Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone had a great holiday! I’ve been meaning to pop in and post something, anything, but I just haven’t had the chance. Halloween is as good a time as any to get back into the swing of things.

First, I want to start off sharing a little treat with you. Thanks to The Vampire Diaries, (I have no shame in admitting I love the show) I stumbled across this amazing artist, Ron Pope. He has some of the most beautiful love songs and such a unique voice. If you like alternative artist, you must give this guy a listen. He’s AMAZING.

Secondly, I have great news. I officially sold my first cover this week. The author is keeping the project under wraps for now, so I won’t steal her thunder, but as soon as she releases her cover I’ll share it with you. Also, while on that note, I’ve been trying to get my website together. There’s a lot that goes into designing a template so I don’t see that getting completed anytime soon, especially not with Christmas rolling around.

I want to end this post by thanking everyone for all the supportive emails I’ve been getting. Everyone has been so encouraging, and I can’t thank you enough.

Well, I better end this post before I miss my 12 p.m. deadline.

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Cover Design Services

I hate this time of year. It’s just so busy, and I can never find the time to get anything done. For those of you who stop by regularly, you’ve already noticed my absence. I apologize, but I don’t see it getting better for a few more months. I promise I’m going to make an effort to pop in more often, but please don’t hold me to that.

While I’ve been a ghost on the blog front, I have been busy professionally. I’m finally submitting a manuscript to some publishers and a few agents. I can’t tell you how terrifying this time is for me. Hopefully, if I find the time,  I’ll write a post on the horrors of writing a query letter. I may even show you my 15,000 drafts. I swear, freelancer query writing is the business to be in my friends.

Anyways, this post wasn’t meant to be a rant, so let’s get on with it. Most of you know I’ve been fiddling around with Photoshop lately and I’ve fallen in love with making covers, so I’ve been considering offering my services. I’m torn because for starters, I’ve haven’t received any form of formal training. Secondly, I’m a little uncertain on the legalities of the process.

I’ve decided to give it a try anyway. So, for anyone who is interested, contact me. Pricing will depend on the fonts, brushes and stock photos that you choose ($70 and up). For those of you who want to create you’re own covers, I’ll still provide tutorials when I get the chance because I don’t believe you have to hire someone to create an amazing cover. It just take patience.

Book Cover Design in Photoshop

So, my latest project was learning how to use Photoshop. It was wicked hard, but well worth the time spent. I can do some really cool stuff now, and I’ve only spent a few days learning some basic tricks. I’m thinking about creating a few how-to articles (strictly for beginners), because I know a lot of writers are moving towards self-publishing. Even if you’re not, knowing your way around Photoshop can be extremely helpful to you in other ways.

Below are some covers I’ve created, and some of the things I can teach you to do.

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Ties That Bind is Now Available

Everyone please slide on over to T.A. Grey’s blog and congratulate her on the release of her third Bellum Sister’s novel, Ties That Bind. It’s available now at Amazon, and other retailers I’m sure.

Writers’ Toolbox: Stephie Smith’s Contest Chart for Writers

Stephie Smith has composed a wonderful chart for those of you looking to enter a writing contest. Her list of contests is current and full of all the important information.

If you are looking for a way to get noticed, or add some credits to add to your query letter, winning a writing contest is a great way to do it. Agents and publishers like to know that your manuscript has already received recognition. Not to mention, it shows that you probably have been networking and that will help them sell you and your book to prospective publishers because you’ve already made a name for yourself.

Writers’ Toolbox: Show Me the Money!

We need to thank Brenda Hiatt for this fabulous resource! Show Me the Money! is survey Hiatt manages to keep readers informed of the average payout with certain romance and young adult publishers. The list includes most of the prominent publishers out there. It’s a good resource for authors looking around for place to submit their manuscripts.

Also, for those of you who are published and don’t mind confidentially sharing your figures, please contact Haitt so that she can keep her survey updated and as close to accurate as possible.

Writers’ Toolbox: Show Off Your Best at the Sandbox

I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it, networking is important! I know you hate it. It’s tedious, frustrating, and it takes practice if you want to get good at it. One of the most important things for struggling networkers is to educate themselves on the different mediums out there.

When someone says network, most people think of the obvious opportunities to gain an audience (blogging, facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.), and not of the rare, unique opportunities like writers competitions. Today’s find is a monthly genre contest called Show Off Your Best at the Sandbox. It’s a short story contest that probably won’t gain you international recognition, but you will make connections. Even if you only come away from it with one reader, that is one reader that will buy and advertise your product.

Writers’ Toolbox: Savvy Authors SUMMER SYMPOSIUM

I have to thank Caszie for this recommendation. Savvy Authors is holding a five-day event for writers, Savvy Authors SUMMER SYMPOSIUM. I’m new to the site, so I don’t know much about it. It looks as though you have to pay to attend the online conference, but it looks like it’ll be really informative.

Here’s what the site has to say…

Join us for five days as we talk craft – from plot and character, to dialogue, suspense, theme and story question (with a bunch of stuff in between) in chats, Q&A forums and mini-workshops. Our presenters will be sharing what works – whether it’s worldbuilding or setting or layering in back story; or even if it’s technical detail and the fruits of research, they’ll be exposing the craft that underlies a good story. We’ll also be talking about publishing and promoting, offering pitch opportunities to the attendees and raffling off books on craft from folks like James Scott Bell novels, gift certificates, workshops, 3-chapter critiques from published authors and more.

Check back often as we’re still adding more workshops, chats, Q&A’s & raffles

Freebie Friday: Lights, Camera…Monsters

Everyone loves a freebie, and publishing companies know it. That is why booksellers like Barnes and Noble and Amazon, always have free ebooks on their shelves.  It’s a great way to get readers to try new authors, and it’s a fantastic advertising strategy.

While surfing Amazon’s list of limited-time promotional offers, I ran into Lila Dubois’ Lights, Camera…Monsters. I was so excited! I’ve wanted to read this book for months now, I just hadn’t gotten around to purchasing it yet.

Thank you Amazon and Samhain!

Dangerous Curves

Draumr Publishing deserves a pat on the back for their Dangerous Curves line, featuring beautiful big women as their heroines. These stories do not focus on women losing weight to gain acceptance or to win the heroes attention, but rather on big women being loved for who they are. Dangerous Curves sells sub-genres of romance including, but not limited to: erotica, paranormal, contemporary, chick lit,  lesbian, adventure, science fiction, historical, fantasy, suspense and horror. It’s about time a publisher realized that not all women are built the same, and neither are all heroines. Big is beautiful, too.

What truly impresses me is that Draumr is accepting genres outside of the normal “humorous” take on curvaceous romance. I like that the book can have a Gothic or suspenseful atmosphere. It’s books like these that will help beat stereotyping, and build the average woman’s self-esteem.

Draumr Publishing is actively seeking stories for this imprint. For more information on the Dangerous Curves imprint, and other themed submissions, check out my page, Open Call For Submissions.

Samhain’s Retro Romance Line

Samhain Publishing has opened a new line dedicated to bringing back out-of-print books from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s. These books will be published as ebooks, and will receive copyediting, formatting, cover treatment and wide digital distribution. So if you’re interested in reviving one of your old manuscripts, check out their submission guidelines.

Attention Romance Writers

Breaking into the romance market seems impossible at times. There are so many wonderful, published authors that it feels like there is no room for newbies, especially those of us who are unagented. Well, I have good news for you!

There a few online/small press publishers looking for manuscripts from writers like me and you. Anything from full length novels to fun-sized novellas, are accepted regardless of your credentials. No, this probably isn’t your shot at becoming the next New York Times Best Selling Author, but it is the foundation. Any previous publications look good in your query letter, and having something like this on your résumé just might make the difference to that agent you’ve been dying to snag.

So check out my Open Call for Submissions page, and see if there is anything there that interests you. I’ll update this page monthly for those of you who are interested. Also, I’m compiling a list of romance publishers and their criteria. I plan to have that page published July 10, 2011.