Cover Reveal Party & Giveaway!

Howdy gang! The day has finally come... Feast your peeps on the cover of my upcoming novelette, Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1:

Ain't she just the prettiest? To say I'm a proud peacock is an understatement. What's the story about? In the words of Emeril, BAM!


Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”

Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried.

Life has pummeled her heart into one big, lonely callus. She has no siblings, both parents were dead by sixteen, and her last grandparent—and caretaker—was in the ground before she turned twenty-one. She’s the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thinks…

“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”

Suddenly, instead of burying it with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

BLOOD FUGUE, by E.J. Wesley, is the first of the MOONSONGS books, a series of paranormal-action novelettes. At fewer than 13k words, BLOOD FUGUE is the perfect snack for adventurous readers who aren’t afraid of stories with bite.

Available via Amazon and most eBook retailers September 2012


But this isn't all about me, no sir or madam. As a part of the celebration, I'd like to introduce you to the fabulous cover artist, Vic Caswell of Sketcher Girl Studios, as well as give out some sweet prizes--including advance reader copies of Blood Fugue and some $$$ toward a Sketcher Girl cover of your very own. More on that after the interview...

Meet Vic, cover artist extraordinaire.

ME (EJ) - How'd you get into the illustration and design business? 

VIC - I actually don't have very much formal training in art. I took a year and a half in high school and one class in college, but i've studied on my own like a woman obsessed for most of my adult life- devouring texts, watching tutorials, mentally deconstructing pieces I love. For writing, finding the blogging community and Nathan Bransford's (all hail his name!) forums/blog are an invaluable tool. In the visual arts, is just as valuable. There, your work gets criticized and torn-apart and built-up whether you want it to or not. And that kind of feedback... well, that's helped me grow more than anything.

But I was never confident enough in my work until Emily White (a blogging friend) approached me to do her cover art back when she was planning on self-publishing her debut novel ELEMENTAL. Spencer Hill Press ended up snagging ELEMENTAL and keeping the artwork I'd done for that. Then, they asked if I was interested in producing the art for the sequel FAE (which I got to even take the photography for!). Kate Kaynak (the owner of SHP) then asked if I'd be interested in more coverwork.

That's when my hubs told me that maybe I should go into business doing cover art. We went live in ... june ... my memory is crap. And so far i've completed five covers and am working on my sixth. It's a dream come true!  :)

ME - Why do book covers? Any favorites or specific inspiration?

VIC - Aw man. Because I love them! Seriously! I love books SOOOOO much. I even try to write (though my craft isn't anywhere near publication ready at this point). But as I've been hanging around online learning about publication, it's become apparent to me how vital cover art is. Not only for sales, but for the author to get the RIGHT sales. 

Sales to the customers that will actually enjoy the book. A cover--above all else--should be a visual representation of the story held within the pages. Providing the right image is almost like making a promise to the reader, saying, 'if you like this image, if it intrigues you, you'll like the story it represents.'

I want authors to succeed. I know how much heart and time and work goes into crafting a story. And for that to happen, they have to get their books into the hands of the RIGHT readers. that's my inspiration. Match-making, in a more exciting way than smoochies. Helping readers and stories find each other. :)

ME - Do you specialize in a specific medium? (Photography, pencils, paints, strictly digital, etc.)

VIC - Honestly... ok, it's like this: there is SO MUCH out there in the world to experience, to feel, to do... and i want to try it all. It's kind of my approach to life... in a much more restrained way (because i'm a chicken :P) but in art... there is no danger in trying different things. New mediums... they're like tasting a new flavor of cupcake... delicious! So... not really. 

In my heart I would use whatever medium I think would be appropriate for a work. But in actuality, I think there are mediums that I'm more proficient at than others, as well as styles that I'm more comfortable with. Photography and digital manipulation are pretty comfortable to me. And when it comes to traditional art, I feel most comfortable with an ink pen and either watercolors or colored pencils.

Darker, twisty, creepy, goofy styles are more natural for me... but I LOVE trying new things... and I always think my work isn't THAT dark... though the elderly people at this art show I displayed my work in last week were eyeing me in a... ummm... kind of scared way. O.O

ME - What's your design process like? 

VIC - Ooh! USUALLY, this is the process: I read your manuscript (doesn't need to be finalized). Honestly, I decide if this is something I want my art connected to. (Seriously, you have to be writing something REALLY offensive for me to pass on it...) Then I give you a call and we run through some questions to see how our visions mesh on the story. (Because sometimes authors see their stories CRAZY different than readers.) We discuss design and palette and whatnot. Also, this is when we discuss and arrange for payment.... if you need to make installments of whatever.

Then I work on mock-ups. Usually, I produce from 3-5 different (very) rough designs. Some will probably be illustrated, some with model images I already have on hand and manip and whatnot. Then you look at them and narrow it down to 3 for me to continue with. Also, at this point, if you decide to go with a model on your cover, we will go through casting at this time. 

I don't use stock photography, because although it is inexpensive you can't obtain exclusive rights to stock art... this means your cover art could be used on someone else's cover- which leads to all kinds of disgust and confusion for readers. I have a pool of models registered with SGS.
Then I work like crazy and you don't hear from me for a couple to a few weeks. Then I send you the next round of mock-ups and you choose the one design we go with. Then it's a whole lot of back and forth of tweaking and suggestions until we are both happy. Then it's paperwork. Then it's REVEAL TIME!!! whoo hoo!!!  (ME - Whoo Hoo!!! indeed.)

The amount of time it takes varies wildly depending on many things, not limited to, but including: how many other projects I have going on at the moment, when your book is going to be coming out, and if I'm having difficulty getting the image just right--because sometimes creativity needs time.

ME - What kinds of projects are your favorites to work on? 

VIC - As a reader, I LOVE MG, YA, and NA (ME - WOOT FOR NA!). Psychologically, this is an intriguing age-span to me. As far as genre goes, I love sci-fi... not so much militaristic scifi though... fantasy of all kinds, contemporary, horror, humorous characters, adventurous stories, MAGICAL stuff!, CREATURES!!!! OHMYGOODNESS!!! I love critterz soooo much! 

I'm a little uncomfortable with romance... because, you know... I don't know why. Just am. But I've done a cover for a romance. Ummm... yeah. When I read a good story, I watch it like a movie in my head. So any story that can take me to that place where I'm all wrapped up and carried away will inspire the heck out of me.  :)

ME - How do we find out more about Sketcher Girl Studios and your services?

VIC - Linksies? I got them! But first, I want to let anyone who is interested know that I'm not scary. Have any questions at all, and I'm totally happy to help as much as I'm able, don't hesitate to ask. No such thing as a stupid question and all that.

ME - Oh my goodness, gang! I can't say enough about Vic. Her artistic acumen speaks for itself, so let me tell you about what she's like to work with. She's beyond sweet, super dedicated, incredibly supportive, punctual, original--basically an author's dream cover artist. Seriously, when I did my checklist for cover wants, Vic nailed them all. If you need some cover work, website design, etc. done, do yourself a favor and check her out.

And just to prove I'm not a selfish pig, I'm going to give you a little nudge in Vic's direction...



1 Grand Prize: $50 toward the Sketcher Girl service of your choice. (Details provided when you claim your prize.)

2 First Prizes: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Also Rans: I'm giving out an unspecified number of Blood Fugue ARCs to random entrants, just to say thanks for joining in the fun!

How to win: Fill out the Form of Doom below. That's it!

Rules and such: Contest is closed as of Friday August 31, 2012. Family members can't win. Only one entry per person will be allowed. Grand prize: Subject to Sketcher Girl, LLC terms and conditions. If Vic says you're cool, I'll send her $50 and she'll bill you for the balance. You have until December 31, 2012 to claim the Grand prize. First prizes: You'll have 10 days from the time of notification to send me your mailing address. After that, I'll pick a new winner. Also Rans: Follow the rules found within the ARC. Winners of Grand and First prizes will be notified via eMail and posted on this blog Friday, September 7, 2012.  I reserve the right to void any entry should I detect shenanigans.


Release Day! Weighted by Ciara Knight

Hello gang! Today is a BIG day for fellow author-blogger Ciara Knight. Her latest work, WEIGHTED, hits shelves, and she is celebrating in grand fashion. More on that in a sec...

NA Lit Chat Update

Week 5 of NA Lit Chat is here! This week, Thursday 9 PM EST on the Twitters, we'll be taking an in-depth look at themes in New Adult lit. Last week, we had a great discussion on settings. Be sure to take a look at the transcript on the NA Lit Chat blog for some awesome story ideas (the brainstorming was in full-effect!) and a full calendar of upcoming chats. To join in, just use #NALitChat in your tweets.

Good News of the Week

Lots of great news this week! 

First, a blogfest, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Ninja Blogger, Alex Cavanaugh:


Genre Favorites Blogfest

September 17, 2012

One blogfest, four favorites!
List your favorite genre of:

And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!

Be sure to sign up over at Alex's blog HERE!

Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares

Great title, right? :) Author and grammarian, Jenny Baranick, has launched her grammar utility guide Missed Periods & Other Grammar Scares: How to Avoid Unplanned & Unwanted Grammar Errors. Not saying you need it (I do), but Jenny is hilarious and I'm sure her book  is equally entertaining... and useful... to some. :) You can check out Jenny's blog HERE, and pick up her book HERE.

Weighted Release Day!

Author Ciara Knight's latest is available now! Here are the deets:

Weighted (Prequel Novelette)

The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Upcoming books in The Neumarian Chronicles:

Escapement (Book I) - Early 2013
Pendulum (Book II) - Mid 2013
Balance (Book III) - Early 2014

Other books by Cara Knight:

Battle for Souls Series
Ascension of Evil - Coming in October

About Ciara

Ciara writes to ‘Defy the Dark’ with her fantasy and paranormal books. Her debut novel, The Curse of Gremdon, was released to acclaimed reviews, securing a Night Owl Top Pick and five stars from the Paranormal Romance Guild. Also, book I, Rise From Darkness, from her debut young adult Battle For Souls series, secured glowing reviews and won July Book of the Month from Long and Short Reviews.

Her first love, besides her family, reading, and writing, is travel. She's backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska.

Ciara is extremely sociable so please feel free to connect with her at her blogwebsiteTwitterGoodreads, or Facebook,

For details on how to win a free copy of Weighted, check out Ciara's blog HERE!


3 Things I Wish I'd Known About Writing

Howdy all! Hope you're all plugging along at a steady pace. That's one thing I've come to appreciate in life. Steady. So many things can only be achieved by steady. Fast and now are vastly overrated in my opinion, but it still doesn't keep me from wishing I'd known a bit more about this writing stuff from the start.

That's the point of this post, actually, but more on that in a sec.


I've noticed I've opened the last few posts with some cool authorly goings-on, so I've decided to begin every post with some good news. Basically, I'd like to share info on any and all of my writer buddies publishing exploits, etc.

So here's the call: If you're launching a book, running a blogfest, etc. and want me to share it, shoot me an email with a link and a bit of info and I'll work it into a future "Good News" section. You can send the eMail to: jezzell19 (AT) gmail (DOT) com


Author C. Lee McKenzie is launching her latest book this week, Alligators Overhead. Here's a link to a great interview with C. Lee (Indies should check it for sure) over at JULIE MUSIL's blog. Plus, I loved the trailer. Check it below. Way to go Lee!

Also on the good news front, spectacular author-blogger Siv Maria is celebrating the upcoming release of her short story "Secrets of the Ash Tree" with the very fun Unforgettable Blogfest. You can learn more about her story, and signup for the blogfest, HERE

Here are the rules as per Siv:

" about some strange and unusual place, person or thing you have visited. Something that has left a lasting impression, one that you can not forget."

Naturally, there being an awesome dog-in-a-hoody button and all, I couldn't resist participating. So here's my entry:

The most unforgettable place I've been is easily Venice, Italy. I've traveled to a few places in my life, and never really experienced anything remotely like it. It's one of the most visited spots in the world, yet somehow it can feel like the entire place belongs only to you. Probably has something to do with the many streets/corridors that could barely fit 3 people walking side-by-side, or the seemingly endless number of patio cafes to sip wine or espresso at while people watching, or the constant sound of seabirds and lapping water. There's also something completely charming about seeing dogs and cats--not strays, mind--roam around carefree without the fear of being run down by a car. (There aren't any vehicles on the island... other than boats.) And none of that mentions the uniquely-Venice occurrence of being utterly lost--to call the streets and alleys a maze would be understating it--and still only be a 5 minute walk from wherever you're going.

From our trip. :)
New Adult Twitter Chat Update

As many of you know, the NA Lit Chat #NALitChat is something of a pet project of mine and the ladies over at the NA Alley Blog. (You can get the details over at the NA Lit Chat blog HERE.) Basically, a bunch of authors and readers get together to discuss New Adult (think older than YA, younger than "Adult") lit every Thursday night (9 PM EST US) on the Twitters.

We began 4 weeks ago, and our attendance is growing every week by leaps and bounds. The information being shared is truly first rate. Plus, it's a ton of fun. You should definitely stop in and say hello some night. This week we'll be taking an in-depth look at settings in NA lit, specifically examining reader preferences and author techniques.


Last week I asked for help sharing the cover for my upcoming book release. YOU GUYS TOTALLY BLEW ME AWAY!!! Seriously, just overjoyed by the number of folks who responded. 

I'll be closing the signup at the end of this week, and subsequently sending an email to everyone with the full details (stuff to share, date to share, etc.). You can still sign up if you'd like to help, and can learn more about the details HERE.


Here are some things I wish I'd have known when I started all of this a few years ago. I'm by no means at my final destination as a writer (at least I sure hope not!), but these are some things that would have certainly helped me get to wherever it is that I'm at a little faster. 

1) Go Biggest, or Go Home

What I wish someone had told me was this: You know that idea for a story you've got? It has to be big, huge even. You know that big-huge story you've written, and that main character with the BIG personality? They're going to have to be bigger. And that climax needs to be the biggest you've ever imagined, and that villain needs to be someone you're slightly ashamed to have dreamed up, and that plot is going to have give you night sweats trying to figure out how to make it work...

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not suggesting that every story needs to be some bombastic thing no one has ever dreamed of. Far from it. I'm just saying that what I started out thinking was 'big enough' wasn't even close. I'd think, "Oh, that's a clever/racy/dramatic thing for my character to think or say", and it wasn't. It wasn't until I (finally!) started to turn myself loose, to write unfiltered, that I (finally!) began to see some spark in my prose. Up until that point, the stories were fine. The writing was fine. But nothing was good. 

My thought process now? It's way easier to dial it back than it is to crank it up. So blast it in your drafts, and let your critters and editors help you figure out if it's too loud. Fiction is writing for dramatic purposes, so bring the drama until you think it's too much. That's when you're getting close to nailing it. 

The beauty of it? It's all based upon the individual. Just shoot for the best and biggest from you. It'll show in your writing, and readers will eat it up.

2) You Will Never Be THEM

Go ahead, think about your idols. Tom Clancy. Stephen King. J.K. Janet Evanovich... Now think about the average, everyday writer you'd gladly swap places with. Your blog buddy who just nabbed an agent. The friend you just beta read for who is so good it shames the entire industry because they haven't been found and published yet. Now, think about every story you wish you'd written, every story that's inspired you to write.

Now fold them neatly in half and grab your lighter... you can't be any of them, so they might as well burn.

This isn't meant to be depressing or discouraging. In fact, it's so enlightening I believe it could have literally moved me years ahead of my current writing level had I embraced it from the start. See, I tried way too dang hard to be everything but what I am when it came to writing.

And this doesn't just apply to style and craft. It applies to aspirations, dreams, goals, etc. I wanted what others had at the cost of neglecting to develop what I had. I ignored my own voice. I struggled to perfect what I was reading and who I was watching/emulating, when I really should have pulled out a mirror and worked at perfecting who and what I was.

3) You Need 3 Eyes

I'm convinced saying, "I think I want to ben author" is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult thing you can possibly ever utter. 

It's Easy Because ... It rolls off the tongue, and I doubt you'd need a second breath to get it out. To be an author of fiction, by my definition, means to offer up writing for public consumption and entertainment. Not review, or critique, mind you, but for people to ingest and digest. You don't have to charge for it, and you don't have to apologize. Basically, you write something and say, "Here. Like it or lump it. Hopefully like it." So the concept, in theory, is easy to understand and embrace.

It's Hard Because ... Only a writer thinks of it that way. To the public, your friends, agents, editors, your momma and nanna--whoever--it's SO much more than that. It's business. It's marketing. It's schmoozing. It's money. It's failure. It's unparalleled personal success. It's editing until there's no creativity left in your brain, just run-ons and adverbs. It's producing something instead of doing something. It's holding yourself to standards you can't possibly meet (see #2). That, in a shell, is how/why you go from writer to author.

As you can tell, becoming an author is a fairly simple problem with a complex solution. So here's the trick I'd have given my arm to have known right out of the gate: Develop an extra eye. That added orb should be focused on all the things that make up the second "It's Hard..." paragraph above. The business, marketing, expectations, the honing of the craft, the caring... all of it.

Your other two eyes should be focused on the first paragraph. Write to be heard. Write to entertain. Write to express. Just write! It's the simplest part of the equation, but the hardest to master once all of that other stuff is introduced. Not that the other stuff isn't necessary or important. If you want to be an author--a good one--you'll need to do that, too. I just think the writing for the sake of writing needs most of our attention from the start. Then maybe we won't lose sight of it.

What about you? Anything you wish you'd have known from the start?


A Call to Arms

Howdy gang! This week, I ask for help--while spreading some love, of course. :)

First, as usual, the weekly New Adult Lit Twitter Chat Update:

The second weekly chat was even bigger and better than the first. We had more participants, more questions, more answers--just more awesome! Anyway, you can check out what all the fuss is about at the NA Lit Chat blog, and see a calendar of our upcoming chats.

This week, we're going NA In-Depth by taking a hard look at characters in NA, and will be specifically considering reader preferences and author technique. Hope you'll join us, regardless of your involvement/interest in NA. There's a ton of talk on craft, marketing, etc. that I think would be useful to any writer. Plus, it's just a dang good time.

I'll be joined this week by L.G. Kelso of the NA Alley Blog. She's a hoot (see also, hilarious), so you won't want to miss out.


Ain't it shiny?!
No, this isn't a plug for skunky beer, it's a shout out to one of my favorite author-blogger friends, Misty Provincher! She is celebrating the release of Keystone, book 2 of the Cornerstone series. It's a fun YA paranormal fantasy romp.

You can get your copy on Amazon or Smashwords today. Misty will be joining us here on the Open Vein in late September for an interview, so if you aren't familiar with her or her work, be sure to keep an eye out. Until then, be sure to check out Misty's blog for a full rundown of the launch festivities.


Here's the deal, I've been yapping about this awesome-sexy-sweet-toocool4school-cover of mine, right? Right! Well, I'm about ready to set the sucker loose into the wild. Unfortunately, I'm a complete n00b when it comes to this book marketing stuff, so I need your help.

Basically, I want my beautiful cover to be seen by as many folks as possible when I finally take the wrapping off of it. What I'm asking of you all, specifically, is to help me share it with the world. Now, I'm not asking to take over your blogs or anything. Essentially, I'd just like to know who'd be willing to share a link, etc. when the cover goes live. You'll decide how much or how little you want to do.

Here's how it'll go down:

1) If you're willing to take part in what I'm calling, E.J. Wesley's Bloody Good Fun Cover Reveal Party, sign up using the Linky list below. (It says "YOU ARE NEXT... CLICK HERE TO ENTER at the very bottom of this post.) You'll enter your name (or blog name) and email (the email is strictly between us, btw), which I'll use for step 2.

2) When I close the sign up Friday, August 17, I'll compile a list of all the awesome people and send them a nice fat email. In that email, you'll find all the details needed to take part in the reveal. I'll give links, jpegs, blurbs--basically everything and anything you'd need to make this as painless as possible.

3) You do something with it at the appointed hour. (TBA, which is why...) You'll have the choice to do as much or as little as you want. I'll include info for a short blog announcement. I'll give you links to my blog if you just want to say, "Hey, this EJ guy is sharing his cover today!" on Twitter or something. Easy.

I recognize many of you have pretty rigid, and very full, blog schedules, so I'm not expecting anything more than a quick anything. Do to certain factors, I regretfully can't say 100% when this shindig is going live (probably the last week of August), but will be able to by the 17th. If you need to back out at that point, just say so. No hurt feelings on my end.

THAT'S IT! And, just to show my appreciation, I'm going to be giving away two $10 Amazon gift certificates to two random participants. Furthermore, I'll include info in the email about a special prize I'm going to give out on my blog the day of the reveal. It's pretty sweet, and your name will automatically be included in that drawing as well.

Ooh, and I almost forgot, if you can mention that I'm doing this somewhere amongst your tweet-blog-booking, I'd be a million percent grateful. I'll be sharing this as well throughout the week, so a simple re-Tweet, etc. would do wonders.

All of this is going to add up to an even bigger party, and bigger prizes, for the actual launch of my book. Which I'll of course be providing more details on in the near future. Hit me with questions, etc. in the comments if you have 'em, and as always, have a rocking week!