Cover reveal, and interview with author Isabella Redwood

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I’m pleased to welcome Isabella Redwood author of the NA romantic thriller In The End.

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Author Isabella Redwood

Maiden Ink: Why do you write?

Isabella: Writing sets you free. There are no restrictions, rules or conventions you have to abide by. Your imagination is limitless and the ability to harness that potential into the written word is the ultimate fantasy.

Maiden Ink: Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?

 

Isabella: I do, giggles I was around eleven years old and whilst in the bath, I imagined being shrunk to a tiny size. Imagining all the adventures I would get up to, sliding on the soap and climbing the plug chain. I wrote the story shortly after.

Maiden Ink: In what ways has social media changed your self perception as a writer?

 

Isabella: I realized I wasn’t alone. There were so many other people who had the same desire and determination to create something they could be proud of. Any writer knows, it is not about the money, you don’t decide to be a writer to get rich. It is the pure love of that one story that makes you tingle in anticipation and not be able to stop till you have written the ending. Social media has enabled me to connect with fellow writers and find the most talented and inspiring people. I couldn’t recommend it enough for writers.

Maiden Ink: What does it take to finish a novel?

Isabella: For me, a lot of chocolate, sleep and dancing. I say I dream write and it is the truth. I have always had vivid dreams, a crazy imagination since childhood and many stories come to me through sleep. I will also dance. If you watch Grey’s Anatomy, you know how Meredith and Christina would dance to psych themselves up, yes that is me. I’m a geek. 😉 Sleep, dancing and chocolate, coupled with a giant cup of determination makes the perfect recipe for ‘getting it done’

 Maiden Ink: How will you celebrate the first sale of your book?

Isabella: I think a lap around the garden with my daughter on my shoulders, squealing with joy, will likely happen.

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In The End banner for YouTube and Google Plus

Maiden Ink: What makes your book unique to its genre market?

Isabella: I love my characters. They are real and flawed, nothing has come easy to them and I think that makes them relatable.

Maiden Ink: Why did you choose to write a romantic thriller?

Isabella: With the butterfly series and In The End I have completely changed my writing process. I used to write in no particular order and therefore had a clear idea what genre the book would fit into from the start, as I often wrote the ending or the action chapters first. With In The End, I wrote in order from beginning to end. I let the story tell me where it wanted to go initially and through lots of dream writing, planned out the rest in chronological order. In answer, I didn’t choose, it found its home as I wrote.

Maiden Ink: How would you describe your main character?

Isabella: She is a fighter and a survivor. Her spirit and determination to keep going forward, despite the many challenges she faced, draws me to her. She is funny and quirky and I would love to have her as a friend.

Maiden Ink: What has been your biggest publishing challenge thus far?

The financial aspects have been the most challenging. I wanted the book to be the best it could be and therefore paying for services such as editing and cover design were paramount. Having lots of outgoings and nothing coming in is difficult to explain to your partner, but to me, it was the desire to share my work with others that kept me going, as scary and exciting as that is.

Maiden Ink: What else are you currently working on?

Isabella: The butterfly series is confirmed as three books, with a possible bonus fourth. I have been writing the second book in the series, The Beginning and planning for the third. I have also been working on my science fiction novel, Touch, polishing it and a new wip.

Maiden Ink: Isabella, thank you for stopping by today. Now it’s time to reveal the cover that I was honored to designed for In The End!

 

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Release Date: April 7th 2015

You can pre-order In the End on Amazon now.

In The End on Goodreads

Follow Isabella: isabellaredwood.com

 Maiden Ink: Thank you for sharing about yourself and your writing! I wish you all the best.

Isabella: Thanks so much having me and please do check out my giveaway for the book launch. Three winners will receive a Butterfly Series goody bag containing a signed paperback copy of my book, and three pieces of butterfly themed jewellery, a bracelet, earrings and necklace. For pictures and entry instructions please visit my blog at isabellaredwood.com.

The giveaway is open internationally and no purchase is required.

 

 

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Book Launch Giveaway winners announced!

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Winners! Finally!

 

Thank you guys for all your support.

Credit: spring.org.uk

Credit: spring.org.uk

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Not all pirates are Jack Sparrow…

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Authors will spend relentless hours writing, rewriting, and editing their books and many of them will never be compensated for their time at even a minimum wage rate. I am not referring to only self-published authors. Anyone who has ever delved into creative expression knows what kind of time and dedication I’m speaking about. So please think twice before you watch a movie, read a book, or listen to a song that has been pirated. Stealing cheapens the multitude of hours a creative soul spent on their achievements. Please think about the golden rule when it comes to an artist’s creative property.

Don’t forget about The Last Order Book Launch Giveaway savvy!

Find out how you could win leather swag.

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Handcrafted Leather Bracers

Handcrafted Leather Bracers

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Leather Bracelet

A handcrafted leather bracelets or a pair of bracers could be yours.

To qualify for the random raffle pre-order or buy The Last Order  by February 17th and email a copy of your receipt to thelastordergiveaways@gmail.com.

The Book Launch Giveaway runs until February 17th. Your receipt must be dated on or before February 17th, 2015 to be eligible.

You will be entered to win the top prize a pair of bracers (arm-guards) with The Last Order’s symbol. And I’m also giving away custom leather bracelets with the crown on them. A random drawing will be held on Feb 20th to select the winners.

Here’s the tease. The more book orders received. The more leather bracelets I will be giving away!

Buy Links

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Be on the look out for the next giveaway in March that will require readers to create something! Thank you all! runs off stage

 

Be the Gatekeepers

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While doing some research online, I discovered an article that lumped all indie authors and their books into one category: a waste of money. The author’s goal was to inform the public on how to avoid buying a horrible indie book. No, I will not share the link because there was only a dash of truth in his rant. He was wrong for the most part because he forgot about so many writers who invest in their work.

This blog got me thinking about creativity in general and how much creative people struggle in silence.

Writers and Artists pour their souls into their projects for months or even years. Sleepless nights become common as their minds continue to spin wanting to make their creation the best it can be. They are dedicated souls and most people have no idea the angst creative people go through to create. Most of them struggle with ever sharing anything, knowing deep down that it will never even be close to the perfection they seek.

Even the brave ones are easily discouraged when they attempted to share their work. Without connections, a platform, or the money they need to advertise, their treasures will go unnoticed and many artists will even become depressed. Their art will no longer bring them joy, but pain. What once was something that helped them through dark-times will become the reason they live in the darkness.

Nothing pains me more than to see an artist who has fallen to the beast of bitterness. They no longer enjoy that part of their being, and they wish they could kill the creativity inside that reminds them of failures and only brings pain. This is not an uncommon story. Many great artists were never recognized as such until their bones were buried. I don’t even need to name their names because you know them. Most likely, friends have even told you how the best never get attention until their dead. And that’s just what you needed to here. (sarcasm)

The world has changed some for artists though. Esty has opened up a platform for artists sell to their work to others.  Tons of talented jewelry makers, designers, painters, and others fill the Esty marketplace it’s overwhelming. Film Festivals and digital cameras have allowed independent film-makers to compete where money once stopped them. And some have thrived. E-books and POD has done the same for authors, but masses of people upload files daily that never were invested in. This has created a stigma against self-published and indie authors. Just think about Esty and all the wonderful things you find from people sharing their creative projects.

But, the publishing word is still trying to exclude the independent presses and authors by pointing to the sloppy, unedited, poorly written, debauchery ridden, books and dismissing all who are independent of large publishing companies.

I believe this stigma can be undone. The indie world needs some kind of gatekeepers to make a difference. The answer to this problem seems quite easy. There are readers all around us. They can be the gatekeepers by supporting authors who have invested in their work. Some readers have already begun to find well done indie books that can compete with mainstream publishing houses. When an author chooses the independent route, the worry of them being lumped in with the stigma of self-published inspires them to invest in every aspect of publishing in hopes to set themselves apart.

Honestly, there is a ton of sub-par art out in this world. Films, art, music, and so on are released on a weekly basis because have they received a stamp of approval some company who had the money to produce a product. Not all gates are kept well. The wonderful thing about indie authors is that there are jewels among the swine. And finding the treasure is not as hard as you think. Let me challenge you to seek out the authors who are investing in their own work. You are a Gatekeeper for independent writers.

You don’t have to love their story, or their genre, to realize they have talent. Art is subjective. But, what you can do is watch for authors who invest in themselves. Watch for the writers who are working hard to improve no matter what is thrown at them. Encourage others when you see them working hard. Share positive reviews with others; it’s a boost that will help that creative soul continue their plight.

Being around creatively minded people most of my life I’ve seen very talented people who continue to go unrecognized, but would recognition fulfill them? No, but the words and support of truthful friends can be enough to keep them moving forward. Creative people don’t want the whole world to love what they create, most would settle for a few people to be moved by their work. Your support could be enough to keep them going.

One of the hardest things experienced in my life is a loved one who quit writing and doing anything creative for the most part. I spent years trying to encourage them to not. One of the reasons I started writing again was I wanted to inspire them. After years of misery at the thought of creating anything, they wrote this past week and they enjoyed it. This was my Christmas miracle. Let’s support artists and encourage them to keep creating. The world we live in has offered you, the reader, a great opportunity to be Gatekeepers of the independent artists.

 

Uniformity as an Author

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I like finding new authors I know from Twitter, Goodreads, or other groups and checking out their stuff. While doing this, I have noticed a few things that authors can do to help me and other potential readers in their search.

First, an author needs a good photo that they can consistently use for all their accounts. I recommend you hire a photographer, but if you can’t right away. Here are a few tips to get a better photo. Use your phone or have a friend take a pick with their camera. Here’s the trick. Utilize the natural light outside on an overcast day, or wait until the sun goes behind a cloud. If it’s too bright out, find a lightly shaded area. If you utilize the shade, you can brighten it up a bit with an app. Try a few different angles so you have options. Now that you have a nice photo, utilize it on all your sites. This makes it easier to find you and your books, and readers know they have found the correct author.

Next, why authors are not using the author page on Amazon confuses me. It’s free. Again, have the exact same photo you are using everywhere else and set up your author page on Amazon. I would say over 70% of the authors I check out do not have their author page set up. So sad.

Finally, why is your book on Amazon and not on Goodreads? Goodreads is free. Use the identical author info as you do on the Amazon page and the same photo, and you’re good. I use goodreads to keep up with books I’m interested in reading in the future. It is my reading to-do list. And when I find your book on Amazon or your website, but it’s not on goodreads how will I remember I wanted to read your book? I probably won’t. You are possibly loosing me as a future buyer and others as well.

Uniformity is a wonderful thing. It helps you the author been seen in many places across the internet and it makes it easy for potential readers to find you. I goggled my name and book title before writing this. My blog was the top link and from there a hypothetical reader can find my book easily. They can also be sure they have the correct author because my photos are all the same. This may sound like a no brainier to some, but with all the research I’ve done on fellow authors and their books lately. I’ve found this is not the case.

So, make it easier for me and other potential readers to find you and your books online by making your sites, blog, and social media accounts more uniform.

An Unforeseen Author

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I didn’t grow up reading like many authors. I grew up on films. I loved movies and not just current films. I watched films from the black and white era, mysteries, musicals, and more. I made my parents rent the film The Labyrinth every time we went to the video store. (Some of you have never rented from one of those. They’ve become extinct.) Instead of reading stories, I was watching them. I learned about plot and character from film.

Even though I didn’t read much, I liked the idea of books. The first book I read, other than children’s books, was a Nancy Drew mystery. I sat in my room on a Saturday and read the whole book. After that, I didn’t read for a long while. But eventually C.S. Lewis and Frank Pertetti caught my attention with their stories. My lack of reading had to do with my endurance. I would lose my place on the page and daydream if I got bored.

To this day, I have difficulty finishing books if they don’t draw me in.

So how does a non-reader become an author?


There is no doubt I loved stories. I even earned a BA in video production, and became photographer as well. I’ve lived behind the camera for years.
But about 7 years ago, I stared reading young adult novels and I never quit. Over those years, I didn’t keep count of how many books I read. However, I read so much that it inspired me. And over two years ago, I started writing once again.(See my blog post: Why I stopped writing.)

Now, the girl who couldn’t focus long enough to read one book will release her first book The Last Order on Feb 3rd, 2015.

My biggest hope is not that people will love my book, although a few fangirls would be nice. Instead, I hope someone like me, who lost their passion for something they enjoyed, will find their way back and create something that surprises them.

 

How I designed the book cover for The Last Order

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By Angela M. Caldwell

When I first started thinking about a book cover I knew I wanted it simple, elegant, and it had to have the symbol of The Last Order Silas designs for Lana in the book.

As a photographer, I knew I could shoot my own cover if I needed to, but in my heart I really wanted to leave Lana to the imagination of readers.

So I went to my dad and asked him to draw the symbol. After a week or so he finally came up with two options.

We went to lunch and you would have thought he was meeting a stranger not his daughter. He was so nervous, it was cute. I love my dad.

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Both photos are original drawings and they are protected by copyright laws. ©rocketcircuspress

I decided on the crown above the triquetra. The triquetra knot is a Celtic symbol that can represent a few different things, but I chose it because of its connection to women and unity.

I loved the drawings and from there I moved forward and scoured the internet for stock photos. I searched for hours to find the right pictures.

I wanted the cover to have a leather look and feel, so I chose this background from www.dollarphotoclub.com.

Old brown leather background

Next, I found a wall with Ivy and removed the wall and kept the ivy, which was very tedious work. I used the ivy in several places by rotating it and flipping it. This also came from www.dollarphotoclub.com.

                                         Before                                               The Green Creeper Plant on the Wall.

After

The Green Creeper Plant on the Wall.

 

After that, I needed a way to emphasize the Last Order symbol, so I found this grey  splotch and placed it on the front and back, and used a blending layer.

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Lastly, I placed the symbol where I wanted it and also used a blending layer. Then I added an inner glow, and bevel & emboss effects. You can still see the guides I used for the layout in this photo.

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Next the title, and author name were added. I used 2 different fonts that gave it a Celtic feel. Then, to make the words pop off the page effects were added. Below is exactly what I had.

The Last Order by Angela Caldwell I knew it was missing something so I found the flowers and added them for the finishing touch. I was honestly surprised I pulled it off, but I was able to use my photography background to create a beautiful cover that I hope you love.

 FINAL FRONT COVER

The Last Order CoverAdd this beautiful book to #goodreads

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 The Last Order

by Angela M Caldwell

Release date:  February 3rd, 2015

THE LAST ORDER - cover reveal

Tess In Boots by Courtney Rice Gager Releases Today

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Anaiah Press proudly presents

TESS IN BOOTS by Courtney Rice Gager,

a contemporary romantic novel that releases today!

 

 

Tess Dougherty plans every aspect of her life right down to the last detail. But she doesn’t plan on running her boyfriend off by bringing up the topic of marriage before he’s ready. And she doesn’t plan to lose her job on the day she’s set to receive a huge promotion. So when her perfect world unravels, Tess makes a new plan: disappear.
Tess packs her bags and leaves her city apartment for a remote vineyard in North Carolina. At first, she’s put off by the slow pace of small-town life in the South. She’s especially irritated by Thatcher, the vineyard’s smart-mouth, dimple-faced farmhand. But she soon begins to appreciate the area’s charm, and Thatcher’s charm, too. She even swaps her trademark heels for a pair of cowboy boots. As Tess spends more time getting to know Thatcher, she finds herself loosening her grip on her old life little by little. Unfortunately, things on the vineyard aren’t as simple as they seem. There’s a secret here, and when the truth comes to light, Tess is forced to reconsider every plan she’s ever made.

 

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About the Author:
Courtney Rice Gager

 

Courtney Rice Gager graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in creative writing. Courtney is also the author of The Buggy List. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.
Connect with Courtney:

 

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