Cover Art

Dreamspinner is here

final 4

I am delighted to finally be able to share the cover  and blurb of my latest novel, Dreamspinner.  This is still going through the process of uploading to Amazon and I’m waiting for a proof copy to arrive, so it will be a day or so until I can provide purchase links. As soon as I have the links, I will upload them to the Dreamspinner page.

What is your worst nightmare?

Tearan Lindo, serving soldier with the Inter-Galactic Elite Command, found himself living his when he woke up apparently alone on an empty and abandoned space ship with no memory other than his own name, age, and rank.

He soon finds that he is not alone aboard the Novosentia, but where are the other three? The friendly engineer, the haunted doctor, and the mysterious hired gun. Who are they and why can he never find them? What is causing the shadows, the noises, and the time discrepancies? Then there is the woman from the nightmares who feels so familiar. Desperate for answers, Tearan and his companions struggle to make sense of their situation.

When he stumbles upon evidence of a scientific involvement, Tearan realises he got it all wrong. They’re not survivors after all, they’re lab rats.

Angry and frightened for his future, he fights to uncover the truth.

What he discovers is more profoundly shocking than he could ever have imagined.

UPDATE

All the purchase links are now up and live on the Dreamspinner page here

I  hope you decide to give it a chance and that if you do, you enjoy it.

Negotiating the maze that is the stock photo site

options-396266_640

If, like me, you’re not blessed with an A-list income, then you will be familiar with the anguish that comes with the search for cover art stock photos.

These sites are huge, but their search criteria are nonsensical, and the results you get often bear no resemblance to the words you type into the input box.  You type in ‘spooky corridor’ and you get pictures of grinning kids playing on a beach, and you think, “what the fuck has this to do with a spooky corridor?”  Much sighing and scratchings of the head later, you give up in disgust or settle for something you know is not what you wanted.

The problem is caused by those who upload the photos.  When they upload their photos, the site asks for keywords.  These keywords are the words you and I use as search criteria and should reflect the subject of the photo to make sure we get what we search for.   They want you to pay to download their photo above anyone else’s.  To try to make sure this happens, they will type in keywords that bear no resemblance to the subject of the photo, so that as many searches as possible will bring their photo up on our screens.  It’s a bit like authors putting their horror novel into the ‘historical romance’ or ‘chick lit’ categories to make sure more people see it when they search Amazon.  It’s bad practice and it should be illegal.  The stock photo sites should punish these people buy banning them from using the site.

There are many stock photo sites out there, and a lot of the same photos will appear in them all.  Finding the right stock shots can be a lengthy procedure, so don’t leave it until the last minute.  Make a list of every single word and phrase you can think of that describes the image you want, even vague abstract terms such as ‘spooky, gloomy, sad, otherworldly’ etc.  As soon as you find something that is near what you’re after, click on the shot to get to its download page.  Lower down that same page, there will be a ‘see similar images’ option.  Click this and you will get a new search of images similar to that one.  By this method of searching similar images, you can often find your way eventually to the shot you want.  Download comp images before paying for the final shot, and play around with your photo manipulation software.  Only when you are happy that the images give you the final result you’re happy with, pay to download the full size version.

I am going to be self publishing a horror novel in time for Halloween this year, and the search for stock images for the cover was causing me much despair.  I searched and re-searched both stock sites I usually use, to no avail, and in the end I searched a site I usually avoid due to its high costs.  Within minutes I found the perfect shots and was so relieved I actually did dance around my living room with glee.  Never rule out a site because it’s too expensive, keep it for last resort searches.  It’s better to pay a little more for the right shot, than less for one that doesn’t really fit.  A few hours with Gimp and I have a cover I’m happy with, and one that is near to what I originally imagined for the book.

Stock photo sites are a nightmare to negotiate, but with time, planning, and strategy, you will find what you need.

The Trials of Nahda ~ Sinclair V-Log PA884/R

blog size 350 wide

The third volume in The Sinclair V-Logs is now available for your e-reader

Many thanks once again to JL Stratton for doing the cover.

 

You know the difference between fantasy and reality, right?

Sam Sinclair thought so too, until his boss sent him to Nahda, to arrest a museum researcher for stealing an ancient artefact.

Until the pair find themselves trapped deep below an abandoned fusion reactor, Sam had never had occasion to doubt what was real and what was not.

As events unfold, forcing him to embrace the possibility that what he always believed to be just fantasy, could indeed be very real, his life comes crumbling down around him.

Finding himself now a fugitive of the law, left for dead by his prisoner, and still trapped within the underground city, Sam struggles to accept the evidence of his own eyes.

Some things are impossible aren’t they?  Sam thought so too, but what he experienced forced him to look at the universe in a different light.

The Trials of Nahda can be purchased at Amazon and Smashwords on the following links.  Paperback copies will be available in a few days.

Amazon usa

Amazon uk

Smashwords

 

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.

image

 

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.

cooney pan

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.

Delectus Morbidium is now available

delectus cover_ebook 500 wide

 

I am happy to announce that my anthology of horror stories is now available to purchase in both paperback and ebook formats.

This book contains 20 tales of horror, starring many of my facebook friends who all donated their names to my characters.  This unique collaboration is now available for you to enjoy.

This book contains adult themes, and therefore is not suitable for under 18’s.

Click here for all details and links.

Bygora Vandos – new release now available

front 300 wide

I am delighted to be able to announce that my latest space opera, Bygora Vandos, is now available.

All the purchase links are now up, click here

To read an excerpt from Bygora Vandos, click here

Brand new release – Acts of Life

acts_of_life_tiny

 

I have great pleasure in being able to finally announce that my latest science fiction novel is finally out.  It will take a day or two or Amazon links to go live, but paperbacks can be purchased now from Lulu.com and e-books from smashwords,com

I wrote Acts of Life in twenty days during last November’s NaNoWriMo and am very proud of it.  I hope you enjoy it.

Here is the link to the Acts of Life page, where the blurb and buy links can be found.

Here is the link to the page where you can read 3 excerpts from Acts of Life.

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.

A Shoutout for JL Stratton, Cover Artist.

I want to give a big shout out for my awesomely talented cover artist, JL Stratton.

383686_2431659716850_276709325_n

This talented guy now has his own page here at my blog so all authors looking for a cover artist can get in touch with him.

Endorsed by the Great & Mighty (part 4)

dwayne with floxham