Before and After: The Vanished Knight Cover

Hey everyone! Since a lot of you guys were really interested in seeing more of these before and after posts, I thought I’d do a few more of them.

Today, I thought I’d share what went into one of my covers.

Before: 

At the time (and depressingly, much like now), I didn’t have a ton of money to spend on publishing, so I decided to see if I could publish a without spending money. The answer was that I could publish two ebook without spending a dime. 
How? Well… Photoshop has a month-long free trial and Flickr makes it possible for me to find images with a creative commons license. 
The image I picked was Albion_Sovereign_Medieval_Sword_11 by Søren Niedziella. The license has a CC BY 2.0 license attached, which means that it’s free to adapt and to put to commercial use, as long as I give proper credit and don’t imply that the licensor endorses my work in any way. (New kids in the image copyright game: This paragraph can be very important if you want to make a cover from a free image.) 

After: 

This was literally the first time I tried to make a cover, so I kept the image manipulation to things I knew: changing exposure, the composure of an image and cropping. 
By composure, I mean, placing the image so that the viewer’s eye gets drawn in. First was the placement of the sword itself and next came the titles. 
I also had the added issue of the maker’s mark on the blade. Little things like that can really make a viewer’s eye go to the wrong place. Luckily, though, the best placement of the blade was in a way that happened to put the mark out of the frame. 
The result? 
Pretty good, don’t you think? Oh, but that’s nothing compared to the new cover I’m about to put on the books. 
Yep. I already have the e-book covers done. Only need to do the paper-back covers before I update both The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice. 

Who knows, maybe one day, the books with the old covers on them will be collectors’ items. 😉 
If you’d like to check out The Vanished Knight, you can find it at the following e-tailers: 
The paperback is also available at places like Walmart’s e-store, Book Depository etc. 
And there you have it? Let me know your thoughts. Also, would you guys like a crash-course on image copyrights as learnt by me? Looking forward to more before and after posts? 


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The Muse Party Blogfest

Hi all! Just because I felt like doing something a bit different, today, I decided to take part in Sarah Foster’s Muse Party Blogfest.

Basically, it’s a virtual party where writer’s and muses go. Or characters, if it comes to that. I’m dragging a character along, because he’s been veeeeery vocal while I’ve been editing the book he’s in. (If you’d like to join in or to see who else is at the party, click here.) Now without further ado, time to get going.

Misha: *Checks outside while she finishes getting dressed. Stifles a laugh because Darrion’s scowling while leaning against her car.*
Darrion: *Tugs at his collar, so not into this casual-not-taking-weapons-with outfit, but Callan and Kaela both insisted, so…*
Misha: *Heads out as soon as she’s done.*
Darrion: *Brightens slightly.* We can still skip the party.
Misha: What? No. I said we’re going and just not arriving is rude. Besides. I didn’t get dressed for nothing.
Darrion: *Looks her up and down* Well…you do look nice.
Misha: …Thanks.
Darrion: And I do so appreciate you not trying to make your dress match my shirt.
Misha: *squints, trying to figure out if he’s being sarcastic. Goes with… not.* Yeah. Not the matchy matchy type. *Gets into the car.*
Darrion: *mutters* Thank God. *Takes two bottles off the car’s hood and gets in as well.*
Misha: Says the guy who spends more than three quarters of his life in uniform.
Darrion: *Sing song* Not the same.
Misha: *Little shake of her head. Just drives.*
Darrion: Are you sure you have time for this? I mean–
Misha: Do not bring up all the editing I have to do. It’ll get done.
Darrion: *Tiiiiiny smile. Secretly loves winding her up.*
Misha: I should have invited my muse. *Glances his way.*
Darrion: Now why would you say that?
Misha: Or maybe I should have brought Gawain. He’s always a hit at parties.
Darrion: *Peeved* I can be a hit at parties too, you know. We’re friends for a reason.
Misha: Okay… What are we going to sing for karaoke?
Darrion: *Scowls*
Misha: See? You’re too uptight for strange parties.
Darrion: And yet, I’m a great conversationalist.
Misha: If you can resist hitting someone. *Groans* You’re not going to hit someone.
Darrion: *Scowls* Why am I coming with you again?
Misha: Because you won’t leave me alone, remember? You follow me around everywhere.
Darrion: Right. *Crosses his arms, making his shirt strain at his shoulders.*
Misha: What party game are we going to suggest?
Darrion: Is Quin coming? We can maybe tie him up and–
Misha: Don’t…
Darrion: *Grins* We only need to stop somewhere for sticks.
Misha: Gaaaaaaaah you’re incorrigible!
Darrion: *Chuckles* You love me for it. *Seriously thinks about a game that’s actually safe for everyone to play*
Misha: Musical Chairs it is.
Darrion:
Misha: *Explains*
Darrion: Oh…kay?
Misha: It’ll be fun.
Darrion: If you say so.
Misha: What’s in the bottles?
Darrion: Mulnich for me and… since you definitely can’t handle mulnich, liquid chocolate for you.
Misha: *Grins* Enough to share?
Darrion: *Nods*
Misha: *Grin widens* And that is why I love you.
Darrion: *Little smile back.*
Misha: *Sighs when they arrive at the party.*
Darrion: *Frowns at the entrance where people are milling around.* No one’s seen us yet. We can still escape.
Misha: Oh for the love of — *Gets out of the car.*
Darrion: *Follows* Can’t blame me for trying. You know I don’t generally do well with crowds.
Misha: Nonsense. You’re charming. You’re good looking. You’ll be the heart and soul of the party as soon as you smile.
Darrion: Exactly what I’m not looking forward to.
Misha: …You realize becoming King means you’ll deal with crowds for the rest of your life, right?
Darrion: Worth it.
Misha: *Can’t argue with that* Well…if you really don’t want to go… I’ll just go alone. Just…try and stay out of trouble, okay? *Heads in.*
Darrion: …*Sighs and catches up to her at the door, hooking her arm through his.* This is worth it too.
Misha: *Beams and kisses his cheek, then looks around for people she knows.*

The Vanished Knight: Now Available for Pre-Order

Hi all! 
Okay, so I was totally planning to write some other things last week, but I’ve been away almost every day since Tuesday. 
The good news is that The Vanished Knight e-book is now out on pre-order at the following places: 
The entity living inside Callan’s soul orphaned her at age eleven. By the time she’s sixteen, it’s ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another. 

Her thirteenth foster assignment should be routine. Except… it’s not. A psycho in medieval armor kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world. There, she accidentally discovers a secret her parents had kept until the day they died. 

Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born. To cover their tracks, they’d lied about everything. Even who they really were. 

Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan’s trapped in a race for life and death. Walking away isn’t an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim. 

In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be near impossible. Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with. 

One with a taste for destroying her life. 

Add it on Goodreads
Also, I’m still looking for help with getting the word out. In particular, with the cover reveal (which will actually be more of an excerpt reveal) and reviews. But I’d also love to get more blog tour stops too. If you’d like to help, please click here for more information. 
Anyone excited that The Vanished Knight is almost out once more? 

The Vanished Knight Has a Blurb

Hi all!

For those of you who missed it, I’m publishing the first two books of The War of Six Crowns on 31 July. 

If you can/would like to help, please click here for more information. 
Today’s news: 
The Vanished Knight has a shiny new blurb: 
The entity living inside Callan’s soul orphaned her at age eleven. By the time she’s sixteen, it’s ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another.
Her twenty second foster assignment should be routine. Except… it’s not. A psycho in medieval armor kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world. There, she accidentally discovers a secret her parents had kept until the day they died.
Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born. To cover their tracks, they’d lied about everything. Even who they really were.
Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan’s trapped in a race for life and death. Walking away isn’t an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim. 
In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be near impossible. Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with. 
One with a taste for destroying her life.
Let me know what you think! 

HUGE Announcement and I Need Some Help

Okay. Deep breaths. Those of you who stopped by on Wednesday have probably seen this already:

 

It was supposed to be just one quick taster to tide you over.

But. You know how I kept saying things haven’t been falling together right? How I would just keep plodding along until things did fall in to place?

Well. They have.

Just not in the way I’d expected. Which is why it took one unexpected royalty payment from my former publishing house – more than a year after I got my book rights back (Although, that wasn’t their fault. The Post Office of South Africa was on strike for most of 2014. I kid you not.) to make me realize that it had.

To illustrate:

I needed to find a way to learn how to format my books and got given an AMAZING step by step guide. (More on this later.)

In my time off, I’ve basically been editing. So basically, I have one round of edits left to make sure the continuity is kept constant, followed by proofreads, which will probably happen in pen.

ISBNs I’ve had since last year.

So all I needed were the covers.

Well. The one you saw. Now, I present to you:

Which means that, except for nailing down the back of the book copy, I basically need to decide on my release date. 

Ahem. *Cough* July 31 *Cough*

Seriously, then, I really need exactly one thing: Your help.

Unlike last time around, I’m giving myself three months to set up my blog tour, marketing etc. And I’m thinking of doing the set-up differently.

To make things easier for me AND you… Please see the pages above. Blog Tour, Cover Reveal and Review. Inside will be a linky list and an explanation of what the entry entails. Don’t worry. No selling or buying of souls just yet.

You’re welcome to enter more than one activity, if you’d like.

So what do you say? Anyone want to help?