"" Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_8339780_put-emoticons-blogger.html WillowRaven Illustration & Design Plus: January 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

4RV Publishing's, 'Experiment 38', by Charles Suddeth, is at the printers!

Experiment 38 has been sent to the printers. While waiting for it to be available in the 4RV Bookstore, and other online retailers, I thought you might like to see the cover and read the blurb. :D

Eighteen-year-old Emily, small for her age, lives alone with her scientist-father and learns too late that he holds a terrible secret, one that might destroy her life.

As she and her boyfriend, Nate, try to unravel the mystery behind her father’s secret, they face danger and uncertainty.

Be sure to keep an eye out in the 4RV Bookstore, and subscribe to 4RV's Newsletter, for availability updates. 

If you prefect social networks to follow ...

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


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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Return to Dune Towers" writing challenge - submission by Sara Marschand (@sadieros)

I was rather excited to receive a Twitter message from Sara Marshand stating she'd written a short for my Return to Dune Towers visual writing prompt challenge. She even challenged me to come up with a mythological theme prompt. I'll have to give that some thought. :D

Return to Dune Towers

Aletha disliked her role as a bargaining chip, but she hated the desert and every shifting grain of sand in it more. She skimmed back over the dry, cracked path to Dune Towers more frustrated than when she left. She had gone to the top of the sole rock formation in the sea of rolling sand dunes to escape confining walls and relax. Her posture, firm and tall, helped maintain her balance on the skimming disk.

She approached the desert gate, reluctant to return to her gilded cage, but she could see Prince Breen’s copter on approach to the city. Aletha knew the Prince would call upon her when he landed. She needed to move a bit faster, even though he was the last person she wanted to see, a reminder of the life lost to her. Aletha wanted to shake off all the sand before another one of their discussions. She belonged to Prince Breen, not precisely as a slave or a love interest, although he hinted at more intimacy.

Breen kept her comfortable per the terms of the agreement with her father. Aletha had all the finery she could desire—precious metals, gems, and fine silks. Her chambers were plush and comfortable, the largest quarters available. None of that mattered to her because she could not leave the godforsaken desert. She missed the grassy plains of her home, and if Aletha’s father were less a fool, gambling away the kingdom, she would be riding a horse through a meadow right now.

Cool air met naked arms as sand scrubbers blew sand off Aletha when she passed through the desert gate’s blowers. Sand was insidious stuff, even with the scrubbers it ended up everywhere. She found it in her hair, her shoes, and even her bed.

The guards at the inner door greeted her with stern faces.

“Princess Aletha,” the senior guard said. “Thomas, you may escort the princess to her quarters.”

“That isn’t necessary,” Aletha said

“It is required, Mistress. New orders.” The sentry stepped to her side.

Aletha rankled at new restrictions and tried to ignore the man following her. She wound her way through the central city markets where the air smelled of spiced meats and haggling voices filled her ears. She wished shopping held appeal, but she only needed to ask and the Dune Prince would give her anything.

He courted her and she hated him as much as the desert—possibly more. She bit back anger and proceeded to the base of her tower and up the lift to her quarters. Aletha had closed her door for a moment when she heard his precise knocks. He was patient, but she did not want to test him today. If his negotiations went poorly, his mood would be foul and only worsen with her slowness. She turned to open the door.

“Prince Breen.”

“Princess Aletha,” he said, mirroring her formality. His dark eyes searched her face for something, but she knew not what. “May I come in?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Of course you do, but, alas, it will likely be ignored.” He stepped in and his guard closed the door behind them. This was a familiar dance now.

Prince Breen was dressed in formal robes, unchanged from the negotiations with her father.

“Fine. Sit down. Tell me of my family.”

The prince seated himself on a plush red sofa and leaned back with one leg resting on the other knee. Aletha stared down at him, lips tight and thin. For a moment, her eyes lingered on his broad shoulders.

“They are well. Your father sends his regrets.”

“My father is a fool.”

“On this we agree. He still thinks he can pay back the money he owes me. It seems you will be my guest a little longer.”

“I am not collateral!”

“You were offered as an assurance the money would be repaid. Sounds like collateral to me.”

“Then kill me. Take my father’s kingdom. Release me from this bond.” Aletha pleaded, but Breen never listened.

He stood up and reached for her cheek.

“You have another option. All debt will be forgiven—your father’s kingdom restored.”

Aletha flinched from his touch, but the days of captivity made her less uncomfortable and she mostly did it for show now. “No.”

“You should figure out who deserves your ire more. Do you really want to go home to be gambled away again?”

“No,” she said, her voice quiet, resistance beginning to fade as she thought over his words. “Will you ever release me?”

“No. I’ve grown too fond of our conversations.”

Aletha laughed with all the mockery left in her arsenal.  Breen reached for her hand to kiss. “Think on it. Life here can be very pleasant.” He turned to leave. Aletha felt her last bit of resistance melt, but she let him go. She tired of being angry and bitter, but she was not ready to accept him. Yet.


Want to take the challenge, too? Write a short for this artwork, and I'll post it with links to your website and/or network profiles. 

Visual writing prompt: http://willowraven.weebly.com/return-to-dune-towers.html Write a short for this & I'll post it w link to you :-D

Be sure to connect with Sara Marschand on Twitter or on her blog, Musings From the Mothership.

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


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

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ever * REALLY * think about what your book cover is for?

Like many of my blog posts, this post was inspired by a conversation I recently had on Twitter.

I work as a cover artist and designer on both sides of the publishing spectrum (traditional & indie publishing), and no matter your side of the publishing rainbow, one question affects both sides ... What to do about a cover? 

Maybe if we ask and answer this question first, it won't be such a mystery ... What is a book cover's job?

The 's job? To stand out among books in its genre, while being clear what genre it is, to compel one to read the blurb.

on Twitter says "I've often said books need to be like the popular kids in high school -- stand out while still fitting in. :)" ***

Yes, everyone has their own sense of aesthetic and that no cover will attract every reader. I also know numbers don't lie. Market research shows that 70% of all book sales have the cover to thank. Knowing this, it's no wonder traditional publishers, as well as indie authors, think a great deal about a book's cover.

However, the big boys can afford to think outside the box, so to speak. It's popular right now to hire a designer who doesn't illustrate the story but just creates a great design. The Twilight series is great examples of this. Beautiful designs. But if you didn't know what the book was about, would any of these covers tell you they are books you want to read? Is the series in your favorite genre?

Of course, you know it is. Why? Because the publisher threw an insane amount of money into paying big-time reviewers, paid book retailers to spotlight them, and an obscene amount of press. But it wasn't the cover that told you. There is absolutely nothing about vampires or activities in the book to explain the elements on the covers.

So what's my advice to authors who want to mimic abstract, best-seller designs?

Just any great design doesn't necessarily work for both traditionally published books and Indie books, alike. Indie authors, even traditionally publishing small-medium house authors, don't have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in book tours, marketing campaigns, and publicity. What they can manage is a professional cover artist and/or designer to create marketing aids (banners, website, etc) and a really good book cover, a good professional edit, plus as much free social networking they can squeeze into whatever free time they may have.

This means going abstract with the biggest, most important marketing tool you have, is a REALLY BAD IDEA.

I've chosen to feature Blood & Steel and Dark Dining (two of my own cover creations) to help make a point. The color schemes and genres are the same as Twilight's. You can hire an artist to follow the minimalist, black-cover trend, and still visually provide a hint as to genre and plot.

Make sure your artist knows what you like and your genre. It doesn't hurt if they also have some marketing experience. Make sure the cover scene or design exemplifies not only the genre but the book. Tell readers at a glance, "Hey! You REALLY want to read the blurb for this book."

After that, the decision to buy is out of the cover's hands and up to the blurb to sell it. Tag! You're it!

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


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