Thursday, December 20, 2012
MUI SEASON'S GREETINGS COVER PARADE
Christmas comes just once a year, as does
New Year's, but Muse It Up Publishing's brilliant authors and cover artists bring us boatloads of
gifts every day of the year. It is my pleasure throughout the year to take the holidays and
launch a comprehensive blog posting in honor of the marvelous treasures this
publisher brings into the world for story lovers around this big world to partake of.
So here we are again with the LAST Holiday Parade for
2012 and the FIRST to ring in
As usual, the parade is a difficult blog for me to do because most of the covers MUI artists put forth leave me breathless and struggling to choose from amongst the new covers each time...in other words, it's really hard for me to narrow them down to the ABSOLUTE best of the best.
But, once again, I will give it a try.
I MUST assure one and all the majority of the covers listed in this holiday parade come from MARION SIPE...the brilliant CA who gave me the cover for my recent erotica MUI release:
THE HIDDEN GLADE..subtle DYNAMITE!
Marion is proving to be a very gifted and prolific CA. She's followed by NIKA DIXON...who gave me my cover for my mini-mystery:
SHE'S GONE...showing the mystery at the foundation of my story with such power Nika left me awed.
And of course C.K. VOLNEK.
As is always the case, I am doing this in no special order...just the one based on when I find them. My USUAL source is the blog the CA's here at MUI have established, but not always.
So shall we begin?
1.) VERADO A Darker Blood by Jennifer Lawrence; cover by MARION SIPE.
This is such an amazing cover with texture so rich you almost believe if you reach out you will be able to "FEEL" it. I'm also intrigued by the distinctive, yet shadowy thing in the front. It sort of looks like a mutant baby coach...Spectacularly brilliant. The best covers are always those that make you NEED to find out what's going on in the pages beyond the cover. This cover does that so well, I've added this book to my MUST HAVE list!
2.) A PIRATE, A BLOCAKADE RUNNER, AND A CAT: by Beverly Stowe McClure, cover by NIKA DIXON
Okay I admit any cover with a lighthouse is bound to catch my eye and this does that, but it intrigues me because of adding the subtle pinkish hue, the angry waves and the ship heaving and crashing her way through them. I usually like BOLD colors, but the subtle, almost ominous pink grabbed my eyes and clutched my heart.
Of course...add a cat to the title and I'm sitting up and smelling and sensing pure catnip.
Well Done Ladies.
3.) PALACE OF THE TWELVE PILLARS: by Christine Weingand; cover by MARION SIPE
Ethereal covers, especially those done by Marion tantalize me. Here we have a negative and positive image of a person with an intriguing and intricate work of artistic wizardry above the positive and negative. ABSOLUTELY SENSATIONAL!
4.) FALSE RIDGE: CREATURES: by Ralph Hartman; cover by MARION SIPE
I wish I could express all the reasons covers call to me..some are overt...others are more obscure...However...in this cover the first thing that caught my eye is the blue twinklings falling all around the young boy. Very early in my single motherhood, I took my children camping in the Poconos Mountains. Just as dusk deepened we walked out of the dense forest greenery into a long open field. At the bottom of the field were two pine trees and both were twinkling with so many fireflies it looked like the trees were twinkling Christmas Trees...in July. It was Nature at her most electrifying.
This cover reminds me of that experience...especially since the look on the young boy's face seems to mirror the wonder I know was on mine and my children's all those years ago.
So another element that can make a cover STUPENDOUS is in many ways a mystery...touching the memories we all have permanently attached to our schema's (that's the part of our brains that holds onto long term memories that matter to us)...bringing them powerfully to the forefront and make us now associate the cover with that continually building inner schematic. Marion is continually proving she knows how to spark emotions via her creative talents.
5.) A SUMMER SQUALL: by Wendy Laharner; cover by MARION SIPE
Here's another Marion cover that teases and pleases. I drowned when I was four...so crashing waves always have an effect upon me. I am terrified of them, and yet I find their power, energy, and potency exquisitely heart-stopping.
This is a Muse It Young Title that calls to me, a woman well beyond my personal YOUNG era. The dash of brilliant red intrigues me. Why is it there? And the boy...is he corporeal?
(When I originally wrote this, I thought this was a Muse It Young story, but thankfully Ms. Laharnar let me know it's not...so please allow me to correct that error and thank Ms. Laharnar for her generosity in making this adjustment.)
6.) NOT FOR SALE: by Carlene Rae Dater; cover by MARION SIPE
I so love the way Marion incorporates mysticism in her covers. I am a BLUE fiend...absolutely LOVE the color...the blue here reaches up into the silhouettes of the two hovering characters competing?...harmonizing?...with the other hues floating around up there?
I also LOVE the bold, no nonsense font used for the title and the smaller, but easily read font used for the author's name. One of my pet peeves is fonts used that blend in because of color or placement of them you just cannot read. Marion knows how to make contrast work!
7.) THIS WAND FOR HIRE: by James Hartley; cover by MARION SIPE
I am a HUGE James Hartley fan. He is one of Muse It Up Publishing's more prolific authors. This is the third of his covers that call to me and I ABSOLUTELY adore it!
The richness of blue, the sparkling of magic from the wand, and the glow within the wand's power crystal...WOW! Marion hits the nail on the head...again!
8.) HIDDEN BY THE ROSE: by Bil and Bon Franks; cover by MARION SIPE
So many intriguing things are going on in this cover...too many not to demand I stop, look, and speculate. What IS circulating at the bottom right hand corner, and does it have anything to do with the interesting vine-like thing rising above it? And why does the female look so...pensive?
9.) STELLA: by S. Durham; cover by C.K. VOLNEK
I am also a HUGE fan of S. Durham and this cover just blows me away. There's a gorgeous though reddish tinged cherub in the forefront, followed by impenetrable darkness until the very top.
What IS that swirling and twirling up there?
Absolutely MASTERFUL job C.K. and S.
10.) ROAD LIKE A RIVER: by Graeme Smith; cover by C.K. VOLNEK
I'm a great fan of the aurora borealis and the top of this cover makes me think of that incredible light show from Nature with some essence rising from it.
Blue for the road and blue in several of its monochromatic elegance is a winner for this blue lover.
Another WELL-DONE C.K.
11.) DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA: by Julie Eberhart Painter; cover by WINTERFROST
LOVE the title...also love the hula dancer's silhouette and bright flower hovering above the dancer's head. Also love the way Winterheart captured the hues of the break of dawn.
SENSATIONAL Winterheart and Julie.
12.) A CRISPY RICE CHRISTMAS: by Conda V. Douglas; cover by WINTERFROST
I have an addiction...a BIG one...I can't get enough Rice Krispie Treats. I sang like a nightingale when they came out pre-made several years back. So the title alone of this book would have me salivating,,,and of course putting a serving bowl jam packed with my favorite addiction on this cover was guaranteed to make me LOVE this cover.
But for those of you NOT addicted to my favorite treat, this cover has many other allures making you stop and give this book a second-third-zillionth look. The sparkling Christmas Tree done in nothing but clear, luminescent lights speaks of magic...the magic of the season...the couple with joy reflecting from the eyes of the couple...and you have a
So another MAGNIFICENT Winterheart.
13.) CRITICAL MASS: by Cyrus Keith; cover by DELILAH K. STEPHANS
Once more I am a HUGE Cyrus Keith fan. I have already read every one of the two books currently available in his The Nadia Project and am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for this the finalé to become available.
This cover is so powerful and gives us Cyrus' fans, exactly what we need...an EXPLOSIVE cover that promises the energy beyond the cover Cyrus Keith writes about with such authority.
MASTERFULLY DONE Delilah.
This next one I wasn't at all sure if I should include. No matter how many angles I got my head into I couldn't figure out the title as it appears on the cover. I am one of those people who never had a problem "seeing" the underlying pictures in the 3-D books so popular in the past. I never had to cross my eyes or blur my vision to see them.
I still have one of those books and can easily pull up the picture lurking beyond the obvious...(I pulled it out to test this theory...just in case my problem is due to aging eyesight...it's not)...but nothing, not even using my magnifying glass allowed me to clearly read the title...To some that might not seem terribly important, but to me it is.
You can have a treasure chest of font types, but if they cannot be clearly read when used, you might as well incorporate a foreign language or pictographs in your covers.
Still everything else about this cover warrants being included in this final 2012 Holiday Cover Parade...so here it is...
14.) TWELVE KISSES: by Lindsay Townsend; cover by DELILAH K. STEPHANS
I love the beauty of the medieval times. They knew how to create breathtaking fashions...this cover captures that rich detail masterfully. The sumptuousness of the gown's material, the richness of the pillow at her side, the glittering of the accents of the gown leave me speechless.
I must admit to being intrigued by the addition of the Tag line...that is a pleasant surprise.
NICELY DONE Delilah.
15.) VALLECITO KNIGHT: by Angela Jangua; cover by NIKA DIXON
I only have one problem with this cover...if you're going to include tag lines, please make them stand out enough for us to read.
Nika has given us an amazing journey through the many casts of the color green.
I love the many compositions of the textures she used here. Green is not usually one of my favorite colors, but it really works here.
16.)THE GLORIOUS TWELFTH: by Alan Calder; cover by MIKE ZAMBRANO.
Mike Zambrano's covers always pique my interest. I have learned he is the only one of our CA's here at Muse It Up Publishing that hand paints his covers...which may explain why I feel like this cover belongs hanging in some high classed art gallery...
That said, I'm glad it's here as one of our covers. Since I can't draw a straight line, even with a ruler, I am more than a little impressed by Mike's mastery. The chalice sparkles and also gives us the mirrored image off the inner chalice's patina of someone who seems to encompass the twin dichotomy of darkness and lightness.
The cross above it...done by hand...is nothing short of BRILLIANT!
17.) THE KINDLING: by Brandi Schmidt; cover by SUZANNAH SAFI.
I am an over-the-moon fan of Suzannah Safi's talents. Where to begin...how about with the first thing that grabbed my eye? Well that's easy...it happened to be the heroine's eye. What an arresting color...AND the sparkle only makes it moreso.
I am a kaleidoscope fan. I also adore the majesty of fractals. This cover teases and pleases me by overlapping such images throughout the cover.
I'm also intrigued and yes, captivated by whatever is going on with the capital K of the title.
18.) IN A PICKLE: by Beth Overmyer; cover by KAYTALIN PLATT.
My grandmother inherited a pocket watch like this one from the grandfather I never met, long before I was born.
Every time she showed it to me, a tear droplet would form in the corner of her eye and slowly leak out creating a sad, meandering trail down over her sloping cheeks, past her quivering lips, and beyond where it would hover for a heartbeat of time on the edge of her chin before dropping into the sponge-like absorbency of her skirt. I always wanted to brush that tear away, but somehow, even as a child, I knew that tear was a reverent homage to her love-filled past, so let it travel its heart wrenching journey.
I don't know if others would be drawn by a memory from their past to this cover, but for me it was like a gift of memory from when Nonnie was here with me.
There seems to be some textures upon whihc the watch is displayed reminding me of "brocade" and "velvet"!
A truly spectacular cover.
19.) TWINKLE LIGHTS: by Vicki Batman: cover by...I HAVEN'T A CLUE
Yep, it's true. I haven't any idea which of our gifted artists is behind this pastoral Christmas scene, but it is such a classically beautiful scene I couldn't leave it out. So whoever created it, thank you for reminding me of the serenity and awe of this holiday season.
There you have it...Muse It up Publishing's BEST covers for this
SEASON'S GREETINGS Holiday Parade.
I am so honored to be a part of this Publishing House and the gifted people that make it SING.
My next parade will be just in time for
So have a WONDERFUL
which way you celebrate it...
and come on back for