"And above all watch with glittering eyes the world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." - Roald Dahl

29 May 2014

STORM Author: Charmain Lines

Charmain Lines  is also one of the founding member's of the Pretoria Writers’ Group. Charmain is the only member in the group who actually writes professionally for a living. In 2013, Charmain published her first novel, Unfinished Business. Her contribution for STORM Volume II is called Once Upon a Storm.

1. How did you come up with the concept for your covers?
I cheated a bit! My sister, who was my first beta reader, is an exceptionally visual person and I asked her for an idea. The concept she suggested was just perfect.




2. Did you design it yourself or have help? If you had help, who helped you and on which aspect/s?
The design work was done by Graham Hankin, a talented graphic designer with whom I often collaborate on projects.

3. Which software works best for you in the creation of your covers and why?
N/A (I don’t do the actual design work, so can’t answer this)

4. Of all the covers you've designed or had assistance with, which one is your favourite? Please provide a link.
My favourite cover is that of my novel Unfinished Business. The image (a photograph that a friend of mine took in a forest in Ireland) captures the essence of the story perfectly.



 
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You can connect with Charmain online at:


13 May 2014

STORM Author: Vanessa Wright

Vanessa Wright, as you may have gathered, is also a member of the Pretoria Writers’ Group. She is the consummate editor of our group and edited all the stories for both STORM Volume I and STORM Volume II. Once you’ve read it all, you’ll understand how grateful we all are to her. Vanessa’s contributions for this project were A Storm in a Teacup and Dandelions for Mother, which can be found in Volumes I and II respectively.
 
1. How did you come up with the concept for your covers?
I needed something dramatic for Dandelions for Mother and something funny and cartoon-like for A Storm in a Teacup. The idea was already in my mind, but the execution was quite difficult as I painted several designs for A Storm in a Teacup and ended up throwing them all away. Stories tend to tell you what they need as a cover if you are willing to listen and be open to new ideas.


 
 
2. Did you design it yourself or have help? If you had help, who helped you and on which aspect/s?
I had help with the more technical details of the cover. Trevor Connel, a budding graphic designer did the final touches, such as defining outlines etc.

 
3. Which software works best for you in the creation of your covers and why?
Photoshop, photoshop and more photoshop. Simply because this is what I can work with. I am technologically impaired, but have ceased using Tip-ex or white-out on the screen.


4. Of all the covers you've designed or had assistance with, which one is your favourite? Please provide a link.
The Knowledge of Existence without a doubt. The eerie, sinister cover portrays something of the mindset in which the story is written.
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/434084

 
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8 May 2014

STORM Author: Natalie Rivener

My second STORM guest is Natalie Rivener. Natalie is a fantasy writer and both her stories feature in STORM Volume I and are currently available as individual stories on Smashwords. She has written two beautiful stories called Beyond and The Gravic Exacerbation.

1. How did you come up with the concept for your covers?
Well, I sat down and went…what am I sure I can draw and paint myself that won’t look lame? Also, when I read a book, my favourite part is when I manage to point out the moment in the story that is on the cover. So, I wanted to make sure that the cover pictures showed identifiable scenes or moments in my stories.
My cover for Beyond comes from about two thirds into the story where Wirrol creates a magic sceptre.



For The Gravic Exacerbation, I chose a moment where Corvic looks up at the University of Yithnisia, not knowing if his apprentice, Jaten, will be able to escape the magical storm that is tearing the University apart.

 

2.Did you design it yourself or have help? If you had help, who helped you and on which aspect/s?
Yep. Since I started dreaming of writing, I already knew that I would want to do the cover illustrations myself. I love drawing and painting, and I love fantasy cover art. It’s just one of those things. And, with the magic of GIMP 2, I managed to add in the necessary text. Yay me!


3.Which software works best for you in the creation of your covers and why?
I actually haven’t tried more than GIMP 2. I guess, it’s because it’s the only software I can afford at this stage. Hahaha!


4.Of all the covers you've designed or had assistance with, which one is your favourite? Please provide a link.
Most assuredly, my cover for Beyond (
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/433041). It catches the eye. It’s pretty. And it just makes me happy. ^_^

Both Natalie’s stories can be found in STORM Volume I
 
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6 May 2014

STORM Author and founder of the Pretoria Writers' Group: LINZé BRANDON


You've been reading all about the STORM anthologies for a while now. With the launch of the ebooks, I'll be doing interviews with all the STORM authors, so you can get to learn a little more about them (us) all.

All the short stories featured in STORM Volume I and STORM Volume II are all available individually on Smashwords as well. I've asked the authors to give some insights into the designs of these individual covers.

My first guest is the founder of the Pretoria Writers' Group, Linzé Brandon. Linzé writes romance and sci-fi genres. Her stories are reGENESIS and The Cutting Horizon are currently both available to purchase.


1. How did you come up with the concept for your covers?

The concept for reGENESIS was easy. The story is about genetic engineering of the DNA helix which made it pretty simple. The difficulties came in deciding what image to use and how to present it as a cover.
 

 The Cutting Horizon was more of a challenge. It is a story about a marriage in trouble. That meant there had to be a man and a woman on the cover, showing both their connection, and division. While I had the idea in my head of how the cover should look, finding the right images posed a significant problem.
 

 I also did the cover for the STORM anthology. Both Volumes use the same background image, with the text providing the details to differentiate between the two publications. The concept determined what it would be: a storm. Given the variety of genres of the stories, using an image from the real world seemed the best option. 


2. Did you design it yourself or have help? If you had help, who helped you and on which aspect/s?

I did both designs for my stories. For reGENESIS I used a single image that I bought online and changed it to gain the end result. Some of the members of the Pretoria Writers' Group made comments on my design that I took to heart and made slight changes to the design. The changes involved the colour depth and saturation. I will check the design on a calibrated screen before publishing, to ensure that the colouring is perfect.

 The Cutting Horizon's cover consists of two photographs that I bought online and manipulated to get to the final design. This design I did on my own.

 The STORM cover was a more democratic process, it is not just my name on the cover after all. I picked several potential background images and presented them to the group. Each person had three votes to indicate the order of their preferences. The one that made the cover, got the most votes by far.

While the anthology was originally planned as a single book, it was split into two volumes along the way. The two covers still look much the same, with the exception of the Volume's number, the author names and the font.


3. Which software works best for you in the creation of your covers and why?

I use PAINT.NET. It is not glamorous and it is free. Easier to learn and use than the more expensive stuff. If there is some functionality that I do need, or either cannot do by myself, I ask my husband. He is for all practical purposes a professional photographer and knows more about Photoshop and Lightroom, than anybody I have ever met.


4. Of all the covers you've designed or had assistance with, which one is your favourite? Please provide a link.

Now this is the one question that is way too difficult for me. With the exception of KEEPER OF THE DRAGON SWORD (that was done by Jane Dixon-Smith), I did all the others, and I like each one for a different reason. But if I really, under-the-threat-of-severe-torture-by-writers-block have to choose, it would be OBSESSION's cover. It is not published yet. 

 

reGENESIS is part of the STORM Volume I Anthology
The Cutting Horizon is part of the
STORM Volume II Anthology


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You can connect with Linzé online:
Linzé's Blog: (Butterfly on a Broomstick) http://www.linzebrandon.blogspot.com/
 
 

 

5 May 2014

STORM Vol II: Cover Reveal

STORM: Volume II
 
 
 
Now available as an ebook on Smashwords at a discounted price until 31 May 2014.


4 May 2014

STORM: Cover Reveal

STORM: Volume I

 
 
 
Now available as an ebook on Smashwords at a reduced price until 31 May 2014.