Freebie Friday: 9/13

For Today’s Freebie Friday, I thought it would be fun to showcase a few of my own designs.

 

Night Caller Book Cover Tutorial

I chose this picture for two reasons. For starters, its sexy, but more importantly, I wanted to show you how you can drastically change the color and atmosphere of a picture in just a few steps. Another important thing to note about this image is that we will only be using a very small portion of it, so you will need to purchase the largest pixel size available because we will be cutting out so much of it (but only if you plan to use this for print or commercially).

The first step for me is always cropping the image. If you are creating a book cover, you will probably need to make your image a certain size or ratio. I set this before I actually start cropping. Once you set the ratio, cropping becomes a breeze. Just move the edges until you get the section of the picture you want. I wanted this to look more like a bedroom scene than a beach scene, so I made sure not to show the shorts or too much of the background. How much you crop just depends on what you want to do with your cover.

Tip: Create a duplicate layer of the couple before you start erasing just in case you mess up.

The next step is removing the background. I started with the background eraser tool set with at low tolerance. If you do not know how to find this, it’s on the left side of your screen. In the red box below, the is an example of what the icon looks like when you right-click on it. I use the background eraser to erase the background around the couple, and I adjust the tolerance depending on how close the colors are. For example, in this picture the bottom needed a lower tolerance because the dark colors blend together. If you cannot get it to erase without taking pieces of the image that you want to keep, just skip that part and we will do it by hand later.

Tip: If you mess up go to the top toolbar and click EDIT>STEP BACKWARD.

Once you have removed what you can with the background eraser tool, choose the regular eraser with a defined edge and remove the remainder of the background. This is also when you should remove the edges that you couldn’t get with the background eraser tool. To do this, choose a very small brush size and zoom in so you can be as precise as possible. Also, any time I’m touch up the edges of an image with the eraser tool, I use the soft edge eraser (the red arrow is pointing to it) set at a very small brush size.

soft brush

Tip: To create a new layer go to the top toolbar and select LAYER>NEW>LAYER.

Now that you have removed the background, it’s time to create a new one. If you want, you can drag in a new picture as the background, but for this cover I just used a simple black background. Start by creating a new layer. Then you choose the paint bucket tool and fill the layer with black. Then drag the black layer behind the couple.

Tip: When creating new layers, it is wise to give them an easily identifiable title because it will make the layers easier to find later.

If there is anything left of the background, use the soft edged eraser tool set a small brush size to clean up the background and the edges.

Tip: To create a black and white layer go the top toolbar and select LAYER>NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER>BLACK &WHITE.

I wanted this picture to feel dark so I applied a black and white layer. A plain black and white layer was a little too bland for this image, so I set the layer to multiply mode. You notice that the couple is still darker but they retain their glow.

multiply

I wanted the couple to look a little darker so I duplicated the Black and White layer to intensify the effects. To create a duplicate layer, click on the layer you want to duplicate and right-click on it. The picture below shows the rest.

For the text background, I wanted to create a transparent black strip. I started out by creating another layer. Next, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool.

Use the marquee tool to make a nice thick rectangle. Next, use the Paint Bucket Tool to fill the selection with black.

Next, you want to deselect the selection area.

Now, to make the strip of black transparent we are going to bring the opacity down to 52% and change the blend mode to Darker Color.

The next step is to create the decorative divider. Start by creating another layer. Then use the brush tool to apply the divider. You can use any divider you like, but I found mine here.

All that is left now is placing your text. All that you really need to do with text is play around with placement, font, and color. For this cover, I decided to go plain: pale color, no layer effects, and a clean font.

And you’re done!

Freebie Friday #7

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A Wanton’s Thief (Thieves and Lovers, Book One) – Titania Ladley

Taking Instruction – Cheyenne McCray

Sojourner (Sojourner, Book One) – Maria Rachel Hooley

Samson’s Lovely Mortal (Scanguards Vampires, Book One) – Tina Folsom

Shattered (Dream’s Realm Trilogy, Book One) – Sophia Sharp

In Heat (In Heat, Book One) – Felicity Heaton

In Heat: Mating Call (In Heat, Book Two) – Felicity Heaton

Promise (Soulsavers, Book One) – Kristie Cook

Zola’s PrideSouthern Arcana, Book 2.5) – Moira Rogers

Bewitching the WerewolfCaroline Hanson

The Mystic Wolves (The Mystic Wolves Series, Book One) – Belinda Boring

Six Sentence Sunday #7

Another Six Sentences from Deception.

Looks very military. This is a guy who could kick my ass half asleep with both hands tied behind his back.

I can tell he’s giving me the same thorough assessment, although I can’t tell by his expression what he thinks. I hope it’s not, This chick looks like a vampire. That will majorly fuck up the rest of my life.

“What are you doing out so late at night kid?”

To Learn more about Six Sentence Sunday, click here.

Saturday Six: Your Hero Should Never…

  1. Cheat on the heroine/hero(M/M) – You would think this was a given, but apparently it isn’t. While the acts of infidelity are usually small, in a romance novel they’re ALWAYS unforgivable. A hero never comes back from that. NOTHING can erase it. Prime example, Cabal from Bengal’s Heart (Breed Series).
     
    He spends years whoring around while he knows she’s suffering without him. YEARS. Cabal knows Cassie cannot bear anyone else’s touch. But he goes on with his life like she doesn’t exist. He even considers  getting serious with another girl. Even worse, he does it because he blames her for the actions of her dead husband. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he’d just abandoned her, but no, he leaves her in PAIN while he spends his days screwing every other woman he meets.
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  3. Leave the heroine for her own good – This one really irks me. To make matters worse, it’s usually accompanied by some big misunderstanding. But we’ve already discussed that pitfall.
     
    When the hero abandons the heroine because he wants to protect her or save her from himself, I tune out.  My first thought is, Oh no, another soap opera melodrama. I’ve seen this plot scheme a million times. I’m tired of it. It’s lost its appeal—not that it ever had much.
     
    While many authors have used this trite device, I’ll use one that everyone is familiar with, The Twilight Saga. While Edward’s I’m scared I’ll eat you angst was bearable in the first novel, it completely got out of hand in New Moon. Don’t these authors know that heroes who are assertive and go after what they want are so much more appealing?
     
    As much as I love Lora Leigh, she’s really bad about using this one.
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  5. Be a bad/virgin lover – While I’ll admit this one can have some exceptions, 98% of the time it should be a law of nature. These are a romancenovels people, and we like our heroes good in bed. If we wanted to be left unsatisfied or be forced to teach our lovers then we wouldn’t need romance novels, reality would do.
     
    Right now, the only author guilty of this that comes to mind is Sherrilyn Kenyon. Although, I really hate to use her because most of the time she fits into the other 2% that actually make it work.  Born of Night is one of her novels that she didn’t do as good of a job with making the inexperienced lover thing work out. While Born of Night is one of my all-time favorite novels, I just couldn’t get comfortable with Nik being such an inexperienced lover. And if I’m being honest, when I fantasize about him I always change that about him.  (As a side note, Born of Night is also guilty of #2)
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  7. Be ugly – Shallow, I know, but it’s a fact. He’s the HERO. This means better than the average man. This means that the heroine should find him attractive. I’m not saying he should supermodel hot, but he should be sexually appealing. Women have to want him.
     
    I’m Sorry Phantom of the Opera fans, but I just can’t jump on board with this. When I read books with these horribly disfigured heroes, I just pretend like they’re good looking.  I can’t picture them any other way, and I don’t even want to try. I know that’s awful, but it’s the truth.
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  9. Have a small penis – Thankfully, I’ve never seen an author do this, but I don’t want it to become a trend. Heroes should be, at the very least, a millimeter larger than the average man. ALWAYS! NO EXCEPTIONS! They shouldn’t all have monster cocks either, but I’ll take that over the a tinie wenie any day.
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  11. Be perfect – While your hero should be better than the average guy, he shouldn’t be good at everything. He can’t be independently wealthy, good looking, well endowed, extraordinarily fast/strong/intelligent, quick with words, moral, etc. He has to be flawed.
     
    I love paranormal romances. I love my alpha males. But let’s face it, the genre is bad about this. Some of my favorite heroes are guilty of this one—Barrons and Bones. While they may be a little too perfect, they too have their flaws. Bones—jealously. Barrons—lack of morality.

Freebie Friday #6

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The Wary Widow (The Wetherby Brides, Book 3) – Jerrica Knight-Catania

Ashley’s New Attitude – Samantha Whitney

Burning Hunger (Twilight’s Possession, Book One) – Tawny Taylor

Can’t Resist Covers: Soul Mate Publishing

           

 

Six Sentence Sunday #6

This week’s Six Sentence Sunday is from Deception, formerly titled Let Me Lie.

Her voice is real sweet. Not seductive, but completely feminine. There’s a small pang of jealousy at hearing the way he speaks so tenderly to her. This is his woman, his partner, and I want what they have. That trust and intimacy. That someone to call when I need to get rid of a body.

Freebie Friday #5

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I usually only showcase 1 to 3 free novels on Friday, but today when I was searching I found so many that looked good that I decided to post them all. Below is a list of titles and their links.

Beauty Dominates the Beast – Hannah Hale

Once Bitten, Forever Burned – Eve Langlais, Stacey Kennedy

The Princess’ Dragon Lord – Mandy Rosko

She’s Gotta be Mine (Cottonmouth Series, Book 1) – Jennifer Skully

Once Bitten (Alexa O’Brien Huntress, Book 1) – Trina M. Lee

Sunrise at Sunset (Sunset Vampire Series, Book 1)Jaz Primo

Wereslave (Were Legends, Book 1) Lia Slater

Initiation (Xylon Warriors, Book 1)Ruth D. Kerce

Vampire Cursed (Vampires Destined, Book 1)Rachel Carrington

Wicked Desires (Wicked Affairs, Book 1)Eliza Lloyd

Immortal Coil (A Dragon Spirit Novel, Book 1)C.I. Black

Writers’ Toolbox: Links of the Week #20

Writers’ Toolbox: Links of the Week #20

S.J. Maylee

Happy Saturday! What? It’s Memorial weekend? OMG, what am I doing inside. I have weeding to do, plants to put in the garden, roses to train, books to read, a MS to edit…and more blogs to read 🙂 I have a pretty collection for you today and don’t forget to listen to Jeff’s music selection today. You won’t regret this listen, it’s powerful.

Writer Business

Suzanne Rock at Romance on a Budget shares a tip Do you have Business Cards?

Plots

Darcy Pattison at Fiction Notes had some great reminders 5 Plot Fixes for Peace Makers

Alan Chin posted this week Writing Tip #36 Story Starter Questions. Very interesting collection of 12-questions. A quick test to see if your plot is missing something.

Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story had a brilliant line at the beginning of her post on plots this week: “The house is story. Decorating is plot.”…

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Cover Love: Inkspell Publishing

            

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.