Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell

If you’ve read a book by RJ Scott or V.L. Locey to name two authors quickly off the top of my head, well, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  If you read some or all of the stories  in The Christmas Angel series by various authors, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  And of course, if you’ve read Forever In The Sun (co authored with RJ Scott) or Fallout,  you’ve seen a cover created by the artist for a book she’s written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus if you are a follower of either RJ Scott or VL Locey or the MM Hockey Romance Group, then you are familiar with the adorable chibis that Meredith Russell draws of the characters of the Harrisburg Railers hockey players and their mates and families.  I’m hoping she will extend it to the Rush soon.  Here is the first chibi she drew.  It’s Tennant Rowe! The others can be found here at

Railers Chibi-style promo pieces

Adorable, right?  If you are a fan of the Harrisburg Railers series by RJ Scott and VL Locey, then you know Ten is featured in a very special story that’s to be released this summer, June 30th 2019.  Here’s a look at the cover by Meredith Russell, of course|
Now onto our interview….

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Meredith Russell on Art, Book Covers and Much More

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

Making a draft varies author to author for me. Some come with ideas, or a set style they’ve adopted, or images they’ve found themselves and so we go down one route and a single draft, and it’s a rather painless process. Then others need to see something to help decide what they actually are after from a cover. I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to exactly how long I spend on a draft. There are various stages I go through – getting any info or ideas from the author, looking at what images are available and which might work together, some back and forth with the author as to whether images fit with what they’re after, and finally the cutting/pasting/making etc of the draft. The time adds up but usually after a few days I have something to show them and a starting point to tweak into something final.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock

I work pretty much exclusively with images from stock sites so I am limited in some ways to what I can find on them and how I can maybe manipulate them into what we need. However, I would love to venture into digital art but I haven’t found the time to devote myself to figuring it out or getting the resources I’d need. I’ve had fun creating some simple drawings for RJ Scott, and a couple of others, who have had me turn their characters into little cartoon people though.

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

Again it varies. Some authors have a set idea of what they want. Some (naming no names lol) come to me requesting a man with brown hair and give me a couple of details about the story’s setting. I do like to know about the storyline or at least key moments or places that can be incorporated into the cover.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

What feels like a long time ago now, I used to do bits of fan art, mostly fanfiction banners for myself and some other writers. When RJ Scott went on to self-publishing she asked me to create her a cover and it went from there.

What mediums do you use? 

I work on a pc. I do have a pen and tablet that I use for drawing the cartoon characters (see above), but also a lot of those do actually start out as pencil and paper sketches that I then digitize and use as a guide.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done? 

Oh that’s a tough one. I recently did a set of seven covers for a series called The Christmas Angel. I liked how they turned out along with the challenge some of them offered considering they were all set in different time periods. A few others I really like include Liam Livings’ And Then That Happened, RJ Scott’s Boy Banned, KC Wells’ A Christmas Promise, and an as yet untitled merman cover I created as a premade that Amber Kell bought off me. Somebody should poke her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

I do. I really love Jay Aheer’s work. She does some beautiful pieces.

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

I don’t think so much as a child. I was more about the title and blurb, particularly considering what was popular in way of covers back then, or at least for the kinds of books I was reading. It wasn’t until maybe early twenties where I started being tempted by pretty covers, quite a few being the YA type books, or having a striking female model on them.

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

I just really enjoy getting to work with the authors. I enjoy the sharing of emails, building a working relationship and even friendships.

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

It would be, ‘Have you remembered about that request you got over on Facebook?’ Seriously, I have a terrible memory and am constantly emailing myself or telling people to send details in emails as my inbox is something I have open all day whilst on my computer and can easily check on my phone when I’m not at my desk.

From the Christmas Angel series…

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

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

Firstly, as an attention grabber. If you’re looking for something beyond the regular authors you read, the title and cover are the first things you’re exposed to so it helps if they make an impression. And secondly, covers can be a way of making a brand for authors. It might be they all have a set look – so maybe a single model on the cover, or simply keeping the font for their name consistent for all their books.

  • How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

I don’t think it’s changed it too greatly, in that whether you’re walking a row of books in a store or scrolling through online pages of somewhere like Amazon, covers are there to grab your attention.

  • 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.)

I think like with everything styles come in and out of fashion. There was the time of the headless models, shirtless torsos, two models, touched up single image covers,  Recently, for me at least, it’s been focusing on a single model on covers, for example The Christmas Angel series and having just one of the characters on there. And unfortunately, because cost is a factor for many authors when paying for cover art, repeated use of models from stock sites is difficult to avoid, but it offers artists the challenge to try and use them differently.

  • How do you feel about them?

Personally, I think the only trend I didn’t like was the headless men one. I know it was a way to make use of limited models in the earlier days, plus allows readers to form their own image of the character simply from whatever descriptions the authors wrote about them, but for me, I just wasn’t a fan. Otherwise, each trend has its place and does its job. There’s a risk of all books looking the same, but that’s then up to the artists, and also the authors and their input, to put their own twist on what’s popular.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

If you’re interested in my work both as an author and cover artist you can view details at my website meredithrussell.co.uk, or find me over at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/meredithrussellauthor. Thank you.

 

About Meredith

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

Meredith Russell’s Media links
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Meredith Russell.  It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.
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

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!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 17:

  • Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review: Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Monday, February 18:

  • Release Blitz Milo by Lily Morton
  • Amy Lane Author Guest Post
  • Harmony Ink YA John Goode
  • An Alisa Review: Port in a Storm (Kitten and Witch #1) by K.L. Noone
  • A MelanieM Review: Wolff (Redemption #1) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lucy Review: Shine (Uncorked #4) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review: For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

Tuesday, February 19:

  • Book Blitz for Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • Cover Reveal – Broken by Colette Davison
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells
  • A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Catesj and  Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Wednesday, February 20:

  • Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan
  • Cover Reveal,- The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A Lucy Review: Sweet (Uncorked #5) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan Harbor Cycle #8) by Sam Burns
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

Thursday, February 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock
  • An ALisa Review: The Romantic by Elodie Parkes
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Redemption #2) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lila Review The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin

Friday, February 22:

  • OLD SINS by Charlie Cochrane Tour by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3)
  • DSP PROMO Andrew Grey on Reunited
  • Book Blast – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Ace of Hearts by Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris
  • A Caryn Review: Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock

Saturday, February 23:

  • Release Blitz Signal – Kris Jacen – Step Up With Me
  • “Ithani” by J. Scott Coatsworth Mark (OWL) Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:  Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen
  • A MelanieM Review Waiting on the Rain by Freddy MacKay

More On Book Covers And Cover Artists ~ This Week Garrett Leigh! Our Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Author and Artist: Garrett Leigh

More On Book Covers And Cover Artists

 This Week the Fabulous Garrett Leigh!

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

When I am looking at book covers, I can spot a Garrett Leigh cover just at a glance.  It has a certain style, a tone, a composition that states that yes, this cover was created by Garrett Leigh, and no other.

When sending out Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words questions, Garrett Leigh not only snapped immediately to mind because of the instant recognition factor in her covers but because Leigh is also an author as well.  Leigh is in a unique position in that a Garrett Leigh novel can have (although not always) a Garrett Leigh cover, one perfectly tuned to the story and characters within.

I can think of only a few other author/artists off the top of my head in a similar position.  Meredith Russell, LC Chase are among them.

So we are lucky to have Garrett Leigh here today answering our questions about books, cover artists, the future of covers, and much more.  Check it all out below.  Also the link to Garrett Leigh’s design website, Black Jazz Design.  Don’t miss out on the gallery there and all the many book covers.  Such a delight!

From Garrett Leigh:

Cover Book and Cover Artist Questions:

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

The time frame varies from job to job. For example, I’ve worked on a series cover today, book 6, that took me half an hour, as we already knew which model we were using, and exactly how the cover would look. Over the weekend, I did a job for a publisher that required three markedly different drafts, before one was chosen to work on further.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock)

I’m a photographic artist, so most of images come from stock sites, or my husband’s collection (he is a pro photographer/videographer). Stock sites are invaluable, though.

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

Again, it depends on the job. Some authors have a clear idea of what they want, and the book is already written, and some have no clue and want their art before they start writing the book. When working with publishers, you also have to consider house style.

As far as the story itself is concerned, the most important aspect is the tone. I wouldn’t want to make a super gritty thriller cover for a cute holiday romance.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

Entirely by accident. I wanted something specific for a book of my own, so I made it myself and went from there.

  • What mediums do you use?  

Photoshop, Illustrator, Daz, Wacom.

  • Do you have a favorite cover you have done?

That’s like asking me to choose between my children, but I do have a few I don’t like. And no, I’m not saying which ones, haha.

  • Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

Loads. We’re super lucky in the romance genre in that there are dozens of stellar artists to choose from. And I’m good friends with a few too—Kellie Dennis, Jay Aheer, Meredith Russell.

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

Not that I can remember, but I mainly read Enid Blyton, so…

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

When a job “clicks” and the author is over the moon. It makes the trickier jobs worthwhile.

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

Where the hell did you put the spare laptop you bought for camping last year?

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

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

The cover is equally, if not more, important as the blurb. I choose my books with my eyes first, and if a book has a crappy cover, I’ll scroll on by unless it’s been specifically recommended to me.

  • How has the eBook format changed that, if any?

eBooks have been around as long as I’ve been a professional artist, so I honestly couldn’t say.

  • 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.)

Chalkboard cursive fonts are still in, with warm happy colours. But the moody black and white hero is a long time favourite in the romance genre.

  • How do you feel about them?

Naked torsos? I’ve produced many covers with torsos, and read many books with them on the cover. I think they’re awesome if they suit the book.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

I bought a cheap laptop last year so I could write on a camping trip. If anyone has any ideas as to where I might have put it, that would be amazing.

About the Author/Artist:

Bonus Material available for all books on Garrett’s Patreon account. Includes short stories from Misfits, Slide, Strays, What Remains, Dream, and much more. Sign up here: https://www.patreon.com/garrettleigh

Facebook Fan Group, Garrett’s Den… https://www.facebook.com/groups/garre

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer, cover artist, and book designer. Her debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards, and was again a finalist in 2017 with Rented Heart.

In 2017, she won the EPIC award in contemporary romance with her military novel, Between Ghosts, and the contemporary romance category in the Bisexual Book Awards with her novel What Remains.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.

Contact Garrett Leigh at:

Website
Twitter

 

 

 

 

More to come next week with author/artist Meredith Russell .  Meanwhile keep checking out our reviews and our covers below.  What do you think of them?  Do they grab your attention?  I love quite a few this week.  Have a great week.  Happy reading to all!  And Happy Valentine’s Day!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

 

Sunday, February 10:

  • More On Book Covers And Cover Artists ~ This Week Garrett Leigh!
  • Our Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A Lucy Review Full Bodied (Uncorked #2) by Shea Balik

Monday, February 11:

  • Release Blitz NOBLE HOPS by Layla Reyne
  • Release Blitz – Outlaw Girls – Miss Merikan
  • PROMO Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin
  • An Alisa Review: How Not to Blend  (Lovestrong #1) by Susan Hawke
  • A Lucy Review: Snowed In: Jonah and Cooper by Kris T. Bethke
  • A MelanieM Review: In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Battle of Will by Sasha L. Miller

Tuesday, February 12:

  • TOUR Kicking up My Heels by Liam Livings
  • Release Blitz – In Case You Missed It by S. M. James
  • Andrew Grey on Rebound
  • An Alisa Review: Stepbrother’s Secret (Men of Meadowfall #6) by Anna Wineheart
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Rebound by Andrew Grey
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: How to Be a Movie Star (How to Be #2) by TJ Klune
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Familiar Demon (Familiar Love #2) by Amy Lane

Wednesday, February 13:

  • Release Blitz – Damaged by Tricia Owens
  • PROMO The Vampire’s Quest by Damian Serbu
  • Blog Tour – Darkness Dawns by Zakarrie Clarke
  • An Alisa Review: Square One by Dale Chase
  • A Stella Release Day Review: How to Be a Movie Star (How to Be #2) by TJ Klune
  • A Jeri Review: Damaged by Tricia Owens

Thursday, February 14: Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️

  • Release Blitz for Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn
  • An Ashlez Audio Review: Road of No Return: Hounds of Valhalla MC (Sex & Mayhem #1) by K.A. Merikan and Wyatt Baker (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Hidden Hearts (Bad Valentine #3) by Clare London
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Echo by L.E. Royal
  • A MelanieM Review Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Friday, February 15:

  • Tour and Giveaway:Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • A MelanieM Review: Peony Lanterns by Patricia Correll
  • A Lucy Review Blush (Uncorked #3) by Shea Balik
  • A Lila Review: Faeted Box Set By Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review :Royal Guardian (Rise of the Symbionts #1) by Jo Tannah

Saturday, February 16:

  • A MelanieM Review: Little (Trenton Security #2) by J.M. Dabney
  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Snowed In: Nen and Anani

 

M.D. Grimm on the Evolution of the Story the new release Eye of the Beholder (guest blog)

Standard

Eye of the Beholder by M.D. Grimm

Dreamspinner Press
Release date: February 8th, 2019

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Hello everyone! My name is M.D. Grimm and I shall be your host today. Just want to say a quick thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for allowing me to visit with you all today.

To celebrate “Eye of the Beholder,” I wanted to talk a little about the evolution of the story. It is my first and probably only vampire story I will write. I enjoy vampires at times but I’m not obsessed with them like some people are. However, this story has been on the backburner for years and after four or five complete rewrites I decided I wanted to fix it up and finally release it.

It is a story near and dear to my heart. It’s been with me for a very long time, and I have a special affection for Vulcan, the main character. He is a wonderful bundle of contradictions—between being bold and shy, and wanting to connect with others but terrified of loss. His character has certainly seen the most evolution from the first draft to the last and I couldn’t be prouder. He is an amazingly self-assured young man but also painfully insecure when it comes to intimacy. It was imperative that he not be classically/stereotypically handsome. In my opinion, he’s adorable, but he doesn’t see himself that way. What I find most attractive about him is his intelligence and creative flare. He’d be a fun guy to get a beer and hang out with.

As a counterpoint to Vulcan, there is the Roman vampire Cassius and he was a hoot to write. This was certainly one of those times where the story might never have been published if I kept digging into Ancient Rome and putting in details about his previous lives. It was fascinating to think of a man who grew up during the time of the emperors in Rome and then continued to live through a significant amount of human history. What would he have seen? Who would he have met? Vulcan’s fascination with Cassius was partly my own. His questions were those I’d want to ask such a man myself.

Cassius as a character didn’t evolve much. I pretty much knew him and how he would react to Vulcan and the world around him. He is certainly someone who can roll with the punches and isn’t really fazed by most things. Then Vulcan pops into his life and shakes things up. He brings a little sun into Cassius’s perpetual darkness, so of course the old vampire would take an interest.

Of course there are slayers involved because where you have vampires, you have those who want to kill them. However, I also added another little crisis to my world—an insidious threat that proves there is a price for nigh immortality. It was a concept that grew with time and only fully formed during the last big rewrite.

I enjoyed fleshing out the world of the vampires and occasional werewolf in Los Angeles, California. They pass as eccentric humans and what better place for such strangeness to exist? It was imperative that I keep the essentials of vampire lore but, of course, add a new twist or two of my own. I didn’t want it to be the same ol’ same ol’ that inhabit the majority of vampire stories. Whether I succeeded or not will be up to you. I’m not one who easily does standalones so this was good muscle flex in writing a fully realized story in a single book.

I hope you agree! If you do, feel free to visit my website for more at www.mdgrimmwrites.com and make sure to subscribe to my newsletter for all the deets on future projects!

That’s it for me. Enjoy the rest of your day!

May dragons guard your dreams,

M.D. Grimm

Blurb:

Is it better to risk it all… or never know what could have been?

After surviving an abusive childhood, Vulcan remade himself upon arriving in Los Angeles, California. He became a blacksmith for the paranormal community and strives to earn the respect of the vampire covens and werewolf packs that call LA home. He also prevents the pain of loss by keeping everyone at arm’s length.

But he never planned on meeting a former Roman soldier by the name of Marcus Cassius Vespillo. Something sparks between them and turns into a friendship he never considered possible. He can’t deny his intense attraction to the intelligent, courteous, ancient vampire. And it scares him.

Though Vulcan is wary of seeking more with Cassius, an attack leaves him at death’s door and forces him to reexamine his priorities. But Cassius has his own secret, one that promises tragedy and loss. And if that wasn’t enough, a slayer arrives in the States, one with a bloody connection to Cassius… and Vulcan himself.

About the Author

M.D. Grimm decided to become an author in the second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things, actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!). After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?), she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier. Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain (or else what’s the point?), finding their soul mate in the process.

Visit “M.D. Grimm” at Facebook and Goodreads.

Email: mdgrimm29@yahoo.com

Website: www.mdgrimmwrites.com

Make sure to subscribe to her monthly newsletter!

Book Covers and Artists! This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju Our Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Cover Art by Aisha Akeju

Book Covers and Artists!

 

I’m so very excited about this month and perhaps into March.  We are getting back answers from artists and publishers to our questionnaire on Book Covers and Book Artists.  We asked how they came to work on covers,  what they thought about the current state of book covers, their inspirations, role models, and even the process the authors went through so see covers for their stories.  So many questions to help us get insight into an aspect of our stories we love and that, frankly, fascinates us, me especially.

We have sent out our questionnaires to many of our favorites artists and publishers who have been gracious enough to answer back so our Sundays will be full this month and probably into March with answers and insights from everyone from Garrett Leigh, Reese Dante, NineStar Press, Riptide Publishing, Meredith Russell, Dreamspinner Press, and more.  I can hardly wait myself.

For me, even before I could read, it was the cover that grabbed my attention, made me want to reach out for it.  Want to know what was inside…  Just as it was for so many others.  Book covers draw us to the story inside.  It makes us want to ask that question “what is that book about”?  Even before we read the blurb or are old enough to know what a blurb is. It’s the cover that tells a story, catches our eye, “says Read Us!”.  If the artist does their job.  That is.

For those great covers?  One glance and you’re hooked!  My eye slides by, boom and back it goes.  I  need to examine that cover and book closer.  I pick it up, turn it over, look at it, and often buy the story.  Job done.  It’s always been that way.  Gothic, fantasy, science fiction, name the genre…I still have the books and can go fish out the story and the cover artist that hooked me.

I can still remember the great Anne Cain cover’s for the first edition of J.L. Langley’s My Fair Captain.  Hot damn as they say.  It may have been the first of the half naked torso covers but to this day for me, it’s still one of the hottest.  *fans self*  All others have been just pale reproductions in my mind next to that one.  Fair?  No, but that is the power of that first impression.

Anne Cain has left a lot of those!

So have all the artists who has participated in Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words first venture into insights on Book Covers , Artists, and, their current role in Publishing.  We hope you enjoy it.

First up in our artist spotlight is someone I have long admired.  I found Aisha Akeju through the many stories of Megan Derr, Mell Eight, and other authors at Less Than Three Press.  They are unfailingly fantastical, highly artistic, incredibly imaginative,and always, always, make me look closer.  I just love her works.

You probably have seen her covers if you have read a Megan Derr story.  I have included the link to her website.  Please check out her covers there, also on the LT3 website as well.  They always have a section on the cover artist for each book you buy. I love that about them!  I have included a link to Less Than Three Press as well.  Gp and check out all their new releases as well as the covers!

 

This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju

 

Megan Derr at Less Than Three Press forwarded me your email with questions for cover artists and while I can’t answer all the questions for lack of time, I’ve answered some of them below. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about something I love and I hope my answers are helpful!

AISHA AKEJU

aisha-o.com

======================================

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere?
I’d say about 90% of my covers are comprised of stock material, and about 10% are elements I’ve had to create for the covers. Because sometimes a request is so unique you can’t quite find what you’re looking for.
  • How much input comes from  the author and/or storyline?  
Pretty much all of it, I’d say. I work off of a cover request sent to me from the publisher. I wouldn’t know where to start without it. The cover request includes the book title, author, number in a series if applicable, and what the author would like to see on the cover. It also includes a brief blurb describing what the book is about. I’ll then do my best to fulfill the cover request.
  • How did you get to become a cover artist?
About eight years ago, a friend who I’d done some art for suggested I reach out to Less Than Three Press and offer my services as a cover artist. So I emailed, fingers crossed, and I was lucky enough to be picked up as a contractor. The rest, as they say, is history.
  • Do you have a favorite cover you have done?
I have quite a few favorites! Too many, probably. I quite like Dust on the Wing by Parker Foye, Hellbeasts by Katya Harris, A Honeyed Light by Freddie Milano, and The Neighbor by Bernadette Chapman. But I find I’m most proud of the covers that requires me to flex my graphic design muscles a bit. A few are: Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust by Lynn Darrow, The Devil You Know by Camilla Quinn, Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde, and The Show Must Go On by Buggy Brooks.
^^^^^^
  • Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?
Natasha Snow! She creates stunning covers and I’m honestly in awe of her talent.
  • Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?
Oh, absolutely! I always gravitated towards the books that had covers I found appealing. I think it’s just natural when it comes to books. It’s perfectly fine to judge a book by its cover. You’re putting a lot of trust into a product you’re not sure about beyond a blurb. It certainly helps if the packaging is nice to look at.
  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?
I think the book cover is integral to selling books. It’s the packaging that’s responsible for catching a reader’s eye and hinting at the story within.

About Aisha Akeju

A New Yorker born and raised, creativity has always been a part of Aisha’s life and is, in fact, in her blood. The daughter of an artist and museum director, Aisha picked up a pencil before she learned her ABCs, learning to draw at her mother’s knee and “borrowing” art supplies from her mother’s drafting table when she grew tall enough to reach. Her love of art has only been matched by her love of books, becoming a voracious reader at an early age after falling in love with the written word after her first taste of Green Eggs and Ham, and becoming a published author by the time she was nine years old. Her passion for art and books helped shape Aisha into the illustrator and graphic designer she is today. Her love of fantasy and pop culture weaves itself into her life and her work.

Aisha graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Illustration, and prides herself on her unique style in all her endeavors. With several years of experience under her belt, Aisha currently works as a freelance designer, creating book covers and promotional images for independent presses, publishing houses, and self-published authors. In her spare time, Aisha illustrates for fun and profit, crochets gifts for friends and family, plays mom to a slightly evil and completely ridiculous cat, enjoys table-top gaming, and is a harcore kpop fan.

To learn more about what Aisha can do for you, please see her offered services and read testimonials from satisfied customers.

 

 

That’s our Artist of the Week.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Next week we have Garrett Leigh, who is both an artist and an author.  Let me know if you have any questions for our artists in advance!

 

Meanwhile check out the covers below for the upcoming reviews.  How do they strike you?  Do they tell you a story?  What are they saying?  And then check out what our reviewer has to has say about the covers and their relation to the story they are reviewing.  Interesting stuff!

 

Meanwhile have a great week! Stay warm if you are caught up in the polar vortex!  And always happy reading and listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 3:

  • Book Covers and Artists! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju
  • A Barb Review His First Family by Victoria Sue

Monday, February 4:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Andrew Demcak 2emails
  • DSP PROMO Sean Michael on Educating the Professor
  • Alisa Review: Omega Teacher’s Secret (Men of Meadowfall #5) by Anna Wineheart
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Trenton Security #3) by J.M. Dabney 
  • A Jeri Review Rewind by Rowan Shaw
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) by Jeff Adams and John Solo (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 5:

  • Release Week Blitz Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke
  • BLITZ Diamond Heart by M.A. Hinkle
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Educating the Professor by Sean Michael
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Rebuild My Heart (Lexington Lovers #4) by Ariel Tachna
  • A Lucy Review: Bubbly (Uncorked #1) by Shea Balik
  • A Lila Review: Not Dead Yet (Not Dead Yet #1) by Jenn Burke

Wednesday, February 6:

  • Series Blitz – The Knights Club Series – CJ Baty
  • Review Tour Marina Vivancos – Rat Park
  • DSP PROMO Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga on Syncopation
  • An Alisa Review: In the Lion’s Den by Abigail Kade
  • A Stella Review: Rat Park by Marina Vivancos
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker

Thursday, February 7:

  • Release Day – JJ Harper – Gage (Redemption Series
  • Release Blitz – My Anti-Valentine Collection – DJ Jamison
  • DSP PROMO M.D. Grimm on Eye of the Beholder
  • A Caryn Review No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ruff Trouble by Sharon Maria Bidwell
  • A Lila Audio Review A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

Friday, February 8:

  • Gage, Trenton Security Book 3, by JM Dabney Blog Tour
  • Review Tour – The Other Book – Roe Horvat
  • Release Blitz – TL Travis – Forgive Me Father
  • An Alisa Audio Review From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review Hexhunter (Hexworld #4) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A MelanieM Releases Day Review: Eye of the Beholder by MD Grimm
  • An Ali Review : The Other Book by Roe Horvat

Saturday, February 9:

  • Joe Cosentino on Drama Castle (A Nicky and Noah Mystery Story)
  • Series Review Tour – NASU and ENRAI (Blood Sealed Book 1 and 2)

A MelanieM Audio Review:His Consort by Mary Calmes and (Narrated by Scott Smith)

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He’s perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying… and utterly mesmerizing.

The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he’s never wanted a mate before… but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.

Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human’s soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic’s dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.

I’m a big Mary Calmes fan, both of her contemporary stories and her fantastic supernatural series as well.  So I was enthusiastic to hear she was including vampires in her next release, His Consort and couldn’t wait to see what spin she would put on the vampire mythology. A plus was waiting until it came out in audiobook so I got the additional pleasure of listening to the superb narration of Scott Smith as he effortlessly voiced character after character, making each come alive for me, scene after scene.  That extra half point is his alone.

I found His Consort entertaining, enjoyable, and, honestly, a wonderful Mary Calmes story.  It has so many of her hallmark elements here.  It also had aspects to the story that sent me looking for answers I never found. Like will it be a series? For me (and others) I found a sort of similarity in format or perhaps setup in His Consort to another beloved series.  That would be Change of Heart.  Here we follow Jason to New Orleans and a new life after exiting military service and the death of his best friend.  He gathers around him, in a new home, new “family”, much like Kin did, then comes Varic with his group who we slowly get to meet and become close to, ala Logan, then towards the end of the story you can see as the two groups begin to come together as one.

It’s a complex, and slow process.  And very much has the feel of the author laying down the foundation for a series, not just the framework for one story.  So as Jason meets all these different people and various events happen…without meeting Varic, I really didn’t mind.  I was caught up in the world building the author was laying down before me.  Plus I really liked all the characters I was meeting, watching all the complicated dynamics play out, the new relationships form, watch Jason get his “besties” together and formed into an odd family.

Plus there is the whole vampire mythology thing going on here to explore.   Loved that.

So while there wasn’t an immediate romance (at least not Jason and Varic’s ) to connect with, there was so much fascinating story threads running around grabbing my attention that I didn’t want the audiobook to stop (and didn’t).  I had to know what was to happen next!  All the other couples, the devilish delights, and suspense ! Tiago and Hadrian’s story is definitely one I hope she is writing even now.  There are so many elements laid down that are similar in structure to Change of Heart that I’m hoping that it’s because this is just the first in a series and not just one story.

I will  say that I love the New Orleans location.  There is something special about that shop, customers, and the dynamics being played out there between the casts that need more exploration. I hope Malta is to this story what Egypt was to Change of Heart.  I can’t wait to find out.  So much promise here.  So many great characters waiting in the wings for their chance at love.  This is different in that you don’t get an immediate romance, but I thought the wait was more than worth it.

I definitely recommend this audio version of His Consort by Mary Calmes.  The narration by Scott Smith is splendid and the story just needs the sequel it cries out for.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante,  I love, love this cover.  That’s Varic to a T.  Just mesmerizing.

Audio Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audiobook

Length 6:33

Published December 20th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 20th 2018)
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Escaping Mortality (Escape Trilogy #3) by Sara Dobie Bauer

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

And the finale of the Escape Trilogy lived up to all expectations! Andrew and Edmund found the Elder just in time to save Edmund’s life. But…and it’s a very big but…the Elder seems to have a connection to Edmund that Andrew doesn’t share. And it’s something that might make or break his relationship with Andrew. Oh no…just when I thought it was safe and my favorite vampire couple was going to be able to live happily ever after—literally—it appeared something was going to stop that from happening.

But I digress. In this installment, Andrew, Edmund, and yes, the Elder, Michelle, and Felipe all continue their sea voyage to England after Edmund’s life is saved by the Elder converting him to a vampire. But when they arrive at Edmund’s mother’s estate, they find that she’s more than physically ill—her mental faculties are failing as well. The adventure in this story lies in finding out what is going on with Edmund’s mother at the same time Andrew is learning just exactly what Brien, the Elder, plans for Edmund, because it’s very evident that Edmund has changed—and not just to a vampire. As the blurb states, Andrew has to battle for his heart and his soul.

No spoilers here. All I can say is that those who read this trilogy will love the complexity churned up by Sara Dobie Bauer’s imagination. And as much as I’d like to say this can be read as a standalone, it really should be read after the first two. None are very long so they are easy to devour. I highly recommend this book, and this series, to those who enjoy MM romance with a bit of vampire thrown in.

The cover by Natasha Snow is perfect for this story and is done in the same theme as others in the series. Very attractive!

Sales Links: 

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:ebook
Published January 28th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949909913
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEscape Trilogy #3

 

New Release Blitz for Escaping Mortality (The Escape Trilogy #3) by Sara Dobie Bauer (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Title: Escaping Mortality

Series: The Escape Trilogy, Book Three

Author: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 28, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 33100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, bisexual, gay, vampires, polyamorous, British nobility, established couples

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Their ocean journey was successful, and Andrew and Edmund found an Elder just in time. As they wished, Edmund is now a vampire like Andrew. They have eternity together, but first, they must visit Edmund’s ailing mother in the English countryside with their flock of immortals, including the Elder, who has taken an ominous liking to his new creation.

When they arrive at Edmund’s family estate, his sick mother and her loathsome best friend await them. While ducking religious curses, Edmund struggles to harness an unexpected power gifted him by the Elder. Andrew fears for his beloved as Edmund becomes more and more monstrous—but vampires have always been monsters, haven’t they?

A battle is coming, for Edmund’s heart and his soul, and Andrew will lose neither. He escaped island exile and a near tragedy at sea to be with Edmund, the beautiful young sailor he loves. Andrew will do anything to keep Edmund by his side, but his most dangerous adversary may be Edmund himself.

Excerpt

Escaping Mortality
Sara Dobie Bauer © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Edmund tries desperately not to shiver, but he forgets himself every minute or so and allows a full body shake that vibrates the wet edges of his hair. We’re back on deck after our desperate leap into the ocean, my sailor and I. A half-hysterical Michelle wrapped us both in the heaviest fabric she could find once we were both safely lifted back onboard with our new passenger: the Elder.

He sits across from Edmund at a large table in our ship’s common area while I stand and glare. Michelle and Felipe linger silently to my left and right.

This Elder is nothing more than a rotting skeleton, covered in loose, hanging flesh. He smells of dead fish and refuses to take his dark eyes off the man I love.

“You are dying,” the creature says, his voice like the swinging of a rusted gate.

Edmund chuckles. “Yes. So you understand why I need your help.”

“Why do you want this gift, dead man? Power? Prestige?”

“No.”

“Then, why?”

“Love.”

The creature’s gaze momentarily swings up, and I stand straighter. For the first time since we escaped the rolling waves, the Elder addresses me: “How frustrating for a strong vampire such as yourself that you cannot save the one you adore.”

I’m about to respond when Edmund speaks first. “I would prefer to keep this conversation between the two of us, if you don’t mind. It is, after all, my life we discuss.”

The Elder studies Edmund and says nothing. For a long moment, he merely observes. Although the blanket covers Edmund’s black, infected flesh, it’s impossible to miss the green pallor of his skin, the purple circles around his eyes, and the color of his lips, now practically white. All signs of the healthy young man I first met are gone.

“You have no fear right now, dead man. Strange for one with so little time left. I tasted it underwater, your fear. Quite a strong bouquet.” A tongue like a slippery snail pokes out from the Elder’s mouth to lick cracked lips.

“You tried to pull me under.”

“You offered yourself.”

“I needed to get your attention.”

I’m not sure, but I think the Elder smiles. He shows his teeth anyway—long, pointed fangs bigger than any I’ve seen. “And now, you have it, dead man.”

“My name is Edmund. And you?”

Again, those eyes—so dark as to be almost black—glance at me. “Brien.” He growls the R. “If the world is still how I recall, Edmund, nothing is free. You woke me with your dying flesh because you need something.” He opens his hands before him, skin wrinkled, sharp fingernails like weapons. “What do I get from you?”

Edmund shivers and groans. When he bends over in pain and rests his forehead on the table, Michelle stops me from rushing forward. “What do you want?” Edmund asks.

As my darling struggles to find the strength to sit, Brien watches with interest—I assume. It’s difficult to tell with the sagging, wet flesh. Logic says the Elder should be dry by now, but he continues to drip foul water as though made of the stuff.

“You can have anything,” Edmund says.

Brien leans forward and sniffs, seeking Edmund’s scent. “I want to kill you.”

I step toward them. “No.”

The Elder stares at me. “No?”

“Edmund requested I do that.” I could say more about how I want to taste his soul, how I want that moment to belong to me and me alone. I want him in my arms the moment he takes his last breath. So many things do I want, and this monster of the sea would steal it all.

“Dead man?” Brien practically purrs.

“Damn it.” Edmund closes his eyes. “Fine. My life is yours.”

“But—”

“It is better than the alternative, love,” Edmund mutters. “Is that all you require?”

“I will travel with you wherever you now go.”

“Michelle?” Edmund says her name but doesn’t turn. I don’t think he’s strong enough to move anymore.

My old friend—once enemy, now leader—steps forward in her sweeping skirts. “Of course, Elder Brien. We are at your service.”

“You might want to…” Edmund coughs. “Find something to wear. They frown upon naked corpses walking around London.”

Felipe laughs—one short burst of amusement.

“Do we have a deal?”

Brien lowers his head. “Yes, Edmund.” He looks up and shows his teeth. “Ah, there it is—the smell. Now, you are afraid.”

Edmund’s eyes are red. I don’t know if he cries from pain or from the thought of his own murder at the hands of a hideous monster. Perhaps he found comfort in the thought of me doing it because he knew I wouldn’t let him hurt. Brien appears liable to chop off each of Edmund’s fingers before letting him die—but I will not let that happen. I will be at his side. I will hold Edmund’s hand as his heart stops beating. Thinking of this, my own chest begins to ache.

My God, what if this doesn’t work? What if the Elder kills my darling and jumps back overboard? What if these are the last moments I have with the only creature I have ever loved? I lean down quickly and kiss Edmund’s forehead.

His hand finds my face. “I’m ready,” he whispers. “Are you?” He smiles at me.

I pick him up and carry him to our room. The others follow close behind. In fact, the entire crew stands in the hall, watching us pass. What’s about to happen hasn’t happened in centuries, and I suppose everyone wants a view.

By the time I rest my shivering love in the center of our bed, someone has given Brien a cloak, although it does little to hide the emaciated ground meat of his face. Michelle comes in but locks everyone else out, for which I am thankful.

I kiss Edmund, and Jesus, he smells almost as bad as the Elder. I kiss his lips softly as he whispers he loves me.

“I love you too. I’ll be right here.” I squeeze his hand and kneel on the edge of our bed.

From across the room, Brien watches me again with what I suspect is delight. I want to bark at him and ask what on earth could be so funny, but I bite my tongue. Now is not the time to provoke the only man who can save Edmund. As he leans forward, I lean back, paying the Elder respect.

He looms over Edmund, but strangely, instead of beginning his feast, he rests on his side and touches Edmund’s hair with his pointed nails. “I am going to kill you now, but I will give you a new life. One without sickness or death. Do you accept this gift I give?”

Edmund nods.

“As I feed, I want you to think. Picture yourself healthy—the way you were before this. Perhaps, the way you were when you first met your vampire.”

“Half drowned on a beach?”

Although I can’t help but smile, the Elder seems confused. “Perhaps not. Picture yourself how you want to be, and in a little while, it will be so. Do you understand?”

Edmund nods again and flails for my hand. I entwine our fingers.

“Thank you for your offering,” Brien says. He then moves faster than even my eyes can manage to follow.

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ Review here!

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody series, among other sexy things.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

 

More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions.

 

More results from last week’s polls on book covers.  I really did sort of expect these tbh.  Yes readers to look and choose books by their covers, yes, they look at the names of the cover artists, and while they say they might not have a preference over type of cover, when it comes right down to it?  They love a “painted” cover over of photograph.  Maybe I should look at demographics on that one as that is my preference as well.

This week Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is sending out our questionnaires to publishers and cover artists, to get a feel on the state of book covers today, how many of these artists came to be book cover artists and much more.  I have included the questions I received from our readers in our form.  I can’t wait to get back the answers!

If you have more questions, please continue to send them in, it’s never too late to revise our form as we send it out to more people.

With stories these days, you might see the same or re-released/revised story several times.  That means multiple covers, eBook and audio formats too.  Each time it’s job is the same.  Reach out to readers, grab their attention, make them want to read or listen to that story with a cover that looks fresh and vibrant!  Dramatic, current, and catchy.  Wow!  That’s an artistic job and a half.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are three different covers for Andre Norton’s Witch World.  One from 2016 and the original from 1963.  At the end there was one more version.  1986.  Each era leaving its mark on the design and style of the cover.  And yes, mine is the 1963 version which I still have.  I have to admit each speaks to me in a different way.  What do they say to you?  Which do you prefer? And if you aren’t familiar with Andre Norton, what a fantastic author awaits you!

When covers are done beautifully, we remember them.  And the artist that made that cover sing to us.  And of course, we picked that book right up, perhaps even again, to dive into the story and get lost in another world of an author’s creation.   This from someone who was up til 4am with a new Rhys Ford story…lol Yes, the cover of that story is fabulous!

So yes, along with all of you, I’m dying to know what answers will be coming back our way from these amazing artists and the publishers.  What wonderful Sundays we have ahead of us!

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 27:

  • More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Audio Release Blitz K.A. Merikan – Road Of No Return

Monday, January 28:

  • Release Blitz Marina Vivancos – Rat Park
  • BLITZ Escaping Mortality by Sara Dobie Bauer
  • PROMO TARA LAIN on The Case of the Voracious Vintner
  • A Stella Review The Fairy Pond by Jason Black
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Escaping Mortality by Sara Dobie Bauer
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Devil Take Me anthology by Rhys Ford , Ginn Hale ,Jordan L. Hawk ,T.A. Moore ,C.S. Poe ,Jordan Castillo Price , and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

Tuesday, January, 29:

  • BLITZ Imminent Dawn by R.R. Campbell
  • AUDIO BLITZ Out in the Deep (Out in College #1) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator)
  • Release Blitz for   Gage, Trenton Security Book 3, by JM Dabney
  • Book Blast – Bad Deal by Ember-Raine Winters & Faith Ryan
  • A Lucy Review Forever Starts At Midnight by Kim Breyon
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: The Case of the Voracious Vintner (Middlemark Mysteries #2) by Tara Lain

Wednesday, January 30:

  • Release Blitz – The Other Book – Roe Horvat
  • PROMO AUGUST LI on Nomad’s Dream
  • Cover Reveal, – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li
  • A MelanieM Review: Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1) by K.J. Charles

Thursday, January 31:

  • BLITZ Living on the Inside by Londra Laine
  • DSP COVER REVEAL Inked Music by Sean Michael
  • An Ashlez Review Bad Deal by Ember by Raine Winters & Faith
  • A Free Dreamer Review The Witchin’ Canoe by Mel Bossa
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Contact by M.D. Neu
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Late Summer Night’s Dream by Catherine Curzon

Friday, February 1:

  • COVER REVEAL Forlorn by Elvira Bell
  • Terrible Things by Beth Bolden Blog Tour 
  • Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review : Awakenings and French Songs by Nell Iris
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Escape to Paradise (A Planet Called Wish #4) by Caitlin Ricci
  • A MelanieM Audio Review:His Consort by Mary Calmes and (Narrated by Scott Smith)

Saturday, February 2:

  • BOOK BLAST – The Selkie Prince’s Forbidden Mate (The Royal Alphas series, Book 4) by J.J. Masters

 

A MelanieM Review: Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Abandoned by his werewolf lover, the only thing Reylan wants is to return to his vampire life of blood and beautiful boys. It’s a solid plan, until his first meal as a single man tries to kill him.

Hoping to free his young would-be assassin from the religious zealots that sent him, Reylan enlists the help of Iain Grieg, a charismatic priest with unsettling knowledge of the night’s secrets.

Surrounded by conflicting agendas and an army fuelled by hate, Reylan fights to secure his future, if he can only trust the mysterious priest and bury the ghosts of the past.

As I read my way through Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines I couldn’t help but think about how far the main character, vampire Reylan, has come from that first meeting back in The Beast Without.  For sheer ferocity and merciliness there were few beings who could best him. Reylan was an apex predator in his prime.  And if I’m to be honest, I admired that in his character as it seemed; true to his nature and all the vampires as Baines was  using them here. At the time, it was far from the sparkling, sort of bloodless vampires ruling the year at the time.  It was refreshing.

But Reylan was intelligent as well as predatory. And the author had a complicated, magically dense narrative arc in store for the characters and series so as the intricate plots developed, so did Reylan’s emotional growth.  Through loss, through revelation, through devastating events in the first two novels, we saw Reylan gather together an odd sort of crew or family and change.  Sins of the Son represents another step forward in this character’s process and I find it endlessly fascinating.

Astonishingly full of action and mystery, we enter into a scene of chaos, another reason to love this story and series.  There’s no easing in, nor given the nature of theses beings and the various storylines, should there be. I hesitate to talk about the plot, the new characters introduced, or even the older ones that appear again.  It’s all a part of a labyrinthine tale that’s still working it’s way through the pattern the author has plotted out, and  the path ahead is murky indeed. Delightly, horrifically so.

I loved the twists and turns here,some downright shocking as the deaths that flowed and the blood that spilled.  The ending itself is one long incredibly white knuckle horror flight that’s just amazing.

Christian Baines has written three books that build on each other like superlative supernatural building blocks, full of gorgeous passionate, and yes deadly characters in an incredible world of magic and the mundane, which is getting more layered, more fantastical by the story.  I can’t wait for the next book to arrive.

If you are looking for swooning romance, or soft hearted any other type of love, truly this is not the tale for you.  Love there is but not for the faint hearted.    I find this a series and book to sink your teeth into and highly recommend it.  If you are new to it, start at the first novel.  I have listed them all for your convenience below.  I love and recommend them all.

Cover art: I think this really works, especially the font with the different color lettering and the person in the background.  Well done.

 

Buy Link:  Amazon

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published January 20th 2019
Original Title Sins of the Son
ASIN B07MH3P4TR
setting Sydney, New South Wales (Australia)

Arcadia Trust Series: each is not a standalone story but builds on the one before:

The Beast Without

The Orchard of Flesh

Sins of the Son

New Release Tour for Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust #3) by Christian Baines

Expected publication: January 20th 2019

Buy Link:  Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Christian Baines on tour with his latest novel, Sins of the Son.  Welcome, Christian.

 

SINS OF THE SON Blog Tour #3: Sloth

WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG? ARE YOU EVEN WRITING? HELLO?

Welcome to day three of my Sins of the Son blog tour. Thanks for joining me, and thanks so much to Melanie and the team at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today – where the theme is… sloth.

Yes, I know. Sloth? Others get exciting sins like wrath, envy, pride, and lust. I get sloth? Really, Christian?

Okay, I know sloth might not seem like the most exciting sin, but besides being a favourite sin of many (you know who you are), I decided to make this the ‘sloth’ post in honour of a question Melanie asked me in an interview about the last Arcadia Trust book, The Orchard of Flesh about the lengthy time span between books in the series. It’s usually a couple of years between Arcadia Trust books, which is slow compared to romance authors who put out a new release every few months, or even those ‘Big 5’ authors faithfully putting out one book a year.

First off, I want to promise you it’s not sloth! I’m attaching this topic to today’s theme in jest. But just in case anyone thinks I’m being mean or sitting on my hands, making my readers wait, I promise you, I’m not. I’m always working on something, even if it’s not an Arcadia Trust book. I love these books and these characters. If you like paranormal and want an introduction to my work that’s easy to get into and comes with a romantic streak, start with them. But I also love weirder, more experimental work, which has led me to do books like Puppet Boy and Skin. My current WIP also isn’t an Arcadia Trust book (though work on book 4 in the series is on the way).

When The Beast Without came out, that was my first introduction to the MM romance world. The book itself is a weird fit to that world, because while romance is an important part of its story, it doesn’t really follow romance beats and tropes, so I don’t sell it as a ‘romance’ novel. It’s urban fantasy with some male/male action. Possibly love. That’s it. No false advertising here. One of the things that hit me on entering this world was seeing the speed at which some authors pumped out new releases. Every four months, three months, or even less. I had no idea if this was ‘normal’ in romance world, but it was kind of intimidating. While I tapped away on the second Arcadia Trust book and Puppet Boy at the same time, I started to wonder how I was going to keep up. Did I have to keep up? Would people just forget about me if more than a year passed between releases?

When a friend reached out, asking if I had any short stories or other material that his publisher could take a look at, I bit. I spruced up a story I’d been playing with as an erotic short, gave it an ending I sort of liked and sent it off. To my astonishment, the publisher accepted it, and I had a contract, cover, and editor within a few days.

I like that short. I think it’s the beginnings of a great story. But it had no business going out into the big bad world on its own. It was like a short film that’s really just a teaser for producers you hope will invest in a feature. Yet the pull to produce something and keep my name out there was so strong, I felt compelled to release it. Critics were… confused, to say the least. I’m not embarrassed by it. It’s a good story. But it was also a valuable lesson that rapid-fire releases aren’t for me.

Anyone who seems to write and publish at lightning speed (and there are some fakes, but most just develop a solid habit of working quickly – I recommend L A Witt’s book Writing Faster FTW) will tell you

is that there is no good or bad speed at which to write. The ‘right’ speed is the one that allows each book you put out to be as good as it can be.

So what takes so long with the Arcadia Trust books? Planning. Insane amounts of plotting and planning.

The Arcadia Trust is essentially a serial. I make each one self-contained enough that a new reader can pick it up and get a complete narrative, but they will find references to a plot that unfolds over several books. If you’ve read either of the previous Arcadia trust books, you know my protagonist, Reylan, has a soft spot for troubled young men. The one he meets in Sins of the Son however, bears a startling resemblance to a lost friend. Reylan also receives help from an unexpected new ally. Or has Iain Grieg been in the picture longer than Reylan knows?

When writing a series, I try to drop hints, Easter eggs, veiled clues ,references to other books… anything I think will make it fun for loyal readers. That means knowing what’s going on in behind doors 1, 2, 4, and 5 while your camera is fixed and rolling on door number 3. Working out interesting ways to reveal that to the reader without switching point-of-view or spoiling whatever mystery you’re building. Having a character who subtly influenced events in book one come back to bring their plan to fruition later. It’s fun, and it forces you to dive deep, knowing your characters so well you can follow their actions and thoughts the whole time they’re ‘off-screen.’

And it’s time consuming for the author to keep it all clear and easy for a reader to follow. But it’s worth it, I think, for both reader and author, particularly in this genre.

In Sins of the Son, things are gearing up in the Arcadia Trust universe. The background players are emerging from the shadows and making their agendas known. Reylan and other characters you know and love have more at stake than their own safety and happiness. In short, Sins of the Son is where it all changes and things start to get real for the night-time denizens of Sydney.

I promise it was worth the wait.

GIVEAWAY: WIN your choice of one e-book edition of either of the first two Arcadia Trust novels, The Beast Without or The Orchard of Flesh. NEXT: Which trope keeps coming back to raise the WRATH of LGBTQs? Find out at Queer Sci-Fi on January 20, release day for Sins of the Son.

Blurb

Abandoned by his werewolf lover, the only thing Reylan wants is to return to his vampire life of blood and beautiful boys. It’s a solid plan, until his first meal as a single man tries to kill him.

Hoping to free his young would-be assassin from the religious zealots that sent him, Reylan enlists the help of Iain Grieg, a charismatic priest with unsettling knowledge of the night’s secrets.

Surrounded by conflicting agendas and an army fuelled by hate, Reylan fights to secure his future, if he can only trust the mysterious priest and bury the ghosts of the past.

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Release date: January 20, 2019

Series: The Arcadia Trust #3

Setting: Sydney, Australia

Length: 282 pages

.

Excerpt

I ducked in time to avoid the stake that shattered the glass cabinet behind me. When I looked up, my young attacker was already closing in, a shining blade in each hand. Balancing my weight on the kitchen counter, I pushed my feet hard into his chest. A blade nicked my ankle. I leapt upon my target and pushed him the floor, gripping his chin and pinning his right shoulder.

He blindsided me across the jaw with the dull edge of the other blade, breaking my hold.

I staggered, sizing up the left-handed assassin. Narrowly avoiding his weapon as he lunged again, I grabbed hold of his hair and threw him into my dining table with a crash.

I clapped a firm hand over his mouth, muffling his cries as I slammed his left wrist against the table, forcing him to drop the knife. The blade in his opposite hand flashed as he struck out with it.

I yanked him off his feet and dragged him across the floor before he could find his mark. Ignoring muffled roars of protest, I buried my teeth in his shoulder, puncturing through his flimsy mesh vest. His youth, his anger, his alarmingly good health, all brought such a warmth and sweetness to…

The foul taste of bitter roots spoiled the stream. Poison. I shoved the boy away, spitting rancid blood over his face. When he came at me again, I used his momentum to topple him into the living room. I snatched up the knife he’d left on the kitchen table and trained it on him as he regained his feet.

The boy had to have known the true nature of his prey. Why else would he lead with a wooden stake, knowing he was far outclassed for natural speed and strength? Or was he?

He lunged again, this time happily using his right hand. Was he ambidextrous? I couldn’t tell, not while ducking his blows. He kicked me in the gut before pivoting his back foot up and into my chest.

I dropped to the floor just in time to sweep his legs out from under him. His forehead glanced off one of the side tables, though this didn’t stop him from grabbing the lamp and throwing it at me with a force that plunged the room into darkness. I caught his weight as he came at me again, spinning him into the living room, bound for a set of shelves which splintered and collapsed, spilling their contents and my attacker to the floor. He sprang to his feet and snatched up a piece of broken wood.

Contrary to the myths of horror fiction, it would take more than a splinter of wood through the heart to kill me outright. I was not, however, in a rush to be paralysed, nor left unconscious at the mercy of whatever lethal objects remained in the boy’s backpack. The one he’d collected from the club’s cloakroom, that he’d so adamantly held onto when I’d offered to carry it. The one he’d taken with him, when he’d retreated to my bathroom to change.

Did I have to start bag checking my trade now?

He sliced the air before me with his knife, following it up with a staking attempt. I grabbed his knife-wielding hand, but he twisted his arm out of reach, nicking my hand in the process. I licked the wound as I backed off, kicking away a broken cat figurine from the rubble that had once been my bookshelves.

“Alright, you little bastard,” I muttered under my breath. “Are we going to talk, or does this get nasty?”

“Maledetto.” He raised the stake once more.

“Excuse me?”

“Maledetto!” He cried, striking out at me.

I ducked to avoid it only to have the hand holding the knife slam into my jaw. I barely realised I’d been faked out before the stake plunged into my chest, missing my heart by inches. Choking down the pain that shot through my entire body, I caught the boy’s arm before he could slice my throat. Not that that would have killed me either, but to quote a wise and much underrated human expression, that which does not kill me still stings like a bitch.

About the Author

Christian Baines has written on travel, theatre, film, television, and various aspects of gay life, factual and fictional. Some of his stranger thoughts have spawned novels, including queer urban fantasy series The Arcadia Trust, the horror novella Skin, and Puppet Boy, which was a finalist for the 2016 Saints and Sinners Emerging Writer Award. Born in Australia, he now travels the world whenever possible, living, writing, and shivering in Toronto, Canada on those odd occasions he can’t find his passport.

Web: http://www.christianbaines.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/christianbainesauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/xtianbaines

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7024194.Christian_Baines

Giveaway

The author is offering an e-book of either The Beast Without or The Orchard of Flesh to one winner.at each blog stop. To enter to win, leave a comment along with a email address where you can be reached if chosen.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.