Just Imagine

Just Imagine

Feeling chatty?

Welcome to my blog! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and read what's on my mind. I've a vicious sense of humor, an apprecation for romance and a mad addiction to writing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tamra Westberry Shares How To Get The Most Out Of Your Cover Artist. Win a Digi Books Voucher!


Welcome! This week I have a special treat for you. My cover artist, Tamra Westberry is visiting A Writer’s Mind. Tamra has designed nearly all of my covers. In each case she was easy to work with and delivered exactly what I asked for. 100% pure talent!

As an added bonus to this post, I'd like to host a contest. My treat. A way to thank Tamra for all her hard work over the years. The prize? A $15 voucher to Digi Books Cafe. How do you enter to win? Pretty easy.

First, leave a brief comment here. Perhaps about how fantastic you think Tamra's work is. *Grins* Next, head over to Tamra's Cover Page. Once there, pick one cover that you find simply fabulous and email Tamra with the title of the book (shown on the cover) at tara@tarawest.com. The catch? You cannot email her with one of the titles shown in this blog post (no matter how much you love them) and please do not leave your answer in a comment at this blog. Your feedback in this phase of the contest is for Tamra's eyes only! Can you choose a title from one of her other cover pages? Of course.

Back to business. Tamra graciously provided an article she wrote about cover art. Every cover and banner sprinkled throughout this post is Tamra's design. Must say, they're gorgeous. Okay, floor’s yours Tamra...

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR COVER ART BY TAMRA WESTBERRY

For portfolio, please visit Tarawest.com

I love new friends! Facebook profile 

According to a poll at Live Journal, Poll 1007999, book promotion 101, sixty-three percent of readers have bought a book based on a cover. This is excellent news for authors with marketable covers. If you’re a well-known author who sells books mostly based on that bold name stamped on the cover, maybe the quality of your cover won’t have a huge impact on your sales.

But let’s just say your name isn’t Nora Roberts or Christina Dodd. Let’s just say you’d rather not cancel your pending book-signing because you are mortified by the gross misrepresentation of your story. How do you get the cover you envision, or at the very least, a cover that you can show to friends without cringing?

For those of you wanting to self-publish on Kindle or Nook, you’ve got to foot the bill for the entire production of your book, from cover art to promotion. Just as you’d do with a promotional company, research cover artists before signing a contract. Speak to their clients. Sure, their covers look good, but if it takes three months to complete and the artist is resistant to changes, this can be a frustrating experience. Look for an artist who doesn’t charge you a design fee up front. You should pay for the cover only after you are satisfied with the artist’s work. That way, you know this artist won’t stick your western novel with a gothic cover and then ignore your emails. Also, if your book will be going to print, will this artist be willing to design the spine and back cover? Or is that a hidden, hefty fee?

If you’ve contracted your manuscript with a traditional print or an e-publisher, most of the time you will have to use their in-house artists. Hopefully, you’ve done your research in regards to their artwork policies before signing a contract. For instance, if this publisher’s covers aren’t appealing, do you really want to contract with them? Do they charge for artwork? If so, then find another publisher. If you really like this publishing house but don’t like their artwork, are they willing to let you use an outside artist? If so, chances are, you will be required to pay for this artist yourself. Are you willing to pay an outside artist for cover art when you will also be footing the bill for promotional ad space, etc?

If your cover art contract asks for your preferences, do your research before submitting to your editor. Your company’s website usually has a link to their cover artists’ pages under the ‘about us’ section. Scroll through the various artists’ cover art samples. Find the artwork that mostly represents what you want in a cover and request that artist on your contract. Be advised, sometimes this artist will be too busy to take on new authors, so it’s best to also list a second artist.

Don’t expect your cover artist to read the first few chapters to get a feel for what your cover should look like. Unfortunately, many artists don’t have the time or luxury to read your book. Do you really want your artist speed reading through your manuscript and slapping a stalky blond hero on your cover, when he’s tall dark and handsome?

Be specific as to what you want but remember that you may not always get exactly what you asked for. The reason is that most publishing houses are now using stock photography for their cover images. Even traditional print houses have gone the path of stock photography because spending $15 for an image is much more cost-effective than paying hefty modeling and photographer fees.

Therefore, it’s best to list three options for your cover. If the book takes place in the mountains, on the plains and on the high seas, then list three scenes that would work for your cover. If you write that you want your hero and heroine embracing on a boat, but give no other details, don’t be surprised if your historical novel is set on a modern-day cruise ship. And if it is a modern novel, then be specific as to what they are wearing. You don’t want a couple on an Alaskan cruise to be scantily clad in swim suits.

So what are your options if your Alaskan couple is dressed in swimsuits?

1. Send threatening letters to your artist’s personal email and home address.

2. Cry and throw a fit and blog and tweet about your crappy publisher and art department.

3. Take a deep breath and slowly calculate a way to convince the art department to change your cover.

The obvious choice is #3. Your first line of defense is your editor. She loves the book almost as much as you do since she is willing to offer you a contract. Send her an email succinctly explaining how this cover doesn’t fit your story and that you’d like the artist to revise it. Chances are that your editor will forward this email to the art department. Chances are that if your email conveys a hysterical or rude tone, the artist will be offended and may be resistant to changing your cover. Maybe the couple is dumpy, the ship is tacky and the entire color scheme is hideous. Grit your teeth and find something good to say about the cover in your email.

“While I love the fonts on the cover, neither the couple, ship or colors set the tone for my book. I have admired many of this artist’s covers, and I was hoping she would make it look more like the cover she designed for author__________.”

Later, if the artist makes the changes and you are happy with your cover, send her a thank you note. You never know if that person will design the cover for your next book. You can also request her as your artist on your next contract, and most artists are eager to please returning authors.

However, not all cover artists will be accommodating. Sometimes, the publisher is on a deadline or maybe can't spend the extra money to buy the art or pay the models. Or maybe the artist/publisher doesn't see a need to change your cover.


Now you need to ask yourself the question, “Is the cover so hideous that it will drive away sales?”

Or are you upset because the heroine is a pale blonde, and, while the artwork is beautiful, the woman on the cover is a dusty blonde?

Though it may not seem so to the author, having a marketable cover is far more important than hair color.


I lost count of the number of covers I’ve designed after #300 a few years ago. Through the past five years as an artist for The Wild Rose Press and also as a freelance designer, I know I’ve made some less than appealing covers. I’ve also designed some award winning covers. My favorite covers usually have one thing in common. The author didn’t say, “I trust your creativity. Come up with something cool!” The author was specific as to what she wanted.

I’ve had the wonderful experience of designing several covers for the repeat authors. What I like best about these authors is that they have a clear vision in their heads of how their covers should look. A perfect example would be Sky Purington’s, The Victorian Lure. The original cover was boxy and not at all what she had in mind. When we spoke more in-depth, I was able to see into her head and create exactly what she wanted. And I’m so glad, because the final cover came out so much better than the original.

Sky here! Excellent article, Tamra. Great advice all the way through. I remember back at the beginning in ’07 when I first became published. I was so nervous about nearly everything in the publishing field. It was all so new! You were one of my first contacts and really made me feel comfortable. Enough so that I didn’t hesitate to tell you what I envisioned for my covers. Once more, thank you so much, Tamra. Here’s to the covers behind us and all the beautiful covers yet to come!

Don't forget there's a contest running. As a reminder...

The prize? A $15 voucher to Digi Books Cafe. How do you enter to win? Pretty easy. First, leave a brief comment here. Next, head over to Tamra's Cover Page. Once there, pick one cover that you find simply fabulous and email Tamra with the Title of the Book (shown on the cover) at tara@tarawest.com. The catch? You cannot email her with one of the titles in this blog post and please do not leave your answer in a comment at this blog. For Tamra's eyes only!

Contest ends Friday, April 29th, 12 PM EST.

Interested in meeting a super author? Perhaps win a prize? Head over to The Write Life next.

Cheers!

~Sky

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ready To Laugh? YOU NEED TO READ THIS. P.J. Jones' Spoof On Romance!

Welcome! I’ve decided to kick off my MONDAY COVERS IT promotion a little early with P.J. Jones', ROMANCE NOVEL cover. Gotta say, I love both the cover and the concept of this book. As we’re all still a little groggy from a busy weekend, this particular post is designed to be quick and to the point. And WAY TOO FUNNY! So grab a cuppa java and start your work week out right!

CONTEST! Can you think of another catchy line that could've been used on this cover? Leave it in a comment for a chance to win a free Ecopy of Romance Novel.

SKY:   PJ, tell us a bit about this cover

PJ:   Well, luckily for FLABIO, he was awarded the chance to be on the cover of ROMANCE NOVEL after doing a good deed, but you’ll have to read all the way to chapter sixteen without burning your ereader to find out why. I asked my cover artist to put FLABIO  in a kilt, because he’d already ripped his pirate shirt and men in kilts usually sell more books. Usually, FLABIO models for laxative and domestic violence advertisements, so we didn’t want to use the shots with him in the wife-beater and ripped jeans. Rather, we cropped a shot of him standing on a scale and pasted a kilt over his XXL boxers.

SKY:  OMG, can’t stop chuckling. Flabio! Too much. Laxative and domestic violence ads?! *snorts* Suppose somebody has to step up to the plate, eh? Ohhh, that poor kilt. Has this cover won any awards yet?

PJ:   Well, not yet, but FLABIO is really hoping for a shot at winning RT’s Mr. Romance, 2011, so I suppose I’d better enter his cover in a few contests.

SKY:  LOL. Still laughing. Thanks for starting my Monday off right PJ!

Read a HOT LOVE SCENE from Romance Novel HERE.

A little bit about ROMANCE NOVEL…

Smella Rosepetal must find a millionaire husband to finance her baby’s heart transplant. She flies home to her deputy father’s ranch in Pitchforks, Texas, where she falls in love with Deadward Forest, a wealthy environmentalist vampire. 

When a deranged murderer is on the loose in Pitchforks, killing romance heroines, Deadward assumes Smella would be safer without him. Smella turns to her childhood friend, Snake Long, for comfort. But Snake doesn’t have the money to save her baby, so Smella places herself in peril in a desperate hunt for a rich husband.

Time is running out for Smella’s baby, and she must escape the Australian Outback, then face down Flabio, an overweight and disgruntled, aspiring cover model, plus enraged vampire wives and their homosexual, vampire, cowboy husbands, a jealous were-gerbil, James Bond, a drunk rodeo clown and Smella’s strange boyfriend who wants to drain her blood, yet is repulsed by her smell.

Purchase ROMANCE NOVEL at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  

Check out PJ's blog,  PJ Jones’ Ramblings- Unicorns, Tampons and Other Girly Things. Join Jones on Facebook. Learn more about PJ’s cover artist, Tamra Westberry, HERE.

Speaking of Tamra Westberry, be sure to pop in tomorrow morning as I welcome her to A Writer’s Mind! 

Interested in meeting another great author? Perhaps win a prize? Be sure to head over to The Write Life now.

Cheers
~Sky

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hywela Lyn Re-Issues Dancing With Fate!

Happy Earth Day Everyone! I can’t believe the weekend is nearly here.  I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but my dear friend, Hywela Lyn re-issued her tale Dancing With Fate through Smashwords last Monday. I loved her Monday blog post so I decided to steal it. Lyn, I hope you don’t mind! *Grins*

So here we go. Again this post is NOT written by me but by author Hywela Lyn.

“I love legends and mythology, and when, a few years ago, I was contracted to be one of nine authors to each write a story about one of the Greek muses, for The Wild Rose Press, I decided to merge a few other legends with the Greek mythology and send my muse, Terpsichore to 5th Century Celtic Wales.

The series was published in 2008 and and having regained my rights I'm re-publishing the story.  I've made a few changes to the original novella and have republished it with Smashwords, complete with a spanking new cover designed by my dear friend and crit partner, the talented author Miss Mae.  I can't stop looking at that cover, it portrays the mystery and seductiveness of my heroine, who has a penchant for bathing in waterfalls, perfectly, while hinting that she has a spark of mischief as well. 

As a horse lover, I had to include a couple of horses in the story.  One is Harri, my black Welsh cob and the other is my much loved little endurance mare Sal, who sadly passed away three years ago at the grand old age of 34

A fellow Muse Author Masha Holl made this lovely picture of Terpsichore and Sal

How about a blurb? I hear you ask - OK, here it is:

When Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of Dance, is assigned to revisit 5th Century Wales, and help the people regain their love of dancing, her task seems simple enough. She is unaware there is a hidden agenda. Before she can return to Olympus, her path crosses that of the mysterious Myrddin, and her heart is lost.

But Myrddin is promised to another. His mind is set on the dangerous task that lies before him, and the woman he has sworn to save. Nevertheless, he cannot deny the growing attraction between him and the beautiful stranger he meets along the way.

Terpsichore and Myrddin face a deadly force that threatens to part them forever. Is she destined to lose the only man she has ever truly loved? Is there nothing she can do to save him? Finally, when all seems lost, in desperation she finds herself DANCING WITH FATE. “

Sky here.  Fantastic cover. WTG Miss Mae! Interested in purchasing Dancing With Fate? Click HERE.

I hope everyone enjoys a fabulous Easter Weekend.  Be sure to pop in Monday morning as I feature author P.J. Jones', Romance Novel cover in my MONDAY COVERS IT feature. Also, swing back in Tuesday as I welcome my beyond talented cover artist, Tamra Westberry!

Cheers
~Sky

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Do you have Second Sight? Interview With UK Author Paula Newcombe!

Hi Everyone! It’s hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of April already. As many of you know I’ve a few more author interviews scheduled at A Writer’s Mind before the promotional criteria changes. Be sure to click here to learn more.

This week it’s my pleasure to welcome UK author, Paula Newcombe.

SKY:   Welcome, Paula. Great to have you over to A Writer’s Mind!

PAULA: Thank you, it’s really good to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time.

SKY:  Isn't it wonderful how we can 'cross the pond' so easily via the internet now? Tell us a little bit about you and your work.

PAULA: I am married with two young sons. After taking redundancy from Local Government last year (I was working as a Lean Thinking Consultant) I have changed careers completely and am now hoping to become a teacher for Surestart. I have been writing short stories for a number of years, English Literature and Language were my best subjects at School, writing essays was a joy for me. I have a creative mind and have always loved reading especially murder mysteries – Agatha Christie was one of my favourite authors when I was growing up. I loved the way she kept you guessing until the end who the murderer was and how she built up her characters. I was determined at some point in my life to write a proper novel, I even had an idea for a story which came from an American horror film I had watched many years ago. I kept thinking about characters for my story and how I wanted it to end. It was definitely going to be a murder mystery! It wasn’t until I was on maternity leave in 2006/2007 that I finally put pen to paper. However despite typing up all my notes I didn’t doing anything further about trying to get my story published until a friend at work told me about a Newwriter’s group. This was a group of author’s who had got together and published their work with great success. I went along to a few of their meetings and was pleasantly surprised. The members of the group were very helpful and encouraging. Julie (the Director of the Newwriters group) was an inspiration and encouraged me to get my story edited and published. I got the name of a good editor from one of the authors in the group and the names of two excellent designers who put together a very eye catching front cover. In September 2008 I had my book published and had a launch party with a few other members of Newwriters in Nottingham. It was very successful and I was very pleased with the end result – my story in print! I am currently writing my second Novel – “A Time to Die” and hope to have it published very soon.

SKY:  Good for you, Paula! I also decided to pursue penning my first novel upon pregnancy. Kudos to you for becoming published while raising little ones. No easy task!  I loved reading that you highly recommend that authors read their work aloud after writing. Great advice! Tell me, to whom did you first read your work? Was it yourself or did you have another step in to listen? How did it go?

PAULA:  I did re-read my story a number of times and sent various Chapters to be reviewed by other members of the Newwriters Group. This was extremely helpful and motivated me to keep going. I found the comments I received were very positive and some useful suggestions were given. It is important for someone else to give their views as being so close to the story you tend to overlook consistency errors and potential holes in the plot no matter how much re-reading you do!! I also found close friends will not give their honest opinions for fear of upsetting you which is really kind but not always helpful. I did find building the characters descriptions/personalities into the first few chapters was very useful and hopefully gains the reader’s interest early on.

SKY:   I agree with you, it’s best to get character descriptions/personalities put on the pages as soon as possible. It helps the reader ‘see’ who you’re talking about sooner. In my case, I always go after the color of the eyes and the main personality trait first. What about you? What sorts of character descriptions do you tend to focus on first when it comes to men and women alike?

PAULA: With me it’s the descriptions first (of both men and women) – I want the reader to build up a picture in their mind’s eye of the character’s then discover their personality traits fairly early on. I don’t like to reveal too much of the personality traits – it’s important to keep the reader guessing especially in a Murder mystery novel!

SKY:   Good point! You also talk of consistency being one of the main ingredients when writing a story. So true. Did you find that challenging when you first started writing? If so, what did you do to make sure that you kept in context?

PAULA: Yes consistency is SO important!! I did find it very challenging at first, to help me overcome this I kept notes of all my character’s and events that had happened to date. I still had some consistency error’s which my editor picked up on – a good editor is invaluable!!

SKY: Yes they are! I can tell already that your ghostly murder mystery, Second Sight is right up my alley. What was your main inspiration behind writing this novel?


PAULA: The inspiration was all of the great Murder mystery films I have watched – especially the televised Agatha Christie plots and Alfred Hitchcock thriller’s. I love a good twist in a story plus lot’s of suspense to keep me hooked. This is exactly what I wanted for my book which hopefully was achieved. 

SKY: What are you working on now? Any, “I can’t wait to share this!” novels forthcoming?

PAULA: Well as I said earlier I am working on another murder mystery called a Time to Die. It’s a bit more emotional than the first but still contains plenty of suspense and twists in the story.

SKY:  Sounds fantastic. Such a blast having you visit, Paula! You're welcome back anytime. Let’s leave off with your favorite excerpt bits from Second Site. Floor’s yours!

PAULA: This is one of my favourite’s “ Suddenly, without warning he rushed towards her. Sarah gasped, raised her hands to shield herself; waited for the attack. Felt nothing but a rush of cold air. She spun round but he was gone”.

Story Blurb

Sarah Miller seemed to have it all; she is an attractive young woman with a good career and deeply in love with Adam, her new husband, but when they move into their dream home everything suddenly changes. Sarah quickly discovers the house is haunted and has regular visions of a brutal murder that appears to have taken place in their very home only ten years ago. Her life is turned upside down.

Fearing she might be going mad and afraid to tell Adam in case he thinks so too, she tries to discover what really happened and seeks to identify the murderer. There are so many questions: why is she the only one who sees the ghosts and the gruesome visions? Does someone or something need her help and is she in danger herself? Time is running out as Sarah tries desperately to piece everything together before the Killer strikes 
again. But who is going to believe her and are the visions from the past or the future?

Read Some Five Star Reviews...

A novel that is intriguing, a murder mystery, a ghost story and a story of the foibles of human nature, which the main character and her best friend are both tempted, one falls for temptation with dire consequences for her spouse, which was excellently written with both points of view expressed.

The main plot line of the story is both original and exhilarating which at times makes the hairs stand up one the back of your neck, with its dark, enigmatic and disturbing narrative. A real page turner from start to finish, full of twist and turns which kept me guessing(and enthralled)right until the end of the book.

I would highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more from the author.

Amazon Review by D. Gething

Loved this book from start to finish. Loved the storyline so much sat reading until 3 in the morning on more than one occasion!! My mother also read Paula's book and was totally hooked! Hope there's more to follow - can't wait!

Published on 10 Mar 2009 by G.Hartshorn 

Not normally a reader of 'Thrillers' I was passed this book by a friend and decided to give it a go and was really pleased that I did. The storyline captured my interest from the off and kept me guessing the whole way through.
Second Sight was definitely a book which found me wanting to read more in order to reach the next twist in the storyline. Could not believe this was a debut novel and would definitely go out and purchase any other novel written by Ms Newcombe. Description: Loading…

Purchase Second Sight at Amazon.co.uk.

Visit Paula at her Website.

Be sure to head over to The Write Life to meet another fantastic author and perhaps win a prize!


Best Regards,
~Sky

Attention AUTHORS! I've added something. FREE PROMO Opt. Midweek Meet & Greet. Crawl Inside A Writer's MInd. Learn More!

Sunday already! Weekend went by too fast.

While I have your attention I'd like to share. Because of the overwhelming interest in author interviews I've decided to add an extra feature to my new blog criteria starting May 9'th. If you're already booked for various parts of this new blog promotion, please consider adding this to your A Writer's Mind schedule. If not, no worries and certainly not a prerequisite! This is all about authors spreading the word. Here are the details...

Midweek Meet & Greet. Crawl Inside A Writer's Mind.

When? 
Tuesday through Thursday

Guidelines:
 A uniform author interview will be provided. This is the time to share all. How you became the author you are today. What inspired you to keep on going? This interview will be a new sort of interview. One that will hopefully share with readers something unique about you. Anyone who has been to A Writer’s Mind and read my interviews knows I don’t hold back. Expect the unexpected with my questions. Why not? Your readers will love it!

Authors, be sure to email me at Skypurington@live.com to book now. Click HERE to learn more about this promo feature as well as other advertising options.


ALSO, my Salvator's hanging at Renee Vincent's, Past the Print blog one more day! You still have a chance to win an Amazon or Digi Books Cafe Gift Certificate. Contest closes at 10 PM, EST so get yourself over there and join the fun. 


Be sure to pop in first thing tomorrow morn as I welcome UK author Paula Newcombe. Love her interview. Bet you will too!


Cheers
~Sky

Friday, April 15, 2011

Win a gift certificate to Amazon or Digi Books!!!


Happy TGIF everyone! Salvator from Heart of Vesuvius is still busy blogging. Join him today at Renee Vincent's, Past the Print blog to hear about some of his favorite moments with heroine, Alexandria. And, because this will most likely be one of his last blog appearances, I'm hosting a contest.

Join us now at Past the Print to learn how you can be entered to win a gift certificate to either Amazon or Digi Books Cafe! Contest closes Sunday, April 17th. 10 PM, EST.

Best Regards,
~Sky

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FREE READ up for grabs!!! You don't want to miss this.

LOVE a good free read? I know I do. Skhye Moncrief's Feral Force is up for grabs! 

From her lips to my blog...

"FERAL FORCE, my free read in my Feral series is available now at New Concepts Publishing. All of my titles are ALSO 25% off this month through April 24th. Readers can buy all 3 of my paranormal/futuristic romantica novels in the FERAL series for 25% off when FERAL FEVER is released on Friday!!!" 

Learn more about this series at Skhye's WebsiteRead 1st chapters & purchase at New Concepts Publishing. 

FERAL FORCE at a glance...

The free-thinking universe's next greatest threat, since the fall of the evil emperor Voldon, has surfaced. A medium from Earth is drawing a dark force to The Order of the Marshals from across the universe. And the only thing capable of protecting the Marshals is a Bondsman, a psychic buffer. She must mate with the extraterrestrial in order to receive his protection. Can a bra-burning gal from the United States stomach her arranged marriage? Or will all sentient life become the conquered broodstock of the FERAL FORCE?

This just in! Skhye Moncrief will be at New Concepts Publishing Chat Loop today giving away a hand-carved bone eagle feather pendant with wolf paw painted on it to a visitor who stops by to chat with her. It's at 8 PM EST or 7PM CST.

Join the hunt at New Concepts Publishing and win a free e-book! Follow the clues below and send us your answer for a chance to win Skhye Moncrief's newest book- Feral Fever!
  
Somewhere on our page you'll find a moon that very bright does shine. Let not our page give you the blues below you'll find three easy clues. 
  
1) The easiest way to find the type of story you seek is to look it up by it's _ _ _ _ _.
  
2) They're sometimes called feral beasts or monsters, but we know better!
  
3) You're bound to love this cat!
  
Send your answers to webmaster@newconceptspublishing.com with Contest in the subject line.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Astronomer's Corner. Aurora Watch. 25% Chance of More Geomagnetic Activity in the Next 24!

Due to a schedule mix up, Writer’s Mind is minus a featured author this weekNo worries! There’s still a lot to chat about. 

As I've a little wiggle room I thought first and foremost to take advantage of one of my favorite topics… Astronomy! For those of you who subscribe to my newsletter you’re familiar with my Astronomer’s Corner. Telescope at the ready, I always enjoy sharing the latest about what’s going on ‘up there.’

Thanks to Spaceweather.com here’s the latest for today!

HORSESHOE ASTEROID DISCOVERED: Astronomers from the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland have found that recently-discovered asteroid 2010 SO16 has been following Earth around the Sun for more than 250,000 years. Relative to our planet, the asteroid describes a horseshoe-shaped path in space. Strange, but true! 

AURORA WATCH: As April 12th unfolds, Earth is entering a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole on the sun. Evidence of the encounter may be found in the skies over Porjus, a village in northern Sweden:

"I went out with my camera after midnight on the 12th," says photographer Bjarki Mikkelsen. "Bright and clear auroras were filling the sky. The display was multicolored with shades of pink, red, blue and green. Amazing April Northernlights!"

NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of more geomagnetic activity during the next 24 hours as the solar wind continues to blow. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

Love this stuff. Have a few more topics of interest to share this week. Stay tuned!

Be sure to mark your calendars. I welcome UK author, Paula Newcombe to A Writer's Mind next Monday morn!

~Sky

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Attention Authors! GREAT way to PROMOTE your Book Covers!

Hope you enjoyed this past week with romance author, Brenda Whiteside. Seriously... how much fun was that?! A huge round of congrat's goes to Carol Burge for winning Brenda's contest. WTG!

If you're here for the first time, I highly recommend that you read the previous post to learn more about the talented Brenda Whiteside.

This Sunday I thought to share someone fabulous with you. Who? Anastasia Cassella. For those of you unfamiliar, Anastasia runs the website called Author’s Meeting Place. This site is about promoting authors and of course, giving readers another fantastic glimpse at all the talent out there. Never know who might have written your next favorite story!

Author’s Meeting Place has recently started a new Book Cover promotion that I feel authors and readers alike would enjoy. The only catch? You have to have books listed at her site. Super easy! Just complete Author’s Meeting Place’s easy-to-fill-out form and you’re in. Win, win for everyone.

Learn more about the Book Cover Contest NOW! Click HERE.

Wishing everyone a super weekend. Supposed to hit 70 degrees here in New Hampshire tomorrow. *Wide smile* Should I believe the forecasters? This New Englander is a wee bit gun shy!

~Sky

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Brenda Whiteside LAYS it on the LINE! Cha-ching. Amazon/Digi Books Cafe Gift Certificate Giveaway!

Welcome! Through April, I’ll be interviewing several authors. This is not part of a blog event. Nope. Even better. It's kick-back time. A casual meet and greet of sorts. Never know, you might just find your next favorite author here this month!

Starting May 9th, A Writer’s Mind will have a new format for promotion. Please read the previous post to learn more!

This week it’s my pleasure to welcome back talented romance author, Brenda Whiteside. When she visited A Writer’s Mind last year we focused primarily on Brenda’s work. This visit, we’ll learn a bit more about the author herself. I truly enjoyed this interview. Brenda has a great attitude and an open, honest way of answering questions.

Also, Brenda would like to run a contest! From her lips to my blog..."Somewhere in this interview is a word that doesn't belong. To win a gift certificate to either Amazon or DigiBooks (your choice), simply find the word, leave a comment on this blog (DO NOT say what the word is) and then email me with the word. brenda@brendawhiteside.com"

SKY: What a super contest idea. Thank you! ! So great to welcome you back to my blog, Brenda.

BRENDA: I’m happy to be back. There’s a comfort in returning to the scene of a crime. LOL

SKY: *Grins* Very true! I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since your last visit. Tell me, what have you been up to within the ‘writing realm’ since we last interviewed?

BRENDA: I’ve been on a learning curve. There’s much to learn about self-promotion. If an author isn’t careful, she’ll forget about writing that next book. That smacked me in the face one day, so I took some time off and finished book two. This was a new venture, a YA. It’s yet to be published but I’m working on it.

SKY: So ‘hear’ you about learning the ropes in regards to promotion. It’s an endless journey that can easily eat into our ‘writing time.’ Very cool that you’re kicking out a YA. That takes some serious talent! I see your latest release, Sleeping with the Lights On, is getting some rave reviews. You must be thrilled! Are you working on anything special right now?

BRENDA: I’ve been very happy with reviewer’s responses. I’m working on two things simultaneously. One is a miniature rose for the Yellow Rose line for The Wild Rose Press and the other is the first book in a series which should be considered a romantic mystery, if I do it right.

SKY: I’m sure you will. Best of luck always! Time to learn more about you. Tell us, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Was it a moment in time you’ll absolutely never forget? How so?

BRENDA: I think I grew into it or it grew on me. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I thought I was going to be an artist. Even that goal fell away with the first few years of marriage. I married young, went to Germany for three years and partied hearty! We totally lived in the now and I didn’t have much energy left for anything else. I journaled off and on but the writing bug had not bitten. And then in 1993 we moved to Minnesota. There is something about Minnesota that breathes life and imagination into me. I had stories in my head – weird little snips of life stories. I took a couple of writing classes, joined a writers’ group and now you have the rest of the story. Oh, but there is a side note here. I hadn’t realized it until one day a lady in my writers’ group told me there was always a bed somewhere in my short stories. Hmmm…wonder if that’s why I ended up in the romance genre.

SKY: Not going to lie… would’ve loved to have partied with you in Germany! Lots of family from there. And I totally get you being inspired by the state in which you live. Happened to me as well! So glad your imagination found inspiration. That’s the key! Now, you found the love of your life in your husband. Do you find that the heroes in your stories strongly resemble him in looks and/or personality?

BRENDA: No. Said with a deadpan face as if why would he? Now I smile. He’s a special man, but I’ve never written him into one of my books. Why not, one might ask? Haven’t a clue. I guess I could concede one trait – he’s a beta male and my heroes are all beta males. I think to put up with me, my writing, my passions, I couldn’t handle an alpha – they just don’t tune into the female psyche. So maybe I’ve used him subliminally. But physically, my heroes have been all different from him and different from each other.

SKY: Wow! Nice answer. Love your honesty. Sounds like you’ve found the right recipe in a man. One meant to be with you. Absolutely wonderful! So talking story layout, if you could choose any location in the world as a setting for your next story, where would it be and why?

BRENDA: Ah, there’s book two of my series – Ireland. I had a fascination for fairies and leprechauns when winner I was a child. A couple of my favorite authors have written stories set in Ireland. And I’m one quarter Irish. I’ve never been to Ireland, but pictures I’ve seen have captivated me. I’ve already told my husband that I have to visit to write the book – strictly business, you know.

SKY: Well, I totally get the draw of Ireland. Huge Celts fan! Irish ancestry as well. Let me know when you’re heading over as I’ve got to gather more info. too. We writers really do pen better after field research. *Mega Wink* As an author, share with us what you feel is the most important element of a novel. In the same token, what are your pet peeves in a novel? Those which you make a point of not including when penning a tale?

BRENDA: Good characterization ranks as number one for me. If I don’t like the good guys and like to hate the bad guys, the book is lack-luster. I finished a book last week by a well known author. She’s a pretty good story teller, but I never did get involved with her characters. I had trouble finishing the book. A character has to have you sympathizing, identifying, laughing, crying or something – just move me, please. Pet peeves as far as what I wouldn’t put in a novel – hmmm – I guess that puts us back at the alpha male. Wouldn’t write one. I also have to see some strength in the heroine. I recently read a book where the heroine was quite timid, felt inadequate, insecure and then along comes the hero who I fell in love with. He interacted with her in such a way that we should have seen her growth. At one point I was screaming at her – are you a dimwit or what? Quit your damn whining and realize your potential.

SKY:  Gotta say, totally on the same page about the weak female character who never seems to grow. Drives me nuts. Almost put your quote, "Are you a dimwit or what? Quit your damn whining and realize your potential," into the title for this blog post. PERFECT way to draw attention and darn... isn't it the truth sometimes? Grrr.

Back to business. Do you find that you tend to like to read books in the same genre that you write? If not, why?

BRENDA: No, I’m all over the place with what I read. I read mostly for entertainment. A good story, good characters pull me in. If someone tells me they’ve read a good book or I see a good review, the genre doesn’t matter.

SKY: Brenda, it was fantastic having you return to share a bit more about yourself. As you know, you’re welcome back anytime. I thought in ending this interview you might like to share your absolute favorite excerpt from Sleeping with the Lights On!

BRENDA: Sure. This excerpt is a longer version of the one the publisher uses. I think it says a little more about the book. Thanks for having me, Sky. I’ve had a great time.

Excerpt...

Carson, have you ever considered dating?” I couldn’t get over the six marriages.

“Dating?” He looked at me and smiled. “You mean instead of marrying.” He shrugged. “I’ve been rethinking it…since Melanie, who next to you was the best marriage I’ve had and even then she didn’t compare. You’ll always be the best. Special.”

He melted me with his choice of words. I couldn’t speak. Carson told me I had been one of those really good things about his life. The adage came to mind – you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

“Man, this weather is good chili weather.” He stretched his arms in appreciation of a nice spring Minnesota night. The phrase rang pure Texan. I guess you can’t take Texas out of the Texan no matter how long it’s been. “Let’s do this again tomorrow night, Sandra.”

“I can’t. I have plans,” I said relieved. Sort of. This evening, supposedly a one-time meeting should be a brief hello. I had a life.

“Your caller?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

He actually said good. Why did he find every aspect of my life so pleasing?

“Then lunch?” He reached out and took my hand. “We haven’t had nearly enough time to talk. Unless, we extend this night some more.”

“I don’t think that would be such a good idea.” Actually it would be a great idea for all the wrong reasons. “I have to get up so early for work.” I needed to call Wesley and put Carson out of my mind. Carson Holiday needed to slip back into my past.

“Then I’ll take you to lunch.” He nudged me with his shoulder affectionately.

“When do you go back to Vegas?”

He hesitated. “In a day or two.”

“You sound rather vague.” And still allusive. What could be the big secret about this charity gig he couldn’t divulge?

“I have a few more things to find out. I’ll be out of here as soon as I get all my questions answered. It’s complicated.”

“Carson, honestly, how complicated can a gig – ”

He stopped walking when we reached the edge of my apartment complex and pulled on my hand so we faced each other. My head said turn and run but my legs wouldn’t respond, mushy from wine or Carson and moonlight. I couldn’t be sure which.

“Have lunch with me tomorrow, darlin’.” He looked at me, not smiling. His hand let go of mine and his fingers gingerly brushed along my forearm while I couldn’t break the connection between our eyes. “Another hour of your time with a long lost friend?”

“Yes.” My voice went all husky and come-hither. I wanted to kick myself for being so easy.

“Good. What’s the address of your office?” He turned and took my hand again, leading me toward the door of the building. I struggled to shake off the moon shadows and to remember where I worked. Once inside the building, I took a scrap of paper from my purse and wrote the address.

“And now I’ll walk you to your door and say goodnight,” he said tucking the scrap of paper in his pocket. “Unless you want to have me in for a goodnight drink.” I didn’t answer. If he’d only known my uncertainty about my renewed attraction to him, a little persistence might have made me cave. He took my hand again. “Okay, then – ” His mouth gaped. I followed his bewildered look to my apartment door.

TRAMP

We both stared at an ordinary piece of white typing paper, taped to my door, with no other marks or writing other than the one word, and then looked at each other. He gave me one of those arched-eyebrow-quizzical looks, but I couldn’t find my voice. We looked back at the paper like maybe we missed part of it. The black block letters couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than what they said. And I knew whose artful hand had branded me.

“What have you been up to since we last saw each other, darlin’?”

A bit about SLEEPING WITH THE LIGHTS ON.

After two failed marriages and countless relationships, Sandra Holiday thinks she’s met the man to end her years of less than perfect choices; choices that not only derailed her travel-related career plans but also left her single and broke.

Carson Holiday, a Las Vegas country crooner with swoon-inducing good looks, spent his adult life pursuing a recording contract and love, never holding on to either. After eighteen years, he drops back into Sandra’s life, reigniting an attraction he can’t deny.

When Carson reappears, Sandra must choose again. Only this time, nothing’s as it seems. A secret admirer, a redheaded stalker, and an eccentric millionaire throw her on a dangerous path, with Carson her only truth.

As life confronts her with yet another turning point, will her decisions find her eternally sleeping with the lights on – or will she finally discover a way to turn them off?

What the critics are saying...
RT Book Reviews, June 2010: Cheers to Whiteside for writing a heroine who exists outside of conventional romance novels in terms of age and marital status...novel is written with a pleasantly light sense of humor...

Rating: 4 Cups, Coffee Time Romance & More, July 2010

Brenda Whiteside writes with a voice that keeps the reader coming back for more. I recommend Sleeping with the Lights On for the hair-raising suspense as well as the melt your heart romance.

Rating: 4 Stars, Night Owl Romance, July 2010

I could immerse myself in the ambiance she created and the ending was a real surprise!!

Rating: 4 Stars, My Overstuff Bookshelf, September 2010

The suspense was great…The romance was great. A new debut book from a wonderful author who I will be definitely looking out for in the future.

Purchase Sleeping with the Lights On HERE.

Learn more about Brenda's work at her Website. Befriend Brenda on Facebook.

Don't forget about Brenda's contest! Here's a reminder... ..."Somewhere in this interview is a word that doesn't belong. To win a gift certificate to either Amazon or DigiBooks (your choice), simply find the word, leave a comment on this blog (DO NOT say what the word is) and then email me with the word. brenda@brendawhiteside.com"

Contest ends Friday, April 8th, 12 PM, EST.

Interested in browsing around another super site that focuses on authors? Pop over to The Write Life now!

~Sky

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Calling All AUTHORS! Free Promo Opportunity.


A Writer's Mind is a terrible thing to waste!

On May 9th I’ll be opening my blog, A Writer’s Mind to promote authors in a whole new way. There will be three different free promotional opportunities every week. Here’s the new criteria…

MONDAY COVERS IT

When? Every Monday

Guidelines: Time to promote one of your book covers and the details behind its creation. You wrote the story. Tell us why you chose the design behind its particular cover. Was it a scene from the book? A melting pot of many scenes? Why did you choose the faces shown on the cover? If there aren’t faces, why did you choose what you did? Have you won any awards for this cover or are you in any current cover contests?

END OF WEEK CHARACTER BLOWOUT

When? Every Thursday and Friday

Guidelines: Time to crawl inside the minds of your main characters. Staple interview provided by me for your hero and heroine. Your heroine’s interview will be posted on Thursday, your hero’s on Friday.

TREAT YOURSELF. BOOK TRAILER BREATHER.

When? Every Saturday

Guidelines: Time to share your book trailer! We're in between work weeks so let’s have some fun. Share a little bit about your story. Perhaps chat about creating your book trailer. The ups and downs. All goes! Relaxed and chatty tone welcome with this post.

Please keep in mind for all promotional days…

~ Contests are most welcome but not mandatory.

~ You are invited to revisit A Writer’s Mind to promote other covers, characters and trailers.

Can you book all of the promotional days in one week? Yes.

Contact me at Sky@SkyPurington.com if you would like to promote at A Writer’s Mind. Please put ‘Blog Promotions’ in the subject line.

Thanks so much!

~Sky