his old demons back to life.

Benedict Hart was a high-priced gigolo. It’s not what he started out in life to do but it paid the bills. Meeting Calypso at the Knights Club turned his world upside down. The man was sexy, smart mouthed and completely sure of himself. He made Benedict want things he hadn’t thought about in years. Losing a dear friend spurs him into action, but will his past get in their way?

The Knights Club hosts a group of characters diverse in every way, but they are family. Xavier Knight watches over them as if they were his children. And, like most families, things don’t always run smoothly.

This was a nice story.  Calypso won’t let anyone tell him what he is supposed to be but deep down he doesn’t trust that anyone will actually want him.  Benedict changed the path of his life in college and is now getting the chance to leave that behind, being able to be what Calypso needs the most.

Calypso has learned to run at the first sign of trouble and that’s just what he does when it comes knocking at his and Benedict’s happiness.  Benedict goes to great lengths and shows everyone that he means well and loves Calypso.  There were a lot of time gaps in the story which made some things hard to line up but allowed the story to take place over a longer time period.  This story followed the same short premise of the first book, so I had a good idea of what to expect and look forward to continuing the series.

The cover art by Select-O-Grafix is similar to the first in the series, giving some visuals for the characters just not great composition.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 93 pages

Published: October 18, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: The Knights Club #2