A.J. Corza, Abigail Roux, Angel Martinez, Brad Vance, Cover Reveal, Daisy Harris, David Pratt, GayRomLit, GotYouCovrd, J.G. Morgan, J.P. Barnaby, John Goode, K.C. Wells, Liam Livings, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week. In case you missed it, we’ve added another member to the TNA review team, and couldn’t be happier to have Jordan joining our group.

We’ve got another fun-filled week in store for you, more GRL countdown celebrating, more blog tours to host, and more goodies to giveaway, so have a look at what’s coming up in the week ahead.

MondayK.C. Wells kicks off the week on her Dance With Domination Blog Tour and giveaway

TuesdayDaisy Harris is our guest today, and she’s going to do a little Countdown to GRL celebrating with a cheerful look at pantsing, and she’ll also be offering some giveaway goodies

Wednesday – We’ll kick the day off with JP Barnaby and the cover reveal for her upcoming book A Heart for Robbie

Liam Livings also stops in today on his Best Friends Perfect Blog Tour

Abigail Roux offers a deleted scene for her latest Sidewinder novel Cross & Crown

And finally, AJ Corza has today covered with another cover review

ThursdayAngel Martinez is our guest today on the Finn: Endangered Fae Blog Tour

FridayBrad Vance is our guest on the Apollo’s Curse Blog Tour

SaturdayDavid Pratt is our guest on the Looking After Joey Blog Tour

SundayJohn Goode and J.G. Morgan are here to round out the week with an interview about the upcoming third novel in the Arcadia series, The Unseen Tempest

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered This Week With Some Gorgeous Steampunk Covers


You know, when Lisa, the wonderful owner of The Novel Approach Reviews said, “Hey, cover reviews are cool. Go right ahead,” I got really lucky. Not only does she let me rattle on in my dubious wisdom, but she allows me freedom to write about things outside just the covers that I fall in love with; which, in turn, lets me write about covers that are outside the M/M genre we all know and love.
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A.J. Corza, Amelia C. Gormley, Dan Skinner, EM Lynley, GayRomLit, GotYouCovrd, Josephine Myles, Kate McMurray, Lou Sylvre, Poppy Dennison, Rafe Haze, Rain Carrington, RJ Scott, Skylar M. Cates, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week!

Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had an outstanding week!

We’ve got another busy and fun filled week coming up, with more great guests, giveaways, GRL Celebration fun, and, of course, more reviews.

Here’s what’s on tap for the week ahead.

MondaySkylar M. Cates kicks off the week on her The Only Guy Blog Tour, the follow up to The Guy From Glamour

Amelia C. Gormley drops in as well, on her Saugatuck Summer Blog Tour

TuesdayRain Carrington is our guest today on the Honky Tonk Series: Book Three Blog Tour.

EM Lynley is also with us to do a Cover Reveal of her new novel Bound for Trouble

WednesdayPoppy Dennison stops in on her Belligerent Beta Blog Tour

A.J. Corza is back today with Got You Covered, and another great cover art review

ThursdayKate McMurray is dropping by to talk about her new novel The Silence of the Stars

Rafe Haze is also back today on his The Next Blog Tour as part of our GRL Celebration Countdown

FridayRJ Scott is our guest with the second GRL Celebration visit of the week, to promote her book A Reason to Stay

Dan Skinner also drops in to kick off a blog tour for his newest novel The Price of Dick

SaturdayJosephine Myles is our guest on the Stuff Blog Tour, the follow up to Junk

Sunday – And finally, to wrap up the week, Lou Sylvre is here for a visit, and she’s bring along a little Luki Vasquez and Sonny Bly James

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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


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, Guest Contributor, Sue Brown

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Weeks Topic – Inspiration

Well, it’s another one of those nights where I’m sitting here flailing for something to review. Honestly, I have the attention span of a very small, one celled organism. Some days it’s all I can do to not have my cranium crammed chock full of pretty book covers I want to talk about, and some days I look at those same covers and feel ambivalent. I’ll blame today’s ambivalence on having to write a report on architecture during the Industrial Era. Which is really interesting (I know I’m odd), but I think my clever repartee account is now overdrawn.

Anyhow, enough grumping over my lack of witty turnings of a phrase, let’s talk about something.
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A.J. Corza, Con Riley, D.T. Peterson, GayRomLit, GotYouCovrd, Jaime Reese, Jaime Samms, K. Vale, Katey Hawthorne, Kol Anderson, Krissy Bells, Sneak Peek, Susan Mac Nicol, Vaughn R. Demont

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week! As you can see, we’ve got another busy seven days ahead, filled with more GRL Countdown visitors, giveaways, interviews, and, of course, more reviews from the team for you.

Here’s what’s on tap for the week ahead.

MondayKatey Hawthorne kicks the week right off with a GRL Celebration visit and giveaway

TuesdayCon Riley is our guest today on the Recovery Blog Tour, and there will also be a giveaway

We also have author D.T. Peterson visiting with an interview and the chance for TEN lucky readers to win a copy of his novel The Cove

WednesdayKimber Vale drops by on her Double Takes Blog Tour, and she’s also got a giveaway for you

Jaime Reese is with us today as well, to talk a little bit about her new book A Hunted Man, and she’ll be offering a giveaway

A.J. Corza also joins us today with another installment of Got You Covered

ThursdaySusan Mac Nicol pops in to work a little Double Alchemy for us, and there’s a giveaway

FridayKrissy Bells kicks off the day with a guest article about her book Fag, why she chose such a jarring and provocative title, and there’s a giveaway

Kol Anderson also drops in with a giveaway of his new novel The Perfect Place, and Lynn reviews the book

SaturdayJaime Samms is our guest today with another Countdown to GRL visit

Sunday – And finally, to round out the week, I had the opportunity to interview author Vaughn R. Demont, and he’s giving away all three books in the Broken Mirrors series to one lucky reader

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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

A.E. Via, A.J. Corza, Allison Cassatta, Angel Martinez, Cardeno C., Cat Grant, GayRomLit, GotYouCovrd, Hayden Thorne, Heidi Belleau, Heidi Cullinan, L.A. Witt, Mary Calmes, Nicole Dennis, Rebecca Cohen, S.A. Meade, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had an outstanding week, and are gearing up for another.

We’ve been busy as can be around here these days, booking more great authors and reading more great books, and we’re looking forward to more great fun in the months to come. We’re building up the GayRomLit Countdown Celebration roster of authors, which Rhys Ford kicked off for us last month. I’m sure we’ll be adding more as the months move along, but here’s a list of confirmed authors you can watch for here at TNA between now and October:

Charlie Cochet | Daisy Harris | Edmond Manning | Ethan Day | Jaime Samms | LE Franks | Lex Chase | RJ Scott | Sophie Bonaste | Z.A. Maxfield | Jordan L. Hawk | Katey Hawthorne | Jamie Lynn Miller | Brandon Witt | Zathyn Priest | J.K. Hogan

How about that for a lineup? We’ll keep you posted on additions as the tour continues. But, for now, here’s what’s on tap for the coming week.

MondayAllison Cassatta is our lead-off guest today with a RainbowCon Celebration and Giveaway

Riptide Publishing presents a Spotlight Stop on Heidi Belleau’s Straight Shooter tour today, and there’s a Giveaway

Pride Promotions presents the Not in the Stars Anthology Blog Tour. We’ll have Angel Martinez here to represent, and there’ll be a tour-wide giveaway

TuesdayHayden Thorne comes back for a visit to talk about her newest release Banshee, and she’ll be giving away an e-copy of the book

Rebecca Cohen is also with us today, with a Backlist Book Bump and an e-copy giveaway of her book Servitude

WednesdayNicole Dennis stops by to join in the RainbowCon Celebration fun, and she’s offering a giveaway

A.E. Via is also with us today on her Nothing Special Blog Tour, and she’s got a giveaway too

And A.J. Corza’s back with another great installment of Got You Covered

ThursdayHeidi Cullinan makes TNA a stop on her Tough Love Blog Tour and she’s offering a giveaway

FridayCat Grant and L.A. Witt pair up and come calling on the Guarded Blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway

SaturdayCardeno C. and Mary Calmes are here on their Control Blog Tour. They let me interview Robert and Vy, and they’re giving away an e-copy of the book

SundayS.A. Meade is our guest today with a guest post about her newest release, Tournament of Shadows, and she’s giving away an e-copy of the book

And that brings another week to a close. Until next time, happy reading!

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

A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, A.J. Corza, Abigail Roux, Anyta Sunday, Chris Cox, Chris O'Guinn, Cover Reveal, GotYouCovrd, Jaime Reese, JC Wallace, JL Merrow, Joy Lynn Fielding, Julie Lynn Hayes, LE Franks, RainbowCon, RJ Scott, Therese Woodson

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Greetings, everyone, we hope you’ve had a quiet and relaxing weekend. We’ve got another great week ahead, filled with author visits, interviews, giveaways, and reviews, so go ahead and take a gander at what’s on tap!

MondayAbigail Roux is our guest today on the Ball & Chain Blog Tour. She’s answered a few interview questions about herself, Ty, Zane, and the gang, so be sure to check it out

TuesdayJL Merrow arrives on the Relief Valve Blog Tour, and she’s bringing along a giveaway

Jaime Reese also pops in with a Cover Reveal of, and excerpt from, her upcoming release A Hunted Man, Book Two in The Men of Halfway House series

Wednesday – Author Chris O’Guinn’s arrival is imminent on his Hybrids: Arrival Blog Tour. We’ve got an Interview and Giveaway for his visit

Anyta Sunday is also our guest today on her Liam Davis and the Raven Blog Tour and Giveaway

And, A.J. Corza’s back with another great installment of Got You Covered

ThursdayJoy Lynn Fielding is our guest on her Shifting Sands Blog Tour, and we’ve got a great interview lined up for you

FridayChris Cox drops by on the When Sean Loves Rusty Blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway

Therese Woodson will also be our guest on the Clockwork Horizon Blog Tour, which includes a giveaway of an e-copy of the book

SaturdayLE Franks is our guest as we continue on with the RainbowCon Celebration fun

Julie Lynn Hayes will also be along with a guest post on her Yes, He’s My Ex Blog Tour

Sunday – Finally, last but certainly not least, JC Wallace stops by on the Curiosity Killed Shaney Blog Tour

The Novel Approach is also participating in author RJ Scott’s Autism Awareness Blog Hop today, and we’ll have a giveaway to go along with it

And that does it for a very full week of fun. Until next week, happy reading!

A.J. Corza, Chris T. Kat, Dreamspinner Press, GotYouCovrd, J.M. Snyder, JMS Books LLC, Paul Alan Fahey

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Topic – Different Types Of Art To Choose From

Book covers come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and textures. Book covers are a window into the author’s soul, a little glimpse of what is to come, and the artist who creates the cover is just the mouthpiece of the author.

Book covers can be paintings, drawings, photographs, collage, and most often these days, photo manipulated, or Photoshopped, for the laymen. It pretty much depends on what the author wants done, what their personal vision is. More often than not, the authors don’t tend to have a set vision for the cover because their mindset is more about the broad strokes of a full story. A cover artist certainly takes the entire story into consideration but tries to narrow that focus to one specific idea. Let me tell you, it’s really hard sometimes to do that. Trying to distill 300 plus pages of detail into one cover without overcrowding or muddying up the works takes talent and skill.

I feel for the authors out there, though. Thinking and eventually accomplishing your goal of writing a book, then actually moving on to publishing a book is a feat in itself, but then…gah, the cover? What sort of cover do you want? If you’re a lucky author going with a publishing company, generally you get assigned an artist. Tthey show you three or so mockups, you choose and bam, you can relax your brain. Freelance authors aren’t so lucky. Their choices are: ask a family member or friend (if they’re lucky enough), doing it themselves, or going out into the world and finding an artist.

If you choose to do the latter, that’s when the real fun begins. It’s a lot like finding a new dentist, painful in every way. First you go to Google, then you type in book cover artist, and then you get buried beneath the virtual onslaught of artists there are. As I said before all shapes and all sizes.

One such type is Collage:

It’s the same exact setup as your everyday craft store collage. Find pics that fit and slap them together. Well, you’d think that, wouldn’t you? But any person that does collage knows that you can’t do that at all. You have to have an eye for color, for shape, and mainly for form, otherwise you just get a huge ol’ mess that turns people off rather than encouraging them to buy. Both of these covers for Paul Alan Fahey were done by J.M.Snyder and are great examples of the collage feel. Both covers are clean, concise, and a unique melding of pictures. Especially Bomber’s Moon, which definitely has more of a cut out quality to it but manages to be interesting without looking like a 7th grader cut out a photo that they liked and stuck it on a cover. Even the lighting that hits each picture in a different way still manages to look cool and to convey a really different, distinctive feel. It somehow, to me anyways, makes it almost feel three dimensional, especially with the black sky.

3D Modeling is another route an author can go, and this cover done by Zathyn Priest is a perfect example of 3-dimensional artwork. Lots of color and motion fill the entire cover. You can practically feel the warmth that must be coming off the dragon’s skin. Did I mention I’m a huge fan of the dragon? 3D really gives the impression that both the man and beast are going to wander off the cover and nip you right in the tender regions, doesn’t it? I’m pretty much digging it myself. Especially since I can’t even begin to tell you how much time goes into creating 3D art. I took a class in it when I was getting my A.A., and it was not what I would call even in the realm of easy. Hell, I had a bitch of a time getting a ball to look right, let alone a dragon and a man. I honestly can’t recall if I’ve seen any other artists out there doing 3D work on book covers, but if this is the sort of art that gets you excited, we know of at least one artist now, don’t we?

Then of course there is photography. The saying that a picture can speak a thousand words is too true, even if it’s only the opening gambit on a 1000 page treatise about the mating cycle of a cricket. You can learn so much from one photograph if you just take the time to look. Especially if they are used such as they have been on this cover. Look at the subject closely: doesn’t his face speak to you of a life fully lived? He wears his time on this earth in the creases on his cheeks and the pinched line of his mouth. Don’t his eyes convey a certain curiosity mixed with inherent knowledge that brings about a clarity of view from living that life? (And yep I just used up all my 20 dollar words for the day) Doesn’t that make you curious also?

Painting is another way to go. Whether it’s a full line sketch, airbrushed into full blooming beauty such as The Wolf and His Diva written by Chris T. Kat artwork by Paul Richmond, or a combination of photography plus airbrushing, such as the cover done by Ravven for Born in Flames by Candace Knoebel. Painted covers can be stunning and beautiful and can make you just want to jump into that cover and travel to that world. They can make you yearn to meet the man looking so sweetly at the squirrel, or the fiery redhead half covered in dragon scales. The beauty of an artist that can paint/sketch/or combine either element with photography? They can pretty much make anything your little heart could desire.

The question is, though, as an author, how do you choose? And there’s no easy answer for that. You have to go with what your gut tells you, but always, always remember that what you love may not be what the masses will respond to. Your covers are the first introduction to your buying public, and it is absolutely imperative that you take them into consideration. If you have a cover that no one cares for, who’s going to buy the book? So be wary, gentle authors, and don’t skimp on quality. The only one that you will hurt in the end is yourself.

Have a great day and may 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

A.J. Corza, Casey K. Cox, Cassandra Carr, Cornelia Grey, Draven St. James, Elizabeth Noble, GayRomLit, GotYouCovrd, Kindle Alexander, Rhys Ford, S.A. McAuley, Taylor V. Donovan, Tia Fielding, VJ Summers

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Happy Sunday, everyone, I hope you’ve had a great weekend! We’re closing out the week here at The Novel Approach riding high on the news that we’ve been selected as a Featured Blogger at GayRomLit 2014, and along with that, we have the privilege of participating in a multi-blog celebration to countdown the months and weeks and days until October 16, 2014.

We’re still finalizing schedules, but let me assure you our roster of visiting authors is nothing less than impressive, and the fun starts this coming week with none other than Rhys Ford, so don’t miss it.

Not only that, but we’ve also got more RainbowCon Countdown celebrating to do too. It promises to be a great week.

Here’s what we have on tap!

MondayKindle Alexander arrives today on the Always blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway to go along with the visit

We’re also participating today in the cover reveal for Elizabeth Noble’s newest novel Run for the Roses

TuesdayRhys Ford is here today to kickoff the GRL Countdown Celebration. In case you haven’t heard, Dirty Deeds (Cole McGinnis #4) is being released March 28th, and Rhys is here with an interview and giveaway

And speaking of releases, perhaps you’ve heard of a little book called Grand Adventure, coming from Dreamspinner Press on March 31st? Well, we’re doing our own little pre-release celebration and giveaway, so stay tuned

WednesdayVJ Summers is our guest today, when she stops by on the RainbowCon Countdown Celebration

Tia Fielding also drops by today on her Mirage blog tour, with an interview, excerpt, and an exclusive look at the Mirage playlist

A.J. Corza has also Got You Covered today with another great cover art review

ThursdayCassandra Carr is coming by today to talk a little bit about her Safe Harbor series

Draven St. James also drops by today on her Book Blast blog tour, and there’s a giveaway

FridayS.A. McAuley is our guest today on her Powerless (The Borders War #3) Blog Tour

Cornelia Grey also stops by with a guest post about the release of her novella Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders, a truly fantabulous story that first appeared in the anthology Weight of a Gun II

SaturdayCasey K. Cox is our guest today on her promotional tour of The Rise of Alec Caldwell blog tour. Alec’s journey is nothing less than an erotic tour de force, and there’s not only a giveaway but some very NSFW exclusive excerpts as well

Sunday – And finally, to close out the week, Taylor V. Donovan drops by on her Hearsay blog tour

And that does it for this week, folks! Stay tuned for more fun to come, and until next week, happy reading!

A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – Some Pretties Just For You

Today’s question of the day is…what type of book covers turn you on? Any reason why? Is it the color? The texture? The picture on the front? Or do you just know what you like and damn the reasons why?

There are so many different types of covers for every kind of book that it’s quite literally enough to make your head spin. Well, ok, maybe only if you were possessed and spitting split pea soup, but still, you get me . However, when you delve more deeply into a specific genre, that magical wave of color and font that dazzles your eye in the book store or on the best seller’s list, seriously dwindles. Only because there are preconcieved notions of what colors go with what types of books. Horror is dark colors, comedy light, romance jewel tones, etc.

To me, romance seems to be one of the best genres to write and do art in because it varies so much within itself. It spans the virtual literary gamut offering everything from comedy to tragedy to paranormal to fluff. Ever notice however, that you still tend to see the same shapes and basic setup of a cover over and over again? Which, of course, is normal and acceptable and really, no one has re-invented the wheel yet, so why the frilly heck should the setup of a book cover change?
If it ain’t broke is all I’m sayin’.

The covers I’m going to show you today are some that I personally think do an exceptional job of using a tried and true book cover formula without making you roll your eyes and say, I’ve seen that cover a million times. Bored now.

Written by Alyssa Rose Ivy, with cover art by Once Upon a Time Covers, Found is a stunning cover. Yes, it’s the male torso, you’ve seen the male torso tons of times, all shapes and all sizes, but look! It’s not the overly beefy, suntanned to within an inch of their life, oiled, bo-hunk we see all the time. This guy has angles. He has edges. He looks like you could slice your hand on his cheekbones! (a little shoutout for Sherlock fans there). And because he has edges, it makes the entire photo look edgey! Who says you have to see the whole face on a cover? Not me! And clearly not our wonderful artist.

The colors that have been used are well thought out, crisp and clean. And yet, because they’re toned towards the chillier side of the color spectrum, they still maintain that aura of cool strength. Plus the colors of the whole cover compliment each other. The blue glow on the wings is reflected by the blue glow around the white title. The same color is reflected again in the authors name. Then the pale white of the font is reflected back to us in the skin tone of the man. Combine it once again with the blues and now the blacks in the background pic, and it almost seems as if the whole of the image is cocooned in a kind of dystopian type of vibe. Really, really like this one.

This one is a really cool (I have to come up with better descriptors, I swear) play on the old, guy on top, landscape on the bottom.

Boy Scout: Boys of Perfection written by Geoffrey Knight cover art done by Adrian Nicholas is fresh. That’s what I think of when I look at this. It’s bright, it’s clean, it’s fun. And you all know I have a serious fetish for deep, rich colors. Plus, I love that instead of the blended guy on top scenic view on bottom, we have that great rope separation detail, which perfectly embodies the Boy Scout, camping out, living off the land image. The font is very easy to read and it’s shape, the more boxy, stationary kind of look to it, makes you think of the handbook all scouts get when they first join.

There is one tiny detail I have to say I ADORE over all the rest of the covers, and that’s the publishing mark. That’s right you heard me. The publishing mark. It’s classy. It fits the colors on the cover and it is not obtrusive at all. And yet, you see it clearly. ADORE!!! I still love the cover, though!

The Arrangement, written by Cat Grant, cover art by LC Chase, makes me wonder what is it about this picture that makes me wish I were part of that trio? Maybe it’s the intimacy of the hands touching over the heart, maybe it’s the man on the left looking more docile while the woman seems more predatory? All I know is that this cover is steamy without even having read the book. I love a good threesome…story. *impish grin*

The other facet I love about this cover is how it looks almost as if it’s been hand drawn. What’s great about that is that it’s a photo manipulation! That’s fairly tough to do without it looking hokey and third graderish. I tend to try and run from that look myself because I have yet to find success with it. I did it exactly once, and I’ll be damned if I can remember how the HELL I did it. *laughs* I can’t seem to remember to take notes when I accomplish something like that until a day or two AFTER I’ve done it. I swear if I had a Post-it for everything I wish I’d remember I’d look like Bruce in Bruce Almighty.

The other beautiful thing about this book cover is that even though the title seems smaller than the norm that you would see on an E-Book, it’s so clear and easy to read. It looks like something you’d see on a best sellers list. It’s got class even though there are those out there that would say there is no way a book about a threesome could ever be construed as classy. Looking at this cover, I’d have to disagree. The warm, muted tones, again the intimacy of the picture, yep, it’s got class.

So, that’s it. That’s my question for this week. What is beautiful to you? What turns you on? What turns your crank, floats your boat, or tickles your pickle? Is it color, good looking models, idyllic places, or is it something altogether different? When you think about these things for yourself, take a good hard think as to what appeals to others. If you’re an author or an artist, you must take into consideration what the masses are looking for, what’s the trend, and then you must think one step beyond that. What can you do to transcend above and beyond so that others want what you’ve worked so hard to give.

It’s not an easy to get beyond our own egos and head space to put ourselves in another’s place, but trust me when I say this: the more you can empathize and understand the viewpoint of others, the more success you’re going to have!

And that is it for this week.

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.

Wanna see some of my stuff? Check me out on Facebook @ : https://www.facebook.com/ajcorza

A.J. Corza, Brita Addams, Chris T. Kat, Eleanor Bruce, GotYouCovrd, HL Holston, J.P. Barnaby, John Goode, Jordan L. Hawk, Kerry Adrienne, Marie Sexton, Silvia Violet, Sneak Peek, Sue Brown

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week!

Hi, everyone, we’ve got another busy and fun-filled week coming up at The Novel Approach. The lineup is stellar, the guest posts pretty phenomenal, and the giveaways are not to be missed.

Here’s what we’ve got in store for you in the week ahead!

MondaySue Brown is our guest today as we continue the RainbowCon Countdown Celebration, and she’s bringing along a giveaway

TuesdayChris T. Kat stops in on The Wolf and His Diva Blog Tour, and there’ll be a giveaway

Brita Addams is also with us to share an article about Confusing Pairs of Words

WednesdayKerry Adrienne drops by on her Artist’s Touch Blog Tour and she’s bringing a giveaway

John Goode’s 151 Days comes out on March 20, 2014, and we’ve got him and the Foster High boys, Kyle Stilleno and Brad Graymark, here with an exclusive interview

A.J. Corza’s also back today with another installment of Got You Covered

ThursdayJP Barnaby kicks off her Spencer Blog Tour right here at The Novel Approach. We’ll have an exclusive interview with Aaron and Spencer, and Zach and David from Rowan Speedwell’s Finding Zach, and there’s also a giveaway

FridayHL Holston and Eleanor Bruce will be here for the second visit of the week in the RainbowCon Celebration Countdown, and there’ll be a giveaway

Silvia Violet joins us on her Pressure Points Blog Tour, and she’ll be bring a giveaway

Saturday – Today, we’ll have the honor of debuting the cover art for Jordan L. Hawk’s Necropolis, Book Four in the Whyborne & Griffin Series

SundayMarie Sexton closes out our week on her Normal Enough Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway

And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Topic – Advice And Mentoring

Usually, I have something to write about. Something to babble on about, something to expound upon or relay, but this week I’m at a loss. So I’m just gonna start writing and see if anything crops up.

I guess this all stems from the fact that I honestly don’t want to slam books. I don’t want to badmouth anyone or make them feel bad, and that includes my own authors, who are awesome enough to want me to continue to make covers for them. However, the truth of the matter is that doing reviews is tough, which is what people automatically assume reviews are about. You know what they say about assuming, don’t you?

It’s especially tough when most people don’t know you from Adam, and probably think who the hell is this person and what right do they have to be reviewing my cover? ’Cause let’s be honest, I’m not well known, I don’t have artwork everywhere, I haven’t even been to a convention, so no one has actually seen my face. Not even my close friends, who I’ve known since Buffy was on the air. I don’t even know if they’ve seen pictures of me, and that’s kinda sad.

Sadly, it’s mostly ’cause my damn computer won’t support Skype (yes, it sucks that much), and I hate pictures of myself. However, I am going to GRL this year, so some of you will see me and know that I’m actually a person and not just a robot churning out random musings.

Perhaps you could spread the word after that for me? I’d appreciate it!

Anyways, the point that I want people to take away from my reviews is that I completely understand that everything that goes into making a book is a struggle and potentially, very emotional.

The writing is, of course, tough because you just never know if anyone is going to like it, and what if they don’t? Do you keep going? Or do you give up? When is trying and not succeeding enough? When do you throw in the towel and not feel badly about doing so? Where do you go to for help? Luckily most freelance authors have friends and family they can rope into helping, and they seem to realize the need for at least a beta read before publishing their stories.

Because let’s be honest, its stressful enough writing the darn thing let alone trying to figure out if the story is any good, if it’s bad, or if it just needs some tightening. And if you’re one of the authors that’s actually published by an actual publishing company, then you’re really lucky. You get a beta, a line reader, a content editor, etc. Even though it might not feel like luck and comes with its own unique levels of tear inducing stress, it’s still someone telling you what the hell is missing in a thoughtful way, and hopefully not tearing you to pieces after the horse has already left the gate. It’s a great learning tool, if nothing else? You get my gist, though.

The art, however, is a different kind of tough because it’s the first thing the audience sees. It’s what can quite literally make a customer pick up a copy of a story or keep on moving down the line. The artist usually realizes this, and that in itself is a huge helping of oh my God, what if I screw this up? stress. And what if the art is bad? Who’s going to want to hire you then? And how the heck can you tell if the art is bad if you don’t have anyone to tell you? I’m not talking about slamming the art, I’m talking about someone who looks at your art thoughtfully and helps pinpoint oopsies. You know, the things that sometimes get overlooked because you’ve been sitting at your desk for a couple of hours staring at the same picture. Oh sure, artists can ask friends and family for their opinions; but where most people can read a story and tell you, “ um…sweetie, I think you need to explain how the protagonist saved the antagonist from drowning when the protagonist can’t swim,” most people look at art and don’t see the things another artist might . Why? Because they aren’t an artist, just like you wouldn’t necessarily notice if something were stitched wrong if you didn’t sew.

Take, for example, part of this cover that I did. Some of you may recognize it, but I left the authors name and title off since this is about little things that can go unnoticed.

In this case the double collar went unnoticed. The models head, neck and white collar piece are all from a different photo than the rest of the picture. Unfortunately, when I put the cover together I remembered to erase or Photoshop in all the other parts that didn’t match, but I missed that one little piece that I actually didn’t see until the author had already published it. A beta artist in this case would have been awesome.

Anybody want to be one for cheap? Possibly free?

Or what about that terrifying situation that involves the model that’s been used too much? Sounds like a 1950’s horror flick, doesn’t it?

Luckily, this is a cover of mine that has never seen the light of day and never shall. Not with this particular picture, at least.

When I made this cover, nary a copy of this stock photo was to be found anywhere. Nowadays? Sooo been there, done that. And while I know that we artists try to use new and fresh photos, it’s hard to see all the covers coming out. Just like it’s hard to remember all the faces being used again and again. Heck, it’s hard to remember even a fraction, so it really should be no surprise that it happens. However, when it happens to you, it sucks and makes you feel badly because you were trying to make a unique cover, and here comes Mary Sue from down the street with the exact same photo, but maybe hers is just that little bit shinier.

This is where telling your artists even the smallest details can make a BIG difference in a picture, and it really helps the artist make your cover something special.

It doesn’t have to be a huge change. In fact, just a little one can sometimes make enough of a difference that you don’t end up having the same picture that 20 other artists have used. This is what I did to make this wonderful picture by D.W. Skinner just a bit different than the other pictures he had of the same models. All I did was change out the hair on the top man, get rid of the beard, and covered up the earrings on both. Like I said, nothing too outrageous, but the guy on top now looks like the brother of the guy in the first photo. Subtle, but effective.

For the record D.W. takes a dizzying array of stunning photos, and my using this for my example is simply to show what a change manipping a photo can make. **

I guess what I’m trying to say after all this, is that being a little fishy swimming in the pond with the way bigger fishes is way daunting but damn, would I love some serious constructive criticism from any of them. Seriously, I’m not Rembrandt. Hell, I sometimes feel like I’m barely a step above Cyanide and Happiness, but having another peer point out that maybe I make my covers too dark, (which I do sometimes), or that my technique is too textured for mass marketing, and maybe give me pointers on how I could possibly improve, I’d have to say I’d count myself damn lucky.

This is what I try to do with my reviews.

I try to help.

Like I said, I’m no one really. I’m just a small fry, barely a fry even, but I’m honest and I’m not cruel. I don’t rip people to shreds because I figure hey, they’re probably still learning and maybe I can help somehow? Maybe they can teach me something as well. Hell, I’m big enough to fully realize that I don’t know everything, and hell yeah, I’m open to trading ideas.

And in the end, isn’t that what we’re all really trying to do? Keep learning in order to improve our art? Whatever that may be?

This is kinda all over the place today, and I’m sorry for that, but I’m hoping that it might encourage some of you to reach out and be mentors. Or allow someone to be your mentor. After all, everyone can use a helping hand, everyone can use a cheerleader, and everyone can learn new tricks, whether they’re an old dog or young.

Just remember, even the littlest fish has its place in the grand scheme of things.

That’s it for this week.

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

A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – All’s Fair In Love And Fonts

I’m gonna be blunt. Fonts are a bitch and a half. I think I’ve said that before, and guess what? You’ll hear it again, I’m sure.

The reality of a book cover artist whether you are accomplished or just starting out, or like me, just feeling your way blindly but thankfully having a few wonderful people to help guide, is that we artists have a vicious love/hate affair going on with the fonts of the world.


We swoon at the flowing lines, the sharp edgy edges, and the curly cue cuties. We drool over fonts that are so far out of our price range we silently offer up our children to an unforgiving universe at the mere thought of owning the typeface that is quite literally our unicorn in fontdom.

Disclaimer: A.J. Corza has no children to sell for fonts or otherwise, so no worries there…although, she does have a nephew. ;)

But even if we have access to unlimited funds, even if we own the best of the best, the snazziest of the snazzy fonts, we’re often thrown into the very depths of despair by that age old question; which one do we use on a cover? Which one do we download? Retro, San Serif, Calligraphic or Contemporary? Beyond the fact that there are so many fonts out there it can make your head spin, you have to also think of what color, how big, and where the hell do you place it to best compliment the cover art. Guess what, you maven of artistry? You are now well on your way to cardiac arrest.

And don’t even get me started on whether it’s free for commercial use, personal use, or if you have to pay for it. Just think about all that, plus the fact that we artists usually have to find pictures for your cover. I mean, you don’t want to be nude do you? Well, ok, some of you do, but in all reality you want something pretty to make people stop on the street and say, a la Keanu Reeves, “whoa”. PLUS, it needs to be good looking. At least we’re hoping for good looking, ’cause some covers are just, um, less than savory, shall we say? *whistles*

But I digress, we were discussing fonts. What I’m trying to get at is that fonts are maddening in a way that pictures never are. I’m speaking from my own experience, of course, so it could just invariably be my own foibles rearing their ugly heads, but for me, finding a good picture is easy. It’s finding a font that flatters that same picture and still stays true to the tone of the book that is often a hair pulling, teeth gnashing, grr arghing experience. I can’t tell you how many times my poor boyfriend has literally pulled my chair away from the computer and frog marched my butt to the couch, handed me my Kindle, and said go back to it later. And thank goodness he did or else I’d have to buy a new computer every other month!

So, to illustrate what I’m talking about, I’ve included an old one of my own ’cause anyone that knows me knows that the first person to point out the bad on my own work is…me. So let’s get to it!

This is an old cover that I did a long time ago. Yep, that’s right, this really bad cover is by me! *bows, collects flowers, smiles demurely*. This was during my first foray into making covers, which was for a friend who worked at Linden Bay at the time and yeah, I’d say I’ve grown. THANK THE STARS! That said, I am fully aware that the cover design for this is not quite up to par. Sub-par, parboiled, parsnip, parsley, I would ask for parlay, but it’s really not worth it. (If you haven’t seen Pirates of the Caribbean just ignore that last bit).

But seeing as how we’re discussing font mishaps, please do ignore the craptacular cover.

That said, I actually like the font itself. It’s nice and clean and easy to read. BUT why, oh why, did I feel the need to squash the title together at the bottom? And what is that terrible outer glow effect? The cover is boring enough as it is, the font is NOT helping. It’s beige. BEIGE!!! No gradient to make it pop a bit more, no variance of tone quality, just the color of the background. Perhaps next time I shall try a nice puce or 1970s harvest gold? Seriously, someone should have smacked me over the head for this color choice. And this is a prime example of one of those times when a fancier font would have given flair to the cover. Or a burlap sack, you know, whatever was handy. *hangs head in shame* I’m so sorry G.A. Hauser. Please know that it was not done intentionally. It was merely the artwork of a newbie artist. And congrats on your ongoing success regardless of this cover!

Reminder to self: boring is BORING! Is boring.

Ok, so here’s the skinny on what I’m trying to get across.

Fonts are not to be taken lightly. A font can make or break a cover. A font can make people pick up the book, especially if the title is intriguing. Hell, it can scream at you from across a damn room sometimes. But a font can also make people squint, get a spasm in their neck as they turn their heads trying to read it, and invariably it can have a customer putting that same book right back down on the table and picking up “Thirty Shades of Grey” instead.

We don’t want that!

So, for the artists, here are a few things to think about when selecting a font: Is it clear? Is it bright? Does it stand out from the cover art? Does it blend so much you can’t see it? Is it fitting the feeling/vibe of the story? Is it so fancy you can’t read it at first glance? Or is it too blah so as to make you start thinking of what’s for lunch? Is it too tiny at thumbnail size? Is it so big you can’t see the pic below it? (Unless of course that’s the point) Is it squished? Is it just not quite right?

And for the authors, remember when waiting for that artwork that choosing a picture takes time, doing the artwork, whether it’s photo manipulation or just a plain photograph that maybe needs some touch up, that takes time. But also remember that choosing the correct font…takes time. Putting the right color on that font, or that drop shadow with the correct distance and opacity takes time. So if you don’t like what the artist has chosen, take a step back, take a deep breath, and just ask if maybe there’s something else. And try to explain what you mean. Saying fancier and not actually explaining how is a whole ‘nother can of worms you don’t want to get into. Maybe say, more like wedding invitation fancy but more New York Times fancy rather than scroll work from the Ottoman Empire fancy. (I’m not actually sure how fancy the Ottoman Empire got with their fonts, but you get my gist). This will not only help you to convey the idea visually (which artists generally are), but it will keep your artist from pulling their hair out behind the scenes.

And lastly, remember, HAVE FUN WITH YOUR FONTS!!! Don’t get crazy, don’t get John Travolta on us when we’re looking for a little Kenny Loggins, but also don’t be afraid to try new dance steps with your title art. Sometimes you can end up very pleasantly surprised!

That’s it for this week, guys. Have a great day, and may all the good books be with you!


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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. And help this artist grow and learn as well!

A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd

She’s Baa-aack – A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered

If It’s Pretty…Pick It Up!

You know what I’ve noticed? *pauses for a moment, waves to everyone* Um yes, hi guys, it’s me again. *resumes speaking as if it’s only been minutes* I’ve noticed that there are a lot of covers out there that are visually stunning, and I’m sure have something to do with the story under said cover, but honestly if you were just looking at the picture and didn’t read the blurb, would you have any clue what the story was?

Did that make any sense? I’m thinking it might just be me. Admit it you missed my random babbling didn’t you?

Maybe it’s always been this way and I just now noticed but take for example the covers I chose for my return foray into ogling pretty pictures for your pleasure.

My first reaction? I love all of these covers and yet I have no idea what the story is inside.

None. Zip. Nada. I got nothin’.

However, that being said, I WANT to pick these books up and see what the hell is going on in them because THE COVERS ROCK!!!

Yeah, ok, we could make the argument that Paradox Lost by Libby Drew cover art done by Tad Aronowicz is maybe about genetics? I’m just going with the mathematics superimposed over the top and paradox lost makes me think that maybe they’ve figured out how to make clones? But you see what I’m getting at? I really don’t have a clue. However, it’s interesting enough to make me want to find out.

Filth written by and cover art made by M.King. The guy is half naked with a great body, the title hints at titillation, but yet the muted tones of the mudlike color overlay makes me think this is going to be a heart tugging, possibly gut wrenching fic. Yep, I’m sold. Hell, it could be about mud wrestling in the illegal farmland underground for all I know, but I want to investigate further!

And seriously someone has got to write a book about the dark seedy underbelly of illegal farmland mud wrestling. Any takers?

And we’re moving on.

Flare and Fusion by Posy Roberts with cover art by Anne Cain, are clearly from the same Trilogy. This is what you want your trilogies to look like, guys and gals.You’re clearly able to see that they belong to the same series even without reading the tagline that states it. And that’s what you want. Notice it doesn’t have to be the same pic on the covers. By using the same style of pic, in this case a large interesting photo, and then keeping the same fonts and placement of the entire format, both books are treated to their own unique feel without any worry of one obscuring the other. Again, at a loss as to what the stories are about, but I know that the covers would catch my eye long enough for me to think, hmmm, I wonder.

Rare by Garrett Leigh cover art by G.D. Leigh (who I’m guessing is also the author?), I’m thinking is not about a steak. Maybe a shapeshifter novel? Alien abductee? (I’ve been re-watching the X-files, sue me.) Maybe the man on the cover is ill? The picture is provocative. The coloring is sad and lonely yet like the picture, the slight splash of red hints at pain. The cracked font bold yet raw feeling. Combine all of that, and I’m gonna guess this is going to be a bare bones, hard to tear your eyes away, but keep the Kleenex handy, page turner. Again, it could be about a modern day Beauty and the Beast, but I’m guessing probably not. But don’t quote me.

And lastly, Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote cover art by Anna Siroska . I like this cover. It’s so simple, it’s not a deep thoughtful cover, and yet there’s something about the picture of the model that was chosen. Is he guilty? Is he trepidatious? Anxious? Thoughtful? He reminds me of a guy who works in the back of a restaurant, or maybe is a struggling artist? I dunno, but he’s interesting. The font is outstanding, the colors blend beautifully, and it’s just so understated and yet cool looking. This one would be a cool movie poster for some rom-com or LGBT based movie. Maybe coming-of-age. Funny how I said it’s not a deep, thoughtful cover and yet here I am, thinking.

My point is that with all these wonderful covers, even if you have no clue at all what the story is about, the covers make you want to buy them to find out. So go ahead, pick it up, or click the links, you know you want to read the blurb. At the very worst, maybe it won’t be what you were looking for but at the very best, maybe it will be a gem you didn’t expect.

This is me signing out, 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.

**On a side note I want to say that I and Lisa (the owner of TNA Reviews) try very hard to find the information for the artists connected to the covers, but sometimes they don’t have sites, or their publishing house doesn’t give them credit for some reason. I and Lisa even go so far as to email the authors/publishers in order to find out the artists who are involved so we can give them credit. I just wanted to clarify that when there are links missing such as the one for Tad Aronowicz on Paradox Lost, this is why. Not because we don’t fully support the artists. Cause we do!

A.E. Via, A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Hayden Thorne, Jay Northcote, Jayson James, Josephine Myles, Lynn Kelling, Sneak Peek, Susan Mac Nicol

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi again, everyone, I hope you’ve all a great week and quiet weekend filled with lots of great reading. Thanks for stopping by to see what we’ve got in store for you in the coming week. We’ve got some first time visitors to TNA headed our way, and are excited for the return of some old friends, so here’s what we have on tap:

MondayJay Northcote is our guest on her Not Just Friends Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway of an e-copy of the book.

TuesdayHayden Thorne drops in to tell us about the re-release of her book Arabesque, and she’s offering an e-book giveaway.

WednesdayJosephine Myles comes calling on her Tailor Made Blog Tour today, so be sure to stay tuned for her visit.

And, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Yes, A.J. Corza returns today with “Got You Covered” and a review of some great cover artwork.

ThursdaySusan Mac Nicol has a new release from Dreamspinner Press, Waiting for Rain, and she’ll be stopping by on her blog tour to talk a bit about the book.

FridayA.E. Via is our guest on her You Can See Me Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway.

Saturday – The Absolute Write Blog Tour stops here, and there’ll be a giveaway of the anthology.

Jayson James is also back today to talk about his newest release, T.E.D., and to give away an e-copy of the book.

SundayLynn Kelling is our guest today on her Twin Ties Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway.

And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Pick – From Mr. Boo-Wiggly Himself – Stephen King’s “The Shining”

Today we’re gonna do something different cause my lovely enabler, Lisa, is a WONDERFUL person and lets me babble on pretty much just about anything, as long as there’s a cover in there somewhere.

So, we’ve been chatting a bit back and forth about how the covers for the M/M genre seem to be, well, kinda meh lately. Not bad to be sure, just not WOW. I mean we’ve found a few, last week’s Stung by K.A. Merikan, for example, was a definite WOW, but honestly, it seems like the woo hooness has been dwindling. Granted, we only see a very small percentage of covers every week, so it may just be that, or it could be we’re quickly becoming jaded to half naked torsos and pouty lips. I know, I know, say it ain’t so, right? Trust me, I am 100% not thrilled by this thought myself.
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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!


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.

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!


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.

A.J. Corza, GotYouCovrd, Guest Contributor

A.J. Corza’s Got You Covered – This Week’s Article – Oops, Maybe Not So Much…

I have a friend who has gotten bad covers made for her, more than once. I’m not going to point fingers to say who the artists were or what publishers she used that seem to believe that such atrocities will actually sell books to anyone that isn’t listening to them on audio book; but suffice it to say, THEY were BAD.

Bad bad bad!!!!

Did I mention bad or perhaps awkward, uncomfortable, how about unfortunate? Those work for ya?

We’ve all seen them; hell, some of us have even gotten stuck there, and now we’re gonna get to look at them and marvel in the balls it took to publish these works of singularly unique vision. (Self – published authors you’re up in a bit don’t worry.)

Now, while I am NOT the guru ala perfect book cover artist, I do try to take into consideration the fragile emotional state that are most authors after ripping their hearts out for a manuscript. I try to deliver something good, something that complements their story, and heck that may even make them smile. At the very least I try very diligently to NOT give them a cringe worthy half assed hack job that will have all your friends saying, “oh what a great story but the cover…oh sweetie.”

*insert obligatory hug here*

In my endeavors of looking at and for pretty book covers, I’ve come across some very questionable offerings indeed. Today I just wanted for fun to show you some of the worst covers I’ve come across that pretty much made me wince, all the while laughing my ass off. However, before I do that I want to clarify something first:

Everyone has different tastes and EVERYONE is ALLOWED to have different tastes.

This is not about what the cover is alluding to within its bindings so much as the OMG-ness of the covers. This post is ultimately about my amusement, but it’s also about my irritation and ire. Not with the artists or authors themselves, who all try very hard to deliver what they ultimately think is a good product, but with the publishing houses that just don’t give a good god damn about what they’re choosing to put out there that represents not only themselves but their authors as well. You want our money but you want to give us this drek? It could be To Kill a Mockingbird that is housed behind some of these covers but honestly, who would want to buy it? Not me, and I suspect not a vast majority of the readers out there. That said, I’m sure some of these are and were solo authors doing what they could for their own books.

NOTE TO SELF PUBBED AUTHORS: The covers following will hopefully persuade you to find one of the many artists out there that are good but reduced to charging a shockingly low price for covers, and even if it hurts to pay 35.00 dollars for a decent cover, remember, IT HELPS YOUR SALES!!!!!! Bad covers HURT!!! I need to make a bumper sticker that says that. Hmmm…

This also goes for published authors. If you hate the cover to the point of getting hives, ask for another artist. There are quite a few companies out there that will work with you. BUT BE NICE!!! Just say, you know, I hate to do this but I am really not feeling it, do you maybe have another artist? Don’t be afraid to speak up. Heck, some places will even let you use your own artist, not often but every once in awhile.

Anyhow, this little foray into bad book cover land is what I get for having a conversation with a good friend of mine regarding bad movie scripts (she reads a LOT of them) that turned into a conversation about bad book covers. And I’m dragging you right along with me. Share in my pain won’t you?


1. Tarzan

What can be said about a cover where the man in the loin cloth is looking rather longingly at his best friend, Cheetah? And why is Cheetah making that particular facial gesture? The artist says he’s speaking; personally, I think Tarzan’s been training his buddy there in the fine are of oral copulation.


2. Mounted by the Gryphon

Wow. AND bonus, there’s a whole series!!!!!!!! Sex with Gryphons, Velociraptors, a T Rex. HOW THE HELL that would work I have no clue. Oddly enough this isn’t a horrible cover, and it certainly did catch my eye; it’s just, well, all I can think is ouchie and claws. That and it does put me off as a genre I would want to read. I am not even little bit sarcastic when I say I am so going to give huge kudos to Christie Sims (who I think is a self publishedauthor) for having the steel balls of a serial killer and actually putting this out into the world for everyone to see and enjoy. Sex with a half lion/half eagle mythical creature, AWESOME!


3. Now that I'm a Ghost I'm Gay

Now that I’ve seen this cover, I am DONE!!! I don’t know Josh, he’s probably a nice guy, maybe even a good writer but the cover of his book? Oy vey! Let’s just pretend to forget about the picture for a moment and ask what the frilly heck is that title? Is it a cry for help? A deep seated urge the author has to engage in sex with a phantasm? Some sort of self help book for the dearly departed but deeply closeted? Whatever it is, it’s just, well, it’s kinda creepy.



Daddy, you’re scaring me. And it’s a Harlequin romance, for shame! I get that this is a book about a single father NOW, but I know damn well that I wasn’t alone in thinking that it was about something else entirely. That’s right WE ALL went there!


5. My Brother My Rival

And here we have another one that took us there. Was there anyone else that thought just by the title that this was a brotherly lovin’ situation? Guess what? You’d be wrong! Just be glad you didn’t place any bets on it because in reality it’s a het romance!!!! I KNOW, the wonder.

Not only do you have not get even one iota of a hint about this story being a male/female romance due to the one man and his headless twin there, but the title, My Brother My Rival? Smacks of something and it ain’t a man and woman getting hot and heavy under the covers, though I’m not exactly sure what it smacks of except maybe newbieism. (Yes, I made that word up.)

I included this one more from a learning stand point since I can clearly see that this person probably is a total newbie to Photoshop. At least she seems to be a self-published author trying to make her own covers, but sadly I’ve seen similar covers from publishers as well that maybe aren’t this level of oopsie but really close. I personally am all for giving people a chance, supporting people, and helping them get a foot in the door. Hell, I’m still fighting for that myself with publishers, and if I didn’t have a wonderful friend who had in turn introduced me to other wonderful people, I wouldn’t be here writing this. But this sort of cover can hurt you. If you want to be a serious author and want people to take you seriously, you need a cover that looks good. It’s like the clothes you wear to an interview; you wouldn’t wear ratty jeans and a holey t-shirt to impress your potential employer, would you? Nope, you’d wear your best slacks and shirt, you’d have your hair brushed and your résumé crisp and fingerprint free. So why are we seeing covers out there that are amateurish to this extent? Seriously, people, if you have no feel for Photoshop, a nice plain color cover with a nice crisp title can and will work better than a cover that has poorly lit, badly cropped, horribly cut out pics that are awkwardly placed. No one wants to buy it if no one even wants to look at it.

I’ve shown you covers that we can take with a grain of salt and poke some fun at but, authors, you need to realize that if you have a cover like this, people can and will make fun. Not necessarily to be malicious or mean, but just because they’re so obvious. Artists you need to seriously evaluate if you’re good enough to make covers for others and if you don’t think you are, you probably aren’t. I’ve done some mediocre covers in my past (thankfully, not even close to this bad, and a few years ago) but I learned from that period and now my first thought is always whether or not I can do something and whether or not it’s going to be a huge embarrassment later on for either myself or my client. A bad cover reflects on so much more than just one person. And while you may only have a bad cover on one book, you need to stand tall, be proud of what you’ve written, and demand a better cover next time. If you don’t stand your ground, authors, you’ll never get the cover you deserve. You’ll get the one you need instead. (And yes, I quoted Batman. )

Anyhow, that’s it for this week. I leave you with one last cover that just screams for a book burning.
Enjoy, have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J. – Got You Covered

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.


6. Mind Pump

At least the title is nice and easy to read, but are those horns growing out of his head or another set of arms? Either way, I find myself wanting to watch a really bad Sci Fi movie now.

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!


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!


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

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!


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.