Cover Spotlight: My Book Cover Designs

Some of you may know/remember that I’ve done a few banner graphics for a handful of fellow book bloggers. The work can be seen in the gallery section of my site. More recently I’ve done a few book covers as well. Book cover designing is one field I considered when going into design in college. I never took my college’s illustration courses, however, and decided to go into a broader section of study design-wise. I’ve never said what my day job is exactly, let’s just say it’s as far from designing book blog banners and book covers as one can get. It’s why I really enjoy doing the banners and covers when people ask me to. Book lovers are incredibly fun to work with. The chance to be truly creative just seems to grow more with them.

SpecFic2014A month or so ago, my friends over at The Book Smugglers asked me to do a cover for Speculative Fiction 2014, and it came with a challenge direction-wise – they needed a papercraft style space theme. The video they included as an example of papercraft was gorgeous. And intimidating! I’d never done papercraft before. Why in the heck did I say I’d do this project? After taking, I admit, far too long to get going on it, something just clicked one day and out the cover came. I went back to a medium I used to love, watercolor pencils, for the moon and planets. The rocket ship was inspired by the classic Buck Rogers design and so many others like it on the interwebs. I picked out fun papers to assemble it with at a local craft store, where I also purchased paper mâché stars. The stars themselves were the usual brown craft paper, but I colored over them with the watercolor pencils, sans water that time of course.


The planets were the most fun part for me. As you can see, there was even a red one that didn’t get used let alone have any water applied. Still – fun! (I highly recommend watercolor pencils for the kiddos, by the way!) I shot pictures of the stars with my iPhone 6. A background created in Photoshop plus some placement of things and fonts in Photoshop finished it off. Oh, and Photoshop helps make your planets perfectly round, too. Just sayin’. And that, in a nutshell, is how that cover came to be.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 4.39.04 PMOh, and one other thing – there’s a book on Amazon with a cover that I did and my name is in it and it’s got a Forward written by one of my most favorite fantasy authors and squeeeee!

Kind of exciting, that. Wink.

Another friend has asked for help with some of her covers and below are the ones I’ve worked with in the past year. Shirley Anne Edwards writes young adult books and these were how I interpreted her work into a cover format. They’re a little gritty and somewhat dark to match the themes in her work. Shirley always has a lot of great feedback to give me and it’s fun working out with her how her covers and other designs should be.



And one other thing….

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 4.41.51 PMYou can also find these books on big sites like Amazon and my name is in them and it’s pretty cool and squeeeee!


So this is how I have fun with design lately. I have to thank both The Book Smugglers and Shirley Anne Edwards for giving me a chance to make something visually interesting for them! Is it too much of a copout to say what a relief it is, too, just to be able to make something fun that the client is so happy with, without any red tape, hassles or other such grief? Again – book lovers are so much fun to work with! Hopefully I’ll get to do more book cover projects in the future.

Demolition is a Beautiful Thing

I would hazard a guess that most homeowners eventually want to renovate their humble abodes one day. I’ve been dreaming and wishing and somewhat planning to Cinderella our house for, well, years. While we’re not exactly wanting to get to the ball, we’d at least like to get to the reception. Know what I mean? Thanks to the house flooding the week of Thanksgiving 2014, we’re finally *SOB* getting started.


Living Room/Dining Room/Office/Kitchen Before:

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno

The living room is, shall we say, eclectic? When hubby saw what colors I’d chosen for the house ten years ago, all he really said was, “You’d better not want to repaint anytime soon.” Aww, way to go, sport! The support was shining through that day. Let’s just say this and the results in other rooms were born of merely two weeks to try and prepare for meager renovations back in the day: paint, new carpet…hmm, that’s pretty much it. Honestly, I thought these bright colors were a huge improvement considering all the dark wood trim, the wallpaper that was everywhere before and…. *shudder* …the paneling. I wasn’t glomming HGTV back then and I wasn’t scouring any sites like Houzz either. It was just me, the paint chip display at the hardware store and a huge lack of imagination. Plus the reality that any serious renovations would be a long time coming.

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno

The dining room was taken up a lot by this gas fireplace monstrosity. Back in the day, this was a different homeowner’s living room. When the people just prior to us bought the house, that fireplace was fire engine red, from what we were told. We can’t blame them for painting it a more…err…reasonable color. But we never used it, never liked it and it’s too bad hubby and I weren’t there when the workers busted it up and took it out. Otherwise we’d have cracked open some champagne and christened that the day all our dreams came true. Over a fireplace? YES. It was in our way, presciousss!

By the way, those were asbestos tiles in here. Good times.

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno

From the dining room you can waltz right into our old office space. That chair rail level paneling, it follows you every damn where.

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno

Ah, yes, the kitchen. My little box of baking and cooking and hair pulling over the lack of functionality and counter space. You’ll notice the dishwasher is across the kitchen from the sink. Feel free to side-eye that. The fridge space, to the very right in the top pic (couldn’t get it totally in the shot) is way too small for 99% of today’s refrigerators. We know because we had to replace ours late last year and it came down to which of the beasts would FIT. Then there’s, yep, lack of counter and storage space. There’s way too much stuff on said counters, but there was nowhere else to put it. I even have some kitchen stuff stored in both bathroom storage closets.

Wait, it looks like there’s a lot of cabinets in here? True, there are for sucha  small kitchen. But they’re mostly box cabinets with a lot of wasted space that my short arms and height can’t reach. The one cabinet where I stored pots and pans I could only use half of. The rest was back in a deep corner that even hubby could barely reach back into. So there you go – big lack of functionality.

In essence, no, there’s nothing wrong with these spaces. It’s been a very good house to us. Despite the busted pipe and resulting flood. And the multitude of other homeowner problems. It just doesn’t work for how many modern families live. The flow is…well, there was no flow. There was no one room in the house that could hold a party of people comfortably. There were always small groups here or there, separate. The kitchen was a joke at those times – it’s the heart of a lot of homes these days, and people like to gather there. I like to think it’s because they know the one that’s working their butt off to feed them is likely there and wants some company, too!

Living Room/Dining Room/Office/Kitchen Demolition:

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno: Framing In

So…does this look like the old living room, dining room, office and kitchen? When I said we were doing open concept, I meant it. The old living, dining and office spaces are going to be the new living space. The old kitchen is becoming the dining room. We did have to have some header beams for structural support, and while they couldn’t be wedged up into the attic because of how the trusses there are built, I don’t mind them at all. Cuz look at ALL THE SPACE. We may wrap the beams one day in wood as a nice accent detail. Maybe. All the places we had wood detail, like the door and window trim? Painting it.

Want to see where the kitchen is going? Sure ya do!

Kitchen Before:

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno

Uh…that’s a porch.

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno: Framing In

And now it’s closed in! Already having a slab and roof saved us a lot of money. Know who’s idea it was to move the kitchen here and enable us to get a BIGGER kitchen? Hubby.

I love him.

After 23 years, I think I’ll keep him. He’s also going to rebuild the deck as soon as possible to wrap around the new kitchen.

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno: Framing In

So inside the new kitchen, soon, will be our stove/oven on the right wall with a window and sink (where that square shape is) on the left wall. Upper and lower cabinets and a long-ish counter on the left as well. Shaker style cabinets. White on top, a dark, stormy blue-gray on the bottom. My next post will detail some of the finishes we’ve picked out.

2015 Kitchen & Living Reno: Framing In

This is the wall opposite the sink wall and there will be floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinets here with the fridge built in somewhere in them as well. The little bit of torn up wall you see on the very right is the old exterior wall and will soon come down so that the new kitchen and living space can hug each other all they want.

Soooo…we are excited! It’s not how we planned to renovate. We were going to turn kiddo’s current rom into the office first, fix up the guest room to be her new big girl room and THEN do the kitchen and living room. Houses don’t tend to let you have plans, though. You have to go with their flow, especially when busted pipes and floods happen. If you’d like to follow the pictorial progress of the whole shebang, here’s a handy link to the Flickr folder they’ll all be in.

Updates, House Debates and Reading Greats

Updates: technically, I haven’t been doing much with this blog in so  many forevers, it would take to infinity to do updates because…wait the heck a minute. No it wouldn’t. I haven’t been reading much of anything for a while now! Except…I have! I finally read some books recently! Any updates I have would be how 2014 was the Year of Reading Distractions. Updates that are, frankly, depressing for me to think about, so I’m going to truly treat 2015 as a year for the proverbial Fresh Start and do just that – start the hell over with reading. And just hope that no further Depressing Things try to barge their way in. So that’s it for updates! Take that Depressing Things!

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Why We Should Keep On Keeping On

I don’t think anyone’s missed it all that much – but surprise, this blog has been pretty sparse this year! I know, you’re shocked. But – I’m not. I’ve had a lot going on, and I’m simply not the type of person that can keep shouldering the pile-on of Things That Must be Done and balance it all and get it all done. You know, where it all looks shiny and quality. Something’s got to give. I’ve talked about this a few times on the blog over the years, but I’ve also tried really hard when posting not to be too much of a downer. Books and reading are not supposed to be sad, bad-mood-inducing, party-pooping piles of crap. And that’s exactly what some people would like for it to be for others.

People like that Kathleen Hale author. If you’re a part of the book blogging community, you know exactly what all that means. Because, fuck her and her knowing she’s “bonkers” and not caring how what she did was wrong. And illegal. And total bullshit. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that one in particular.

I got an email notice from my hosting company that Lurv will be up for hosting renewal in about 89 days, as I’m notified every year about this time. I’ve been contemplating most of this year whether to just shut it down. I pay for the hosting myself, and that’s just one more cost to worry about when I also have other hobbies I like to pay for. What in the heck to do.

I started Lurv as a place to be a safe space for me to talk about books. I started my online life not long after my kiddo was born because I was looking for other book lovers to talk to about books. Will anyone be surprised that I wanted to write books at one time? After all your fake gasping is done, I know, I know! The surprises, they just keep coming! But I fell unsuspectingly in with a pretty bad group headed by a person who was…almost unreal in their approach to bullying writers of a small publisher into silence. People who were new to the whole idea of publishing, some not so much but just wanting to, you know, write some books that hopefully someone would enjoy. Thankfully I got out of that situation and that’s all there is to say about that. And I have been cleansed of any need to write books for a living. That is no longer a piranha-infested pool I want to step into.

Then I met some very cool folks on am Amazon message board, and the idea was hatched to start a reader message board based on our collective love for a certain author’s vampire work. I’ve mentioned it here before in the early days, so it’s no secret. The Phade lasted for about four years before said author’s street team made it pretty much unbearable to keep it open. I met some wonderful people there who I will always remember fondly, but mostly what I remember is how awful this author’s “friends” made something that was supposed to be, like most reader spaces, a safe place to discuss books. I admit it, I gave in.

After that, I thought Lurv would be the answer. At least I could review books, talk about cover art, things like that, and in doing so, stay in a community of people that cares about books and finds joy in discussing them, whether wholly positive, wholly critical, or somewhere in between.

Except, it has become apparent eventually that nowhere is really safe. A blogger is being sued by a publisher for news that the same publisher said about themselves. Authors constantly seem to be attacking reviewers for not liking their books (nothing new, just feels like it’s escalating). Nationally lauded news sources give these kinds of people platforms in which to share their sad, horrifying stories of admitted stalking, garnering mystifying sympathy for them at the same time. It’s, understandably, enough to make any seasoned book blogger wonder: why go on?

I’ll tell you why: fuck them. They think the’re getting what they want…except, they won’t. Fuck them. Don’t give in. Keep reviewing books. Keep talking about them. Write Goodreads (as much as I loath that reader-silencing site now) status updates on how dumb the book is. Or good! Fill reviews with ridiculing GIFs illustrating reactions to books. Or fill them with rainbow-pooping cats and unicorns if you wish. Give a book the finger, or give it a hug. Tell us never to read a book again or tell us we must read it now!!!!! And why. Always why. Because we care. We care about what you have to say. We want to share that with you. There are still plenty of authors, readers, bloggers, booksellers, and publishing workers who genuinely care. Hell, I wrote this because I’m tired of all the drama and my right hand is injured to boot! Because I decided after contemplating for a long while whether it was worth keeping on keeping on. And I have my decision.

Fuck the rest. To tiny little pieces.

Now let’s go read some books and discuss the absolute shit out of them.

ETA: I do want to be clear that I completely understand anyone wanting to steer clear of controversy and keep their privacy intact. You should always do what you, personally, need to do.

REVIEW Three-Fer: The Paradox Series

Fortune’s Pawn blurb via Amazon:

Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.


That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.


If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you’d get Deviana Morris — a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

I was turned on to this series by, I believe, @Has_Bookpushers on Twitter, one of the lovely peeps from, and it wasn’t long before the first book itself, Fortune’s Pawn, had me in its grip. I felt like I was taking a gamble at $9.99 for the ebook, even with a sample to read. And at $30 plus tax for a three e-book series, I’m sorry, but it must be completely lovable. And the verdict is…never have I had an ebook gamble pay off so well and so freaking quickly! I’m going to preface the rest of the review with a big old I LOVED THIS SERIES so go out and buy it or library borrow it or Kindle borrow it (if that’s an option) or whatever your preference is and commence being pleased. Continue Reading

Review: The Undead Pool

The Undead Pool (RACHEL MORGAN #12)
february 25, 2014 (KINDLE EDITION)

Blurb via Amazon, which may contain spoilers for previous books:

Supernatural superhero Rachel Morgan must counter a strange magic that could spell civil war for the Hollows in this sexy and bewitching urban fantasy adventure in acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s Hollows series.

Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now, strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering. Rachel must stop this dark necromancy before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and all-out supernatural war breaks out.

Rachel knows of only weapon to ensure the peace: ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils. And no one know better than Rachel that no good deed goes unpunished . . .

The book’s been out long enough, so, spoilers. Potentially. We shall see.

I’ve waited way too long to review this book and have no earthly idea why it’s taken so long because frankly? This book one hundred percent satisfied. If that immediate previous line was enough, that’s all I’d be writing about The Undead Pool in this space, because it’s true. Sure, I might be biased because this has been my number one favorite series since I began reading it several years ago – but whatevs. It’s fact. this book is awesome. Continue Reading