"" Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_8339780_put-emoticons-blogger.html WillowRaven Illustration & Design Plus: July 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

SHADOW TWIN (a BLACK DOG novel) ~ book cover art & design for Rachel Neumeier (@RachelNeumeier)

(Easier to read blurb below.)

Rachel Neumeier & I have hit a milestone. We've worked on FIVE books together. I only have one other author ahead of her by one book (hint to Rachel* Are you going to take that lying down? Let's get started on the next project before he does, lol.)

When I first started working with Rachel, she commissioned me to create the cover for a collection of short stories that take place in her Black Dog world, introduced to her readers in her first book, Black Dog, which was still under contract with the original publisher. We wouldn't be able re-do that cover until the contract ran its course.

We planned out which of the four stories she wanted to me to represent on the cover. Library Work (here on the left) was the story we decided to visualize for Black Dog Short Stories (only available in ebook) The collection was gathered as a compliment to the printed novels of the series. That's how our friendship started. 

Right on the heels of Black Dog Short Stories, I started work on Pure Magic, the second full novel in the series and the first time we get to see my visualization of Rachel's 'black dog'. 

Technically, there was another book cover project after Pure Magic. It was for a book unrelated to the Black Dog series. And even though that project was completed, a publisher ended up wanting that manuscript and they put their own cover on it. So for now, we're either holding on to that cover for use when her contract expires or, there was mention of maybe using it for a novella related to that novel. Sort of a spin-off. We'll see.

Since we can't officially count that other project, the next time we teamed up was for the second collection of short stories that take place in the Black Dog world. This time, though, the plan was to present the cover on two variations/formats of the book. Unlike with the first collection, where there wasn't really enough to warrant a print version, with this second collection added to the first, there was now enough to publish in both print and ebook formats. So two variations of the same cover were created. One for print (Black Dog Short Stories I & II), as a compilation of all eight short stories, and one for the second collection of shorts as an e-book (Black Dog Short Stories II).

Sometime after Pure Magic, we discovered the rights to Black Dog were back in Rachel's hands, so we re-dressed Black Dog so the series would look more consistent aside the other books. 

And finally, we come back to Rachel's latest project and the third novel in the Black Dog series, Shadow Twin

Believe it or not, I think this cover was more challenging than all of the others. Not because there were more elements, but because there were fewer. Plus, the scene depended heavily on mood rather than action or narrative. Effectively lighting a dark setting and still be able to see the key elements can be tricky. So, without further teasing, here's the blurb for Shadow Twin.

After everything she's seen, Natividad was sure Ezekiel could take care of himself. Under any circumstances. Against any enemy. Whether he was temporarily exiled from Dimilioc or not. Then the link between them, forged when she absorbed a trace of Ezekiel's shadow, makes it clear she was wrong.

She knows Ezekiel isn't dead. She knows he must have met an enemy he couldn't defeat alone. And she knows she has to rescue him, no matter the cost.

* * *

Miguel's brother is a black dog and his sister is Pure, but Miguel himself is only human. That has its downsides for anyone living among the Dimilioc wolves, but at least an ordinary human has a chance to think problems through, his mind unclouded by black dog rage.

But when Miguel and Natividad and the wolves of Dimilioc have no choice but to walk into a trap, even human ingenuity may not be able to get them out again...

For more information on this series or any of Rachel Neumeier's books, connect with her online:

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


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

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017


I work with a lot of new and not-so-new writers, and I hear about all sorts of tools and sites they find helpful all of the time. Here are a few I hear are really helpful. And even though I'm not a writer myself, I find them useful, too. (When one works with writers, one should try not to look too illiterate, lol.)

I know as an artist, ideas and inspiration strike when they want where they want. Not always when we are at the desk or drawing table. The LiveScribe 3 smartpen uses Bluetooth technology to send your sketches and ideas to your smartphone or tablet. When combined with the LiveScribe notebooks they create a special pattern on the paper and record your pen strokes. And to go a step cooler ... the pen also takes dictation!!! The pen records audio with a built-in microphone. (I wish I had this when I was in college.) Check it out ...

Grammarly is used by my whole family. For me, it helps me think more about what I'm writing than worrying about looking illiterate. Grammarly can be used as a free extension for Chrome, Safari, or Firefox web browsers (I use it for every blog post), or the online text editor. Grammarly Premium, a paid service, checks for a broader range of errors, detects plagiarism, detecting passive voice, and offers style and vocabulary enhancements.

In today's market, we all have to self-promote to some extent, even authors and artists with big-time agents and houses. But unless you went to business school for marketing, you're likely to feel lost as to how to write good content. Even authors can find it a challenge because content writing is not the same as novel or story writing. Content helps with organization, ideas, and more. Though they were designed with big companies in mind, there is a lot of benefit for the little-guy, too.

4 Twords
'Twords is the web app that nudges you to write.'  Track your writing: Build a graph of your writing progress and identify your best days over time. Learn stuff: Practice styles, techniques, and tone with writing prompts. Get support. Help your friends reach their writing goals as they encourage you to finish yours. At the very least, try the free trial. 😀
Another software syncing tool that helps us creator-types ......take advantage of when inspiration strikes anywhere. Evernote lets you capture, nurture, and share your ideas across any device. Organize your life, be more productive, and take better notes.

So what ya waiting on? Got to finishing that book so I can do the rest :D

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


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


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

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A FAMILY FOR LEONA by Beverly Stowe McClure (@beverlymcclure) takes GOLD in the 2017 Children's Literary Classics Book Awards

I just got the exciting news and had to talk about it and show off the book and cover, again.  A Family for Leona is a middle-grade historical fiction novel all ages will love. And it's taken the GOLD!!!

Excerpt from the awards site:

The 2017 Literary Classics International Book Award recipients have been announced. Selected from submissions by entrants around the globe, these distinguished honorees are recognized for their contributions to the craft of writing, illustrating, and publishing exceptional literature for a youth audience. In this highly competitive industry these books represent the foremost in literature in their respective categories.

The competition this year was tremendous and we congratulate all honorees for their outstanding and inspiring work.  All Silver, Gold and Top Honors award recipients will be invited to attend a writers’ conference, awards ceremony, formal gala, and other related events in Rapid City, South Dakota, to be held in conjunction with the Great American Book Festival, Labor Day Weekend, 2017.


A Family for Leona  
Beverly Stowe McClure
4RV Publishing LLC

The Literary Classics judging committee is comprised of experts with backgrounds in publishing, writing, editing, design, illustration, and book reviewing.

Available in both paperback and hardcover, A Family for Leona is a true Beverly Stowe McClure tale, it runs the gamut of emotions while exploring an amazing story.

Blurb for A Family for Leona ...

Ten-year-old Leona Chapter doesn’t understand why her papa left his six children at the Brooklyn Home for Homeless Children after their mother’s death in 1921. Each day she prays he’ll return and take his children home. God, however, isn’t listening. Her brothers and sisters are either adopted or run away, leaving only Leona and Baby Mildred in the orphanage. Leona promises she and Mildred will be together for always. A promise she cannot keep, for Leona, along with her friend Noah, who she defends from the bullies Hiram and Jehu, and several other orphans, are soon on a train headed to Texas, while her sister stays at the orphanage. Leona vows she’ll go back to Brooklyn, the first chance she gets.

A couple other 4RV books Beverly has written have won Children's Literary Classics Awards, too: Life on Hold (Silver in 2013) and Star of the Team (Gold in 2015).

Needless to say, I love working with Beverly and her characters. I can't wait to see what we are doing next. 

Be sure to visit the 4RV Publishing website and bookstore (in the tweens & teens section) for your discounted copy today. Also available on Amazon at a slightly higher retail price. (Bulk and wholesale orders must be made through 4RV directly.) The full collection of Beverly Stowe McClures works with 4RV Publishing ...

4RV books Aidana WillowRaven created the covers for.

To connect online with Beverly and learn about her other books:

Twitter       Website       Google+       Facebook       Blogger

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


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

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