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!

Sing!

Last week was a whirlwind for me. It started out with an office purge on Monday. My office at the church seems to be a collection of whatever comes into the church without a home to go to. I found bean bags, dead batteries, electrical wire and an outlet. Yesterday, upon my arrival to my office I found telephone cables and a box from Amazon with 2 costume head pieces in it. It’s always a surprise! After my purge, our minister Leslie asked me why I was mad at him. I replied, “Oh, because I cleaned my office?” He nodded and I told him he would have to step up his game. You see, we have a messiest office contest and he is now the winner.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday consisted of meetings and singings. Friday night we kicked off our Praise and Worship Workshop at church with Keith Lancaster. Friday night we gathered our elders, staff, audio team, praise team, and worship committee to talk about improvements we can make to our Sunday morning worship.

Saturday morning our church hosted a district meeting for the councilwoman who services our area. Different ministries from the church set up booths. Bill Walls and I set up a booth showcasing the artwork from our art classes, talked with some great people and gloated over each other’s work.

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Saturday afternoon was a 2 hour session with Keith, learning songs and the importance of blending old hymns with new contemporary pieces. Our church has done that for many years and I’m glad that as we move forward, we will continue mixing and blending. We learned a new song, All to Us. I really loved it. The message centers around the thought that God is all to us and without him we would be hopeless. It’s a truth that all Christians know, but it was the first time I had heard it sang to God. The proclaiming nature of this song reminds me of so many Psalms where David proclaims the glory and majesty of God. Our workshop culminated with a session during bible class Sunday morning and then a beautiful uplifting period of worship, communion and fellowship.

Last night Savannah had her last wind ensemble performance for the school year. Unknown to Ron and I, she has started learning bass clarinet. It was our first time to see her play it and I must say, she did a lovely job. The concert featured British pieces, including several marches which made Ron happy. Being a former tuba player, he really loves a good peppy march.

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In between all the busy-ness, I’ve been working on books and book covers. Micki Clark’s book, Don’t Ask Me to Leave is on pre-order on Amazon. I finished up some corrections for her and finished the back cover of her print book. I’ve worked on a cover for Cynthia Roemer that we are almost ready to release. Tonight I will begin formatting Carolina Dream for Regina Merrick. And this weekend, I will start work on covers for Suzanne Bratcher and Sandra Robbins. Whew!!! God is good!

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Chickadees, Eagles & Churches

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For longer than I care to divulge, I have been making notecards. Back in the beginning, I had pen and ink sketches printed on simple card stock. Now, those sketches along with my watercolor prints are being jazzed up with printed mats and colorful cards. I have several old and new designs that have recently been added to my Etsy store. Some of my originals – Isaiah Eagle, Bandy’s Chapel, and See Rock City – are back with newer looks. While new additions – Shine, Leaning Post, and Chickadee on a Pine Branch – give a punch of color and depth to my card lineup.

The cool thing about these notecards is that they are generic. The inside has a white mat and you can write whatever sentiment you want. Happy Birthday, Get Well, Thank You, or just Missing You.

Oh, No! 20 days, really?

Has it really been 20 days since my last blog post? Oh my….

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We have a lot to catch up on! I’m jumping right in the deep end, with book news! Please Don’t Ask Me to Leave went on pre-sale today for ebooks.

In other book news, I’m working on the cover for Cynthia Roemer’s book, Under This Same Sky. I will be making a second and third draft tonight and tomorrow for her, but we are already off to a great start!

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I am thoroughly loving the watercolor classes that I’m teaching each week. Lately we’ve explored our mixing skills by limiting our palette to 3-5 colors. All three of the above painting were done in this manner. We had a blast and I’m looking forward to seeing what they choose to work on in the next couple of weeks. I’ll be starting a new class soon, so if you are in the North Nashville area, drop me a line if you’d like information about it.

Before I leave this topic, I want to give a shout out to Lindsay at The Frugal Crafter. Our class has loved watching her YouTube videos to guide us through some of these projects.

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Lastly, before I go, I wanted to share one milestone with you. Today I dropped off one of my pen and ink sketches to be professionally scanned. This is the first artwork that I have ever had scanned to have prints made. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on my sketch of the Pinta replica that we visited in Kentucky last fall. I will be adding the Hebrews 6:13 scripture to the scan when I get it back next week. After that, you will find prints available in my Etsy store!

Hope you have a blessed day!

Carolina Dream Book Cover

Carolina Dream 2.pngLast night I nailed down the final touches on this wonderful cover for Regina Merrick. I was so happy to get to work with Regina. I met her last year at the KenTen Writers Retreat and she is such a sweet person. She is a librarian by day and an author in her spare time.

I had fun creating a dreamy image of a southern mansion at the end of a drive lined with live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Regina really wanted a beachy feel as well, so we blended a beachscape on the lower portion of the cover. Together the two images create the prefect first glimpse of this Carolina Dream.

Carolina Dream is being published by Mantle Rock Publishing. It will go on presale March 15th and will be released around the first of April! Keep your eyes open for more information closer to the release date!