Heat All Around

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Here's the Tribute Table 

For Karen at the Muse Conference...as big as I can make it. She really DOES live on in all our hearts, Paul and always will.

Thursday, July 4, 2013



Today is INDEPENDENCE DAY here in the US of A. Back in 1776 a rebellious bunch of forefathers gathered together in my home state Pennsylvania, wrote out a document called

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE that said we as a people have RIGHTS!

I'd kinda forgotten that, but lately I've been reminded what rights I'd exercised when I first began profiling these magnificent covers. Maybe I got lazy...and for that I apologize...but NO MORE.

My Grandma, a full blooded Cherokee Shamaness taught me that if a job is worth doing, you'd better better do it right...or don't bother doing it at all.

So for those who weren't around when I started this, let me remind y'all what I did then, and why. I chose covers that SPOKE to me and then told you guys how and why they spoke to me. SO sit back and get ready to climb inside my brain {I know...a scary place} and learn why I find the following covers the BEST of the new Muse It Up covers our Cover Artists have put forth in recent days and weeks...and again


1.) I LOVE this cover for THE WEDDING NIGHT done by MARION SIPE not JUST because it is MY cover, but because of it's imagery, the creative usage of not one but THREE fonts, and the fantastic blending of the images so it looks not like pieces of a puzzle thrown together to stick wherever they land, but like an artist's canvas with one painting flowing together most brilliantly. I mean...seriously you can READ my name, AND the title, and yep, the font doesn't clash with the motorcycle, the castle or the ethereal couple hovering. SAY WHAT? A castle with battlements, an adoring couple, AND a motor cycle? What does it mean? You'll have to buy the book!

2.) BROKEN BONDS by Margaret Fieland, cover by Delilah K. Stephans. OMG...this is a POWERFULLY simple cover that just reaches out and grabs you...doesn't it? The whole background makes me wonder are they on Mars or some other alien planet with a lot or Martian similarities. It's so simple, it's very complex. The terrain is haunting, and the moon, hovering in the sky..doesn't look like OUR moon, so it's probably NOT Mars...right? I rarely recognize the differences in fonts unless they are dramatically different so I don't know if Ms. Stephans used the same font just different sizes or different styles, but whatever she did...it WORKS! I can easily read the series information...Novels of Aleyne...The Title doesn't require breaking out the magnifying glass or some heavy duty squinting...BROKEN BONES...and the author's name blends in with NOTHING! Margaret Fieland. Absolutely Artistically Brilliant!

3.) THE MASSACRE OF CHINLAC by Dan Briggs cover by Marion Sipe...This is another deceptively simple cover where red is the primary color, with only white and black for relief. Being 1/4 Cherokee I am of course drawn by the feel of the Native symbolism shown by the crossed spears and white silhouette of what appears to be an eagle. It is so simple and yet so powerful. You cannot escape the spears and the bird. AND you can easily read ALL the font messages without struggle. If you were to set this side by side with the first cover in this parade it would show Marion Sipe's ability to SPREAD her artistic wings and do so with noticeable inventiveness. I know I'M impressed!

 4.) ANNA AND THE SOAP OPERA by Priscilla Brown cover by Marion Sipe. Let's hear it for LLAMAS! Hip Hip HurLLAMAS! How many covers do you see that have cows or horses grazing in a pasture? Now admittedly this cover stands out ten fold because its got LLAMAS...a good cover is supposed to make you stop and want to take a second look, and this accomplishes that. What little I know of LLAMAS they are a whole different kettle of cattle from...well...CATTLE...and judging from the expression of the couple bopping around at the top of this cover raising LLAMAS must be a whole lotta fun too. The font in every placement of it can be read easily, and again..I come back to the LLAMAS...they almost look like they're laughing at us. Yep I LIKE this cover. Well done Marion...Hmm this is now THREE representations of Marion's talent so far, right?

5.) NATASHA'S DREAM by Heather Greenis...cover by... can anyone imitate a drum roll...cause. YEPPEROO! Marion Sipe. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this cover too. I'm beginning to wonder if cover artists aren't today's version of Michelangelo, DaVinci, Cezanne...oh yeah...DaVinci with all his codes? Cause look at this cover! Marion has given us a really cute girl in a sweep of a dress sorta reminiscent of something airily Greek, and look at the hand writing and parchment used for the diary. I wouldn't be surprised to see the ends of the diary turn into scroll wheels would you? And don't you just want to go OMG over that dark but oh so suggestive shadow? Well, well done.

6.) A KISS AT VESPERS by Anne E. Johnson, cover by...I DO believe this parade is pretty much, and rightly so, turning out to be the MARION SIPE EXTRAVAGANZA...at least so far. NOBODY does silhouette lovers better than Marian as she proved with cover (1) and here again in (6) But there all similarities end. In one, the forefront was alive with color and scenery. Here we have darkness...which presents the perfect backdrop for the author's name, the title and the very beginning of the horizon for the cathedral and its spires to be rising from the darkness into the light. I DO recognize three different font styles but all of them blend nicely and they are easy to read.

7.) VASILISSA AND THE DEATHLESS HEART by Carrie Megginson cover by...can you guess? Marion Sipe. Okay, this one intrigues me from the title onwards. The Deathless HEART? But we're here to talk about covers. Take a look at this cover. Can you not tell why I LOVE this cover? I'm a fan of sparklies. Christmas is my favorite time of year cause I can't enough of twinkling lights. Do I see lightning bugs...or fairies? How intriguing. And what is that in the background...naked branches or some kind of exotic Sanskrit from long ago that only those fairies or lightning bugs can translate? And who is the girl in the front? Is she human, or a full sized faerie or lightning bug about to embark on an adventure that will take her to some land where she'll encounter the deathless heart? LOVE this cover.

8.) HALF LIFE by Pamela Kelt & Robert J. Deeth cover by...talk about a well rounded artist..Marion Sipe. Kat and I are both history buffs...so much so Kat took the Holocaust as an elective because it isn't taught in mainstream history in our schools...at least not during her schoool years...so when we saw this cover we both felt its power like a Mohammad Ali punch during his heyday to our guts. The darker sepia tones don't pretend to lighten the impact of the Swastika nor do they minimize the seriousness of the time. The female lead is appropriately wearing the gloves women wore and the man is tipping his hat in just the right way. I was pleased to see the sepia tones were not relieved except by the slightest alterations of the contrasting scenery. It was not a happy time and this cover does not make you want to dance and make merry. It haunts. Marion continues to show me just how truly gifted she is...and as with all the previous covers, you can read EVERYTHING easily.

9.) THE DISAPPEARING ROSE by Renee Duke cover by Marion Sipe. I honestly don't know why this one calls to me, but it does. I'm still trying to figure it out. Is that a castle keep in the background or a political stronghold? I have no idea. It's got a cross above one of its risers so I suppose it could be a religious compound..and are those pigeons, doves, or swans flying above...not sure...BUT what DOES get me is that disk...that is one powerful disk with a halo around it sitting in a blue field. A good cover pulls you in, makes you want to buy, and THEN makes you wonder, and boy am I wondering...a lot. The font is bold and easy to read...so it HAD to make this parade.

10.) SHARP COMPASSION by M.G. Thomas, cover by Marion Sipe. When is a reflection more than a reflection? When it makes you feel emotions to the very bottoms of your toes. This cover makes me feel emotions that are straight forward, but then I get shaky as I look into the water's reflection and the simple power of the upper emotions become quivery, like I should start looking over my shoulder. Amazing!

11.) THE HAUNTING OF INGERSULL PENITENTIARY by Victoria Roder, cover by Marion Sipe. If I were only allowed to choose one cover for this parade of all the new covers posted since I did my last parade, this one would be it. Never have I seen a scarier, more breathtaking cover. It's all here right down to the neon NO VACANCY sign. Ever since I first saw a Marion Sipe cover I have been awed by her creative vision, but this one will probably always be, for me, her absolute best. VERY WELL DONE! I soooo don't want to visit Ingersull Penitentiary. Victoria, you have a winner in this cover!

12.) DARK INTERLUDE by Pamela Kelt cover by Marion Sipe. Here's another cover by Marion that hints at Sanskrit, ancient mystery, and maybe murder...certainly blood. I'm not sure what language the parchment has written on it. I'm leaning towards one of the Romanesque-Basque languages. The buildings look like maybe they're made of bronze? Intriguing...and the font...exquisite.

13.) CURSE OF THE SIRE by Larion Wills cover by Winterheart. For a country girl I am not a big fan of country scenes, but this one is so calming it calls to me. I love the soft use of purple and gold as well as the silhouettes of the hero and his lady. Peaceful...and I like country peaceful when the serenity of Nature is prominently used as a backdrop.

14.) THE THREE FATES by Tricia McGill cover by...will you be surprised if I name Marion Sipe yet again? No...neither was I. Let me enumerate all the reasons this cover is brilliant. First it has one of our favorite things on it...a LIGHTHOUSE...there on the top of the outcropping to guide the wary sailor home through the stormy seas.And then there's the head piece...or is it a head piece? It could be an ancient building made to look like a head piece...but suppose it is a head piece...it looks like a really OLD head piece...maybe from a time before recorded history. The title is THE THREE FATES...and there seems to be THREE pillars with RUNES? on the head piece. This is a cover of great intrigue and mystery. Gotta love it!

15.) FORTUNATUS by James Hartley, cover by Marion Sipe. I have the extra advantage of having already read this book so know how the cover is to quote my English friends SPOT ON! This cover has LOTS of magic flying around it, the girl and that chest in the background. Marion did an exceptional job showing all that and more...she blends it so well it really does look like its popping before my eyes. Again her choice of fonts is easy to read and none of the lettering disappear into the scenery or background coloring.

16.) THE WAIT FOR RED ROSES by Larion Wills cover by Winterheart. One of the saddest things we did as a people was colorize the old movies. Thankfully Winterheart realized with this cover the true power of black with only red and a smidgen of green for the contrasting color. I think this is probably the BEST cover of Winterheart's I have seen in a really long time...but like I said I LOVE the black and white films of our past. Nicely done Winterheart and Larion.

17.) WUCAII by Pembroke Sinclair, cover by Delilah K. Stephans. This is another of those covers that once you see it you will never forget it. This is by far the BEST cover this CA has EVER done. The Power behind it just takes my breath away. It is so simple you will never, ever forget it. Let me explain. The eye in the very center of what is a textured black background commands your attention, but then you realize the lid of the eye is actually an artfully molded golden dragon. Pure genius, and the fonts used are perfectly sized, with the right coloring and tonal saturation. Very well done Delilah K. Stephans!

18.) CHANGE PARTNERS by James Hartley cover by Marion Sipe. Okay, I'm the first to admit I'm a sucker for flames on covers, not because I want to get caught in a fire. I've already been there a time or two so have no desire to visit that element of Nature's power any time soon but FLAME does make our visceral senses stand up and take notices...especially if they are powerfully presented the way they are here. We don't just have the flames bursting from the house in angry tongues, but in the forefront we also have swirling jetties of red and burnishing gold swirling around our prominently silhouetted couple. Every time I think I have seen every possible manner of Marion Sipe's visual interpretations of what can be, she sends out new tendrils of creative mastery that raises her to a new pinnacle. Well done!

19.) NOTHING BUT YOUR LOVE by Priscilla Brown cover by Suzannah Safi. Having been told most of my life that I have sexy legs it is so cool seeing an entire cover utilizing the "zing" power of a well turned pair of legs. Everything else seems mundane and yet it's all the perfect contrast...and contrast is part of what makes a brilliant cover eye-popping enough to capture the attention of a potential buyer in that brief second or two books have for getting noticed. All the colors of the assorted scenarios blend so well you know exactly what you're viewing. The sky, water, and beach...can't you almost smell the tang of salt and hear the call of the sea birds swirling above? But why is our heroine navigating the unfriendly terrain of sand in heels? Absolutely RIGHT ON Suzannah!

20.) SAVAGE SMOKE by Kay Dee Royal, cover by Suzannah Safi. Two sides of  shifting story...with a banner masterfully letting our eyes make the transition between the human side and yes, the darker, animal side...all of it revealed in the same central colorings. One of the things I've learned over the years is the importance of showing emotion on covers. Emotion can and IS shown in many ways...like on this cover...you have the obvious...the couple kissing, her hand, tenderly spread open, lightly molding his cheek...their lips almost...a mere breath a way from connecting...the wolf, fire in his eyes, his teeth bared, fangs sharp, tongue a potent backdrop against the fangs on his lower jaw...but you also have the colors yellow and red masterfully used here and there in ways that speak of the longevity of the rock formation, but the approaching danger behind the halos surrounding the title. I also love the dark banner Suzannah used to highlight the pale yellow text of the author's name. This is a CA who knows how to bring many elements together to showcase a LOT of detail with just a few strokes of her color's pallet.

Twenty AMAZING covers delivered by

Queen Marion Sipe who gave us

FOURTEEN of the top twenty since the Memorial Day Parade in May and her Royal Court,  Princesses, Suzannah Safi, Delilah K. Stephans, and Winterheart each at two respectively. WELL DONE YOUR MAJESTIES.

We have a longggg summer ahead of us before the next parade in September. Yep, I'm talking about that Last Hurrah before preparing for the

winter chill and upcomming season of harvest,

Labor Day. Enjoy your summer and Remember, we at Muse It Up are eager to help you

Catch the Muse Reading Bug!

Until Labor Day, this is Ladybug Lin

Parading off!