Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cover Dissection!

So, other than revealing them, I don't really talk about my covers a lot. I have some that I love and some that I...don't. You see, the fact of the matter is authors get to fill out this little paper about our book that gets sent to the cover artist. From there, they interpret what you sent and build a cover based on it. That's it. That's our say in things. Sometimes if something is really off, we get to go back in and say "Whoa! Wait a minute!" But reality is, we trust the cover artists to do their job.

It's one of the reasons it's so exciting to get covers that are just right. And sometimes it isn't fully clear to the reader (or casual viewer) why it's such a perfect cover. So, I'm going to dissect my newest cover (for Clockwork Mafia) which I love.

*I was going to try to do this all fancy-pants with circles and arrows and numbers, but yeah...not happening tonight. Sorry.*

Okay, first and foremost is the mask. Isn't it gorgeous? Henri wears an elaborate clockwork mask like that in the beginning of the book, and I love that her face is hidden for this cover. You see, a lot of Clockwork Mafia is about Henri figuring out who the hell she is in the aftermath of the events in Badlands so it's very appropriate that she's "hiding" on the cover.

Then there's the dragonfly. While it isn't exactly like my clockwork dragonfly tattoo, it's fantastic. And it's one of Henri's designs that gets a lot of play in this book. I'm really glad it's on there.

Then there's Carson. *happy sigh* Okay, first off, the model is just beautiful in general. Secondly--though I think he actually has short hair rather than long hair pulled back--he looks like Carson. Honestly, the more I look at him, the more he looks like the character right down to the way his neck is all scruffy.

And here's my favorite part of the entire cover. Henri in her mask is kind of representative of Philadelphia society life. And the dragonfly is representative of her life as an inventor... And Carson is trapped in between the two. It's incredibly symbolic for the story.

Honestly, I have no idea how the cover artist managed to fit things so perfectly, but I don't think I could have paid for a brand new photoshoot that captured the essence of this story as well as this cover did. HUGE thanks to Kix by Design for the incredible cover. And if you happen to know the name of the model for Carson... ;-) 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rant: You Stole What?

There's a lot of talk about book piracy online--pretty sure I've written about it before--but that's not what today's post is about. It's about a different kind of theft and where exactly the line in the sand is drawn.

Sit back, kiddos, because I have a lot to say...

Sort of.

(Really I'm just filling white space so the images line up :P

A couple weeks ago, I saw a blog post regarding cover art "theft." My gut instinct was that it was someone who didn't understand the cover industry's reliance on stock images and how often they are used and re-used. Because of that, I almost didn't click the link. Then I wondered if it was a situation where a photoshoot had been done for a specific book and the cover ended up on some other book. This is a big deal. Rare, I'd think, but a big deal. So I clicked the link. (I would love to provide you a link to the original post, but for the life of me, I can't find it. The Ashes trilogy by Ilsa Bick and Sketchy by Olivia Samms were the books in question.)

Screams of copyright infringement were shouted from fans. The author had the wisdom to set the record straight. This isn't a copyright fail. Both covers have the title cut out running down the center of the cover with the author name below. That's it. The end.
Pretty & a great read!

It would be like saying the cover art for Clockwork Mafia (which you will all get to see soon, I promise) is copying the cover art for Incarnate by Jodi Meadows just because both heroines are wearing butterfly masks. Sorry, but both heroines wear butterfly masks in both books, hers just came out first :P And in all fairness, beyond that fact, the covers look nothing alike. There will inevitably be similarities in cover art because publishers across the board are looking for and discovering what helps get books off the shelf. Yes, there is something to be said for being first, but especially in a genre like YA, people will soon forget that detail.

Sorry, can't share yet :P
So...no, not theft. Not to me and not to any legal team I've ever heard of.

But that brings us back to writing. If that isn't theft of cover art, why do so many authors have issue with books like 50 Shades of Grey? Because like it or lump it, it's different. Here's why...

50 took an existing series, existing characters, and a general idea of the plot (including pregnancy as I understand) and just changed the set-up. Instead of a vampire, we got a dim-Dom. Originally, even the character names were the same.

And that's the sticky part for most authors. Had 50 just come out of nowhere and felt like this whole weird, kinky version of Twilight, there's a decent chance that no one would have balked much. We would have done the whole "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" dance and left it at that. But the author didn't do that. Instead, she wrote fan fiction, posted it on the internet as fan fiction, and then changed the names (and allegedly not much more) and published it. She used the fan base of the original work to promote her story.

And to make matters more distasteful, the publisher of 50 seems to have been going after anyone and everyone looking to capitalize on its success...right down to people who run sex toy parties (like Tupperware parties, only hotter).

There's a wide space between inspiration and that. Where's the line? I don't know, but in the realm of cover art, it certainly isn't cut-out titles running down the middle of a cover.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Finding Cupid's Arrows Blog Hop

It's Valentine's Day week, and do you know what that means? It means the ladies responsible for Cupid's Conquests want to make sure you get a present this year! It also means that, like our devilish Cupid, we want to play a game with you. Let's call it Fact or Fiction. Ready to play?

There's nothing like a girlfriend saying, "Hey, my ex and his friend want to meet at the bar. Will you go with?" to set a ridiculous chain of events in motion.

Of course, being me, I said "Sure!" to the bar. Who cares about her ex and the friend? It was an excuse to go drink and dance. So I went, and sitting across from me was this guy (her ex). Let's just say he wasn't the type to get my attention. A little too quiet, a little too buttoned up, a lot too skinny. But the friend. Holy shit was the guy obnoxious. So, while Mary talked to him, I tried to make small talk with her ex.

No harm, no foul. We made it through the night without any real kerfuffles, so I called it a win.

Then somehow we ended up hanging out with them...a lot. I found out all sorts of things about her ex (and his two girlfriends) while she was off getting chummy with his friend. Meanwhile, my own personal life had taken a hit and I was all about teaching a guy a lesson. With Mary's blessing, I set out to seduce her ex with the plan of making him fall for me and then ditching him so he'd know he shouldn't be toying with multiple women.

Somewhere in there...he and I started to actually talk. Not the bullshit conversations with a stranger at the bar. Real stuff. Deep, meaningful stuff. And when the time came that he said he only wanted to see me, my cut and run plan flew out the window. (This was a grand total of six weeks after meeting.) I'd fallen hard for the guy.

So hard in fact, that a month later after a party at his place, we were snuggling and he asked me to marry him. Not many things can make me speechless, but that did. I kissed him--hard--while I tried to figure out just how crazy the entire idea was. Of course I couldn't marry him! We'd known each other less than three months. It was crazy.

But when I opened my mouth, the word that came out was "Yes."

Apparently when Cupid's arrows hit, it's not just your heart that gets stolen, but your sanity and ability to form words too. Sneaky little god...

So here's the question! Was this story of one of Cupid's crazy Conquests real or a fabrication? Answer in the comments below for your chance to win a copy of either of my Cupid's Conquests titles: GunShy or Love & Other Indoor Sports. Then hop along to the other blogs participating. And make sure to enter the Rafflecopter drawings for our grand prizes! 

It's a small blog hop, but it's all about Cupid and you, so follow the links below and be sure to hit everyone for more chances at great prizes!

Yay for giveaways! There are TWO Rafflecopters below. The first is for the beautiful lariat style arrow necklace (from Chainchainchained on Etsy) and the second is for the $25 Evernight gift card so you can get your fill of Cupid and romance. The best part? Entries are the same for BOTH, so make sure you click on all the good stuff for both giveaways :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, if you're in the mood to spread some love to a bunch of kids, please click on the Evil for Crestline link to your right. On February 3, Crestline Elementary in WA burned to the ground. A bunch of authors, crafters, and other talented people are raising money to buy them some much needed school supplies. (There are also links to donate directly to the school.) Thanks! And Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Call to Arms

I originally had a rant posted for today, but there's something more important that needs to be talked about right now.

I'm not sure how many of you know author Lilith Saintcrow, much less follow her on social media. Whether you know her or not, the news of what happened this weekend is staggering. Her son's school burned to the ground over the weekend. The place a bunch of children saw as a second home was there on Friday, and now there is nothing left.

Here are some details in Lilith's own words.

As a mother, it's heart-breaking. As a former teacher, I can't fathom the loss. As a child, it would be devastating.

I belong to a group blog known as the Evil League of Evil Writers. Lilith Saintcrow is Bad Horse to that group of mad authors, and we're trying to help out as best we can.

To that end, we're organizing a fundraising auction to help Crestline Elementary. We're looking for donations of time (in the form of critiques, mentorships, and phone calls) as well as items (signed books, swag baskets, knitted goods, jewelry...whatever skill you have that you're willing to ship) to auction off.

A lot of times, auctions are used to get your name out and spread your brand. This isn't about that. This is about giving hope back to a bunch of kids, parents, and teachers who are probably feeling a little hopeless right now. It's not about you or us... it's about them.

In the spirit of that, if you have something to donate for the auction, please contact the wonderful ladies who lead our group on a daily basis:
Skyla Dawn Cameron at skyladawncameron@gmail.com
Dina James at dinajames@gmail.com

If you don't have something to donate, please come back and bid or help spread the word. If you want to donate to the school immediately there were details about that in Lilith's post.

Next week is the Cupid's Conquest author blog hop, but I'm pretty sure this week's post is more about spreading love and joy.

Thank you.