Cover Reveal Party & Giveaway!

Howdy gang! The day has finally come... Feast your peeps on the cover of my upcoming novelette, Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1:


Ain't she just the prettiest? To say I'm a proud peacock is an understatement. What's the story about? In the words of Emeril, BAM!

***


Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”

Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried.

Life has pummeled her heart into one big, lonely callus. She has no siblings, both parents were dead by sixteen, and her last grandparent—and caretaker—was in the ground before she turned twenty-one. She’s the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thinks…

“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”

Suddenly, instead of burying it with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

BLOOD FUGUE, by E.J. Wesley, is the first of the MOONSONGS books, a series of paranormal-action novelettes. At fewer than 13k words, BLOOD FUGUE is the perfect snack for adventurous readers who aren’t afraid of stories with bite.

Available via Amazon and most eBook retailers September 2012


***

But this isn't all about me, no sir or madam. As a part of the celebration, I'd like to introduce you to the fabulous cover artist, Vic Caswell of Sketcher Girl Studios, as well as give out some sweet prizes--including advance reader copies of Blood Fugue and some $$$ toward a Sketcher Girl cover of your very own. More on that after the interview...

Meet Vic, cover artist extraordinaire.

ME (EJ) - How'd you get into the illustration and design business? 

VIC - I actually don't have very much formal training in art. I took a year and a half in high school and one class in college, but i've studied on my own like a woman obsessed for most of my adult life- devouring texts, watching tutorials, mentally deconstructing pieces I love. For writing, finding the blogging community and Nathan Bransford's (all hail his name!) forums/blog are an invaluable tool. In the visual arts, deviantart.com is just as valuable. There, your work gets criticized and torn-apart and built-up whether you want it to or not. And that kind of feedback... well, that's helped me grow more than anything.

But I was never confident enough in my work until Emily White (a blogging friend) approached me to do her cover art back when she was planning on self-publishing her debut novel ELEMENTAL. Spencer Hill Press ended up snagging ELEMENTAL and keeping the artwork I'd done for that. Then, they asked if I was interested in producing the art for the sequel FAE (which I got to even take the photography for!). Kate Kaynak (the owner of SHP) then asked if I'd be interested in more coverwork.

That's when my hubs told me that maybe I should go into business doing cover art. We went live in ... june ... my memory is crap. And so far i've completed five covers and am working on my sixth. It's a dream come true!  :)

ME - Why do book covers? Any favorites or specific inspiration?

VIC - Aw man. Because I love them! Seriously! I love books SOOOOO much. I even try to write (though my craft isn't anywhere near publication ready at this point). But as I've been hanging around online learning about publication, it's become apparent to me how vital cover art is. Not only for sales, but for the author to get the RIGHT sales. 

Sales to the customers that will actually enjoy the book. A cover--above all else--should be a visual representation of the story held within the pages. Providing the right image is almost like making a promise to the reader, saying, 'if you like this image, if it intrigues you, you'll like the story it represents.'

I want authors to succeed. I know how much heart and time and work goes into crafting a story. And for that to happen, they have to get their books into the hands of the RIGHT readers. that's my inspiration. Match-making, in a more exciting way than smoochies. Helping readers and stories find each other. :)

ME - Do you specialize in a specific medium? (Photography, pencils, paints, strictly digital, etc.)

VIC - Honestly... ok, it's like this: there is SO MUCH out there in the world to experience, to feel, to do... and i want to try it all. It's kind of my approach to life... in a much more restrained way (because i'm a chicken :P) but in art... there is no danger in trying different things. New mediums... they're like tasting a new flavor of cupcake... delicious! So... not really. 

In my heart I would use whatever medium I think would be appropriate for a work. But in actuality, I think there are mediums that I'm more proficient at than others, as well as styles that I'm more comfortable with. Photography and digital manipulation are pretty comfortable to me. And when it comes to traditional art, I feel most comfortable with an ink pen and either watercolors or colored pencils.

Darker, twisty, creepy, goofy styles are more natural for me... but I LOVE trying new things... and I always think my work isn't THAT dark... though the elderly people at this art show I displayed my work in last week were eyeing me in a... ummm... kind of scared way. O.O

ME - What's your design process like? 

VIC - Ooh! USUALLY, this is the process: I read your manuscript (doesn't need to be finalized). Honestly, I decide if this is something I want my art connected to. (Seriously, you have to be writing something REALLY offensive for me to pass on it...) Then I give you a call and we run through some questions to see how our visions mesh on the story. (Because sometimes authors see their stories CRAZY different than readers.) We discuss design and palette and whatnot. Also, this is when we discuss and arrange for payment.... if you need to make installments of whatever.

Then I work on mock-ups. Usually, I produce from 3-5 different (very) rough designs. Some will probably be illustrated, some with model images I already have on hand and manip and whatnot. Then you look at them and narrow it down to 3 for me to continue with. Also, at this point, if you decide to go with a model on your cover, we will go through casting at this time. 

I don't use stock photography, because although it is inexpensive you can't obtain exclusive rights to stock art... this means your cover art could be used on someone else's cover- which leads to all kinds of disgust and confusion for readers. I have a pool of models registered with SGS.
Then I work like crazy and you don't hear from me for a couple to a few weeks. Then I send you the next round of mock-ups and you choose the one design we go with. Then it's a whole lot of back and forth of tweaking and suggestions until we are both happy. Then it's paperwork. Then it's REVEAL TIME!!! whoo hoo!!!  (ME - Whoo Hoo!!! indeed.)

The amount of time it takes varies wildly depending on many things, not limited to, but including: how many other projects I have going on at the moment, when your book is going to be coming out, and if I'm having difficulty getting the image just right--because sometimes creativity needs time.

ME - What kinds of projects are your favorites to work on? 

VIC - As a reader, I LOVE MG, YA, and NA (ME - WOOT FOR NA!). Psychologically, this is an intriguing age-span to me. As far as genre goes, I love sci-fi... not so much militaristic scifi though... fantasy of all kinds, contemporary, horror, humorous characters, adventurous stories, MAGICAL stuff!, CREATURES!!!! OHMYGOODNESS!!! I love critterz soooo much! 

I'm a little uncomfortable with romance... because, you know... I don't know why. Just am. But I've done a cover for a romance. Ummm... yeah. When I read a good story, I watch it like a movie in my head. So any story that can take me to that place where I'm all wrapped up and carried away will inspire the heck out of me.  :)

ME - How do we find out more about Sketcher Girl Studios and your services?

VIC - Linksies? I got them! But first, I want to let anyone who is interested know that I'm not scary. Have any questions at all, and I'm totally happy to help as much as I'm able, don't hesitate to ask. No such thing as a stupid question and all that.

ME - Oh my goodness, gang! I can't say enough about Vic. Her artistic acumen speaks for itself, so let me tell you about what she's like to work with. She's beyond sweet, super dedicated, incredibly supportive, punctual, original--basically an author's dream cover artist. Seriously, when I did my checklist for cover wants, Vic nailed them all. If you need some cover work, website design, etc. done, do yourself a favor and check her out.

And just to prove I'm not a selfish pig, I'm going to give you a little nudge in Vic's direction...

BLOOD FUGUE COVER PARTY GIVEAWAY

PRIZES

1 Grand Prize: $50 toward the Sketcher Girl service of your choice. (Details provided when you claim your prize.)

2 First Prizes: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Also Rans: I'm giving out an unspecified number of Blood Fugue ARCs to random entrants, just to say thanks for joining in the fun!

How to win: Fill out the Form of Doom below. That's it!

Rules and such: Contest is closed as of Friday August 31, 2012. Family members can't win. Only one entry per person will be allowed. Grand prize: Subject to Sketcher Girl, LLC terms and conditions. If Vic says you're cool, I'll send her $50 and she'll bill you for the balance. You have until December 31, 2012 to claim the Grand prize. First prizes: You'll have 10 days from the time of notification to send me your mailing address. After that, I'll pick a new winner. Also Rans: Follow the rules found within the ARC. Winners of Grand and First prizes will be notified via eMail and posted on this blog Friday, September 7, 2012.  I reserve the right to void any entry should I detect shenanigans.

THE FORM OF DOOM



66 comments:

  1. Uh huh. I see her angle. She reads the MSs first. Sneaky way to get your hands one some ARCs. LOL Kidding. Congrats, EJ, on your cover reveal, and great interview. I enjoyed reading about Vic and her art. :)

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    1. Never thought about collecting ARCs, Melissa! :-) But Vic is seriously dedicated to getting into the story for sure.

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  2. Excited for you, EJ!
    Vic, reading the manuscript first is smart. The illustrator my publisher uses reads the books first, and I think that makes a huge difference in the artwork. Glad you get to do something you enjoy so much!

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    1. No doubt, Alex. Seriously don't know how someone can design a good cover without reading the story.

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  3. Congrats to you and Vic!! Fun cover and cool sounding story. And I don't know how someone could come up with a good cover without reading the story first, though I know it happens all the time.

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  4. YAY for BLOOD FUGUE!!!!
    hope you get lots of interest!
    later good sir!

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    1. Still kind of wish I'd have went with "Family Fugue" btw... just for the humor!

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  5. Wild, intriguing cover! The cover pays homage to the graphic novel.

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    1. Thanks Jenny! I'm definitely influenced by comics and graphic novels as a writer, so I was seriously pleased by Vic's interpretation of my story, as you can imagine. Thanks for stopping by!

      EJ

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  6. Congrats on the cover reveal! I'm glad to be part of the party. And awesome inverview, Vic!

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  7. EJ and Vic, that cover is AWESOME!!!! And it's so cool to see how it all works between author and illustrator. Thanks for the fun interview, and for sharing your "baby" with all of us :)

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    1. Thank YOU for stopping by, Julie. :-) I thought Vic's interview was just too good as well.

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  8. Great cover and terrific blurb. Congrats!

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  9. Kept hearing about this today and thought I'd come check it out. You have some awesome bloggers getting the word out by the way.

    The cover is awesome, and I LOVE the premise. Can't wait to read!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by S.L.! Very nice to meet you, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the cover. Vic is a talented lady for sure. :-)

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  10. So exciting! I love Indian stuff...can't wait to read it!
    The cover is amazing! Vic so nice to meet you and learn about your process! I'm intrigued~

    Congrats EJ and Vic :D

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    1. Thanks Ella! Your blog post was too sweet ... I'll share the spotlight with a hound any day! :-)

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  11. Congratulations, EJ! :D This is so exciting!

    P.S. I wish I would've seen the reveal sign-up in time. My apologies. :(

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    1. No worries at all, Carrie! Just grateful you stopped by to say 'hey'. :-) Thanks for tweeting about the cover, too.

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  12. Congratulations! Fantastic cover. It's intense. I really like the title to your book too.

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    1. Thanks Christine! Really appreciate the encouragement.

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  13. Fantastic interview! And I love that you read the manuscript and have feedback with the author. That's very important in designing the perfect cover to fit everyone's vision. :)

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  14. Love your blurb - you totally had me hooked, and the cover rocks!

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    1. Thanks Tyrean! I think it's a fun read for sure!

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  15. Great cover! The story sounds intriguing, too. And Vic's art is amazing! I checked out her site and was very impressed.

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    1. Thanks J. Lea! Can't recommend Vic enough. :0)

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  16. Good interview and what an eye catching cover. Congrats on your release.

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  17. Love your cover! Good luck with the book!

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  18. The cover is awesome! I love the colors- they really pop and draw in your eyes. It was fascinating to learn more about the artist. Her story was so inspiring and I am happy for her that she is getting to do what she loves. Wishing both of you much success!
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks Jess! Vic is truly an artist at heart, and she's chasing her dreams just like the rest of us. Totally proud to have her work associated with my own.

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  19. Good luck, EJ! It's been fun to be involved in a small way.

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    1. Vicki, thank you so much for the tweets, etc. today! You helped in such a big way, and I'm so grateful to have blog/writing buddies like you. :-)

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  20. Awesome, EJ! I LOVE the cover and the process behind it. Good luck!

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  21. Congrats! I absolutely love the cover, it's stunning. :) I think being a book cover designer would be fun. Good luck with everything!

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  22. wow, what an eye-catching cover!! Congrats to you and congrats to Vic and her amazing artistic talent.

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  23. Congrats EJ! The cover is AWESOME... Nice work VIC!

    I also read the story/manuscript before I do an illustration.

    ALL the best to both of you and especially you EJ!

    Michael

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    1. Thanks Michael! You know, I don't think I realized until recently you were in the book illustration/design business. Hmm, we'll have to have you over for an interview soon! :-)d

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  24. Great cover and great interview! I loved hearing about Vics' design process. Best of luck to the both of you and huge successes in your futures. :)

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  25. So much fun! I love hearing the story behind the cover!

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    1. I thought Vic's interview answers were outstanding as well, Deniz. I worked with her, and still learned a lot about her process. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  26. It's so nice to meet you through Julie's blog. Love the cover and the interview was so enjoyable.

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    1. Welcome Susan! Thrilled to meet you as well. :-) Glad you enjoyed the cover and interview, and hope to continue to see you around!

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  27. Congratulations E.J. I thought I commented above but I can be computertarded sometimes. Please stop by my blog--there's a slight mention.

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  28. Congratulations on your awesome cover and release, EJ! It reminds me a bit of Tim Burton. I won an awesome t-shirt from Vic when she went into business. I love it!

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  29. Awesome cover and party! Way to go, EJ.

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  30. I've seen your book everywhere the past two days. The prizes are really great, too. I'll have to pick up your book when it comes out next month.

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  31. Hey EJ;

    Thought I was following, but ya know how it goes sometimes. You see a blogger around, feel you know them from their comments, visit a few blog posts . .

    Anyway, this sounds awesome. I filled out the Form of Doom - and must I say I hate these forms, though your's was easy enough - but I'm really not interested in a book cover. Love love love Vic, but I'm not ready for self publishing. Wouldn't mind reading and reviewing your novella however.

    Congrats on the upcoming release, and the cover is awesome.

    And this was a great interview with Vic *hi Vic, I stopped by your blog*

    ......dhole

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  32. Awesome cover. Seems to jump out at you. Very interesting interview, too.

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  33. EJ--your story sounds intriguing! Can't wait to read it!

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  34. It's cool that Vic doesn't use stock stuff. It would be frustrating to see your cover elements on someone else's!

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  35. E Freakin' J!

    I'm soooo stinkin' proud of you, I can't even tell you! I just want to give you a big hug! So stoked for this! I can't wait until September! I want to read it now! :D

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  36. Terrific interview, EJ! Vic, the cover looks smashing!

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  37. Well, the cover is certainly eye-catching. The story is really something. It definitely looks to be a good read.

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  38. Love the cover, EJ--LOVE it! Great color scheme, eye-catching without being gaudy, unique and intriguing. L O V E it! And I'm really sorry I dropped the ball on your release party--life kinda swooped me up into a Dorothy tornado there for a bit. Hope you got lots of exposure, and look forward to reading the book!

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