Tag Archives: Diamante Lavendar

Meet Artist Sherry Shipley!

Sherry is a member of my group Emotive Art on Fine Art America. She recently was tied for first place in a contest with her piece entitled Getting To Know You.  Sherry’s art flows beautifully and is full of color.  Here is her winning piece:

getting-to-know-you-sherry-shipley

Statement from Sherry:

Art has been a part of me all my life. I could never stop drawing as a child and in high school picked up my first paint brush. That was 1965. I have been painting ever sense.

Over the years I have explored many mediums and expanded my art skills when I attended the Art Institute of Seattle.

I depict animals in my art to create a feeling of wonderment with our connection with these creatures and a bond that only a true animal lover can feel. Animals have been depicted in art and stories since the beginning of time and our bond with them lives in legends and lore.

My art creates and reveals that bond in bold and colorful images either through letting the paint flow and working the images into it or use of lines that weaves the design around the subject to create it’s own story.

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A short bio:

Growing up in the shadow of the Cascades, the beauty of the Pacific Northwest inspired my love of nature and wildlife. Trips to the mountains have supplied a stunning and endless backdrop for my wildlife subjects which I have been painting for over 40 years.

My work has been seen in galleries from Seattle to New York. My wildlife art designs have sold on shirts and tote bags in Alaska, and many of the lower 48 states.

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If you enjoy this piece, you’ll love looking through her portfolio!  It’s stunning!  Here’s the link:

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/getting-to-know-you-sherry-shipley.html

Thanks for visiting!  I hope you’ll be back soon!

Breaking The Silence Video Clip!

My book Breaking The Silence is now a double award winner in the genre of Inspirational Fiction! I am so grateful to Mom’s Choice Awards for their gold medal and to Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for their award! It is humbling, to say the least, since Breaking The Silence is written about my life (though places and names have been changed). It has been a surreal experience to have such good come from such pain and turmoil.

Here is a video clip I created about Breaking The Silence with excerpts from my book:

 

If you are a victim of abuse or know a victim of abuse, please pass this information along.  It is my desire to help those who feel trapped by their pain.  I want them to know it is possible to heal.  Breaking The Silence is my story of agony and abuse to hope and healing.

God Bless!

 

 

Crying For A Savior

The pain you caused
Has left permanent scars
Like armies of demons
In my brain.

I am stilled by agony
In unguarded moments
Like razor blade cuts
Across my heart.

It’s been years
But somehow
Your deathly grip
Still holds me fast;

I crawl
Like a wounded animal
Through the dust and debris
Of the past

Crying for a Savior.

How is it
That after thirty seven years
You still reach me
From the coldness of your grave?

Groping and grasping,
Ripping my flesh off in layers,
Stabbing your evil
Through my heart and soul?

Will I ever be free
To live as I dream of living
Or will I forever be
Your prisoner of anguish and shame?

I deserve to be happy
I dream of it every day
But somehow your memory
Always succeeds

At burying me with you in a Hell you so adeptly created for both of us.

 

In Order To Be Successful You Have To Be Reliable

So many times we dream about things we could do or be, only to give in too easily to despair and hardships on our journey. If we really want to succeed, we need to remain reliable to our dreams and ourselves through the good times and bad. Setbacks happen to everyone making success seem like smoke on the horizon…something we think we see but we’re unsure of how to go about achieving it. Or we know how to achieve it and stumbling blocks shorten and delay our stamina. To succeed, we must keep our dreams just ahead of us and continue to strive, to be reliable!

In order to be successful you have to be reliable by Diamante Lavendar

We hear overnight success stories and they do happen from time to time.  More often though, we have to work tediously and slave for our dreams to become a reality.  I am reminded of the saying “nothing in this world worth having comes easy.”  The seemingly overnight success stories often are built on a platform of hard work behind the scenes.  Even the singer who wins the reality show has spent years perfecting his/her voice.  Overnight success is rare.  Very rare.

Never give up.  Unreliability and irresponsibility will kill a dream every time.  Believe in yourself and know you can achieve whatever you believe you can.  Then, if you persevere, chances are you will succeed…if you don’t give up.

And never be afraid to lend someone else a helping hand.  You never know when the favor will come full circle to bless you in the end!

Spotlight: The Sleeping Town by F.A.R.

Cover

It all began the day Michael Walker woke up and everyone else didn’t. Powerful forces are at work, and the small town of Redfield might not survive it. As the uncanny becomes commonplace and truth remains elusive, Michael struggles to discern between friend and foe. Should he fail, not only will his head become a stranger to his neck, but the rest of the town might soon follow his fate.

Reviews:

Format: Kindle Edition

I really liked The Sleeping Town. I really liked this book’s take on magic. I won’t get into it too much because it’s kind of special to the book and I don’t want to ruin anything. Suffice it to say, I thought it was pretty original. That really helped me get into this book. So many books just have a generic view on magic and the like, so when you come across something that’s a little different, it’s easy to get caught up in. There are a lot of things in the book that I really liked, but I don’t want to mention because they were just kind of special to the book itself and I don’t want to ruin anything.

Even though I didn’t say much, I did really enjoy this book and recommend it for anyone looking for something a little different.

By ALY on November 27, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

This book was interesting. The description sure does not give much away. But I liked the book. Michael has his struggles for sure but the book kept me on my toes. I was always wondering what would happen next. I think a good first book. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Interview with F.A.R.:
1.  Please tell me about your book and why you decided to write it.
The Sleeping Town is my first book. It is the story of Michael Walker as he wakes up and finds he is the only one in the entire town who did. The book can roughly be divided in two parts. The first part is Michael trying to figure things out and finding himself increasingly out of his depth. The second part is after he identifies the supernatural force at work and tries to do something about it… and finds himself increasingly out of his depth.
I decided to write it, because I have been coming up with ideas for stories since I read my first book. I kept thinking about what I would have liked to see happening and how I would done certain things. Eventually, I got brave enough to sit down and actually write one of those ideas. The Sleeping Town is the result of that.
2.  Do you have any works in progress?  What are they?
As a matter of fact, I do. Just a few days ago I finished the first (very rough) draft of my next book, Devils of Black and Gold. It is a darker tale when compared to The Sleeping Townbut I had fun writing it. It features a guy who thinks he might be a werewolf, a series of bizarre murders, and a cop who is definitely not getting paid enough. Additionally, I am about to start working on the sequel to The Sleeping Town later in October.
3.  What would you like your readers to know about you?
Seeing as how I’m using an obvious Pen name it would be easier to think about things I don’t want readers to know about me, but here it goes. I’m Latino, F.A.R. are my actual initials, and I like to use the kitchen. I’m not saying I am any good at it, but I do like cooking every now and then.
4.  If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why?
Tough question. There are so many I would like to meet, but if I had to pick just one… James Spader. Stargate, Boston Legal, The Blacklist, Age of Ultron. How can I not be a huge fan?
5.  Favorites:  color, food, acitivity, place?
I have always been a fan of orange as far as colors go. My favorite food is Fettuccine Alfredo. My favorite activity (other than writing) is swimming. Whether it is in a beach or pool, I love it all the same. My favorite place is a nice park in the middle of autumn.
6.  If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?
Well, it is a bit presumptuous of me to be giving out life advice, but if I had to give one it would probably be something like, “Go for it!”
I spend a lot of time thinking,”I want to write a book.” Years if I have to be honest. During that time I got very little book-writing done. One day I got fed up with that. I started writing every single day and didn’t stop until I had a book, If there is something you want to do, you can’t just think about it. You need to bring that thought into action.
Where you can find The Sleeping Town:
https://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Town-F-R-ebook/dp/B014CBA48A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1470526248&sr=8-3&keywords=the+sleeping+town#nav-subnav
Where you can find F.A.R.:
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/FarBooks

Introducing Hair Power by Piers Anthony!

Enjoy this entertaining interview with Piers Anthony!  Guaranteed to lift your spirits!

HairPower_smaller Piers Anthony

Terminal cancer patient, Quiti, walks into an abandoned building planning on taking her life. Instead, she encounters a telepathic ball of hair that insists it is an alien seeking to facilitate diplomatic communication on Earth. Quiti assumes it is all a hallucination conjured up by her brain tumor. Because of this assumption, when she saves the alien’s life and it insists on doing Quiti a favor in return, she only asks for her hair back. She soon discovers, however, that the creature’s gift extends much further than her new locks that can change color with a thought. As her powers grow and her deadly illness goes into remission, Quiti quickly realizes that there are those that would want to use her for her abilities and is forced to leave behind everything that she knew. Will this blessing curse her to a life on the run, or does the mysterious hairball have more in store for her? Piers Anthony, critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestselling Xanth series, brings together humor and adventure in this original story of loyalty, friendship, extraordinary powers, and hair. Dreaming Big Publications

Interview with Piers:

Tell us about your latest book.

Hair Power is a novella about a girl with terminal brain cancer who helps an alien hairball, who rewards her with hair that not only replaces her own lost hair, but cures her cancer and makes her something of a super woman. In time that hair is six feet long and she wears it like a cloak. That’s only the beginning.

Tell us a little about some of the others who contributed to your book, such as cover designer or editor.

I have to default on that, as I don’t know them.

Who are your favorite authors?

If I lost my memory and had my choice of reading matter, I hope my favorite would be Piers Anthony. I try to write what I would like to read. As for other authors, I have admired many in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields, from Robert A Heinlein on down. I am also an admirer of the plays of George Bernard Shaw, and not just because he was a vegetarian.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Publishing is changing so much now that much of what I might say would become dated about ten minutes after I wrote it. So I’ll just say read and study the genre you are in, keep writing and improving, and may the world go well with thee.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

For me the best thing is getting to exercise my imagination and being independent. I can’t be fired for someone else’s mistakes.

What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?

It used to be dealing with publishers, who were like insensitive robots interested only in money, regardless what they claimed. But the old order is passing and the new publishers I am dealing with are generally more compatible. Some of them even like good fiction. So now the hardest thing is facing the prospect of my declining ability with advancing age. I’m not capable of simply letting it go and retiring. So when I no longer write well, I hope I am the first, not the last to know it.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

My web site is www.hipiers.com where I have a monthly column, commenting on whatever is on my mind, and background information on my titles. I have also written two autobiographical books: Bio of an Ogre and How Precious Was That While.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Three Weeks for this 35,000 word novella. It moved well, and I am an efficient writer.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

I don’t think so. I had worked it out pretty well before I started writing. I’ve always loved long hair on a woman, so this was easy imagination.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

From wherever the publisher puts it.

What are you doing to market the book?

Precious little. I’m a writer, not a marketer.

Who inspires you?

The world inspires me.

How do you research your books?

There wasn’t any real research for Hair Power. I generally try to stay within the boundaries of what I know. When I do need to research, I buy books on the subject.

Do you have another work in progress? Tell us about it.

I am working on the sequel, Hair Suite, wherein there is competition with Cyborg aliens in very attractive human form. Until the two cultures have to unite against a third.

Have you written other books? Where can readers purchase them?

I have written about 175 other books. Readers can find many of them listed on Amazon. Many readers like my Xanth fantasy series, which now number 42 novels, not all in print yet.

Where you can find Hair Power:

https://www.amazon.com/Hair-Power-Piers-Anthony/dp/1534919147/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468715975&sr=8-1&keywords=hair+power+piers+anthony

Who’s Tired? I’m Not Tired!

For those of you who are familiar with me, you know I’m a night owl. I’d rather stay up late than get up early. It’s how I’ve always been. I think I was wired for the night life.

The dark cloak of night is a comfort and the sounds of the night are relaxing to me. I love to look at the sky and watch the moon and stars. I find them particularly beautiful on cool summer evenings.

To celebrate my erratic hours, I created a GIF entitled “Who’s Tired?  I’m Not Tired?” for people like me who tend to burn the candle at both ends.  Not only do I have a day job and a family, but I’m also a writer and an artist.  So there have been many (too many to remember) days when I felt like this:

If you can relate, feel free to pass this GIF along.  It’s a fun way to say,  “Cut me some slack!  I was up much too late….again!”

Pain Is An Activist

Are you someone who has felt a great amount of pain during your life? Are you in pain right now? I’m talking about every type of pain that exists: mental, physical, spiritual and every other type of pain that you can name.

As a species in general, we try to shy away from pain. I do it as much as the next guy. Let’s face it. Pain sucks. No matter what you’re experiencing, it’s tough to see any good in it at all. But the truth is there IS good in pain. It just takes a lot of guts to acknowledge it.

I just recently saw a post stating that “we are continually faced with great opportunities disguised as insolvable problems” (AmpLIFEied.com).  What a way to look at it!  Our insolvable problems…the ones we can’t seem to figure out that keep us on a hamster’s treadmill are our great opportunities…WOW!  If you tell the wrong person about this philosophy, you could end up with a harsh slap to the face!  But is it true?  I believe it is.

As someone who has been faced with thousands of seemingly unsolvable problems, I’m a first hand witness to the emotional throwback of such a statement.  When we’ve been through a million and one things, the last thought on our mind is, “Oh, great!  Another wonderful opportunity wrapped up in anguish!  Yay!”  When in reality, it is a great opportunity…to GROW into a better person.

Is it really worth the pain?  In the end, yes.  But during the daily fight of turmoil and angst it can almost drive you to insanity.  You have to keep holding onto the hope that some time it will bring blessings beyond comprehension.  But in the meantime, check that temper!  Continually let go of that anxiety!  Growth is never easy but it always brings us to more peaceful understandings of our lives and situations.  Isn’t that what life is about?  To learn as you move through your experiences?

As you examine your current condition, whether it be mental, physical, spiritual or some other type of angst, look at what seems unsolvable.  The truth is, there is always a solution but sometimes we fail to see it or we don’t want to see it.  What ending will the solution bring?  Does it add to your life or take away from it?  Many times the process of taking away adds bigger things down the line.  Do you have the guts to walk through the fire?  To deal with the cards that you’ve been dealt?  Bad things happen to good people.  It’s true.  You have no choice in the matter.  But you do have a choice as to how you will respond to tragedy.

Keep the faith.  Hold onto hope.  You’ll make it through and some day you’ll be a better person for your pain.  I know it’s tough, but don’t ever give up the fight!  Even if it’s debilitating, it will cause you to grow in ways you’ve never imagined.

 

Designing Your Own Book Cover by Kari Anders

Designing Your Own Book Cover: How to Select The Right Image

In Elements of a Book Cover that Sells, I talk about creating a cover that speaks directly to your audience by using the idea of a Single Story. In the following post, I expand on this idea by giving helpful tips on finding the base layer for your cover: the image.

Your image should convey the mood of your story. If you’ve written a fun-loving, silly, woman’s novel, your cover might be an illustration of a lady in heels with a pink background. If your book explores the story of a missing woman, it might have a dark background with a woman running away. If it’s a love story, readers will expect a couple holding hands or kissing on the cover. All these components convey the mood of the book and attract your audience.

If the mood is not evident, you will miss potential readers. When readers go searching for a new book, they usually know what type of book they want to read. If nothing else, they know what types of book they have enjoyed in the past. They will be attracted to images that remind them of another book they’ve read. This relationship connects the reader to an emotion they felt while reading that book. For instance, I had recently finished Where’d You Go Bernadette and was looking for a new read. I saw the novel How to Write a Novel, with its blue cover and illustrations and bought it. Why? It reminded me of Bernadette. That’s it. I wasn’t even looking for a book like Bernadette;I just subconscious equated the cover of Bernadette with a book I like.

Often authors spend energy on trying to get their cover image to be unique, and to stand out from the crowd. While really, they should have been doing the opposite.

You may have noticed that in all of the examples at the beginning of this article, I suggest having images of people on the cover (the woman in pink heels, the couple kissing, etc.). As an author, you may be tempted to steer away from covers that give away too much detail that you’d rather let the reader imagine. One of the reasons I believe readers like books over their film adaptations, is because they get to bring the scene to life using their own imagination. The same applies to the characters in a book. Giving too much detail away can take away this experience from the readers. So why do I suggest books with images of people? Simply, they sell better.

You many see that some covers don’t have the full person or even just avoid their faces on the cover.  You might see only a woman’s legs or feet, or you might see her face below the nose.  This allows your readers to still create the characters using their own imagination while still creating a book cover that sells.

The other advantage of showing only a part of a character is that it allows you to simplify your cover.  If you are trying to convey too much information to your readers, it will be busy and overwhelming and distract them from absorbing the story’s mood.  Remember, you want to sell them a single story.  Don’t try to input double meanings or symbols that the reader will only understand once they’ve read the book.  Symbolism is for your writing.  You aren’t trying to sell them on your cleverness with a book cover.

To convey the mood, keep it simple and focus on a single story.  You want to be obvious with your images but not necessarily literal.  You don’t want readers to have to guess or search for what your cover is about.  But at the same time, it doesn’t need to be a specific scene from your story to convey the mood, and being too literal can destroy the intrigue you want to create.

Here’s a test: Once you have selected an image, forget your story. Can you create a powerful title on the picture alone?  Does that title do your book justice?  If not, keep looking.

The most common place authors and designers find images for book covers is stock images sites.  There are hundreds of thousands of images to choose from, and they are usually between $10 and $25 per image.   With a stock image from Shutterstock.com or iStock.com, you can sell between 250,000 and 500,000 books before you have to worry about purchasing additional licensing.  There are also sites you can find free stock images, but make sure you read and fully understand the terms of copyright before using an image from one of these sites. DO NOT use an unlicensed image from a Google images search, even if you don’t think you are going to sell very many books, as this will most certainly earn you a letter from an attorney asking you to remove it at the least and a lawsuit at the worst.

The advantages of using stock images are selection, price, and availability.  To find an image for a previous post, I used the search terms “girl in front of a ship” and found 42 pages of results.  That’s a pretty specific request.  Also, stock image sites are also regularly updating their inventory, and they tag images by a number of categories, including model.  So if you find a model that you like, but the image isn’t quite right, you can find other photos with the same model.  This is very useful for a book series.

A drawback to using stock imaging is uniqueness. Stock sites will sell an image in finite number of times, meaning that even though your typography and location of the photo might be unique, another author might end up with the same image on their cover.  Professional publishing houses will spend thousands hiring a photographer and models to get unique images for their covers.  However, this isn’t a possibility for most self-published authors.  On freeebookcovers.com, I am building a collection of non-stock images from local photographers I’ve worked with over the years.   Check back soon for the launch of Original Images, and happy writing!

BlogGraphic

Kari Anders is a book cover designer who works mostly with self-published authors and small publishing houses. She worked in freelance design for six years before attending graduate school, and now teaches design and runs freeebookcovers.com. All of Kari’s covers are designed as CreateSpace Wraps for only $75, with the eBook version included for free. Her site specializes in Pre-Made Book Covers, but she also does interior design and custom covers.

 

4th of July GIF! Pass it on!

Hey everyone! I was in a mood to try something new, so I decided to make my first GIF. After two attempts, I’ve come up with something I think is cute. This is for the 4th of July.  Check it out!

If you like it, feel free to pass it on.  Share the love for July 4th!  Stay safe and have a wonderful day and evening!

If you enjoy this post, feel free to visit me on youtube and subscribe at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCknIvs7gKMSa4OYL51Dj2CQ

With your subscription, you’ll find out about my newest videos and GIF’s!  Yes, I do plan on making many, many more!  And I’d love to have you in on the action!  I also love helping people out, so if you know anyone who would enjoy my videos or a subscription, please send them my way!

Take care and as always, God Bless!