Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal: Flare by Rabia Gale

I’ve read the first two books in this series and loved them. So it was a no-brainer when Rabia Gale approached me about the cover reveal. I can tell you, you’re in for a visual treat. All three covers are brilliant and vibrant in their colors, just like the stories behind them (I’m assuming the third is going to be just as good as the first one and will buy a copy as soon as it is available).

Let me introduce you to Rabia Gale and her “Sunless World” series:

 

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!

I’m delighted to reveal the cover for my upcoming release, Flare, Book Two of The Sunless World, an epic fantasy series with a steampunk flavor.

Flare COVER REVEAL

Rafe and Isabella are back

The mages of old saved their world, but left it in eternal darkness. Now it’s time to bring back the light.

After two years of training his magical gifts, Rafe returns home to a land wracked by war. Desperate states struggle to protect their resources of luminous quartz. Magic pulses and earthquakes devastate a world on the brink of extinction.

Rafe’s old enemy Karzov has gathered a band of prodigies obedient to his will. He seeks the power of the ancient mages for an audacious and sinister purpose. It’s up to Rafe and his ally, Isabella, to stop him—and undo the mistakes of the past to put their world right again.

Flare will be out in September 2016!

The Sunless World series

The Sunless World BLOG

Quartz: The Sunless World introduces a rich and credible backdrop to the adventures of her characters, with a deadly political mire underlying the bright colours of high society.” – By Rite of Word Reviews

This story is fast, fascinating and highly recommended.” – Amazon.com review

The Sunless World series begins with Quartz (Book One) and Flux (A Sunless World Novel).

About the Author

Rabia Gale Headshot I create weird worlds full of magic and machines, and write characters who are called on to be heroes. I’m fascinated by light and darkness, transformation, and things that fly. Giant squid and space dragons appear in my work—you have been warned!

A native of Pakistan, I now reside in Northern Virginia, where I read, write, doodle, avoid housework, and homeschool my children.

Find me online at:
Website: http://www.rabiagale.com
Newsletter: http://www.rabiagale.com/thank-you/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rabiagalewriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rabiagale

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Better late than never

I know, I should be posting more often again, especially since the summer is over. Strangely enough, time seems to have accelerated and, after an initial lag I’m whizzing along (like in those newer Star Trek movies where the light of the power-units expands while the Enterprise seems to be stuck in one place for a second before it zooms away with warp-speed). Not that I like it, mind, but there are so many things I didn’t get done in the summer (due to the heatwave and a couple of personal catastrophes), that the mountain of work barely shrinks.

Still, I just discovered that I completely and utterly forgot to let you know about my upcoming release of “Juma’s Rain” (you might remember the posts I did about the NOK-culture and Stone Age tools and weapons). I’m currently in the process of coding the eBook and print book and will hopefully be able to post the link to the pre-order page some time soon. For now, I’ll share with you the gorgeous cover, Hendry Iwanaga made for me (well, he drew the picture, I did the fonts etc.):

eBook cover for Juma's Rain

eBook cover

And this will be the full cover, front and back, for the print version:

wrap around print cover for Juma's Rain

wrap around print cover

Oh, and I’m currently releasing another 99ct short-story too. It’s about a gen-designed newt-human who has to escape two hunters. Here’s the cover and the blurb for “Newtling“:

Newtling-coverI love my webbed fingers and my ability to stay under water for a long time…
I don’t mind that my backside is blue with brownish dots and my belly bright orange…
Neither do I care that me and my family are much smaller than our creator though we share his genes…
But what I do hate is being hunted … especially since I’m unarmed and running through the local swamp. Can a newtling like me outsmart two hunters and their state-of-the-art hunting gear?

This short story takes you into the mind of a genetically engineered newt-human-crossover and lets you witness his struggle to survive.

15 page short story with an XXL reading sample of “Paralan’s Children”, a YA scifi murder mystery.

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revamping Urchin King

As you might have noticed from the number of covers (see here), my first Indie release (Urchin King) is a sort of tryout book for me. I keep fiddling with the cover, the formatting, the blurb… anything, to see what works best so I can apply it to the other books as well.

This time, I decided that the last cover I did, as beautiful as I think it is, doesn’t reach the intended audience (Young Adult). I came up with a completely new cover. Do you think it’s better suited to reach the intended audience? Can you tell how many pictures I used to create it? Do you like it? Do you think the KBR-seal should be bigger (and maybe in a different place)?

Here’s the new cover (I’ll still need to change the German words for their English cousins, don’t worry about that for now). We’ll get to the new blurb soon.

new cover for Urchin King

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New Release: Fairy Tale Retelling #3

This year, I will be attending the Leipzig Book Fair (Germany) where I will display my fairy tale series. The first book in the series already received the Qindie-award AND the B.R.A.G. medallion, both seals of quality for Indie authors.

The third book in the series, also honored with the Qindie-award, will be available as an eBook on March 12th, the day the Leipzig Book Fair opens (for those who are there, I’ll be in hall 5 at stall B302). The German print version is already available, the English print versions will follow soon.

About the Book:

cover of The King's MechanicOnce upon a time in a world where magic and technology collide with unexpected consequences…
After her father is caught in the act of stealing a jeweled rose, Luna and her brother face a penalty worse then execution unless she works as the king’s mechanic. With her brother’s safety in mind, Luna does her best to please the king, trying to ignore his best friend, who is very interested in bedding her. As if these troubles weren’t enough, the king crashes a machine she considered safe to use and nearly dies. Can she keep him alive long enough to avert danger to herself, her brother, and possibly the whole kingdom?
What if Charles Perrault’s Beauty can do more than soften the heart of a beast?
The book includes a bonus story and the original fairy tale.

Pre-order it on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or any other amazon shop. Other retailers will follow asap.

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Freak’s Fun Friday: Tweaking Covers

Since I can’t afford to hire a top-of-the-art cover designer, I have to do my own covers. Since I was never quite happy with the results, but couldn’t say why, I took a course on how to create professional looking covers. It opened my eyes.

With only a few minor tweaks, my covers changed from good but not spectacular Indie covers to professional looking covers. Let’s take Scotland’s Guardians as an example. The artist I hired captured exactly what I wanted, and still the cover did not satisfy me.

Then, I tweaked it a little bit. The changes are barely noticeable if you don’t have the covers side by side. But the new version looks much more like I wanted it.

cover for Scotland's Guardians before / after

The best example of my learning curve (from when I started out 2 1/2 years ago) to now is Urchin King. The first cover is extremely busy and indicates historical novel rather than fantasy. Also, it has no color scheme whatsoever and not much to do with actions in the book. The second cover at least tries to show what the book is about (the royal twins). But it is clearly visible that the designer (me) was an amateur. Again, it didn’t even begin to hint at fantasy.

Urchin King old covers

The third cover is a little better, although it still doesn’t hint at the fantasy genre. For the fourth cover, I finally found the right piece of art. But even with a fantasy feel to the picture, the cover still didn’t look like one by a traditional publisher. The fifth and final version does.

uk-d

Let me know what you think. Can you deduct what I learned just by looking at the pictures?

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New Release: Treasures Retold 1

When I learned to read, I inhaled fairy tales. The first book I ever wrote (now sleeping peacefully in a drawer) was a fairy tale kind of story. Many of my early attempts, handed in to editors with a hopeful heart, reminded of fairy tales. And then… nothing for many, many years. I wrote Fantasy, SciFi, Urban Fantasy, Historical novels and even Non-Fiction, but never a fairy tale any more. I guess it was because of all the rejections I got and that basically said, fairy tales don’t sell.

The Dwarf and the Twins

The Dwarf and the Twins

These days, I believe differently. So when my Muse (my creative side) offered me a series of fairy tale retellings at novella length (100 pages max.), I was delighted. In three months, I wrote three stories, revised them and translated two of them. There are more to come since I already got ideas for at least two more stories set in the same world. I’m having a blast.

But for now, I have the pleasure to announce the release of the first volume in my “Treasures Retold” series: The Dwarf and the Twins, a retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” by the Brothers Grimm.

The original story tells of two innocent maidens who help a talking bear through the winter. They also help a vicious dwarf despite his bouts of anger. In this tale, the dwarf is a little different, as is the bear…

Martin lives a solitary life in the kingdom’s big forest. One day, he encounters a pregnant woman who is fleeing from the king’s soldiers. Little does he know that helping her will change his life forever, for the twins she bears will not stand idly by when his life is threatened.

The books in this series will all contain the retelling, a bonus story and the original tale (for some fairy tales will be quite unknown).

I hope you will have as much fun reading the tale as I had writing it. Please help me spread the word.

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Help me with the Cover

Oh dear, the hardest bit about publishing a new title is the cover art imho. I didn’t have any trouble whatsoever with the cover for my middle grade time travel series, but my fairy tale retellings cause me headaches. Maybe you can help? Here they are.

possible covers for volume one:
Band1-0 Band1-1 Band1-2

possible covers for volume two:
Band2-0 Band2-1 Band2-2

Which layout do you like best? Or do you have a completely different idea? It is important to show that all volumes belong to the same series. Also, the cover should look enticing. Sigh.

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just a few more days…

As always, here are the links to the blog tour schedule and to the giveaway.

Yesterday, another excerpt went life on Karin Rita Gastreich’s blog. It was nice to meet yet another person with a surname originating in the German language. 😉

And I’d like to apologize. I had meant to post yesterday but completely forgot to schedule it. I couldn’t do it in real time either because I had the house full with birthday guests. We celebrated the 19th birthday of my eldest daughter and I didn’t have much time for online stuff. Thus, the post comes now, and it’ll highlight one of the most important people involved in this novel: the cover artist.

Corona

Corona Zschüsschen

Corona Zschüsschen, Dutch illustrator and graphic designer

Corona comes from Enschede (if you like her art, she’s available for international freelance work and her prices are reasonable). I stumbled over some of her art when I was looking for things to pin to my Pinterest boards, and I immediately liked her drawing style. Since I was having major trouble getting a shutterstock picture to work that I had originally planned on using (but the resolution was crap, every detail looked pixelated), I contacted her. She was lovely to work with. So here she is in her own words.

Why did you become an artist? Was it a childhood dream?
My first childhood dream was to start a cat-shelter. I even wrote a letter to my 20-year old self when I was 10, outlining my plans and ideas! While I really love cats (and I have 3), that never happened. I moved around a lot when I was young. Drawing was something I could do anywhere, anytime. I had always loved illustrating, but I never thought I could become an actual artist. Sometimes I still can’t believe I am. I have to remind myself. 🙂

What’s your greatest obstacle in creating?
It’s me. Illustrating can be very mood and inspiration depended. I think it must be the same when you’re a writer. Sometimes inspiration comes at the most impossible of times. Or I can make a lot of different versions of something knowing they simply won’t work. It can be very frustrating! But all the different versions are still part of the journey. As long as I like the destination, it’s all worth it!

What makes your art different?
I don’t know how different I am… though of course no artist is the same. I have found artists whose style looks similar to mine, or sometimes the subjects or thoughts behind an illustration can be the same. I’m not bothered by that. I tend to branch out to a lot of different styles, because I like to adjust my art to the subject. What works for one book cover may not work at all for another. I also like to know as much as possible before I start illustrating. For example, with designing characters, I want to not only know how they look, but also their motivation and background story.

What was the most exciting thing happening when you are creative?
You mean for me as an illustrator? It was about 4 weeks ago when I found out one of my illustrations is going to be used for for very VERY big ‘thing’. But I can’t say anything about it. I’m contractually obligated to be silent about it. I can’t even show the illustrations. I want to shout it from the roofs, hahaha! Also, every time I receive an e-mail from a potential client my hart rate spikes. I can’t sit still before I answer the mail.

What was the biggest challenge with my cover?
The best thing about working with a writer is that they often know exactly what they want, even if they don’t! So the challenge was to get the idea that was in your head onto the cover. Being able to read some chapters of the book really helped. You were very specific and I really like that. You knew what you wanted. I hope I have fulfilled your book cover wishes 🙂

Who is your favorite Indie artist?
I guess any artist that’s not affiliated with a publisher could be considered independent. But most are a combination of both. One of my favorite contemporary illustrators is Loish (Lois van Baarle). I’m so jealous of her skills. Her character designs are stunning and magical. Her illustrations are incredibly pretty. Another illustrator I really like is Yasmin (chubbytentacle.com), her style is so much fun. I can’t help but smile when I see her illustrations.

Who is your favorite traditional artist?
I really like John William Waterhouse. I can stare at those paintings for a long time. I also enjoy the work of Berthe Morisot, a female impressionist painter. I have a lot of respect for the female painters in history. Often their pursuit of art wasn’t taken very seriously. Though I can’t identify with the era they lived in. There have been people in my life who don’t see how being an illustrator can be a actual job.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I can only pick one? 🙂 I am quite happy with my life as it is now. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get here.

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Heroes Wanted, 99ct

When I tried to set up the audiobook I prepared, I found out that I have to have the eBook in place first. So I used most of the week to publish a two-story collection (roughly 25 pages) outside my normal schedule. The eBook “Heroes Wanted” contains two short stories:

Life™ – Divisions of Myths and Legends
or How to order a dragon
Mondays are hard in any office. When Siegfried von Xanthen is calling before opening hours, the day at Life™ – Divisions of Myths and Legends goes downhill for Rose.

A Different Perspective
Romans attack, and Freyja flees with the women of her clan while the men fight, including her beloved Thordal. Can Allfather Odin help Freyja to save Thordal’s life?

Heroes WantedAs an eBook, “Heroes Wanted” is only 99ct — as an audiobook it’s bound to be much more expensive (but you get nearly a full hour of audio for the money). I’ll post a link as soon as I know when the audio will be available. It will take some time to get approved and everything.

Have a great day,
my signature

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Happy news – at least for me

I am doing the happy dance today. There were so many good things that happened today (and one unshared older news) that I just have to tell you.

Two of my short stories have been accepted for (paid) publication in anthologies in the US.
(SQUEAL)
One story will be published in an anthology by Freedom Forge Press, the other made it into the “Think Sideways Writers Anthology” of writing teacher Holly Lisle. Isn’t the cover just awesome?

The Adventure of Creation

The Adventure of Creation
Think Sideways Writers Anthology

Also, my Wattpad story “Swordplay”, a YA fantasy murder mystery, made it into the final round in “The Write Awards 2013”. This contest is looking for well crafted stories on Wattpad, and the competition was fierce. We started out with nearly 100 participants and have been narrowed down to 10 by now. Mid-August, they will announce the winner.

And finally, my novel “Scotland’s Guardians” passed the first round of judging for the “Kindle Book Review: Best eBook 2013 Award” and is now a semifinalist in the Young Adult category.

All these good news make up for the fact that I don’t get much done with the kids on holiday.

Have a good time,
my signature

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