The Family Portrait Series Gets Branded

One of the hardest things I’m figuring out about being a hybrid author, is not having people to do all the stuff that you don’t particularly want to do or like to do. I’m not complaining because the benefits out weight the alternative.

What is a hybrid author you might ask? A hybrid author is an author who owns their own publishing rights, does all the marketing, advertising and overall production of their books. I first heard the term coined by my virtual mentor, and international best selling author Joanna Penn, who will be visiting us in December (YIPPEEE). Another term used to describe a hybrid author is authorpreneaur, also coined by Joanna.

Ok so I’d been thinking of branding my series for quite sometime now but kept putting it off. Why? Because trying to grow this baby empire, leaves me exhausted by the time my toes hit the covers. A potential reader emailed me and nudged me, she pointed out how disconnected the covers were. She liked everything else but like a few people have said in the past, the covers didn’t do the books justice. So I bit the bullet and looked at several “book cover designers”. A lot of the graphics you see on this site was designed by me, but I wanted a professional, who had experience in the field to do it.

I also wanted someone who didn’t design a cover with the same look as almost every other novel out there. Nudity seems to be the running theme with novels in the same genre as my books and I didn’t want that.

Although the Family Portrait Series has its fair share of naughty, raunchy behavior by some characters who shall remain nameless (to protect you if you haven’t read the books) I didn’t want it displayed on the cover.

Here are a couple of mocks I designed.

Design 1

This was when I was in the I what bright colors! phase.

Bright colors Family Portrait covers

The idea behind this one was, I wanted bright colors, and a bold look. In the covers above, the characters are on a stage and the world is watching them, yet people don’t really know them, hence the silhouettes. I used the same color elements from the original books.

There were many things I liked about these covers, one of them is the graphic identifying the book placement in the series. I loved the wood floors, it reminded me of the barrels of wine at House of Banovic, the family’s (in the book) winery. I liked the colors because lets face it I am from the Caribbean and I love color, or colour as we spell it back home ;-)

Design 2

After sleeping on the above designs for a few days, I felt I wanted more options. For some reason it felt a bit crowded. I kept seeing white space in my mind’s eye.

Cover #2 The Family Portrait series

I wanted something simple, mysterious and clean. I looked at other book covers in the same genre that was published a few years back. The covers that struck me were the covers for the Pretty Little Liars series. I liked that it was simple and clean, loved the solid colors to differentiate between books. I was also drawn to the original cover of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Since the movie, she redid the cover and pulled the one I liked.  It was a solid black and I think there was a slight blue graphic.

The clip art element represents something significant in the book. I did it in color, because I like color, but my sister felt that it looked odd among the silhouettes.

Design #3

With branding in mind which ever design I choose, would have to have similar elements so that the series is easily recognizable. For instance putting my name at the bottom, the book number identifying graphic, and the banner.

Family Portrait final cover

I loved this design because it has color, nothing too crazy, it is clean, and it has white space, which didn’t leave my mind until the design was finished. I love that I am able to add a blurb to the cover to give a little insight into the story.

I wanted to do something with the title font so I designed something myself. There was a font that I liked and considered purchasing, but when purchasing fonts or images there are copyright laws that need to be followed. Some of them can be too much to deal with. So I designed everything.

Which one do you prefer? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Xo

Gillian

Gina Robinson Talks About Crushed

Crushed by Gina RobinsonCrushed by Gina Robinson (The Rushed New Adult and College Romance Series, #2)
Publication date: October 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

Some loves can’t be… Crushed

Morgan
Have you ever done something stupid? Like get drunk and hookup with a guy because your heart was broken by someone else? Like his best friend. And then done something really dumb, like fall in love with your hookup? Hookups aren’t stick-around guys. I’m hoping Dakota will be different. But hoping has gotten me in trouble before.

Dakota
The absolute last girl I want to see in my court-ordered alcohol and drug information school, the girl who landed me here in the first place, walks in. After we hooked up, I thought I’d gotten Morgan out of my system. So why is my pulse racing? I can’t afford to screw up right now. I know I should avoid her. Morgan has a way of messing up my life. But she’s the only one who understands.

Add Crushed to your Goodreads shelf.

Purchase Crushed (The Rushed New Adult and College Romance Series Book 2) on Amazon

Q&A with Gina Robinson about Crushed Continue reading

Majanka Verstraete Presents, Drowning In Fear

Drowning in Fear by MajankaTitle: Drowning in Fear by Majanka Verstraete

Genre: Horror, Lower Grade, Chapter Book

Synopsis:

For as long as he can remember, Nolan has been afraid of drowning. The fear is so bad he can’t even go swimming with his friends.

In an attempt to help him get over his fears, his Dad signs him up for a summer camp near Lake Weird. Ever since Nolan heard the news, he’s been having nightmares about an abandoned cabin near a lake, and about him drowning in water thick as blood.

Nolan is certain his nightmares are related to his fear of drowning, but when he arrives at summer camp, and finds out there’s a cabin near Lake Weird that matches the withered cabin from his nightmares, he realizes something more sinister is going on.

Can Nolan find out the reason why he’s spent his entire life being afraid of drowning? How is it connected to the spooky cabin from his nightmares, and the lake surrounded by creepy, crawling mist?

Purchase Drowning in Fear (Weirdville Book 4) on Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks Continue reading

Love burns hotter the second time around…

Unethical book coverUnethical by Jennifer Blackwood
Published by: Entangled Embrace
Publication date: October 20th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

A new adult romance from Entangled’s Embrace imprint…

Love burns hotter the second time around…

Two years ago, the medical world was shaken by scandal, and Payton Daniels’s family was at the center of it. The second she graduated, Payton left everything behind―her high school sweetheart, her family, and the controversy surrounding her mother’s death—and hid within the anonymity of college. But Payton’s ex, Blake Hiller, hasn’t forgiven her for leaving, and when he enrolls in the same medical ethics class, she panics. She can’t run the risk of him telling everyone who she really is.

As if being at the same university isn’t enough, both Blake and Payton land the same internship. Forced together, their passion for each other reignites, but when Payton is asked to testify in her father’s high-profile trial, she must choose between risking her acceptance into medical school to help her father, and losing every connection to her past—including the only guy she’s ever loved.

Continue reading

Baby Shower Gift Ideas by Jeannie

I “met” Jeannie so so speak at a Facebook party. Let me explain what a Facebook party is. A Facebook party is a virtual meet and greet for business owners and entrepreneurs. It is virtual networking event. Anyone with a Facebook Fan page can host a party, I’ve never done one but it seems pretty simple enough. Most Facebook parties I’ve been to have been on a Friday. They are easy to find, just do a Google search for “Facebook party”.

Now back to Jeannie, so I met her at a Facebook party, checked out her fan page and was amazed! Jeannie creates baby shower gifts, yes CREATES.

I felt that her creations we unique and AWESOME! So I decided to email her and ask her for an interview. I was thrilled that she agreed to it and I am beyond honored to have her visit Plain Talk. Enjoy!

Meet Jeannie.

Creative baby shower giftMy name is Jean, most just call me Jeannie, and I am a stay-at-home mother of 5. Two of my children are grown and on their own and the three remaining keep things pretty busy with school activities and friends. I have a menagerie of pets, two dogs, 2 cockatiels, fish, and a rabbit that is so friendly we have to keep the cage door open or he gets very upset. lol

I love to craft and have been doing it as a hobby since I was very young. My mother was a crafter and this is being passed on to my youngest as she has a love of crafting as well and helps me out often.

 How did you get started with your business?

I got started when I found out that NINE of my friends and family were having babies last year. With so many showers to go to I just didn’t know what to give. I found some cute diaper cakes and looked around on Pinterest for ideas… I didn’t want to give just a package of diapers or just an outfit. So I combined what I had seen and my crafty ambition to make super cute gifts. Everyone loved them and since there really aren’t many local places to get this type of gift I started my business.

How long have you been creating baby shower gifts? 

Bassinet baby gift idea

The Bassinet- comes with 30 size 1 diapers, 3 receiving blankets, box of wipes, and various items. Prices start at $40. Lion King (shown) is $45 due to licensed items.

I have been making them for almost 2 years now. I have made gifts for many years but not quite like these.

Why did you choose to focus on baby items?

I love babies and there is a need for this in my area. Affordable practical gifts that people can be proud to give and don’t clean out their wallets doing so.

What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome in your business and how did you overcome it?

I would have to say the most difficult obstacle is getting my name out there and having people know that I have gifts available. Many, many times I am at a craft fair and people will say… “Oh, I wish I had seen these sooner, I just went to a shower. I wish I had known about you before.”

I am working on this by putting up flyers, handing out cards, and using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

How do you stay positive?

Baby shower gift idea

The Bicycle- comes with 24 size 1 diapers, 1 receiving blanket, 0-3m onesie, 2 pair of baby socks and stuffed toy. Prices start at $35.

My husband is my support element. On days I am down and feel like “what is the point” he gives me a pep talk and lets me know that other businesses start out small but with perseverance they became big.

What is a typical day like for you?

I start the day with posting items or pictures on internet, make a list of items I would like to make, check for materials and then make what I can with what I have on hand. Of course this is all after dogs, birds, fish are fed and children are gone to school. Weekends are my own, I usually shop for materials I will need for upcoming projects.

How long does it typically take you to make one item?

Diaper items take between 15 minutes (babies) to an hour (4 wheeler) as long as the diapers are agreeable. lol

The sewn items take a bit longer as there is pressing, cutting, and pinning as well as turning and more pressing. This can take all day if there are many that I am doing.

As a momtrepreneur what do you wish you had more of?

More structured time, it is easy to have that extra cup of tea and say… I will get to that in a minute.

What advice would you give to readers who want to start a business but may be putting it off out of fear?

Try working in the retail field first. Be a cashier. If you can handle people that way then running a business will be easier. There is A LOT of face to face with potential customers. If you are comfortable with speaking to strangers it is better. You also meet some not so friendly people as well.

Bonus question: What is the hardest part of running your business?

Going to shows and hear “I can make that”, “I can get that cheaper”, and the worst is making no sales at all even after you put your heart into each item.

About the products:

The four wheeler- baby shower gift idea

 

 

 

The four wheeler- Comes with 56 size 1 diapers, 2 receiving blankets, dishwasher basket, bottle, pair of baby socks, bib or bib and burpcloth set, and stuffed toy. Colors vary and custom orders are welcomed. Prices start at $55.

 

 

 

Cuddlewrap baby shower gift

 

 

Cuddlewrap – this is a great way to reduce the bulk in the car seat. It sits in car seat and you place baby in the leg area, cover their belly, buckle them in and if they fall asleep or it is cold you just fold over the sides like a blanket.  Prices start at $10 and go up $5 per size. Licensed patterns start at $15. Available in 0-3m, 3-6m, and 6+m. This is a pattern I purchased.

I LOVE her stuff and maybe you will too, here’s how you can contact her:

Websitewww.jeanniebeans.com and my pages have contact forms for custom orders or any questions.

My email is jeanniebeans@zoho.com.

Please like me on Facebook www.fb.com/jeanniebeanbabyshowergifts and follow me on twitter @JeannieBean14

Thanks again.

Great to have you on Jeannie! Let’s spread the word about Jeannie and her creations!

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Five Minutes Late by Rich Amooi

5 minutes late by Rich AmooiFive Minutes Late by Rich Amooi

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Release Date: August 29th, 2014

Synopsis

Can an always-tardy garlic mogul and a punctual Silicon Valley librarian fall in love?

The world needs garlic and somebody’s got to sell that garlic. Cedric Johnson is that man. But even though he’s got just about everything he can wish for, Cedric is still missing one thing in his life: someone special. Fate may be on his side, but he encounters a few distractions along the way—like almost being killed by a UPS truck. Oh, and a little case of blackmail.

Ellie Fontaine is a walking Wikipedia with clear professional goals, but when it comes to landing Mr. Right, she doesn’t know jack squat. She even gives online dating a shot and ends up with an unappetizing buffet of unibrows and losers. What’s a girl to do?

After Ellie saves Cedric’s life, serendipity takes over as they continue to run into each other. Their connection grows stronger with each meeting, even though he embodies her number one pet peeve: he’s always late. But even if they can get past their issues and misunderstandings, Ellie’s ex-boyfriend, an unscrupulous cop, will do anything to keep them apart.

Five Minutes Late is a hilarious fast-paced romantic comedy, full of snappy dialogue and fun, quirky characters, guaranteed to warm your heart.

Add Five Minutes Late to your Goodreads shelf.

Purchase Five Minutes Late on Amazon | Amazon UK  Continue reading

Lovers and Loyalty – The Chrome Series Book 2 by Taryn Plendl

Lovers and Loyalty Blog tourLovers and Loyalty – The Chrome Series Book 2 by Taryn Plendl

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 29th, 2014

Synopsis

Lighthearted and funny, Sean Benson has everything he wants: family, friends, and a successful business with his best friend. After the death of her mom, Savanna Davis left the life she never wanted behind, in search of the family she never had.

When Savanna is attacked at Sean’s bar, he clumsily comes to her rescue. Unable to get the green-eyed beauty out of his mind after parting ways, Sean sets out to find her, and inevitably comes to her aid again by offering her a job at Chrome.

Savanna is determined to not lose sight on why she came to Virginia in the first place, while Sean is determined to show her just how great they could be together.

Unexpected discoveries drop a bombshell on the entire Chrome family, putting Sean and Savanna’s new relationship to the test.

Will Sean’s loyalty to his friend ruin his chance at finding Love?

Purchase Lovers and Loyalty (The Chrome Series Book 2) on Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Purchase  So Much More (The Chrome Series Book 1) on Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo |iBooks

Add the series to your Goodreads shelf.

The Chrome series

About the Author

Taryn discovered her love for books at an early age, spending many hours lost in someone else’s story.

It wasn’t until well into adult hood that she discovered, late at night while the house was quiet, that she had just as many stories inside her just waiting to be let out. Writing has been a way for her to step away from reality and live a bit through her fun and sometimes damaged characters. You will almost always find a Happy Ever After at the end of her stories. She can’t help it, it’s an addiction.

She’s a Southwestern girl living a Mid-Atlantic life with her husband of seventeen years and two incredible daughters who inspire her daily. She is proud to be an advocate for her child with autism, and feels incredibly blessed to be able to see the world through her eyes. Her daughters teach her more than she could ever teach them.

She enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her family, but cherishes those quiet nights after everyone is asleep when she can curl up on the couch with her fifteen year old dog. (Shh, don’t tell…He’s not supposed to be on the couch.)

Keep an eye out for more from her!

Connect with Taryn: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest | Amazon | Web | Email.

 

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