Saturday, August 31, 2013

Anatomy of a Cover: Gravity

I often like to share before/after images of some of the stock I've used on my covers. I'd have to say the most complex covers listed in order (most difficult at the top) are:

1. Impulse
2. Twist
3. Gravity
4. Sterling

I lucked out with Gravity. Impulse has so many layers and I had to put a face on the hooded man, do SO much work to the female model, including drawing in a shirt because the original was sheer, and layer several backgrounds. Sterling kind of fell together and Twist required a lot of tweaking since the model was a redhead and again, I combined a lot of backgrounds.

I had several backgrounds and models to choose from for Gravity, but once I narrowed down the model, I had to select the background. I was leaning toward snow because of the time of year, but I thought about Knox and it all clicked with the ocean. Then Northern Lights - the infamous bar - and that clicked.


So these were the primary backgrounds used. I think I only used a very small slice of the first picture; sometimes you can't even notice where I use an element. I actually used the first pic as a primary for Impulse.  But the third pic is the primary image (I did some blurring since the water was crisp throughout) Oh, it looks sooo easy to just snap a couple of pics together, but I must have had about 10 different versions because I just couldn't get the northern lights in there the way I wanted. Then it's flipping the pic and deciding which way looks best, etc.


Below is the model - the before and after. The hardest thing was actually keeping her flowy hair in the shot, because anyone who works in graphic design will tell you that it's no easy feat to keep those little strands and erase backgrounds. Especially backgrounds that are STRIPED! argh. Took forever.


Look closer. Are you seeing the differences?
1. Her ring was removed
2. Brushed out her complexion, including on her hands.
3. Darkened her hair (darkening is actually hard because you have to retain highlights so it doesn't look cartoony)
4. Added scars on the neck
5. Look at the face closely. Do you see it? I masked another models face across her nose and did a little work on her lip.  I had to try to get it as close to Silver as possible.
6. Worked on that hairline
7. Part of #5 involved removing that heavy shadow on her face where the cheekbone is.

Luckily, this model (aside from the facelift) didn't require as much work as the one on Impulse. Gods, that model needed work. She was pretty in the original, but not Silver. Not to mention her clothes. This worked because Silver occasionally wears a leather jacket, and some of the other models were in flowy outfits that just weren't something Silver would wear.

This model also worked out because she's not a popular one - at least not in this pic. Most people won't put an image like this on their cover where models are looking away or down. I guess that's where I step out of the box. I think body language can be telling, and just as intriguing as another pretty face staring at the camera. It makes you wonder what she's thinking about. Is she melancholy? Happy? Why is she facing the ocean?


I took a little time to share because I'm almost done with this round of editing for MB5. I worked tirelessly yesterday and knocked back a lot of chapters. I've been looking at stock images and thinking about cover design, because I'll be working on that very shortly, even though I don't have a set title. That's always a last minute thing.

But I'm pretty sure even if I call it "Peanut Butter", you guys will buy. Right?
Hello?

Bueller?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Book Bloggers: LAST CALL

Last call for book bloggers to participate in the SEVEN SERIES BLOG TOUR. This is an upcoming paranormal romance series and book 1 will be released on October 22, 2013.

Last day to sign up: September 1, 2013
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1jxT3wjISGvo9r0i6alWzuq3GYG8hU4iQbpevGRFKJ9A/viewform



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crunch Time

I'm beginning to feel the pressure of the clock as the time period for beta reads and editing begin to lock in. Then I start thinking about cover design and when I need to start that process, and then I make a pot of coffee.

Writing is a hobby. Publishing is a career. And there are a lot of job functions entailed, each requiring a set amount of time for completion, and sometimes there are self-imposed deadlines. I've still got a number of things to wrap up with Seven Years!



This is why I don't set release dates this early. Did it once, and it didn't work out. I'll lock and load those dates the closer we get to "go time". For now, I'm saying a tentative December release. And please don't go jotting December 1st on your calenders.

My online time will now be sporadic. I'm really referring to Facebook, but I'm going to make a concerted effort to be visible. I don't like to disconnect from my readers, but I have GOT to finish this round of editing so I can start one more before it goes to the betas. I have about three weeks worked out in my head and that is crazy to me, because I'm meticulous with my editing. These are the pre-edits that occur after the revisions are over, where I'm now fine-tuning sentences and making corrections.

I've been working from 6am until around 9pm. I have a few breaks between so the madness doesn't seep in, and last night I devoted several hours to television and edits on another novel to retain my sanity. Today I watched an hour of Dr. Phil and I think that might have contributed to my insanity.

I'm even sitting here in my chair with earplugs. There's no sound except the air conditioner, and even that's distracting. It's a preventative measure since yesterday, the weed-whackers were in full force. I like to hear my thoughts. I need to hear the character's voices in my head. I don't play music because the tone and words bleed into the writing. Some authors feed off that, but I like my story to be pure, and not have a scene play out a certain way because I was listening to that Nickelback song on Sunday.

I'm still very much engaged in Mageri 5, so much so that when I hit certain scenes, I'm literally laughing out loud, gasping, feeling my heart race, stepping away from the computer and pacing; and enjoying the scenes as I intended to write them. That's how involved I get with my story, and that's how it went for the last books.

So, here's some music I've added to my playlist on Youtube. I think this is going to let you play all the songs, but honestly, Youtube confuses me sometimes. Once the video begins, you can pull down my playlist on the upper left corner and scroll through the songs.

See you on the Dark side.



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Darkest Joy: Cover Reveal

I get to be part of a cover reveal for another author for a change, which is super fun and exciting! This is something a little different from paranormal if you like the dark romantic suspense stories. Age group is New Adult. For a sample of her work, be sure to check out "A Terrible Love", with an ending that took me by surprise.


Title: THE DARKEST JOY
Author: Marata Eros
Expected release date: February 18, 2014
Genre: Dark Romantic Suspense
Age Group: New Adult
Cover Designer and website: Simon & Schuster


And without further adieu....




Book Description:
A sexy and poignant new adult novel from New York Times bestseller Marata Eros, about two lost souls who find each other in the wake of tragedy, only to learn that love may not be enough to heal the wounds of a dark and tortured past...
Twenty year-old Brooke Starr has escaped the aftermath of a brutal tragedy by abandoning her music studies and moving north to take a summer position as a part-time deck hand on a deep-sea fishing boat. When her survivor’s guilt becomes unbearable, Brooke realizes there's only one thing she can do to finally erase the pain.

Deep sea fisherman, Chance Taylor, has just wrapped his guitar set at the local saloon when he sees the silhouette of a young woman in repose, the full moon highlighting her shadow as she plummets from a pier too high for diving... into water too cold to survive. Without thinking, he plunges in after her, saving Brooke from drowning.

As Chance works to save her from her own emotional fragility, Brooke finally begins to learn how to save herself. But when their chemistry begins to consume them, Brooke withdraws. She’s determined to be the master of her own destiny... until the past catches up with her in a cataclysmic plan so dark, so final... it threatens their love and their very lives.



Author Bio
Marata Eros is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of dark, romantic new adult novels, including A Terrible Love and its companion novel A Brutal Tenderness. A passionate writer who loves interacting with her readers, Marata lives in South Dakota with her husband.







Author social media links:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Werewolves or Shifters?

I thought I'd clarify since I've been seeing some refer to these characters in my SEVEN SERIES as werewolves, when in fact Shifters and Werewolves are not the same.

If you've read the Mageri books, then you know all about Finn. He's a regular guy who shifts into a wolf. There will be Shifter traits and rules that differ in my books than others you may have read. That's the fun of penning your own world. :-) What I love is writing fantasy characters in a realistic way, where it's not so "fantastical" that the reader cannot relate to them. I really want readers to connect to the characters in this series, so it's not going to be overly saturated with heavy world-building. But you will understand more about the Mageri Shifters - their way of life and how they they not only live with each other, but how they interact with other Shifters who are not of the same animal they are. More than anything, just get ready to swoon and enjoy the romance.

The characteristics I'm listing are the most common beliefs, and of course they vary from not only one book to the next, but the popular lore that exists within each country. But, I'm not going down that road. So let me list the cliches:




WEREWOLVES - Lycanthrope
- Are "children of the moon",  influenced by the full moon which forces them to transform.
- Cannot transform at will.
- Are often killed by silver or silver bullets
- Are more of a "Creature" than an average wolf, like a humanoid/animal.
- Are typically violent in creature form.
- Has a complete blackout and remembers nothing of the transformation.
- What they are is typically considered a "curse" and can be spread through a bite, although there are a lot of ways I've seen depicted.







SHIFTERS (aka SHAPESHIFTERS)
- Are common in Native American folklore, which is why you often see that association. They are not influenced by the moon and can shift into their animal at will.
- In the Mageri world, there are restrictions in that a Shifter shares their body with only one animal. They cannot choose what they want to shift into. But a Shifter can be a wolf, cougar, bird, etc.
- Their "gift" is not a curse - it's something they are born with that passes down to their children.
- Their animal does not necessarily have violent tendencies
- In some cases, they control their animal, or at least remember the shift. In Mageri world, it depends, and you'll learn those rules.
- In some lore, they can read the minds of other animals. Yeah, I don't get into that kind of thing in Mageri world.






 What I enjoy about writing paranormals is making them as believable as possible. Stripping away some of the cliches, or rearranging truths. The concept of Mageri world is: What if paranormals really did exist? I wanted to focus on wolves to show pack life, but you're going to see Shifters who are of another animal, and I love writing about the division among even themselves.

The series is very focused on the characters and couples, but it's also going to explore how Shifters live and operate. Especially after the history you've learned in the Mageri books that they were once slaves to other Breeds,seen as a lower subspecies. Some Breeds have an inherent need to dominate each other, but that is beginning to change as they have created laws.

Nope. Werewolves do not exist in Mageri world, so I hope that clears up the difference. I also don't write about trolls, fairies, or mermaids. But I do have some paranormals you have yet to meet, and they'll come out in future books down the line. The Seven Series will also introduce you to a concept quite different that will also appear in other books. I also wrote a stand-alone about a Gemini I hope one day to get ready for publication.

And then there's that Chitah series...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Goodies

Let the Seven Series mania begin! What you guys don't know is I've been working on some really cool swag for future giveaways, aside from these really amazing bookmarks! Keep watching my Facebook page as at any time I could be giving away some of these babies in advance.

Some of the swag I bought is in the form of jewelry, charms, and things that are unique to the characters. I have one I want to keep SO bad, but it's going to be for you die-Hard Seveners. It's so pretty. But will have other fun stuff, as well as more Mageri giveaways.

Yep, I'm planning on really fun stuff for Mageri 5 later this year, and on the blog tour.

So, a little something that I've been doing for myself is creating a special pendant necklace for each series as a whole, or stand-alone book. I'm getting the feeling this will probably be a trend for me.

The jade dragon I already had and it represents the Mageri Series.

The key represents the Seven Series. I know, the key on the covers is gold, but I don't wear gold. I'm a silver kind of girl.

The anchor represents Closer.

I'd rather not do one for each and every book or I'm going to look like a charm whore. I like having a little something I've specially selected to connect me with the stories I've written. Although, again, that one for Seven Years is going to be soooo sweet that I want it! lol




Those of you who end up falling for Austin Cole are going to w-a-n-t.

Just an update on work, I'm approaching 50% in with the Mageri edit. The first edit always takes longer because it involves fine-tuning sentences, aside from the basic editing work. After that, it should go a lot quicker the next round. I'm scheduling the beta read sometime in September and the editor gets it in November. Somewhere during this time, I'll be scrambling for a cover design and coming up with a frickin' frapping name for this book.

Thanks to everyone who is behind Seven Years. The Goodreads is now showing almost 1,000 peeps have added it to their TBR list. That's just amazing! The blog tour is being scheduled and there are always lot sof fun things with the tours: Guest posts, interviews, reviews, and a giveaway. Once I get all the info, I'll update my "Blog Tour" link on my website with all the bloggers participating. I got a lot of inquiries, in addition to a lot of requests for ARCs which will be provided to those upon approval.

Be sure to hang out with me on Facebook. You may have missed it, but if you scroll down the wall, you'll see the very first teaser I've posted for Mageri book 5.

Sometime after the release of Mageri 5, I'll announce more information about the novella which I plan to write to this series. I have yet to write it, but I want to, and it will be part of the series, but more of a companion novella. I can't say much of anything at this point since it's not even penned. Just know that it's on my radar.


The Mageri world has just opened up. So much to see.

SEVEN YEARS ON GOODREADS
SEVEN YEARS GIVEAWAY

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another book written

I'm up early this morning with a coffee drip, reading reviews. I really love seeing that readers enjoy the series because they don't feel it's predictable, repetitious, or unoriginal. That's one reason I don't want to keep extending a series beyond its life, because that's what often happens. I don't want to write a book that isn't rewarding, that is just a setup for the next book, is filler, or has a cliffhanger ending. I want each book to be a tasty morsel that is satisfying until the end - a story that completes itself, while still working into the overall arc. I'm grateful that many of you took time to write a review, even if it's not in your comfort zone and you've never done it before. Yay readers!

As I write this new PNR Seven Series, I'm finding a different kind of freedom in new characters to focus on with each book, and it's been quite a fun challenge. Last night, I wrote the last line to Book 3 in the Seven Series. Woooo hoooo! Yeah, it's always kind of sad on the last chapter when I know it's wrapping up, but it's a GREAT feeling to knock it out and feel ahead of myself for a change. Things were so different a year ago. Man, were they different.

Each set of characters has their own struggles, challenges, and hardships that I think some readers may connect with.

The funny thing is, I have no idea what book four is going to be about. I have the overall series mapped out in a general sense, but I'm not planning book to book. So it'll be a surprise when I sit down and begin typing out those first lines. Right now, I'm focusing on MB5 again and the edits for Seven Series Book 2. (SSB2? LOL)

2014 is going to be a busy year. As I'm looking over my files, I realize that with the Seven Series, I have a total of 2 books to redraft, 3 books to write, and in my files I have 13 books to publish along with more books to write to finish those series' out. On top of new ideas I get in my head. Yeah. Very busy year!

Thanks again to all the bloggers, readers (and authors!) who helped support my book cover release. I'm expecting the third proof today in the mail and oh yeahhhhhhhh........

Be sure to enter the giveaway! I'm also expecting bookmarks in the mail this week so you can hang out on my Facebook wall and wait for another giveaway. I probably have held more giveaways than I should, but I really do enjoy trying to give back to the fans, because you guys are awe-some. Not just saying that either. I've visited a few author walls and you guys are the best support.

The giveaway! Won't be the last, but it'll be the first for the series paperbacks. Good luck!

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/62450-seven-years


And for those who missed it (because that happens)...



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Seven Years: Cover Reveal !


I want to thank you guys for the enthusiasm you've shown for my new series! Yeah, I'm excited as all get-out to reveal the cover for Seven Years (Seven Series #1). This is a paranormal romance series, but I think it will appeal to those who read contemporary romance.


TITLE: Seven Years
SERIES: Book 1 of the Seven Series 
AUTHOR: Dannika Dark  
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
COVER ARTIST: Dannika Dark
RELEASE DATE: October 22, 2013

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF HERE!:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17856513-seven-years

IMPORTANT LINKS:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dannika-Dark-official/148451945238628
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Dannika-Dark/e/B005LXWZWM
FICTFACT: http://www.fictfact.com/authordetails.aspx?author_id=8967
NEWSLETTER: http://blogspot.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=af591baf596a907e8d46215bb&id=8bdf0521db



SYNOPSIS
Seven years ago, my world ended.
Seven years later, my new life began.

It's been seven years since Lexi Knight lost her brother in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of his death, her brother's best friend shows up unexpectedly - a man she hasn't seen since the funeral. He is no longer the boy Lexi once knew, but a dangerous-looking man with tattoos and dark secrets. He broke her trust and abandoned her family, yet what he reveals makes it impossible to stay angry. Lexi has been secretly infatuated with Austin since childhood, so finding out he's a Shifter just makes him sexier. Dammit.

Austin Cole has returned to the city where he grew up, and just in time. He's lived a hard life these past seven years, and the shadows of his past are threatening to destroy Lexi's family. It's time that she learned the truth about her brother, but there is a shocking twist that Austin never saw coming. Now he must protect her family when her mother and sister wind up in mortal danger. Will Lexi learn to accept the truth about who he is, and can Austin salvage a relationship from the ruins of their past?





FULL PAPERBACK COVER





TEASER

The closer I snuggled up to Austin, the more I craved that cozy familiarity—more than I would have cared to admit. I’d missed him. How do you not miss someone who was a huge chunk of your childhood and young-adult life who disappeared off the face of the earth? Almost every memory I had from kindergarten to age twenty involved Austin Cole.
The next thing I knew, my cheek rested on his bicep and I tucked my body against his like a puzzle piece. Just when I closed my heavy eyelids, he groaned.
Oh God, please don’t let him wake up now.
It was deep and guttural, and he shifted on his right side, facing me.
“You okay?” he murmured.
I didn’t reply. I played dead and pretended I was asleep. It seemed like a good plan to avoid the embarrassment of explaining why I was latched on to him like a man-sucking leech.
A rough, warm hand cupped my cheek and I felt him scoot down a little. Maybe he thought I had fallen asleep, because his thumb brushed over my right eyelid softly.
Five times. I counted.
When his lips lightly touched mine, my brain just shut down. It was a soft, almost nonexistent kiss, but I felt it all the way down to my toes. Then it zinged back up to my hips and damn if I didn’t moan.
Now we were both aware I wasn’t asleep and he was kissing me. But it didn’t stop. His kiss pressed a little bit harder and tingles roared through my body, and my breath was shaky and erratic.
When his tongue touched my lip, I quickly opened my mouth and kissed him back.
Hard.
Deep.
Kissed him like I’d fantasized about doing for the last seven years.




Please share!




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Taking a break

Didn't these come out great? I wanted to share a few items you can find in my Mageri store (check out the links on my blog menu bar).

I've finished with another round of revisions for Mageri five, and now I'm moving into the editing stage, which will have as many rounds possible before it goes to the betas.

But I'm giving myself a breather - to step away from the project for a few days and work on other projects. I probably wrote 6K this morning on the third book in the Seven Series before line edits on Six Months.

I was feeling a bit frazzled at one point, so I decided to head out for ice cream. This is why you need to step away from your work. Although in my case, it always involves getting in that damn car. As soon as I roll up to Walgreens, how I'm going to end the book I'm writing comes to mind. While I'm scribbling this down on the back of a receipt, I start thinking about one of the characters in the series and BAM, I know what's going to happen in that store. Nothing like what I had expected or tossed around - totally left field. I haven't written this character's book yet and don't even know which one it will be in the series, but something magical happens when I get in my car.

It feels great to have pieces lock together, because I only plot so far. There are times when I'm writing a character and I haven't fleshed them out all the way. I felt like I nailed Simon (no pun, but he'd love that I said that) from book one, and I totally get what he's about. But Justus was an enigma, and it wasn't until the later books that I began to understand what his back story was. It needed to be told because he centered the series for me.


And I keep getting asked so I'll say it again: MAGERI BOOK 5 is the last planned book in the Mageri Series. I have intentions for a final novella, but it will not be told in Silver's POV. It will be part of the series. Who knows, there may be other "Mageri universe" stories that branch off a little into a stand-alone book, but at this point, I'm looking forward to new projects centered in this Breed world I've created.

Hope you are too.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Found my Groove

Initially went I went to writing FT, I was bouncing between multiple projects. The problem with spreading yourself too thin is that it takes longer to get everything done, even though you can get more done, if that makes sense.

I had rotated days, but now I'm rotating projects. I'm currently at 80% completion on my 2nd revision of the Mageri 5 book. I should have it done in a few days. After that, I'm going to leap onto another project for a few days. I think it will help me go into the third MB5 edit with fresh eyes, rather than starting over immediately after finishing.

As you can expect with any Mageri book, you will reach points in the story that will have you dropping your jaw and gasping. I've done it myself a few times during my current read, and I already KNOW what's going to happen. ;-)


COVER REVEAL coming August 15th for SEVEN YEARS, and I'm sooooooooooooo excited. Enough to use a slew of vowel's. If you are a book blogger, see the previous post in my blog for how you can sign up for the Blitz. FACEBOOKERS: Please be sure during the reveal you like and share the pic! That is the only way the post will reach more people who might not have seen my message come up in their newsfeed. TY for your support!!





And thanks to all the reviewers on Amazon & B&N. I got up this morning and while having my coffee, read through some of the reviews. It's so nice to see how many have been enjoying the series, so if you've read one of my books, please think about posting a review wherever purchased! xoxo





In personal news, I always said I'd drive my car into the ground. I think that's happening. Today the door handle broke off. How does that even happen?? It's made getting in and out interesting. At least I fixed the air conditioning. Sort of. Sounds like the engine is tearing apart when I first turn on the car. I have to remind myself how much I'm saving by driving around a 98'. But you know, I've never owned a new car. I think I'll put that on my bucket list.

I'm debating on about having a giveaway this month. Will need to think of something good, and it may come from the Mageri store. Please be sure to check it out; the link is on my blog. I have a couple of snazzy items from there, and they came out great. They're available for anyone to buy who wants a piece of Mageri, and if there's something you'd like to see, give me a shout.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Attention Book Bloggers

Open call for book bloggers who would love to participate in a COVER REVEAL BLITZ for my upcoming paranormal romance series, SEVEN YEARS.

The COVER REVEAL will take place on August 15, 2013. All you have to do is click on the link below and put in your information and you'll be sent all the materials in advance so you can schedule the reveal.

SIGN UP HERE

SEVEN SERIES is Book 1 in the SEVEN SERIES.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Book release date: October 22, 2013
Cover Artist: Dannika Dark
Cover Reveal Host: Enchantress of Book Blog Tours

Thanks to all book bloggers for your continued support for the Mageri Series, and Indie authors!