Seagull Latest Gossip

Ok, I could not resist doing this to these adorable seagulls.  I took the picture at the Keyport, NJ waterfront.  It looks like the are gossiping about something quite juicy, so of course I had to imagine it.  Click on the picture to make it larger 🙂

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Look at What the Asteroid Brought – a Piece of the Moon

I am just kidding; however, I am extremely happy to announce that Moonlit Valley is available through Amazon (US, UK, EU) in paperback or e-book (Kindle or PDF).  It will also be available via extended distribution through the Ingram, Baker & Taylor catalog, in about 6-8 weeks, meaning that you will be able to order it at your favorite bookstore.  I will be celebrating tonight, of course.  Here is the link to Moonlit Valley

You can also find it here – Moonlit Valley, and through Smashwords here for all of you who have ereaders in the ePub format (nook, apple, kobo…), Sony, palm, and other electronic formats.

This is a picture of the cover,

MOONLIT VALLEY

MOONLIT VALLEY

And the back cover,

back cover Moonlit valley

And a spread picture (because I’m so excited),

moonlit valley spread

Here is a bit about it,

Moonlit Valley

Rose Carrigan never imagined what awaited her when she left her New Jersey hometown to live in an old farmhouse located in a small southern town called Moonlit Valley.   After a series of mysterious clues and unfortunate events, once more, her world turns upside down. This time, the man who she loves, Jeremy Sandbeck, her irresistible and seductive husband, is the one responsible. When she discovers his identity, she must decide between love and destiny, defying the surreal world that she has discovered.  Jeremy struggles with love, and what he
thinks is his true supernatural and divine duty.

I hope you like it.  I will keep you updated.

Building Your Brand – Author Nameplate Design

Yesterday, I set on a mission – to create an author logo/nameplate for my book covers. This may be a bit unconventional, but I wanted to create a cohesive way to identify my author name with future book covers. I’ve noticed that most authors, except  a few, use a free style when it comes to have their names printed on a book cover.  I never understood this, and while I agree that a book’s title is more important and the first thing you notice, besides the art cover, I like the idea of matching an author’s name to a style/logo that you can recognize.  I’ve noticed that Nicholas Sparks has a cohesive flow to his name on the covers of the books, and just by catching a glimpse at one of his covers, I already recognize the image and associate it with his work.  He is one of the few that I’ve noticed doing this, although not in all his books.  If you check out a few book covers from different authors you will see what I mean.

I came up with a nameplate that I will include in future book covers. I had fun designing it and think that it fits my personality as well as the essence of my stories – that author’s persona that leaks throughout the story. I will not include it in Moonlit Valley, since the cover is already set to go – a scene from the book. However, since I am planning to write for the long run, it will become part of my brand. To me, branding is important, as it becomes as essence, with time.

For authors, branding includes many things besides a pen name, but I think that details are important, even when you are a first time author trying to build your brand slowly, which is what I am trying to do now.  I have thought about many examples of branding from well-known authors and will use two examples to illustrate my point.  When you think of branding, you can visualize Stephen King, (who is the king) and see how he has built his brand around his name.  Or, you can think of J.K. Rowling and see how she built her brand around the Harry Potter series.  For her, publishing another book outside the series, got her harsh criticism because her brand grew and developed around this character.  On the other hand, Mr. King may publish anything he wants, and his name becomes stronger.  I am not sure if you follow my point, but what I mean is that branding for authors goes beyond the product.  This got me thinking about creating a way in which I can start building an author’s brand as I continue in my writing journey – a lifetime journey.

Here is the design I came up with, and so far, I think that I am happy with it.  I like it because it is different and simple enough that it will not compete with other details going on the cover – it can cohabit, but at the same time, starts building visual recognition – over time, that is.  I believe that it is never too early to start building your brand.

Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

Have you thought of branding your pen name/author’s name?  What do you think, as far as creating name recognition in future publications?

Shakespeare a Day 15

Othello and Desdemona, by Alexandre-Marie Colin

Image via Wikipedia

“That death’s unnatural that kills for loving.” Othello, the Moor of Venice

Love, such a short and simple word, and so much goes into it.  Most things we do during our days on Earth we do for Love – for love of someone, of something, for love of money, for love of success, for love of the planet, of its people, for love of material things … Whether that Love is right or wrong, in our minds, we do it just for Love.  Crimes of passion are said to be committed out of Love – love that has sickened and crossed the line towards death.  Even the denial of oneself for the pleasing of the loved one, is out of love.  All is done in the name of Love.  Love is pure, a higher essence; in our humanity, or twisted humanity, we corrupt it.

Today, think of it – what do you love?  why do you love?

For Better or for Worst … Love Needs to Be Shared

Television icons

Image via Wikipedia

For better or for worst, in sickness or in health, in good times and bad times … We are familiar with this sentence, at least if you are married or attended a wedding, saw one on TV, and do not live under a rock.  Love needs to be shared under all those conditions.  The divorce statistics may point to the contrary.

I don’t consider myself an eavesdropper, but I am amused by the conversations I get to listen to when I am waiting online, at a Dr.’s office, post office … Many times, you hear “the bashing of the love one,” – good title for a song.  Men or women, they all do it, they express their dissatisfaction with the love in their lives.  True or not, it is a matter of perspective for many – discounting abuse cases, of course.

The point is, we are sometimes quick to judge our loved ones.  Quick to request perfection, when what we are looking for is a companion who will take us seriously in good times and in bad times.  The following questions offer much insight.

  • Does he/she listens when you talk (when you truly talk)?
  • Does he/she cares, even when it doesn’t show?
  • Does he/she want to be with you forever?
  • Do you see the good in him/her?  Is is more than the flaws?
  • Did you once felt that the two of you could tackle everything, the world?
  • Do you feel tired?
  • Do you need to step back and look at the whole picture?
  • Do you believe?
  • Do you need to ask/answer these questions?

Sometimes, the answers can be found in the questions.