Archive for May, 2013

From Sketch to Cover: A short Interview with Brad Fraunfelter, who created The Curse Giver’s cover.

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Have you ever wondered how an original book cover is created?

Well, it’s a work of art, a labor of love that includes brainstorming and research, a fascinating journey. It’s a creative process that involves the transformation of ideas into concepts, the conversion of words into tangible images. It starts with a sketch and it ends with a visual statement. But the best way of understanding the process, is to witness it, as I did in the case of my new novel, The Curse Giver.

Take a look at the concept’s evolution. If you click on the pictures, you will see the details coming to life.

Pretty neat, yes?

Brad Fraunfelter, the talented artist who created The Curse Giver‘s stunning cover, agreed to share his perspective with us, answering a few questions about his work and the cover’s creation process.

Q: What was your inspiration for The Curse Giver‘s cover?

Brad: My inspiration for the cover was drawn closely from the author’s write up’s which I studied carefully.  I chose the last idea which was on Dora’s list because I felt it would be visually most interesting. I wanted to show a dramatic contrast between the softness of the skin and dress of the girl, against the harshness of the armor of the man. For this reason I chose a white dress and pale skin for the girl, and dark, jagged armor for the man.

Q: How long did it take you from start to finish?

Brad: From start to finish, the painting took roughly a month: It involved a lot of preliminary research to study various forms of armor, and to design and sketch all the parts of what he was wearing, including the sword, helmet, and shield. Once I had these problems solved I could start on the painting itself.

Q: How did you accomplish such a stunning light effect on the armor?

Brad: To achieve the lighting effect on the armor I carefully studied the effects of light and reflections on metal. I also studied a few images of armor that I found on the internet for reference material. I also did several photoshoots of my own to get the placement of the man’s arms and hands correct and to nail the position of the light source.  I wanted to achieve the appearance of a “mystical” glow, so as one of the last steps to the painting I brushed in a soft white haze across the highlight areas, such as the girl’s dress.

Fascinating. Don’t you think?

To take a look at Brad’s creative process, from beginning to end go to: http://www.bradfraunfelterillustration.com/

Website: www.bradfraunfelterillustration.com

E-mail: brademail99@yahoo.com

Brad Fraunfelter Illustration

Glendale, California
(323)240-5744

Guest Post by Aaron Lazar: Downton Abbey Made me do it

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Hello everybody.

Today I bring you a fantastic guest post by my friend and fellow Twilight Times Books author, multi-award winner and Kindle bestselling author  Aaron Lazar, who in a feat of daring, decided to create a rift between one of his favorite characters, Quinn Hollister and his beloved wife Marcella. Now, you must understand, from an author’s point of view, doing something mean to a beloved character takes some guts and a very good reason. Aaron’s Lazar’s reason? Downton Abbey made me do it.

Read on and enjoy. D.

Quinn Hollister

How I met Quinn Hollister by Aaron Lazar

Quinn Hollister was born amidst unexpected chaos.

I met the protagonist of the Tall Pines Mysteries series when I was laid off from Kodak in 2009 after nearly thirty years of service. I’ll never forget it. The angst. The shock. The feelings of betrayal. And yes, the extra time for writing that was one of the many unexpected blessings associated with the layoff.

Quinn and the love of his life, Marcella, her mother, Thelma, and their bird, Ruby, surprised me right around that same time by appearing in a dream.

I know, how clichéd can you get? But it’s true. The dream was vivid and enticing, depicting a luxurious bird resort in the Adirondacks, and a little tangerine-red bird named Ruby who snuggled on my shoulder and won my proverbial heart.

I’ve never owned a bird. I never knew a bird, aside from those morning doves outside my window. And until this happened, I never thought about birds.

From this bewildering dream the Tall Pines Mystery series developed. And with it, Quinn Hollister, the bird’s owner and husband of my female protagonist.

Life was quite tumultuous at this point, as you can probably imagine, with me constantly on the hunt for engineering work for the day job, but in spite of the trying circumstances of worrying about survival and putting food on the table, I also had some free time to travel locally.

In a strange and convoluted way, the layoffs opened up a new world of opportunity, including the birth of this new, totally unplanned, third mystery series set in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, as well as the creation of Quinn Hollister. (the other two series are LeGarde Mysteries [10 books] and Moore Mysteries [3 books])

My wife and I found a cabin overlooking the Sacandaga River in Hope, New York. It was inexpensive, relaxing, and a perfect setting for a mystery. We fell in love with the majestic beauty of the area, especially the soft, cleansing waters of the Sacandaga River over which the rustic cabin perches.

Quinn evolved slowly. At first he was an OCD Italian name Joe, until a friend pointed out that he resembled a popular TV character in the Monk series.

I’d never heard of Monk and rarely watched television, but I didn’t want the world thinking I’d copied his persona. So, I encouraged this character to evolve.

Probably because I’d been obsessing lately over my own somewhat distant Native American heritage, Quinn morphed into a tall, serene, half-Seneca antique collector with clear turquoise eyes bequeathed to him by his long-dead English playwright father. Married to Marcella, his wife of eight years, he adores her and manages to drive her nuts at the same time with his borderline case of OCD. This gentle man moves with grace, builds sweat huts, and wears in his glossy black hair long. He swims every morning in Honeoye Lake and likes things evenly spaced and on plan. Piles of magazines must be neatly stacked, forks and knifes should be aligned and parallel, socks need to be neatly separated by color in the drawer, and if a stock pot isn’t clean upon inspection, it will be rewashed without discussion.

I’ve grown quite fond of Quinn and his family, and I feel terrible about what I’ve put them through. Especially in this last book, MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (est. 2014/2015 release).

Quinn loves Marcella. He’d do anything for her, including putting up with her very annoying mother, Thelma, who lives with them. But there’s one thing he doesn’t like one bit, and that’s Marcella’s long time association with her former lover, Sky Lissoneau.

Sky—Marcella’s first sweetheart—proposed to her twenty years ago after her college graduation. Alas, she broke his heart when she lovingly declined, deciding to pursue her operatic singing career in New York City instead of marrying him. Completely devastated, Sky joined the military and eventually went MIA, where for eighteen years friends and family agonized over his safety.

In Essentially Yours, book two in the Tall Pines series, life changes in a most surprising way when Sky’s backpack arrives on the doorstep jammed with a mysterious collection of essential oils, a password-protected memory stick, a bag of emeralds, and a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets. After an intense adventure involving an evil drug company and a possible cure for leukemia, Sky shows up. While it’s confusing to Marcella (she still has feelings for him, but loves her husband at the same time), Sky’s return spikes jealousy in Quinn, and ultimately this homecoming causes a great deal of grief and what ends up being a tantalizing trio filled with plenty of sexual tension.

Coming back to the subject of my current work in progress, MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA, I really do feel bad about what I did to Quinn in this story. I tore a rift between him and his wife, and almost destroyed their marriage.

What’s wrong with me? Why did I allow such conflict between two happily married people? Didn’t they have enough problems with the big evil drug company chasing them all over the mountains, trying to kill them?

Frankly, I still blame Downton Abbey, which I have recently claimed made me into a virtual  murderer. (You can read about it here if you wish.) I’m afraid being exposed to all kinds of family drama pushed me into a mode I hadn’t yet experienced. Great conflict, high tension, and lovely surprises. Horrible deaths of beloved characters.

(Evil chuckle) Did I tell you I loved it?

In time, my characters and I both found resolution to our problems. After a year of searching, the perfect day job arrived. I am now happily employed at a small German company. Our Rochester office has four employees and an office dog. How cool is that, right?

In the end of MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA, I allowed Quinn and Marcella to make up, and to forge ahead in the world I’ve created for them in the Tall Pines Mystery series. Who knows what book five will hold? I hope I’m not too hard on them. After all, they need to carry on for many more books to come. And I really do have to live with myself. Somehow. ;o)

***

Twilight Times Books by multi-award winning, Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES

DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)

UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)

TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)

MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)

FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)

DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (coming 2013)

VIRTUOSO (~2014)

MOORE MYSTERIES

HEALEY’S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)

TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)

FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES

FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book coming 2013)

ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)

SANCTUARY (coming, 2013)

MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (~2014)

WRITING ADVICE:

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (ebooks and audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (2013), SANCTUARY (2013), and VIRTUOSO (2014).

HONORABLE MENTION Eric Hoffer 2013 GRAND PRIZE * FINALIST 2013 EPIC Book Awards  * FINALIST 2012 FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS * Finalist DaVinci Eye Cover Award 2013 * WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION *Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Reads for 2012 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Books of 2012 * Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 FinalistYolanda Renée’s Top Ten Books 2008MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008 * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012

www.lazarbooks.com

www.murderby4.blogspot.com

www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com

www.aplazar.gather.com

http://aaronlazar.younglivingworld.com

www.pureoils.blogspot.com

Introducing The Curse Giver’s Cover

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

This is it! The cover for The Curse Giver is ready and I’m very excited to share it with you for the first time. So without further delay, here it is!

The Curse Giver's Cover

Seeing the completed cover for the first time was a powerful experience for me. Brad Fraunfelter did an amazing job. It’s a visual punch, an image packed with detail and emotion. I think it’s stunning. Don’t you?