I’ve been busy, busy, busy putting the final touches on my latest project, Soulstice, the companion novella to Souled. This novella puts a spotlight on Alyx, who, in Alyx’s own words, is the “dark, totally misunderstood, totally underestimated, misfit” of Sandpoint High School.
I adore Alyx – her strength, courage, and her mysterious background. What makes her qualified to stand up to Seth in his dark hours? What was her path that brought her to be who she is?
Although she will have floor time in the upcoming sequel, I wanted to satisfy the curiosity of many of the readers who’ve asked me, “Who exactly is Alyx?”
I’m fortunate and eternally grateful that my friend, and outstanding author, Fabio Bueno (his novel Wicked Sense is definitely one of my favorite reads), has taken it upon himself to give me a shout out on his blog and share with you the cover of Soulstice.
In continuing the theme of “keeping it local,” the beauty on the cover is Wrenee, a student here in Sandpoint, Idaho. Once again, Sandpoint produces a teen professional enough to step up and handle something as important as the cover of a book. Add to that the makeup expertise of Kimberlee Langford, creative cover design by Crystalyn Abercrombie (my tattoo artist), and photographer, Victoria Melendez.
Then please head on over to Fabio’s site to check out the cover and to learn a bit more about what the story is all about!
Tags: Diana Murdock, Diana Murdock's blog, paranormal, YA, soul attachment, Souled, teens, Sandpoint, Idaho, Elemental Magic, small town, Soulstice, young adult paranormal, spiritual, Long Bridge, Cafe 95, undercrossing
Change is good. Change is positive. But it doesn’t make it any easier to let something go…
As much as I adored the original cover of Souled, I felt a change was needed to encompass more of the essence of the novel, which, in addition to ancient sorcery, was a story of love so absolute, so pure, it could transcend ordinary reason.
And because the location of the story took place in North Idaho, I wanted to include the community of Sandpoint in the Souled experience.
I was fortunate that Scott and Elaina, “regular” teens in Sandpoint, agreed to be the models for this cover. Although neither of them are professional models, they handled themselves like pros and gave the photographer, Victoria McCune, 100% effort. And in my opinion, it shows.
Also helping to put a professional touch to the make-up part of the session, I was thrilled to have Kimberlee Langford, make-up specialist, on board.
The tattoo design from the original cover, designed by Crystalyn Abercrombie, was definitely kept as part of this cover as that is a constant symbol in the story (as well as tattooed firmly onto my own body). Steve McCune pulled together all of the pieces to create the final cover.
It’s been incredible working with the people in the community on something such as this project, because after all, it’s their town, their turf, and their support of the novel is very important.
I’ve had a lot of fun so far and I hope you enjoy this cover as much as I do.
Tags: cover reveal, Diana Murdock, Diana Murdock's blog, fiction, men's alpine ski team, novel, novel covers, paranormal, power and control, Sandpoint, sandpoint high school, scott snow, ski racer, soul attachment, Souled, Tattoo, Young Adult
This weekend past was a busy and incredibly productive one. Not only did I have the chance to hang out with my cousin and her husband, but they helped me do a total and complete makeover of the cover to my Young Adult Paranormal novel, Souled, which will be revealed on Friday. It’s totally unique in the fact that I was able to use local teens for the photo shoot. They stepped up and did such an incredible job! I can’t wait to show you all! So stay tuned for Friday’s post when I give you the low down on the new cover.
This post is going to deviate a little from my norm as I fulfill a promise I made to my #slenderman Twitter peeps for pictures.
This weekend, I took my cousin and her husband to a house I own in North Idaho (which I no longer live in) to show them around. It’s the home I referred to in a previous post. The home sits on a beautiful and heavily-wooded 5 acres with lots of places to roam and hide. There are places that are really magical alongside of some creepy pockets of slash created by previous loggers. We walked around the property and got some really interesting pictures. With all of the interest in Slenderman, and my son’s insistence that I don’t even think about it (which of course I did after that), I’m wondering. Did I draw him to me? And where the heck does he really live?
You’ll have to click on the pictures to see what I’m talking about…
So what do you think? More than one Slenderman? Fact? Fiction? Our overactive imagination? You tell me. Should we start a new hashtag of #slenderheads?
Come back Friday to check out the new cover for Souled. It’s got a whole new feel to it. I think you’ll agree.
I was going to blog about something totally different today. In fact, I have my thoughts scribbled out and ready to be organized into something legible.
Then I got side-tracked by a link sent to me by my friend in Arizona, an interesting and timely story of a woman in New Mexico who listed her soul for sale on eBay. Click here to see one of the stories circulating he internet.
Want to see who would actually do this and why?
According to one story, eBay has a strict policy about selling human body parts and remains on their site, but they may need to redefine their policy to include souls. One newscaster actually brought up the point of the logistics of this auction – How is it to be delivered? How do you know if what you bought has been delivered?
If one were to actually purchase a soul, I would imagine there would be either total elation or total conflicting vibrations that would swirl around inside our body, leading us to know if it had been “delivered.” Typically, as like attracts like, an outside entity is attracted to a host body that has the same vibration that it has, such as a happy person, a sad person, an adrenaline junkie – which in turn would heighten whatever is our prominent vibration. On the flip side, I could see a soul latching onto a host for the sole purpose of draining the host’s energy, while the host soul fights the intruder for control. That would be where the Jekyll and Hyde thing would play out.
In the case of this New Mexico woman, though, it’s neither of these. As proof of delivery, the woman offers of a piece of paper – a $2000 piece of paper. A bill of sale of sorts. Huh. Kind of a let-down if you ask me.
But, for Seth Thompson, the high school student who bought a soul on eSouled.com (a site still under contruction – but check it out just for kicks), what he received was quite different than a piece of paper and was a hell of a lot cheaper. Here is an excerpt from Souled:
My palm began throbbing—not like thorns or needle pricks—more like claws had sunken in and raked down the skin. But my palm was the least of my worries. Because, though I didn’t want to believe it, I felt it. Something was inside me. Something… other. Very other.
A second pulse inside me beat steady, strong, and disturbingly close to mine.
And then the truth hit me. Hard. I knew.
The soul had been delivered.
So, yeah, there’s a lot of crazy stuff out there for sale as people try and unload and make a quick buck. What about you? What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen for sale? Were you tempted to buy it?
Speaking of crazy things for sale, check out Natalie Hartford’s blog where she posts the best of the craziest and unusual items on the internet.
So, hey! Amazing that a week has gone by since I released Souled. Seems like just yesterday I clicked on the publish button. The days are flying by for me. I really wanted to take a few weeks off, but already the opening chapter for the sequel is pounding against my door, demanding to be let in. I’ll see how long I can hold off.
What I would like to do, though, is give you another peek at a section of Souled. The first passage was revealed when I got tagged in the Lucky 7 game. So here’s another part of the story:
“Hey.” I pulled Dani against me again and rested my forehead against hers. “Thanks for going with me tonight.”
“I don’t know why you thought I wouldn’t.” Dani leaned back and searched my face. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, definitely.” This night was going to be great. “I love you,” I said.
I cupped her face, pulling her close enough to brush my lips against hers, closing my eyes to shut out everything that could possibly distract me from this moment. The dark behind my eyes became darker before it flared, and stopped me mid-kiss. Something didn’t feel right.
“What’s wrong?” Dani frowned.
“Your mom’s coming.” Perfect timing, because I couldn’t explain what was wrong, just that something felt off, as if something bad was about to happen.
Janice appeared in the doorway. “Sorry I took so long. I had to replace the batteries. This darn thing uses them up so quickly. Okay. Get closer,” she said, sweeping her hand through the air, motioning us to get closer.
I draped my arm around Dani and pressed my cheek against her hair, smiling at the lens.
In the split second after the flash went off, I blinked and in that split second of darkness, I saw it.
What the HELL?! Maksim?!
I focused on Dani, squeezing her shoulder and pulling her closer still. I wasn’t feeling so good anymore. “Thanks, Mrs. Parsons,” I managed to say. “I think we’d better go, Dani. Justin is probably waiting for us.” But there was nowhere I could run to hide from what I had seen. And it was more than seeing; it was suddenly knowing the truth. Knowing I had been duped.
I took a deep breath, causing a tremor in my chest.
The voice had a face. Freakin’ A. He had a face.
And that face told me that Maksim was no angel.
~ ~ ~
As for the winner of the giveaway, I had my youngest draw a name out of the hat, and the winner is Debra Kristi! Debra, you need to let me know if you’d like the eBook or print version.
As for the rest of you awesome peeps, I appreciate all of you stopping by and leaving me a comment and supporting the book’s release. I’d like to show my gratitude by offering you an e-version of Souled. Thank you so much!!
Soul attachment, as common as a cold, and just as easy to be rid of… sometimes. Would you know if another entity had hijacked your body? If you did, what would you do?
Lose yourself in the story of Maksim and Seth, old versus young, good versus badass. Available on Amazon in ebook format now, with the print version available within a few weeks.
What 17-year-old boy wouldn’t be tempted by the promise of power and control – no matter what form that promise came in?
Seth knew exactly what he would do with power and control. He’d be well on his way to a wrestling scholarship, his dad could stop working so hard to make ends meet, and he’d forever have the heart of his girlfriend, Sandpoint High’s most beautiful girl.
For Seth, the temptation was much too strong to resist. And why should he? The way he saw it, he had everything to gain.
But when he unknowingly invites another soul to share his body, Seth discovers that not all power is good – especially when it was never his to wield. And when the soul reveals its true intentions, will Seth have the strength to fight it or would death be less painful?
In honor of Souled’s release, I’m giving away a copy, either ebook format or print. Just leave a comment and I’ll put your name in hat and draw the winner’s name next Tuesday!
Until then… be careful what you buy online!
“The world only exists in your eyes – your conception of it. You can make it as big or as small as you want to.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Great words from a great writer, but the question is, how does a writer create a pathway from our eyes to the minds of the readers of novels? Fortunately, archived records and the Internet can bring history of centuries ago into an author’s hands, allowing us to recreate a world long gone, in order to give the reader some sort of anchor as they turn the pages of our novels. With a little imagination and fantastic writing skills, many authors transport us back to a time none of us have experienced first hand (at least not in this lifetime).
If the setting of the novel is in the present, we have access to maps, photos, and transportation to get to wherever the story takes place so that we may get a first-hand accounting of the sights and smells of the area. Though some novel settings are loosely based on a certain locale, the authors are still able to give the reader the same flavor as if that particular imaginary city actually existed. And those novels that are grounded in an actual place? That could be a lot of fun for the readers as well. Just ask Tamie from Bookish Temptations. She recently toured Toronto in search of the offices, restaurants, museums, and streets that Sylvain Reynard fleshed out in Gabriel’s Inferno. In reading her blog, you can feel her excitement as she was able to “be” where the characters were. What a cool connection, right?
In my upcoming novel, Souled, the characters are firmly rooted in Sandpoint, a small town in North Idaho. Because I am very familiar with the area, I was able to write from first-hand experience. I’ve posted on my website and on Pinterest, pictures of where some of the scenes take place, so when the novel is released (weeks away), the readers who cannot actually visit the area, can at least “see” where it is that the characters live.
In the case of futuristic or high fantasy, a writer can create an entirely new world, or they can do what Angela Peart has done for her soon-to-be-released novel. (By the way, she filled me in on the details of her story, and…yeah. This one is going to rock our socks off.). So, rather than me trying to explain her method of creating setting, I’m going to let Angela do the talking because you just need to experience it.
Take it away, Angela!
“The story of my upcoming Young Adult paranormal novel, Greed (this is a “working title”), takes place in Seattle—the city that I have been calling home for many years now. But because the plot contains elements of high fantasy, some of the scenes happen in imaginary places. I will introduce those amazing places in another post. Today I want to share with you a very special spot from my novel. It is Queen Anne Academy of the Arts and Sciences in the Seattle’s picturesque district of Queen Anne. No, the school does not exist in reality, but the area is 100% real.
All except one of my teenage characters attend this prestigious private school. The Georgian architecture building and the surrounding grounds are not based on any real location. Only my imagination and the knowledge that I have obtained, studying interior design at the Art Institute of Seattle, are responsible for the creation of this intriguing place.
I am not ready to reveal my characters’ names just yet. There will be a special blog post in the near future, where you will learn more about them. For now I am simply “coding” them as X, Y, and Z. I know, not very creative, but try to overlook that and only concentrate on the descriptions of my dream high school.
Here are two excerpts from my novel. Enjoy!”
1. He looked up at the ceiling, his eyes tracing the acanthus leaf castings clustered in the corners and along the sides. An enormous antique chandelier hung down by thick chains. A ring, covered in intricate patterns, encircled a massive hand-painted globe. The pale colors of the land and surrounding oceans looked subdued like on an antique map. Twenty-four sweeping, rounded arms reached out from the metal ring and curved up and out, ending in elongated candle-shaped electric lights. The sphere rotated lazily, as if imitating the real Earth. X gazed at it, transfixed, wishing it was dark outside and the whole thing would light up like it always did in the evenings.
2. He shook his head, smiling to himself, and then walked toward the massive double front door. The door was two stories high, set between two flat columns protruding from the walls on both, interior and exterior, sides. A semi-circular intricately-carved arch encased the top of the door.
Y opened the door and stepped outside. He shaded his eyes with his hand and, squinting, looked at the cloudless sky. The door closed with a dull thud behind him, as he started down the wide stone stairs. Strings of green ivy clung to the solid-stone balustrade on both sides of the steps. The stone was aged, its natural color richly variegated. Two huge urns flanked the staircase, their color scheme identical to the balusters.
So, can you see it? Can you feel it? Thanks, Angela, for a sneak peek into your novel and giving us a great example of how an author’s mind works.
How do you feel about settings in the novels you read? Do you like detailed descriptions or minimally-there descriptions? Everyone’s preferences are different, but then again that is why we have so many types of authors and novels!
Tags: Angela Peart, Angela Peart's blog, Bookish Temptations, Diana Murdock, Diana Murdock's blog, Gabriel's Inferno, high fantasy, Idaho, paranormal, Sandpoint, settings, soul attachment, Souled, spirit attachment, Sylvain Reynard, Toronto, Young Adult
I don’t know about you, but I DO judge a book by its cover – literally. When at a bookstore or library, I look at the books displayed predominantly and I’ll always pick up a book because I like the look of its cover. Whether or not I walk out the door with it, is a different story, but I will spend some time admiring the cover. I often wonder about the thought process behind each one. Whose vision was it? Was it true to the story line? Was it true to the author’s vision? How much time was put into it? What was truly vested in its creation?
When I began writing my upcoming novel, Souled, I knew what I wanted on the cover, but I’m art-challenged and what happens in my head short circuits on its way to my hands. I did make an attempt, though, albeit pathetic, and I just wasn’t happy with it.
One day, after I had gotten my quill tattoo, I really started thinking about it (well, not really because there was never a question in my mind after the seed was planted) and decided who I would ask to design the book cover. I had walked into Crystalyn Abercrombie’s tattoo studio and asked if she would be interested in taking on the project. I don’t think I actually got the words out before she said yes. The connection was made. We both knew the Universe ignited. Yeah, it was that awesome.
The result? Perfection. Exactly what I had envisioned. She nailed it. In fact, it’s my next tattoo.
So what did she do to make me her #1 fan? I put some questions to her and now I share them with you…..
1. Tell us a little bit about your background in art.
I’ve enjoyed drawing for as long as I can remember. My Uncle Nick is an artist as well and would always send me drawing materials for birthdays or holidays. In 5th grade a local artist came into class and taught us how to duplicate photographs with graphite pencils. My mom signed me up for lessons with that artist, and that’s when I started to take art seriously. I fell in love with drawing the human body and portraits of people and animals. Since then I entered every art contest I could. I would always place in the top three and have my art picked by the class to be featured in projects like yearbooks or choir t-shirts. I took various art classes that were offered in high school and some in Spokane, and worked with different mediums like acrylic paints, wire, clay, found objects, stained glass and tile for mosaics, photography, calligraphy & graphic art.
2. What is your preferred medium and why?
That’s a tough question! I really enjoy making mixed media art, using a little of this and a little of that, usually involving some sort of natural element and acrylic paint. I like to create art with dimension. Currently in my spare time I like to string and paint native American style hand-held drums with pagan inspired goddess images.
3. When did you begin to draw? What was one of the first things you drew? What makes it memorable?
I’ve pretty much had a crayon in my hand since day one! We never had a lot of money growing up, but we could afford paper and crayons, so art was always my favorite form of entertainment. In first grade my dad was a construction worker, and addicted to yard sales, so he would pick up oil paints from garage sales for me, and I would paint flowers with butterflies and big yellow suns on his scrap pieces of 2 x 4’s I’d find around the yard. I can also remember doing a pencil and crayon drawing of a family portrait. Memorable because I had put a heart polka-dot pattern on my mom’s shirt, and my parents smirked at the two hearts that were drawn right where nipples should go. I have been censored on my human figure drawings several times in middle and high school, and it makes me laugh to remember it started way back in first grade!
4. What is the process you went through to create the cover for Souled?
Step 1: Consulting with the author, Diana Murdock. She told me she wanted a symbol to represent the Egyptian clan that some of the book’s characters were involved with.
Step 2: Reading the novel to completely understand where she was coming from, and get the artwork to really resonate with it.
Step 3: Hitting my symbol books to learn more about what symbols Egyptians typically used and what meanings they associated with them. From there I gathered symbols I felt appropriately represented aspects of the novel from the Egyptian and old world cultures.
Step 4: Putting together a rough draft of my idea along with pages of symbol explanations for Diana to look at. This way she was able to see why I chose to draw the symbol as I had. I gave her time to think it over and decide on any changes she wanted me to make. This step went back and forth only twice with the actual symbol before we nailed it down, and then once more for the style of the novel’s cover as a whole. We seemed to be on the same page at every step of the way.
Step 5: Sketching a rough layout, deciding on what medium would be best, and gather what supplies were needed. Of course I chose to do a mixed medium piece, and photograph it when finished so it would look as realistic as possible. I purchased a brown piece of scrapbooking paper as a base to give it the old bound leather book feeling, some antiquing silver stuff to give the look of old metal embellishments, and a red rhinestone for the snake’s eye because drawing or painting it on wouldn’t have achieved the effect I wanted.
Step 6: Printing my layout onto my scrapbook paper.
Step 7: Using graphite pencils to draw in the snake completely
Step 8: Metal embellishments with the silver antiquing liquid.
Step 9: Using graphite pencils to draw details onto the metallic areas, and around the cover to give it some depth and shadows for a more realistic sort of feel.
Step 10: Another consultation to make sure Diana was happy with the results.
Step 11: Photographing the final piece with the rhinestone eye in place.
Step 12: Computer graphics stuff which involves uploading the photograph into my graphic design program, having a consultation with Diana to choose font type and where she wanted to see the title and her name, saving that project as a high resolution JPEG file, and voila! Diana received it in her email’s inbox.
5. Did you read the novel before creating the artwork?
Of course. It was really the only way for me to feel like I could understand what my art needed to represent. I’ve always loved anything paranormal and magical so I was all over it! Being from the same town as in the book and having gone to high school here really made it fun to read as well, I felt like I was right there with the characters at every turn. I really loved it, and I can’t wait for the sequel!
6. Where did the inspiration come from?
The passages from the sorceress and the element manipulation magic. There’s a line early on about flames twisting together like snakes in the hands of one character, that is what sparked inspiration initially.
7. The symbol is very Egyptian. Do you typically lean in this style in your artistic work or was this a special direction for this book?
This is actually my first ever Egyptian style piece. I knew we wanted to represent an old world magic clan and I initially thought Celtic or Pagan because that is what I lean toward heavily in my personal symbolic art, but Diana mentioned Egyptian so I had to hit my symbols books in order to pick out the right symbols to resonate with the novel.
8. Where else has your work been published?
Down There, The Wise Woman’s Way by Susan Weed in 2011
9. Have you ever designed any artwork for an author?
This cover is the first author I have worked with during the design process. My other published illustrations were submitted into an open illustration call, so I designed them completely and sent them off to New York to compete against whoever else had submitted illustrations as well. As a tattoo artist I’m constantly designing various things for clients. Sometimes it’s fitting multiple images into one design or creating something from scratch.
10. Would you be interested in designing more book covers? If so, do you have a favorite genre you’d like to design for?
I would absolutely love to do this again! Fantasy and Paranormal are probably my favorite to read, but as far as what I like designing for best, I have yet to find out. I’d love to try everything and see if I can eventually answer that, so bring on your ideas!
11. Besides this book cover, where do you gather most of the inspiration for your tattoo designs and artwork?
My personal inspiration comes from the beauty of nature and my spirituality. I resonate with aspects of Paganism, Wiccanism, and some Native American cultures. I love to involve symbolism, balance and simplicity in my personal designs, but when designing for clients I really try to understand where their inspirations are coming from, so my art will vary greatly from piece to piece.
12. Where can others reach you if they are interested in commissioning you for their projects?
13. Where we can view your work?
My biggest portfolio is on my Ouchie Mama Tattoo & Piercing page on Facebook. Unfortunately it’s all tattoo work at the moment, but a lot of it is my own design work. Now that I know people might be interested in seeing more of my work, I will start adding some different stuff to it.
Thank you so much, Crystalyn, for taking the time to share this process. I’m thrilled we connected and I look forward to having you on board for other projects!
Please be on the lookout for the release of Souled this spring!
Tags: art, artist, book cover, Crystalyn Abercrombie, Diana Murdock, Diana Murdock's blog, dianamurdock.com, egyptian, judge a book by its cover, ouchie mama tattoo and piercing, pagen, paranormal, quill tattoo, snake, soul attachment, spiritual attachment, Tattoo, teenager, teens, wicca, YA novel, Young Adult
She helped me pry my fingers off my closely-held WIP and held it up to the light for all to see.
For me, and probably most writers, that’s a big step. After eating, drinking, and sleeping with the characters for many, many moons, the act of talking about the novel in public and acknowledging its upcoming release, makes it all so very real. Knowing that months of hard work will soon draw to an end is, quite frankly, a little scary. It is probably similar to watching our children leave home for the first time. We push them out of the nest, hoping we’ve given them enough love and nurturing to fly on their own. We’ll still be there for them, cheering them on, but ultimately we have to let them go and move on.
Sadness and elation – two emotions that are creeping up on me as I write this. But, it’s part of the writer’s life, a life I fully embrace.
Today, Bridgette has once again generously opened the door to her blog, this time to ask a few questions about me, my writing, and my upcoming novel, Souled. Are you ready for some answers? Then please join me over at Bridgette Booth’s digs for a little conversation.
In the upcoming weeks, be sure to come back, because I’ll be posting excerpts from the novel, interesting information on soul attachments, the making of the book cover (a huge thank you to Crystalyn Abercrombie, artist and tattoo expert!), and other fun stuff!
Thank you so much for stopping by!
You may or may not have noticed, but I’ve been less active here on my blog and in the Twitterverse. I know that I feel the difference. Not posting my blogs and connecting with you feels like something is missing, but it has been for a very good reason.
You see, my next novel is almost ready to be released.
In the beginning of the novel writing process, at least for me anyway, the first couple weeks are dedicated to feverishly writing down ideas and scenes that play out in my head. The fever then dissipates and the intensity lets up. As words on the pages get cut and rearranged, as holes get filled in, and copy editors and beta readers help tighten up the loose ends, the fever kicks in again. So over the last month or so, I’ve been focused solely on the last phase of my second novel. The more detailed oriented I need to be, the more I need to go into hiding.
So who brings me out of this self-imposed social lockdown? My wonderful friend and WANA sister, Bridgette Booth! Bridgette is diligently working on her own manuscript, is an avid reader, AND a homeschool mom. Whew! In between her writing, reading, and teaching, in addition to all of the stuff life throws at her, she is very generously sharing her blog space with me to talk about my soon-to-be released novel.
I’m thrilled that she has read my manuscript and will be talking about it today! Then on Wednesday I’ll be answering her questions!
So jump over to her blog today and see what has been consuming my spare time! I’m really excited about this novel and I’m certain you’ll see why!