Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Cartoon-style Book Cover from Start to Finish: Momotaro, the Peach Boy

Clay & Yumi Boutwell have just updated their Momotaro Japanese reader. It will be out in paperback very soon. The ebook version should update tonight. Here is the new cover I just finished.

Momotaro

I thought it might be fun to document the steps I took.

1) First, I sketched out some ideas in a notebook:
(Click any image below to see a larger image)

Idea Sketch

2) Once I had what I wanted in mind (including a few changes), I pulled out the good paper and started sketching there.

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3) Then I inked it. I don’t do many line shadings here. It makes it easier to use Photoshop’s magic wand if the open spaces are left open.

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4) I scanned the image and did a quick magic wand in Photoshop to get rid of the background. (I first made a copy of the original!!) Under Blending Options in Photoshop, I added a thick stroke so I could easily see the dots the magic wand didn’t pick up.

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5) Next, I put a Blending Color Overlay over the original so I can easily tell where I need to color. Here I did the monkey with flat color.
I just used the magic wand to select the dark brown area, created a new layer called “dk brown” and filled that with brown. Did the same with the lighter color.

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6) With my Wacom Graphics Tablet (you can use a mouse if you like torturing yourself), I put darker and lighter browns to give shadows and sheen.
Maybe the flat color looked better…

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7) And I colored in the rest of the characters–every color has its own named layer. Don’t be lazy!

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8) And added some shadowing and details and lines:

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9) And added a starburst background using a Brush I found–maybe this one.
I decided the oni needed to be orange.

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And here is how the paperback will look once printed:

momotaro-print-cover

The ebook should be updated tonight. If you’ve bought it before, please email Clay (clay AT The Japan Shop dot com) and ask for a free updated version. The new update also includes the Tortoise and the Hare story as well as MP3s for both stories. Click here to view in Amazon. (If you see the new artwork, it has been updated.)

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The Temporal is now FREE on Kindle

The Temporal, the first novel in the series by the same name, is FREE for Kindle. If you are even slightly interested in science fiction/superhero/supernatural thrillers, please check it out.

two-temps1

Sam was ordinary. Then came the Echoes of Eternity, a mysterious Japanese woman, and the realization that he alone can stop a terrorist plot.

☆ After his wife leaves him for a former friend, Sam Williams moves to Japan to start his life over.
☆ But a quiet life for Sam was not to be.
☆ A devastating earthquake in central Japan sends eternity crashing into time, enabling Sam to hear echoes of the past and even the future. Through these Echoes of Eternity, Sam and a mysterious woman he had dreamt about since childhood learn of a terrorist plot that could plunge the world into turmoil and position a murderer as the leader of the free world.
☆ They alone have the knowledge and ability to stop the plot.
☆ But even with eternity on their side, can they stop it in time?


From author Tim Greaton:

Definitely recommended.

From readers:

I was captivated from the first couple of pages…

You get a nice fix of some interesting action setups as well unexpected events. Never really hit any dull boring moments it holds strong till the last page.

From the prologue:

Fakhr al Din was left with his mouth agape and without comprehension of what just happened. He had heard the rat-tat-tat of the weapons to his left and right, but what he saw straight in front of him defied understanding. Instead of blood and flesh ripped by bullets, he saw, for the briefest of moments, the two dark men’s hands go from their hips to at level with the incoming bullets. The motion—if it could be called motion—was quicker than his brain could process. It was as if their arms were in one position and then in the next moment, up to meet the bullets.

Grab the book today–absolutely free!

From Professional Hockey Player to Published Novelist: Luke Murphy on Writing

Luke Murphy should be an inspiration to all aspiring novelists. Here is his book and… here is his story:

From Professional Hockey Player to Published Novelist

?????????????????????????????????????????????From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.

In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing professional hockey in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.

I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

Then I made a decision to take my interest one step further. I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft.

I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. My first two purchases were “Stein on Writing”, a book written by successful editor Sol Stein, and “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King.

I read through these novels and highlighted important answers to my questions. My major breakthrough from Stein’s book was to “Show don’t Tell”. I had to trust my readers. I even wrote that phrase on a sticky note and put it on my computer monitor.

The Self-Editing book helped me learn how to cut the FAT off my manuscript, eliminating unnecessary details, making it more lean and crisp, with a better flow. I learned to cut repetition and remain consistent throughout the novel.

I continually researched the internet, reading up on the industry and process “What is selling?” and “Who is buying?” were my two major questions.

I attended the “Bloody Words” writing conference in Ottawa, Canada, rubbing elbows with other writers, editors, agents and publishers. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

The first person to read my completed manuscript was my former high school English teacher. With her experience and wisdom, she gave me some very helpful advice. I then hired McCarthy Creative Services to help edit DEAD MAN’S HAND, to make it the best possible novel.

I joined a critique group, teaming up with published authors Nadine Doolittle and Kathy Leveille, and exchanging manuscripts and information. Working with an editor and other authors was very rewarding and not only made my novel better, but made me a better writer.

When I was ready, I researched agents who fit my criteria (successful, worked with my genres, etc.) and sent out query letters. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

After months of editing with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books (Edmonton, Alberta).

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way?

 When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

 What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?

 Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one, but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.” Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower

“You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Hand-ebook/dp/B009OUT2ME

murphy-smLuke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, two daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Luke-Murphy/268343729930467 and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy

Help Ben Wolverton with David Farland’s Book Bomb Drive

I’ve been following David Farland’s newsletter since I found his wonderful Million Dollar Outlines. His almost daily newsletter is a goldmine for any author.

His sixteen year old son was left in a coma from a tragic accident recently. Mr. Farland’s friends have organized a book bomb to help raise money to pay for the $1million+ medical expenses expected. If you are an author, I don’t think you will be disappointed with Million Dollar Outlines. The other book set for the book bomb is a young adult fantasy thriller called Nightingale.

To learn more about Ben Wolverton, see HelpWolverton.com.