Never tease anything that wants to eat you - Reign of Blood #Giveaway!




Title: Reign of Blood
Author : Alexia Purdy
Genre: Upper YA Urban Fantasy/Horror
Format: print & eBook




Tell us the story behind the story. What inspired you to write this novel?
Reign of Blood is about a vampire hunter named April, she’s 17 and lives in a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas one year after a viral epidemic has wiped out the human race. In the ruins of the neglected city, wild vampires and others roam the night. April’s family is taken and she must endure the horrors of the city to track them down. This ultimately brings her face to face with what she thought was the enemy, but now, she isn’t so sure.
I am a big resident evil/I am legend fan- the books mainly- and I was inspired to write this book by a dream I had about the opening scene in Reign of Blood. I took it from there, wanting to pay homage to the novels I have read about vampires and zombies alike. I really enjoyed the action sequences and I hope I did the concept justice. I don’t see a lot of people writing those kind of stories anymore, especially after the recent stuff that has hit the market. I wanted to pull back to the terror these creatures should evoke and work with that.

Tell us about the book cover. How does it represent your book? How did you choose the artwork?
I had it made by Stephanie Mooney, an awesome graphic design artist. She captured the dark, forlorn mood that I wanted to capture and the essence of how tough April is. Vegas is in the background and represented in the crumbling sign up front. I think it gives the mood and sense of danger that I was going for and goes with the story line very well.  Some photography on the cover was done by my brother. He is a freelance photographer and got some great shots of Las Vegas for me.


Giveaway!!

Author Spotlight - Alexia Purdy




K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 

Hello, I’m Alexia Purdy, I am an author and poet. I live in fabulous Las Vegas Nevada. I have 4 kids that keep me super busy but I enjoy writing full time. My debut novel Ever Shade released Feb 29th this year. I have another novel releasing April 29th 2012 called Reign of Blood. I enjoy writing all the time, listening to music, reading and reviewing books. I also like Italian and Mexican food!

K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

I like to write to music, some people have told me they can’t do that. I can’t write without it. Oh and some coke and candy helps too J

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

I wanted to be a writer since forever, maybe around first grade. I loved to read and I wanted to create worlds like the ones I found in books myself. Began writing shorts and poems ever since.

K.S.  What genre do you write?

I write predominantly YA Urban Fantasy. I am delving into Horror and have plans to pen a novel in the strict contemporary literary fiction, we shall see how it goes. Oh and I do write lots of poetry, it’s more modern/contemporary and lyrical than any kind of prose or structure. I am a free spirit in writing.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

I have to say that reading has inspired me the most. I read a lot and that alone gets me pumped up to write some fantastic stories for others to enjoy. I want to make someone feel what I feel when I dive into other worlds. My favorite author is Cassandra Clare because she blends in different aspects of urban fantasy, mythology and romance in such a way that leaves the reader begging for more. I love her stuff.

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

My family is supportive but I don’t think they understand me much as a writer. I’m the only big reader in my family so no one has read my books within my family. I’m sure if they were readers, I’d have more feedback from them. At this point, the just smile and wish me the best in my writing.

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?
How hard it was for me to sit my butt down and just type. I’m not very patient so sitting for hours and typing sucks. I actually would time my sessions to give me an end so that I wouldn’t be sitting there staring and fidgeting. This helped and yes, it got easier as time went on and I wrote more and more. Now it doesn’t bother me much.

K.S.  What inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from my dreams. I jot them down and use them as basis for my stories. They help a lot. My only other muse is music, I listen to tons of it, especially while I’m writing, it helps me focus and lets my ideas flow better.

K.S.  Can you tell us a little about any of your novels?

Blurb:
"Never tease anything that wants to eat you. I am April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids over run my world, once vibrant with life, now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive, I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. I'm just hoping to make it to the next sunrise..."

In the post-apocalyptic world, after a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving few humans, feral vampires and a hybrid type of vampire that defies all definitions of what being human and what being vampire is. April is a seventeen year old girl who lives in this world one year after the event. She has become a ferocious vampire hunter and killer and comes upon these hybrid vampires one day in search of her mother and younger brother. Unsure who she can trust, she finds that her new ideals of the world are not as black and white as she thought. Bending the rules to find her family will either save them all or destroy everything.

Chapter One Snippet:

Never tease anything that wants to eat you. The ravenous eyes that bled death all around and peered from their windows drooled at the sight of us. The buildings loomed above as we rushed across the concrete and asphalt, hurrying to beat the sun as it set. They lurked in every window, shrouded by the shadow from the searing sun. The east sides of the buildings were crawling with vampires. They smirked and sneered their inhuman growls, hissing right at us as we jumped from sunbeam to sunbeam, racing to the awaiting van. Only the light kept them at bay. Only the light kept us from their sharp, gripping fangs.

Each block felt like it stretched longer and farther, growing with each of our steps. My mother ran hurriedly, as fast as she could with my little brother wrapped around her, molded to her chest, afraid to look up. I was dashing right next to her, afraid to get left behind and afraid to be first in any place. My backpack bounced on my back with each jump and step. I tried hard to not look up. To look upon them was to feel your soul drain of life, to wither away. Mom always said not to let them look into your eyes; they can steal your humanity and freeze you in your steps. But I did look, and I did study their red searing eyes. Even while running, I had glanced up into their pale, grey ashen faces. I waited for them to take my soul; I waited and discovered that I was immune. Immune to their mind control and their deepest desire. I wanted to smile and flip them off but I didn’t think that my mother would appreciate that. I wasn’t sure if she or my brother were immune. I wasn’t about to piss her off by admitting that I had given in to such a temptation and had stared eye to eye with monsters.

So for now, we ran. We ran to our awaiting van where mom tied my little brother into his seat and slid quickly into the driver’s seat, turning the ignition and slamming the gas as though our lives depended on it. Actually, they very much did. Soon the sun would fade, inhaled into shadows and we would be surrounded by monsters capable of draining our bodies of every little drop of crimson blood. They did not discriminate. They would rip even me and my younger brother to shreds. For now, they waited in their makeshift graveyard; the city’s dilapidated buildings and streets.

K.S.  Where can we buy your novel?

Ever Shade: A Dark Faerie Tale is available on Amazon.com
Reign of Blood will be available April 29th 2012 on Amazon.com, BN.com and Smashwords.com

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?


K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

Keep at it, write every day, read a lot too. Don’t give up, it’s a long road, a hard one but so worth it. Get a mentor or join a group of writers for support and critiques. Don’t let the bad reviews get you down for there will be more, the good ones are great and there will be more of those too. And do remember that you love to write! Forget that and you might as well quit.



Ever Shade: A Dark Faerie Tale official book trailer:





Reign of Blood Official Book Trailer:




Deconstructing the Art of the Cover



Let’s face it: people judge a book by its cover, so your cover has to really wow a reader.

This is what drives many people to pay an artist hundreds of dollars to do a cover for them. 

For most of us, cover art is something we will have to hire out for. We’re writers; that doesn’t mean we’re graphic artists. “Don’t quit your day job.” It’s okay to NOT be a graphic artist. If you don’t have the skills necessary to produce a professional-looking book cover, then you’ll need to get in touch with a freelance artist. But you don’t have to break the bank to get a good cover, the key is finding the right artist to work with.

The “right” artist is not always the most expensive one, either. Remember that. What makes an artist “right” in my opinion, has more to do with vision than with price. Now, don’t get me wrong, an artist needs to be good at what they do, but first and foremost, they need to share your vision, or have a good one of their own that meshes with your book. 

If you and your artist mesh well, that’s when the magic happens.

Let’s take a look at my latest release, Soulstone for example. I’m going to run you through the process from beginning to end, and as a bonus, I’ve got Willsin Rowe (the artist who created this cover) here as well to give you the “artist perspective” as well.

I had a simple idea of what I wanted for my cover: A girl to represent Alyssa (my main character) and a mystical stone. I took this idea to my trusty friend and cover artist Willsin Rowe of Coverage. Here was the picture I initially purchased to use from Istockphoto.com


Now, as I said before, a good cover artist not only needs to be good at what they do, but they need to be able to work with your vision. Willsin could just have taken this picture and re-colored the hair (my main character is a redhead) and add the title, then send me on my merry way. But he didn’t do that. He knew this was not enough to really make a stellar cover. (pride in their work is a sign of a good artist) What can I say, Willsin’s good for a reason!

Well, that’s very kind, milady. Any cover artist worth their salt wants to produce artworks that please themselves as well as their client. That can sometimes become difficult. It’s always tempting to throw every little trick you know at a cover, just to show what you have in your armory. But of course, that’s much like a writer throwing every word they know into a story. It’s not automatically wrong...but it usually is! So apart from having an “eye” and technical ability, one of the most important tools a cover artist needs to have (or learn) is empathy. The cover might be the artist’s creation, but it should never be anything more than a pretty outfit for the author’s baby.

Willsin immediately began suggesting other alterations we could make to really give this cover some oomph. That’s one of the things I really appreciate about working with Willsin. He dives right in with suggestions and not only that, he takes time as well to find the right images to add on to the picture. This often amounts to hours of searching online through the various royalty-free stock photo sites.

I was looking for two main elements: a convincing crystal to represent the Soulstone; and a background in which to set the mini-story that this cover needed to be.
Through close and constant back-and-forth consultation Katie and I settled on these two images. I loved the crystal right away because of the combination of crisply cut facets and natural roughness. To me, that factor hinted at it being more than one thing: in this case, a crystal and a prison for Lysander’s soul. And since the story opens in Boston (where “Pandora’s Box” left off), we chose to use Acorn Street, a 19th Century lane in Boston, for the setting.




Once we agreed on a few different photos to add to the original image he began to place them in various spots. The girl was cut and moved around. The crystal was changed to better match the description in the book. The background was changed, flipped around, and recolored. Then, text was added. Layer after layer the cover began to take shape.





But still it wasn’t “right.” And that wasn’t just my feeling. Willsin too felt that while we were close, we still had not captured the right layout or text.

Remember, cover art is more than just pretty pictures slapped together. The text has quite a bit to do with it as well. I’ve spoken before on cover art, layout, and text placement.
A small review: Things to consider with fonts

1). Organize size of fonts in order of importance.
The title of the book should be the largest font on the cover. (At least until you’re Stephen King.) Author name should be smaller, but still prominent. Any subsequent text or quotes you wish to add should continue to be smaller in size.
2) Select the color of fonts to stand out, yet still feel like it belongs.
3) Organize the placement of fonts to work with the artwork, not against it.
Don’t cover up beautiful artwork with your words. Yes, some things will get covered, but you should not plaster a title across the best part of the picture.
4) Don’t clutter the cover with text.
Only text that is absolutely necessary should be there. Quotes are nice, but limit it to one on the cover. Use your interior pages for continued praise of the book.
5) Pick fonts that are striking and bold enough to be seen in both large and small sizes.
You have to account for the people who might pick you up on a store shelf as well as those browsing the virtual racks.

This is where the author/artist relationship really gets tested. When a cover gets to the point of almost done, it’s those little tiny tweaks that really make the difference.





As you can see, sometimes those tweaks can be as tiny as moving text around, or as big as placing a character in the background. Sometimes it’s the background. Notice the various blurring effects used and the slight changes in the colors. All of these little changes amount to quite a bit of work for the artist, and some artists may not have the patience. Sure, they all look good on their own, but to get “just right” is the marriage of art and vision and again, finding that cover artist who can work with you makes that extra bit of difference.

I absolutely agree with all of the above there. The points about type are spot on. I really can’t add anything to that. And the tiny tweaks can really make a strong difference.
As an example, I thought I’d waffle on a little about the soulstone itself, and give a demonstration of the complexity that can often occur with a cover.
Firstly, here is a section of the original image, as placed on the cover.



Now, obviously, the crystal ball was never gonna work! Which is why we sought out that groovy crystal image. (You can see here that I had to clone some of Alyssa’s clothing over the right side of the ball, in order to stop it showing behind the overlaid crystal).

Next, I placed the crystal image over the top, ensuring that it ran the exact width of the crystal ball. I used a Layer Mask to remove the white background.



The next step: where the heck is her hand? So I had to apply a second mask which hid any parts of the crystal which were running over Alyssa’s hand. Like so:



Now the crystal is looking basically as though it’s really sitting in her hand, which is of course the desired effect. But though it has those lovely dull gold and dark lilac tones, it still doesn’t give the impression that it contains the disembodied soul of a 2,000-year-old vampire. So the next step is to infuse the crystal with life and a sense of magic. The first part of that step, is to give it a rich blood-red tone.



This was done with a simple layer of a rich red color, to which I assigned a Color Burn effect, which allowed the textures of the crystal to show through.
To increase the sense of depth, I then gave the crystal a darker hue at the bottom.



So now we have a blood-red crystal. That’s a good start. But it still has no life. So I slipped a white glow into the layers, between the crystal and the blood-red tone, giving the following effect.




So now it has depth and life. But what about the magic? Well, you know what they say...it’s all smoke and mirrors! Well, in this case, it’s all smoke! I placed a layer of smoke over the image and gave it the right amount of opacity, as well as keeping the color tone in the right family of red. Like so...



Then I duplicated it over itself, and blurred the top layer. Like this:



And lastly, if this stone is a-glowin’, then we need for that glow to affect the elements in the general area. In this case, Alyssa. So I placed a red glow over the top of the entire kit and caboodle, and voila!



So there you have it. Nine layers of Photoshoppy goodness, to make one magical crystal prison.

As you can clearly see, if you and your artist are in tune with the vision for the cover you can make magic happen!

It means the difference between this:






And this...




So, as I’ve said before, do your homework, find an artist who not only fits your budget, but more importantly your vision, and you will end up with a stunning cover that will wow your readers and draw attention to your book.

If you’re interested in hiring Willsin Rowe of Coverage for your next book, click the here!
And if you’d like more Self-Publishing advice, please check out Go Publish Yourself! (Available in print and ebook) It’s a handy dandy little guide to help you on the path of Self-Publishing success!


Another #Giveaway you won't want to miss!


Have you entered to win your copy of Go Publish Yourself? 

What are you waiting for?






All you have to do is stop by Denise Verrico's blog  and say "Hi." That's it. No song, no dance, nothing else. And there's a bonus too. Just by leaving a comment, you're entered into a monthly drawing for another book by the wonderful Denise Verrico.


So, what are you waiting for? All it takes is a simple "Hi." and you're entered to win. Get over there now!


http://www.immortylrevolution.blogspot.com/2012/04/katie-salidas-on-go-publish.html?zx=aed5451d3a1d855

Do you want to win a book (Readers choice) from my Immortalis series?


Stop by and read the latest review of Soulstone (Immortalis Book 4). There's also a sample of chapters 1-2.



While you'r ethere, enter to win a copy of any one of my Immortalis books (Readers Choice!!!)
Giveaway ends 4/21/12 at midnight EST

Blog Tour - Guest Post #1 - Responding to Book Reviews, a tip from Go Publish Yourself!

Today I'm at Wise Words  talking about book reviews and how and when to respond to them. Please stop by and have a read. If you've got a tip of your own, feel free to share too!

http://www.louisewise.com/2012/04/tip-for-indie-authors-from-book-go.html







Self-Publishing made simple!

Autographed Copy



Ebook
Amazon USA
Amazon UK



Blog Tour - Guest Post #1 - Responding to Book Reviews, a tip from Go Publish Yourself!

Today I'm at Wise Words  talking about book reviews and how and when to respond to them. Please stop by and have a read. If you've got a tip of your own, feel free to share too!

http://www.louisewise.com/2012/04/tip-for-indie-authors-from-book-go.html







Self-Publishing made simple!

Autographed Copy



Ebook
Amazon USA
Amazon UK



Just for fun - Are you Right or Left Brained?

Apparently I'm left brain dominant but only just so.

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (36%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (52%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
Personality Test by SimilarMinds.com

Left brain dominant individuals are more orderly, literal, articulate, and to the point. They are good at understanding directions and anything that is explicit and logical. They can have trouble comprehending emotions and abstract concepts, they can feel lost when things are not clear, doubting anything that is not stated and proven.

Right brain dominant individuals are more visual and intuitive. They are better at summarizing multiple points, picking up on what's not said, visualizing things, and making things up. They can lack attention to detail, directness, organization, and the ability to explain their ideas verbally, leaving them unable to communicate effectively.

So which one are you?

New Release & Giveaway - Soulstone by Katie Salidas. #Nook #Kindle #Smashwords

It's the official release of Soulstone, book 4 in the Immortalis series, and we're starting things off with a BIG giveaway!!!
(Enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post.)
 



It’s a desperate time for rookie vampire Alyssa, and her sanity is hanging by a slender thread. Her clan is still reeling from the monumental battle with Aniketos; a battle that claimed the body of Lysander, her sire and lover, and trapped his spirit in a mysterious crystal. A Soulstone.

Unfortunately, no amount of magic has been able to release Lysander’s spirit, and the stone is starting to fade. Weeks of effort have proved futile. Her clan, the Peregrinus, have all but given up hope. Only Alyssa still believes her lover can be released. In despair, Alyssa begs the help of the local witch coven, and unwittingly exposes the supernaturals of Boston to unwanted attention from the Acta Sanctorum.

The Saints converge on the city and begin their cleansing crusade to rid the world of all things “Unnatural.” In the middle of an all-out war, but no closer to a solution to the dying stone, Alyssa is left with an unenviable choice: save her mate, or save her clan.



Pick your copy up in print and ebook!

Barnes & Noble

NOW, ON TO THE GIVEAWAY!!!