Blog hops & tours

On The Sofa With – Stephen Cooney

Today, I am joined on the sofa by Stephen Cooney, an amazingly talented painter, who is responsible for many horror book and e-zine covers.

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How would you describe your artwork?

I would describe my artwork as sci fi/horror although I’m finding I’m painting more fantasy and drifting away from horror at the moment.

What medium do you use for your art?

I use acrylics on canvas.  I prefer to use them as oils tend to take a long time to dry, and the chemicals can get a bit too much.

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How do you get your inspiration?

Mainly from the publishers themselves, and I put in some ideas of my own as well.

When doing artwork for a book cover, how much control does the author have over the finished result?

Almost all of it unless a publisher contacts me instead of the author, but I like to get as much input from as many people as I can, it makes the job easier.

For those who may not have worked with an artist before, can you explain the process, from the author’s first request to the finished product.

Well what tends to happen is I’ll get a simple layout from a client and come up with as many ideas as possible from what they want, and come up with a rough drawing.  I will then transfer the drawing onto a canvas board.  I never draw the background as I tend to make that up completely as I paint; all my art is done that way.  As soon as the painting is completed I’ll send them a hi res photo of the art.  It’s as simple as that.

Apart from book covers, have you done artwork for any other projects?

I use to tattoos but gave that up to do illustration work.

What would be your dream project?

I don’t really have a dream project, although when I was younger I always wanted to do album covers for heavy metal bands.

How long does a book cover project usually take you?

Well a book cover can take up two to three weeks depending on how much detail is in the painting, but saying that, I can complete a painting in about a week if I have to.

What happens to the original painting once the book is out?

Once the original painting is done and the publishers have their copy, I wrap it in a protective film and it’s stored away until I decide to sell it or sell it as prints.  A lot of the authors like to own the original if they can.

When you’re not doing a project for someone else, do you paint for your own pleasure?

Blimey I can’t remember the last time I painted for myself, projects are coming in almost all the time.  I paint all the covers for Nightmare Illustrated.   That’s one painting a month.  James Ward Kirk is another publisher I do a lot of art for.  God there’s so many I can’t think, but as I finish one illustration another comes up, but I can’t complain, I love art.   If I can do any illustration then I will, but if I can’t fit it in then I will say sorry no can do.  The reason I say this is because I always get ” we thought you would be too busy. ”

Do you have a website?  How can people get in touch with you?

Not at the moment but I’m working on it but the beys way to get hold of me is either email  amandawestlake@btinternet.com or Facebook.  Steve.cooney.9@facebook.com

You can find Stephen on his facebook page here.

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Nano 2013 update, Promotion decision, and other stuff

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How’s everyone getting on with nano?  I’ve passed the 50k and feel justly proud of myself.  The third volume in The Sinclair V-Logs is taking shape nicely and I estimate that I’m three quarters the way through.  Doing nano is great for self discipline, and it’s wonderful to see how creative you can be, even when you’re forcing yourself.  This book will, I hope, be published in early Summer 2014.

Promotion, sorry for swearing, is a dirty word for indie authors.  It’s worse than fuck, whore, balls and cunt combined and I wince every time I read it, hear it or have to write it.  I’m not a natural saleswoman and don’t pretend to be.  I find selling myself, my brand and my books, very hard indeed.  I have tried though but being financially destitute has prevented me from taking advantage of most internet promotion options.

For a while  now, I’ve welcomed other authors to this blog for tours, spotlights and releases, but until recently, I’d never done one myself.  A few weeks ago, I decided to try my first blog tour to promote my last release, Bygora Vandos and advertised for hosts all over my social media.  I even did a blog here asking for hosts or help.

Here are the results.

I wanted to do the tour for fourteen days, with a different blog on each day, as has become the norm for such tours.  I had two weeks notice before the start date and up until the first day, just five (5) people offered to host me.  Of those five, only two offered me the link to the piece voluntarily; all of the others didn’t bother and I had to go searching for the post.  Another person of the five didn’t bother to do the post at all, and only one further person updated me with blog stats (number of visits etc) and promised to promote the post on other social media.  One of the people who did the post, didn’t bother to put up the post until late afternoon, leaving me with just a couple of hours to find it and then post the link on my own social media.  All but one, didn’t bother to promote the post on their other social media.  None of the people I have ever hosted were among the five mentioned above who offered to host me.

The blog I posted here asking for help got no response at all.  Thanks for nothing..!

To put it mildly, I was extremely disappointed in the lack of interest and help by other authors, and this experience has led me to make two decisions.

I shall never host another author on my blog, ever again.

I shall no longer bother trying to promote my own work.

I shall concentrate on writing books.  I shall publish them as I usually do on all the usual platforms, and I shall do a blog here announcing it, facebook and twitter.  Beyond that, I shall do no promotion at all.  There is no point in trying to get my voice heard above all the bored housewives with money who churn out trash erotica and romance by the bucket load, when other authors actively try to block my voice by boycotting me.  I shall put my energies into writing, and since I write books worth reading, a rarity in this compost heap that is the self published world, my total focus will be put to good use.

In short, what I want to say to other authors is, Fuck You..!

The third bit of news is that my horror story anthology will hopefully be released on Dec 6th.  I’m waiting for cover art at this very moment, everything else is done and finished.  I’m looking forward to this, it’s been a long time in the making and it has been done with the help of my facebook friends, many of whom star in the stories.  I dedicate this book to them, my murderers, psychos, weirdos, crazies and victims.

Carol of the Tales – Guest author spotlight

Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels: An Advent Anthology, Volume 2

 

 

Christmas carols capture the spirit of Christmas, and Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels brings beloved carols to life like never before. Throw your cares away with the tales from sweet silver bells. Find out how Santa Claus dabbles in time travel, and feel the redemption of a dying wife’s parting Christmas gift. Experience all this and more in these heartfelt, entertaining tales donated by a team of authors from across the country, working together for a good cause. The proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated toward Autism research and advocacy.

Anthology authors include: Shirley Bahlmann, C. David Belt, Rebecca Carlson, Loretta Carter, Madonna D. Christensen, Danyelle Ferguson, C. Michelle Jefferies, Theric Jepson, Ryan Larsen, Angie Lofthouse, Betsy Love, J. Lloyd Morgan, Janet Olsen, Teresa G. Osgood, Brian Ricks, Jennifer Ricks, Peg Russell, and Michael Young.

 
Carol of the Tales is the 2nd book in the Advent Anthology series. Both anthologies are available in paperback and Amazon Kindle
formats from Amazon.com. 

Purchase “Sing We Now of Christmas”: http://amzn.com/1479266248
Purchase: “Carol of the Tales”:  http://amzn.com/1484145526
 
To kick off the release of the second anthology, a Christmas
concert will be held at American Fork Junior High on December 7th,
2013. The concert will feature the Saltaires Barbershop Chorus. All proceeds from this concert will be donated to charity as well.
Purchase: Tickets for the Concert: https://tickettool.net/en/index/eventpopup/b54dab4bd0a13fa6975068f4784dfaa5Blog Tour Giveaway!



Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win wonderful prizes, such as tickets to the concert and copies of the anthology. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Blogs on the Tour:
Www.notesfromthewritingchair.blogspot.com
Www.causeisaidso.me
www.queenoftheclan.com
www.JohnWaverly.com
http://iamareader.com
http//:lisaswinton.blogspot.com
moniquebucheger.blogspot.com
http://mariahoagland.blogspot.com/
http://www.annadelc.com/blog
http://jlloydmorgan.blogspot.com/
www.franklycreative.blogspot.com
http://www.writermike.com
http://fringies.blogspot.com
http://www.saythiswrite.blogspot.com
http://debbie-peterson.blogspot.com/
http://thmazing.blogspot.com
www.renaeswritespot.blogspot.com
http://shelliproffitthowells.com/amusings/
http://www.annadelc.com/blog
www.meritaking.com
blessedinweakness.com
lynndparsons.blogspot.com
http://lisaswinton.blogspot.com
http://stephaniereadthat.blogspot.com/
www.renaeswritespot.blogspot.com

Bygora Vandos – Promo run

Today I have the pleasure of being hosted on James DiBenedetto’s blog here with my novel, Bygora Vandos ~ Sinclair V-Log LB734/A

Hop on over there and show James some love.

Why I feel like I’m split in two

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I’ve recently released my seventh novel, Bygora Vandos ~ Sinclair V-Log LB734/A which you can investigate here, and as is the norm on such occasions, I’ve been trying to promote it.  I’ve done all the things a destitute author does at such times; constant updates on my facebook author page, regular tweeting, blogging here etc and, as usual, the ripples I’ve managed to create have been underwhelmingly, laughingly small.

This time however, I decided to try something I’ve never done before and see if it makes a difference.  Over the past few months, I’ve welcomed authors here on my blog to spotlight their new releases, but I’ve never done a blog tour myself.  So I thought I’d have a go this time, after all, it doesn’t cost me any money, right?

I decided to try a modest run with this, so I opted for a fourteen day tour, starting on October 29th.  I’ve been advertising for hosts several times a day on facebook and twitter and I blogged about it here, even asking people to reblog my post here if they couldn’t be bothered to actually host me properly.

So far, I’ve had five people offer to host me.  Yes, just five (5).  Out of the thousands of authors I am connected to via facebook, twitter, google+, linkedIn and everywhere else on the internet, only five people could be bothered to offer to host me?  Seriously?  Are indie authors so up their own asses that they think they can afford to be so arrogant and selfish?

Yes, they are.

The more I connect with indie authors, the less proud I am to be one.  In fact, the others make me ashamed to be one of them.  When I think of all the flack we have to put up with from trad published authors, the stigma of self publishing, attacks from those who think their opinions matter, I am saddened to find out that my greatest enemy comes from within the indie community,  not without.

Not content with producing badly written trash and openly plagiarised content/titles/characters, they then feel justified in using any and every tactic they can think of, to bring down the competition and prevent other indie authors reaching an audience desperate for something readable at last.  The lack of quality of their work stands for itself.  Today I saw one author on facebook proudly displaying the new cover for their latest release (which they laughingly call a ‘book’ but which is really only 20k words long.  More of a pamphlet my dear!)  I don’t think I’ve seen a book cover so amateurish.  It’s almost embarrassing to look at it and I pray that person never asks me what I think of it, because I hate to lie, I really do.

I’m at the stage now where I don’t lack confidence in the quality of my writing, but I’ve also come to the conclusion that I am ashamed to be an indie author, simply because it means I’m lumped in with ‘them.’  I now wish I was trad published, and I’ve even considered forming my own publishing company, just to produce my own books.  This will enable me to take a step away from ‘them’ and their culture of sabotage, lies and fraud.  From purchasing reviews, offering ‘prizes’ in return for sales/reviews, deliberately refusing to help other authors get the word out, posting bad reviews of other authors’ books, and all the other dubious practices they indulge in, I want no part of it.

I may only have five souls with vision and discernment enough to host me, but those five are worth ten thousand of the rest of ‘them.’  They know there is room on the shelf for everyone’s book, that this business is about producing work of quality that can not only entertain people, but can change lives.  My work will be doing that long after I’m dead and gone, it will be doing that long after the rest of the trash has fallen to the bottom of the charity shop bargain bin, and long after the flames that consume its pages warms the hands of street bums down under the freeway.

That’s the thing ‘they’ never quite get.  It’s not about making money or being famous, it’s about creating something magnificent and life changing, that is worthy of its place in the universal consciousness forever. I’m doing that, with or without a blog tour.

Promotion help wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m trying to get some promo going for my latest release.  If anyone would be willing to host this post on their blog, please contact me.  Alternatively, I’d be delighted if you would consider reblogging this post.  Many thanks.
Author spotlight

me with ruins

 

About Merita King

Merita King has loved the science fiction and fantasy genre in both books and movies since she was a young child.  She has been greatly inspired by years of watching movies and reading books and has wanted to make a contribution to this genre for many years.  Her stories all contain a spiritual thread as she believes that spirituality is universal and crosses all boundaries.  She believes that the creative process is largely intuitive and can be very effectively blocked by too much pre-planning.  “Plot lines, characters and events all come to me intuitively,” she says, “and this makes the act of writing a constant pleasure.”  She is a psychic medium and lives alone in Hampshire, UK.

Introduction to The Sinclair V-Logs

The Sinclair V-Logs is a series of personal video logs, made by Sam Sinclair, Freelance Law Enforcer with the Inter-Galactic Law Enforcement Agency.  In his own words, Sam recounts the more memorable of his experiences during his twenty years working for the Agency.  He shares his adventures with honesty and humour, and as he becomes comfortable telling his story, we learn more about the man himself.  Despite the dangers of his profession, Sam is sensitive and dedicated to maintaining his own code of standards.

This second volume in the Sinclair V-Logs series sees Sam journey to Deligon 2, far across the galaxy.  Sent on an undercover mission to investigate the Calmarin Research Station, he and his new partner soon discover something that endangers not only their own lives, but those of everyone on the planet.

Come, share the journey with Sam Sinclair.

front 350 wide

 

Bygora Vandos ~ Sinclair V-Log LB734/A

Sam Sinclair didn’t usually play the role of detective.  His job was just to chase and catch a specific target and deliver them into the hands of the Inter Galactic Law Enforcement Agency, so when his boss offered him an undercover job, he was only too happy to accept.

Together with his new partner Ren, Sam begins the slow process of investigating the secluded and secretive Calmarin Research Station.  Although set up to apparently investigate the cause of dying trees in the locale, rumours run rife among the local people about what really goes on there.  What Sam and Ren discover after weeks of carefully working their way in, is one of the most terrible crimes against humanity that either of them have ever encountered and both vow to do their utmost to bring it to an end.

Sam finds many allies amongst the local people but with his cover blown and Ren taken prisoner, he no longer knows who can be trusted.  As the job reaches its explosive climax and the personal cost to Sam takes its toll, the shocking truth finally comes out.

Read excerpts from Bygora Vandos here

Links.

Where to purchase Bygora Vandos.

 For paperbacks.

Amazon usa – http://amzn.to/19CRsGj

Amazon uk – http://amzn.to/GPyLDn

 For E-books

Amazon usa – http://amzn.to/1cA2LAl

Amazon uk – http://amzn.to/GPyTCY

Contact Merita

Merita King’s website – http://www.meritaking.com

Merita King on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MeritaKingNovelist

Merita King on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/MeritaKing

New Interview & Other Stuff

I did a new interview recently that went live today.  Author Jennifer Loiske interviewed me for her 7 Minutes blog.

Click here to read my interview with Jennifer.

Thank you so much Jennifer for great questions.

Yesterday, I decided in a moment of madness to splash out on a set of new fingernails.  Now, I’m a total nail virgin so this was all new to me.  I’ve thought about it many times but never taken the plunge but after talking with a friend about her experiences with them, I decided to do it.  A lovely gal named Kate came to my flat and did them.  We chatted all the way through and she explained everything to me.

They look lovely and for the first time in my life I like the way my nails look.  I went for the typical french manicure look and I’m very pleased.  The downside is that I now feel like an amputee who’s just received new false hands and has to learn to manipulate them.  Boy is it hard to work these things or what?

Typing is difficult as the nails, being longer than my own, get in the way so I’m having to learn to type using the ball of my finger tips and not the tips, as is normal.  I was trained to type properly and can normally go pretty fast but now I’m slow and clumsy.  You just don’t realise how important fingernails are until they get in the way.  Other girls on facebook have promised I’ll get used to them and I’m hoping for that as I do love the way they look.  On a brighter note, picking my nose and scratching my ass are going to be a walk in the park..!

I was invited to do two guest blogs recently.  One for April 18th and the other for May 23rd.  The first is about world building for space opera writers and offers simple tips to make your universes both plausible and unique.  I haven’t decided what to write about in the May post yet but I’ll be posting the links when they go live.

I uploaded two of my covers to the Authors.com cover contest today in a fit of madness.  They have to be approved first though, before they go live for folks to vote on, which seems odd to me.  It’s a contest where the public vote for their favourites so why the hell do they need to be approved by some faceless admin first?  Oh well, I’ll post if and when they go live and beg shamelessly for your votes.

In the meantime, hop along via the link above and read my interview with Jennifer at her 7 Minutes blog.

Dream Project

Someone over on facebook had a great idea for a blog hop.  Taking place every day of February, one person blogs each day and answers questions relating to your own personal ‘dream project.’

You’re supposed to tag the person who is due to blog the next day and so it continues etc.

Maybe you’d like to join in and do your own blog with these questions.  Leave your link in the comments.

Writers dream. Now it’s time to dream BIG.

You have the opportunity to hire anybody as your cover artist, who would you get for the interior artwork?

I write space opera/science fiction so for my space opera series, The Lilean Chronicles, I would need an experienced concept artist. I don’t know the names of any and don’t have a favourite but I like what I’ve seen of Lik Studios in Taiwan. As you can see in the pictures below, the realism is amazing. To have these guys working on my books would be simply awesome.

Visit Lik Studios on this link.

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Who would you co-write your next novel with? What genre? Why?

I couldn’t imagine ever writing in any genre other than space opera. All the books and movies I love are space opera/science fiction/fantasy and all of my own daydreams and personal imaginings are in based in such a world. I’m a very creative person and have always had a very vivid imagination and a yearning to escape from this world, this life and everything within it. It stands to reason therefore that my creativity takes me as far away from this reality as it’s possible to go and that is the only place I find joy and fulfilment.  If I could co write a space opera/science fiction novel I’d love to work with Dave Twohy, the movie Director of Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick fame.  He wrote the Riddick story and directed all three movies and he has great imagination and the ability to bring the imagined into being.  I believe he would help me to make my story more real.

Visit Dave on this link

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Your publisher wants to do an audiobook version of your novel and they’re not sparing any expense. Who do you think can narrate your masterpiece?

Well certainly not Morgan Freeman..! Seriously though, my narrator would need a deep velvet voice with a calm flow and not too strong an accent. The Lilean Chronicles, although basically a space opera novel, has a strong spiritual thread running through it and some of the main characters are deeply wise spiritual guides and nothing else but a deep, warm and slow voice will do. A warm deep voice relaxes you and allows your mind to absorb the words more easily and really live the story. My choice would be James Earl Jones, without doubt the best voice for my project.

Visit James on this link.

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They’re really going all out! Your novel is getting a full soundtrack. Who should compose it? If your novel uses a lot of songs, list your compilation here.

Now this is one of the easiest questions to answer. Without a second’s hesitation I choose Heart of Courage by Two Steps to Hell, closely followed by Asimov, Archangel and Dragon Rider, all by Two Steps to Hell. Bringing up the rear would be Bravest of the Braves by Kosinus Music. I was halfway through writing the first of The Lilean Chronicles series when I first heard Heart of Courage and the moment I heard Heart of Courage, I knew it was perfect for the soundtrack of the movie. When I’m writing or editing, I take regular breaks and during those times I often listen to it a few times, to keep me in the right zone.

Congratulations! Your novel is being turned into a major motion picture. As the creator of the original work, you get to pick the director.

Easy peasy, Dave Twohy for all the reasons mentioned above in the co writing question. To have this amazing man direct The Lilean Chronicles movie would be mind blowing. His ability to bring what I see in my mind into reality, to create the imagination in physical form is simply awesome. If anyone could bring my characters to life, it’s Dave Twohy.

The director has some ideas on who to cast, but you get to cast one character. What role/character is it and who portrays them?

Well ideally I’d like to cast two characters, but if I had only one, I would have to lay claim to first choice of actor to play my main male protagonist. The Lilean Chronicles’ main male character is called Vincent Richard Domenico and there is only one man alive suitable to play him and that is Dwayne The Rock Johnson. The main reason is his size; Vincent is a very big and muscular man and therefore needs a very big actor to play him but also for his racial look. Vincent comes from a planet called Lilea and their physical appearance is what we would term ‘mixed race’ – light brown skin and black eyes. When I was a few chapters into writing the first volume of The Lilean Chronicles and just getting to know Vincent, he began to show me the kind of look he wanted to have and by the time I’d finished chapter ten, it was Dwayne I saw in my mind whenever I wrote about Vincent. I tried to change this image, to make it go away because I originally had another actor in mind for his look but Vincent knew what he wanted and he laid the law down, so Dwayne it is.

Visit Dwayne’s facebook page on this link.

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 You’ve been hired to write a novel based on a preexisting character or franchise from another medium. Which character or franchise is it?

It would be Riddick. I would give my right arm to write a Riddick story and that is in fact how I first began writing. I wrote short fan fiction pieces, new adventures for Riddick and that’s how I was first inspired to write my own character and story. It was great fun and satisfied my need to connect with the character as a fan of his but pretty soon I realised that it would be so easy to just carry the story on and let it run. Once I got to twenty thousand words I realised that this could be a whole book if I just kept going and let it have it’s head and lead the way. I then had a dilemma though; Riddick has already been invented. He’s a copyrighted trademark and I’d probably end up in trouble if I wrote a book with him in it. I almost gave up but then I thought “oh what the hell, just start again with my own character.” The background could stay the same and the peripheral characters could stay but the main protagonist must be new. So Vincent was born.

It’s the anniversary of your favorite literary character’s debut. You’ve been hired (yay, work!) to write an anniversary novel. Who is the literary character?

This would have to be Willis E Davidge, one of two main protagonists from Enemy Mine by Barry B Longyear. The movie that was made from this book is one of my favourite space operas and the character Davidge is everything I love my protagonists to be; fearless and flawed but with an over riding sense of what is right and a willingness to give his life in the quest for justice and truth. He’s not bad looking, funny and the adventure he has with his co protagonist, the Drac, is heartwarming and emotional. Writing an anniversary novel of Willis E Davidge would be huge fun and something of an homage to one of my favourite movies.

Visit Enemy Mine on this link.

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Visit the next stop in the Dream Project Blog Hop with this link.