Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Your Book. Your Business. Number 2

Your Book. Your Business. Number two in a series.


It’s Tuesday and my assistant tells me I’m to write about writing. *hangs head* I forgot to do my art one yesterday, so writing this early and getting it ready on time. We started talking about reading your contract. Remember, don’t get suckered into paying for something that’s already yours, or signing away rights that are yours.

Continuing on in the same vein, I had a situation. As many know, I’ve had a lot of health issues over the last five years. I still found time to write. I had a couple of contracts finally come about the same time from a publisher I’d already signed with before. I didn’t read it because I was so sick. In order to feel more business like, I signed it sooner rather than read it. Ironic, eh? I even told him, I’m too sick to read and comprehend, but I trust you. I’m sure it’s the same as before. He never disabused me of that notion when I very much needed to be told it wasn’t the same. However, it is on my own head I didn’t wait until I felt well enough to read it, or at least take enough meds for short term comprehension, at least.

And, it taught me something. Even people you think you can trust may not have your back when it comes to business. I have also learned, that some people will choose business over friendships, but that’s a mountain to climb another day.

In the meantime, let’s go over having multiple contracts from the same publisher. Check it side by side. See if there are any difference, like having early release payments added that weren’t there before—a per month, when before, if your book was selling for, er, wasn’t selling, you could pull it and re-release it elsewhere, or self publish it. Of course, these options would be after you’ve rewritten/edited it more and added/took out bits that may have needed adjusting. But, if you all of sudden have a per month fee, and no, I don’t think you should always be able to get out easy, but if it’s a change, see why not.

Or, if you had recourse if your publisher wasn’t doing their end, like not doing their end of the job, or not keeping to things they promised. I mean, as an author, you need to realize stuff can go wrong, but if someone says April, then, with no warning, changes it to August even though you’ve had it turned in for months, well, you should have the option to get out. Or, if they put it out, and it doesn’t sell more than 4 copies in 6 months, then again, you should have the option to pull. Not every book is going to be a best seller, but every book should sell something, if only to family and friends. Also, you can ask for changes like that. Say, if I don’t sell 100 in the first year, I want my rights back. If you’re last four books sold a thousand copies in three months, then perhaps say 500 in a year. Something. You have right to expect some sales and promotion. You also have the responsibility to promote and try to sale as much as possible. Take marketing classes, read blogs, etc. Anything to learn the best ways that work for you.

If there are changes, open up dialogue between yourself and the publisher. And have a friend, or best yet, an attorney look at it. Now, most of us authors don’t have the funds to have an attorney on hand, but there are many who aren’t as expensive as you may imagine. Also, there are literally hundreds of blogs written that legally explain your rights about clauses. Educate yourself, but educate yourself even more so if you can’t afford help.

As I’ve said and will continue to say, you don’t have to know how to do everything. However, if you’re not comfortable doing it, then you need to hire someone who can do it for you and help you out with whichever area you need the most help with, and reading a contract is no different. Don’t worry about feeling embarrassed you don’t understand all the clauses.

Read. Your. Contract.

What all are your responsibilities? Are they something you can live with? Sometimes, the publisher acts as if you are the only one responsible for everything, yet won’t help out, won’t give leads, doesn’t provide a place for support and questions. Other times, they do something when it’s first out, then nothing. Some fall in between. What are you comfortable with? Work with your publisher, and you’ll have the best experience. But don’t let them make you do work that they then don’t use. I had a publisher for whom I was required to write a specific number of blogs for, a specific kind of blog post for a specific site, and it never got used. Happened more than once to a lot of us. That just wastes everyone’s time.

Ask around. Who’s used them, what have they done for the authors? If they’re less than 2 years, you’re just going to have to take your best guess and decide if you want to give them a chance. That can be a great thing. New businesses have a lot to prove and may work harder for you.

But above all, the publishing arena is a business, just like your book rights, so read your contract. Publishers want to make it as much as authors do. When things work together, author and publisher can have a long, happy career with each other.

I, for one, never want to have to work any day job that’s not related to the arts. I don’t mean for Michael’s, or other supplier. *grins* If you’re happy with your contract, sign up and do everything you can to make your book the best it can be.


After all, it’s your book. Your business.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Phantom Grief

I've been trying to wrap my head around my grief and feelings to write this post. I just couldn't do it yesterday. Why? It's the anniversary of my brother's death. All week, well month really, without even consciously thinking about it, I've been seeing things everywhere that remind me of Timmy. Everywhere I went, there was a man with his coloring and his age (then, not what he would be now.) It broke my heart, caused my chest to seize, and almost brought me to my knees at one point.

I've become adept at hiding my deeper feelings. Anger leeks through the most, but, as a child, I learned that showing my vulnerability only caused me to hurt more, to have the adults manipulate me. As an adult, I have seen much difference. Except now, I can leave those that do the most harm. So, when these feelings hit, when I start having weird dreams that are sometimes exactly about him, or in a round about way, or about something else serious, I put it out of my mind.

Until I can't anymore.

I woke up Saturday not wanting to face the day. We have had a couple of stressful weeks. No food because we paid off a loan so we could get a different one to buy a car, stock up on necesseties, get my kids beds (two of my kids had been sleeping on couch because after the move, we didn't have enough beds. They had to be thrown out.), and get a steam cleaner. We made good investments, but now we're without money again and a birthday coming up. So, I attributed it to not being able to get my passport, the discover pass, and fishing licenses we wanted yet. But, as the day wore on, so did my sadness.

I think you need to know, I'm not only fairly pragmatic about being poor, I am gifted at making our dollars stretch. So this was weird to be feeling that sadness when I was so happy about the rest. Quite trippy on some levels.

When it hit me, I felt like doing that V8 commercial and slapping my own forehead. See, April has traditionally been sucky months. For this year, if the worst that happens is that I was hungry for 10 days and my kids had more top ramen than I like, I'll be thankful. For an idea of what I mean, check out my hashtag, #effoffApril here in my blogs. I don't know how long the twitter caches work, but I had a rip roaring couple of Aprils in my life, not counting ones like this one. Being hungry for 10 days while pretending things are all right to everyone, isn't my idea of fun, but the others were way worse. (I did finally tell a few close friends about me being hungry. My son found out I didn't eat for a couple of days because I wasn't sure when our money would arrive, and he wasn't happy with me.)

I hadn't planned on writing a blog post, but then, while talking to my friends, I realized that maybe it would be good for others to know. And here's where I come to why I needed to write this post.

Phantom Grief

This is what I call that grief you wake up with because you have to relive the moment that someone you loved is dead. See, while sleeping, I'd dream he was there, his laughter, his irreverent sense of humor, his love for life, his steadfastness, and most, his acceptance of me. He was good to me, the connection to my adopted family. Without him, I pretty much lost them. I'd basically lost them before, but his death was a slice of a chord. Many hurts surround that time. Like not being told of trips for his ashes, and other stuff. So, for me, it's like facing that as well. That rejection.

But, it happened years ago. My brother died years ago. How can this grief be real? He wasn't there last night. We didn't meet up with our kids born weeks apart and compare how beautiful and wonderful they are. We didn't go to the fair with them. We didn't FB chat, or have dinner. None. Of. It. Happened. Yet, IT DID. I felt every moment, every heartbeat, as if I got to see his little girl, hear her laughter (I've not seen her since a baby), and hear their laughter echo together. I got to heal a little bit of the wound from knowing I will never fit in somewhere that he did so effortlessly. That being constantly misjudged and misaligned for things you didn't do as well as things you did, whether you meant them the way someone took you or not, is forgiven and the breach has been bridged.

He loved life. Loved laughter. Loved his family. He was the joy, the strength. I really believe he was the best of us and died way to soon. But, in my dreams, in my heart, you live on, little brother. You are loved.

How can I be grieving him now, as if he just died, when he died so many years ago? Because, for a little while in the night, he was real, solid, here. Phantom though he may be, he lived again, if only in my dreams.

And phantom or no, the grief is real.

My new life, my new way of doing things, is a testament to him, even though it wasn't a conscious choice to be. I am aiming to make my life better, to see the positive, let go of the negative. I'm not perfect. I have a lot of grief and anger stored up from years of abuse, neglect, and rejection. However, my new life is about joy, love, happiness, and getting what I want out of life for myself and my family.

Maybe that's why he's living in my dreams so often now--not grief, but love, joy.

Welcome, little brother, living phantom, play hard and laugh.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Your Book. Your Business. Number one

Your Book. Your Business. Number one in a series.


It’s Wednesday and my assistant tells me I’m to write about writing :D *cheeky grin* I love having someone keeping me on track when it would be easy to fall off and let it go because it’s easier.


One place I’ve found people not paying attention because it’s easier or they’re afraid of hurting people’s feelings is publishing. Authors become a close knit group. We’re happy and grateful to the publisher who says yes to our work, even more so for that holy grail of getting put in print. But, come with me now and wipe that starshine out of your eyes. The business of being an author is just that—a business.

We sit there with a blank page and create worlds that we love. Worlds we want people to love and to read. We are creative beasts. Few are lucky to be both creative and business minded. There is no shame in that. But here’s the deal—you can’t ignore it!

First, we’ll talk about the contract and the importance of reading your contract. Lately, a plethora of small, specialized (at least, that’s how it reads to me—the ones not standing the test of time are either badly managed, tightly specialized, or dare I say, both?) niche publishers especially it seems, are going out of business. In every house I’ve ever signed with, which is three, there is a contract clause for the rights reversion upon going out of business or putting your work effectively “out of print” even if you have an ebook only release.

Many publishers are charging—some as much as $5000 from what I heard from a contractor that works with one—if you want your edited version.


Early contract release, that’s for another blog some day. But for end of contract or publishers going out of business? No. Here’s whatthe RWA has to say about it.

I’m an editor. When I do edits with an author, I expect that author to do their own work. I’m there to guide, build confidence, and train them. I am not just there for the one story, I’m helping authors to build up their writing careers and themselves. Teaching them what they’re doing wrong and letting them fix it, guiding as needed, is the only way to really receive the quality manuscripts that I want to have, as well as gives the author a leg up anywhere else.


I like to help the authors even if it means they may take what they learned elsewhere?


I know that’s not the norm. That some will say you have to do it for the author. I do a few as examples, but, like my children, if I’m always doing it for them, and never let them try on their own, I’m going to end up with 150 kids that can’t walk…er, authors who are multipublished but still don’t’ know that a comma splice is two independent clauses not two unrelated clauses, or who think that starting every sentence with she or but is a great idea. Or who think all was is passive voice, or… I could go on forever.

Authors accept or reject changes. Only grammar/formatting are absolutes for most smaller houses. As long as you have the power to reject, you’re a part of the editing process. Then, a responsible author will go through and add in their own edits, and so forth until the MS is ready for publishing. That makes each mark guided by the editor, but essentially, it is the authors.

What if you’re not so good at the language of contracts? Hire someone. Have a friend help you and go over it line by line as needed.

Anyway, it’s only one point on the contracts. I’m going to be harping on the contract and pitfalls at least for one or two more blogs, but this is a start of the series for the business of writing.

This is your business. Read your contract. Don’t assume.


Your book. Your business.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Arting and The Princess Bride

*Waves* It's Monday, so time for the art stuffs and things. I'm feeling a little stressed about my personal life finances as a check we are waiting for (A LARGE one, so if you owe me money, don't think that's about you LMAO...I don't think anyone owes me that kind of money?! Well, if I'm wrong, and you do, I have a paypal *cheeky grin*) is taking it's sweet time through the mail services... Waiting, waiting...I am waiting for surely are a meanie. Okay, okay, I couldn't help it :D Love The Princess Bride.


There are many reasons, but, besides the well honed script--seriously, helps to be able to see the costumes than hear about them lol--we have fun characters, and sumptuous landscaped scenes. It inspires me deep inside. Now, that may sound silly, but think of it. Which books or movies do you enjoy the most? I think you'll find that all the things we enjoy the most, well, art wise (yes movies and books are art endeavours), touch your heart and soul. They can lighten it, put a burden on it, stroke it, soothe it, piss you off, make you touches you. And, I believe the best art doesn't just touch your mind, or your heart, but also, the soul.

The pieces of art that last, that become classics, are those that do all three. The Princess Bride wasn't released yesterday, yet, I betchya that a large portion of peeps got a smile reading that bit about Vincini! The Princess Bride doesn't just tell us a love story, it gets us to live it with them, despite the impossible things. The Cliffs of Insanity? Yeah, every author and artist has been there. LOL The ROUS's. Well, those are a bit much, but still, we laugh, we worry, we smile, we feel... Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. Who didn't feel that satisfaction as the sword grazed the cheeks? As he said, I want my father back, you son of a bitch. How could you not feel that. Not only was the acting well done (another form of art!), but the line was intense.

One of the ways it touches us is in the repetition. The repetition of him saying that built it up. In oil painting, it's much the same way. The balance of repetition and contrast can make or break a painting. I have one that the repetition has dulled the power down. I'm going to have to apply a fix. Also, I still have more glazing to do, but here, see this:


I like the original way I did the underpainting better for the shell, though, when I'm finished glazing, It *should* look more like that but with depth. The outer sand, I want more abstract, and I do love the bits, but it's too much. I'm going to scrumble a bit. Problem is, choosing a color.... LOL that will break up the monotony of the brush strokes, and I think both add to the abstract and get it looking how I want it to look. I don't want it to look like individual grains of sand, but I want you to THINK of individual grains of sand when you see it.  Something I hadn't considered when starting this painting was of the very repetition of the sand. However, I love the texture of sand against the smooth shell, so that's where I'm going to focus.

In my art, despite set backs like these, I not only think of the technical bits, but of the emotional bits. Truth be told, I think of the emotional bits first. And that, my friend, is what makes my art different. I focus on the emotional aspects of the art. I want them to be good, no, excellent, but more, I want you to feel touched in the depths of your soul. I want it to inspire you to smile, to feel peace, to feel love, to go out and follow your dreams. I want to empower people.

That's not asking for much...

Who inspires you to feel with your soul?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Remmy Duchene Osaki book tour

Hi!! I have a lovely guest today for my writing day. Well, I've been good at putting up loads of writers...more so lately LOL Enjoy this well done blog!

My name is Remmy Duchene, I write interracial, GAY romance and erotica and I have a confession to make.

I have a unhealthy obsession with everything samurai, but not just any samurai--I love the masterless samurai, the Ronin. My love of the culture and the warrior stemmed from a research paper I did in university on who is arguable the best samurai to ever live, Miyamoto Musashi.

Most of us know him as the writer of the book of five rings but this man was bad-ass. He wasn't your typical samurai.  What do I mean by that? Well back then a samurai was not only bad-ass but he was kind of the Justin Beiber of the time. They were loyal, wickedly skilled, well groomed and well, everyone wanted to sleep with them. They were hip, cool, in, revered.  Musashi on the other hand was unkempt, unknown for a long while, scraggly, found with whatever weapon he could get his hands on and had no respect for timing when it came to duels.  You see, he fount is first duel was at sixteen years old. And after a few shots from him to his opponent, who might I add was older and very well known as a very well skilled samurai - Musashi picked up his opponent, flung him to the dirt and beat him to death.

Another noteworthy duel came when he was fighting another well known samurai. He showed up to the duel about two hours late, then instead of bringing a sword like a regular samurai, Musashi showed up with apiece of wood that was made from an extra oar on the boat that brought him to the duel. You see, showing up to a duel late was considered highly disrespectful. It  made his opponent crazy that Musashi would DARE show up so late and without a sword.

But you see, that was precisely what Musashi wanted. He wanted to get into this samurai's head--psyche him out, throw him off his guard. Musashi was not only great at fighting, but he was a master when it came to psychological warfare.

Ever since I learned about this one man and a few others, my love of all things samurai was born. My newest release is about a Samurai who died during the Onin war that started in Japan in 1467 and lasted to around 1477. He then inherited the powers of the SHIVERS and now must fight with evil to save the planet and the man he loves. Yes, back in the day there is history that claimed Samurai engaged in homosexuality.  One source I read said it wasn't a question of why a samurai would do this--it would be a question of why not. 

Osaki joined forces with the Shivers, a species created when Zeus cheated on Hera yet again. Hera, in her fury cursed any offsprings that comes from that union and when Ciro, Aerios and Koi along with their brothers were born, they came out with the ability to control the weather - you see, their mother is the Goddess of the Storm Winds and Zeus--well he has his lightning bolts.

There are few Shivers that are good, like Koi and Ciro. But most of the others are out of hand, they just want to see the world burn.

Osaki has a lot on his plate and love is the last thing he has time for. Not only does he have to get used to his new powers as a Shiver and all the training it involves, but he also finds himself being drawn to a human—though Kofi makes it clear he’s into women—and Osaki must respect the man’s wishes. All Osaki really has to do is focus on training and being the best tour guide possible for Kofi. But nothing ever goes as planned and soon rogue Shivers are popping out of the woodwork, hell-bent on destroying Osaki for his inheritance. It soon becomes quite clear that they want him dead, and they’re not afraid to use Kofi as leverage—or as collateral damage.

Kofi Olabasu needs a vacation. He’s spent so much time looking out for his brother and working that he’s completely neglected himself. To make matters worse, feelings for a man are driving him crazy. The moment Kofi feels Osaki, he knows something is about to change. Confused about his attraction to Osaki, he agrees to take a vacation and accepts Osaki’s offer of being Kofi’s tour guide in Japan. However, nothing is as it seems. Soon every dark corner is filled with danger and those who wish to do him harm.



With the faint sounds of laughter floating up from the others below him, he put on his apron and grabbed the brushes. He stared at the blank canvas for a moment before setting up then began with red paint. He worked until the canvas was completely covered. It was as if he couldn’t stop. Kofi sat back and smiled. He was caught up with his work but not enough to miss that familiar feeling he always felt when Osaki was near.

“Are you just going to stand there and stare?” Kofi asked without turning around. “Or are you going to say something?”

“I did not think you knew I was here,” Osaki replied. “I was careful not to make a sound.”

“I didn’t hear you,” Kofi said, placing his brush down then turning on his stool.

Osaki was dressed in a blue samurai kimono.

“I felt you. Is everything okay downstairs?”

“Everything is fine. You left a dinner you planned. I may not be human any longer but that, I do not believe, is something that is done. Am I correct?”

“I think so.”

Osaki chuckled. “For a minute there, I thought you would say something like ‘I smelled you’.”

“Nothing like that. Why aren’t you with the others? It sounds like a real party out there now.”

“I just wanted to check on you.” Osaki walked into the room to peer closely at the fresh painting. “You did not look so well when you left us. I was merely curious.”

Kofi smiled. “Thanks… For checking on me, that is.” He turned to stare at the painting with Osaki and for a moment, neither of them spoke. “Do you have a last name?” Kofi questioned. For some reason Osaki mattered to him.

“A last name?” Osaki asked.

“Yes. A family name. Like I’m Kofi, my last name is Olabasu…”

“Oh, right. Hirosuke.”

“So you’re Osaki Hirosuke.”

“The English way, yes. In my country, my name is Hirosuke Osaki.”

“Well, look at that. I learned something new.”

Osaki laughed. “This is beautiful. What is it?”

“I don’t know. It’s what I’m feeling inside. Do you really think it’s beautiful? I mean, do you really like it?”

Kofi’s cheeks heated when Osaki turned to look at him. He took a breath and undid the apron he wore, but he pulled the wrong string and it knotted around his neck. He frowned. “This is ridiculous. I can’t even untie a stupid string now?”

“You are feeling chaos, Kofi, confusion. I think perhaps you do need that vacation. Here… Let me help you with that.”

Osaki stepped behind Kofi and tugged at the strings. His fingers brushed Kofi’s skin, sending a streak of electricity down his body. Biting his lips, Kofi held back a moan, wondering why this man’s touch caused such a storm inside him. He said nothing, nor did he try moving away. Kofi was curious, silently burning with each inadvertent stroke of his neck by the samurai.

“I don’t know anything about you,” Kofi said, happy that his voice didn’t crack. “Are you a real samurai?'

Thanks for stopping by and check me out! Thanks for having me!

Remmy D

Start your SHIVERS obsession today with book 1 in the series - CIRO! And Grab OSAKI on April 17 at Totally Bound!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Broken Pearl

The Story Behind Broken Pearl

Broken Pearl came about because I wanted to write a novel for my niece, Alison. She was in a car accident two years ago, and she struggled to not only survive, but thrive. It was something she dealt with every day. Her life was never the same. It bothered her that she couldn’t do a lot of the things she used to do, and yet she kept moving forward. So I got this idea to write a story about struggle and what happened when you came on the other side of it.

In my story, Rebecca realizes that she has a gift that could destroy her if she lets it. She has to find a way to control it and use it to help others. Her life is thrown deeper into chaos when war breaks out, and she loses some of the people she loves. It’s a difficult time for her, and she almost gives into the dark energy.  World War II is the backdrop of Broken Pearl. It was a time of both despair and triumph. It seemed like a good era to display all of the emotions I wanted to explore.

Ultimately this story is about survival and learning to lean on the people around you. That’s the underlying message I want everyone to take from this book. I would like to think Ali would have enjoyed the story. Sadly, she passed away in a fire in January and will never get a chance to read it. I still want that message out for everyone to enjoy. Don’t give up, even when it seems like the only option you have. The people who care about you are there for a reason. Lean on them and find your own support beam—sometimes strength comes from the strangest places.  If we are lucky, enough we have our own guardian angels looking out for us. I like to think Alison is the one leading them all around. Her bravery, perseverance, and ability to go beyond everyone expectations was awe inspiring.


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Broken Pearl

By: Dawn Brower

Release Date: April 16, 2015

Short Blurb: 

The death and destruction of war can destroy even the strongest among us. Will the loss and pain be too much for Rebecca to withstand?

 Long Blurb: 

The year is 1941 and paradise is a way of life in Hawaii. For Rebecca O'Shea things couldn’t be more perfect. She has her dream career as a naval nurse, and is in love with the man of her dreams—it seems she has it all.


An empathic gift she's had all her life starts to grow, showering her with emotions and premonitions that suggest a great darkness is near. Just when she thinks she cannot take anymore her guardian, Joel, arrives to help her.


Rebecca's life is thrown into chaos when war hits Hawaii's shore. As the Japanese bomb her home, her gift explodes within her. Loss and pain become her new way of life. She abandons all hope and shuts down her empathic abilities. With bodies littering the hospitals and seas, her calling as a nurse is put to good use, but her heart remains unreachable. Can she find her way out of the blackness and accept her true fate? Or will the prevailing death and destruction of war consume her?


Party With Dawn For The Release

Join the Facebook Release Party

(April 16 11:30 am - April 17 11:45 pm US:EDT)




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About Dawn

dawnbrowerDawn Brower holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, a Master of Arts in Education, and is currently working on a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Literature, History, and Sociology. She works as a substitute teacher and enjoys the flexibility it gives her to concentrate on her other endeavors.


Growing up she was the only girl out of six children. She is a single mother of two teenage boys; there is never a dull moment in her life. Reading books is her favorite hobby. There is nothing like a nice glass of wine and a good book to relax with at the end of the day.


There are always stories inside her head; she just never thought she could make them come to life. That creativity has finally found an outlet.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Art Show Sunnyside Museum

Well, it's another day in paradise for me :D I've really been working hard at balancing my life. The results are amazing. Regular time painting, focusing on writing, still getting editing job done. Head editor stuff is taking an enormous amount of time, some of which I resent as it sometimes feel as duplicate stuff I'm having to do by doing things that are frustrating and give me literal splitting headaches, but since balancing, it's less intrusive and I'm more productive. So, even in your day job, learning to balance and make time for what's important, you will improve.

I've strived hard in writing and painting. Lately, both had fallen to the wayside. But no more. First thing that's happened, is I've made time to do stuff daily. Made a schedule of sorts. Business morning, arting afternoon. And it really is a basic as that. A tight schedule wouldn't work for me as my needs change. But, I've had time to swim with my kids, and my husband and I have had a little time almost every night that I've been able to spend with my husband doing nothing but watch Bones. (He's going to kill me for getting him into this when he reaches the episode involving Sweets and not making it. LOL) That's huge to me. Spending time with my family is important, even if my kids are whining about chores every time they're asked to do them! lol

The change has led me to really focus and look at what I want which led to me seeing and taking time to respond to announcement of a call for artists from my home town. The Sunnyside Art Commission and the Sunnyside Museum are working together. The artist reception is my first not school related and I'm nervous!

I have six pieces looking to be in the show. Here's the one that made it to the front page of the Daily Sun News:

The original photo was done by my friend Toby. He lives in Scotland, where my heart, Scotland, not Toby :P This photo doesn't do my photo justice. You can get an idea of it here, as well:

It's something I may not have seen or participated in if I hadn't made my focus change. I want to create art, both visually and with the written word. I love to edit because it improves my craft and allows me to help a lot of writers make their dreams come true, but I love writing and painting more, because I truly believe that stories and paintings can change a person at a soul level. That it's more than about the story, but about the love, the loss, sadness, happiness, fantasy, the time spent going to a new place in your heart and soul, somewhere that you may not go without the author or artists leading you there. I believe that I can speak to people's soul, and that is my calling.

Mondays, I'm going to make a concerted effort to be about art. I will be sharing my artwork and talking of some of my favorite authors, both alive and dead :D

Here's a photo of a work in progress (original photo by Justine Littleton):

I am currently waiting for it to dry so I can do the next stage. I usually work on my photos, but one, my hearts in Scotland and Toby's photos and willingness to allow me to paint them, soothes my soul. Two, I needed more inspiration and asked friends if they had photos. Justine is a client and was nice enough to send me a bunch. I love lighthouses and the ocean, making this a natural choice for me.

Something in the picture has to call to me in order for me to paint it. It's not the same as simply enjoying a pic. It's something different and intangible. I'm not a realism painter, nor do I do copies. I like to say I'm an expressionist impressionist. Basically, if I don't like you or the subject matter, the pic won't be as good as my emotions will color through. I also do a bit of abstract here and there, but that style is style derivative of my main one. Here's an example:

A very up close picture of an Iris. Oil on canvas, mainly done with a palette knife. (This one is sold.) It's part of my Ode to O'Keefe line. I have a canvas up to do another one this week, so I hope I find the right inspiration as I'm itching to do some of this bold style.

I hope that you enjoy my new art series and that it soothes some part of your heart and soul. Please notice the new subscriber list. I'm just starting up and will be doing news and more details on their, as well as book releases and when paintings go for sale.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Quest for Redemption Sheri Velarde

So you may be asking why I am having a cover re-reveal or what is a re-reveal anyways? Well you see, life sometimes gets in the way of the best laid plans and changes sometimes have to be made. When I had my first cover reveal back on February 1 (I know because it was my birthday) Quest for Redemption seemed to be on the fast track to coming out, but then life happened.

I can't remember which happened first, but both my editor and I got sick. Like not a cold or flu sick, but majorly sick. I had a major flare in my multiple sclerosis which left me pretty much useless until it began to subside. School, which I was taking just for fun, began to demand more and more of my time. This caused a delay in edits, hence the delay in Quest coming out. Things happen and I can't say that I am truly shocked the Quest for Redemption hit a few bumps on its way to publication. You see, this book has been nothing but bumps and a test in perseverance.

Quest for Redemption has been a mountain for me to climb, over three years in the making and I have finally reached the summit, publication is in sight. This started off as a novel written during National Write a Novel Month, so needless to say the first draft was a hot mess. It got tabled for a while, then I picked it back up and cleaned it up added things here and there, turned it into something readable. Finally I submitted it, it got accepted. During the time of pre-edits the story began to change again, becoming more fantasy than romance, the characters deepened and solidified. It was hard work this novel, my longest work to date and also my toughest to get through.

Blood, sweat, and many tears went into this work and soon it will be out in the world! This is by far one of my biggest accomplishments as an author. My first full length novel, my first fantasy piece, my first book with my new publisher. Quest for Redemption represents over three years of hard work, sure it took me a little longer to get here bear the release date, but I got here and for that I am grateful. 


Quest for Redemption Cover Re-Reveal


The fate of the realms rests on the hands of an elven princess yet to prove herself and an orphan just learning his powers.


Zanna is an elven warrior princess, who seems to have it all, yet really has nothing. Her fate is not in her own hands. Instead, it is bound to an ancient magic she has no control over. She wants to rule the elves, yet must prove herself worthy before she is accepted. She also wants to find her mate, but after two thousand years, didn't hold much hope. Her existence has become mundane, and she craves something new. A routine assignment suddenly turns into something bigger that could ruin all of them. Is she strong enough to save the world and find her own happiness too? Can she change and help change the fate of the world with her?

Will is an orphan who has always been confused by his strangeness. He keeps himself apart, separate from those around him. A chance meeting with a remarkable woman changes everything. He not only learns about himself, but about a whole other world that he is a part of by birthright. However the father that abandoned him as an infant stands to ruin his future and the future of the world unless he can be stopped.

Will and Zanna must face loved ones who work against them and their past as well as find the strength to fight a bigger enemy and save the realms from evil. Can love, friendship, family, and acceptance defeat evil before it brings the realms crashing down? Can Zanna prove herself worthy to rule the kingdom?

Author Bio:

Author Sheri Velarde

Sheri Velarde is an author, artist, independent comic creator and jewelry designer out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a creative soul with eclectic taste and style when it comes to her art and writing. Sheri is a multi-publisher romance author who is now branching into fantasy as well with her Defender of the Realms series. When not creating (which her fiancé argues is never), Sheri can be found spending time with her fiancé and their two dogs, reading, watching fantasy movies, attending metal concerts and just taking time to stop and enjoy life.

You can view Sheri’s work on her website/blog:, on her Facebook author page:, and on Twitter at

Quest for Redemption will be out on Three Worlds Press April 23, 2015!

Excerpt: (if room available)

Zanna stood, stunned into immobility. While with Alana, she would have to travel the human way. The thought slightly annoyed her, yet fascinated her at the same time. "I do not travel by vehicle, so I will be forced to ride in yours." She could still smell and see the fear in Alana, so she tried to lighten the mood. "You know I have never actually ridden in a car before."

"Really?" Alana seemed shocked.

"I have never had the need. I simply come and go in this world when I want. I usually arrive and leave the very spot I wish, and there is never a need for me to travel from place to place while in this realm. Not to mention I find the transportation of humans to be quite slow and cumbersome." Nonetheless, Zanna elegantly bent her long frame into the passenger side, slightly curious to see why many humans loved their cars so much. Sitting inside one, she felt rather cramped and uncomfortable, and while it was a fast means of transportation for a human, she didn't understand what was so special. Maybe one had to be human to fathom why vehicles fascinated them so.

Alana very nervously started her car and began to pull out. "Aren't you going to put your seatbelt on? We don't want to get pulled over."

"Excuse me?" Zanna had no idea what the sprite spoke of.

"The human law enforcement requires all people within a vehicle to wear a seatbelt." She pointed to the belt around herself.

As she pulled the belt and fastened it like Alana's, Zanna asked, "What is it for?"

"Protection in case of an accident. Stops you from flying through the windshield," she explained.

"How curious. You know it is completely unnecessary for me. But if it will keep human law enforcement from interfering, so be it. The less I have to deal with humans, the better."

The drive to Alana's home did not take as long as Zanna expected, especially considering she was used to arriving in places almost instantaneously. She actually found the trip rather interesting, seeing the human world in a way she had never experienced before. The tall metal buildings and the harsh exteriors held a beauty to them in their angles and order that she had never realized before. While she could never give up the open airiness of the magical realm, viewing this realm as a human gave her some insight into humans and their nature. Alana pulled into the parking lot of a very tall and nice-looking apartment building. She turned off her car and Zanna could see that she was once again trembling.

"What are you going to do to me and my mother?" She spoke so quietly that a mere human would have had a hard time hearing her.

"I am going to gather information. The more I hear about how little you know, the less inclined I am to punish you. I would like to know why you and your mother, who have magical blood, cannot enter our world. It is your birthright. If you cannot enter our world and have not been allowed those privileges of being two-natured, then I cannot punish you for not following our laws." Zanna tried to smile and reassure Alana that she meant her no harm. Judging by the look on her face, it worked. Zanna had been told before that when she smiled at humans and stared directly into their eyes they believed whatever she said. It came in handy when questioning them before erasing their memories.

Alana took a deep breath and stepped out of the car. Zanna attempted to follow, but forgot to take off the seatbelt and found herself still restrained. To her surprise, Alana giggled, and after a moment, so did Zanna. That shocked her even more. She rarely laughed, let alone giggled like a young girl. Kalan had been right saying that something was up with her tonight; she definitely was not herself.

As Alana took the lead, she said, "My mom's going to freak out that an elf is coming to our home. She always talks about how strong, powerful, and beautiful elves are. She's going to be so pleased, but mad that I didn't call to warn her that you were coming."

"I told you I mean no harm to your mother. There is no need to warn her."

"No, you misunderstand. She's going to wish she had time to clean and dress nicely for you. To make our home and herself more presentable to you," Alana explained.

Zanna was about to answer that this would not be necessary, but they had just walked inside the apartment building and a young man in the lobby, apparently leaving, walked right toward them. Alana and Zanna both stopped talking, not wanting to be overheard. Zanna also noticed that Alana's posture stiffened, and she could smell a little fear coming off her once more. She could tell that, this time, she was not the one causing the reaction. Zanna glanced and saw that Alana was blushing and peering shyly at the young man coming their way.