Sunday, November 27, 2011

Support Four Debut Authors and Snag $125

Four books

Two Days

Great Prizes

With this contest, there is something for everyone and it’s SO simple to be in on the winning!

On November 28 and/or 29, purchase 1 or all 4 of the debut author’s books listed here. Then forward proof of purchase (the receipt Amazon sends you will do just fine) to : and get up to 4 entries into a draw for a $100 Amazon gift card.

It’s that easy, no reviews, no hoops to jump through. Just a great .99 book or two. Or three or four. AND, if the person who wins the $100 Amazon Gift Card has purchased all 4 books, an additional $25 Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to the winner!

On top of that, 2 random commenter’s picked from 2 of our participating blogs will receive $5 gift Amazon gift cards . So, be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think of the promo, the books, or the authors.

Winners will be chosen randomly, one entry per person, per book.

All winners will be announced on December 7th on Wringing Out Words

“Between” by Cyndi Tefft

It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water's life isn't alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile, and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven's siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.


“Until Dawn: Last Light” by Jennifer Simas

When darkness falls, whose side will you be on?

For the past six years, Zoë has been anything but “normal.” Struggling to accept her immortality and thrown into a war that’s been waging in the shadows for over a thousand years, Zoë must now become who she was meant to be, joining the other Chosen to save what’s left of humanity. When the endless night falls over the Earth, will she be able to save the one man who reminds her of what it is to be human, or will it be too late?

Until Dawn: Last Light is a story of death and despair, love and longing, hope and hopelessness, and the ability to survive and keep going even when it seems impossible – when you want nothing more than to give up.


“The Kayson Cycle” by Jonathan D. Allen

A stranger enters a dying town and makes a desperate plea…

The Kayson Cycle introduces the Kayson Brothers, a pair of faith healers who once wowed crowds in a traveling show but went their separate ways after a night in which a healing took a dark turn. Jeffrey Kayson disappeared into the wilderness and William Kayson, wracked by guilt, moved to the failing mining town of Calico Hills to build a nice, quiet life – one that has lasted for over ten years.

His quiet, predictable life crumbles when a mysterious stranger walks into his tavern bearing a proposal to find his long-lost brother and do the one thing that William has sworn to never do again - have his brother heal a woman. William soon learns that he can’t escape his family – or his destiny.

Includes an exclusive sample chapter of The Corridors of the Dead. Please note that this is a Kindle Single, and around 6,000 words in length.


“Sundered” by Shannon Mayer

A miracle drug, Nevermore, spreads like wildfire throughout the world allowing people to eat what they want, and still lose weight. It is everything the human population has ever dreamed of and Mara is no different. Only a simple twist of fate stops her from taking Nevermore.

As the weeks roll by, it becomes apparent that Nevermore is not the miracle it claimed. A true to life nightmare, the drug steals the very essence that makes up humanity and unleashes a new and deadly species on the world that is bent on filling its belly. Locked down within their small farm home, Mara and her husband Sebastian struggle against increasingly bad odds, fighting off marauders and monsters alike.

But Sebastian carries a dark secret, one that more than threatens to tear them apart, it threatens to destroy them both and the love they have for each other.

Now Mara must make the ultimate choice. Will she live for love, or will she live to survive?


And, finally but far from least, here is a list of our FABULOUS bloggers who have been so generous in helping spread the word about this contest.

The Immortal words of Doctor Fab

Call Sign: Wrecking Crew on the Run

Labotomy of a Writer

The Romanceaholic

Micheal Young: The Canticle

J Keller Ford: Dreamweaver’s Cottage

Scott Bury: Jambalian

Dreaming Dreams no Mortal ever Dared

Ren’s Blogging About


Horror. Punk. Buddhism.

Between the Pages Reviews

Live by the Pen, Die by the Pen

Fictional Distraction Book Reviews

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Announcing a Kindle Fire Or Nook Tablet Give-A-Way

Trish McCallan is the author of "Forged in Fire" and she has some great prizes for her readers that she has asked me to share with you, my readers!

Two months ago I launched my debut romantic suspense Forged in Fire.

As a new author with no fan base, and no name recognition I thought it would take Forged several months to connect with readers. Instead, readers across the globe have embraced the book and I’m feeling incredibly blessed.

As I type this, Forged in Fire is #8 in bestselling romantic suspense novels within the Kindle Store. This is a huge thrill to me since it’s outselling all the new releases of my traditionally published idols. (At least in the Kindle Store!) Forged also has 53 reviews on Amazon, 47 rankings and reviews on Goodreads, eight on Barnes and Noble, three on iBook and numerous reviews posted on blogs across the internet.

In appreciation of my readers’ tremendous support, I will be holding a drawing for a new Kindle Fire, or Barnes and Noble Color Tablet. (Winner’s preference) This giveaway will include a $25.00 gift certificate so the winner can download some new reading material to their new e-reader. The winner will be chosen on December 19th, by random draw.

To enter this drawing all you need to do is send me a review of a self-published book. Ranking does not matter. The book reviewed does NOT have to be mine. Any self-published book, with any ranking will enter you in the drawing. The more reviews you send in, the more chances you have in the drawing.

The only reviews that will not be eligible for this drawing are reviews on self-published works that were previously published through a different publisher. This drawing is for reviews on new work that has not been previously published.

This contest is open to readers outside the United States as well, although in some cases a gift certificate of equal value may need to be substituted.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will address it. Please send all emails with reviews attached to

Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shagging the Muse with author Jonathan Allen

It's always exciting to learn about an author and I am happy to have Jonathan Allen on my blog today so you can have just that chance.

1.First off, tell us about your writing. Is this a full time career or are you writing on the side while doing a “day job”?

That’s always such a tricky question to answer, because the answer is somewhere in between. I do write full-time for a living, as both a technical writer and a freelance writer (mostly handling government reports and analyses), so on some level I guess that makes me a full-time writer. The thing is, I’d also like to be a full-time novelist, which in my mind is very different. Still, I try to bring some of my fiction writing sensibilities to my technical writing job. It’s not that hard to weave an effective narrative out of even simple directions, if you use the language correctly.

2. The Kayson Cycle, tell us about the novel and how long it took you from start to up to the point where you are getting it on Amazon.

The Kayson Cycle arose from my entry in the Rule of Three Renaissance Blogfest. I’ve been knee-deep in editing my next book, due out at the end of November, as well as working on the next book, so I don’t know what I was thinking taking on another story, even if it is a short story. In the end, though, I fell in love with the characters and the situation. That always holds my interest, and so the story took roughly a month from start to publication.

The story itself is about a bartender (Kayson) who once worked with his brother performing faith healing in a traveling show. Twelve years after they go their separate ways and his brother vanishes into the desert, a strange man walks into Kayson’s bar. This man says he knows the location of Kayson’s long-lost brother, but needs his help in recruiting his brother to heal the stranger’s wife, who is dying of a plague that’s sweeping the countryside. What follows is a roller-coaster ride of betrayal, death, and redemption.

3. Favourite munchy food/beverage while working on your writing, we all have at least one so spill!

Haha! Only one? Seriously, I’m a fiend for any sort of Mountain Dew. Caffeine has always been the writer’s friend and I unfortunately can no longer have coffee, so I take what I can get. I’m also completely addicted to Nerds candy, and no longer allow them near my desk since I can’t be sane about them!

4. What sparked your interest in writing, what made you think, “hey, I could do that”.

I started out very young, so it’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly what it was, but I do know that the 1982 film Tron sparked my interest in a sequel, so I started writing up my own version of the sequel. That would have been either in 1982 or 1983, when I was 6 or 7. Since then, it’s just been a matter of refining what I do. So yes, I basically started in fanfiction, at a very young age.

5. Favourite classic book and then favourite modern book.

Classic, I’d go with the Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Hermann Hesse. There’s a great description of exactly why I like it on Amazon: “The book is an intricate bildungsroman about humanity's eternal quest for enlightenment and for synthesis of the intellectual and the participatory life.” That sort of thing has always fascinated me – looking at how we pursue that which is larger than ourself. Modern book, without a doubt, is Imajica by Clive Barker. The depth of imagination and world building in that book is without parallel.

6. Thing you like the least about the publishing world right now.

Oh, no, this is a surefire way to get me started. In fact, my problem might be narrowing it down. I suppose my least-favorite part would be the methods by which traditional publishing refuses to acknowledge that the world is changing around them – why does it cost more to buy an eBook from the Big Six than a paperback? It makes no sense unless they’re protecting the hardcover market, something that I’ve thought should long be obsolete.

7. Thing you like the best about the publishing world right now.

The newfound community among writers. I think there’s always been something of that going on, between corresponding and conferences, but now we have ways to support one another instantly – whether it’s helping with marketing, cheering on a friend with writer’s block, or participating in group writing challenges. It’s really heartening.

8. Any writing habits/superstitions or quirks you’d like to share?

I constantly change my writing habits. It’s a side-effect of ADHD. One week dictating a scene full out of my head works; the next week I need to have complete silence, darkness, and candle light only. These seem to run in cycles, but I can’t figure out what triggers them, aside from the approaching darkness of Autumn prompting that last approach. One of the most important methods for figuring out which approach works at the moment, however, is mood. The more aware I am of my emotional tone, the better I can figure out what will work. At the moment, I’ve dropped back into the habit of dictating a scene, then shaping it when I transcribe it.

9. What can we expect to see next from you and your writing?

My first full-length novel, The Corridors of the Dead, the first in the Among the Dead trilogy, should be out by 11/30. I’ve always been fascinated with alternate histories, and for those who don’t know, there is a system of magick called the Enochian system, so named for Enoch, from the Old Testament, who was ascended straight to Heaven. Enoch wrote a book that was cut from the Old Testament that told the story of the rebel angels, known as the Watchers, who came to Earth and bred with humans. I’d always been fascinated with the concept, and I wondered what it would be like to make them angels in name only – instead a flawed race that was given the keys to the universe but don’t really understand why or how. The Corridors of the Dead explores a young woman who gets drawn into their world as their “Chosen One” and what she finds behind the veil that even the Watchers couldn’t penetrate, getting to the question of what it even means to be a messiah and bear the burden of history. It’s also LGBT friendly, as I’ve tried to portray the lesbian protagonist in a non-exploitative light, so I’m hoping that some in the LGBT community can embrace it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November Indie Cover Art Poll

Vote for your favourite and be put in a draw where you can win 16 e-books! One book from each of the authors who participate and one from me, the host of the poll. You can only choose 1 cover as your favourite and you can only get a single entry, no matter how many times you comment.

The winner will be announced on November the 15 and entries will be taken until noon on the 15th.

The winning cover art will then be displayed on all the other author’s blogs who have participated this month for a minimum of 1 blog post.

If you’d like to have your cover art involved in the December Indie Cover Art Poll, send the cover, a short blurb and one link to

Don't forget to leave your email address when you vote. Now, let the voting begin!

**If you are going to leave an annonymous comment you MUST put in your email for the vote to count**

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.


For more about this author click here

Denver Detective Bobby Macaulay has faced down a truckload of tragedy over recent years.
After the man who ruined his leg and killed his first partner is executed, Macaulay becomes the lead detective investigating the Sloan's Lake murders. The method of killing is so heinous it leads Macaulay and his partner down an ever-darkening path--one that must be traversed if they are to discover the evil forces behind the slaughter.
Just when Bobby Macaulay is questioning the very career that has been his salvation, he will discover a heroic history buried within his own family roots: The Clan MacAulay--a deep family lineage of protectors at the very core of a millenniums-long war against unimaginable evil.


For more about this author click here

In a strange world of myth and magic, one name is feared above all others: GNARL, wielder of the Crimson Battle Axe. Sworn defender of his people, the Biroc, for over a century Gnarl has cut down enemies with his flaming battle axe. Gnarl must put aside his differences with the humans and all the other races of his world to have any chance of success against the greatest evil his world has ever known- the Dark Lord Nobis. Gnarl faces death at every turn, though inconceivably, the fate of the world may rest upon Gnarl’s unusual relationship with the lovely young human female whom Gnarl improbably calls friend.
The Crimson Battle Axe, a sword-and-sorcery hero story about justice versus vengeance, love versus apathy, forgiveness versus bitterness, and good versus evil. Through fantastic battles and tender moments, with humor and unlikely friendship, five travelers follow their destiny on an amazing quest.

For more about this author click here

A gel-like substance is discovered by DHS across the country and tested to figure out just what it is. The goo is very complex; the scientists conclude it is not of this planet. They realize it can clone animals--even humans. When new people are cloned, they 'arrive' with no knowledge, memories or clothes. They are found by DHS and contained on an abandoned military base. While contained, the clones discover themselves and the world around them--or as much as DHS will allow. They also receive a message that was hidden in the goo. When the message is triggered for one of the clones, Sue, she decides that she must deliver it... and escapes from the base.


For more about this author click here

# 5

For more about this author click here

Edward Caulfield was not a simple man. Losing his wife early in their marriage he continued to live his life as a shrine to her. In his twilight years he encountered a troubled young woman. There were lessons to be learned from each other. With the spirit of his deceased wife by his side Edward Caulfield left behind a legacy in his words to ease a troubled heart.


For more about this author click here
   Blake Harrison:
Rich, titled, and charming… And in need of a wife by Wednesday so he turns to Sam Elliot who isn’t the business man he expected. Instead, Blake is faced with Samantha Elliot, engaging and spunky with a voice men call 900 numbers to hear.
Samantha Elliot:
Owner of Alliance, her matchmaking firm, and not on the marital menu... That is until Blake offers her ten million dollars for a one-year contract. All she needs to do is keep her attraction to her husband to herself and avoid his bed. But Blake’s toe-curling kisses and charm prove too difficult to combat. Now she needs to protect her heart so she can walk away when their mercenary life together is over.

# 7
For more about this author click here



Ten-year-old Nathan Rockledge cannot catch a break. After all, life as a fourth-grader can be hazardous what with science projects to deal with and recess football games to avoid. Everyone, including his best friend Tommy, seems to have bad luck when hanging around Nathan. Throw in an older sister who is a royal pain, a dad who is stuck in the past, and a mom who keeps trying to poison him with her awful cooking, and poor Nathan’s life as a fourth grader appears to be completely doomed.

Armed only with his sketchpad, his imagination, and his wits, Nathan Rockledge navigates the perils of the fourth grade in style, to emerge heroic, as Nate Rocks, proving that even a ten-year-old can accomplish great things.


For more about this author click here

Marion is an incompetent witch who thinks she needs magic to deal with a homicidal ex-boyfriend. Except, all her magic does is blow up love potions. Aidan is a cursed elf who believes protecting Marion is the ticket back to his life in Fairy. When they finally realize what they really need is each other, it might be too late.

# 9

For more about this author click here

Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before. Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.
As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.


For more about this author click here

Convinced a fresh start is all she needs to escape the problems at home, seventeen-year-old Jenna Lyons runs away in the middle of the night. But when her car breaks down on the outskirts of La Grange, Missouri, population less than a thousand, she gets sucked into the small town, and one family in particular. Jenna discovers there’s a liar in La Grange, and he’s deceived everyone. Now she must decide whether to run away from the truth, or blow his secret wide open.

# 11

For more about this author click here

In the Fall of 2001, John’s life has fallen off a cliff. His six- year-old daughter, Lucy, needs a kidney transplant and his Durham, NC travel agency has been wrecked by the events of 9/11. He must find a way to secure a large amount of money quickly in order to pay for Lucy’s surgery. He’s been in tight places before but he’s currently out of solutions. Wanda, a client of John’s travel agency, has had her livelihood hit hard by 9/11 also. She can no longer transport cocaine via airline flights due to increase airport security. Like John, she is a single parent. She needs more money to allow her and daughter Tonya, to move from Durham to California and break free of her boss. John and Wanda form a partnership around a plan to smuggle cocaine via cruise ships. Despite being nearly killed on their first run, it worked. How far should a father go to save his child? Can a man and woman from completely different worlds help each other? Could they fall in love? And which one of these people will live to see the summer of 2002?

# 12

For more about this author click here

Tangerine is a novel set in the future that tells the story of Dr. Ava Majestic, a biologist who evaluates uninhabited planets being considered for colonization. Ava discovers she is the heir to a device that allows her to travel backward in time. Use of the device is fraught with consequences, as she soon learns. Ava is pursued for this device by an unsavory but wealthy collector, Agnotico. Tangerine describes life in a future time when space travel is commonplace and aliens are a natural part of everyday life. Upcoming release.

# 13

For more on this author click here

Krystoff is a vampire and enforcer of the laws of his people. Sent out to hunt down those who have turned their back on the Council, he is drawn to Austin, and the next on his long list of targets. Once in the
city he is drawn to a club that provides more than just a distraction, it
reveals a woman that is more than she seems and what’s worse is the
renegades have set their sights on her.
Alexandra, part human and part Fae, has done her best to keep her
non-human legacy from those around her. To her dismay, the one night she decides to spend the evening out singing, she draws the unwanted attention of what she’s tried to hide from all her life… vampires. Suddenly she is on the run and her only ally is the very species she has been warned against. Could this hunter be her only savior? Together they must find out why the renegades are after Alex, but first they must learn to trust each other… before time runs out.

# 14 

For more about this author click here

# 15
For more about this author click here

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vampires, Werewolves, Immortals . . . Oh My!

Jennifer Simas is the debut author of Until Dawn: Last Light. I've read the book and will be doing a review on it (as soon as I can find time!) but a sneak peak would be YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS OUT! Oops, sorry about the caps, I get a little excited about this book. Really, it is well written, has a super fast pace and every supernatural monster you could want in it. Vampires, shifters, immortals, heroes, action and romance. You know what, just go and get it, at .99 it is a freaking steal! But, now, let me shut up, and let  Jen  tell you a little about herself, and her writing.

1. Jen, tell us a little about your book Until Dawn: Last Light. Do you have a favorite scene?

Until Dawn: Last Light is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy blend about a woman named Zoë who’s struggling to accept her immortality – and the end of the world. For the past six years, Zoë has been anything but “normal,” let alone human. The story follows her as she’s thrown into this war that’s been waging in the shadows for over a thousand years. Through the book, Zoë must find a way to become what she’s meant to be, joining the other Chosen to save what’s left of humanity. When the endless night falls over the Earth, the reader will find out if Zoë will be able to save the one man who reminds her what it is to be human or if will it be too late. It’s really a story of death and despair, love and longing, hope and hopelessness, and the ability to survive and keep going even when it seems impossible – when you want nothing more than to give up.

As far as my favorite scene goes, that’s a tough one. Almost as tough as making me pick out a favorite character – or child. I wrestled back and forth with this one, but I think it’s going to have to go to a scene from the end of chapter twenty-one. I can’t exactly explain it without giving anything away to new readers. It takes place in Zoë’s bedroom chamber in the castle in England and, let’s just say, it got a lot of great reactions out of readers and I had a blast writing it.

2. How long did it take you from your initial idea for the book until you actually started to write it?

I actually had a dream about the book while driving to the coast one afternoon – don’t worry, I wasn’t the only actually driving! That had to be back in my senior year of high school. I jotted down some notes back then and kind of put the project on the back burner for a while. I think I started writing the first draft (which was awful mind you) about a year or so later. From that point it probably took me about four years to finish the entire book. There were a lot of breaks in between each draft and the story has transformed drastically from then to now; in fact, it’d probably be unrecognizable.

3. What drew you to writing?

I’ve always been very passionate about writing; that is, aside from when I was younger and my dream was to have giant zoo in my backyard! I started at a very young age with poetry. That continued up until sophomore year of high school when one of my English teachers assigned us a short story project. I got the highest grade in the class and realized how much fun it was to create my own worlds and characters – I got to be the one to control how everything ended. It was exciting, to say the least! Shortly after that I started my very first novel about a group of kids that fell into a lake with an eerie history and started passing that out to my friends. When I saw their reactions and their need to know what happened next, I just knew that I had to write. And I have ever since!

Hm, come to think of it, I wonder if I still have that short story and novel anywhere. They’d both make for some fun YA books!

4. Which author do you find the most inspiring?

I’ll probably get a lot of crap for this, but as far as “most inspiring” goes, it has to be Stephenie Meyer. Not for her writing but for what she accomplished as a first time, debut author. She really achieved that goal that we all aspire to when we first start writing. We all want that major book deal, having millions of readers, seeing our characters portrayed on the big screen – we want our books to be read and loved and talked about. That could just be me, haha.

As far as writing goes, it’s a tie between Charlaine Harris; I’m a sucker for those bloodsuckers of hers, and Francine Rivers, who’s Redeeming Love influenced me to dabble in the world of romance.

5. Favorite position when writing- recliner, couch, bed or straight backed chair?

I really enjoy writing while lying down in bed. It’s peaceful – perhaps a little too peaceful, haha. I usually get quite a bit for about the first 20-30 minutes before falling asleep. Maybe I just have one super comfy bed! As far as a productive position, it’d have to be snuggled up on the sofa with the laptop either sitting in my lap or, preferably, on a TV tray. As long as I have some great music play, I’m not too picky.

6. In your off time, what do you do for fun? Or is there such a thing as off time for you?

Hm, what is this “off time” you speak of? No, I actually do get off time, during which my brain is still going over new ideas for stories and characters. I guess that switch is hard to turn off for writers, I’m sure you know what that’s like, Shannon.

With how much of my time is spent sitting in front of a computer screen, I like to be as active as I can during my off time. I love water sports (swimming, wake boarding, etc.) I’m also big into rock climbing. As of late, if I’m not typing away at the computer, you could probably find me at my local rock climbing gym or in Yosemite 800 feet up on a mountain. There’s something extremely peaceful about being that high up. It is the ultimate escape.

5. Biggest supporter of you and your writing.

I’ve got some phenomenal friends that have supported my writing from the very start. Along the way, I’ve met some other authors that have also kept me going. My boyfriend has proved to be one of my biggest supporters. Not only in writing but also in life. Anytime I find myself at the end of my rope, ready to just give up, he’s been there to tie on a few extra feet. There was also another person who, in the early stages, made sure that I didn’t give up when I was going through the dreaded query process. This old friend gave me a framed picture, which I keep on my desk to this day, that reads: Persistence – now that we’ve exhausted all possibilities…let’s get started.

This is Jen, ain't she cute? :D
 6.What are you planning next for your writing project? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Right now, I’m really trying to focus on finishing up the Until Dawn series. Still playing with where I want to end it off, not sure if I’m ready to say goodbye to Zoë and the other characters just yet. Also, I might be doing a back-story for the Until Dawn series of the first Chosen, but that’s still on the shelf for now. I do have a handful of ideas jotted down for other novels, one of which would be told from a male character’s point of view. I’m really looking forward to diving into that one.

For now, readers can look forward to Until Dawn: Into the Dark, coming in January 2012!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Cover Artist Ryan Bibby

I'd like to welcome Ryan Bibby, an up and coming Cover Artist who took some time out from his schedule to share with us writers, a few things about himself and his work. He has also very generously offered a FREE COVER to a random commenter on this post!

Here's a little about Ryan, and be sure to check out his new site

Ryan Bibby an English man in Auckland (Sounds similar to the Police lyric don’t you think?) I’m 30 years young. Married to the most amazing woman with two incredible children, Isabel 2 ½ and Dexter who is 8 months old. I studied at University in the UK and worked for several years around England before moving to the southern hemisphere for the better weather and lifestyle here in New Zealand. No regrets what so ever!
1. What made you decide to get into doing cover art for books?

It’s something I have always thought about before in the past but never really had the opportunity. It wasn’t until a chance tweet that I stumble across the indie book scene and discovered the quality and depth that is out there. I couldn’t believe the quality of the writing and wondered why some novels “made it” and other remained somewhat underground. So I thought I might be able to offer something to help get a book noticed. I know it’s not the whole deal but making an eye catching professional cover can certainly help when it comes to be taken seriously in the huge market out there.

2. I'm guessing that like all creative types, you have a particular form of inspiration, would you mind sharing it with us?

No! Just kidding, it’s nothing special really I get most of my inspiration just from wandering around with my eyes open. Anything that catches my attention really, be it a advert on the side of a bus or a promotional flyer that gets put in the letterbox. You can find great design all over the place it’s just a case of opening your eyes and realising what you’re looking at. I’m also a bit of typography geek! I can spend hours (seriously) just browsing through different fonts and sometimes this can be the foundation of the entire design. Since I started taking the book cover side of design seriously I’m also a permanent resident in my local second hand book shop picking up whatever catches my eye.

3. I see a lot of Stephen King's, The Dark Tower artwork on your site. Is this a particular favorite of yours?

Absolutely, there is something about King that just speaks to me, it’s as if he can paint pictures straight into the old grey matter. The Dark Tower in particular is something I seem to always find my way back too every couple of years. For those of you that have it on the to-do-list… DO IT! You won’t regret it I promise.

4. Are you looking for clients right now?

Being new to this area of design I don’t yet have the word out there about what I can do and offer. So yes I’m on the hunt for anyone that wants to see what I can put together. I try and pride myself on listening to the client and keeping in constant communication with regards to how progress is going. From experience people really appreciate being kept in the loop even if it’s just letting them know you can’t do any work on a particular day it’s better to let them know then to drop of the radar for 24 hours. Communication is king in my book.

5. What's your turn around time from being given the idea for the cover art and having it back into your clients eager little hands?

I try and get something for them to look at in within a week. It normally takes a little back and forth to get to the finished design, but once again it’s all down to communication. This is where, so far, working with authors has been a total dream. For oblivious reason you can articulate yourself so much better than the normal grunts and shoulder shrugs I get from other clients when putting together a design brief. I also try and take my time, as your novel is normally a very personal thing, your baby if you like and it’s an honor to be allowed to put a face to that for the world to see. In fact it’s a really cool thing to get the chance to do.

6. Do you mind if I ask how much you are charging?

For an ebook cover my rate is a very reasonable $35. Which I would like to think is a bargain. One of the reasons for this price point is that as with all design fields you’re constantly learning, so I see every project as a learning experience that I don’t have to pay for. So you get a cover that you’re happy with and I get to hone my craft, it’s a win win really!

7. How long have you been doing cover art for?

Only for a couple of months now, but I have been doing other design work for a number of years. I have been involved with a lot of corporate and branding identity work along with website and other promotional design projects. The t-shirts you can see on my site are just a hobby really to help me vent the creative urge when I get home from a particularly dull day. Design is my passion it’s what enjoy doing so after a day of photo shopping products into customers I love to go home and experiment with some more creative aspects of the software.

8. Favorite book cover of all time is?

Wow tough question, I think it’s most likely also from one of my favorite books of all time or at least in my top 5, the classic 1984. I picked it up along with Animal farm in a bundled deal and they’re really my cup of tea when it comes to design. Very stylised and timeless, looking at them both now the Animal farm cover is probably more striking but I remember the 1984 cover having more of an effect on me at the time. Great covers and both great books. Ask me the same question next week and I would most likely have changed my mind!

9. Sinful indulgence you eat/drink while working on your craft? (Give it up, we all have at least one!)

Guilty as charged, how did you know? My wife is from Scotland so from the outlaws most Christmas and Birthday presents I get tend to come in a bottle aged at least 12 years! So if I’m working in the evening it would likely be a single malt whiskey with a couple of ice cubes. Hmmmmm too early in the day to think about that right now however.
10. Best cover art you've done so far (in your opinion)

Normally it would be the work I have just finished but at the moment I have a special spot for The Kayson Cycle cover. For one, I think the author Jonathan D Allen really dug it, and secondly it’s the first cover that I have had put up for sale. So that’s a special cover for me at the moment. I am also loving the second Angst concept cover that David Pedersen allowed me to do. I think it has some great little touches that make it pop nicely off the page.
 Thank you so much Ryan for sharing with us your art!
And for all those reading this and looking for a cover artist be sure to check Ryan's sites out and do leave a comment for a chance to win a cover of your very own done by this very talented artist! This opportunity will be all wrapped up by November 10th at noon. Be sure to leave your email so that you can be notified if you are the winner!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Resonating Love Stories: The Ones That Hurt

I’ve had a number of people ask me why, in my debut novel Sundered did I write the romance to revolve around a married couple rather than a newly met, fall in love, fall into each other’s arms couple.

Well, because as far as I’m concerned, happily ever after doesn’t happen once you’re married.

Nope, nada, ain’t realistic.

Happily ever after comes in the quiet moments between the disagreements about who ate the last cookie, the Dutch Ovens, PMS, and the make-me-want-to-pull-my-hair-out-misunderstandings.

I wanted to show that the best love stories, the ones that you can feel deep in your soul, the ones we can all relate to, are those which we see in our own lives. The stories that make us cry and cheer for the characters in love are the ones who resonate with us.

In Sundered, Mara and Sebastian face a crisis as a married couple, they face the possibility that they might not make it, that the secret he’s kept from her could tear them apart. This secret is one that he SHOULD have shared with her, he lied, thinking to keep her from being hurt. He forgot that as his wife, she is there to help him share the burdens he faces, as he should share hers. But, that isn’t the case; it takes what was a good marriage and threatens to destroy it.

Who can’t relate to that? We have all been in, or are in, relationships that have stood on the brink of being over. Looking into the abyss of heartbreak, we have all had that choice to make when it comes to our mate at some point in our lives together.

The question is, do you stand by the one you love, in spite of the things they have done to hurt you? Or, do you walk away, pretend that the pain isn’t real, doesn’t stab at you from the inside, that it doesn’t make you want to curl up into your mother’s arms, and let her wash it all away? Which decision do you make?
With Sundered, even though it’s “just” a book, I wanted people to see that, in my opinion, real love encompasses more than the sexual flush of desire, more than the honeymoon stage that many romance books show case. That in order to have a happily ever after, we have to face the abyss over and over again, each time making a decision. Whether to move forward, to forgive and to work together as a team to face the challenges ahead, or to say goodbye and walk away from the one you once loved.

What you, and I, and Mara have to ask ourselves is, do I go on, do I love him enough to make this worth the pain I know will come with choosing to stay, the hardship of fighting each day for our bond?

The secrets Sebastian keeps from Mara, damages their marriage, as any secret between a couple will. It stretches them both to the breaking point, holding them over the abyss while they fight with everything they have to hang on to one another, choosing to believe that they can make it through.

For those of you who’ve been there, staring into the abyss as the world moves on around you, you know this hurt, and for those of you who haven’t, for you I hope you have the strength when the time comes to make the best decision for yourself.

And for Mara and Sebastian? Though they are only characters in a book, they are the type of couple that I hope one day I, and my husband can be like, when our turn comes. The ones who find the strength to fight for our love, fight for everything we have that is good, and true and real when we have to face the abyss.

*Art work by Patricia Schmitt, used with permission*