Monday, July 23, 2012

Join the Party!

I'm happy to tell you that Mary Pax's Launch Party starts today! 

It's a Launch Party for the latest book in her Backworld's series,

Stopover At The Backworlds' Edge

First, the official announcement, then afterwards I'll give you the straight skinny:

The Backworlds Book 2 is Out!

The sequel to The Backworlds is now available. Craze and his friends continue their adventures in Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge. See what role chocolate plays in the galaxy this time.

The interstellar portal opens, bringing in a ship that should no longer exist. A battleship spoiling for a fight, yet the war with Earth ended two generations ago. The vessel drops off a Water-breather, a type of Backworlder thought to be extinct. She claims one of Craze’s friends is a traitor who summoned the enemy to Pardeep Station. A betrayal worse than his father’s, if Craze lives to worry about it.

Available for all ereaders from:

Amazon / Amazon UK / B&N / Smashwords
iTunes and Kobo will be available shortly.

If you haven’t read The Backworlds yet, it’s available as a free read from many outlets. See HERE for links. []

Inspiring the words M. Pax writes, Mary spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the husband unit and two loving cats. She write science fiction mostly and has a slight obsession with Jane Austen. Mary blogs at

Okay, I promised you the straight skinny. When I review a book, friend or not, I'm honest. And honestly... this was a BLAST to read! 

I thought the first book in the series (The Backworlds) was a fun read... I was delighted to find this one topped it! Once I started, I didn't want to stop. 

It was a fun romp through space and other worlds, with fascinating characters of all "kinds". I'd even venture to call Chocolate a character in THIS story! Danger, betrayal, spies, frizzers, gender-morphing beings, revenge, cruelty, friendship and tenderness... and of course, chocolate. ;-)

The story had so many surprise turns I had to buckle my seat belt. I'm not fond of "predictable" books. Can we say Borrriiinnnggg? But NOT THIS ONE! 

Mary's characters, the pickles they got into, the worlds they were on--and inside of--had me shaking my head at her wild imagination. It had me asking "how does she THINK of these things??!!" And I thoroughly appreciated the ending. And no... no hints.

Yep... loved it. Honestly. Can't wait to read the next one in the series.

And the next time I sit down to have my hot tea and chocolate... I think I'll take a long pause and remember what happened in this story!! :-O

Happy reading,


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Glowing Cameos & A Free Story

Back in June I posted a seven part Cover Art Tutorial (HERE). So today, instead of including instruction, I'm excited to simply share the WIP (work in progress) photos of the cover art I made for a new story coming out in August.

The author is my sister Karen Elizabeth Brown 
(her blog is HERE)  and the story is titled 
Medieval Muse 

Her first announcement for her new story, which will be a free download from Smashwords, is HERE. 

Okay, enough chatting... let's see how this thing was created. :-D

(As always, click on pics to enlarge if you'd like)

First, the noodling around with thumbnails, playing with ideas. I also did a lot of research on medieval imagery, authentic cameos, and castles. I ALWAYS enjoy the research part... it's fascinating, like peeking into the lives of our ancestors and history.  And I have to reign myself in or I'd spend way too much time on it. :-}

Here are a few of those thumbnails... 

Next I put together some mock-ups and 
sent them off to the author for feedback..

Also converted one to black and white, 
to check values and see how it would read 
on the older Kindle devices.

Final design on tracing paper, ready for transfer...

Painted on heavy watercolor paper with acrylics. 
Note I left some things to be finished in Photoshop...

Close up of the painting ready to scan...

Hey... you're ignoring me!! 
I get so lost in my imagination, Joey had to
jump up and beg for attention, poor girl...

Now we are inside Photoshop with a close up. Here I've finished the background, simulating old leather; added the morning sun rising behind the castle; added highlites and reflections, and deepened shadows...

Now the glow from the medieval cameo. 
As you will read in the story... this is no ordinary cameo!!

Finished with all the final touches. 
Here is a close up for the curious who, like me, 
enjoy a close peek. Remember you can click it
to make it even larger...

I loved this font because it looked old and carved from stone. 
And here it is, the finished cover art for Medieval Muse!

I hope you found this interesting, and don't forget to visit Karen's blog for the book Launch Party that will take place August 1 - 6, when you can download her story for free from Smashwords.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

My Favorite Commission!

It's funny... back in April I posted about commission work (HERE),  and now I seem to be remembering that I've done LOTS of it over the years! 

So, on that topic, I thought I'd share my all time favorite: a handpainted watercolor and ink book.

The book was a surprise gift from a gentleman to his wife on their wedding anniversary (awww, how romantic). It was based on the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Her name began with R.

In the finished book, each chosen verse was on the left page, with the matching illustration opposite it on the right. 

Here's how each set looked in the book, side by side:

There are quite a few, so I'll show the rest as thumbnails below, to enable faster page loading. If you'd like to see them enlarged, just click on them.

The book was watercolor and sepia ink on heavy watercolor paper, bound into a leather book. I loved painting this. The gentleman told me later his wife loved it, also. I think when we feel deeply for what we are doing, we do better at it.

I hope you enjoy this favorite of mine. :-)

Thanks for reading,