GRNW 2014 Authors Celebrate Queer Romance Month

QRM_Badge-2-300x300From October 1 – October 31, over 120 authors and readers came together to celebrate a new blog project, Queer Romance Month.

Throughout the entire month, contributors shared 3-4 essays posted daily that celebrated the many facets of queer romance fiction, and the many layers of being queer, of being an ally, of loving romance stories, and highlighting this rising supply of romance stories that represent and celebrate LGBTQIA lives and relationships.

Please go and enjoy the many wonderful and heartfelt posts and stories that share so much about love and desire, about sadness and loneliness, about separation and rejection, and about resilience and realization, hope and triumph.

(Not to mention some hilarious and fantastic posts about writing, about slash fanfiction, and about what it felt like to first discover the existence of queer romance books and their Happily Ever Afters for queer characters.)

Among the many amazing contributors, you will find posts by GRNW 2014 authors as well. Please find them listed below, but please also enjoy the Bounty that is the QRM library. It is reading not to be missed.

GRNW 2014 Authors Writing for QRM 2014

Title Hell by Astrid Amara

“So trying to find a title that’s catchy (UnderWere) , memorable (The Anus of Caesar), but not disturbing (The Anus of Caesar), captures the story (Disenchanted Angel Seeks Revenge on God), but doesn’t reveal the end (Balls No More) is a real challenge.”

Mambo Italiano and My First happy Ending by Heidi Belleau

“Mambo Italiano was my very first queer rom com. My very first queer love story. My very first queer happy ending.”

Shimmer by L.C Chase

“I don’t know how long we stood like that, gazes locked, bodies frozen, with five feet of marbled tile between us. He was the one who decided it had been long enough though.”

Love Is Love Everywhere, Everywhen, Everyhow by Kim Fielding

“Love is love, right? It’s one of the mottos of Queer Romance Month, and it’s a concept that I—and all the other authors featured this month—recognize as a basic tenet of our work. But I want to add three more words to the motto: everywhere, everywhen, everyhow.”

Well now what? by Rhys Ford

“I’d want someone—gay, straight, purple or polka-dotted—to be able to carry themselves through life without having to fight for the right to love or to live.”

9 stories and 10 links by Ginn Hale

“But we writers aren’t the only ones exploring expanding the definitions of romance. Numerous amazing creators are writing, illustrating and producing, (often completely at their own expense) brilliant web comics. And I’d like to share a few that stand out for me.”

What Organizing a Gay Wedding Taught Me About Being a Romance Writer by Nicole Kimberling

“For a lot of readers, venturing through any of the doors marked L, G, B, or T is going to be as confusing as the bride-free wedding was for my previous client. Even readers of G might never try and see what’s behind the door marked T. Does that make them bad people? Not at all. It just means they haven’t found the book that can translate the experience into terms they understand or are able to feel comfortable engaging.”

Why We Need Trans Romance by E.E. Ottoman

“I refuse to believe that I will always be alone, that being trans has doomed me to isolation and unhappiness. I refuse to raise another generation of trans children who believe that is true, that they are fundamentally unlovable because they are trans. Who live without ever seeing people like them portrayed as being in a happy, healthy relationship. Who never get to see themselves as the heroes of a story about love and being loved.”

Components of Gay Romance by Jordan Castillo Price

“I may not consider myself to be a romance writer. But whether the love interest in my stories functions as a contrast to the main character, or a liability, or an ally, I find the relationship subplot to be a critical component of the work I’ve written so far.”

Lesbian Romance — Becoming Visible with a Little Help from our (M/M) Friends by Radclyffe

“While we who write LGBTQ romance may have different audiences, we have a common theme, and what unites us is far more significant than what separates us.”

It’s All About Me by Anne Tenino

“Most of those people who’re freaking out, telling LGBTQ people that they’re going to burn in hell? They aren’t doing it to save you. They’re doing it because they’re afraid of being punished for not saying anything.”

Why Queer Romance Matters by LA Witt

“I would have given my right arm for some believable, realistic queer characters when I was a teenager. Maybe then I would have seen myself and learned that there’s nothing wrong with me. I might’ve even learned what in the world ‘bisexual’ meant before I realized it also meant ‘me’.”

And GRNW lead Tracy contributed an essay prior to QRM’s launch:

Working in your Community to get the Word Out about Queer Romance by Tracy Timmons-Gray

“You may think that building community awareness around queer romance fiction is limited to gaining social media followers or GoodReads friends, but there are actually a lot of ways to build awareness within your *real life* community as well, and in ways that can have a big impact for other local readers and writers.”

Thank you to the organizers and contributors to the Queer Romance Month project.

With still so much celebration to do, where will QRM go next? We look forward to finding out! 😀

And please share with us YOUR favorite(s) QRM posts, and what they meant to you!

Write with Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Jordan Castillo Price

As part of the GRNW 2014 conference keynote on Sept. 20, 2014, we asked five writers to share the messages they would send to their past or future selves. We are happy to share these messages with you.

Below is a message from author Jordan Castillo Price,

Dear Jordan,

Price Jordan CastilloI wish I could warn you that school is nothing like you thought it would be. You’re standing there with your shiny new diploma and it seems like you’re embarking on a grand adventure where you land a fabulous, secure job, rub elbows with interesting people and make cool things. Unfortunately, what’s ahead of you is more of a long slog.
I’m not sure if it’s the recession, or your personality, or simply a matter of wrong place, wrong time. You’re not going to find a job you like. Ever. I hope you’re not too crushed upon hearing this—I’d actually like to encourage you to relax, because this day-job thing doesn’t last forever.

Something called the Internet is coming, and that something is really big. Nowadays it’s made of cat pictures and porn. When you first see it, though, it’s mostly text. Photographic images will take forever to load, line by line, and trying to stream a video at those speeds would be ludicrous. Even so, having access to any information you care to find is a massive game-changer.

The Internet only evolves from there. Connections improve. Pretty soon most people start communicating via email, which leads to special interest groups on Yahoo and Google, which then give way to MySpace, LiveJournal, Twitter and Facebook.

So what does this mean for you?

Early on, you’ll stumble into a group of women who write fanfiction. Not only will writing with them teach you the mechanics of writing, but it will train you to be able to write sex scenes without flinching away, and in fact you will learn to infuse meaning in every groan and thrust. Sex and sexuality are an important part of the human experience, and being able to handle gender and sexual identity fluidly, without apology, will put you exactly where you need to be when gay romance becomes the hot new genre. And here you were willing to write it for free.

Have faith, it doesn’t happen overnight. Initially you will send out numerous submissions to mens’ magazines where they either go unacknowledged, are returned unread, or are even occasionally berated. Erotica is probably not the place for you anyway, though I think it’s as good a place as any for you to start making sense of the writer’s market.  Keep practicing and develop your voice. One of these days, the gatekeepers will begin publishing you. And a few years later, once you figure out what’s what, you can set up shop for yourself and reach your audience directly, thanks to the Internet. Yes, your audience is out there, people who want to read about bent heroes who, up until now, were only allowed a tragic ending.

So don’t beat yourself up for not learning more useful things in school to set you up in a rewarding traditional career. You’re learning how to interface with other people, to communicate and to present yourself. Besides, the genre you’ll be writing in doesn’t actually exist yet. The method for delivery isn’t yet accessible to the public, and the devices people will read the stories on won’t be around for several years either. Do your best instead to observe your human experience as you navigate the roller coaster ride of your life, friends and enemies, loves and losses. The learning never stops. And every experience has the potential to make your stories that much richer.

Read more of the 2014 GRNW Keynote, “Write with Pride.”

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Radclyffe

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.

With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again. Visit Jordan’s website.

Size Matters with Jordan Castillo Price + Meatworks Giveaway!

Size Matters: Novels vs. Novellas, Standalones vs. Series

Price Jordan CastilloBy Jordan Castillo Price

“Chunking” information is a method we use to recall things. Recalling a random seven-digit number might be difficult, but when we add a dash after the first three digits, it becomes easier. (And have you ever had anyone giving you a phone number pause for breath at the wrong part of it, like after the first five digits? Talk about confusing!)

While chunking is a short-term memory phenomenon, conceptually I chunk my stories in 15,000-word increments. For me, unfolding a story in a series of novelettes is absolutely the perfect way to go. I think that having a single, focused mini-crisis and resolution happen in 15-20,000 words, while maintaining a longer series crisis until the last story, feels exactly right. Because more and more of us are consuming our fiction on e-readers these days, we’re no longer bound to the size constraints inherent in traditional paper publishing. We can create works that are just as long or short as they need to be.

Unfortunately, there are considerations that go far beyond format. Pricing ebooks is tricky anyway, but generally readers don’t want to feel like they’re being strung along with crumbs of a story to inflate the price of the series. If each installation of a series is novel-length, fine. But break up that same story in 20,000-word chunks and it begins to feel like an attempt to milk the market. Even if that’s not the author’s intent at all.

There’s also the matter of resolution. I’ve discovered that many readers in M/M want all conflict to be resolved at the end of a book, even if there’s a followup planned. As a storyteller, this is distressing to me, because when everything’s resolved in one book…that’s a standalone. Trump up a new conflict for the subsequent book and it feels contrived.

It’s a catch-22 situation. Series sell better. Readers want to fall in love with characters and watch them develop and unfold over the course of many, many scenes. Yet often readers are vocally dissatisfied if conflict isn’t entirely resolved.

For writers, I don’t think there’s any good answer for this. Once all conflict is resolved, there’s no reason to continue the series. You can try introducing new conflict, but eventually you’ll jump the shark—and no one wants to hear “…and this is the book where the series started to suck.”

Meatworks was a story that took me several years to write, and originally, I planned it as a novelette series. But then I decided I’d be shooting myself in the foot if I didn’t give my Meatworks characters a big ol’ resolution. Now I see this was a good choice. I was already pushing a lot of limits by making the main character a total bastard. I think stringing out the story over the course of several novelettes would have made it even less palatable, since the lightbulb doesn’t go on for my protagonist until the very end. Also, when I combined the novelettes, I realized that there was some resolution I’d built into the middle that would actually work much better at the very end. So the structure then shifted. Without the need for mini-resolutions, I was able to plunge the story even deeper into the black pit of conflict and despair.

So Meatworks became a standalone. And while my series are far more popular than my standalones, I’ve already had a few new-to-me readers say that this will be their gateway JCP novel.

They’re in for a wild ride.

MEATWORKS EXCERPT

meatworks-600“You’re here for the meeting? It’s supposed to start at seven. And you are?”

“Me? I’m Desmond Poole.”

“Hi, Desmond. I’m Pam Steiner. Come in, make sure you close the door behind you.”

Nah, I figured I’d just let it rain in. I forced a smile. Baring my teeth probably wouldn’t fool anyone, but I couldn’t afford to make a new enemy.

My hostess Pam, a thirtyish chick with sandy, blunt-cut hair and a painfully earnest face, smiled in return. Her smile looked as forced as mine felt.

“I can take your coat. Shoes go there.” She took my wet jacket and pointed to a pile of shoes beside the door. Most of the shoes were in pairs. But a few of them were single.

Gah. I knew the support group was a shitty idea. “I’m gonna leave my shoes on.”

“Oh, is it an issue with your prosthetic? I thought it was your arm, not your leg.”

How she could say the P-word without gagging on it was beyond me. My arm felt like it was full of lead weights. Even though the thing stuck to the end of it supposedly weighed less than my original arm had.

“No, it’s an issue with my…socks.”

“I’m sorry. I just had the hardwood floors waxed last week, is all.”

Pam stood, blocking the doorway from me and effectively trapping me in the front hall until I relinquished my shoes, which would mean being stuck in my socks—and that meant no quick getaway. I considered grabbing my jacket away from her and sprinting out the door. But this was my last chance to prove I’d done the mandatory “sharing” that would help me “heal.”

Like I’d ever heal.

Unfortunately, my social worker said if I kept cutting class, Social Services would stop cutting checks.

Pam clutched my jacket harder. I could wrestle her for it, but half a foot shorter, thirty pounds lighter or not, it was a good possibility that she had a robo-arm too. I didn’t know that for a fact, since one of her hands was currently hidden, with my leather jacket draped over it. But come on, why else was Gimp Group being held at her house? If she did have a robo-arm, it’d be just as strong as mine. Plus, she’d probably have a lot better control over hers than I did, given that for the past three months, I’d been doing my best to pretend the hunk of junk on the end of my stump didn’t exist. Meanwhile, she’d been hanging balloons off her porch light, dusting off the folding chairs, and laying out a spread of stale cookies and decaf.

I bent, untied my combat boots with my real hand, and slipped them off. Pam was smiling harder when I straightened up. “Okay, then. You’re the last one on the list. Shake hands with the housebot and we can get started.”

“I’ll take a pass.”

Pam looked at me like I was nuts. If I didn’t “shake” with the housebot, how would it be able to add my temperature preferences to those of the group and adjust the HVAC system accordingly? And the lighting system? And the music mix? While my own preference for old school punk usually resulted in some bizarre selections when I mingled with a group of more conservative folk, and the housebot averaged our musical taste into something that all of us could snigger at…I’d been less than enthused lately about baring my soul to just any old piece of machinery. “If you don’t scan in,” Pam said, “your social worker won’t know you made it to the meeting.” She gave a little nervous chuckle.

“Besides, if you don’t scan in, you could be anybody, and I wouldn’t know the difference.”

Did I even know anyone who’d be willing to pretend to be me? Maybe someone from the gin mill who wouldn’t mind an easy twenty bucks. Too bad none of ’em were gimps. “I’ll show you my I.D.”

“Theoretically, I mean. I don’t actually think you’re lying about who you—”

“Couldn’t you just call him or something?”

“Call your social worker? On the telephone? I don’t think I even have his number.” I did, but I was busy convincing myself I’d forgotten it. Pam hugged my jacket to her chest as if by doing so, she could vicariously comfort me. She lowered her voice so that she sounded very confidential and concerned, and said, “Is it some sort of phobia?”

“Something like that.”

A muscle twitched in my neck, and my robo-arm flung its fingers wide, like it was so happy to meet Pam it wanted to slip her an exuberant wave whether or not my shoulder chose to get into the act. I ignored it.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “it’s totally safe. There are no moving parts in the scanner. Not one. And I just upgraded a few months ago. It’s very fast. You’ll have your hand back before you know it.”

I would not have my hand back before I knew it. I would not have my hand back, ever. It was an effort not to say as much. Hell, it was an effort not to scream it at the top of my lungs. But I couldn’t take the chance that Pam might decide to actually figure out how to use her phone and tattle on me to my social worker if I started acting like a prick, so I kept my mouth shut and let the fucking housebot scan my remaining hand.

It wasn’t that I was afraid of the dumb thing—I’d repaired enough of them to know there were no moving parts—it was the principle. Can’t a guy go somewhere without being read? What if I want to sweat for a change—or shiver? What if I’m in the mood for some country and western? What if I want to tell my social worker where I’ve been and have him take my word for it?

meatworks-facebook-bannerMEATWORKS E-BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a free ebook of Meatworks! Drawing to be held on Sunday, July 20! 😀

Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.

Corey Steiner is a hot young rudeboy who works his robotic limb like an extension of his own body, and he’s smitten by Desmond’s crusty punk rock charm from the get-go. Unfortunately, Desmond hasn’t quite severed ties with his ex-boyfriend, and Corey isn’t known for his maturity or patience.

Meatworks is set in a bleak near-future where cell phone and personal computer technologies never developed. In their place, robotics flourished. Now robots run everything from cars to coffee pots. Taking the guesswork out of menial tasks was intended to create leisure time, but instead robots have made society dependent and passive.

Desmond loathes robots and goes out of his way to avoid them. But can he survive without the robotic arm strapped to the end of his stump?

See more of Jordan at the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up in Seattle on September 20! Until then, you can visit her at her website: http://jcpbooks.com/

Cover Art Expose: Jordan Castillo Price!

Cover art is sometimes (very often) maligned in our genre. (We even discussed the many naked chests at GRNW 2013, which led to one of our favorite lines spoken at the conference–Lou Harper’s “In defense of the headless torso…”)

The truth is that the genre boasts a lot of fantastic cover artists, who have a tough role of capturing the reader’s eye and capturing the story’s essence, all in one small space.

One of the features for the GRNW blog will be to go out and talk with those amazing artists and find out more about the magic behind their process.

For our first Cover Art Expose, we talk with the wonderful Jordan Castillo Price, who not only self-publishes her work through JCP Books, but does all her own cover art!

At the end of this interview, we’ll also be doing a giveaway for JCP’s sci-fi novel Mnevermind 1: The Persistence of Memory.

partners21- What was the first book cover that you worked on?

At the time, I didn’t realize how rare this was, but I made a request and Torquere Press allowed me to design the cover to PsyCop: Partners, the print compilation of the first two PsyCop novels. In 2006 m/m was pretty new and I imagine a lot of the standard practices in place now were not established yet. Nowadays it would be quite rare to be allowed to design your own cover. Many publishers don’t even give their authors the right of veto, citing “house style” over the preferences of the author.

2- How long does a cover normally take? Which cover of yours took the longest (and why?)

I’d say I work on each cover about half a week to a week. Initially it’s getting all the elements in place. If they don’t work correctly, this is the point I go back to the drawing board. Sometimes things look fantastic in my head but they’re too busy or confusing on the page. The last few sessions I’ll spend cleaning up and tweaking, putting on finishing touches. Then I sleep on it and end up tweaking a few hours more.

My covers for the Petit Morts series took the longest because they’re vector art. Instead of colored pixels, they’re composed of mathematical points and curves. Theoretically you could zoom in infinitely and all the lines would still be crisp, unlike regular pixel-based artwork where it turns into little squares when you zoom or enlarge. It’s a more labor-intensive process but I wanted the bold graphic look that’s unique to vector art…well, I imagine you could mimic it with a pixel-based program but I was comfortable enough working in vectors. I’m a heck of a lot rustier nowadays. The last vector element I designed was the Spook Squad logo and FPMP seal on the back cover of the paperback.

The Petit Morts series

The Petit Morts series

3- For the art nerds out there, what are your preferred tools and programs?

For paperback and PDF typesetting I use InDesign. For cover art, mainly Photoshop, though for vector work I prefer Illustrator. Photoshop has vector tools now, which is new-ish these past few years. I’m just more accustomed to Illustrator, which I used quite a lot in my day job for flyers and big signage (like the type of banner you’d see hanging from an overpass, for instance.) I was a graphic designer at a public library for many years, so I got to learn how to do things from postcards to bookmarks to those big ol’ overpass signs.

For any major art nerds who might wonder, I’m running CS6, though undoubtedly some new feature will come along and tempt me into upgrading to Creative Cloud. I try to train at least an hour a week through something like Photoshop User TV, or Lynda.com, or Kelby Training, or my local Adobe User Group, and inevitably I’m going to see something that’ll make me want to upgrade since these trainings tend to focus on the latest version. New Camera RAW integration looks really nice, for example.

turbulence-2004- You’ve done a lot of series covers, with your Psycop books, Channeling Morpheus, Petit Morts, and the different chapters in the Turbulence serial.

What is it like when you’re tackling covers in a series? And how did your style differ between these series?

It seems like I must have realized a series should have a cohesive look—it’s just a matter of common sense—but PsyCop evolved over so many years in such a piecemeal way that it really didn’t have a particular “look” beyond the PsyCop logo. Certainly my skills improved a lot since 2006 as well. Since I’m now the publisher, I’m opting to redesign PsyCop so that it looks like an actual series. That project began last year. I’m working on Camp Hell (book 5) now.

payback-200Sometimes a cover “look” will be dictated by choices the stock photographer made. Because the photographer added B&W high-contrast effects to the shot of Michael on the cover of Payback (Channeling Morpheus 1), if I wanted to use that shot, I needed to make all the subsequent cover art match it. (And I was really married to that shot.) For that series, I think it worked really well, but in general it irks me when stock photographers make artistic choices like B&W effects, or really close cropping. A lot of shots are unusable because half of someone’s head is cropped away, for instance, so I can’t position them where I need to in my composition. And if I want B&W, I can make my own B&W since I have filters too…and maybe I would have chosen a different sort of contrast than the photographer picked. /rant

5- You have a knack for finding excellent cover models for your books. (GRNW hearts Wild Bill!) How hard is that search process?

GRNW hearts Wild Bill

GRNW hearts Wild Bill

Thank you! I heart Wild Bill too…wow, that mouth. Searching through stock models is actually kind of nauseating for me, I’m not really sure why. I must be looking too hard at the monitor for too many hours.

I will hoard good photos for years and years. I’ve been holding onto the cover model for Elijah from Mnevermind forever. I had nicknamed him Major Tom because he had a late 80’s New Wave look to him and he reminded me of the Peter Schilling song.

Some stock photos are pricier than others. I’m willing to pay for really expensive photos if need be because I’m self-publishing now and I can make that decision to invest, whereas authors working with publishers are usually limited to a smaller pool of more affordable art. Wild Bill was expensive, but oh so worth it.

I live in fear of putting a model on my cover and realizing he’s prominent on someone else’s book. It’s deplorable how few stock photos of men are available as opposed to women.

6- What cover was most challenging for you and why?

I was going to put Captain Kaye on one of the Turbulence covers, but older women are even more underrepresented than men. After hours of searching I found one model I liked…but the photographer had cropped her so close that I couldn’t position her anywhere on the page, and eventually I gave up.

bodyart2007- Is there a cover that you wish you could go back and redo?

Absolutely, I’d do Body Art in a second. I think I was so excited to see that tattooed arm reaching to adjust a tie (it represents a theme in the book so well) that I didn’t consider the overall tone of the cover. In a re-do, I’d forget about presenting a visual narrative a certain scene and make it look more like a thriller. And I’d have lots of dark tree silhouettes. I also have a theory that the eyes are the most important part of the model (which is why I despise those naked manchest floating over cityscape covers in m/m) so I might dig around and find a good headshot to represent my main character.

8- Are there things that you hadn’t thought about before you started doing your own book covers?

Ebooks are changing fast. To give you some perspective, when I started making ebook cover art in 2007, the Kindle wouldn’t be on the horizon for over two more years. I guess I would have thought there’d be a standard electronic art size, but there really isn’t. Various devices have different resolutions as well as different ratios, kind of like all the different computer monitor sizes. I just go with a ratio of 2:3 now and it seems about as “standard” as you’ll get.

This is a bit of a non-sequitur, or maybe it’s related, but one thing I used Photoshop for as a graphic designer at a public library was to take nonstandard audiobook packaging, scan it, manipulate it into a standard ratio, and make it work with a package we could circulate. So I went to pick up a CD-set on hold today and wondered why it looked so familiar—had I listened to it? Then I saw it was from my old library and realized that I’d re-done the packaging myself a few years ago. Ha!

9- Do you have any recommendations you can share for those who are thinking about doing their own book covers?

secrets-200Get really good at Photoshop and don’t waste your time with freeware programs. Buy an older version of Photoshop if money is an issue, just check the system requirements to make sure you can run it. It makes me crazy in certain publishing forums where new publishers are trying to figure out how to publish a paperback using freeware or Microsoft Word. I’m probably an Adobe snob, but it bugs me when people attempt to force consumer tools to do professional jobs and then wonder why it doesn’t work. Adobe software is a monetary and time investment, but it’s the industry standard.

If you’re totally new to Photoshop, grab a free one-week trial membership at Lynda.com and watch some intro courses for a solid week. I personally think the annual subscription there is worth much more than they charge. Photoshop is a very in-depth program, you’re not going to learn it in an afternoon. I’ve been learning since 1999, and as I said, I try to do an hour of continuing ed each week. If online learning isn’t your thing, invest in a class through your community college.

Once you have the hang of Photoshop, look at images you really like and try to reproduce them. I don’t care for most book covers so I look at movie posters instead. There are often multiple ways to get the same effect in Photoshop so tinkering will usually get you somewhere.

If you’re an author and the art is for your own books, be aware that publishers generally don’t let you do your own cover art.

forget-20010- Any future covers on the horizon you can tell us about?

I mentioned the star of my latest cover earlier: Elijah from Mnevermind (otherwise known as Major Tom, who I’ve been hoarding for at least five years). Book 2 of the trilogy, Forget Me Not, will be out later this month. I really enjoyed working on the covers for this series, both the photographic effects and the logo with the crows and the state capitol behind it. Their dreamy, intense and stylized tone really reflects the nature of the stories, a very gritty and realistic speculative fiction about false memories. The interiors of the paperbacks were also fun to lay out, where I used some subtle crow graphics on the pages.

Thanks so much for the interest in my cover art! Hopefully I didn’t send anyone into a design-geek coma!

Thanks, JCP! And for anyone interested, you can download a free PDF of JCP’s cover art gallery!

Giveaway Time!

To celebrate Mnevermind 2: Forget Me Not coming out later this month, we’re doing a ebook giveaway of Mnevermind 1: The Persistence of Memory to one commenter below. We’ll pick a winner on Sunday. Good luck!! 😀