Making of Monday [v.13]

December 08, 2014

For sale: on my website / Etsy (first come, first served!)

Although getting these textures to work in harmony was a challenge, I had an overall awesome experience designing this cover! (Illustration is not my strongest suit, so having the ability to create something 'artsy' like this anyway is stupendous...)

BOOK BLITZ: Slip & Grip by David Estes

December 03, 2014

David has just released two new books, SLIP and GRIP. Check them out, will 'ya?

slip banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for Slip (Slip #1) and Grip (Slip #2) by David Estes. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 1 till 5 December, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

Slip coverSlip (Slip #1)
By David Estes

Genre: Dystopia
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 1 December, 2014

Someone must die before another can be born...

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

You can find Slip on Goodreads

You can buy Slip here:
- Amazon

Grip coverGrip (Slip #2)
By David Estes

Genre: Dystopia
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 1 December, 2014

In a tumultuous world of population control, one illegal child has slipped through the cracks. Now, as a teenager, Benson Kelly has escaped certain deaths at the hands of the Department of Population Control, only to find himself the symbol of a rebellion, something he never intended.

While trying to survive one day at a time, Benson seeks to unravel the tangled knot of secrets left behind when his father died, the key to which has something to do with his mother, Janice Kelly, recently escaped from the insane asylum.

As the rebel group known as the Lifers continue to use brute force to send a message to the government, Benson's twin, Harrison Kelly, seeks to exploit a loophole that could be the key to freedom for his brother. All that's required is a simple act of murder.

Meanwhile, Population Control's attack dog, a sadistic cyborg known as The Destroyer, closes in on Benson and his family. His directive: Kill them all.

Faith, family and love will be pushed to the limits in the GRIPping sequel to Slip.

You can find Grip on Goodreads

You can buy Grip here:
- Amazon

Author Photo - David EstesAbout the Author:
Author of popular YA dystopian series, the Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia.

Join 2,400+ David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite in David Estes' official fan group at:

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

You can find and contact David here:

- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Slip. These are the prizes you can win:
- Winners choice of book to the value of $15.00 U.S. from The Book Depository
- A signed copy of SLIP plus bonus swag- U.S. entrants only
- A signed copy of BREW plus bonus swag- U.S. entrants only
- 3 ebook packs with three David Estes ebooks of your choice
- 4 signed packs of bookmarks

You can enter the blitz wide giveaway here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tips for Designing Your NaNoWriMo Book Cover

October 24, 2014

Most of you probably aren't looking to buy a cover for something you haven't written yet. For the sake of creativity and inspiration for those forthcoming 50K+ words, why not create one yourself? Here are a few tips I'd like to share about creating a book cover to use on the NaNoWriMo website.

1. Images. I know this cover is just for fun, but I'd strongly suggest that you not use images you found somewhere on the internet. Even though you're not using the book cover for commercial purposes, you're putting an unauthorized, edited version of the image online—and the original artist or photographer might not take kindly to what you've done with their work. Consider using a plain background, a photo you took, a photo from a copyright-free site (which is still not without risk), or a photo that you do have permission to modify for personal use. I know this is going to limit your options, but copyright infringement is a can of worms you don't want to open.

2. Text. In this case, it's acceptable to download and use free fonts listed either as "personal use only" (and of course "OK for Commercial Use") because you will not profit from their usage in any way and you're not modifying the fonts themselves. Choose fonts and colors that are easy to read at thumbnail size for both your title and name. (I'd avoid using red on black in particular—I see that too often and it's aggravating as hell to read. High contrast is where it's at, yo!) Don't cover up the focal point of your cover art; similarly, don't hide your text at the very top or bottom edge of the cover or place it in an area with a complicated/"busy" background. Avoid stretching words to fill empty space as well.

3. Theme. When choosing an image for your cover, you need to know what the novel is, at its core, really about. You don't necessarily need to find an image that reflects a specific scene or object; instead, think about any major themes present in your story. Is there a color or symbol that's culturally associated with that theme? For example, the color white suggests innocence and purity—so if your main character is young/fragile/coming of age, using the image of a white object or animal will likely bring these associations to mind. (Some other examples include red as a symbol of power and authority, a chessboard pawn as a symbol of man versus larger power, and sunglasses to suggest that the main character is secretive and/or 'puts on a face'.)

4. Simplicity. For the love of pizza, don't use drop shadow and gradients and textures and beveling, don't put your images through a marathon of photo processors, and don't try to blend multiple images together with insufficient software. Less is more. I know this is cover is just for fun and everything, but think about it—will you find looking at the cover to be particularly fun if it looks like a Monday morning? If you decide to self-publish and do your own cover, showing restraint here will help build some good habits for when you're making the real thing. (Or you could, ehem, hire me.)

Ex: Simplicity is good, mmkay?

I've created a couple of image files to help you design your NaNoWriMo book cover. The first is a gray  230x300px JPG file, as those are the dimensions specified for book covers on the NaNoWriMo website. To use this, simply save it to your desktop and build your design over it your editing program of choice. If the required cover's odd width irks you, skip this: I have a workaround of sorts that will allow you to display your cover at a more 'typical' size.

If you want to design and use a narrow cover on the NaNoWriMo website, use this 5x8" JPG instead as the base of your design. (You'll need to continue on to the next step once you're done.)

This is a partially transparent PNG file. To use this file, save it to your computer and load it into your editing program of choice. It's important that you can export the file as a PNG file—if you export it as anything else (such as a JPG), it will lose its transparency. (I recommend using Fotoflexer for this.)

Import your book cover and stretch it over the gray area of the PNG, leaving the transparent area clear. Once you've done this, save the file and upload it to the NaNoWriMo website.

If you want your book cover to be centered rather than offset to the left, use this PNG file instead.

If everything went as planned, your book cover will look something like this:

It looks wonky, but it shouldn't be a problem—this module will only show up on your personal dashboard.

Please share your covers with me—I'd love to see them!