We at Muse It Up Publishing, Inc. have a great deal to be
for this year. One of our most cherished Cover Artists, Suzannah Safi despite sustaining two feet of flooding waters during
Superstorm Sandy, she, her husband, and their four cherished stray cats survived.
The last I spoke with her, she told me they were still without
electricity, but she was making time to spend at Starbucks so she could use their
wireless connection to stay in touch with those of us who were
biting our fingernails waiting to hear she was okay, and so she can get her brilliant work for our covers done.
I am in
of the strength of so many of the people I am blessed to share my Muse home with and none inspire me more than Suzannah.
Kat and I discussed what we would have done if we'd still lived in
New Jersey when Sandy landed. We have only
TWO kitties, both strays adopted by us years ago...we would have stayed...not evacuated. I have since learned our apartment building DID sustain heavy damage, but even knowing that...
family is family...it matters little if the members have two legs or four. Our four legged family members depend on us, the two-legged ones, to make the choices for their safety as well as our own.
I have recently read a book of poetry by
Pultizer Prize winning author Laura Stamps...like Suzannah and her husband, Laura and her husband adopt
strays. These two women are heroes.
Suzannah I look forward to your full return to us. Until then, please accept this...
Now lets get down to the business of our
Thanksgiving Day Holiday Muse Parade of Covers.
These covers are only in the order I found them. not in any order of brilliance.
It is so hard for me to choose the covers that make this parade because Muse Covers haunt me for the most part with their exceptional beauty, but I have to be
brutally fair in selecting the absolute best from the panacea of them all.
Again, these are only in the order I saw them...not in any order of hierarchy.
1.) THE SEVENTH BULL by Gordon Rothwell, cover by MuseItUp Publishing's multi-talented C.K. Volnek. So why did I choose this cover? That's easy...it's brilliant, powerful, the font is easy to read and the images are so well blended I feel like I could actually see this in an elaborate frame, hanging amongst the best in a museum.
2.) GHOSTLY CLUES by Katy La Lone with another cover by C.K. Volnek. Here's another haunting, powerful cover. If I had one wish it nmight be not to make the font as dark, but that is the ONLY thing I might wish were different. With these old eyes it isn't always easy to see font that is almost the same color as the background.
3.) EARTH ABLAZE by Kevin Hopson, cover by C.K. Volnek does it again. I have to tell you, I'm an avid Kevin Hopson fan, but this isn't about Kevin...although I WILL be reading this book when it releases, but this is about C.K. Volnek and her ability to create the right aura for Kevin's cover to convey...danger..and Boy Howdy did she come through.
4.) THE HIDDEN GLADE by...well me...cover by Marion Sipe. Praising my own books is always something I am uncomfortable doing. Luckily for me this isn't about me, but about the brillaint cover Marion Sipe created for my book. I'm not sure how to best praise Marion...but here's what I came up with...The glade in my story really exists, and Marion must have read my mind, so well has she created it, but she also gave me a haunting impression of the hero and heroine to add to the power of this cover. I am the first one to admit I do not understand how the CA's do what they do, but when they hit the artistic nail on the head the way this cover has, I have to give the artist the highest honors...hence these holiday parades. I am envious of their talent and cannot boast more highly or frequently about it. Thank you Marion.
5.) LOVE'S DECEPTION by Killarney Sheffield cover by Marion Sipe. Killarney has written a lot of books for Muse so has a lot of covers, but this is the first I fell madly in love with the moment I saw it. I don't know how Killarney feels about this cover, but for me Marion gave her brilliance, elegance, and exquisite majesty. LOVE THIS COVER!
6.) WANTED by Annika James cover by Marion Sipe. When a CA is on a roll the rest of us get to wallow in astounding beauty. Marion is proving this is the year of The Sipe. Look at this cover! How could I NOT include this one on my Thanksgiving Holiday Parade? I just love the way the heroines's eyes calls to me. I WILL be getting this book because I HAVE to let myself be drawn in by the eye...and THAT after all is what GREAT covers do...make you want to dive into the story beyond the cover.
7.) SHADOW ARMY by H.M. Prevost cover by Marion Sipe. This is almost turning into an exclusive Marion Sipe extravaganza...and why not? This work calls to the visual taste buds buried inside my retinas...I am beginning to think of Marion as a weaver of sophsiticated "Where's Waldo?" type visual feasts. Seriously can you pick out all the clues Marion has blended into the main scenery? I'm still finding new ones every time I call her covers up and just stare at them.
8.) DAUGHTER'S OF SUBSPECIES by Mike Arsuaga cover by Marion Sipe. Like Killarney Sheffield, Mike Arsuaga has a lot of Muse covers to his name, but this is the first one of his I have loved from the moment I first laid eyes upon it. That does not mean I haven't LIKED some of his previous covers, but this is the first I have LOVED! Another Marion Sipe WINNER!
9.) THE JAGUAR SUN by S. Durham cover by Marion Sipe. S. Durham, like Kevin Hopson is one of our authors I stand in line for when I know a new book is coming out. All her covers to date have rocked me, none moreso than this one. Well Done Marion!
10.) REVELATIONS by Julie Lynn Hayes cover by Marion Sipe...Okay I am a sucker for a cover that makes me wonder if MY interpretation of the cover is on the money, and this cover has me asking myself such questions up and down, round and round. Because I am unsure I am seeing what my mind THINKS I am seeing you can bet I will be following up when this book releases to see how close or far from the author's story my conclusions based on the cover are. Ultimately a good cover makes you want to pick the book up, buy it and look beyond the opening pages. Therefore Marion's artistry is BRILLIANT here.
11.) IN LOVING HATE by Lynette Sofras cover by Nika Dixon. I am lucky to have one of my absolute favortie covers done by Nika, so I am a fan already. Here, Nika has chosen images for this cover that are so intriguing I cannot help grinning every time I see it. Simple, but stunning! Having learned a little bit about the dynamics involved with creating fine covers, I know how important choosing the right stock images are and then how important blending them so they do not look like a bunch of separate images, but one natural whole. Nika has done that here seamlessly.
12.) FAMILY TRADITION by Pamela Turner cover by Delilah K. Stephans. Before I begin enumerating the WOWs about this cover. I need to say you cannot read the author's name at all, and I know from speaking to many CA's the font should never deprive us of easily reading the title and/or the author's name.
Moving on...there are covers I instanty go WOW over because they call to mind earlier covers I went WOW over...this is such a cover. It reminds me so much of the cover done for Barbara Ehrentreu's debut YA book
IF I COULD BE LIKE JENNIFER TAYLOR by Kaytalin Platt. Many times I wonder how good or bad a thing it is for cover artists to pull their images from the same pool of Stock photos.
Long before I became a part of this industry I reeled from look alike covers.
Admittedly I was under the impression, back then, the covers were actually done by the artists creating much the way Monét must have done; with canvas and pallette of oils...I know there are SOME CA's that still do their covers that way, but most use computers and digitalization.
FAMILY TRADITION and IF I COULD BE LIKE JENNIFER TAYLOR show us two sides of the digital color pallette gifted CA's can employ. Here in FAMILY TRADITION we have the central image leeched of warm human flesh tones. Is the heroine here a vampire, zombie, demon?
JENNIFER shows the same face with a slight lip difference. The coloring of blood coursing through the heroines veins tells me, the viewer, I am not going to open the cover of this book and find myself in some paranormal urban fantasy. And THAT is part of what makes for a great cover.
13.) LONG SHADOWS by Grace DeLuca cover by Marion Sipe. This is a cover to drool over. This is Grace's second Muse It Up Release...how lucky can you get but to get a cover so powerful it will not let your eyes slip away? It is so breathtakingly intense I don't even know how to begin describing it. Is it a visual kick in your imagination or something deeper...something that wraps itself around your DNA inserting itself inside you at the cellular level? In my almost three years with Muse It Up, I have to honestly say this is one of the BEST covers I have seen so far. Exceptionally well done Marion.
14.) A DECENT DECEMBER by D.C. McMillen cover by...yep ANOTHER Marion Sipe. Okay as a December Baby I have a predisposed affection for snow, Christmas, and the promise of miracles. This cover gives me all of that and more. An exquisite winter feast. Another well done Marion cover.
15.) CHRISTMAS DELIGHTS by Yvonne Nicolas cover by Marion Sipe. Where to begin? The font is elegant and easy to read. I'm a Christmas fan...again, December you know being my birth month. One of my yearly birthday gifts was being allowed on my birthday 12/12 to high tail it up into the attic, bring down the lights and have at decorating our two acres inside and out...so I'm a fan of twinkling lights and this cover gives us a twinkle here and a twinkle there. Absolutely gorgeous and the coloring...outstanding. Together a brilliant pallette for my eyes to be pleasured by.
16.) REFLECTIONS OF ICE by Kat Holmes cover by Suzannah Safi. Just as this parade began with Suzannah Safi surviving the fury of Superstorm Sandy, we end this parade of covers with Book Two in Kat Holmes' Artica Lights series. When Kat first got this cover, she fairly melted before my eyes, and I can understand why. Elric, a bald...do we have a name for men who are the equivalent of a cougar?...takes my breath away. The lights, the crucial Artica Lights are there for one and all to see...but will anyone guess why the lights are so crucial?
Suzannah brought to life the man Queen Awni relies on to help her rule over Artica, land of perpetual ice, and a man who's going to have his world turned upside down.
Well done Suzannah and Kat.
This IS the season of giving
THANKS and I have much to give thanks for this year. I am grateful I lost no one close to me during the horrible attack of Hurricane Sandy.
helplessness I felt while waiting to learn the fate of my loved ones reminded me of the long, agonzing wait to learn the fate of loved ones in the hours after 9/11. I don't think you ever forget the agony you feel when such events enter your world and forever change it.
Lea Schizas and Litsa Kamateros who ARE the core of what makes Muse Publishing so special. They are the strength of Muse and the family
compass that allows the rest of us to sail through the choppy seas of publication and barely feel the slightest of swells against our boughs.
They're also the
heart and soul of Muse, guiding us through some of the emotional squalls that all too often stir the creative waters authors can drown in. Lea and Litsa, you offer your strength as the life preservers keeping our heads above the crashing waters keeping us strong until the emotional waves retreat.
To those I call
family...many of you have no biological connection to me, but your connection could not be deeper if we actually DID have that
DNA imprint between us... You who came into my world via Muse It Up, Face Book, Twitter, this past year...each and every one of you have added to my
treasure trove of blessings. I cherish you and take none of you for granted.
Kat, Mama Bear, and
Spatz...you three make up the
world I wake to each day and cherish from the depths of my heart and soul. We have our challenges but you three are my pot of gold at the end of every rainbow...
even though you, more than anyone, know the real me, scars and all.
Thanksgiving...it comes once a year, but I give thanks for every one of you every day, 365 days a year...
Now go and have a rich
Thanksgiving celebration. But remember Muse It Up has some really spectacular covers coming with my Christmas Holiday Parade, so come back and enjoy the best covers in all of Publishing Land.