Friday, January 20, 2017

The Week in Links 1/20/17: Logan, Power Rangers, Apps for Authors



Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.

Book Marketing and Branding
Promoting Your Personality, A.K.A. Marketing For Authors In 2017
20 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books with a Message of Social Justice
M. Night Shyamalan explains the 'dark humour' of 'Split'
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s GOOD OMENS Gets a Miniseries From Amazon
Latest Power Rangers trailer gives us a first glimpse at Zordon and the Megazord
‘CONTEMPORARY AND AS GRIMDARK AS IT COMES’: New Books from Adrian Selby
Super Mario Run Comes to Android in March
10 Unconventional Tips for Photographing After Dark
The Healing Power of Photography

Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at audendjohnson@gmal.com. The post needs to be published between today, 1/20 and next Friday, 1/27.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

School Hauntings: Ohio University, Athens

Since I'm writing a story about a haunted dorm/island, it seemed appropriate to look up haunted schools. This is good inspiration. I heard about some haunted schools in passing but it was never something I researched.


Ohio University’s Athens main campus is said to be one of the most haunted schools in the world. It's most known for Wilson Hall’s room 428.

The building is allegedly located in the middle of an immense pentagram consisting of five cemeteries situated in the region. It is believed this dorm sits on a graveyard. 

In the 1970s, a female occupant started behaving oddly. The student began talking in a strange tongue but before her friends could help her, the girl plummeted to her death from a window. At the time, she was reportedly practicing the occult. After her death, students reported strange phenomena surrounding this room-- footsteps, unexplained voices and flying objects. Some people claim to have seen this female's ghost. The room has been sealed shut. The university deemed it uninhabitable. 

Elsewhere on campus is what’s left of The Ridges, a development that was formerly a local psychiatric hospital called Athens Lunatic Asylum. The Ridges housed nearly 2,000 patients, over three times its capacity. Patients were restrained for days at a time, crowded in rooms meant for one and beaten by the hospital staff.

University students would talk of figures standing in the empty wings of the former hospital, disembodied screams echoing through the halls or intense feelings of dread. Hidden on the top floor is a human-shaped stain where an escaped patient lay dead for over a month. In 1979, a patient, Margaret Schilling, went missing. Her body wasn't discovered until 42 days later. She was found naked with her clothing folded next to her body. Margaret had decayed so much that an imprint of her body had seeped into the concrete. The stain couldn't be scrubbed out no matter how hard they tried.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Behind the Book Cover Redesign


You've probably had this happen. You get an idea but you ignore it because it's a pain. The idea leaves you alone but it never really goes away. After awhile, you try it just to see how it would turn out.

For months, a voice has been telling me to redesign the covers for The Sciell and Chains of the Sciell. The voice was strong when I was working on the cover for Book 3, The Lost Sciell. I ignored it because I didn't want to do all that work.

But we gotta do what's best for the book.


Why the redesign? The covers aren't terrible. They get attention at conferences.
  1. They don't give any kind of hint to what readers should expect they when check them out. The title is ambiguous so I need a good cover image to tell the story.
  2. I really like the cover for Book 3 but, as I thought more about it, I realized it doesn't match these two.
  3. These books aren't selling. I've changed the prices, keywords, descriptions and marketing plans. The only things I haven't touched are the covers and the titles.
  4. The title font/design for Chains of the Sciell needs some work.
Before I started designing, I needed to figure out why the cover drew people's attention. If parts of your cover worked, keep them. For my books, it was this:


I could put that mark on any merchandise and people would devour them. (Thank you to those who helped me decide on this symbol. You guys rock.) So, the new cover needs to have this symbol as the main subject. 

Then, I studied dark fantasy covers for inspiration.

Collect book covers and examine them to see if you notice any patternsI have Pinterest boards for book covers by genre--focusing on fantasy, dark fantasy and horror.  I noticed there aren't any patterns when it comes to dark fantasy covers. I should've been prepared for that. That subgenre needs its own subgenres.


I did notice that dark fantasy artwork, not covers, tends to be black and green.

I have a color scheme.


I plan to keep this throughout the series.

You probably know this but when you're creating covers for a series, there needs to be some similarities in the designs.

The Harry Potter books have different scenes on the cover but they're all illustrated, feature Harry Potter and have the same font.

It doesn't matter how you make the book covers match as long they look like they belong together. 

I took the Harry Potter approach- same subject, font and style.

I had to work backward. The new covers need to match Book 3.

I needed an image to pair with butterfly symbol. That was the hardest part. Because I do cover design, I have a lot of stock photos on my computer. So, I searched through my collection and tried things out. It took awhile. I visited images I saved on Shutterstock for inspiration.

Here's what I did for Book 1:

To ensure the font style is the same, I saved the file under a new name (Book 2) and changed the artwork. Here's Book 2:

I let the designs sit for a day while I worked on something else. Every now and then, I came back to them to see if there was something I wanted to change. Then, I put the covers side-by-side to compare them. When I felt they were done, I sent them off to my publisher who liked them.

On to the next step.

The jacket was a pain to create. It took so long my hands started to hurt. And I made one major mistake with Book 2. Chains of the Sciell is a lot longer than The Sciell so the spine is wider. However, I designed Book 2's cover on Book 1's template. I ran out of steam so I haven't fixed it yet.

Side note: If you're working in Photoshop, make sure you change the color scheme from RGB to CMYK. RGB is for web while CMYK is for printing.


It'll be awhile before the covers are changed online. I also took this opportunity to tweak the descriptions and keywords. Found out some places have old descriptions. I was too lazy to change them. I could've sworn I changed Chains of the Sciell's description. This is a good opportunity to do some maintenance.

Keep an eye out for these new covers! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Week in Links 1/13/16: Nintendo Switch, Adobe, Cover Design



Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.

Book Marketing and Branding
5 Ways to Repurpose Your Popular Social Media Posts

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi
Marvel Reveals Plans for a ROGUE ONE Comic Book Adaptation
Marlon James to Write Fantasy Trilogy Inspired by Lord of the Rings and African Mythology

Writing, Publishing and Bookishness
The Nintendo Switch: Why a Portable System Still Matters in 2017
How to design book covers for any genre


Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at audendjohnson@gmal.com. The post needs to be published between today, 1/13 and next Friday, 1/20.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winterskin: A Dark Fantasy by C.M. Estopare




Title: Winterskin
Author: C.M. Estopare
Genre: Dark / Epic Fantasy

The Path.

Perilous. Brutal. Deadly.

It is said that if a man journeys in alone, he’ll never return and there will be no corpse to bury.

Thousands of lives hang in the balance. Braving the Path is the key to saving them, but their survival is not guaranteed. For the Path is brimming with flesh ravenous monsters and the threat of a sinister presence known only as “the Lady”, an eerie entity dwelling deep within the confines of the black forest.

Escorted by a chosen few, the Chaperon is prepared to move forward to preserve the lives of a mountain town planted deep within the forest. But even in the dead of winter, the dark creatures prowling the surrounding forest remain unsettled and are bent on decimating any who encroach upon their territory.

Katell Maeva, one of those assigned to escort the Chaperon, will have to prove herself on this journey if she wants to be deemed a full-fledged shieldmaiden. But even her unique abilities may not be strong enough to withstand the brutal attacks they’ll face. Can this young woman, desperate to save her own family, complete her mission to escort the Chaperon and lead the convoy to safety?

For her, this journey is more than just a challenge; it’s the key to her future.

A world frozen within the cusp of winter, teetering upon an age that promises the evolution of mortals into gods, WINTERSKIN weaves the consequences of brutal ambition into the personal tale of shieldmaiden Katell Maeva’s growth into a woman bound in a darkening world gone feral.


WINTERSKIN is book one in the exciting dark fantasy series KINDRED SOULS. A fast-paced read, filled with jaw-dropping action, and savage femme fatales, WINTERSKIN is a riveting page turner that is impossible to put down.





C.M. Estopare is a full-time author, avid yoga enthusiast, and veteran of the United States military. She is the author of HEARTFELT SOUNDS, a young adult coming of age fantasy about the enthralling power of one young woman's voice.

KINDRED SOULS is a five part epic and dark fantasy series hitting Amazon and Kindle Unlimited beginning in February 2017. Look out for the first book, WINTERSKIN, debuting February 9th, 2017.

When not writing, C.M. Estopare enjoys reading about the fantastical worlds in the minds of others. She also enjoys playing around with her puppy, Duke, and adventuring with her husband.