New fiction releases + status update!

Art, News from Pixelvania Publishing, Site Updates, Writing

Hi everyone! I aten’t dead, I just switched to Linux and have been busy writing and arting away! (If not always scanning, d’oh!)

I’m rethinking the kinds of things I want to feature on PIXELVANIA STUDIOS. But in the meantime, I wanted to let show you the covers totwo new stories I released: THE WITCHING LICENSE and DEBUTS AND DRAGONS.

Cover for THE WITCHING LICENSE: A green hand grabs a purple witch's hat trailing stars against a magical glowing blue moonMavis Burnsides is on her deathbed when her best friend brings her a Witching License. Now she’s got magical powers—and one last night to make up for a lifetime of regrets.

By turns sassy and touching, The Witching License is a gentle tale of regret, romance, and righting wrongs.

Read an excerpt at Pixelvania Publishing!


Cover for DEBUTS AND DRAGONS, featuring a green dragon wearing sunglasses, earrings, and a necklace

Though she’s not much to look at, dragon Sellafield Terrormouth never worried about snagging a mate for herself. But now that her little sister is about to debut in dragon society, Sella’s got one night to go from drab to fab. If she fails, she’ll lose her entire dowry—and quite possibly doom herself to eternal spinsterhood!

Can this plain dragon get herself a date, or is her future about to go up in flames?

Contemporary fantasy fans won’t want to miss this lighthearted (and scaly) look at love, friendship, and inner beauty.

Excerpt here at Pixelvania Publishing.


Both books are available in LARGE PRINT format, which is a thing I guess I’m doing now! They make great stocking stuffers, too! *eyebrow waggle*

Finally, y’all need to watch KLAUS if you haven’t already. Here’s why.

New Scifi Short Story: DAY OF SILENCE, DAY OF SOUND

News from Pixelvania Publishing, Writing

Cover for DAY OF SILENCE, DAY OF SOUND: An old-fashioned radio sits alone on a vintage chair in a blurry field of tall grasses, in hues of white and icy blue.

Johanna Reinhardt is alone at the outpost when it happens. The Machines have shut down, her husband is gone, and—imperceptibly, but surely—sound is disappearing from the world.

What might disappear next?

A dreamlike tale from the post-apocalypse.


An oldie-but-goodie short story to celebrate the new year.

Read an excerpt here at this book’s Pixelvania Publishing page.

Buy the eBook from your favorite retailer here (includes Amazon).

Happy reading!

New short story collection! MIDWINTER MAGIC

Art, New from Pixelvania Publishing, Writing

Cover for MIDWINTER MAGIC: A stylized glowing reindeer leaps against the blue Northern Lights

Once upon a time, magic left the world for a night. It sighed back in through the scullery door in the morning with the cat, but by then, the Queen of the Northern Elves had fallen into a deep sleep, and, greatly diminished, the returned magic could not wake her.

From the author who brought you The Purrfect Christmas and A Gingersnap Cat Christmas comes an enchanting collection of three original yuletide fairy tales, written in the tradition of Jane Yolen and Ursula Vernon.


A little Christmas present from me to you. If you like reindeer, Santa Claus, elves, and mythic origin stories, you’re probably gonna dig this.

Buy from your favorite eBook retailer here (includes Amazon)

More info and excerpt here on MIDWINTER MAGIC’s Pixelvania Publishing page.

Book Covers Behind-the-Scenes: The Making of MIDWINTER MAGIC

Art

Hi so I spent over two hours today painting a decent-looking stylized reindeer for my latest eBook Midwinter Magic (and that was just on one file, and doesn’t count all my OTHER painting and sketching and thumbnailing time) (honestly, it felt like 5 hours on just that last file, though), but I can’t reveal the cover yet so you’re going to now suffer through my thumbnail sketches and WIPs.

sufferrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

j/k I hope you enjoy!

More cover design thumbnails for MIDWINTER MAGIC in Crayola Marker (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)The ones above were done after researching what other fairy tale collections were doing. Blue was a very popular color, as was sticking huge typography in the center of a rectangle. I first did these in pencil and came back after the next batch of thumbs and colored ’em.

I did not have a title at this time.

 

Cover design thumbnails for MIDWINTER MAGIC, done in Crayola Marker (Book Cover Behind the Scenes) Still no title I liked. Playing with the idea of folk art patterns and reindeer. Attempts at folk art style reindeer and flowers (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)Trying my hand at Scandinavian folk art patterns (there’s multiple schools of Scandinavian folk art with cool fancy names but I’ve forgotten them all). Of course this was after some research, but I don’t think any of these were direct copies, just me fooling around on watercolor paper with markers.

Cute li'l folk art flower (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)

Oh, right, it’s called “Rosemaling”! I remember because I invented my first Krita brush to try and emulate the single-stroke style color changes and stuff for this fnower. You can totally YouTube it! There’s guilds and everything!Tiling folk art flower, doodads, and pine tree (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)

Messing around with Krita’s tiling function got me this fun little tiling pattern.     Penciled thumbnail designs for MIDWINTER MAGIC's cover(Book Covers Behind the Scenes)

I fell ill in the middle of this project (both the writing and the drawing). By the time I got some energy back I felt like I was running late. I got my act together and came up with a title that didn’t embarrass my ancestors, then came back to thumbnailing. My default book cover solution is “slap an animal on it” but at least this time it wouldn’t be a cat.Reindeer sihouettes in blue marker (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)Marker attempts at reindeer/caribou, done with reference, but still trying to keep a stylized feel. The top left one was used in a few mockups I won’t show here.

Armed with a title, I went into Inkscape and chose fonts I thought would work. Then, for good measure, I grabbed some reindeer product silhouettes and slapped ’em on in some sort of artistic way (thanks, Trace Bitmap tool!!)

MIDWINTER MAGIC mockup - dark blue bg, reindeer sihouettes, and typography (Book Cover Behind the Scenes)

I liked these poses, but…other than that….this was bad. Really bad. I wound up going back to my thumbnails page, picking one I liked, and just elaborating on it in Krita.

I thought the final image would be, like, folk art flower patterns on a blue background, with a reindeer shape cut out in the middle, revealing some cool winter snowflakey pattern beneath (very hand-drawn-looking, in other words), but, uh, I traced a deer in one of the thumbnails, slapped a background from Unsplash.com behind it, went, OH! and went in a totally different direction.

How’d it turn out? Stay tuned for the cover reveal tomorrow morning!

New Horror Story: THE GIRLFRIEND WHO WASN’T FROM DELAWARE

Art, News from Pixelvania Publishing, Writing

Cover for THE GIRLFRIEND WHO WASN'T FROM DELAWARE - A giant hand made of blue static reaches down to pluck an apartment out of a building like a Jenga blockApartment walls are thin.

Reality may be thinner.

Ray Belga lives in the ugliest apartment building in town—but at least it’s quiet. Until a mystery neighbor’s fridge starts acting up.

At least…Ray thinks it’s a fridge. But he’ll soon learn you can’t trust everything you hear through apartment walls…


I hope you enjoy this (slightly twisted?) story about a guy with noisy neighbors. Just in time for Halloween!

Buy from your favorite eBook retailer here (includes Amazon)

More info and excerpt here on THE GIRLFRIEND’s Pixelvania Publishing page.

Book Cover Makeover! Before and Afters, yay!

Art, Indie Publishing Friends

A friend of mine wrote a postmodern hypertext (like, CYOA) eBook called LOVE OCTOPUS TRANSFORMATION. My sketch has been on its cover for years now, but since I’ve learned more about eyecatching book cover design, I wanted to update it and make it purdy for her.

Here’s the before:

Sketchy octopus on black background.The test of a good eBook cover: does it catch audience interest? Does it signal the genre?

My old errors: I stretched the text, and you can’t figure out what the illio is in the thumbnail. Genre, what’s that?

Here comes the AFTER!

LOVE OCTOPUS TRANSFORMATION cover 2018. A woman's green face beneath pink tentacles, with the title in bold text.

LOVE OCTOPUS TRANSFORMATION cover 2018. A woman's green face beneath pink tentacles, with the title in bold text.

A mashup of CC-0 photos, a little Krita magic, and surprisingly little futzing in Inkscape for the text!
This one might be a little fantastical for the subject matter, but I think it’s striking! If I could do it again, I might move the author name to the top…but at least the typeface matches her other books! #branding

Do you love BEFORE AND AFTER style book cover makeovers? Comment below with some of your favorites!