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The Music behind Mothman Mysteries

Stay with me on this one…

In developing the character of Eric Jansen, an ancient alien masquerading as a teenager, a love of music seemed like a natural fit for him.

So this is how my warped mind works. On Earth, music is one of most loved and oldest forms of communication. Math, which in itself is referred to as a universal language, is at its core. Beat by beat. Measure by measure. Though music has changed over time, some form of it is always in fashion, and we will likely never live in a world without music. Why wouldn’t a long-lived alien latch onto it?

Eric’s love for music led him to learn how to play. He likes simple things, so he plays the drums. Not because it’s a simple instrument to play; it’s not. It’s just that he finds comfort in the simplicity of the beat. It’s true. Genuine. Music at it’s simplest form.

As for his preference to rock, well, that was just me. Though my hubby takes great pleasure in leaving the radio in my car set to the country station, I change it back to rock every time.

As I wrote Wrong Side of the Grave, I listened to a lot of music which is something I don’t typically do while writing. And as I listened, an idea formed on how to take this book to the next level.

I decided to make a playlist for the book. I’ve seen authors post playlists with music that inspired them to write the story, but I wanted this to be something different. What I wanted was a playlist that would enhance the experience of the story. One track for each chapter to convey the emotion behind the story.

I started with classic rock bands because I knew Eric would love that (yes, in my mind he’s real). Some chapters feature songs from U2, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, The Eagles, Metallica, and The Rolling Stones. I then sprinkled in some of my favorite songs from the soundtracks of movies that were created from YA books such as Vampire Academy and City of Bones. I added Lenny Kravitz because–let’s face it–the guy practically drips cool. And Lindsey Stirling because her music has this eerie quality where you can practically hear the emotion behind it. Finally, I finished it off with some modern rock favorites like Paramore, Coldplay, and Nickelback.

You’ll find the finished playlist at Spotify where you can listen for free:  Wrong Side of the Grave

If you share this post or the playlist, be sure to use the hashtag #mothmanrocks

Take a listen and let me know what you think. Once you get the book start with track number one when you start chapter one and move to track two with chapter two and so on. Succumb to the experience.

Only one legendary creature ROCKS out LOUD!

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The Art Behind the Mothman Mysteries: the Cover

In my last “Art Behind” post, we took an in-depth look at the BRAND and the development of Eric’s alien tattoo in the series. In this post, we’ll look at the icing on the cake, the book cover.

As I mentioned before, I’ve used stock photography in the past for my covers, but I wanted something special for this new series. Fortunately, Joshua Labello of Envy Ink was up for the task. I remember having the initial conversation with Josh. I didn’t have an exact idea for the cover, and even if I did, I’m not sure if I would have shared it with him. I hated the idea of limiting his artistic process.

So, instead, I told him about the book and its characters. We talked about genre and YA covers that I liked. He also asked me about marketing and what items from the book might stand out. I told him about Bridget’s red umbrella and how I thought that the red would be a nice splash of color for the cover.

From the initial discussion, Josh started sketching and came up with these two images.

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Loved the idea of setting it in the graveyard. The book is about the dead rising and much of it takes place in the cemetery so it only seemed fitting. Also, loved the idea of Eric and Bridget together and Bridget behind Eric. I thought that was important symbolically as she always backs him up.

I looked these two over for a long time before responding. Then, I decided that the first one looked a little too much like a Fabio cover to me. Not that that’s a bad thing, just not what I was looking for in a cover for a clean YA. The second image, however, seemed right on the money, except for one thing.

I had described Eric’s hair as long. Which I realized right away was way too vague. I see how a rocker with long hair would look like this; however, Eric Jansen in my mind looked more like Chace Crawford and less like Bret Michaels. I asked Josh to think more surfer and less 80s hair band.

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So, the next round of sketches looked like this.

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Eric was shaping up nicely, but Bridget seemed off. Eric often refers to her as a “tiny thing”. I had pictured her as the petite, flat-chested girl next door. I think I described her to Josh as average, but pretty. She’s a good foot shorter than Eric. In this version of the cover, Bridget seemed much younger than Eric. I knew they should appear to be around the same age.

So Josh went to work on Bridget. He needed some reference, so I sent him a pic of Bella Thorne in her Disney days.

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And then I didn’t hear back about Bridget for a while. Instead, he kept her under wraps and went to work finalizing the tattoo and “dressing” Eric.

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Then one day I got this, and I couldn’t believe how close Bridget looked to how I had pictured her.

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Painting time! What color are his eyes again?

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Finally, Josh called me into his studio where we had a two-hour session to finalize the cover. He had already sketched the wooded cemetery background.

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I watched as he blurred in fog around the tombstones and put in the finishing touches like adjusting the shade of Bridget’s shirt.

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Can you spot the differences? Josh couldn’t get it out of his head. So, a little while later, I received a new version that had a few more tweaks: white reflection in the eyes, a little more fog at Eric’s chest, rain bouncing off the umbrella and texture on the black clothing.

Finally, I set the text and we had a cover!

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Next time, we’ll look at the music behind the Mothman Mysteries. If you missed my post on the development of the artwork for Eric’s tattoo, you’ll find it here. There’s also a post on Mothman here. Stay up to the minute on Mothman Mysteries news. Now available for ebook preorder at all major online bookstores. Wrong Side of the Grave lands March 3, 2015.

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Dark Moon by Jeannie Gerber

Love, love, love meeting new authors. I met Jeannie Gerber at this year’s Mothman Festival and learned about her passion for writing. She has now published her first novel, Dark Moon (Full Moon Series #1). Here’s a look…

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A dark seeded teen fights her way through the perils of high school, the everyday hassles of authority, social pressures, depression, crash dieting, disgusting acne and repulsive roaming-hand dates.  Surviving all of that, Allessandra soon finds out she has an identity that has been hidden from her for nearly seventeen years.  Her life will be turned upside-down when a hypnotic state of euphoria leads her on a journey she would rather not take.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Raised in the small community of Jones’ Creek on the Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore, MD, Jeannie has always dreamed of being a writer. She began seeking any information she could find available from short stories, journalism references and various motivational speakers. The majority of her learning materials were library “How To” books and works of  popular authors, such as Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and Dr. Seuss. Writing is her passion, and her creative juices are on a roll!  So enjoy her first novel Dark Moon and stay tuned in to Amazon.com for future books of the Full Moon Series.

Visit blog at:  jeanniegyanovels.wordpress.com

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HUNTED Cover Reveal by Liz Long

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Hi everyone! Thanks so much to those special authors and bloggers helping me with today’s cover reveal. I’m so excited to show off the new cover. It always makes the upcoming release a little more real for me, you know? Anyway, I hope you love it as much as I do. HUNTED is Book 3 of the Donovan Circus Series, with more adventure, romance, and chaos that will lead to murder. In case you haven’t read it, you can run away to the supernatural circus and start with Gifted for just 99 cents on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks! You can visit this page to learn more about the 3rd book in the series and what to expect – or worry about!

HUNTED Donovan Circus Cover

Back Cover Synopsis

Lucy Sullivan finally belongs with the gifted Donovan Circus. Members are finding their rhythm, even the new folks from the Grayson Circus who joined after the last attack. Lucy feels like a trusted leader who can win the gifted battles and prevent humans from discovering their existence.

When tragedy strikes camp, a distraught Sheffield sends Lucy and her gifted team to hunt down the enemy – Alex, a Chameleon with a wicked ability for war. He’s out for blood and won’t stop until Lucy and her friends are dead.

This time, it won’t be Lucy’s gift that is tested – it will be her morality. To save her circus, the price will be greater than she ever expected. This time, she will lose someone she loves. And it will change everything.

About Liz:

Liz Long, indie author

Liz Long is a ridiculously proud graduate of Longwood University with a BA in English. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her fabulous day job as a social media strategist includes writing for a publishing company in Roanoke, VA.

All titles, including the Donovan Circus Series, A Reaper Made, and Witch Hearts, are available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback.

To learn more about Liz, visit her website: http://lizclong.com.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

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The Art Behind the Mothman Mysteries: the BRAND

cover1I’ll admit it. I’m a total control freak.

So, when it came time to think about the artwork for my new series, my first thought wasn’t about who to hire. After all, I designed all the covers in the Midnight Guardian series. I do have some professional graphic design experience. If you live in southern Ohio or western West Virginia, some time in the last two decades you’ve likely driven past a billboard that I created. I can drop shadow, gradiate, mask, powerclip, and manipulate fills and nodes like a fiend. Yet, I cannot hand draw. I even have trouble with straight lines. It’s completely sad.

And that’s exactly what I wanted for this. Not straight lines, but original hand-drawn artwork. The main character, Eric Jansen, has an alien tattoo. He calls it his BRAND which stands for Biometric Remodeling Apparatus with Necessity Duplicator. The BRAND has some extraordinary built-it features. I knew that I wanted his tattoo to be the symbol for the series. I didn’t want a stock photo or clipart. I wanted original. And I got it with Joshua Labello. Read More

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Finding Mothman

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been busy wrapping my next book, Wrong Side of the Grave, which will be the first in a new series of standalone Mothman Mysteries. The series will be YA/teen and this time, kiddos, I’m delving into sci-fi. But you know me, this series has strong paranormal influences (think Doctor Who).

So what’s my YA Sci-fi Mystery about? Mothman.

In western West Virginia, Mothman is a creature of legend. In fact, there he is below with the big red eyes and gray wings nestled in the center between Nessie, Chupacabra, Bigfoot and the Yeti. He’s in good company.

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Mothman is a winged humanoid creature. He stands on two legs, but his skin is gray and he has big red eyes that rest near his shoulders. The moth part comes from his giant wings that are reported to hum and glide on the air rather than flap. He doesn’t need a running start, witnesses say these great wings can straight up into the air like a helicopter.

Mothman caused the biggest stir in 1966 and 67 when according to journalist John A. Keel more than a hundred people sighted him in the area surrounding Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Some even blame Mothman for the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge in which took forty-six lives just days before Christmas in 1967.

He’s been mentioned on the X-Files, been the star of movies, chased by reality show hillbillies, and has his own museum. There’s even an annual festival where the Men in Black trot him out for festival goers to catch a quick selfie!

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Over the next few weeks we’ll explore the legend, the art, and the music behind this new series. Next week, I’ll share with you how I’m taking this legend and giving it a YA twist. Until then, check out the Mothman Mysteries page on my site for a description of the book and the official Spotify playlist. Only one legendary creature rocks out loud!

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