Tracy Banghart

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    Tuesday
    Jan282014

    One Month!! + Interview with Regina Wamba

    I can't quite believe it, given the YEARS that have gone into this book, but SHATTERED VEIL comes out one month from today! I am SO excited to share Aris's story with y'all, especially as more and more positive reviews come in from early readers. There was a dark period about a year ago when I thought this book would never see the light of day. Now it's finding fans, AND looks all gorgeous and OFFICIAL and stuff!

    I always love to hear about how book covers evolve and since I got to experience the process with the AMAZING Regina Wamba of Mae I Design, I thought it'd be fun to have her stop by and answer a few questions! I've also got some screenshots of the evolution of Shattered Veil's cover, which I think is pretty neat. I hope you enjoy!

    Alright, over to Regina! :-)

    First, could you tell us a little bit about how you got into book cover design? Was it something you set out to do, or did you fall into it from another design field?

     I fell into it actually. By my graphic background and my love for reading. Goodreads forum is where I started! <3

    Being the incredible designer you are, your skills are increasingly in demand. How many covers do you create a year, on average (and when do you sleep??)?

    LOL… Hmm.. sleep comes when i hit my low. I get on a “creative splurge” and hit this wave of awesomeness and sit and design for DAYS, then I’ll crash. That’s when I catch up on tv shows, reading and SLEEP!

    Do you have a favorite genre to design covers for? Is there a genre you wish you got to design for more often?

    I love paranormal. Seriously. There is just something so awesome and challenging. PLUS it’s my fave genre.

    You do much more than just design covers; you're also a fantastic photographer and use many of your own photographs as "stock". What's your favorite part of the process? The design? The photography? 

    HAH. that’s tough. Since they go hand in hand. BUT i would say the whole process. From someone wanting a custom shoot with a specific idea. I love how we come together with an idea and make something very real from it. I love it. I love romance too, so it helps to always to be always “making love” <— pun intended.

    For you, what elements or qualities make for an amazing book cover?

    It’s all an equal balance. The eye will draw you in if you have a good balance between typography, images, and color. It’s important that they all work together as a team.

    What was your inspiration behind the Shattered Veil cover? Do you have a favorite element or detail?

    OOOH. I loved the “jewelry” hint you gave me. From that my mind just started spinning. I love this cover because 1. It has a great color combo 2. it makes your eye draw clock wise (what you want) 3. and it’s so unique, that it just makes you ask, “What is this about?”

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Regina!

    ~~

    The "jewelry hint" she's talking about? I sent her this description of Shattered Veil's world: "...his eyes lingered on the enormous sat-photo of the Five Dominions that hung on the wall above her. He had always loved the way Atalanta looked from the air, suspended like a brilliant jewel in the center of a gaudy necklace. An emerald caught between the cobalt of the ocean, the golden deserts of Safara, and the diamond ice of Ruslana." 

    I LOVE how she took that description and parlayed it into such fabulous, iconic imagery. And I can't WAIT to see what she does with Tangled Promise, Book 2 in the series!

    And now, for the evolution of Shattered Veil's cover...

    When we were originally brainstorming, Regina gave me two concepts to consider...

    And...

    I thought they were both really cool, but I was afraid the one with the boy would give the wrong feel for the book (after all, the main character is female...she just spends much of the book disguised as a man. ;-)) I was THRILLED when we were able to incorporate both covers for the paperback version of the book!

    Then it was time to play around with typography...all the fun nitty, gritty details. Like making the stone in the middle cracked, as if it's been "shattered" (ha. get what we did there?) And, of course, we played around with color too...

    One of my favorite details is the way the girl's face at the bottom kind of merges with a sunset over the beach. It brings to mind this little tidbit... "As she drifted off, she saw the lone figure of her former self, standing still as stone on the edge of a beach, the edge of the world, the sunset tangled in her long, wild hair."

    And now, the final...with lovely colors, cool typography, and a more futuristic plane!

    I'm so, so thrilled with the cover Regina created. I hope y'all have enjoyed hearing more from her and getting a little insight into the cover's evolution.

    And now, for a last announcement....if you are excited about Shattered Veil's release on Feb 28, enjoy free stuff and/or things that are awesome, be sure to sign up for my newsletter HERE. I will be sending out details of a special (AMAZING) offer EXLUSIVE to newsletter subscribers the week before release day. You don't want to miss it!

    Cheers!

     

    Thursday
    Jan232014

    Shattered Veil Countdown: 5 weeks

    Just a little over a month before Shattered Veil hits the virtual (and some physical) shelves! Hooray! Right now I'm in the middle of finalizing the last little details of the manuscript and getting it set up so it'll be available for purchase come February 28th. These final details include a couple small changes to the cover...Regina of Mae I Design updated the plane in the top left corner with a more futuristic model, and added a VERY awesome blurb from Jennifer Walkup, author of Second Verse!

    Pretty, right? In case you're interested, the blurb says, "Shattered Veil is a heart-crushing, edge-of-your-seat, wild ride of love and war. A must read for fans of science fiction, romance, or just plain good books." ~ Jennifer Walkup, author of Second Verse

    So incredible. Seriously.

    Also, I just finished up the first draft of my YA fantasy, LADY LOST, which I am planning to release this summer. Yay!! I'm so, so excited about this one. I started it a couple years ago when I was in a really good place with my writing...and then went to a bad writing place (unrelated to this project) for a while and had to put the book on hold. It's been a struggle moving forward with it, but I really believed in the story and could just *feel* that the writing was special, so I kept with it, pushed forward...and voila! A shiny new draft to hide in a drawer for a few weeks before I dive into revisions. It's amazing how much my ability to write is affected by my perceived success or failure in this industry...and how much it's affected by having a baby and not sleeping more than four hours at a time for, oh you know, A YEAR. ;-) Honestly, I'm feeling really proud that I made it to "the end"... and am SUPER pumped to dive into writing Shattered Veil's sequel, TANGLED PROMISE. Hooray!! :-D

    Aaaanyway, moving on! Originally this blog post was supposed to be about whether I think Shattered Veil is a new adult or young adult book (hint: I think it's kinda both!) but I made this fun excerpt teaser for you and I just can't wait to share! So we'll talk more about Shattered Veil's genre leanings next time. For now, I hope you enjoy this sneak peak at Shattered Veil!

    Happy Friday! :-)

    Shattered Veil 
    February 28th, 2014
    For one young, talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face...and the one promise she swore she'd never break. 

    Tuesday
    Jan212014

    RATGIRL Blog Tour!

    Hello dearies! Today I'm very excited to be part of the RATGIRL blog tour, through Xpresso Book Tours.

    As soon as I read the description of this book, I knew I had to check it out. A dystopian retelling of the Pied Piper with a kick-butt heroine? Yes please! And let me tell you, it didn't disappoint! First, some info on the book:

    RATGIRL: Song of the Viper by Gayle C. Krause 
    Publication date: January, 2014
    Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

    Description

    Sixteen-year-old streetwise orphan, Jax Stone is an expert at surviving in a dangerous city, where rats rival the homeless for food and shelter, but she’s an amateur at fighting the immoral mayor when he kidnaps her little brother. Desperation demands she quickly master the role of courageous opponent. She uses her hypnotic singing voice to lead rats to their death, and all the children to safety, in a dying city cursed by the deadly sun.

    My Review

    I have to tell you, I loved this book. It was gritty and dark and sometimes kind of terrifying...and I couldn't put it down. The world-building was visceral and superbly detailed, with tons of wonderful description that wove so well through the story that it never slowed down the action. I haven't read a book with such great world-building in a long time.

    I was also really impressed with the character development. Jax Stone, our heroine, was brave and strong and scrappy, and the author did a great job with her voice. I could see through her eyes and feel her emotions, which was often gut-wrenching. The rest of the characters were also really well done; I got a sense of their personalities, motivations, and individual quirks and they all stood out on the page.

    As for the action, boy, this book kept me on the edge of my seat! I think it's amazing when an author can completely rip the rug out from under me...I think the story's going one way and WHOOSH...there it goes, off in another - and usually more exciting - direction. This happened to me several times in this story and I was breathless trying to read faster wondering what would happen next. Three quarters of the way through, there were a couple places where the pacing felt a little inconsistent to me, but it didn't keep me from rushing towards the end to find out what would happen. I was semi-familiar with the Pied Piper fairy tale...and after finishing Ratgirl was so inspired I had to look it up to remind myself of the original story. This retelling worked really, really well, especially within the world the author created.

    Overall, Ratgirl is a well-written, exciting, compulsively readable story, with a gritty, well-developed world and complex characters you'll love to root for. It sounds like there's going to be a sequel, and I can't wait to read it!

    My Rating: 4 Stars

    Add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

    Better yet, purchase a copy from Amazon here or Barnes & Noble here.

    Also, enter to win a KINDLE in this amazing giveaway!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    About the Author

    Gayle C. Krause is a member of SCBWI, YALITCHAT and The Cliffhouse YA Wonderwriters.She writes across the genres. Her first publication credit was a short story in Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul 2 (2006). The Storyteller’s Daughter, her YA historical short story, was featured in Timeless, A YA Historical Romance anthology from Pugalicious Press (2012).Her new YA novel, RATGIRL: Song of the Viper was published in February 2013 (Noble Young Adult).

    During the course of her writing career Ms. Krause has served as assistant editor for Underneath the Juniper Tree, a dark fantasy online magazine developed for young teens, a children’s book reviewer for Children’s Literature .com and she offers a critique service for children’s writers at First Peek Critique. (www.gayleckrause.com)

    She also runs a blog that encourages new children’s writers through contests, book reviews and author interviews. http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com.

    Author links

    http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.ca/

    https://twitter.com/GeeCeeK

    https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6443239.Gayle_C_Krause

    ~~

    Follow the rest of the tour here!

     

    Friday
    Jan102014

    Shattered Veil Countdown: 7 weeks

    Did you know there's less than a week left to enter the Goodreads First Look contest for a signed advanced copy of Shattered Veil? The link to the giveaway is at the top of the page. Go enter...I'll wait... ;-)

    You're back! Good.

    So. Shattered Veil comes out seven weeks from today. And I'm feeling good, peeps. Reviews are starting to come in, and so far the response has been great. (A reviewer on Goodreads called the book "inspiring". INSPIRING. I about cried.)

    Today's teaser is below...check back next week for a post about why i'm choosing to call this book a "new adult"...but feel like "young adult" is a label that fits too. Happy Friday!

    For one young, talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face...and the one promise she swore she'd never break.

    SHATTERED VEIL
    February 28, 2014

    Wednesday
    Jan082014

    Book Bloggers Are the Best

    So, we're only eight days into 2014 but I have to tell you, I'm feeling really, really good about this year so far. Professionally, that has a TON to do with the amazing book blogger community. As you all know (how could you not, if you read this blog? ;-)) Shattered Veil comes out in a little less than eight weeks. Already, bloggers are requesting e-ARCs through NetGalley, putting it on their "Waiting on Wednesday" lists, and featuring it on their blogs. CAN I TELL YOU HOW HAPPY THIS MAKES ME?? Seriously.

    I LOVE that so many book bloggers are open to reading indie books...not only that, they're excited about them! (As they should be...I've read a couple AMAZING ones lately. Check out my reviews here, here & here.) People talking about books and writing reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and the like make SUCH a difference in the visibility of a book. And I can't even explain to you the THRILL of hearing that someone is excited to read one of mine. 

    So I just want to say THANK YOU. Thank you to the bloggers who've requested Shattered Veil or By Blood on NetGalley. Thank you to those who've written reviews. Thank you to everyone who has signed up for the book tour or added my books to your Goodreads TBR list...and thank you to anyone and everyone who wants to read Shattered Veil (or any of my books). 

    I decided to self-publish because I wanted to find readers for my books, and I was tired of waiting for a traditional publisher to give me permission. I put all this time and energy and love and hope into writing these stories...and I wanted to believe there was someone, maybe a few people, who'd enjoy reading them. Any writer will tell you - the actual WRITING is only half of the job...it's like a telephone call. It only works if there's someone on the other end to receive your words. 

    I am so, so grateful to know there are readers out there who want to connect with my stories. You guys are the best!!