Making covers are not easy, and each artist is different. We have several we are connected with and some we like to pair with more than others such as the artistic work from Alicia Anspaugh and Covers By Cassy. We're covering one of the designs by Covers By Cassy (CBC) today. The Killer Clown.
CBC specializes in creating cost effective covers for authors who otherwise would not be able to afford a quality cover. This cover started with the perfect pose of a very suspicious clown. Instead of taking it cute and cuddly, it was turned into a horror cover with 10 images used, not counting text. The after the clown the next thing to find was the background that would fit best. Next the body. And finally the blood and knife. All of these are layered together until the artist felt the work represented the feel they wanted. Finally it was finding the correct font. A bloody font was the perfect finish with a "Not all clowns are happy" bloody tag line. These covers are easy to make minor changes to to meet the authors desires and can easily be made into full wraps for print books for minimal cost.
As you can see by the image above, several pieces went into the creation of this book cover. Every artist does something different and some authors like some things better than others. This one definitely speaks of its own style. If you like it please follow Covers By Cassy on Facebook and of you'd like to see more pre-made covers offered by NeoLeaf Press please check out our Cover Store.
Photoshop is no secret. What seems to be a secret is how to get a good book cover at a good price. Some might even ask how NeoLeaf Press is able to offer book covers so cheaply? Well the answer is lots of talent, scores of images, and photo shop. The cost to go out and shoot perfect images just the way authors want can cost $100s up to $1000s. So what we do is use readily available images and craft together, almost scrap book like, the perfect image for an author. What we don't do is take a free stock image unaltered that hundreds of other people have already used and slap it on a cover and call it good. For example.
This unfinished steampunk cover consists of 16 different images. While if you look hard enough you might recognize a piece here or there, the likely hood that a reader will recognize anything from the cover is minimal. And that is the point. If we had had an artist commissioned for this it would cost anywhere from $300-$1000. We are able to offer a cover like this to authors for less than $100. It's about affordability and what the author really wants. If they want a cover that's commissioned by an artist then of course we can do that as well, like the one below.
This being a pre-made from the artist Alicia Anspaugh sells for less than $100 as an example of her work. Her prints go for $100+ in studios and custom work usually go between $300 & $700.
Another example of what we can do for affordable covers is our killer clown. This one is a compilation of 10 images, not counting the font we paired with it. Again, this is another example of how we can offer covers for more affordable prices. This one is only $50.
All in all it's what the author truly wants and that's why NeoLeaf Press offers various options and has connections with different artists and photographers to make it happen. We also know, in the day and age, authors struggle, and we want to help ease that struggle by making quality covers affordable.
Have you ever written the greatest novel of your life only to start editing and find you used the word Nice 402 times in your novel? Sometimes even five times or more on a page. We all fall into this. They said. He was nice. Nice day. They roll off our tongue so much in everyday conversation that they haunt the pages of your novel. Well no more. Here are over 150+ alternative words to use in your novel.
Instead of NICE try…
enjoyable - pleasurable – thoughtful - courteous - lovely - likable - pleasing - gracious - congenial – cordial – admirable - considerate
Instead of GOOD try…
excellent - amazing - wonderful - pleasant - marvelous - exceptional - fantastic - super – outstanding – terrific - splendid - stupendous
Instead of BAD try…
awful - rotten - naughty - mean - dreadful - nasty - wicked – lousy- terrible - unpleasant - disagreeable - wretched
Instead of HURT try…
pained – ached – stabbed – stung – throbbed – burned – bit – pounded – tingled – cramped – agonized - smarted
Instead of SAD try…
depressed - gloomy - miserable - cheerless - unhappy - forlorn – sorrowful - upset - downcast - tearful - somber
Instead of HAPPY try…
cheerful - delighted - pleased - glad - joyful - ecstatic - content - jovial - amused - merry - thrilled - elated
Instead of LAUGHED try…
giggled - chuckled - roared - howled - whooped - snickered - guffawed - shrieked - grinned - cackled - bellowed - chortled
Instead of LIKE try…
admire - approve - adore - treasure - fancy - marvel - appreciate – respect - cherish - favor - desire - enjoy
Instead of SAID try…
commented - replied - remarked - declared - stated - exclaimed - shouted - whispered - announced - responded - boasted - explained
Instead of BIG try…
huge - giant - gigantic - enormous - large - massive - colossal - immense - bulky - hefty - tremendous - jumbo
Instead of LITTLE try…
small – tiny – petite – miniature – tiny – itsy – bitsy – minuscule – mini – minuet - microscopic – skimpy – wee
Instead of RAN try…
bolted – sped – hurried – sprinted – jogged – rushed – galloped – hustle – skipped – raced – dashed - fled
Instead of WALKED try…
strolled – sauntered – tiptoed – trotted – marched – glided – strutted – shuffled – correct – trudged – hiked - paraded
Instead of PRETTY try…
beautiful - gorgeous - appealing - cute - lovely - exquisite - attractive – elegant – handsome – stunning – fair - dazzling.
Instead of LOOKED try…
gazed – examined - glanced – viewed – observed – peeked – studied – noticed
Instead of SCARED try…
afraid - frightened - spooked - horrified - startled - fearful - petrified - anxious - aghast - alarmed - terrified - shaken
Ouch, you didn’t think anyone would write this did you? Well we are. While most women know what it’s like to be hormonal we decided to hit on a few tricks to put this into writing.
Out Of Habits
When a woman is hormonal the body wants or craves different things. While your character may have a bowel of cereal every morning like clockwork, during this dreaded time of the month she may run out and get all you can eat pancakes. You can use these things to subtly hint at the natural workings of a woman without outright writing ‘She’s on her period.”
Yes, it’s true. Hormones make for a roller coaster of emotions. It is totally possible to have a woman happy and on top of the world one moment and the next a screaming yelling demon. Something like this can really help move along a story and add in some action during slow times. Just remember you can only use this technique once a month.
Hormones changes the sex drive so most often a woman will have either a higher or lower sex drive during this time of the month. They also usually never want to take advantage of this, causing mixed emotions. The woman can very easily act on her desires then back out feeling to embarrassed to go any further.
Not necessarily part of hormonal body language, but something to remember. A woman has to have access to her products during that time of the month. This many mean she will carry a purse if she doesn’t normally or maybe a larger purse.
Hormones cause pain. Sometimes just mild aches and bloating to buckled over stabbed in the abdomen pain. This can be a crippling blow to a character if something like this would happen in an intense situation. Remember you can use this to add drama, conflicts, and bring your reader closer to your character.
At our latest event we experienced a first. The worst first that has spawned things like stricter review policies on Amazon. A bad apple. This one almost ruined an event that hosts 20-50 indie authors every year. The IABE (Indie Author Book Expo) hosts a yearly event where they put authors in front of various crowds. Lately they have been pairing with a Des Moines Mall to allow people to naturally and casually discover authors. This year they expanded into doing live readings on stage to bring in a bigger draw. As with any event some authors sold out and others did not sell at all. Overall, it’s a friendly event with a host that bends over backwards to try and please her authors. To be honest, she’s too nice as we saw many people constantly demanding new spots, different tables, and leaving before tear down time. Each time she accommodated them. These weren’t even the bad apples.
The first step into the bad fruit barrel came from a report from the mall that authors were rude to staff and security. IABE was already on shaky footing because is this continued this event would have to find a new location. Then, the topper on the rotten cake.
After the event was over the mall made it know there was a thief amongst the authors. They had caught, on camera, an author stealing a money bag from one of the mall kiosks. This footage was handed over to police for the thief to be found. Even worse, the thief reached out on social media trying to say he ‘found’ the bag. A believable statement if they were not caught on camera. Ohh, yes before the footage came out there were suspects. Like a mystery detective, each author was analyzed. The reality was the thief was the least expected person.
A children’s author, outwardly nice, who donated several books to the raffle, was the culprit. It was a heart-breaking situation as the mall decided the IABE could no longer be there. After some pleading, it was allowed back under much stricter rules. Just like there became stricter rules on book reviews on Amazon after a bad apple, there is now more rules placed on this Midwest event.
What’s worse? IABE is a nonprofit that helps bring classes to children around the Midwest and is currently working towards investing in a printer to provide small indie authors cheaper printing. One bad apple risked it all for every author.
So, what’s the point of this articles. To raise awareness. People, even authors, are not always as they seem. It’s these bad apples that ruin the writing world for other authors. Don’t let this happen to you, and don’t be that bad apple.
The common misconception about writing M/M (male and male) romance is that it’s very hard. Like most fiction, research is recommended, but in reality, writing a M/M romance is very similar to writing a traditional romance.
Stay away from stereotypes. This is usually considered lazy writing and does not portray complex main character well. When starting to write a M/M romance, delve deep into back story. Make sure you have a well fleshed out past that makes sense with the character. Don’t be overtly obvious as you build a character. Telling things like he was caught with playgirl magazine in his room, most often will not go over well with a reader. Give hints to why your main characters are attracted to each other. Touch on qualities and desires like you would in a normal romance.
Try to make your characters dynamic and stay away from the typical he’s very feminine and he’s very masculine unless you have a solid concrete reason to do so. There’s nothing wrong with a romance featuring two feminine men or two very masculine alpha men.
Don’t use phrases like it was a life style choice or a phase they are going through. As M/M becomes more popular and people are becoming more aware, many people of the LGBT community are coming to light. It’s an old opinion that it’s a phase or taboo. More so, with the growing LGBT community becoming more open, the popularity of M/M fiction is growing. This is partially do to the draw to something new in the world of readers.
Possibly one of your biggest hurdles in writing M/M, is making this relatable to your typical reader. This means, not just targeting your LGBT community. You need to get into the head of your character and the heart of your reader. Make them feel the struggled and understand. With the growing popularity of Fantasy, Sci-fi, and other genera’s in pop culture this may be one of the hardest things to write well as it’s still not very main-stream yet.
If you are starting out, and not in a M/M relationship yourself, the best place to start is research. Start with other popular M/M novels. Read up on your desired topic. Ask someone in that kind of relationship. Don’t be afraid of offending people. Often times they will be nice and let you know if that is something they are comfortable talking about. With so much false information out there, going to the source is best. Don’t pry. No one likes people probing into their personal life, so start out by asking something simple like, “I’m writing a book and thought you could help me. Would it be all right and email you about what I’m working on and if you’re interested, could I ask you some questions to help me write this?” Be courteous, and if they say no, accept it and move on.
Steps to writing M/M
1. The more outward about their sexuality the more dynamic and carefree their personality tends to be.
2. If a character is hiding their sexuality they will tend to over masculinize themselves to play the role.
3. Remember they are normal people and will act like any other characters in situations.
4. Don’t be afraid to peek into a porn site for ideas when writing explicit sex scenes.
5. Don’t name, brand, or tag these characters like they’re the ‘token’ character in your story.
6. Be detailed and check your facts.
Writing F/F romance
Writing F/F fiction (female and female) can be tricky. The biggest rule is it must be catchy. F/F fiction is well dominated by M/M fiction and tends to be a harder sell. This could possibly be because of the high amount of female romance readers over male.
To start, characters cannot be stereotypical. To capture a reader, you need to dynamic characters that stand out. Females are great emotional characters, so capturing your reader with feelings instead of intense action will be easier. Avoid derogatory terms such as lez or dike as this diminishes your character.
When writing F/F characters, don’t try to write them as if they are men, and if you do make sure there’s a very good reason. A more dynamic character may check out another woman’s butt or breasts, but are most likely not going to come on with cheesy one liners.
A woman trying to attract a woman will be very similar to a woman trying to attract a man. Remember all characters actions will be based on reason and often past experiences. A strong back story makes it easier to believe why a character will perform a certain action. How their family, friends, and peers reacted to them in the past with shape how they interact in the future.
A female character shunned for being a lesbian might try to hide it. They might sneak to places they could meet someone like themselves or even date other men to cover it up. On the other hand, someone who’s family embraced them and were encouraged by their friends might be very outgoing and open about their sexuality.
Don’t be afraid to have others read your work and listen closely to criticism. If multiple people say about the same thing, this will give you grounds and a place to start to rework your writing. If everyone says they don’t like your main character, figure out why. Ignore comments regarding their sexuality and focus on deeper things. Sexuality and things outside of a reader’s norm should not effect if they like the story or not. A common example of this is aliens, fantasy creatures like centaurs, or androids. Good writing can push a reader past their boundaries.
Facts and Myths about LGBT
Myth: Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is just a phase.
Fact: Lots of people do experiment with their sexuality, but for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people their attraction to the same or both genders all their life is the same as straight people. Often it is felt or known at a very young age.
Myth: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people can be cured.
Fact: This is like saying you can be cured of naturally having blue eyes or liking the color red. There is no cure and scientists have warned that trying to do so with some current procedures out there can be very dangerous.
Myth: Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is a choice.
Fact: People don’t choose who they fall in love with. Same sex, opposite sex, old, and young.
Myth: People who are lesbian, gay, and bisexual are very promiscuous and will try and jump into bed with anyone they meet.
Fact: Sexual orientation has nothing to do with how many or how few partners a person has.
Myth: Being bisexual, gay, or lesbian is unnatural.
Fact: Scientists have shown that bisexual, gay, and lesbian relationships have existed in the animal kingdom for years. Most notably seen in bonobos, orcas, black swans, and even lions.
Myth: Gay men molest children at a high rate than heterosexuals.
Fact: Scientists found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.
Myth: Allowing gay people to serve openly will damage the armed forces.
Fact: Much research has been done on this subject and found that over the years up to 10% of our armed forced have been gay and operating under the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policies. Also no research has been found that depicts there is or have been any harm in allowing gay troupes to serve.
Myth: LGBT people can be identified by certain Mannerisms, clothing or physical characteristics
Fact: People are individuals with individual tastes and interests. Observable trends tend to start stereotypes, but most often they are untrue and not accurate.
Myth: In a same sex relationship one person usually plays the masculine role and the other a famine role.
Fact: As with heterosexual couples, this dynamic varies from person to person depending on personality, dynamics, and other factors.
Myth: LGBT people do not make good parents.
Fact: Other than stigmatism from their peers, research has shown there is no higher occurrence of issues/problems than in children of heterosexual children.
LGBT definitions and more
LGBT is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. It has been used since the 1990s.
A lesbian is a homosexual woman; a woman who is sexually attracted to the same sex.
Gay is a term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual. The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century.
Bisexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females.
Transgender people are those who have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex.
Pansexuality, or omnisexuality, is the sexual, romantic or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity.
A person with no connection to the traditional system of gender.
Experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others and a lack of interest in sexual relationships.
Little or no capacity to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic or emotional connection is formed with another individual, often within a romantic relationship.
Gender fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl.
(n) taking delight in the happiness of others, vicarious joy.
(n) the time after lunch or dinner spent talking to the people you shared the meal with.
(n) just the right amount.
(n) the overwhelming urge to squeeze or pinch something very cute
(n) a joke so poorly told and unfunny you can’t help but laugh
(v) to do something with soul, creativity, or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work.
(n) a longing to travel. Missing a place you’ve never been.
(n) pre-fun, the sense of enjoyment felt before a party or event takes place.
(n) ab absence of anything annoying, taking pleasure from the presence of gentle or soothing things.
(n) a person who is always late because they think they have more time than they do. A time optimist.
(n) the ability to gauge mood of others, read the atmosphere, and react appropriately.
(v) to continue eating part the point of being full because the food tastes so good.
(n) the act of buying a book and leaving it unread, often piled together with other unread books.
Thanks to Hollywood, authors may have a very false sense on what they can accurately write about volcanos. How many times have we seen bodies swallowed who by lava at the depths of a volcano? Well in reality the odds a body would make it that far is slim to none. The temperatures can reach over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit which is hot enough to incinerate the human body. For comparison the cremation of a dead body is carried out at a temperature ranging between 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
But there’s more. You have to get close enough. The rim of the volcano is filled with enough toxic gas to kill anyone who gets close with temperatures reaching 900 degrees Fahrenheit. When approaching you may think you’re getting tired, but it really is the toxic combination of sulfur, methane, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. Without oxygen, it would not be long before you suffocate.
Most images of the inside of a volcano we got by photographers either hovering above, drone, or who have dropped down towards the center. That’s if the smoke and updraft from the heat doesn’t force the helicopter back or just devour a drone.
Magma is also more viscous than water which means falling into it from any height would be the equivalent to falling into concrete.
So now you’ve plummeted from a great height, you’re suffocating, skin already burnt, with broken bones and most likely ruptured organs from the impact, now what? Due to the viscosity of magma you don’t plan on sinking in too far. In less then a second you’re going to look like grandfather’s ashes.
So, is it possible to fall into a volcano and live? Well, it’s rare, but it has happened. In 2007 a Maasai porter fell into a volcano but managed to pull himself out. How is this possible. Well the lava he fell into was noncarbonate lava which is only half as hot. He suffered severe burns to his legs and arms but lived. Natrocarbonatite lavas are rich in the rare sodium and potassium carbonate minerals, nyerereite and gregoryite. Due to this composition, the lava erupts at relatively low temperatures around 1022 degrees Fahrenheit. Not that this is just a mild heatwave but compared to regular lava temperatures natrocarbonatite lava has enough difference in temperature that the molten lava appears black in sunlight, rather than having the red glow common to most lavas. It is also much more fluid than silicate lavas.
Some volcanos can erupt enough sulfur dioxide to bring down the temperature globally. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines brought the global temperature down at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the USGS.
When a volcano erupts it can cover around a 20 mile radius. And if the volcano does not get you the lightning might. Volcanic lightning occurs mostly within the cloud of ash during an eruption and is created by the friction of the ash rushing to the surface. Lightening can strike 5-10 miles away.
A volcanic eruption might not be the big blockbuster boom like the movies portray either. Sometimes only a hissing sound is heard when a volcano erupts. But, what Hollywood does have right is that the force of the sound wave can cause hearing loss and break glass.
Have you ever sat there trying to think of how to write shirts and pants better? Did you know there actually a name for every type of shirt, collar, sleeves, pant lengths, and more? Check out these numerous images to help you describe your clothing better.
Want more? Check out our Clothing For Writers Pinterest page. We'll be continuously adding more information for our authors.
Disclaimer: NeoLeaf Press does not own any of the images below. Some images are harder to see. If interested in any images below please go to our Pinterest page listed above.
Pants and Skirts
Here you are with this amazing character named Joe… Well that’s how it usually starts. Authors sometimes take for granted the power of a name. Look at the big names such as Harry Potter, Jesse Stone, Jack Reacher, and James Bond. Each name not only fits the character, it’s also catchy and memorable. This is what every author should strive for.
Choosing a name is not as easy as picking something that sounds good, it needs to have meaning (like why would their parents choose that name), needs to make sense in the location (Someone in Russia most likely won’t have a Chinese name), and needs to unique, (different than the names of other popular book characters). This makes the task a little daunting and has led to many authors having an awkward amount of baby name books on their shelves. Luckily, there are many online sites which help with name creation.
For names that need significant meaning or certain origin we recommend Behind The Name. This website has extensive information on names, origins, meanings, and even popularity depending on year.
The next is a fun UK website Name Generator. This website has a plethora of options including Character Names, Pirate Names, Hero Names, and Villain Names.
Another great option, especially for fantasy writers, is Fantasy Name Generator. This is commonly used for gaming groups and has over 100 categories for names for fantasy characters including Aliens, Elves, Dwarfs, and many more.
The last great website Fake Name Generator, also generates demographics including things like address, phone number, favorite color, and vehicle they drive.
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