KenTen Writers Retreat

This week I’m attending the KenTen Writers Retreat at Paris Landing State Park. This is a fun loving group of gals that I retreated with last year. I’m glad that they let the non-writing cover designer hang with them. I enjoy learning about their writing process. It gives me a greater appreciation for the effort they put into their books. I can understand better when creating their cover, just how important their “baby” is to them.

This year, the retreated was expanded and opened up to writers outside the KenTen group. We have authors in attendance from Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. I think all the authors write “clean” fiction, if not Christian. It’s great to be among people creating uplifting and encouraging novels and short stories. I’m proud to call them friends.

Here’s a few photo’s from last night’s meet & greet.

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I also got to meet several of the authors that I have created covers for. I’ll be highlighting them as our week continues. First up, was Jaqueline Wheelock. I have been working on a cover for Jaqueline’s second book, In Search of an Emerald. She is a sweet lady from Mississippi and so easy to work with. I’m honored to be creating her cover. I’ll probably release it next week after we make the last few touch ups on it.IMGP1552

Sorry the photos may be taking a moment or two to load. I didn’t resize them smaller since I’m on the road.

Have a wonderful day. I know I will!

Book Cover Release – Aimee

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Another book cover has been finished! This has been a fun cover to work on. Aimee is by author and editor, Pam Harris. Pam has published two preteen mystery novels that I had the privilege of creating covers for. Now, I’m proud to say that I created the cover on her historical romance.

Pam sent me some photos she had taken of the log schoolhouse that anchors the setting for her story. I’ll be honest – I’m not always happy when someone sends me photos. Mostly because sometimes the quality is just too low to work with on a book cover. But Pam’s photo was great, except for the big yellow park sign plastered on the front of the school house. LOL! Oh well, that’s what Photoshop if for, right?!!

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Have I peaked your interest yet? Here’s a blurb about this book which will release in the next few weeks from Mantle Rock Publishing.

Aimee Winters has made the bravest decision of her life. Left alone and homeless, she has accepted her father’s offer to stay with him in the Arizona territory and teach at the local school. The problem is she has no memory of her father, having been raised by her mother and taught that her father died when she was a baby. Hungry to know the truth of her past, she leaves Memphis behind and journeys alone to the mountainous region where she faces challenges she never could have anticipated. The rugged living conditions and the isolation of the community are almost more than she can bear, but she is determined to prove she can do things “the Arizona way.” It doesn’t help that the handsome rancher, Levi Raines, seems to take a special delight in pointing out her weaknesses. It isn’t long, however, until her heart is woven into the lives of her students, their families, and especially Levi. As their relationship grows, the shadow of their very different backgrounds and goals is ever present. Can they find common ground?

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While you’re waiting, check out Pam’s other two books, The Ghosts of Graceland and Music City Mayhem, both available on Amazon.

 

Throw Back Thursday

From time to time I like to feature some book covers that I created previously. Like looking back through a photo album or visiting old friends, it gives me joy to see them. Today I’m going to share two covers that I have shared before.

Irish Encounter - FCFrom 2015, Irish Encounter was one of my first covers without a person on it. The main character in this contemporary romance is a “mature” woman as opposed to the sexy sirens that sometimes grace covers in this genre. Finding a suitable image for this character became impossible – too old, too young, too grey, too bland, too grandmotherly, and the list went on. When I finally gave up the idea of finding the character, I started moving toward what made this romance come together. It centered around a trip to Ireland and a few conversations in a tea shop. So began this wonderful blending of the two images that became one of my favorite covers.

Irish Encounter by Hope Tyler Dougherty is available on Amazon. You can see an earlier blog post here as well. Hope will be release a new book this fall with Mantle Rock Publishing titled Rescued Hearts. Be sure to look for more information concerning that book very soon!

 

Book Cover Release – The Copper Box

FC-The-Copper-Box-Final-smallerI had a wonderful time working with Suzanne Bratcher on the cover of her cozy mystery, The Copper Box. The Copper Box is a contemporary suspense set in the ghost town of Jerome, Arizona. Suzanne had great ideas for images for her cover which made my job a breeze. Blending the image of her main character with the copper mining scene hopefully created an intriguing cover that will entice readers to open the pages. Here’s a snippet for you to consider.

Jerome, Arizona: the largest ghost town in America

Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw comes to Jerome to face the horror that haunts her dreams: Did she kill her little sister twenty-two years ago?

Historian Paul Russell is in Jerome to face his own horror: Was the car crash that killed his wife his fault?

Their lives become intertwined when an old lady dies on a long staircase in a vintage Victorian house. As Marty and Paul search the house for a small copper box Marty believes will unlock the mystery, accidents begin to happen.

Someone else wants the copper box—someone willing to commit murder to get it. As Marty and Paul face the shadows in the house and in their lives, they must learn to put the past behind them and run the race God is calling them to.

The Copper Box is currently on ebook pre-order and will release on June 6th on Amazon.

Book Cover Release – The Right Choice

We live in a politically charged era. I tend to sometimes think that these are the worst times ever to have to live through in terms of politics and government. But I truly know that they aren’t. Our government has endured many difficult times from the Revolutionary War when our nation took it’s first steps, to the battlefields of Shiloh and Gettysburg, to the marches for civil rights, and on we go. Along this nation’s history other battles have risen, the women’s right to vote among them.

I was honored when Sandra Robbins asked me to make a cover for her book, The Right Choice. Some covers are a labor of love and this one stand among those. Here is a teaser.

The Right ChoiceIt’s 1916, and the seventy-five-year struggle for women to gain the right to vote has escalated. Sarah Jordan, a young woman who embraces the cause, is determined to lend her voice to the growing dissent across the country. However, there is a choice to be made. Alex Taylor, the young lawyer she’s in love with, works in a firm that opposes women gaining the vote, and he claims Sarah’s political beliefs threaten his career.

Heartbroken, Sarah turns her back on Alex and begins a journey that will take her from everything she’s ever known to Washington, D.C., to join the pickets at the White House and on to the infamous Occoquan Workhouse as a prisoner. When she becomes a victim of the ‘Night of Terror’, Alex discovers she is near death and rushes to Washington to the save the life of the woman he’s always loved. Together they must make the right choice—one that will affect not only their lives but also those of generations of women yet to be born.

Keep checking back for details about the release of The Right Choice by Sandra Robbins.

Finally Friday!

Do you ever have those weeks where you can’t wait to get the week over with? I’ve had one of those weeks and I’m glad to get to the end of it. Our church family lost a young mother in a car wreck on Monday, there has been news of cancer devastating another friend’s family, and the regular who’s who’s list of sick and hurting family and friends. It’s been a week of prayer and trusting in One greater than me.

So, as I made my to-do list for the weekend, it’s looking pretty busy too! Each year I construct neckercheifs for a special Eagle banquet for all the young men in middle Tennessee who attained that rank in the previous year. This year I’m cranking out 200 said items, and as always, I’m behind. My deadline is looming and my sewing machine is humming. And since all this work transpires in my bonus room, it brings new meaning to the phrase “sweat shop” since our A/C unit barely cools that room and as we learned in school, heat rises.

The book design projects are mounting up too! I’m putting the finishing touches on two covers and formatting 2 books and ebooks. Regina Merrick’s book, Carolina Dream release in a few days from Mantle Rock Publishing. I’m so excited for Regina. She is one of the authors that I have met face to face and she’s a lovely person, inside and out! This is her first published novel, I think, and she has endured the process like a seasoned pro.

March came in like a lamb in Tennessee weather-wise. However, it has been roaring like a lion these last few weeks. Storms have blown through twice this week, luckily without any damage to us. But as this troubling week ends, I’m mindful of those that lost property in the tornadoes and harsh winds. I’m hoping their days are blessed with friends and happiness to help them on their journey. And, I wish the same for you too!

 

TBT – The Ghosts of Graceland


Can you believe it? It has been two years since The Ghosts of Graceland was published. It seems like just yesterday that I was conjuring up a ghost to grace the cover of this book. Not to mention, creating an interesting cover depicting the home of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley himself. This was one of the early book covers that I created. I was still super anxious about this new venture of design that I had landed myself in. . . And sometimes, I’m still anxious even now. But it has been a blast! Thank you to Pam Harris for believing in me and allowing me to do this wonderful cover for her.


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(originally posted 04.25.2015)

The Ghosts of Graceland by Pam Harris matches the curiosity of a young girl with the mysterious mansion of the King of Rock and Roll. This young adult novel is filled with many secrets to be unraveled while Mandi stays with her great aunt during the summer.

For this book, the author wanted a simple layout that would appeal to both boys and girls. She had obtained permission to use and image of Graceland on the cover so we did by transforming it into a drawing. The ghostly image added intrigue and was balanced out by some music doodling.

The Ghosts of Graceland is available on Amazon.

Update!

Music City Mayhem

Music City Mayhem, the second book in the “Mandi Mystery” series, is also now available, Check it out here on Amazon.

Chickadee take two, Smoky Mountain Rise

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I’ve been working on a couple of new paintings. The one above is “Chickadee with a Pine Cone.” Real original name, I know. This was a personal project. I really enjoyed painting the original chickadee for my art class. I wanted to push myself and I knew this pine cone would push me in new ways. I found my reference photo on a website called Paint My Photo – pmp-art.com taken by Rodney Campbell. You can see the reference photo here. This is a popular photo but I still wanted to test my skills. I wanted to see if I could control my strokes in two areas, the feathers and the pine needles. I wanted the feather strokes to look less uniform and I wanted the pine needles to look more like the needles and not flicks of a paint brush. I’m pleased with the outcome in both areas. The pine cone was the most intense painting I’ve done in a while. It took careful attention to the shadows to make the detail pop like I wanted it to. In the end, I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort! (7×9;Painted on 140# cold press watercolor paper with Windsor Newton and Cotman Watercolors and a tiny bit of opaque white watercolor.)

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The painting above is titled “Smoky Mountain Rise”. I have wanted for some time to paint a piece honoring those who lost so much during the wildfires in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. I grew up just north of this area, in the foothills of mountains that make up the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. When I first started painting, the Smoky Mountains were some of the first landscapes I attempted to paint. The wash of paint seems like such a simple thing to accomplish but in the end, it’s much harder to get it perfectly like I would like for it to be. This is my 2nd painting of this subject and I may try it one more time to fix a few things that I would have liked to have done differently. But overall, I’m pleased with this one too! (9×12; Painted on 140# cold press watercolor paper with Windsor Newton and Cotman Watercolors)

 

Rewind, Reset, Revive!

It’s Friday! Friday is my day off and I look forward to it as my time to rewind, reset and revive. Usually that involves laundry and housecleaning, but not today. Today I have 2 college kiddos lazing around searching for coffee and pancakes while piling up in pjs and doing the last of their spring break homework. It’s a wonderful change of pace that I must admit the empty-nesting mom in me relishes beyond belief. Add to all this wonderfulness, the pitter patter of rain on my skylight and I’m most content today.

Rewinding brings me to a book launch. A couple of months ago I released the book cover for Don’t Ask Me to Leave by Micki Clark. Micki’s book hit Amazon this week and is now officially on the open sales market. Here’s a little snippet about her story. Hope you’ll look into it on Amazon.

dont-ask-3dNewlywed Rachel Miller has everything she could want from life—the perfect husband, her dream job, and a cute little house in the country—but the daydream is shattered when her husband is killed in a tragic accident. Her mother-in-law, Nadine, takes her in as she tries to pick up the pieces, and their handsome neighbor Beau is willing to help…if Rachel will let him. Does she dare open her heart for a second chance at love?

Don’t Ask Me to Leave is a modern-day adaptation of the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi.

Reset brings me to artwork. I’m working up some new projects to share with my watercolor class which start next week. I’m exploring YouTube videos and testing out techniques. I’ve almost settled on one for the first class but I want to make a sample painting this weekend. I’m looking forward to letting it all come together with a little paint and paper. I’ve also been mulling over a new Bible Journaling project. I’ve had several scriptures on my heart this week and one of them might make it into my journaling Bible.

Revive! Spring and allergies usher in the revival of all growing things. I’m thankful for the rain today because it will wash away some of the pollen that has been plaguing our family. I know that it only makes way for new pollen tomorrow. But today, I will enjoy the rain.

 

 

 

Book Cover Release – Under This Same Sky

Just a quick note announcing the book cover for Under This Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer. Historical fiction is a genre that stretches my skills every time I have to create a cover. Artwork in this theme is overused due to a lack of quality photos. But this one came out beautifully! Look forward to seeing this book on presale ordering next month from Mantle Rock Publishing.

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It’s been super busy around our house this past week. I spent two days at home with an HVAC repairman. While two days at home during the week would normally be a good thing, I was not able to get a lot done. If I would go upstairs to our bonus room where my computer is, he would come in with a question about something. I eventually made a loaf of banana bread and sat down in front of Netflix. I did show some restraint. I didn’t eat the whole loaf during the two days…

This week has been better. Savannah is on college spring break and will be home Wednesday with her friend Elle. No telling what we will get into this weekend but I’m sure it will be fun!