A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor, LC Chase, Riptide Publishing, SE Jakes

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Review – SE Jakes’ “Daylight Again”, Cover Art By L.C. Chase


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Today I have come to the momentous decision that I am selling my soul. Yup, me… soul free baby, just call ol’ Scratch on up and we’ll hammer out a deal. I’m ready and willing to bargain!
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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Love Goes To Reese Dante



Reese Dante, I want in your creative, talented head RIGHT NOW!!! Just so I can soak up the awesome that is your artistic bent. *sighs* This cover makes me so sad. SO very, very sad because I know that I will never be this good. Oh sure, I might be good at another type of look, but I cannot…can…NOT…do soft. I’ve tried. I suck. So, I will go lay prone on the altar of sacrificial meat to the God’s for even a smidgen of the gift that Reese Dante has.

In case you didn’t get that, Reese Dante did this cover. Insert cheeky grin here.

In case you’re wondering what I mean when I say soft, I’m speaking of the whole kind of emotional appeal: tender, warm, mysterious, beautiful, touchable, approachable, etc. etc. It’s so touchably soft that damn creepy little Snuggle bear is contemplating hari kari right this moment over this cover.

Now, before you think I’m just full of fangirl butt kissing and major cow dung, let me get something straight. First of all, I don’t do that. It bites me in the proverbial hoo-ha sometimes because I’m so very very bad at posterior puckering, but I’m a horrible liar. I’m one of those people that just can’t do it well. Needless to say that on Christmas day around my house, it’s not any surprise what I’m getting anyone.

That being said, let me tell you what I love about this cover.

First of all, Reese is really good at making a cover background that has pretty much nothing in it, look interesting. It’s all about texture for this lady, and she wields that weapon well!

If you’re thinking that doing a plain (well mostly, in the case) background is easy, guess again, my friends. It’s really not. Not only do you have to make the very pretty man pop, but it can’t be boring either. I’m unsure how Reese accomplishes her backgrounds, but for me, if I do a plain background, there are so many textures on it to make it look interesting it’s not even funny. Think of it like nude makeup, you pile a bunch on just to look like you have none on, and that takes time and effort, doesn’t it? Same premise for the plain background.

What I love in particular about this one is the hint of the font that looks almost like its part of the foggy background right behind the title. Yeah…didn’t notice that, did you? Neither did I till I sat my butt down and really looked. I’m so tickled to see this because I used to do it in my fandom manipping days (shhhhhhh…no one knows about that!), and I really wasn’t sure how that would look on a more professional cover. This is subtlety at its best. Just the barest hint, the smallest touch and it adds just the right dash of mystery.

And then there’s the man that I’m guessing, and I could be totally wrong, but I’m guessing that his beard was an addition, along with the tattoo? I tried to find the base photo via Google but my Fu was apparently out to lunch. Not that it matters that much, except if it was an addition it looks great! Making something out of nothing and then actually making it look good? Thumbs up…way up! And the tattoo? I can do tattoos decently, depending on the color of the tattoo, but I’m always impressed when someone else does them because it takes patience and talent. You are either hand drawing it yourself and then painting it on, or you’re finding it elsewhere and then cutting it, pasting it, matching all the shadows and skin tones correctly, and still keeping the integrity of the tattoo at the same time. It takes talent. The tattoo on our man here is not only beautiful but still manages to keep with the colors of the cover.

It’s the blending of the colors that Reese so effortlessly does that impresses the hell out of me! And the textures, because that right there is a talent! Reese has a look that everyone recognizes, and this is a prime example of that look. Understated but stunning. You SEE the model. You SEE the title. It’s not busy! It’s not overdone! It looks like one complete piece of work, from the fonts to the tats. My color pallet is very different from Reese’s, as I tend to lean more towards jewel tones, but I would sell my 3 legged cats other back leg to be able to do more pastel work and actually like what I did. (I wouldn’t really sell her leg, I kinda like that leg! :D)

So yeah, I loved this cover. What more can I say without having to get a drool cup out? Not a hell of a lot except that I hope Reese doesn’t mind when I pick her brain at GRL about her technique, ‘cause believe me it is so ON!

Anyhow, that is my take this week, and just FYI my posts will be bi-weekly for awhile as school and work is making it tough for me to finish everything, but I wanted to keep up with this so there you have it.

It’s my birthday today, so I’m gonna go do absolutely nothing but wish all of you a great day, and may all the good books be with you!

Be sure and check out the rest of Reese’s beautiful covers at her website!

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

Check me and my work out on Facebook

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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor, J.A. Rock, Lisa Henry, Riptide Publishing

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Feature – “When All the World Sleeps” by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock



This week’s cover of the week is…bum bum bum…When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock artwork by Amber Shah.

I see a lot of covers every week, as we all do. On Facebook, on Google, on my Photoshop, but they don’t all stand out. In fact, a lot of them are just typical. I kinda love that this one is not “typical”.

The first thing you see when you look at this cover, in big or small size, is the title. Bold, bright, easy to read, but oddly enough, even though it’s very prominent, the title doesn’t overpower the picture. I like the texture too. It looks like rough concrete, or even an earthen texture, which goes well with the ground it’s superimposed over and also goes well with the almost pre-tornado like feel of the cover.

I have no clue what the story is about. I know, I know, I really need to read some of the books I review covers for. It’s probably a good thing I don’t review the books, isn’t it?

As I said, I have no clue what the story is about, but it reminds me of either a house that is waiting for a tornado to come or a fire to consume it; the calm before the storm so to speak. I love the juxtaposition of the gold/red sky with the blue/green grass. Is some tragedy coming to claim this house? Are the men waiting on the porch because whatever is coming is going to consume them, so why run? Or is it the cold, empty world around them that is coming to overtake their warm hearth? Not…a…clue.

But I want to find out. If it’s a fire, I really want to run over there with my hands waving and warn those guys, “Get off the damn porch, you’re gonna be barbeque.” Then again, on closer inspection, the house has an empty feel to it, so perhaps I’m seeing a vision of the past. A secret love affair, perhaps, that has long since died but has never been forgotten?

All I know for sure is that based on this cover, this does not look like a story that will let me avoid the Kleenex box. Just sayin’. Dramatic, possibly romantic, yes, but there’s some pain in there. I can just feel it emanating off the cover as I write.

I would hazard a guess that the men were put onto the house and the house put onto the background. I can’t be sure, but if that’s the case, it’s well done. The shading/highlights look great, the colors all complement one another, and the gradients on both the ground and the background are compelling and shocking in the stark contrast.

I love that the house seems small in a vast space, without it being small on the cover at all. This is one of the things that vexes me sometimes when I do cover. (Yes, I said vex, and no I am not your grandmother writing this article. I promise!) I have the toughest time with placement: how big is too big, and how small is too small. That sounds like a joke I once heard, but um…we’ll keep it PC, shall we? But really, it’s tough sometimes to judge. That, and just figuring out the very placement of the pictures can be equally as hard. It’s just like drawing a picture: you get an idea into your head, you get all excited go to execute, and bam… a big ol’ overlapping mess. You try to make it smaller and you lose the guys on the porch. You try to make it bigger and you lose the leaf bare trees and part of the sky. But this cover manages all that and more. I’m really quite taken.

Anyhow, guys and gals, I’m lacking in the chatter this week for some reason, so instead of bending your ears and eyeballs, I’ll just leave you with a sampling of the beautiful covers by Amber Shah from her website Book Beautiful . I can only aspire to make book covers as stunning as these someday.

The last one is actually a pre-made but still…pretty. *sighs wistfully*

That’s me, signing off.

Have a great day and may all the good books be with you!

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

Check me out on Facebook @ : https://www.facebook.com/ajcorza

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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered- This Week – It’s A Veritable Buffet Of Cover Love


So the week’s folder of covers that was sent to me was slim pickins. No not the actor but sadly, the book covers I had to choose from. (For those of you in the huh? Slim Pickens (spelled differently) was an American actor that for some reason, even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything with him in it, I seem to know his name. Go figure.)

So, what is a reviewer to do? Well, I could have found a cover I loved on my own, but that would mean I didn’t have an insane professor breathing down my neck for my soul, and/or first born, plus down payment on a mansion in Malibu. Unfortunately I do have said Professor, and if you see his face on a milk carton anywhere in the near future…I TOTALLY DID NOT DO IT!!!

But I digress. I actually do have a folder on my desktop that is just for book cover inspiration, and I did look through it, but you ever have one of those days where you just aren’t feeling it? You’re hungry, verging on ready to eat your own shoe, but nothing sounds good. Yep, that was my feeling towards my stockpile. Total complete…meh. *insert ambivalent shrug here* So, I flung my request out to the good people that populate our little corner of Facebook. (and for some reason follow me on there…which by the way…SHOUT OUT!!!)

I asked people to either link me to, or send me pics of their favorite covers, their own or others. It didn’t matter. And what did I find? Everyone has different tastes. Yeah I know, color me three shades of surprised. Ok, maybe not ‘cause anyone who’s followed along in the past posts knows that I’m a firm believer and touter of people all having different tastes and THAT’S OK!!! Granted, some tastes are less refined than others, preferring a Micky D’s Big Mac over a glass of Sauternes with their foie gras but again, that’s perfectly fine cause it just makes our world that much more interesting. It really drives home the point that even though we’re all of different tastes and backgrounds, we all still share cognitive thought processes (well most of us, I’m looking at you Perez Hilton.) and even if I hate what you like and you hate what I like, we’re both entitled to our opinion! :) So, yay for that.

So today I’m gonna put up the covers people sent me so you can see the differences in tastes that vary far and wide. You may agree or not, but one thing is for sure. It’s all in the eye of the beholder!



Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Cover Art by Catt Ford

Cover Art by Alex Beecroft

Cover Art by Anne Cain

Cover Art by Anne Cain

Cover Art by Paul Richmond

Cover Art by Paul Richmond

And that’s gonna be it from me this week guys. Hope you enjoyed the pretties.

Have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J.

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Pick – “Stung” by K.A. Merikan – Cover Art by Nikos Vasilakis and Book Cover Master Class



K.A. Merikan is a daring soul.

She actually sent me a cover and asked me to review it! That’s right folks, me, the queen of confusion, the mistress of mumble, and the dastardly diva of disorientation. (I kinda like that last one) And what do I say to that? YAY!!!!!!!!! And you’re sure you sent it to the right person correct?!

She has very good cause to want to have this cover reviewed because this cover is BEEautiful. (Shut up, I’m beeing clever here!)

My first impression of this cover was wow, WOW, stunning, intriguing, creepily elegant and seriously makes me want to offer the model a wet nap cause that’s gonna be a pain to clean up later. Then again, who amongst us can’t say that we haven’t had sticky substances on our face from time to time that needed a little extra help?

Uh huh…..I see you over there, raise your hand!

Anyhow back to the cover. This is actually a photograph done by the wonderful photographer Nikos Vasilakis (with a little PS work thrown in by Joanna of Book Cover Master Class) whose art focuses on mainly erotic shots of women. He has some other shots of mouths that are just as pretty as this one but I have to agree with K.A., this particular shot is just striking. It’s so raw almost. I’m guessing, for me at least, it’s due to the purity of the white makeup that somehow looks soft and yet gives you a feel of inevitability. Someday, may not be today or tomorrow, but someday soon, that makeup will crack and peel and show the true color beneath. The whole story if you will. The tongue, so human, and oddly vulnerable peeking out. It’s color lush and succulent like the honey that coats it. You long to kiss those lips and sup from the sticky sweet but yet, something holds you back, something seems not quite right here.

Erotic, to be sure, but ominous also. Does the tongue remind anyone else of a flower petal?

The honeycombs on the outer edges as well as the lovely font for Stung were both done by Joanna of Book Cover Master Class.

By now you’re probably wondering what the hell the book is about, correct? You all know I don’t read the books, I can recite all the terms applying to cognitive dissonance and how they apply to persuasion, but read a book for fun lately? Well if I did, the cover on this story, much like the cover of The Adorned that I reviewed two weeks prior (you can find that here if you’re so inclined), would definitely make me stop and pick up the book. Again, like The Adorned, I say, who cares what the story is about…look at the pretty!!!

Of course, I know myself all too well and I’d read the premise (which I actually did after the author sent it to me) and it sounds like a wickedly interesting story that in the authors’ words is “a homoerotic novel, but it’s also a thriller and a story of zombies and gore.”

EROTIC, ZOMBIES, AND GORE!!!!!!! Did you see that? *does a happy dance* Horror with sex! What could be better, I ask you? *points at random person clutching their Fifty Shades of Grey* No comments from the peanuts. *grins and winks*

Oh all right, I’ll attest that horror doesn’t do it for a lot of people, but for those of us that it does do it for, this sounds like a good one. It’s about a soft man that’s never seen a day of hard labor suddenly thrust onto a “safe” haven run by the mob called Honeyhill, and expected to do his share of back breaking labor in order to survive. He understands that he is not going to survive the labor aspect of said haven and instead, aligns himself with a guard named Crunch. No not Captain Crunch, just Crunch, who is working undercover for the good guys and trying to liberate Honeyhill.

Did I mention that it’s 20 years into a zombie apocalypse and that it’s a dystopian society? No? Well, it is! I love dystopian books. And movies, and shows, and and and. Yep, I might be persuaded to read this one. Hopefully, maybe….*sighs*

And see? I did it again wandered off the subject. Cover, Alex, focus on the cover! *thunks head on desk*

The font is perfect for this cover. It’s sharp like a bee’s stinger and doesn’t overpower the strength of the image. Which K.A. let me know that she and Joanna discussed at length before finally settling on this very cool type. Sharp edges with intriguing curves and a lovely overlay of the honeycomb pattern reflecting the outer edges of the cover all work together wonderfully to pull the whole thing into one cohesive work of art.

Seriously, I think this is one of my faves so far. This is what a lot of cover artists wish they could achieve with stock photos. So what do you have to do for a visually appealing one shot like this, if you don’t get lucky like K.A. did? TAKE NOTE ARTISTS: 1) You need to join or set up an account or at the very least set up light boxes on a stock site and start stuffing any and all beautiful, stunning, shocking, interesting pieces of photography in there that you can find.

I have over a thousand pictures in my account on Fotolia, and it’s mostly just neat stuff that I’ve found that look high quality, aren’t run of the mill, and can perhaps in the future be Frankensteined to do my bidding. Oh and also, purchasing an actual membership generally gives you set prices for all the photos. So if you find a picture you LOVE but can’t afford ‘cause they want an outrageous sum for the photo, with a membership it shifts the price into the same price range as all the rest. At least on Fotolia, I have mine set up to buy a certain amount of pics a month and my prices are the same for all the photos, same sizes (extra large), and they are useable on covers. I actually called and asked for my own peace of mind. It’s saved me a ton of money also. Just a little FYI for you manippers out there. It’s different from site to site but well worth the time and energy looking into it if you’re going to go into any sort of Photoshop based work.

Well…I think that’s all for me this week, folks. I hope you enjoyed my nattering and please remember, if you have a cover you made or perhaps one you love, feel free to send it to me in an email to review. I love hearing from others.

Also feel free to follow me on Facebook

Have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J.

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Top Pick – “The Adorned” by John Tristan – Cover Art By Angela Waters



Show of hands, does this cover make anyone else want to lick down his spine and back up again?

Seriously, here I was adding links to a new website I’m setting up, I click on a link my author gave me, and BAM. Right in the eye!

Guh.

Or as they say on the very controversial but damned hilarious television show Archer, sploosh!!!

This is a delicious cover. Why do I say that, besides the drool worthy body? Because while I have no idea what the story is about, I honestly don’t care. All I know is I just want to read it NOW!!! *laughs* Yes, I am that shallow about my guilty pleasure books, which has already been established if you’ve been keeping up.

Sexy back? Check. Tattoos? Check. That long, lean, sensuous curve from shoulder to hip? Check. Yum…

The Adorned by John Tristan, with cover art by Angela Waters, is actually a novel about a man that moves to the city of Kered after his father dies, and becomes a piece of living art that exists to please the divine rulers of the city. Now, because of the font used on the cover. I assumed (incorrectly) that this might be a book about the high seas, pirates, booty, pirate’s booty…but even after reading the description, because I wanted to not be that assuming person ’cause we all know what happens if you assume, I think the font still works. It has that kinda sand worn, ink on parchment kinda feel to it. Plus, it contrasts really well with the deeper worn leather browns and golden tans that make up the rest of the image.

Notice, however, the point that I’ve been trying to drive home with all of the self-published authors and artists: the font is cut off on the edges because the picture was not made to Amazon specifications for covers. Amazon asks for a cover size of at least 600 x 1000 pixels which is an odd size to be sure and this is in no way the fault of any one person, author or artist; it’s just one of those things to be on the lookout for. Besides, it doesn’t really make or break this cover. And since it’s the very very edges of the font, it’s pretty easy to look over, and honestly why am I looking at the font again? Oh right, I’m supposed to. Dammit.

But let’s talk about the rest of the cover, shall we? I love that I can’t tell from a quick glance if this is a hand drawn cover or if it’s a manip. I’m going to guess (never assume) that because all of her other covers on her site are manips, this is as well. So I’m gonna climb out on a limb here and guess also that the tattoo was not already on the model. I could be totally wrong on that point, but I flexed the Google Fu muscle and came up with bupkis. That said, if it is truly a manipped tattoo onto the back of the man, it’s very well done.

Tattoos are a BITCH. I know I’ve done quite a few. Not for covers–well, not yet–but I’ve done them in the past for friends onto “various” photos that they’ve asked for, because I’m just that good of a friend. But every single time was a fight because the ink that looks so good on our own skin does not want to sweetly lay itself over the skin of another random person without some serious coercion. Nope, it wants to disappear in places, change color, warp out of shape, etc., etc. And it does all this while you’re trying to get the skin from someone else to match up with your selected eye candy and not change into some sort of amorphous blob of barely recognizable ink.

Think of it this way, if you had transferred a picture on a piece of silly putty and you wanted it to match your skin tone exactly, kinda like something from a Star Trek episode, you’d have to change the pigment, flatten it, change the darkness or lightness, and probably after all that, touch up the edges, all without distorting the pic at all. Not so easy now, is it? Nope, like I said, a bitch. This tattoo? Flawless. Which really means I’m hoping against hope that is a manip and not an actual tattoo. But even if it turned out to be the latter, it still gives us a good platform to open discussion about authors asking for horrible complicated tattoos or tattoos in general.

I love tattoos, I have a couple, my boyfriend has some rather large ones, most of my friends have at least one if not more, but they belong to the individual that bears them. I don’t think any of us would want someone going onto the internet and randomly finding their personal picture, cutting out the tattoo, and using it to make money off of. If you’re inspired by it and use it for a drawing, great, but cutting someone else’s back up to suit your needs, well, it’s just rude. Plus, you can get in trouble.

Why am I saying this? Because authors sometimes have no concept of how hard it is to find tattoos to use that will fit the exact specifications they have in their book and their head. Saying, “Well I’m paying for it, I should get what I want,” is great but not always feasible. Plus, and I can NOT reiterate this enough, it takes a long time to find that tattoo. We’re not talking minutes, or hours, we’re talking days, weeks, and oft times it just won’t be found. Unless it is your personal tattoo, authors, do not expect to see the exact tattoo you want. Sometimes we can Frankenstein it or even draw it freehand, but most times it’s just not going to happen. And asking an artist to just use one you’ve found on the internet is not cool either. Pictures on the internet are public, it’s true, but if you make money off of something that the other person clearly owns, you’re very likely to end up paying that person for the usage. Rule of thumb: if it’s not on a stock site, it’s probably not for use. Sucks, I know, but there you have it.

Again, I’m not sure if the artist bought the picture like this, made the tattoo by drawing it, or what have you, but it works very well. So kudos to you Angela. And kudos to John for hiring Angela to do his cover for him.

So that’s it for this week, guys and gals. Hope you enjoyed the commentary, and remember I’m always open to questions. All you gotta do is ask.

Have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J.

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

I love making new friends so feel free to follow me on Facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/ajcorza

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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Cover – “My Hero” by Max Vos – Cover Art by… Hey! A.J. Corza



I wasn’t actually going to post anything of my own up for review, ever, because to me it seems kind of self-serving. But there is a reason I changed my mind. However, let me clarify first that this is in no way the best cover of the week. I tend to be very hard and hypercritical of my work and while I think this one is pretty good, it’s a lot worse than others. Which I suppose is probably just about a normal reaction for anyone being faced with their own work. But since I did have a cover on a book that was reviewed this week I realized this would be a great opportunity for me to be able to illustrate photo manipulation a bit more on point without stepping on toes or purely guessing at what the artist might have done.

So this is me. I actually do covers. I’m not just a pain in the ass. Isn’t that nice to know?

This is a cover I did for the wonderful author Max Vos for his bestselling book My Hero.  I am so very lucky to work with Max, because not only is he easy to work with but he allows me to play. In fact, he thinks it’s a lot of fun to see what I can come up with and how close I can get to his vision without actually reading the book.  Plus, he’s got definite ideas about what his guys are supposed to look like, and he’s open to discussing the pros and cons with me about what might sell and what might not.  I try very hard to be open to my authors thoughts because I’m honest enough with myself to realize that I don’t know it all. I wish I did, but damn that humanity of mine!

I do try to keep my eyes open for new trends and opportunities for my authors, but seeing as how trends change all the time, I obviously can’t see it all and maybe my author found something cool that I would love seeing.  Above all I’m selling my author first, and then me. At least that’s my philosophy.

Note to authors: don’t be afraid to suggest things to your artist. They may not always use it as is, but they may be able to adjust it to fit. Not only that, but it gives us a clearer picture of the tone you’d like to set with your cover. If you have a horror novel, you wouldn’t put a beige cover on it, would you? Probably not, unless it was that creepy faded, peeling wallpaper look for a ghost story, but you get my point.

Anyhow, back to the cover. I’ll point out what I really don’t like that I pretty much just noticed. I don’t like the shadow under the pennant. I have no idea why I put that on there so dark. Knowing me I bumped it by accident and obviously didn’t notice. I kinda hope that most people don’t even notice. So do me a favor and look away. :)

Next on the list, see how the title is large? Now, Max sent me a wonderful article about the fact that if you look at New York Times Bestselling books, the titles are never that big. I don’t honestly know which books she’s looking at because Dan Brown’s titles are plenty big, but that aside, it seems to me that she’s leaving out a critical fact about title size. We are and have been, as a society, moving definitively into an age where more and more people are buying Kindles, iPads, etc., and are buying their books online more than in the bookstore.  Ever try to actually see some of the titles of classic books online, in a list such as every online book site has?  The title is very small and occasionally hard to read. I’m lucky enough to have 20/20 vision, but a vast majority of people do not. This has to be a key component of a title now days. This is why the font is so crucial also. I know I harp on it a lot but this is why. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO READ IT at this size:   
as well as this size:

See how I did that? Even as the picture is getting a bit blurry, you can still read the title and the author. Plus, I used a fancier font and a more fun font, but you can still see them both. NOTE TO ARTISTS: NEVER EVER, EVER use more than 3 fonts on a cover. This is a rule of thumb for graphic artists on any project. Otherwise it gets muddy and messy looking. I never go over that rule. I try to keep it to two for the most part because I like the authors name to be apart from the title. Not a huge amount, it has to still look nice, but they should be separate entities.

The other point I wanted to bring to attention on this cover is that I actually built the sexy hunk of football hero on the left side from the face down.  Before I go on you have to understand something first, Max adores a man with a muscular body and some chest hair/facial hair. Any artist out there that does book covers will tell you that this is not easy to come by in the stock world. Sure you can find two out of three occasionally but then you have to ask are they good looking enough to sell? Has everyone and their cousin used them on a cover already? Are they in a good body position for the cover? How’s the lighting, coloring, hair, skin, etc? All these things have to be taken into account.

And you all thought it was just us artist’s getting lucky, didn’t you? How we wish it were that easy. My guy here took no less than four men to make him.  (I forgot to put beard man on here, sorry bout that)

First I found the face which, luckily enough, was attached to a guy that had a helmet I could use. It had to be someone with dreamy eyes, brown hair, kinda rakish but handsome with that kinda devil may care confidence about him. Yep, he was the guy in the face but then I ran into a problem.  I couldn’t use his body because he was too skinny—muscles, please.  So I set out in search of another guy with the same approximate body position. You can’t just slap any ol’ body on there it makes the head look odd.

So, of course, I found that great body but alas, no chest hair. So now I had to find a guy with a similar body and steal his chest hair. I would have used his body but he wasn’t in the right position to be holding a football helmet. Oh, and did I mention that our cover guy had no facial hair to begin with? Guy number, four please step up for the beard.  So I slapped him together and ta dah, sexy football guy! Needless to say, I was very happy with the result. I don’t generally go for hairy men, but he’s pretty enough I could see my way around it if he ever came calling.

And then our swimmer. I didn’t do as much to him, just tanned him up a bit, gave him more of a sunny day by the pool look and less of a gloomy day at the beach, and changed his hair color which was dark brown originally. Sometimes you can do it without painting it, sometimes not. It depends on the color of the photo and the base color of the hair to begin with. I got lucky this time and was able to change color, add a little here, contrast a little there and et voila, the swimmer was done.

Then we put them together, make a pretty background/foreground, some bright cheerful college type font, a pinch of this, a dash of that, and we’re done.

So, that’s pretty much it for this week, if anyone is reading this week. I know you’re all gonna be a GRL partying it up, so have fun, be safe, and may the good books be with you!

A.J.

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn. 

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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Top Cover – “Wild Magic” by Poppy Dennison – Art by Anne Cain





I am so not feeling it this week. I’m just gonna be honest right now. Who thought going back to college at 44 years old was a good idea? Oh yeah, she’s sitting here staring blearily at her computer screen.

*Takes a sip of caffeine goodness*

Anyhow, enough belly aching on with the show. This week’s cover is….bum bum bum…Wild Magic by Poppy Dennison. Who is a very dear friend and will probably beat me up for not letting her know I was going to do a review of her cover. Love you girl!!!!!! *ducks head at flying shoe*

What can you say? It’s eyecatching, it’s pretty, and it’s done by Anne Cain. You all know her, you all love her, and Poppy was lucky enough to snag her as her artist from Dreamspinner. In case you have no clue who I’m talking about, she’s one of oh……I dunno, we’ll say 10, well known artists doing covers in the LGBT arena. (I honestly don’t know for sure so please, artistsm don’t get offended. I’m horrible with names anyhow, unless you tattoo it to my forehead.)

But yep, Anne Cain did this one.

What do I like about it? I like the color first off. When I saw it I initially didn’t really like the color because I’m so not a gold person. I’m more a silver, but the more I looked at it, and saw it up next to Poppy’s other covers, which I was lucky enough to make the book marks for GRL for her, I really grew to love it. It’s different!!!! *sings praises, tosses confetti, sneezes glitter* How often do you see a GOLD cover in a romance genre? Not often enough in my opinion, but it works out really well for Anne and Poppy because it’s unique. It has je ne sais quoi, heat!!!! ‘Course that could be all due to the gentleman smouldering on the cover with the very very nice oblique muscles, and please feel free to correct me on that cause I am not an aficionado on the muscles.

The cover fits in very well with the rest of the series covers, of which there are 3 preceding this one.





The single male figure on the cover is predominant on all of the covers, and I think really puts the focus where it needs to be in this series, and that is the main character. I particularly like the fact that with Wild Magic, even though he’s in a fairly provocative pose, he still exudes a strength and since this series is about shapeshifters, namely wolves, that’s pretty damn important. I mean, who wants a wimpy wolf? Unless of course you have a wolf couple and then one of them is bound to be less strong than the other, but still, no wimps please.

I like the steamy, smokey look at the bottom of the man also. It really drives home the fact that he’s a shifter and maybe in mid-change. It makes a really nice backdrop for the title, as well as Poppy’s name, making them stand out nicely.

I really don’t have any criticisms on this cover at all. It’s clean and to the point, the font is vivid and easy to read, and the model is pleasing to look at. I will say that the main reason I like it is that it’s nice to see Anne given a chance to flex her artistic bone for these covers. It’s always fun as an artist to do something different instead of the same old cover that everyone requests cause it’s pretty.

There is only one minor thing, and it’s totally just thinking it looks odd, I would have had his hair cover is right ear. I don’t know why it bothers me but it looks to me like he’s just had his ear stuck on. I’m guessing it because she added hair behind the ear that was already there. It’s either that or because the hair looks like it should drape over some. Like I said, this is just me and it’s more of an artist’s call as to whether they like it or not type of thing. She liked it and that’s good enough for me.

Well, apparently this is a short review this week. I hope you enjoyed my little outing into the magical world of Poppy Dennison’s Wild Magic with cover art by Anne Cain.

Have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J.

All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.

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A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd

A.J.’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Top Cover Honor Goes To Kkohaku and K.A. Merikan’s “Special Needs”




So, I had a great opening thought for this very first post of mine, as I sat in the movie theater earlier today watching the previews to Kick Ass 2, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what it was. Unfortunately, I am not one of those to carry around something to jot notes in because I will invariably lose said note pad and have to rewrite it again anyhow.*heaves a sigh*

So I guess I’ll begin anew and say that the first weeks offerings were….pretty but typical.

Not great, not stunning, not bad, it’s just they were the same, of the same, of the same.

The naked torso, the gleaming skin, or the two guys on the top of the cover, the location on the bottom, all with the writing superimposed over it. You know the ones of which I speak. With the way they flood the E Book market like a tidal wave, how could you not? Not all of this week’s covers were like this, obviously, but the majority carried a similar feel.

Now before you pick up the pitchforks, or start scouring the internet for my phone number, (I never answer it so it’d be a waste of time trust me), I want to say that I am VERY guilty of doing the exact same thing. Hell, I didn’t even realize I’d fallen into the blahness trap until I looked at the covers I had produced in close quarters with others and lo and behold, *shrugs* meh.

The truth is that there are reasons you see the same cover over and over again, and I’ll expand on the whys of the repetition a bit later. For now, however, I am happy to say that this first week’s pick for cover art is not dull, or boring, or even cliche. Unless a happy gay couple on a cover is cliche. Can a couple be cliche? Yeah, we won’t even go near Kanye and Kimmy dear, steering far clear of that train wreck thanks.

Anyhow, why did I pick this particular cover you ask? Well, it’s bright, it’s vibrant, and you actually can feel the affection between the two characters. And it’s an illustration! I know, shocked the hell out of me also, but that is precisely why it was chosen.

It caught my attention.

Now I want to preface this by saying that as a rule, I’m not a huge fan of the drawn E-Book cover. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly admire illustration. In fact, I often sit, pea green with envy, eyeballing the wonderful artwork that’s out there on sites like Deviant Art, and Pinterest, but I haven’t found many illustrated works in the online book arena that’s really made me say wow. I’m not speaking of the photo manipulation that’s been painted over either. I’m talking about an actual drawing that is obviously completely from the artists brain pan, and then scanned in or redone in PS or Illustrator.

Special Needs written by K.A. Merikan with artwork done by Kkohaku is eye catching, which is the whole point of a cover. TO CATCH YOUR EYE! If it doesn’t do that at a larger size, then what good is it at thumbnail size in the list of hundreds on sites like Amazon or All Romance? Not much good at all.

This, in my not really all that long list of criteria for a good cover, is the top number one thing to consider.

Does it stand out in the lists?

In this reviewer’s opinion the cover of Special Needs does.

The colors alone on this cover are so different than the masses, even if the cover were not as well drawn as it is, it would still at least make you pause for a moment, and possibly click further to check out the actual book on sale.

There are some simple facts that govern the publishing universe and the book covers that are produced. One of the biggest is that beauty attracts. Good looking men attract. Beautiful women attract. Put sex together with bold, bright colors, and you have a winning combo. Which is why, going back to my original statement that there’s a reason; you keep seeing the same models pop up again and again.

They’re pretty. Who doesn’t want to bask in the magnificence that is pretty? Not me I’ll tell you that. But if we keep using the same artwork, the same look, the same textures, faces, or fonts, aren’t we running the risk of becoming bored? Don’t you think that will eventually affect sales? Don’t you want to pop, and sizzle, and don’t you really just want people to click that damn buy button? Of course you do.

That’s why you want a cover that jumps off the page.

Special Needs achieves this with its charismatic loving couple, the bright, hippy dippy colors (which I totally love by the way), and the textures that add depth to the artwork without detracting. It gives off an overall feel of love and fun, and I don’t know about you guys, but I can always get behind that. The bottom line? It actually makes me want to check out the story.

So did the cover do its intended job? For me, it did, and that is what it’s supposed to do.

Have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J. – GotYouCovered

**All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn.**

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