Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What Is in a Cover #IWSG | Bookworm News #SpecFic

The Insecure Writer's Support Group was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. February's co-hosts are Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy, and Joylene Butler. Please visit the other participants!
Cover art has been an on-going insecurity I've had, but I must admit my anxiety over finding cover art for The Fate Challenges series has increased over the past month.

For Reborn, I hired an artist, Laura Sava, to illustrate the cover. I enjoyed working with Laura, but her business has grown and she's no longer taking commissions for cover art. Plus, I must admit I can't afford illustrated cover art for four more books (five, if I count a new cover for Reborn).

So I'm stuck with digital art, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Digital artists are like magicians. Taking a picture here, another picture there, and creating something altogether new. But The Fate Challenges is epic fantasy, geared toward young adults, and set in an alternate world similar to ancient Rome. Yssa wears some specific dresses too, which would be near impossible to find without a seamstress/fashion designer to create them. I can't afford photo shoots either. So I'm left with either symbols or finding a model, who is more symbolic of the Phoenix Prophetess.

What if what I imagine the covers to be doesn't exist? That's my biggest concern I'm addressing this month as I plan to scour photo sites to see what's out there. Wish me luck!

For epic fantasy, do you prefer cover art with symbolic images or ones with a person/people on it?

What's your insecurity this month?

February's question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? When I first started writing, I noticed I was often pulled from the story because of the simplest things. It's the whole peek behind the curtain thing, I suppose. You see what it takes to make a story, so when you read a story, you see more than the casual reader would. Through the years, I've found it to happen less and less as I've realized a lot of those nitpick things don't really matter as far as story goes. If I'm not enjoying the story, then I stop reading, which isn't something I would have done before I became a writer.

One thing that will still throw me out of a story, though, is bad formatting. With all the information out there on how to format an ebook as well as software (Jutoh, Vellum, Scrivener, etc.) to help a person as well as people who format books for a living, there's really no reason for badly formatted ebooks.

I did accomplish my January goals, although I'm two chapters behind where I'd hoped to be in A Soul to Keep.

The Fate Challenges edits/read-through/notes are going well. Determined, a bonus woodwose section set between chapters 24 and 25 in Reborn, is with my second critique partner. I'm on Part III in Reborn for edits/read-through/notes, and I should tackle Marked, a novella told from Liam's POV and set between the last chapter of Reborn and the first two chapters of Forged, this month. At the rate I'm going, I'm looking at publishing the second edition of Reborn as well as Determined (on my website only) and Marked in April. Of course, those plans depend on obtaining a cover artist in March. I also plan, for now, to publish only ebooks. Print books are harder to change after publication and the cover art usually costs more. I do plan for Reborn, Forged, and Destined to be in print, but I'll likely not publish the print versions until after Destined is published.

My February goals include:
- Continue writing A Soul to Keep. I'd love to finish this novel by the end of this month.
- Continue editing/notes of The Fate Challenges series. I will finish Reborn this month and likely get through another edit of Marked.
- Peruse photo sites for potential cover art for The Fate Challenges.
- Edit "The Folding Point," a short story which will be published in Untethered Realms' Spirits in the Water anthology.
- Continue helping my critique partner with her nine-part novella series.

What are your goals for February?

2017 Stats: 27,341 words written and 120,865 words edited

BOOKS READ
Deep Current by Christine Rains
Unreal Encounters by Milo James Fowler

BOOK REVIEWS
Deep Current by Christine Rains
Saskia Dorn longs for a good fight to take her mind off her grief and not having found a totem token yet, but what she had in mind didn't have anything to do with a sea hag asking for the impossible in Christine Rains' Deep Current. This novella is the sixth book in the amazing Totem series. Saskia still brings the snark, but the story delves deeper into who Saskia is and what she fears. While the fast-paced action keeps the story moving, I found the emotional side of the story to be where the real meat is. I love how Rains introduces readers to Inuit mythology, particularly the Salmon People. Deep Current by Christine Rains sets up what will likely be a hard and emotional fight for the totem tokens in the next three Totem books. I highly recommend this series!

Unreal Encounters by Milo James Fowler
Unreal Encounters by Milo James Fowler has packed in a lot of great science fiction, horror, and the occasional humor in these forty short stories. This collection is perfect to read while on a lunch break or while exercising on a treadmill or elliptical. I enjoyed most of the stories, although there were at least two where I was a bit confused character-wise who was telling the story. Some of my favorite stories involved the Grey men. They had a very X-Files feel to them. The story with the man trapped in the hotel room also has stuck with me as well as the child cannibal. If you combined The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits with a dash of The X-Files, then you'll have Milo James Fowler's Unreal Encounters.

#SPECFIC BOOKS RELEASING IN FEBRUARY
The Remnant by William Michael Davidson
Gilded Cage by Vic James
Deep Current by Christine Rains
The Blue Moon Narthex by N.J. Donner
Something like Voodoo by Rebecca Hamilton
A Sigil in the Ash by Clara Coulson
Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron
Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake
With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Wolf Moon by Lisa Kessler
His Fake Alien Fiancée by Patricia Eimer
The Black Blade by Jeff Chapman
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza