Happy Easter, Eostre to All That Celebrate. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Happy Easter, Eostre to All That Celebrate

Happy Easter to everyone that is celebrating today.  For me it brings memories of Easter eggs, the smell of vinegar and Paas Dye kits.  How I loved dying Easter eggs.  The vibrant colors, the wax crayons, the surprise as they came out of the dye baths…those shaky little wire contraptions that came with the kits so flimsy when used that soon gave way to spoons !  Oh my!

Although associated with Christianity today, Easter eggs predate that religion going back to pagan rituals and the coming of Spring.  Eggs being of course a sign of fertility and renewal.  Some scholars believe that the pagan customs were adopted by priests and other Christian heads of that religion to help convert the population.  Whether true or not, the brightly coloring of the eggs started in the past in Medieval Europe and Asia.

I still see those kits in the store but people have clued me into egg spinners, natural leaf prints (so cool), tie dyed eggs (hey, man), Cool Whip eggs (need to investigate that one), plus so many more options plus the whole natural dyes that involve onion skins!

Leaf Print Eggs

 

Cool Whip Eggs

 

Tie dyed eggs!

Is it too late for an adult to get into the action without kids? lol.  These make me want to grab for several cartons of eggs and have at it.  Plastic eggs or the thought of them just don’t do it for me.

Anyway, it’s short, colorful and sweet this week.  Happy Easter to all who are celebrating.  Happy Egg Coloring and Egg Finding!  Happy Eostre and Happy Spring!

Greek Easter eggs dyed with onion skins

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Thirst For You by Jaclyn Quinn
  • Release Blitz How to Heal by Susan Hawke
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 22:

  • Review Tour – Wrong Way Home – K.A. Merikan
  • Review Tour – Ruby Moone – Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2)
  • Release Blitz – The Gathering Storm by Tricia Owens
  • An Alisa Review : Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2) by Ruby Moone
  • A VVivacious Review: Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wrong Way Home by K.A. Merikan
  • A MelanieM Review: Descendant by Mychael Black

Tuesday, April 23:

  • Release Blitz Crossing The Touchline – Jay Hogan
  • Release Blitz – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard
  • BLITZ Destructive Forces by Harry F. Rey
  • An Alisa Review: For the Love of a Unicorn (Legendary Shifters #1) by Catherine Lievens
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Innocence & Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Burden (Love, Unexpected #2) by KC Wells
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Wednesday, April 24:

  • Release Blitz  for Montana Sky (Montana #6) – RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz for Love Is A Walk In The Park by V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey
  • TOUR Mucklucked” by James Brock
  • BLITZ Where Song Replaces Silence by Layla Dorine
  • An Alisa Review:How Not to Break (Lovestrong #3) by Susan Hawke
  • A MelanieM Review: Upside Down by NR Walker
  • A Lila Review: Love, Again by H.D. Nels

Thursday, April 25:

  • Release Blitz for Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Mud & Lace
  • Review Tour – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen and TJ Clark (Narrator)
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Play Hard by Avery Cockburn

Friday, April 26:

  • Review Tour – Grace Kilian Delaney – Living On A Dare
  • Review Tour – Alex Jane – Devil Next Door (Criminal Delights: Obsession
  • Release Blitz Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon
  • An Alisa Review: Living on a Dare (Shore Thing #1) by Grace Kilian Delaney
  • A Lucy Review: Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton
  • An Ashlez Review : Devil Next Door (Criminal Delights: Obsession) by Alex Jane

Saturday, April 27:

  • A MelanieM Review: Game Changer (Game Changers #1) by Rachel Reid

Location as a Main Character. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Location as a Main Character

I may have talked on this topic before but once again it struck me as I read several stories this past couple of weeks how impactful a location can be in a novel.  When done in a certain manner, well researched and folded into the story in a way that feels natural and powerful, the setting of a novel can become almost another main character.  It asserts a strong personality over the characters, their burgeoning relationship, and sometimes even their ending.

The setting can contain not only geographical limitations or expanse, barriers or doors to freedom for the couple.  In some locations is can be full of cultural  or religious overlays along with family implications that will play out throughout the storyline.  All that can come from setting your novel at a certain destination.  Like say South Korea, or Japan, or any place in the Middle East Or how about Alaska or parts of the outback in Australia?  Or planting trees in parts of the wilderness in Canada?  Or maybe a vineyard in Brazil?   All those  All of those are settings in novels that I have read.

In a recent case, the location and use of culture in the storyline saved the novel for me as I was less invested in the main couple and more committed to the secondary characters and the people around them.   Creating a setting that feels real, authentic is key to pulling in your readers and giving your characters a firm foundation for their lives and new romance.

Off the top of my head I can think of authors who gift of the vernacular and ties to certain locations have made an indelible impression on me with their characters, and stories, in some cases series.  There’s Neil S. Plakcy with his incredible Mahu series (Hawaii), BA Tortuga (any of her Texas series), NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart series (Australia), Amy Tasukada’s brilliant The Yakusa’s Path (Japan), Marshall Thornton’s Boystown (Chicago), and that’s just for starters.  As soon as I hit post, I’m sure my brain will be flooded with a ton more along with a bunch of personal smh’s.

That’s not including the amazing historical novels of Elin Gregory or Charlie Cochrane, among others who bring eras along with towns vibrantly alive.

Through these stories I have walked through places and towns in Iceland I can’t pronounce and always hoped to see.  The authors have made me see them.  I’ve visited temples of the Sun in Mexico and walked in the burning heat to amazing places in the outback in Australia.  I’ve witnessed the Southern Star and the Aurora Borealis up in the Arctic Circle.  All thanks to authors who made me feel as though I’ve been there, through great details, gorgeous descriptions, and fantastic writing.

What stories or authors have done that for you?  Taken you places, made you see them, feel them, along with the characters and their relationship?

Tell us, and let us go along for the journey as well.

The most recent books were:

The Yuchae Blossom (World of Love) by Asher Quinn – South Korea

Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1) by Annabeth Albert – Alaska

So, again what are yours?  I can’t wait to find out…..

Now for this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words….it’s Cherry Blossom Festival time here so that’s what I’m leaving you all with…

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 7:

  • Location as a Main Character.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 8:

  • PROMO Hunter by Dez Schwartz
  • PROMO Sean Michael
  • An Alisa Audio Review Model Investigator (Haven Investigations #3) by Lissa Kasey and Brian Hutchison (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Wicked Games (Queen City Rogues #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Lila Audio Review: Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Tuesday, April 9:

  • PROMO BA Tortuga
  • BLOG TOUR Laws of Attraction by JP Sayle
  • PROMO Royal Rescue by A. Alex
  • A Stella Review : Cowboy Seeks Husband by Leta Blake & Indra Vaughn
  • An Alisa Review: Perilous Hearts (Deviant Hearts #3) by A.E. Ryecart
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Inked Music by Sean Michael

Wednesday, April 10:

  • Review Tour – Marina Vivancos – Honeythorn
  • PROMO Andrew Grey
  • Book Blast Chasing Chance (Gilcrest University Guys #1) by M.E. Parker
  • An Ashlez Review: Chasing Chance (Gilcrest University Guys #1) y M.E. Parker
  • A Stella Review : Honeythorn by  Marina Vivancos
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Soft Place to Fall by BA Tortuga
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Soulstealers by Jacqueline Rohrbach

Thursday, April 11:

  • TOUR THE DOCTOR TAKES A DETOUR by Bren Christopher
  • PROMO Mickie B. Ashling
  • Release Blitz – Trusting Him by L M Somerton
  • An Ali  Review: Trusting Him by L M Somerton
  • A MelanieM Review: The Doctor Takes a Detour by Bren Christopher
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Fracture (Unbreakable Bonds #6) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
  • A Lila Audio Review:Trick Roller (Seven of Spades #2) by Cordelia Kingsbridge, Wyatt Baker (narrator)

Friday, April 12:

  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Jude
  • Book Blast – Always Ours: An MMM Menage Romance by J.P. James
  • BLITZ Moonstruck by Aleksandr Voinov
  • An Ali Review : Jude by  Garrett Leigh
  • A MelanieM Review: Moonstruck by Aleksandr Voinov
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Impacted! (Bay Area Professionals) by Mickie B. Ashling

Saturday, April 13:

  • PROMO Starting From Zero by Lane Hayes
  • A MelanieM Review:For The Win (#lovehim #2.5) by S.M. James

 

April Fool’s Day, Yes It’s April. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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April Fool’s Day, Yes It’s April.

So I went looking for the history of April Fool’s Day and found that people couldn’t agree on where it came from.  It’s practiced not only in America and Canada but also in Western Europe, a practice dating back to romans and All Fools’ Day.  Others  argue for its beginning having started with the “appearance” of the New Year which fell on April 1st for the Romans and Hindus.  It also comes close to the Spring Equinox, March 21 which during Medieval Times also started the beginning the the new year with the feast of the Annunciation.

A newspaper’s April Fool Joke and History:

Constantine and Kugel

Another explanation of the origins of April Fools’ Day was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.

“In a way,” explained Prof. Boskin, “it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor.”

This explanation was brought to the public’s attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they’d been victims of an April Fools’ joke themselves.

Yes, they’d been pranked.

More searches brought up more explanations, never the same, mind you.  Even better for a day all about jokes and prianks.

Here’s some more:

The Origin of “Fool’s Errands”

According to Roman myth, the god Pluto abducted Proserpina to the underworld. Her mother Ceres only heard her daughter’s voice echo and searched for her in vain. The fruitless search is believed by some to have inspired the tradition of “fool’s errands”, practical jokes where people are asked to complete an impossible or imaginary task.

All Fool’s Day in British Folklore

British folklore links April Fool’s Day to the town of Gotham in Nottinghamshire. According to the legend, it was traditional in the 13th century for any road that the king placed his foot upon to become public property. So when Gotham’s citizens heard that King John planned to travel through their town, they refused him entry, not wishing to lose their main road. When the king heard this, he sent soldiers to the town. But when the soldiers arrived in Gotham, they found the town full of fools engaged in foolish activities such as drowning fish. As a result, the king declared the town too foolish to warrant punishment.

April Fool’s Pranks

April 1 is a day for practical jokes in many countries around the world. The simplest jokes may involve children who tell each other that their shoelaces are undone and then cry out “April Fool!” when the victims glance at their feet. Some April Fool’s jokes publicized in the media include:

  • In 2002, British supermarket chain Tesco published an advertisement in The Sun, announcing a genetically modified ‘whistling carrot’. The ad explained that the carrots were engineered to grow with tapered air holes in their side. When fully cooked, these holes would cause the carrot to whistle.
  • In the early 1960s there was only one television channel in Sweden, broadcast in black and white. As an April Fool’s joke, it was announced on the news that viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception by pulling a nylon stocking over their screen.
  • In 1934, many American newspapers, including The New York Times, printed a photograph of a man flying through the air, supported by a device powered only by the breath from his lungs. Accompanying articles excitedly described this miraculous new invention

 

And Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ April Fool’s Day Joke?  Well, it’s still March, the 31st to be exact.  April starts tomorrow!  We just didn’t want to miss out on the fun!

Happy April Fool’s a day early!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 31:

  • Release Blitz – This Is Not A Love Story – Suki Fleet
  • April Fool’s Day, Yes It’s April.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 1 ~ April Fool’s Day:

  • Review Tour – Scott (Owatonna U Hockey #2) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey (
  • Blog Tour Better Be Sure by Andrew Gallo
  • T. Neilson on Yes, Chef(Amuse Bouche #2)
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Yes, Chef (Amuse Bouche #2) by T. Neilson
  • An Ashlez Review: OFF THE ICE by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
  • A MelanieM Review:  Scott (Owatonna U Hockey #2) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Audio review The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding and Drew Bacca (Narrator)

Tuesday, April 2:

  • SPEAK NO EVIL by J.R. Gray Blog Tour
  • Release Blitz – Shane K Morton – Fault Lines
  • BLOG TOUR At A Stranger’s Mercy by Brittany Cournoyer
  • An Alisa Review: Radical Hearts (Deviant Hearts #2) by A E Ryecart
  • An Ali Review Frost by Isabelle Adler
  • A Free Dreamer Lust and Other Drugs (Mytho #1) by TJ Nichols
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Speak No Evil by J.R. Gray

Wednesday, April 3:

  • Review Tour  – Midnight Flit by Elin Gregory
  • Release Blitz – – Honeythorn by Marina Vivancos
  • PROMO Soulstealers by Jacqueline Rohrbach
  • Cover Reveal, – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard
  • PROMO Sloan Johnson on Kindred Spirit
  • An Ali Audio Review Handle with Care by Cari Z and John Solo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Hearts of Fire (Chevalier #1) by Kay Doherty
  • A Caryn Review:   Midnight Flit by Elin Gregory

Thursday, April 4:

  • Snow Storm by Davidson King Blog Tour
  • PROMO Asher Quinn
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Yuchae Blossom (World of Love) by Asher Quinn
  • A MelanieM Review:No Quick Fix (Torus Intercession #1) by Mary Calmes
  • An ALisa Audio Review Romancing the Undercover Millionaire (Romancing the… #3) by Clare London and Seb Yarick (narrator)

Friday, April 5

  • Review Tour – Quinn Ward – Kiss Me, Daddy
  • PROMO TJ Nichols
  • Blog and Review Tour Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert
  • A Stella Review: Copper Creek (Sawyer’s Ferry #3) by Cate Ashwood
  • An Alisa Review: Kiss Me, Daddy (Club 83 #1) by Quinn Ward
  • A MelanieM Review: Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1) by Annabeth Albert

Saturday, April 6:

  • BOOK BLAST – The Selkie Prince’s Secret Baby (The Royal Alphas ) by JJ Masters
  • A MelanieM Review: The Ghost Had An Early Checkout by Josh Lanyon

Weather Themed Stories and Spring.This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Weather Themed Stories and Spring.

 

Stories written about wild weather and romance just seem to go together.  People stranded in cabins by storms, snowy or otherwise.  Men tested by nature at her most tumultous, high winds, floods…even wildfires.  I’ve read novels with those as themes.  Avalanches too. Several publishers, MLR Press and JMS Books LLC actually have series that are weather themed if you aren’t already aware of them.

For JMS Books, just search Snowed In and 17 books pop up, all by different authors, all with the same theme.  Why?  Because using one weather related topic works.  Authors can take one overall theme and run with it in their own way as these did.  As far as I know this is the first year they did this.

But MLR Press has been doing it for years with their Storming Love series with different topic series like Blizzards and Hurricanes.  Plus authors that run their own group of stories with seasonal topics like this one (they also have a winter, fall, and summer story as well) :

Spring Leaves by A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly

I won’t go into winter stories.  Those blend into the holiday stories too easily.

But Summer and Spring?  Yes, maybe not because of the weather but definitely because of the season.

Can you name some weather or season named or themed stories?

Send them into us…..let’s see how many we can end up with.  There just might be a gift certificate for the person who sends in sthe most names.

Next week?  Back to our narrator questionnaire!

Happy Reading and Listening!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 24:

  • 99c Book Blast – Distant Cousins by Eric Huffbind
  • Weather Themed Stories and Spring.This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 25:

  • Series Review Tour – The Speakeasy Series – Books 1 and 2 by K. Evan
  • Retro Review Tour – On Hands and Knees by Sai Fox
  • BLOG TOUR Red Zone by TS McKinney & Shannon West
  • A MelanieM Review: On Hands and Knees (The Valentino Family) by Sai Fox
  • A Lucy Review: Cameron & Rylan (A Chance Meeting #1) by Valerie Ullmer
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Horizon Points (The Galactic Captains #3) by Harry F. Rey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid

Tuesday, March 26:

  • Release Blitz (ANT)OFF THE ICE by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
  • Blog Tour ALL SOULS NEAR & NIGH (SOULBOUND #2) by Hailey Turner
  • Blog Tour – Black by Quin Perin
  • An Alisa Review Pros & Cons of Deception (Pros & Cons #2) by A.E. Wasp
  • A Stella Review: How Not to Break (Lovestrong #3) by Susan Hawke
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Better Be Sure (Harrison Campus #1) by Andy Gallo
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Extra Dirty (The Speakeasy #2) by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn

Wednesday, March 27:

  • Review Tour Request – Elin Gregory – Midnight Flit
  • Release Blitz Cameron & Rylan (A Chance Meeting Novel Book)
  • Release Blitz – Scott by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • BLOG TOUR Wicked Games by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Review Cameron & Rylan (A Chance Meeting #1) by Valerie Ullmer
  • An Ali Review: Loose Lips & Relationships (Flaming, MO #1) by A.J. Rose and Kate Aaron
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Modern Gladiator (Modern Gladiator #1) by S.A. Stovall
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Party to Murder by John Inman

Thursday, March 28:

  • Uncomplicated by KM Neuhold Blog Tour
  • Blog Post Request – The Demon Lord of California – Jeanne Marcella
  • Release Blitz – Quinn Ward’s Kiss Me, Daddy
  • DSP PROMO Sean Michael
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Chip and a Chair by Cordelia Kingsbridge
  • A MelanieM Review: Uncomplicated (Inked #2) by K.M. Neuhold
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Time Taken (Out of Time #3) by C.B. Lewis
  • An Alisa Review An Extra Alpha (Pine Wood Falls #2) by Sarah Havan

Friday, March 29

  • Cover Reveal – Bryan T. Clark – Escaping Camp Roosevelt
  • BLITZ Fracture by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
  • PROMO S.A. Stovall
  • A VVivacious Review Red Zone by TS McKinney & Shannon West
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: His Kindred Spirit (States of Love) by Sloan Johnson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Wanted – Bad Boyfriend (Island Classifieds #1) by T.A. Moore

Saturday, March 30:

  • Release Blitz Signal Tour – Garrett Leigh – Jude
  • Book Blast – The Handyman’s History by Nick Poff
  • A MelanieM Review: The Ghost Had An Early Checkout by Josh Lanyon

Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring

 

I don’t know how many of you are fans of the book by Neil Gaiman or show based on it, American Gods, but the weather the nation has been having this past week has called to mind one scene from last season’s finale, when the goddess Ostara, provoked or encouraged (depending on how you look at it) by the god Wednesday, reminds those partying around her of her true origins and power with catastrophic results… removing Spring’s bounty and renewal from the lands….  setting off a withering landscape and the onset of winter.

I think it was watching that weather map showing a “bomb cyclone” sweeping across the Midwest bringing hurricane force winds and blizzards so unexpectedly, while here in Maryland we were experiencing 65 to 70 degrees of Spring.  It was Spring as its most turbulent, violent, and yet weirdly warm and calm state.  It just depended where you lived.  And yes, I do know its due to climate change.

But it did draw my mind back to that scene and to the goddess Ostara.

Ostara, or Eostre or Eastre, she has many names, the goddess of Spring.  She is responsible for the renewal of the earth each year after winter, the bringer of Spring, the symbol of fertility and birth.  Yes, rabbits (those reproducing, repopulating stars) are her symbols.  She has been pictured with a rabbit’s head but more often with them at her side.  They are the reason we now have the Easter Bunny, same with Easter Eggs.  All due to her, Eostre or Eastre.  Or Ostara.

She’s been on my mind a lot, for many reasons.  The Spring equinox approaches on the 21st, a new season of American Gods has started, and all around me, from my backyard to the news I have reminders of just how wild and unpredictable nature and Spring can be at times.

At night I’ve heard both the calls of wild geese migrating and the sound of a barred owl so out of season….must be a youngster trying to find his voice.

But it’s a reminder that rebirth can be a wild and tumultuous time.  That renewal isn’t always peaceful and calm, that wild winds and blizzards can herald the arrival of Spring just as often as the call of the bluebird.

Something to remember when pondering that Easter bunny.

Kristin Chenoweth as Ostara in American Gods

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 17:

  • Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blitz – LA Bryce – The Forever Kind Of Love

Monday, March 18:

  • Release Blitz – Rewind by Rowan Shaw
  • Release Blitz – Jeanne Marcella – The Demon Lord Of California
  • Review Tour – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Blue Umbrella Sky by Rick R. Reed
  • A Caryn Review Shadows On The Border (Lost In Time #2) by A.L. Lester
  • A MelanieM Review: No Big Deal (#lovehim #1.5) by S.M. James

Tuesday, March 19:

  • Release Blitz ALL SOULS NEAR & NIGH (SOULBOUND #2) by Hailey Turner
  • Release Blitz – TL Travis’ A Heart Divided
  • Blog Tour – Marked by J. Jay Barrett
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Whiskey to Wine (Leaning N #3) by BA Tortuga
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: I’m Not Who You Think I Am by Felicitas Ivey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Lord to Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

Wednesday, March 20:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan
  • Book Blitz  Tour Request – Elin Gregory – Midnight Flit
  • BLOG TOUR Wicked Games by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Lucy Review : The Forever Kind Of Love by LA Bryce
  • A Jeri Review Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan
  • A MelanieM Review: Lunar New Love by Casper Graham
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: In Safe Hands by Victoria Sue

Thursday, March 21:

  • Book Blast – An Extra Alpha (Pine Wood Falls #2) by Sarah Havan
  • DSP PROMO Felicitas Ivey on I’m Not Who You Think I Am
  • PROMO BA Tortuga on Whiskey to Wine
  • An Alisa Review: How Not To Sin by Susan Hawke
  • A Stella Review: Brush Strokes by E.S. Karlquist
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Kennard’s Story (Cronin’s Key #4) by N.R. Walker

Friday, March 22:

  • Review Tour –  A Body In A Bathhouse by Brad Shreve
  • Review Tour – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • Blog Tour for A Broken Promise by Mel Gough
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell
  • A Caryn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Black (Kitty Play Romance) by Quin Perin

Saturday, March 23:

Release Blitz Memory of Scorpions Series by Aleksandr Voinov

 

 

A MelanieM Review: Step Up with Me (With Me #5) by Kris Jacen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Richard “Tank” Martin was a big boy from the start. Born weighing over 11 pounds, he didn’t stop growing. When he was in middle school, a football coach took him under his wing and finally explained to him the mystery of calories in, calories out and from then on it was all good for him. At least he thought. Being called to meet with his platoon sergeant and told that he was now part of the Army’s overweight program, sent him into a spin that only his crews can help him out of.

Dr. Jack Dillon thought his life was good and finally settled. Part of an active veterinarian practice, volunteering with a service dog organization, spoiling his sister’s triplets and training in sports jiu-jitsu…the only thing missing was a partner. He never thought that his world could be shattered with just a phone call even after being around his military friends.

Tank and Jack have been dancing around each other for months until Tank takes a chance and kisses Jack at their friends’ wedding moving their slow dance into a heated bump and grind. Can these two survive the changes coming their ways together or will all the changes break them apart?

It seems I always learn something new about military life when I read one of Kris Jacen’s stories, especially her series With Me.  Step Up with Me, the fifth book in the With Me series, addresses an issue I hadn’t even thought was a problem with the military.  That of weight and body issues.  I had no idea.  i just assumed (bad me) that all the constant training and workouts kept everyone ready and well, slim or rock hard.  I should know better considering all the various body types out there and struggles with weight that just don’t mysteriously vanish one you enter the military.  Or that it has such serious repercussions if not met.  Including the end of a career.

Yes, the U.S. Army has Weight Standards for its Soldiers , men and women. Army Body Fat Measurements that includes an army body fat calculator and  the Military Tape Test which  Jacen makes  such effective use of in her story.  She also notes that the current standards are under review and, hopefully will be updated to more realistic measurements.

All of this brings us to Richard “Tank” Martin, a man who has been fighting with his weight and body image all his life.  Solid muscle by any standards, a recent “tape test” has deemed him overweight and his superior officer put him on the Army’s Overweight program, which carries not only a stigma but potential career consequences.  This in addition to the emotional impact its having on Tank himself, who is not only frustrated in his attempts to lose weight but dealing with the old issues of poor self image as well.

Tank is easily one of most recognizable and connectible characters of all of the military unit for me.  Perhaps it’s in his issues with his body image, his quiet manner of questioning his choices later on in this story, or his appreciation of all the difference people in his life, his teacher on nutrition and diet (who just happens to be the wife of one of the Heptad).  Maybe its a largesse of character and personality to go along with his body that Jacen has created for him, a huge heart as well.  Whatever it is, Tank is someone who I gravitated towards immediately.  You will too.

As we saw towards the end of the last story, a swift surprise kiss with Dr. Jack Dillon moved a tentative romance ahead and that’s where this story starts off.

Both men are already established characters and here they come more fully into depth, revealing more layers and backhistory as their romance progresses and we see Tank work through his “program”, learning to eat better, exercise more in a way that suits him all the while talking about body positivity and support.

The two men together are so special  and just settling in, when another traumatic event happens to throw them and the reader into an emotional spin.  I wasn’t prepared for just how much pain this section caused but as Jacen has done her normal outstanding job of putting together a character that we cared about, however briefly, I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Then come the triplets, oh my.   And a family unit.

I won’t give too much away except to say how much I love this story.  All the many other characters from previous books appear as support and, as have been proven over and over again, the military families joining forces to act as an extended family to those in need.  It was heartwarming, moving, and it felt as authentic as could be.

With Me is such an outstanding series and Step Up with Me (With Me #5) by Kris Jacen is another exemplary reason why I always recommend this series and this author.  The writing is so smooth as to be impeccable, the plots realistic and moving, and the characters real and memorable.  Read them all in the order they were written for a memorable journey with a group of people you won’t soon forget.

Cover art: Kris Jacen. I adore this cover by the author.  It’s perfection in its representation of Tank and one of the triplets.  Now I need to read it again.

Sales Links:  MLR PressAmazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 125 pages
Published February 20th 2019 by MLR Press
ASINB07NZZDCY3
SeriesWith Me #5

Wait for Me

Explore with Me

Learn with Me

Challenge Me

Step Up with Me

In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Artwork by Paul Richmond

Book Cover and Artist Month Continues

In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond

 

Whether it be firebirds, fairies, pinup boys during the holidays, or dragons among the stars, Paul Richmond‘s covers have never failed to fire our imaginations, heat up our libidos, or just plain make us laugh.  Often glorious in color, sweeping in composition and style, there is just something so amazing, so special, so well, Paul Richmond about everything he does that it’s so easy to pick out a Paul Richmond cover by their distinctive artwork.

I regularly haunt his website to see what new original paintings he has finished so I can gawk and sigh over the  sheer vibrancy and beauty each conveys.  I recommend you all do the same.  You can find his website along with all his media connections below.

For his covers?  Well, they are so many.  From all the R Cooper Being(s) in Love Series (a favorite of mine) to T.J. Klune, to the many Advent Calendar stories to a multitude to authors in between, Paul Richmond has done covers for them all.  I’m only sorry we have room for so few.

I am delighted that Paul was able to take time out of his hugely busy schedule  to answer our questions about being an artist, book covers and much more.  I hope you enjoy his insights.  Here is Paul Richmond, up close and personal!

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Paul Richmond…

 

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

I can never predict how long a cover will take because there are a lot of variables that affect it. I do always like to show multiple drafts and work closely with the author to ensure that the cover is a good fit for the story they’ve written.

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

When I first started doing covers, most of mine were hand-painted, but the trends in our genre have shifted a bit and now I find myself doing mostly photo-based covers except for an occasional fantasy/sci-fi where illustration is still prevalent. Even though a photo-based cover uses stock images, I still consider them to be works of original art because there is often a large amount of photo-manipulation work that gets done in order to make the composite image cover-worthy. Ultimately, no matter how a cover was made, I think the most important thing is how effectively it draws in new potential readers.

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

I work closely with authors because their input is invaluable in the process. I will also make suggestions if they are presenting a concept that won’t work well on a cover. Simple, bold covers work best and sometimes it is necessary to edit down a concept in order to make it work well as a cover image. It’s important to me and everyone at Dreamspinner that authors are happy with their covers and that we create covers that are going to help their books reach new readers.

How did you get to become a cover artist?

My friend Jane Seville was having a book (Zero at the Bone) published by Dreamspinner and she asked me to illustrate the cover. I studied illustration in college and did a lot of freelance work so it was a natural fit. Dreamspinner liked the cover and asked if I’d like to do more. Now I work full time as their Associate Art Director.

What mediums do you use?  

Originally I did my covers as oil paintings, and gradually shifted to working in Photoshop. It’s easier to make changes and more efficient overall. Plus the tools have been greatly enhanced to allow so many different styles of covers to be created digitally.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve enjoyed all the covers I’ve had the privilege of making, but some of the ones I look forward to the most are the annual Advent anthologies because I get to paint my Cheesecake Boys pinups into hilarious holiday scenes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

We have so many wonderful cover artists working with us at Dreamspinner I couldn’t possibly pick one favorite. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the diverse styles and creativity of all our artists.

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

Yes, books were a huge part of my childhood. I was always reading and always dreaming of making books myself one day. I won a local art competition as a kid and used my $25 earnings to buy a toy typewriter that I used to “make books.” This was always something I wanted to do.

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

I love art that tells stories, so it is really fun for me to learn about the concept of a novel and then work out how to relay a glimpse of that narrative visually.

For  Cover Artist:

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

I think the role of a book cover is to entice readers, tease them with imagery that suggests the narrative of the story and make them want to start reading.

How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

Simplicity of imagery and clarity of text is very important now because most readers will first interact with a cover as a small thumbnail image as they scroll through covers digitally. If it doesn’t grab them at that scale and entice them to click, it might get passed by.

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.)

Photo-based covers are the norm now in most genres. Striking, simple imagery with bold, clean text is also important. In gay fiction, readers are tired of the two-models-cut-out-over-a-landscape look, especially when it’s obvious that the two models were shot separately because they are in different lighting scenarios. If there are multiple models, the interaction or connection between them needs to be believable. And single model covers often work really well too. 

How do you feel about them?

I like the way our covers are evolving, especially as readership continues to grow and we see gay fiction being added to more mainstream bookshelves.

 

Paul Richmond, Associate Art Director

About the Artist
Paul Richmond is an internationally recognized visual artist and activist whose career has included exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States as well as publication in numerous art journals and anthologies. His work is collected by individuals around the globe. In his role as the Associate Art Director for Dreamspinner Press and their young adult imprint, Harmony Ink Press, he has created over four hundred novel cover illustrations. He is a co-founder of the You Will Rise Project, an organization that empowers those who have experienced bullying to speak out creatively through art. He lives with his husband Dennis in Monterey, California. He works and teaches at Open Ground Studios in Seaside. 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/paulrichmondstudi

  •  

Paul Richmond, Associate Art Director
Dreamspinner Press – Where Dreams Come True…
International publishers of quality gay romantic fiction since 2007
DSP Publications – Off the Beaten Path. Worth the Journey.
Harmony Ink Press – LGBTQ+ Teen and New Adult Fiction

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, March 3:

  • Series Review Tour – Pros & Cons by A.E. Wasp
  • In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • An Alisa Review: Learning Trust (The Knights Club Series#3) by CJ Baty
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Dance For You by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Review:To Be Honest (#lovehim #2) by S.M. James

Monday, March 4:

  • PROMO Andi Van on Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3)
  • Review Tour – Chris Quinton’s The Fall Guy
  • Review Tour –  – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by Jay Northcote
  • A Lucy Review The 13th Month (Calendar Men #13) by Bailey Bradford
  • An Alisa Review Polar Opposites by Cheyenne Meadows
  • A Stella Review : The Fall Guy by Chris Quinton
  • A MelanieM Review The Rising by Morgan Brice

Tuesday, March 5

  • Release Blitz Order (Tattoos and Ties Duet, Book 2) by Kindle Alexander
  • Release Blitz  – Bitten By Fate – Annabelle Jacobs
  • Cover Reveal – Black by Quin Perin
  • A Alisa Release Day Review:  Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3) by Andi Van
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1) by Bru Baker

Wednesday, March 6:

  •  Review Tour – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  • Review Tour – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey”
  • Release Blitz Request – K.A. Merikan – In The Arms Of The Beast
  • Blog Tour – The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • An Alisa Review Shadowmancer (Paladin Charm #1) by Devin Harnois
  • A Stella Release Day Review: A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • A MelanieM Review : Touch Of A Yellow Sun by V.L. Locey

Thursday, March 7:

  • Release Blitz – Broken by Colette Davison
  • Review Tour – Murder At Oakschott Hall – Jim Austen
  • Bru Baker on Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1)
  • An Alisa Review Coming Out (The Knights Club Series#4) by CJ Baty
  • An Ashlez Review: Broken by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Freckles by Amy Lane
  • A Melanie Review : Murder at Oakschott Hall by Jim Austen

Friday, March 8:

  • Review Tour – Anna Martin – Helix
  • Release Day for First Strike – Book 3 in the Dragon War Chronicles series by AG Carothers
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burns & WM Fawkes – Prince Of Death
  • An Alisa Review: Finding Forgiveness (The Knights Club #5) by CJ Baty
  • A Free Dreamer Review: First Strike – Book 3 in the Dragon War Chronicles by AG Carothers
  • A Caryn Review :Helix by Anna Martin

Saturday, March 9:

  • Release Blitz – Perilous Hearts (Deviant Hearts #3) by A E Ryecart
  • Release Blitz – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by  Jay Northcote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A MelanieM Review: A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating: 5 stars for the contemporary story, 1 star for the supernatural story.  Overall rating: 3 stars out of 5

 

Seven-year-old Markie is determined to shine this Christmas. He’s decided his light can’t be hidden any longer, but not everyone in his life is supportive.

This Christmas, he’s looking for a miracle. Maybe if the family’s Nativity can host a miracle, then it might spill over onto him and his family.

For me, A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz is absolutely two short stories, one of which is unnecessary and in a Twilight Zone sort of way, will forever be that question mark dangling around narratively speaking.  The other?  An amazingly beautiful story about love and acceptance.

Why, oh why, I lament, did someone not pull them apart or say, hey, let’s just concentrate on that treasure of a child, Markie?

Because that’s where all of this story belongs.  On a broken family at Christmas time, a genderfluid child at  the heart of the shattered mess of a family   because his father couldn’t accept his child and the changes Markie was going through.  Lorenz brings Markie delightfully to life, we feel the joy in finding and buying “the one” dress for Christmas, the fear and doubt instilled by the father due to past arguments and loud disapproval.  And we get the fiercely loyal and protective mother and sister, who are loving and supportive of Markie while dealing with their own anger and pain.

This story?  Beautiful, heartwarming, and  all kinds of perfect.  Just like Markie.  Lynn Lorenz can write kids that melt your heart and this one is  no exception.  Love this whole part of this short story.

Ok, then on to the weirdness.

So there’s this Nativity that Markie likes to play with, and Markie makes up this story about a wise man in love with the shepherd, gives them names and, boom, in a Christmas Miracle, they come alive.  But only at night.  We see and hear them so they become real to the readers as well.  And of course they move around the Nativity, because , hey, real now.  When found in different places, who gets blamed and called a liar?  Markie, which I hated.  That’s never cleared up.  Because it’s never shown that Markie brought them to life, while showing the reader that he did.

It gets worse.  We know that they are alive.  No one else does.  And we know nothing else about that.  Nothing about a time frame etc.   Just that they are alive.   Guess what happens to Nativity scenes after Christmas is over?  Yep.  But they are alive….no matter here come the boxes….

Is that creepy music I hear start to play as the lid comes down and the screams start?  Why is this even part of the story?  Or why didn’t the author do a better job is explaining what does happen to the little alive people?   Unreal.  For me they keep waking up in a box in the dark for a year til next Christmas.  Talk about your nightmares.

This was so unnecessary next to Markie’s story that glowed.  I love Markie but guess what part of the story I remember. Yep. That box and the little shepherd and his boyfriend the wise man.

So if you want to skip over small chapters about Nativity scenes and keep just to Markie, then yes, I recommend this.  But in no way, should you read the entire book.  Not unless you have a really warped sense of humor.  Then be my guest.

Cover art: Kris Jacen. Lovely job of conveying the warmth and glow of the holidays.

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages
Published December 28th 2018 by MLR Press
ISBN13 9781641222198
Edition Language English

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

A MelanieM Review: Challenge Me (With Me #4) by Kris Jacen

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Briar Mason joined the Army to find himself after he believed the lies that had gone around about his best friend, Carter, and his sister. He should have known that Carter wouldn’t do those things but family was family, right? He’ll find out who his real family is when he’s injured and sent back to the states.

Not-telling-you-my-first-name Randolph was about to hit ten years in the Army and had some amazing assignments but one had eluded him until now – Ranger School. Coming from being assigned to the Presidential Salute Battery was going to be the best thing for him since training was emphasized. Should be easy, right?

Briar and Randolph met when Briar had stopped to apologize to Carter and Randolph was in full-on protective mode. Can these two find a middle ground while challenging themselves and each other to be better?

Kris Jacen’s With Me series is, without a doubt, one of my favorite contemporary series.  Jacen brings her intimate knowledge of military life to create a first rate series about life, service to the country, and love.  Each story normally has a slightly different focus on a certain aspect within the military for it’s main characters.  Could be making it through BUD/S training, trying to decide when to retire, military family life, or here, what happens what a soldier is so badly injured during a tour of duty it ends his military service.  What happens to him next?  What happens to all those lost men and women?

The VA is under fire and in the news for mishandling the files of so many soldiers in need of treatment.  And as Jacen’s story states the parking lots have become the locations where too many soldiers has taken their lives.  In Briar and all other of this author’s soldiers, Jacen brings our current military situation and our soldiers, male and female, vividly and memorably to life.

What is so remarkable about her stories is the depth of feeling that is relayed from page to reader.  There’s so much emotion here.  We run the gamut, from fear, pride in one’s duty and unit, to anger and depression, to hope, recovery, romance, and love.  We get the full spectrum.  We also get the accuracy of detail as to what it’s like to service in the military, from both sides.  From the soldier’s perspective and that of their family.  Strong stuff indeed.

And that’s in every story.

Here we’re with Briar on a tough journey.  But he’s got a full team of support behind him, lucky Briar.  Two connected groups of soldiers, one older and some getting ready for retirement as of this story, and a younger group in transition that appear in all the stories.  Each character a strong and individual personality on its own. That also includes their wives, husbands, and children who have also made a huge impact on this reader.  And on Briar and Randolph.

Watching not only the romance unfold, but the various story threads is such a pleasure.  It’s almost impossible to separate out one from another because they are so tightly wound up in each other.  Much like the support that is given within this tightly cohesive unit of family and friends, that become family.  They simply are whatever each other needs for each other.  The understanding of the perils as well as the strengths come through crystal clear.

In the end Briar and Randolph have made major decisions and another story looks to  unfold.  I can’t wait.

If you love contemporary romance, heartwarming stories full of great characters and realistic situations and relationships, look no further than the With Me series and Challenge Me (With Me #4) by Kris Jacen.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by Kris Jacen.  I find this a very striking cover.  The half torso on the dark background draws your eye, the meaning clear once you dive into the story. Beautiful.

Sales Links: MLR Press |   Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 124 pages
Published August 31st 2018 by MLR Press
ASINB07H1N9QTR
SeriesWith Me #4

With Me Series
 
Book #1 – Wait For Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Explore With Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Learn With Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Challenge Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK