"" Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_8339780_put-emoticons-blogger.html WillowRaven Illustration & Design Plus

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

THE GUARDIANS OF EASTGATE ~ cover art & design for Sherry Leclerc (@sleclercauthor)

I'm so, so excited to share my latest cover project and introduce you to Sherry Leclerc, who I'm sure is going to be one of my favorite series projects ever, as well as one of my favorite clients. She is so very easy to work with. I kinda think we think a little alike. 

This is the new cover for The Guardians of Eastgate, book one of the Seers Series - Second Edition. 

We're going full-out with a fresh new cover art style, a revision of the text (to catch anything missed in the first publication), and so much more. Be sure to follow Sherry online (links below) to keep informed.

Blurb:

An ancient evil threatens the realm of Sterrenvar. A race of people called the seers had appointed themselves Guardians of the Realm, guarding the safety of their world and all the people in it.

Maelona Sima is one of four seer champions tasked with protecting the four keystones from being breached by evil forces, thus leaving an immeasurable magical force free to be used against the realm’s inhabitants. Yet Maelona is more than a seer. She is unique in her world, and she is the best hope of survival for the people of Sterrenvar…the very people who once hunted down and killed many of the seer people out of fear and mistrust.

Protecting the keystones is the first line of defense against the evil sorcerer who wishes to enslave the realm. Can Maelona, the guardian of the keystone at Eastgate, and her friends Blaez, a wolf shifter, and Gareth, a human prince, bring together their peoples to save Eastgate from destruction in this first book of the Seers series?



Be sure to connect with Sherry Leclerc on all her social networks and online activities (best way to get signed copies and news of the latest promotions):







Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven

http://WillowRaven.weebly.com


This post edited by Grammarly* ~ NOW FREE FOR CHROME USERS!

Grammarly.com
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven but posted as provided by author/publisher.

*All art and designs in this post were created by myself unless otherwise noted even if some images have been replaced with newer ones to keep post current with my portfolio.

Friday, November 24, 2017

THE MAGE CHRONICLES, by RJ Eliason (@racheleliason on twitter / @rachelspixapp on instagram), is now available in audiobook, too.

Now available in audio format!
Into audiobooks? I am! So I was excited to hear from Rachel when she asked me to reformat the original cover I created for paperback and ebook to also be audio-friendly.

If you're not already familiar with The Mage Chronicles, here's my original posting:

I love desert landscapes. Each is so alike, yet each unique at the same time. There's just something romantic, and barren, and harsh about them. I relished another opportunity to translate the desert world in RJ Eliason's, The Mage Chronicles.


Blurb: 

Available in paperback and ebook.
The Gilded Empire: A magical empire so ancient its name has been forgotten to the mist of time. Its citizens believe they are in their golden age, but already the rot is showing underneath the gold veneer.

The Mage Chronicles: A mage level healer, Mary is unprepared when the Council of Mages wants her to intervene in a border dispute in a distant part of the empire. What does she know of nobility or war? Not one to back down, she must confront the harsh realities of life outside the central core, a legion of unstoppable warriors and the ghosts of her own past.

What an interesting sounding world. Up for a visit?

Be sure to connect with Rachel on social media or sites:












Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven

http://WillowRaven.weebly.com


This post edited by Grammarly* ~ NOW FREE FOR CHROME USERS!

Grammarly.com
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven but posted as provided by author/publisher.

*All art and designs in this post were created by myself unless otherwise noted even if some images have been replaced with newer ones to keep post current with my portfolio.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

ASHES OF THE DRAGON ~ cover art & design for Peter Cruikshank (@petercruikshank)

Amazon paperback & ebook.
On Ashes of the Dragon is the third book Peter Cruikshank and I have worked on together, and he is such a joy to work with.

Unlike the first two books we worked on (you can see them below), this project is a novella. Events take place in the same world as the Dragon-Called series, but it's not exactly a sequel or prequel. Don't let its size fool you, it stands alone. Though it would be a shame if you let it.


After the blurb, I'll show you his other book covers and provide a bunch of links to his sites and social networks so you can grab them all and get to know the author yourself. Tell him I sent you. ๐Ÿ˜Š


Blurb:

Revin had never known family—true family. A rare female dragon hunter, she was used to living a solitary life. But the chance to capture an even rarer golden dragon sends her on a quest to a small village far to the north—deep into inhabitable mountains—in the heart of a fierce winter.

The trip is difficult and Revin is shocked to find out, though it seems impossible, that she is expected. She encounters a stranger who she calls ‘Blue Eyes’ and is flustered by feelings she has never experienced before.

Revin is baffled, yet enchanted by the strange isolated village and the villagers she meets. At the same time she can’t shake an eerie nagging sensation that has bothered her since her arrival, nor can she explain a fiery heat that seems to have filled her veins.

Within a short time Revin realizes that the entire village is involved in a conspiracy to keep her from finding out about the golden dragon that she learns is called the Sentinel.

Everyone directs her to the mysterious Maeveen, leader of the village, but Revin is unable to corner the woman to get her answers.

She begins to expect the worst when she learns of a ritual simply called The Gathering and that the villagers plan to celebrate something referred to as Time of the Burning. Revin wonders if they intend to kill the golden dragon as part of the ritual or if there is a more nefarious outcome where she is offered as a sacrifice to the dragon.

Amazon paperback & ebook.

Be sure to connect with 
Peter Cruikshank on all of his social networks (best way to get signed copies and news of the latest promotions):




Amazon paperback & ebook.
Amazon paperback & ebook.











Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven

http://WillowRaven.weebly.com


This post edited by Grammarly* ~ NOW FREE FOR CHROME USERS!

Grammarly.com
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven but posted as provided by author/publisher.

*All art and designs in this post were created by myself unless otherwise noted even if some images have been replaced with newer ones to keep post current with my portfolio.

Friday, September 29, 2017

THE BROKEN & THE FOOLISH ~ cover art & design for Sara Flower Kjeldsen (@Sara_Flower)

I'm especially excited to share my latest cover project and introduce you to a new favorite author/friend/client, Sara Flower Kjeldsen.

I enjoy working with many different genres, and historical fiction is especially fun (I think it's the period clothes that attract me). This cover and character was, even more, fun because it's a western with a strong female MC. Not a scantily clad, over-sexed woman needing rescue. This outlaw can kick ass all on her own!

Working for Sara was very rewarding, too. She sort of let me lose. I've found over the years, the covers that continue to garner the most attention in my folio, as well as, continue to receive awards and great reviews, are the projects the author didn't micro-manage and just let me do what I do and have fun doing it. I think people can always tell when an artist or author is having fun at what they are doing. What do you think? Can you tell?

Blurb:

Nineteen-year-old Mary has had enough of the saloon girl life. She kills an abusive client before stealing his horse and his coins. Fearing that her boss, Max, will pursue her, she leaves her hometown behind to travel the open road alone. 

She nearly loses her life several times as she encounters bullies, seasoned outlaws, and scoundrels. Longing for a reprieve from the outlawing life, she seeks refuge in The Ozarks. Finding both peace and danger while living in the beautiful wilderness, she realizes how much she misses her little sister, Becky. 

Mary seeks Becky out only to discover that something terrible has happened - she has been murdered by Max. 

Standing at the edge of a steep cliff, Mary vows to kill Max before killing herself. Battling depression as well as the violence that never stops chasing her, she finally reaches her hometown to face her sister's murderer. A past prostitute tells Mary that Max has set up shop in the Midwest's most wicked town, Dodge City. 

Mary's quest is interrupted when she meets Gabriel, a young farmer, while trespassing on his apple orchard. He is kinder than anyone she has ever met and he offers to be her guide on the journey to Kansas. She hesitantly agrees. They bond while traveling together across the state, but her thirst for vengeance cannot be quenched.


Be sure to connect with Sara Flower Kjeldsen on all her social networks (best way to get signed copies and news of the latest promotions):


Twitter






Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven

http://WillowRaven.weebly.com


This post edited by Grammarly* ~ NOW FREE FOR CHROME USERS!

Grammarly.com
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven but posted as provided by author/publisher.

*All art and designs in this post were created by myself unless otherwise noted even if some images have been replaced with newer ones to keep post current with my portfolio.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

LAST REAL COWBOY ~ cover design for Kathleen Gibbs (@Kathygauthor) and 4RV Publishing (@4RV)

As the art director for 4RV Publishing, I get to work on all of the books that go through the publishing process in one fashion or another. This time, I created the cover and formatted the interior block (the text).

Historical Fictions are especially fun for me. I'm not much of a historian, myself. Something in my brain shuts off the minute history is presented in a textbook format. But, when history is fed to me in a narrative form, my brain soaks it up. Plus, being an artist, the whole visual panorama was just too enticing. Who doesn't want to visit the wild west and go on a cattle drive?

Now for the blurb:

In 1871, Jonathan Calhoun lives an unfulfilled life working for his father’s magazine company in New York City and attending pretentious social events with his fiancรฉe. Longing for one thrilling adventure in his life before he settles down, he jumps at the job opportunity at the Cripple Creek Cattle Ranch in Armadillo Flats, Texas. He soon realizes this venture might be more than he expected as he changes from an “Easterner” into a real cowboy.

Will he survive the challenges of the change?


Available in hardcover and paperback. ISBN-13 hardcover: 978-1-940310-61-9 ISBN-13 paperback: 978-1-940310-60-2
Be sure to connect with Kathleen Gibbs on all her social networks (best way to get signed copies and news of the latest promotions):
Buy your copy direct from the publisher for big discounts!
Facebook Fan Page
LinkedIn








Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven

http://WillowRaven.weebly.com


This post edited by Grammarly* ~ NOW FREE FOR CHROME USERS!

Grammarly.com
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven but posted as provided by author/publisher.

*All art and designs in this post were created by myself unless otherwise noted even if some images have been replaced with newer ones to keep post current with my portfolio.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

D. Hart St. Martin (@hartstm) & I are teaming up on more Lisen of Solsta books.


When D. Hart St. Martin contacted me the other day about needing book covers for the next two books in the Lisen of Solsta series, I was super excited. There are also plans of revisiting book 4's cover to better connect the series visually (after I finish book 5's cover). I was also surprised to realize we've been working together since August 2013. Isn't it crazy how fast time passes?

Since I am working on the cover for book five right now (title to be revealed). I can't show it off just yet. But, I think it's the perfect opportunity to reintroduce the first four books so everyone has a chance to grab their copies and get caught up before book five's release. It should be fun scrolling down memory lane today. :)                                                                  

Blurb for Fractured: (book 1)

Seventeen-year-old Lisen Holt realizes her life is Fractured after a sorcerer abducts her from a California beach and brings her back home to Garla, a world where treating men and women differently is unthinkable. Lisen awakens at Solsta Haven. has returned Lisen’s body to its true form, human-like, but like all male and female Garlans, she possesses a pouch similar to Earth’s marsupials. Eloise then restores Lisen’s memory of her life in Garla, but her earthly existence will remain a substantial influence which, though left behind, will never be forgotten.

Although she is Lisen of Solsta now, questions haunt her which Eloise refuses to answer. Who left her at Solsta? Why did Eloise send her to Earth? And what is so important about Lisen that Eloise felt it necessary to manipulate so much of her life? The answers will propel Lisen into a quest for a throne, a quest that will threaten to fracture her soul, and all that will stand between her and her birthright will be her matricidal twin brother.




Blurb for Tainted: (book 2)

In Fractured, Lisen Holt, Valley girl, beach lover, learned she doesn’t belong on Earth. Re-adapting to Garla, the place of her birth, proved difficult, but the greater challenge was learning that she is the Heir-Empir and must confront her brother for the throne. Witnessing her only friend’s murder, defending her own life with forbidden power, and succumbing to possession by her friend’s soul left Lisen fractured, with little hope she’d ever recover. 

The story grows darker in Tainted with Lisen and her guardian companion, Korin, traveling to the great desert of Thristas. They hope to find safety in the anonymity of the barren wilderness, out of the range of Garlan spies. There, Lisen learns the ways of Thristas and its fierce people who view Garla’s Empir as a tyrant. In an effort to prove their sincerity, Lisen and Korin participate in the Farii, the spring fertility ritual which changes everything for Lisen. She returns to Garla with a brilliant but damning plan that she believes will ensure her victory against her brother.


Blurb for Blooded: (book 3)

Racked by guilt after committing an act of vengeance at the end of Tainted, Lisen steps reluctantly into her role as Empir Ariannas in Blooded. In order to face the resulting personal devastation alone, she must harden her soul. When Lisen is kidnapped, she and her captain reunite briefly. But Korin cannot bring himself to reveal the consequences of their moment of passion in the Farii to her, leaving Lisen blind to the truth as the two of them once again glance off one another unable to admit their feelings.

Will Korin relent and reveal the secret he’s hidden from her? Will Lisen learn how to forgive herself for her self-perceived sins? Will she discover in her friends a sense of the family support she once felt on Earth? Will she ever feel anything but alone again? Or will the nightmare of reality overwhelm her as the story concludes in this final volume? In a story that brings traitors to justice and two opposing lands to an inevitable confrontation, Blooded completes the Lisen of Solsta trilogy. {Or so we thought, ๐Ÿ˜‰}


Blurb for Protector of Thristas:
(book 4)

Fifteen years after the One-Day War, Lisen, now Empir Ariannas, has developed into a just and capable leader. Together, she and Korin have created a union of two souls based on respect, commitment and love, and their family has grown. In addition to Rinli, their daughter who made her first appearance in Blooded, two more children have joined the family, completing their complement of three complicated adolescents.

Now the sixteen-year-out Rinli prepares to take on the mantle of Protector of Thristas, a title destined for her in the treaty that ended the war. The Empirs of Garla have carried this title for hundreds of years, and Lisen anticipates changes once she hands this single title on to Rinli at the girl’s investiture. But the prophecy of Mantar’s Child, upon which Lisen and Korin depended in the treaty negotiations fifteen years earlier, refuses to remain but a convenient myth, and with the advent of the fulfillment of the prophecy, an epic begins. 

Although Protector of Thristas includes the familiar faces and settings of the young adult Lisen of Solsta trilogy, it begins a new adventure for an older and often wiser Lisen and her allies. Looking at their world through their matured eyes, the book takes on the heroic tragedy that the trilogy could only hint at. Return to Garla. Enter its mystical environs for a new encounter with Lisen and her world’s gender-free culture. The adventure awaits. 


Stay tuned here for the cover reveal of books five and six, and the redress of book four's cover. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Author bio:

D. Hart St. Martin lives in a small college community in Southern California. She is retired from “gainful” employment and now writes anything and everything she wants, including a fantasy series called Lisen of Solsta. She is owned by one cat, Calypso, who reminds her daily that she is common and of little use save for the food and treats she provides but who occasionally appreciates her abject humility in her supreme presence. 

For more information about Ms. St. Martin’s work and for updates and publication information, please visit Ms. St. Martin’s web site at dhartstmartin.weebly.com.

Be sure to connect with D. on all her social networks (best way to get signed copies and news of the latest promotions):








Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven

http://WillowRaven.weebly.com


This post edited by Grammarly* ~ NOW FREE FOR CHROME USERS!

Grammarly.com
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven but posted as provided by author/publisher.

*All art and designs in this post were created by myself unless otherwise noted even if some images have been replaced with newer ones to keep post current with my portfolio.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Author beware: 'Custom Cover Design' does not mean 'Original Cover Art'. {revisited}

Due to a question asked me on Twitter many times, I've refreshed and republished this post twice. The original article was also posted on the 4RV Publishing Blog.on 12/09/12. Most recent edit of this post: 08/03/17.




You've decided you want a unique book cover for your book but you don't want it to look like every other book on the shelf or web browser....

You hop on Twitter or Facebook and put some feelers out, searching for a cover artist or designer. You get dozens and dozens of responses, from both amateurs and professionals, regardless of whether you request a cover artist or a cover designer. How do you know you are going to get what you want and that it's unique?

A cover designer may or may not be trained for what you are looking for. On the flip side, a cover artist may not have any design skills.

First, before you put out those feelers and start interviewing artists, learning a few key terms and phrases will narrow your request which will help attract the right type of artist and aid in your decision.

This design utilized a legally-obtained
photo as the basis for the illustration.
1- cover designer

Designers are trained in typesetting, photo-manipulation, and formatting (among other fun stuff) often with a lean towards advertising and product packaging. Though not typical, some designers are skilled photographers and/or traditional artists (meaning the have drawing and/or painting skills). 

It's socially accepted among designers, once an image is altered it is a "new work," and by law, that is true. All it takes are three, distinct changes. Not all designers are ethical about what constitutes as "distinct" and how many changes they should make or where they grab their root images from, though. 

Designers also tend to include the commercial rights to the end product because, technically, they don't own the original elements that created the product anyway. They are essentially just transferring the license they hopefully paid for in the beginning.

Manipulated parts of stock photos could potentially be used on another book cover or product. If you want something more original, tell the cover designer not to use stock imagery, or you need to verify the designer is skilled enough to make the manipulated image look original. Manipulation that creates originality ensures making the image both legal and unique. 



2- cover artist

In years past, publishers hired a cover artist to do the visual aspect of the artwork and a cover designer to do the typesetting and formatting (putting it all together).

In today's tough job market, more and more designers are adopting the task of providing the cover image as well as the cover design, all under one job.

A majority of publishers have found it more cost-effective to have their in-house designers provide the visual rather than outsource the art to a cover artist. Publishers only commission an artist if their design team doesn't have the desired look or skill set.

On that same note, more and more illustrators or cover artists are tackling the job of cover design as a means of ensuring their own marketability by adding a skill set. It's good to note, cover artists tend to retain the copyright of the artwork, only transferring commercial rights for use on or in the product in which the art was created for (in this case the book). Artists sometimes offer extended or full rights for a higher price, but this should never be expected.

It is prudent to verify, before trusting your book to anyone, that the person you hire is trained and skilled to do what you want for your cover. After all, your cover will be your primary, strongest marketing tool and should work toward your book's success.


This design utilized artwork legally-obtained 
by the artist as the central element of the design.

3- custom vs original

Many designers and websites that boast cheap 'custom' cover designs or art can be misleading. Again, let's look at the laws regarding art.

By law, if an image (art or design), is altered in three ways, it is a "new work." If an artist or designer manipulates two or more images by combining a figure from one and changing the color of something from another, then adding an element from a third, all they have to do is add text. Voila! By law, that is a "custom cover." That may be acceptable to you, and that is OK.

Designs like this tend to be a cost-effective way to dress a book. However, many authors want a more detailed, story-relevant cover, that does not include mixing existing stock imagery. If you are in that group, be sure to hire someone who ensures the art is original, not simply custom. You'll likely pay more, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.


How does one recognize the difference between cover art and cover design when looking through portfolios?

A book's cover artwork should be able to stand alone and still tell a story, related more closely to an illustration (a term usually reserved for interior images). A design, though it may look amazing and fit with the title and cover text, if presented alone, it would just be a great visual. The only way the image makes sense is if accompanied by the text.

Does the portfolio show heavy use of photographs? If so, were they taken by the designer or a hired photographer? Or are they stock? Most importantly, make sure they were not just grabbed from an internet search or someone's Instagram or Flickr account.

Or, if you are looking for artwork, does the artist also do the design aspect of the cover (title treatment, bylines, etc)? Or will you need to hire a separate person to prep the file for print? If the person does do their own design work, how well do their designs complement the artworks?

These are all questions that should be asked and answered before money changes hands. Make sure all is in writing, whether it's email or chat window (where a copy can be retained). Phone agreements are not legally binding and also don't provide a record to refer back to later.


If anybody has questions as to what is considered original vs custom, or the difference between cover design & cover art, please leave a comment or contact me via the links in my signature below.

*All art and designs in this post were created by myself unless otherwise noted even if some images have been replaced with newer ones to keep post current with my portfolio.






Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven

http://WillowRaven.weebly.com


This post edited by Grammarly* ~ NOW FREE FOR CHROME USERS!

Grammarly.com
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven but posted as provided by author/publisher.