Witch Hunt: Of the Blood got a nice mention on the blog of Llewellyn Publishing today! Our blog tour officially begins!

You can read an excerpt of my novella Shadows of Dreams right here!

UPDATE: Author, Sean Hayden, reviews WH:OTB here: Sean Hayden’s Blog. (He liked it!)

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Note: An identical post appears on my design blog: suecampbellgraphicdesign.com, but I have included an excerpt of my story: Shadows of Dreams here.

I don’t know why I have such a mental block about promoting my writing. I certainly am not shy when crowing about other’s books—and especially the ones graced with my covers. I am generally quite proud of my design work, and that it’s done is support of writers is a karmic bonus. So why do I blush and p’shaw about my own written words? Maybe it’s because I get paid (nicely) for my design, that I consider myself a professional—and worthy of praise. I’ve never yet been paid for fiction. So I guess I feel like an amateur. I read great writers everyday—published ones, and those striving to be published. I even do a little editing and critiquing—and some people think I know what I am talking about. I’m not shy in saying that I know how to write marketing copy.

Still … bragging on my little stories seems a conceit. And it shouldn’t. Maybe other writers feel this way too. It holds us back. It’s hard to sell books these days. People who follow our blogs can always skip that post if they’ve heard it before. (Though nothing quite hurts like an “unfollow.”) So, I swallow my distaste for self-promotion and offer here a little commercial for our book, Witch Hunt: Of The Blood. Besides there are five of us writers in this book—and I love promoting them! I gave this story to Devin for her book—and I thought (and still think) it a worthy project. Witch Hunt: Of the Blood follows up on her very successful novel, Witch Hunt. We five writers each took up a character from that book and explored what might have happened outside of their parts in that family saga. The project was challenging—and great fun.

I stretched writing muscles I didn’t think I had. I don’t usually write anything magical, or paranormal. There are aspects of both in each of the stories. And each of the stories is set in a completely different time period. I do write historical fiction though—and read it—and love it. That was something I could sink my teeth into, and even if this isn’t a paid gig, I am actually kinda proud of what I did. But, that’s not the half of it. (It’s about 1/5th of it!) The other stories are really quite good. No matter how you feel about witches, or religion, or history, or war, or … or …. There is something here for nearly every reader.

You don’t have to have read the first book first, there isn’t really anything here that could mar that experience for you. But the original Witch Hunt is a darn good read. And it think that Devin is having a bundled sale on her website for the books together. Or, they are both available as e-books if you prefer that. So if you are looking for a last minute Christmas gift … you can gift these books on Amazon. And buy one for yourself. If you do read it, please consider reviewing or at least rating the books on amazon and/or Goodreads. This helps writers SO MUCH with being discovered. Thanks. Now back to my regularly scheduled pimping of other people’s books!

And of course, the covers are pretty special.

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So excited to show the cover of this new anthology from Devin O’Branagan. The collection is based on her successful novel Witch Hunt, and follows the lives of five characters from that book. What might have happened to them before or after their part in that story? Devin selected five writers to create novella length stories for the book. I’m pleased as punch to say I am among the writers! My story follows the young colonial girl, Prissy, and what became of her after being imprisoned due to the Salem Witch Trials. The other writers are: Ms. O’Branagan, Keri Lake, K.L. Schwengel, and Krista Walsh. I’ve read their stories and they are great!

Devin found this lovely image for the cover. I was a little blah in my opinion, so I added some saturation, a warm deep red vignette, a canvas texture and the swirly pattern, topped off with an evocative title typographic treatment—and voila a cover we both loved.

Nice when it works out that way. Plus did I mention my novella it in it?

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Most people know me as a book designer, but I’m also a writer. I’ve decided to get serious about it, and this blog will be the place for writings about my writings.

Lori DeBoer, founder of the Boulder Writers Workshop and writing coach recently interviewed me for the Colorado Writers News.

You wear a couple of hats when it comes to the book world—as a cover designer and as a writer. Can you tell us about your attraction to books and why you seem drawn to this industry both as a visual artist and a storyteller?

For me, the two disciplines are intertwined. I have always been both an artist and a writer. A book designer in particular must have an appreciation, and deep understanding, of the meaning and significance of words and literature. I began my professional work in advertising and marketing—from that I learned that words and visuals are powerful manipulators of human behavior. A book cover is not so very different—more on that later.

I started drawing very young and made my own illustrated picture books because I wanted to emulate what I saw in the ones I read. Though my parents were not highly educated, our home was always full of books—reading was something important and honored in our family. My sister became a publisher so for me to become a book designer just seemed natural.

 

What came first, the graphic design involvement or the writing?

Undoubtedly the art came first—and I got great feedback from parents and friends, which encouraged me to keep going. I’ve looked back at my early writing, and I must say I didn’t develop any real skill until after high school. I think working in advertising actually helped me develop as a writer, too.

 

You are working on a Young Adult novel that is historically based. Can you tell us about that project?

I have an abiding love of historical fiction, and I am fascinated by those difficult, emotionally intense, formative, teen years. The ones we all remember with possibly equal measures of nostalgia and mortification. I was just getting back into writing, trying different things … I decided to challenge myself by attempting to write in the voice of a fifteen-year-old boy. I found I could do it, but that it had to be one who’s life was set in a time I know better than circumstances for today’s youth. So the 1960s was the time and the Cuba Missile Crisis was a dramatic backdrop that I thought I could explore. My story has grown out of how I thought the characters would react to such a paranoid, scary time. I started writing it as much to learn about the time, place, and characters as to create a great story—but luckily the story came together also.

(Author adopts breathy trailer voice) Imagine a world: where 90 miles off Key West nuclear missiles are armed and pointed at the USA, and a crazy dictator has his finger on the button. A thousand miles away a teenager is ripped from his bitchin’ Southern California lifestyle to go live in a bunker in the desert—awaiting the “end of the world.” It might as well be the end as far as he’s concerned, but once there, he finds a hot chick and her sweet little sister, just dying for some excitement. Dad’s becoming a tin-foil hat-wearing nutcase, Mom is very unhappy, and his Down Syndrome little brother follows him everywhere. It’s a strange way to start a love life, but he’s willing to give it try—if he doesn’t get blown up by the Cubans first.

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