Tag Archives: cover artists

We go Spying With Lana, on Lisa Burton Radio


Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and we're having a little difficulty getting through to Hogwarts. Maybe we'll play some music while we wait. I have a Runaways album that's pretty awesome.

Wait, we have a caller. “Hello, You're on the air with Lisa Burton.”

“Hi, this is Lana, calling from an empty warehouse in the middle of nowhere. First time caller, long time listener.”

“Lana, as in Spying with Lana?”

“Alas, yes.”

<Squee> “Spying has to be such a glamorous lifestyle. Beautiful locations, pretty clothes, hanging out with high rollers. Maybe knocking down the casino at Monte Carlo.”

“That's what they tell me. I'm still waiting for the glamour part to kick in. I wonder if the Agency is giving the glamorous missions to someone else behind my back…..”

“Where are you now, and what's involved with this mission?”

“Your guess is as good as mine. Today I was in a warehouse waiting to meet some guy, but he never showed up, so now I'm in a warehouse not waiting for anyone. Sean probably doesn't even know where this story is going, which he really should, since they're pretty repetitive.”

“It must be a really important mission, or the Agency wouldn't have sent you.”

“Of course! Once I battled a team of assassins on a mission to get a refund for the Chief's defective laptop. And there was the time he accidentally sent me into the middle of a rebel uprising when I was supposed to be on vacation. He also once sent me undercover to take down an arms dealer that turned out to be an employee of the Agency, but that's hardly worth mentioning.”

“Sounds to me like you're under appreciated. Still, you get to wear all those cool outfits. You know, until they get destroyed.”

“Yes, unfortunately the wardrobe department has suffered a lot of casualties on my missions. While I have been known to, er… misplace a few clothes here and there, most of the time it isn't my fault! It seems like every time a get a cute new outfit, it ends up getting ripped, shredded, or torn right off! Oh well, I suppose that as long as I stay in one piece myself on these ridiculous missions I shouldn't complain.”

“Doesn't running around naked distract you from completing your mission?”

“Oh, one get's used to it, and on some missions it can be quite helpful, as you can imagine! Unless the mission is in someplace really cold, then… well, you can just imagine that, too. Or maybe not? Being a robot, you probably don't get cold; of course, you probably don't run naked through the snow with guard dogs chasing you very often, either.”

“I'm going to order some sexy spy clothes. I could totally pull off a Lana cosplay at the next convention I attend. If it's in Vegas, maybe I'll take down a casino in your honor.”

“Wow, really? I'd be flattered! I'd be even more flattered if you'd take my place in this crummy mission while I go to Vegas, but never mind that…..”

“It looks like we have a caller. Hello, you're on the air with Lisa and Lana.”

“Hey Lana, this is the Chief with an update on your mission. You're going to get a good laugh out of this, but the guy didn't want to meet in that warehouse after all! His name is Ware and he wanted to meet you at his house! I rescheduled the meeting for tomorrow since it's about a 12 hour bus ride to his house from where you are.”

“How long would it take to get to where you are and strangle you?”

“Oh, don't make such heavy weather over such a minor mistake. Besides, the nearest bus stop is only an hour's walk away! You'll be there in no time.”

“More like three hours with all the snow outside, but what's the difference, right? It's already a lousy day.”

“That's the spirit! And don't forget, the secret password is 'Sasquatch'. Don't let anyone know.”

“This isn't a secure line, you know. It's a radio show being broadcast all over the world.”

“Really? Oh… Well, I'll call you with a new password tomorrow.” <click>

“He's going to call the radio station tomorrow isn't he?”

“Yeah, most likely. But don't worry about it. It'll probably be the wrong password anyway.”

“I heard some of your old missions have been collected into a graphic novel. What can you tell me about that?”

“I'd rather forget about most of my missions, but Sean keeps collecting them in graphic novels. The latest one is called Sweet Dreams, and it contains some of my craziest missions yet. It even has some new pages and scenes in it that readers have never seen before (and I hope I never see again)! It sometimes irks me that Sean profits from my misery, but he doesn't profit very much so I suppose it's okay.”

“I still think it sounds glamorous. Cute shoes, pretty dresses, catsuits.”

“Yeah, I'm living the dream. Say, can you wire me some money for a bus ticket? I don't have any pockets in my outfit. Actually, I don't even have my outfit anymore. It's a long story….”

“Um, yeah, no problem. I'll collect your info off the air.”


Sean Harrington is an extremely versatile artist. He creates all the Lisa Burton art for me. He also has some cool art deco pieces, and does great motorcycles and cars (and biplanes).

He made the covers for Wild Concept, and The Playground. Check out the GTO on this cover:


Spying with Lana is a funny webcomic. I'm still laughing over the time she flipped a tank; who flips a tank? It has some mature themes, and occasionally takes spy sexiness a degree further. I love all the perspective, reflections, and blur in this Lana image. The gun is pretty cool too.

You can pick up a copy of Sweet Dreams at this site. He says right up front that it's for mature readers, and it is.

This is Sean's Tumblr, for those of you familiar with that platform.

This is the site where you can hire him for book covers. He's interested in doing more, and I've found him to be reasonable, reliable, and fast. I hadn't seen this new site until now, and was pretty excited to see Wild Concept among his promo pieces.

Every artist needs a DeviantArt site. That's where I found this Art Nouveau piece. Maybe something like that is more suitable for some genres.

Keep Sean in mind if you're shopping for a cover artist. If you would like one of your characters to be on Lisa Burton Radio, check out the page of the same name at the top of my blog.


Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Drawing the Bow of Destiny

Okay, it's a pun about drawing a bow, and creating the cover art for a new novel. P. H. Solomon released his new book the other day, and he's stopped by to tell us about his cover artist and share a blurb with us.

There are two things important to publishing a book: good editing and a good cover. When it comes to fantasy, a good cover is essential since the artwork must be original and capture the essence of the story. When I committed to self-publishing, I knew I needed to commission an original cover for The Bow of Destiny.

Last year I did a little fund raising to publish my book. From that I could afford to hire an artist but I didn't know how to find or choose one. Then someone tweeted some fantasy artwork, one of which was a piece entitled, “Robin of Loxley”. I immediately knew the artwork captured much of what I was looking for as cover-art for The Bow of Destiny. The archery and forest scene being very compelling for communicating theme and setting – both very effective for a fantasy novel.

I looked up the artist, Christopher Rawlins, and queried him about cover-art based on the original. Christopher was willing to take on the project. We settled on the cost and I provided him with general descriptions. When Christopher sent me the first version I was stunned. He had nailed it on the first try. We went through a few iterations to best show the title until we settled on the final version you've seen. Since then, many people have contacted me on my blog or over social media and let me know they loved the cover. It's all due to Christopher's intuitive efforts. Below is his bio and a short interview with him:

Artist Bio

“I have lent my brush to a huge diversity of subject matter and styles. Portrayal of humans, horses, animals, and landscapes, using contemporary and modern techniques have earned admiration, acclaim and a large following. I am passionate about strong compositions, realism, detail, accuracy, dramatic lighting and strong compositions.

My artworks have been used for numerous book covers, albums and magazines, as well as entire books growing a wide audience of authoritative scholars who respect integrity, as well as faithful patrons and enthusiasts who love the action-packed and emotional style.

I have a passion for history and art so to bring history to life through my artworks is a dream come true. My approach is to try and put yourself / the viewer there to bring a true-to-life realism that the books of my childhood lacked. Detail of research for any painting is key if you are attempting a realistic representation. I research many of my artworks in detail and travel abroad to battlefield locations, museums and military archives.

Artist Interview

What's the best part of the work for you?

It’s a great honour to be entrusted with creating an artwork for someone else’s vision, bringing something to life visually. An entire world full of fanciful characters and other entities that the author has dared to dream about, labour over and then I’m allowed to give that world and those characters faces, costumes etc… It’s a real privilege, there are millions of artists so to be chosen for something that is so dear to someone is wonderful and as close to recognition as you are likely to come by.

Can you describe your process — and how you work with authors?

The process is always different; some authors have a very strong idea, particularly when it comes to characters. They have already seen the artwork in their own mind.
’s really just an exercise in taking their vision and giving it a visual. That said it’s often more difficult because you know that they have such a clear idea you’re terrified that you’re not going to meet their expectations and that the characters won’t appear how they have in the authors mind. In this case for ‘The Bow Of Destiny’ I was given a very strong brief, down to eye colour and hair thickness. This was incredibly helpful but again illustrates how intimately the author knows these characters and put tremendous pressure on you to execute it. It’s like painting someone’s loved one from a description of them. It’s never going to be quite right.

What have you noticed most in terms of trends in the marketplace for covers?

Almost all artworks I’m asked to undertake for book, CD, game covers etc… have much more of a Hollywood feel than in the past. They all have a movie poster quality about them. Were all so used to seeing that kind of artwork it’s fairly natural to expect.

What is your inspiration?

That’s very difficult to answer. Everywhere and everything I guess. Unless I’m given a specific brief it’s usually music, a lyric, a haunting melody that sort of thing. I’m always looking at other artists work, looking at their treatments of similar subjects or even more abstract pieces in an attempt to push the boundaries. Movies too, they have the scope of motion, and it’s trying to bring that motion to a static piece, that’s the challenge.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Again, that’s very hard to answer. I see artists every day that genuinely blow me away, be it composition, design or superb execution I’m forever seeing images that are just stunning. That’s one of the many wonders of the web, a sharing of information and images that otherwise would only be seen by a very small number of people.100 or so years ago I would have trotted out the names of a few well known masters, but nowadays because of the wealth of information sharing it’s impossible to list out the names of all those that have wowed me. I have a new favourite almost every day.

How do you begin a cover?

It’s the background really. The sky dictates the image really. It sets the mood and the lighting; from there the distance and the middle ground take shape. Then I play around with the composition of the characters in a simply silhouette form to see what works best. Then work the characters up, basic costumes, accessories, weapons etc… I usually leave the faces until last because that’s the hard part. Once you goat a great looking character you’ll persevere with the face until you get it right. If I started with the face and had nothing else I may well give up with frustration, but the fact that you can see the rest of the image there save for a face or two give you the impetus to carry on.

About how long is the process?

This very much depends on the complexity of the image. The cover for ‘The Bow of Destiny’ was relatively straightforward with the exception of pressure of getting someone else’s vision right. I have recently created an artwork for the ‘Battle of Chillianwala’ a real battle that took place in 1849, part of the second Anglo-Sikh war.

This scene contained approximately 40 characters and 7 horses in 5 different uniforms plus an array of cannons, lances, swords, rifles and shields. All of which had to be referenced / researched to make sure they were historically accurate which is quite a task in its own right, that
’s before you drawn a thing. Something like this can take around 80 -100 hours and take you to the brink and back several times over.

What do you love other than art?

Obviously, my very supportive wife Zoe and our family, who allow me the time and space needed to get into the zone. I love a variety music which as mentioned often provides me with inspiration and a keen love of classic cars and all things old.

The Bow of Destiny Blurb

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.

Athson has seen things that aren't there and suffered fits since being tragically orphaned as a child at the hands of trolls and Corgren the wizard. When a strange will mentioning a mysterious bow comes into his possession, he's not sure it's real. But the trolls that soon pursue him are all too real and dangerous. And what's worse, these raiders serve Corgren and his master, the hidden dragon, Magdronu, who are responsible for the destruction of his childhood home. Athson is drawn into a quest for the concealed Bow of Hart by the mystic Withling, Hastra, but Athson isn't always sure what's real and who his enemies are. With Corgren and Magdronu involved, Athson must face not only frequent danger but his grasp on reality and the reasons behind his tragic past.

About the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title.


Twitter Facebook Goodreads Website Pinterest Google + Wattpad Amazon Author

Upcoming Events

9/29/15: Guest appearance on Entertaining Stories, hosted by fantasy author C. S. Boyack.

9/30/15: Guest appearance on speculative fiction author, Emory Skwara's site.

10/1/15: Guest appearance on Cindy's Notebook, hosted by author, Cynthia Harris.

10/2/15: Guest appearance on Brain to Books hosted by speculative fiction author, Angela Chrysler

10/2/15: LIVE interview 1:30-2 ET on “Tell Me a Story ” via Blog Talk Radio, hosted by Annette Rochelle Aben and The Bow of Destiny will appear the following month in the review section of the digital magazine, The Magic Happens.

Current & Upcoming Titles

Book 1 of The Bow of Hart Saga: The Bow of Destiny can be found at these online retailers: Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Amazon – Kindle & Smashwords. See the book trailer.

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and on Amazon

What Is Needed Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords & Amazon

Additional Title:

The Black Bag Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords & iBooks

Upcoming Titles:

Book 2 of The Bow of Hart Saga: An Arrow against the Wind due out 4/18/2016. It can currently be found for pre-release orders at these select online retailers: Barnes & Noble, Kobo & iBooks.

Book 3 of The Bow of Hart Saga: The White Arrow is due out Fall of 2016 (links pending).

Future Works in Planning:

A parallel series to The Bow of Hart Saga is also in process as three novellas.

There will likely be a sequel trilogy for The Bow of Hart Saga and possibly at least a prequel book.

Guardians of the Gate epic fantasy is also a book/series in development.

The Black Glove adventure-fantasy series is also in development.



Filed under Uncategorized

Meet Sean Harrington

I have something fun for you today. Sean Harrington made the cover art for my first novel, Wild Concept. I found him when I discovered his wonderful webcomic, Spying With Lana. I returned to Sean and had him prepare some additional images of Lisa Burton for use on my blog. To see the first new Lisa picture check out this post. I invited him here to talk about his artwork.

Hello! My name is Sean Harrington, I’m a professional artist, I like long walks on the beach- Actually, I don’t really like to walk on the beach. I end up with sand in my socks. I probably shouldn’t walk on the beach in socks…

At any rate, I started working professionally in the art field about 20 years ago, although I’ve been drawing ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon (I couldn’t draw professionally back then, though. Three-year-olds are terrible at meeting deadlines). I’ve worked in a lot of different areas of art and illustration, but I’ve always particularly enjoyed illustrating book covers. I’m a longtime fan of the great cover artists like James Bama, Robert McGinnis, Benicio, and R. A. Maguire, and it’s been great to have an opportunity to work in this field myself. It also allows me to work with a wide range of different concepts and genres, which is a lot of fun for me as well.

My first illustration job was for a newsletter for the marching band I belonged to when I was a kid. They didn’t pay me anything, although I believe I did get a cheaply-made medal for my band uniform (and I think my parents had to pay a fee for the medal, too). It wasn’t my best business deal ever. But since then, things have been looking up! I’ve produced illustrations for the covers of novels, comic books, childrens books, magazines, and of course ebooks, including the cover for Craig’s novel Wild Concept.

Since 2008, I’ve also been writing and drawing a weekly online comic called Spying with Lana, which has developed a nice following over the years. The comic features a series of humorous and sexy spy/adventure stories following the trials and tribulations of Lana, a glamorous secret agent, who always seems to find herself mixed up in decidedly unglamorous missions.

It’s a fun comic to produce, and it has allowed me to meet and interact with my readers, as well as with other artists and writers around the world, and has given me the opportunity to work on several book covers for authors that read my comic. (Yes, surprisingly enough, they are still coherent enough to write even after reading my ridiculous comics!)

Over time, I’ve released several Spying with Lana graphic novels and comics in print, in addition to the online comics. I’ve also produced a variety of other comic strips and graphic novels and even a couple of childrens books and some computer game art over the years, as well as some stories for other book and comic publishers and magazines.

I’m a self-taught artist (We don’t need no education! We don’t need no thought control!) and I’ve worked with a lot of different mediums over the years. Currently when I work on a picture, I usually start with a pencil drawing, then scan it into my computer and finish and color the art digitally. In addition to this method of creating illustrations, I also like to paint, and I’ve been painting a lot of the book and comic covers I’ve done recently. I also paint portraits on occasion, as well as some more “fine art” oriented work when I have the spare time (that is, when I’m not wasting my spare time watching auto racing).

I do all my painting digitally nowadays with a Wacom art tablet. I used to paint traditionally using oil paints and brushes and all that, but it seemed like I spent most of my time cleaning brushes, unsuccessfully trying to mix the right colors, cleaning brushes… did I mention cleaning brushes? (I used to watch Bob Ross on PBS, and when he would finish painting with a color, he would give his brush a quick dip in some turpentine and -flip flip flip- the brush was clean as a pin. I can only assume that some sort of special effects were involved.) Oh, and did you know that oil paints can sometimes take months or even years to dry? Yes, literally years. So, digital painting it is!

In addition to art and illustration, I also do some sculpting (mostly using computer as well. Don’t get me started on the difficulties of working with water-based clay!) as well as doing some writing of my own. I mainly write poetry, plays, lyrics and the like; Nothing that would make Shakespeare break out into a cold sweat, but I have fun with it, so it serves its purpose.

I’d like to end by saying thank you for reading about me and my art, and a big thank you to Craig for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself here on his blog, as well as to produce art for him. I hope everyone will pop over to Amazon and download a copy of Wild Concept, as well as Craig’s other great books.

Here are some links for Sean:

Spying with Lana




Edit: Something went haywire, Thanks to Charles for pointing out the link to the webcomic didn’t go the right place. I have remedied it, so please try again.


Filed under Writing

What I’m Working On

I’m knee deep in edits for The Cock of the South. It helps me sometimes to talk about it, and I decided to take you along for the ride.

This is an epic fantasy set in a Greco Roman environment. The main character is a dwarf nick-named Cobby. I wanted to change a few historical facts around and establish this as an alternate environment early on. I decided that Remus defeated Romulus. This makes the dominant civilization the Remsians. (Not the Romans for you non history buffs.)

Cobby was raised in Remus by humans, and never actually told he’s a dwarf. Disaster strikes early on and Cobby runs for his life. He finds more than dwarves along the way and they all have a common problem; Remus.

Cobby is a member of the Southern Dwarves, a destroyed race whose remnants are scattered. He meets other fantasy creatures along the way, some intelligent, some animalistic.

The story takes on an exodus quality and gains a cast of thousands. (Don’t worry, they don’t all get dialog.) I mixed in a little bit of American “hang together or hang separately,” put it in a cocktail shaker with a generous helping of blood and shook my ass off.

I acknowledged the fact that some problems can’t be solved. Missing persons can’t always be accounted for. There is no Interpol or milk carton to put pictures on. I’m back to The Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.” People are cruel and death is brutal. This one may not be for children.

I decided to acknowledge the gods, but didn’t bring them into the story. They don’t give a crap anyway.

Fairy tale structure has always appealed to me, and I wanted to try it. There are a few threads built into the story. Cobby’s father is a soldier, statesman, and merchant. There are three sons that reflect one of these qualities. Cobby is the merchant. To succeed in his story, he has to accomplish all of these. I included some other elements too, like gifts from friends, an oracle of dubious quality, and more.

I’m pretty happy with the story and the environment. I’m going through it word for word, yet again. I still need to do a word search for my personal sin words. This might take some time, but I have time. I refuse to hermit myself away and give up date night and such.

I’m also searching for a cover artist who can do some Frazetta style fantasy art within my budget. I’m sure I’ll find something, but I’m open to suggestions if you know someone. I’ve looked at some fantastic art recently, but none of it has been exactly what I want. I may have to take The Rolling Stones’ advice myself.


Filed under Writing

Let’s Talk About Cover Art

I had a house full of family, and didn’t make tons of progress this weekend. We had a great barbecue and a wonderful fireworks event in our driveway. We even had a visit from a grouchy neighbor who must have forgotten who shovels the snow at his house in the winter. I don’t have a ton of things to talk about, so let’s discuss cover art. I don’t claim to be an expert after hiring out three covers, but I’m no longer a newbie either. Your experience might be different from mine, but I can still talk about mine. I started out wanting to hire someone new. I wanted to help introduce a new person to the world, and put in a considerable effort on that front. I sent a string of business emails to Boise State University, College of Western Idaho, Idaho State University, and even the Meridian School District. I directed the last one to three specific teachers at the district. I thought it would be wonderful to meet at a coffee shop and go over ideas. I still think this would be great, but it wasn’t meant to be. My email barrage received not one single response, not even one telling me “no thanks.” I started leaving voice messages, again nothing but silence. Eventually, I decided if these folks were no more professional than that, I really didn’t want to work with them. It is important to decide what you don’t like. For myself, I don’t like photographic covers. They are better suited to a different genre than I write in (erotica perhaps). I also don’t like the 3D art style. These look like posed Barbie dolls to me, and scream lesser quality. People will judge a book by its cover, and I don’t want someone thinking poorly about my book before giving it a chance. Please note that I said, “for myself.” You can do whatever you like. I knew what I wanted with Wild Concept, and started looking for artists who did similar work. Sean Harrington has a web comic that I love, and his art style was just what I had in mind. I wanted a comic style, because the main character, Lisa, could be a comic book hero under other circumstances. I thought the story might appeal to that market, and those who enjoy the Marvel movies. I settled upon a scene from the story, then got out of Sean’s way. Here’s what he delivered:

 Wild Concept

Panama is a paranormal story set during the building of the Panama Canal. Two former cavalry men get asked to go to the construction zone and sort out an unusual problem. Sean Harrington didn’t want to take on a project that involved a demon, and I respect that. I started emailing artists that I like, and they were prohibitively expensive. One of them referred me to Eric Dagley.  We exchanged emails, and my ideas. I wanted to get the menace of the demon into the cover. I also wanted a special badge with the star placed upside down. Eric liked the project, and we struck a deal. I really like the eyes, people are drawn to eyes. I also like the colors he used, and it tells readers what kind of story it is at a glance. Here’s what he delivered:

It became obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to use the same artist for all my books. Recently, I saw an article about a young artist named Leon Tukker. He draws science fiction art and I thought it was perfect for my next story, Arson. Here’s what he delivered:

image I’m pretty excited to get Arson available on Amazon, but this weekend didn’t allow much opportunity to work on it. I’ve learned a few things about art. You really want to catch a shopper’s eye. You are probably competing with other covers, and they need a reason to click on yours. I believe they all accomplish this. Covers need to look good in a thumbnail sized image. Some of the titles can fade at the smaller sizes. I hate to suggest black on white, or white on black, but this will stand out. My deals all worked the same way. I sent an extensive email about what I wanted. The artist returned several line drawings for me to assess. I won’t include any of Eric’s because he doesn’t want any of his preliminary images displayed. They look like this: image image It became my job to assess the options and make suggestions. We exchanged several emails at this point. When ready, each artist sent me a Paypal invoice. I had the option of half now, and half upon completion. I paid completely at this point. I received a complete piece of art without letters, and a complete cover from each artist. I’m considering having them printed and framed for my office. I’m still struggling to keep my two worlds separate, and am dragging my feet. It is the author’s job to come up with the concept. You really need to know what you want here. Shop around for artists who can create what you want. You are paying the bills and get to have some say. There will be less arguments about style if you do your homework.


Filed under Writing

Awesome Cover Art

My regulars all know that I was hoarding a pile of old manuscripts. I decided to post them all on Amazon and chose 2014 as the year. So far, I’ve posted Wild Concept and Panama.

Books need covers, and I think the cover is a big part of the sale. It can increase sales, but it can also decrease sales too. Choosing the right one can be difficult.

My regulars also know that I look at Zite magazine every day. This app customizes articles based upon my preferences. Artwork is one of the categories I always check. One day, there was an amazing piece by a young man named Leon Tukker. As soon as I saw it, I wanted him to make the cover for my next book, Arson.

It took me some effort to track Leon down. I learned he is a student in the Netherlands. Thank God he speaks English, because it’s my only language. He’s 22 years old and attends an art academy for interactive performance design. He taught himself to draw and paint. He would like to get a job as a concept artist at a game studio. He’s open to freelance work and more book covers.

We worked together for about a month. I wrote out an idea of what I wanted and sent him an email. He sent me some thumbnail sketches, and they were all wonderful. I had a hard time choosing one, because they were all that good. Another benefit is the fact that Leon’s a nice guy. He’s easy to work with and open to my input.

Two things to think about here. First if you are in the video game industry, you really ought to check this young man’s work out. Second, if you’re an author, Leon might be someone to consider for cover art. In my mind, if you’re Disney, Pixar, Marvel Comics, or George Lukas you should check Leon’s work out. (I know, all the same thing today.)

So let’s get down to it. Here’s the cover for Arson:


This is a depiction of a scene from the story. This is always a good choice, as long as the story has an exciting or dramatic scene. Some of the detail is lost at thumbnail size, but that’s always the case. This cover expresses the important theme even after some of the detail is lost, and that’s important.

Now I need to get off the stick and finish editing the manuscript. I’m almost done. A few more chapters, some specific word searches and I’m all set.

You can find Leon at the following sites:




Even if you’re not in the market for cover art right now, do yourself a favor and enjoy some more of Leon’s amazing art by clicking on the links.


Filed under Writing

Trying Something New

When promoting items for sale, it’s usually a good idea to try something new. Sure, the tried and true will bring an expected result, but you’ll also never exceed that method.

Doobster is trying a new writing prompt he calls Sports Shorts. If I weren’t neck deep in book promotion, I’d write something for him. He’s been very supportive over here. Check it out. Maybe you’ll want to send him a flash fiction. (Look, I supported him anyway. I’ll try to jump on a future prompt.) He inspired this thought.

I decided to try something new myself. I’m promoting my books. To celebrate the arrival of Panama, Wild Concept is free all next week. That’s kind of a tried and true promotion. Get your free copy starting tomorrow.

I love art and artists. I find inspiration for my stories through art all the time. There are some awesome artists on WordPress. There is a photograph I found on Deviantart that inspired my whole last manuscript, Will ‘O the Wisp.

Here’s where it gets different. In the blog world, Lisa from Wild Concept just got back from vacation. Get your crayons out and show me what she did. She told me she went to several comic book conventions, and stopped by Las Vegas to play blackjack.

Did she sing karaoke? Jam with a blues band? Pose with one of your original characters? Enter a cosplay contest? Ride the roller coasters? Pose for Maxim magazine? What? You regular readers know her from the blog. (Let’s keep it PG)

Bonus points if Lisa appears with one of your original characters. She hangs out with dwarves, monsters, and all kinds of things at the writing cabin. Maybe your link will sell a couple books for you.

I’ll post any pictures here on the blog and include whatever link you’d like included. I don’t care if the art is pencils, dough men, photography, paper dolls, or Legos. This is just a bit of fun. Be as silly or serious as you’d like.

Maybe it will help a budding new cover artist. We writers all need cover art sooner or later. Tell your colleagues, friends, and grandchildren. This only works if people participate.

My email address is Coldhand <dot> Boyack <at> gmail <dot> com. Send the art there and I’ll post it on the blog. You can also ask detailed description questions about Lisa if you want some guidance.

This succeeds or fails depending on participation. Wow, it’s almost like American Idol for artists, except you get promotion instead of a big prize.


Filed under Writing

Yippie Skippie!

My cover art is finished for Panama. I hope to work on publishing it this weekend. Since I usually post on Wednesday, this arrived right on time.


I really like it. Panama is a paranormal story set during the building of the Panama Canal. I like the way the demon’s eyes grab the reader. I think it communicates the paranormal aspect pretty well. I’ll give a description of the story in a future post. Today is about the artwork.

The art is by Eric Dagley. Eric doesn’t blow his own horn very much, but he provided me a link to his blog. If you’re interested, you can contact him here: Eric Dagley. Eric has done some work on a cool webcomic called Next Town Over. That’s how I found him.

I also like the upside down star on the badge. It’s kind of subtle, but helps communicate the tone of the story. I think it’s going to look pretty good as a thumbnail image too.

What do you folks think?


Filed under Writing

Writing and other problems

I slept in this morning. Old What’s Her Face* needs tires, and we decided to head to Les Schwab. They have to order the tires and we can’t get them until Wednesday. We went to lunch and called it a day.

I flew out to the writing cabin this afternoon and made a low pass over the runway. It had been freshly graveled. I landed and it was better than the last time, by far. I pulled onto the elevator and lowered myself into the basement.

I wove my way through the storage shelves holding miscelaneous story elements from my past projects. A man’s deep voice resonated through the basement. “Boots. In the box.” He tossed my soapbox on the floor at the foot of the stairs.

I froze. Lisa** is on vacation. She said she found someone to fill in for her. I pursed my lips and asked, “B, Bento?” ***

“Yes. I am filling in for Miss Lisa while she’s away. Put your boots in the box. I won’t have you messing up the cabin. I’ve been cleaning all week. Little bits of rabbit fur, sloshed beer stains, coffee rings, even raven feathers.”

“But that’s my soapbox. I like to stand up there and rant about things sometimes.”

“I’m sure your readers just love that.”

I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic, or just agreeing. He slapped me in the chest with a new pair of mocassins. I slid a three legged milking stool into place and changed my shoes.

We headed up the stairs. He hadn’t gotten a day older since the last time I saw him. He wore canvas pants with suspenders, a beige linen shirt with a Bull Durham string sticking out of the pocket, and a thick black mustache.

I headed right for the room where I’m working on Will ‘O the Wisp. I booted up my notes, and checked him out. Benjamim “Bento” Braganza; Portuguese expatriot. He works for the U.S. Government now.

When Bento returned with coffee, I was hard at work. The Will ‘O the Wisp bounced around from cabinet to rafter. “Don’t be afraid of the Wisp. It’s an important story element. There’s nothing to worry about in the cabin.”

“I am not worried. I’ve seen many strange things working for the Marshals.” He pointed toward the pentagram in the floor and said, “Marshal Coop has something similar to this. I believe now, and I have faith in them. I’ll have to see about you.”

I sipped my coffee and jerked. It was a bit stronger than I like it.

Bento disappeared, and I went back to work.

I wound up with 62,428 words. It comes to 1295 for the day. The enchanted beer horns sounded off, and ran into the room. I picked them up and carried them to the lounge.

Bento asked, “How do you shut them up?”

“Beer,” I said. I took a growler of porter from the fridge and filled them up. I handed one to Bento and headed for the main office.

I sat in my chair, and Bento on the couch. “I’m about ready to publish Panama, but I’ve run into a snag. My cover artist doesn’t like the theme of the story, so I need to find someone else.”

“I don’t blame him. Demons are uncomfortable even after you’ve been around some of it,” he said.

“I sent out three emails to people whose art I like, but I’ve only heard back from one and she’s expensive.”

“I’m sure you will find someone. There is other work to finish.” He slapped some papers on the coffee table and said, “Invoices.”

“What do you mean, Invoices?”

“It’s a simple concept. I paid for gravel, groceries, and beer. These are the receipts. You must pay me. When I spread the gravel, and cook the food, that is for my wages.”

“Lisa usually takes care of all that. She just transfers money using the computer.”

“What is a computer?”

“Oh that’s right. Your story was in 1904, there were no computers.”

He tapped a finger on the papers and said, “Invoices. Entendes?”

“I understand. Will you take a check?”

He lowered his brow and scowled.

“Maybe there’s some gold around here somewhere. I think those dwarves might have left a trunkfull in the basement.”

“You look for it. I’ll get your supper ready.”

“What is it?”

“Portuguese bacalhau, and wash your hands before supper.”

“Yes, sir. Then I’m going to teach you what email and texting are. No more surprises involving cash.”

* Old What’s Her Face is not my wife’s actual name.

** Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and helps around the cabin.

*** Bento is a supporting character in Panama. Coming soon to a Kindle near you, if I can find a good cover artist.


Filed under Muse, Writing

Sometimes, it’s the little things…

I moved on from editing Wild Concept, and started on Panama. I think WC is at a workable place right now. Panama is much easier to edit, because it was written later. I learned more, and made less mistakes. Hopefully, this means I won’t make any on my next project. (yeah right)

I sent a couple emails to potential cover artists. It’s the weekend, so I haven’t heard anything yet. I found another one online that looks interesting and will probably make contact this afternoon.

I need to move these projects forward, but Lorelei keeps telling me to start another story. Maybe she’ll leave me alone if I outline a part of it.

Things have changed since the great depression of the 2000s. I finally upgraded my ancient phone, and my wife bought me this cover:


Its a necronomicon from Army of Darkness. Now that I have Siri, I wonder if she can say, “clatu verata nicto”?

I may have been the first person on Twitter to make a Bill Buckner remark about the Red Sox obstruction call. I need to make one of those Larry the Cable Guy apologies. “Lord, I’m sorry for that Billy Buckner remark… mumble, mumble… and all the pigmies in Borneo. Amen.”

I traditionally cheer for the National League, so “Go Cards!”

Question for both (joke) of my followers. Is there a best and worst day to update a blog? I want to build this up, and am willing to hold drafts until Thursdays, for example? Let me know what you think.

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