Friday, July 22, 2016

California Dreams: The Cover Shoot

The decision to self-publish my twist on The Twelve Dancing Princesses wasn't made overnight. After I submitted it to the publisher and played the Waiting Game, my back-up plan (i.e. self publishing) began to form. Part of that plan was an amazing cover.
When Plan B came into play I contacted my cousin, Cindy. She's the artist, photographer and graphic designer behind my website. Because of that, I know Cindy is able to catch my vision the first time. There was no one better to create my cover art.

Since it's been two years since my last trip to California, I thought it would be a great time to turn a summer getaway into a business trip. And Cindy was completely on board.

Then, as always happens, nothing went according to plan. We had a model, but hair, makeup, and wardrobe were undecided. We had a location I didn't remember and we had to shoot a night scene in the afternoon. Luckily, my cousin Jill dug into her supply of costume pieces and found a cream and gold dress sewed by her mother, Sue, in the 70's. A few alterations, a pair of silver flats, and elbow-length gloves, and we had the makings of a vintage ensemble. For a whopping $16.

The fateful day arrived. Model Cammi, over-excited author (me!), and photographer Cindy and hubby/assistant Brent piled into the car for a trip to Golden Gate Park. When we unloaded and made our way to the Rose Garden, I remembered the location. Two years earlier, Cindy and I had visited it to snap photos. On our way out, I pointed out a shadowy grove of trees and sketched out the idea for my twist on The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
As soon as we stepped from bright afternoon into the shaded dell beside the Rose Garden, I knew it was right. The dress was donned, curls were rearranged, and makeup retouched. Within 30 minutes, I knew we had the shot. And as usual, Cindy has produced the exact image I've been dreaming about for years, right down to the dreamy color scheme and air of mystery.

My first impression: I could get used to this indie author thing!

Don't get me wrong. Receiving an email with the first draft of Becoming Beauty's cover was so exciting I almost threw my iPad across the room. But the process of developing custom cover art is infinitely more fun.
So, when will this cover reach the light of day? Soon, my dears. Very soon. I'm putting the final touches on my manuscript and am preparing to send it out to editors and proofreaders shortly. Stay tuned! And feel free to peruse the embedded links to look at related posts!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The How-To Princess

It may be the big sister in me. Or the educator. But somehow all of it works together to form a MEGA amount of advice.
Photo Courtesy of
I'll be the first to tell you that I don't know everything. But opening up, sharing what I've learned, and getting your input makes us all a little more awesome at what we do.

Since my website's birth, I've tackled subjects from growing your following on Twitter to the rules of writing and how to successfully flout them. So if there's an area you'd like to learn more, peruse the links below, follow those that pique your interest, and leave me comments to pass along your take on things.
That's right! I've tacked all these subjects and more!

How to Conquer Twitterland Managing your following seemed so easy when you created an account right? If you're like me, those 17 followers didn't become thousands without work. And they certainly didn't get there without a few sound practices.

How to Become a Better Writer Just like musicians and actors, writers have to practice their craft.
There are three areas that need to be addressed: writing, connection, and promotion.

How to Not Tick Off Your Readers Some writers consider annoying their audience their primary occupation. But how do you walk the fine line between stirring a reader's interest and causing them to write poor reviews?

How to Make Stories Your Own Some delightful human once asked me when I would start writing original stories. I gritted my teeth, stewed over it for a long time, and then I wrote this.

How to Behave on Social Media You can say whatever you want on Social Media and irritate anyone on your path to fame. right? Well, if you'd like to make friends and influence people, perhaps you should visit Ms. Etiquette.

How to Break the Rules Without Getting Yelled At...Much The rules of writing are vast. Some of them make no sense at all. The trick is knowing the why behind the rule and having a legitimate reason for making the literary choice you do.

How to Build Worlds: for the Literary Challenged Scene setting has always been a thorn in my side. Who cares if that bush just popped into existence or if my main character is suddenly holding an ax you didn't know she had? Readers, that's who.

How to Stay Sane and Upbeat in the Writing World Writing is a rollercoaster and entering the publishing world makes the ride more intense. How do you make it through alive? Don't lose your sense of humor!

How to Write Blog Posts Others Want to Read We do it with our books, right? Seems normal to expect people to be pulled into reading our shorter works as well. A few tricks of the trade will put you right on track.

How to Sell Stuff Without Annoying People Is it just me or does the pervading sales technique seem to be Hey! Buy my STUFF! I think we can do better than that. I've poured my best knowledge as a consumer, Social Media lover, and educator into this one.

Now, go forth and be awesome! (Also, feel free to leave me your ideas and tips in the comments!)