Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New Book Release: Time and Regret

Please join me in congratulating M.K. Tod on the release of her newest historical fiction novel, Time and Regret, on sale today from Lake Union Publishing! I worked with Mary on both of her previous novels and had the honor of offering some editorial assistance on Time and Regret before she began the submission process. I could not be happier to see her career take off with her first traditionally published novel! Here's the description:

When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her . . .

From her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.

Time and Regret is available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound! Add the book to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out Mary's website, which was just named one of Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers, where she posts lots of great articles on researching and writing, and every year she compiles an awesome historical fiction survey.

Time and Regret will be on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours from August 16-31 and with France Book Tours from September 1-10.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Madhu Bazaz Wangu Earns Two Readers' Favorite Five-Star Seals!

Congratulations to Madhu Bazaz Wangu! Both her short story collection, Chance Meetings, and her debut novel, The Immigrant Wife, have been awarded Five-Star Favorite Seals from Readers' Favorites! I had the pleasure of working with Madhu on a copyedit of both books, and I designed the covers, and I must say these seals are well deserved!

Praise for Chance Meetings:

"Wangu’s short stories in Chance Meetings left me with a good feeling. These are the types of stories that I will not soon forget. These are also the types of stories I will love to share with my child when she is a little older. I highly recommend this book." ~Jessyca Garcia for Readers' Favorite

Praise for The Immigrant Wife:

"This book is an experience worth treasuring. Readers who are fascinated by Indian culture, or who wish to challenge the biased traditions of a society, would enjoy Madhu’s work." ~Ankita Shukla for Readers’ Favorite

"This certainly is not an overnight read, and each section of Shanti’s journey as a woman is as important as the last. I was inspired by her ability not to give up on her dreams. The Immigrant Wife: Her Spiritual Journey by Madhu Bazaz Wangu is undoubtedly one of the best novels I have read this year." ~Heather Osborne for Readers’ Favorite

"All in all, this is an excellent book, providing a rich and authentic look into Indian society and culture, and I highly recommend it." ~Gisela Dixon for Readers’ Favorite

Chance Meetings and The Immigrant Wife are available now in ebook and print formats on Amazon, and you can add them to your shelves on Goodreads. Madhu has published several nonfiction books on Hinduism and Buddhism, and she is the founder of the Mindful Writers Group. Visit Madhu's website for the scoop on all of her books, and check out some of her gorgeous artwork.

Need an editor or cover designer?
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Best I've Come Across Round-up

In a perfect world, this blog would be full of writing and editing tips, research assistance, and all other kinds of good stuff you'd expect an editor to come up with. But the truth is, between editing and cover design gigs and maintaining my first love, my book review blog, I'm just too busy to devote as much time as I'd like to this blog. But I am pretty good at finding resources, tips, and fun stuff and passing them along to my followers on Twitter and Facebook. So I thought I'd compile the best of what I come across on the world wide web every once in a while in a recap post for this blog. Here's the latest:

4 Ways to Take Criticism Like a Pro

5 Tips to Creating a Page Turner

What Every Writer Should Know About Book Covers

10 Ways to Start Your Story Better

5 Tips for Editing Dialogue

Rewriting the 7 Rules of Dialogue

How Indie Authors Can Get Their Books Into Libraries

Monday, August 1, 2016

New Book Release: The Shadow Palace

Please join me in congratulating Jane Steen on the publication of The Shadow Palace, the third novel in her House of Closed Doors series! I had the pleasure of working with Jane on a copyedit of this tale of a single mother's determination to forge a new life while solving a murder mystery in the glamorous yet cutthroat world of department stores in nineteenth-century Chicago. Here's the book description:

For unwed mother Nell Lillington, 1876 Chicago—and her new wealth—offer the promise of longed-for independence. She dreams of a place in society for her daughter Sarah and contentment for her friend Tess. Yet how can she settle in a town where she’s far too likely to run into Martin Rutherford and his glittering, faithless wife, Lucetta? Can she resist her love for Martin for Sarah’s sake? 

Martin was doubtless joking when he told Nell that if she got herself mixed up with a murderer for the third time, he’d disown her. But when Martin himself is arrested for murder, Nell’s dreams appear to be swallowed up in the new web of secrets she constructs to help him. Secrets that threaten to alienate Tess, Sarah, and even Martin...

The third book in the House of Closed Doors series will take you to a Chicago teeming with opportunistic new Americans, luxury-loving merchant princes, and hard-hearted denizens of the underworld.

The Shadow Palace is available now in ebook format on Amazon, and the print edition will be available soon. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and check out Jane's website for the scoop on all of her books.

Need an editor?
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Monday, July 25, 2016

New Cover Design: Madame Presidentess

Please join me in congratulating Nicole Evelina on the publication of Madame Presidentess! I had the pleasure of helping Nicole design a cover for this novel of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States. And Madame Presidentess was the winner in the U.S. Women’s History category at the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction! Here's the book description:

Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.

Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”

But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.

Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.

Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.

This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.

Madame Presidentess is available now in ebook and print format on AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, and Smashwords. Add it to your shelves on Goodreads, and visit Nicole's website for the scoop on all of her books and her numerous awards!

Need a cover designer?
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New Cover Designs: The Last Letter and The Road Home

Bestselling author Kathleen Shoop has brand new covers for her award-winning Letter Series, designed by yours truly! Kathie already had lovely covers for these books based on the real-life stories of her ancestors, but she worried they weren't conveying the right tone. Too many readers were expecting romance and happily ever afters. While these stories do have romantic elements, they are part of a larger family saga filled with the hardships of life on the prairie and the struggles of coping with failure and change. So in an effort to lift them out of the realm of historical romance and into the realm of historical fiction, we opted to take them a little darker. Check 'em out!

Before & After:


Katherine wouldn't have believed it if she hadn't found the letter... 

In the summer of 1905 Katherine Arthur's mother arrives on her doorstep, dying, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie's husband Frank it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank. But, it was a society of uncertainty--a domain of natural disasters, temptation, hatred, even death. 


Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine's world apart. Now, seventeen years later, and far from the homestead, Katherine has found the truth – she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it's too late? 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I'm Interviewed by indieBRAG!

I am so excited to share this interview! The B.R.A.G. Medallion is a hallmark of quality in self-published books, and several of my awesome clients have been awarded this honor. I was honored to receive an invitation to appear on the blog to talk about my book cover design business. I'm sharing a handful of questions here, but there are many more, and I'd love for you to head on over to the indieBRAG blog and check it out!

How did you get into Graphic Design?

I’ve always been an extremely visual person. Even as a child I was tearing pages out of magazines to hang on my walls and making collages out of pictures. My love for design began about eighteen years ago when I started scrapbooking. That was back when we worked with actual printed photos and paper, scissors, glue, etc. A few years later, I started working in the advertising department of my hometown daily newspaper. As an outside sales rep, I met with local and regional business owners and helped them create print and online advertising campaigns, and I worked with our team of graphic designers to bring the ads to life. I learned more about the process then and the collaborative relationship designers have with their clients. Then I moved into real estate and began designing marketing materials for my brokerage. When the economy collapsed and advertising and real estate both collapsed along with it, I turned my attention and my skills to self-publishing.

What are your goals as a graphic designer?

My goal is first and foremost to design a cover that sells books. That sometimes means that I need to coax an author into considering another approach to what they envision on their cover.  My years in marketing and advertising and my in-depth knowledge of the genres I work with have given me a pretty good eye when it comes to figuring out which elements will work best. I also have a huge competitive streak, and it’s really important to me that my covers are able to hold their own standing alongside those coming out of the Big Five houses.

What covers have you designed that are B.R.A.G. Medallion Honorees?

Sebastian’s Way by George Steger, Tales of Byzantium by Eileen Stephenson, Murder by Misrule, Death by Disputation, and The Widow’s Guild by Anna Castle, (all of which I also edited), and Reconstructing Jackson, Red, White & Screwed, and Romancing Olive by Holly Bush.

Click here to read the full interview!