Art Expressions

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“It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” ― Martha Graham

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Cover Crush: Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

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I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Dreamland BurningDreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Published February 21st 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past, the present, and herself.

One hundred years earlier, a single violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self-discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.

My thoughts:

Hands down, this cover is amazing! I love everything about it and I am really interested in the premise. I have added this book to my wish-list.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Other great cover crushes from my fellow book bloggers:

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum

Stay calm and support book bloggers

Q&A With Photographer Scott Moore

Scott Moore with Sally

I’d like to welcome Scott Moore today to talk with me about his photography business and how he got into photography.

Scott, what is the name of your Photography business?

The name of my business in WSM Photography. It’s an often-used formula, but the WSM stands for my initials “Walker Scott Moore”. I also have a variation of my initials I use online, as an online id, which is “Wizum”. Kind of how you would say my initials as a word… I use that identity quite a bit with social media and photo sharing sites.

How long have you been in photography?

I started shooting with a Minolta film camera back in the late 90’s. It was something very casual and I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. After finishing up my degree in architecture in the early 2000’s, I picked up my first digital camera, a Coolpix 3200, and used it quite a bit on travels, especially when I visited famous buildings designed by architects I had studied in school. Two “point and shoot” cameras later I decided to buy my first SLR camera, a Canon XTi. From there, things really took off and around the start of 2009 I excepted my first architectural paid shoot, which just so happened to be a new high rise I could see from my work desk looking out the window. It must have been fate, right?

Professionally I’ve been photographing architecture for 8 years. I’ve also sold a number of prints and canvases over the years as well or Landscapes and Cityscapes, as well as having done some professional portraits and a wedding or two as a second shooter. This last year I shot the Tom Glavine Spring Training Georgia Transplant Foundation fundraiser event. I shot that for 5 years straight and it was always a rewarding and fun event to shoot.

What is your motivation in photography?

Place.

While studying architecture in school- a lot of time is spent studying other architects work and also their writings. This invariably led to other writings from non-architects, but still discussing related subjects, or subjects that could influence the world of architecture. One of the more influential writings led to the realization of how we interact with the world and how when we create architecture, it is something that does not sit in an open field of grass, it sits in a place. Buildings have context. and it is this context which can have a major influence on the design of a building.

So, context is such a key for me when I look at a place. Whether that place is in the city or in a natural setting. I love capturing places and subjects within these places.

What do you specialize in and what is your process?

For pay, my photography work is primarily shooting architecture. I obviously understand the subject well, as I have been trained to be an architect and have been practicing it for 20 plus years.

My process for shooting sometimes depends on the building I’m shooting, and also the client I am shooting for, but primarily I like to do a survey of the project and take sample shots before doing the final shooting. This allows me to get a feel for the project and how light, depending on the time of day, interacts with it. After that I’ll have a good understanding of the shots I will take, which are usually derived from a client request and ideas I see while shooting and reviewing the sample shots I took.

I also shoot multiple exposures when shooting. I sometimes will use these exposures in a blending process, but sometimes I am able to capture the right shot in one exposure. You might ask why I do this? Well, the camera does not have the same exposure adjustment that the human eye has. When dealing with multiple light levels, sometimes very drastic from each other, you shoot for these extremes so you can balance them out in post processing, so that the final image reflects more closely to what the eye can see of the scene you captured.

Who are a few of the businesses you have shot images for?

I have had the opportunity to shoot a number of buildings I have actually designed, while working for various architecture firms in Atlanta. These firms are DAG Architects, CDH partners and AE Perspective (formally AE Design). I’ve also shot for 2 firms in Chattanooga, TN as well as having the opportunity to shoot for an architect in Cape Town South Africa. The 2 homes I photographed in Cape Town were simply amazing, one having an open view of the Atlantic Ocean from the living room, overlooking an infinity edge pool, and the other on the beach, with a view of Table Mountain in the distance and across the bay.

I have also photographed for an architectural lighting company as well several General Contractors who constructed several of the projects I have photographed.

What gear do you prefer to use the most?

For my architectural work I shoot a lot with my 17mm Tilt Shift lens. It is very wide and it allows for me to correct perspective within the lens real-time. It is a really great lens and gives me some of my sharpest images.

When shooting landscapes or cityscapes I also tend to shoot with a wide angle, but generally I shoot with my L17-40 4.0 Lens.

My current camera body is the Canon 6D. I used to shoot with the 5D mark ii, but had a mishap with it in the ocean. 😦

What settings do you use when at a shooting site?

Not to give away too many secrets 😉 but when shooting architectural work, I keep my aperture around f11-f16. I shoot with a tripod 90% of the time, which allows for the multiple exposures I mentioned before. The ISO is usually at 100, for as little pixel noise (grain), and the exposures will vary drastically, but I do like to shoot with longish exposures.

Please share your favorite image you have taken.

I don’t know if I have just 1 favorite. So many of my shots remind me of those times I shot them and are also kind of a photographic journal of my journey, and development as a photographer. The one I will share with you though is from early on in my shooting career of a waterfall in Alabama. It is called, Caney Creek Falls. What is so cool about the shot is that visiting the place was really amazing. Call it a good day or the location itself, but a lot of things photographically really came to me when doing this shoot.

CaineyCreekFalls002 Scott's Picture

Who are your influences in the industry?

It is kind of funny, but I cannot really name one established or famous photographer that has been an influence on me. What I can name is the massive amount of talent that is out there, who share their work on sites like Flickr and 500px. Also, there is a local photography group in Atlanta called the Atlanta Photography Guild. They started out as a meet-up group from Flickr and met at a small local pub in Castleberry Hill. Every 2 weeks models would be there to photograph and the organizer, Mark Turnley, would setup different lighting. Everyone would pay 5 bucks to shoot and it was a really fun social, and engaging group. Though I don’t do a whole lot of portrait work the knowledge about lighting was important to my development as a photographer. The group is still around, though I’m not 100% where they meet these days.

How can people get in contact with you?

I can be reached easily online through my website or shoot me an email at wizum2003@yahoo.com.

Also, if you find an image on my website or while exploring my work on Flickr or 500px, that you like, I can do custom prints. Contact me on those for a quote. These days I’ve sent photographs to be printed on metal sheets, canvas and even carpet. The options are abundant, so reach out to me.

About Scott Moore:

Scott Moore started his photography venture in 2008. His work is rooted in his love and practice of architecture. He has been practicing architecture for nearly 20 years, while shooting architecture, throughout the Southeast U.S. and abroad in South Africa, for 9 years.

What allows Scott’s work to stand apart from others is his background in architecture and design. By practice and training Scott understands the architect’s vision. He has had the opportunity to shoot a number of projects he also designed and managed through construction. It is this comprehensive understanding of place, design and architectural vision that influences his eye through the lens.

Scott also enjoys shooting landscapes and cityscapes from various continents. This love of architecture and photography comes from his understanding and appreciation of the context all of us live around and within. Capturing places and things, while an extension of his education and practice in architecture, is an extension of his passion for the beautiful world we all live in.

Other Social Media Links:

WSM Photography Facebook Page

Twitter

Instagram

WSM Photography Blog

L.A.P. it Marketing LLC

What is L.A.P. it Marketing?

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L.A.P. it is a social media platform that applies to a variety of professions-such as-Literature, Art and Photography. The practicalities of Internet life can be tricky for many, not everyone is computer savvy and would prefer to solely focus on their craft or they have a tight budget but need help in this arena. How does one market their own work if they have little money or they don’t understand how the market works or both? There are so many entities out there charging fees that are not doable for most or they promise what they cannot deliver. L.A.P. it has created a new concept of social media marketing and provides a unique service to showcase writers, artists and photographers work. L.A.P. it will also work with publishers, independent presses, artist/photographer galleries and other entities that involve the three areas mentioned.

L.A.P. it Marketing Website

Twitter: @lapitmarketing

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Winter Storm and New Projects

Winter 12-9-17

This past weekend Georgia had a snow storm that even the weatherman did not predict! Where I live, we had 7 inches of snow and our power went out so, I decided to spend my time in my art studio and get much-needed reading time in. I have to admit, even though I did not like the fact we had no power for a bit, it was nice to have that time to create and reflect on things without having access to the internet to distract me.

Absratct Art

I have a couple of new blogging projects coming up for Layered Pages soon and I will be sharing more about that probably next week. Meanwhile I am working on drafting contracts for a couple of clients who are signing on with L.A.P. it and working on blog posts for the L.A.P. it Blog.

What is L.A.P. it Marketing?

LAPit Logo

L.A.P. it is a social media platform that applies to a variety of professions-such as-Literature, Art and Photography. The practicalities of Internet life can be tricky for many, not everyone is computer savvy and would prefer to solely focus on their craft or they have a tight budget but need help in this arena. How does one market their own work if they have little money or they don’t understand how the market works or both? There are so many entities out there charging fees that are not doable for most or they promise what they cannot deliver. L.A.P. it has created a new concept of social media marketing and provides a unique service to showcase writers, artists and photographers work. L.A.P. it will also work with publishers, independent presses, artist/photographer galleries and other entities that involve the three areas mentioned.

L.A.P. it Marketing Website

Twitter: @lapitmarketing

Facebook Page

Stephanie M. Hopkins

A glance at a Southern Story: The Unexpected Daughter by Sheryl Parbhoo

Me outside October 2017

Last month I posted about a book event I wen to and southern authors and their stories were featured. This gave me an idea to start a series on southern writers and how important their stories are and what makes them unique. Today I am featuring a unique southern story by Sheryl Parbhoo that gives us an intercultural relationship look and the struggles that come with and shows the commitment of love.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

The Unexpected Daughter by Sheryl ParbhooBook Description:

Three people’s lives intersect in a tumultuous yet redeeming way that none of them could have ever predicted. Jenny is a young professional from the South with an upbringing she wants to forget. She meets Roshan, an Indian immigrant who has moved to the United States with his mother, Esha, to escape family ghosts. With strong cultural tradition, Esha has devoted her entire life to her only child, both for his own good and for her personal protection from a painful past. Roshan understands his role as his mother’s refuge, and from an early age, he commits himself to caring for her. But when Jenny and Roshan embark on a forbidden, intercultural relationship, all three get tangled into an inseparable web—betrayal, violence, and shame—leaving them forced to make choices about love and family they never wanted to make while finding peace where they never expected to look.

About the author:

Sheryl Parbhoo

Sheryl Parbhoo is an author and blogger. A native southerner, her interest in culture led to a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Memphis. Her longing for the spice of life culminated when she married her high school sweetheart, a South African Indian immigrant, and became a stay-at-home mom to their five children for over 20 years.

Sheryl has blogged for years about her spicy masala/southern cornbread way of life, raising her large multicultural family, and navigating the quirks of Southern and Indian in-law relationships. These, along with the responses received from readers, are the real-life inspirations for her novel, The Unexpected Daughter.

For more, follow her on Facebook ,
Twitter @SherylParbhoo and on Instagram.

What People Are Saying about The Unexpected Daughter on Amazon:

“Sheryl writes engaging characters and definitely captures the reader’s attention from the get-go. Even without the same cultural backgrounds, the characters and stories are relatable in a universal way… cultural struggles, familial backgrounds and expectations, baggage, battling your own demons, and making your own future. Her characters are flawed individuals, making good, questionable, and even horrible decisions…”

“You won’t want to put this book down, it will have you from the first few pages. Thru the twists and turns of the story you never know what is coming. I am an avid reader, this book is on level with J.K. Rowling, Danielle Steel, James Patterson, Nicolas Sparks, Nora Robert, etc. I look forward to more books from this author.”

“I loved this story, enjoyed following each character as they fought their own personal battles and learned a lot about Indian culture and tradition along the way! Roshan and Jenny have a unique friendship that grows into more but they resist the temptation to commit, he due to his Indian background, customs and parental influences, and she due to her fear of abandonment, and her difficult upbringing surrounded by poverty and addiction. After fighting the attraction, going their separate ways and living their lives apart for a decade, they come together and are faced with the same obstacles and more. As author Sheryl Parbhoo shows us in The Unexpected Daughter, it is impossible to escape our formative years, good or bad; it is a part of who we are and how we live in this world. What we can do is make good decisions for ourselves, embrace opportunities, live authentically and love with an open heart.

One of my favorite types of books is a story of immigration, assimilation and the mixing of cultures. The Unexpected Daughter delivers all of that so well as the backdrop with a rollercoaster ride of a story of a modern multicultural family as they come to terms with their past and grow together, navigating love, loyalty, addiction, ambition, death, birth and celebration….Life. A wonderful debut!”

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Writers, Artists and Photographers, are you wanting to spend less time on social media and spend more time on your craft or are you looking to expand your brand? L.A.P. it Marketing can help you in your endeavor! For more information about our company, visit our Website

Cover Crush: The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

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I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

The Spring GirlsThe Spring Girls

A Modern-Day Retelling of Little Women

by Anna Todd

Pub Date 02 Jan 2018 by Gallery Books

Four sisters desperately seeking the blueprints to life—the modern-day retelling of Louise May Alcott’s Little Women like only Anna Todd (After, Imagines) could do.

The Spring Girls—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—are a force of nature on the New Orleans military base where they live. As different as they are, with their father on tour in Iraq and their mother hiding something, their fears are very much the same. Struggling to build lives they can be proud of and that will lift them out of their humble station in life, one year will determine all that their futures can become.

The oldest, Meg, will be an officer’s wife and enter military society like so many of the women she admires. If her passion—and her reputation—don’t derail her.

Beth, the workhorse of the family, is afraid to leave the house, is afraid she’ll never figure out who she really is.

Jo just wants out. Wishing she could skip to graduation, she dreams of a life in New York City and a career in journalism where she can impact the world. Nothing can stop her—not even love.

And Amy, the youngest, is watching all her sisters, learning from how they handle themselves. For better or worse.

With plenty of sass, romance, and drama, The Spring Girls revisits Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women, and brings its themes of love, war, class, adolescence, and family into the language of the twenty-first century.

My thoughts:

Who doesn’t love beautiful pictures of flowers? This cover is stunning in my eyes. Makes me long for spring as we are actually moving into winter. I need to stop teasing myself with these spring images!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum

Interview with Jenny Q-Historical Fiction Book Covers

Jenny Q

I’d like to welcome Jennifer Quinlan to Layered Pages today to talk with me about her book cover design business. Jennifer, aka Jenny Q, owner of Historical Editorial, is an editor and cover designer specializing in historical fiction, romance, and fantasy. A member of the Historical Novel Society, the Editorial Freelancer’s Association, the American Historical Association, and various local and regional historical organizations, she lives in Virginia with her husband, a Civil War re-enactor and fellow history buff.

Jenny, please tell me about your graphic design company and how you got into the business.

I’ve always been an extremely visual person, and my love for design began about eighteen years ago when I started scrapbooking. That was back when we worked with actual printed photos and paper, scissors, glue, etc. A few years later, I started working in the advertising department of my hometown daily newspaper. As an outside sales rep, I met with local and regional business owners and helped them create print and online advertising campaigns, and I worked with our team of graphic designers to bring the ads to life. I learned more about the process then and the collaborative relationship designers have with their clients. Then I moved into real estate and began designing marketing materials for my brokerage. When the economy collapsed and advertising and real estate both collapsed along with it, I turned my attention and my skills to my biggest passions—books!—and  helping self-published authors, and thus Historical Fiction Book Covers was born.

What is the latest book cover you designed?

I have several completed covers that I can’t share to the public yet, though I’m itching to do so! My most recent published cover is Blood Enemy by Martin Lake.

How far in advance do you schedule clients work?

My schedule is usually filled several months in advance, and I’m currently scheduling cover designs for March 2018 and beyond. A piece of advice for indie authors: Don’t wait till the last minute to choose a cover designer and book a spot in their schedule. Busy designers are often booked well in advance and are rarely able to take you on immediately. Plus you’ll want to have your cover early so you can start generating some pre-publication buzz. It’s also required to make your book available for pre-order.

What have you learned the most about book cover design along the way?

That I will probably work my whole life and never know how to use even half of Photoshop’s amazing capabilities! I’ve also had to learn how to swallow my pride and handle feedback and criticism of my work objectively and professionally. And I’ve learned that although I may have strong opinions about each cover I design, I have to always remember that it’s not my book, it’s the author’s, and ultimately they have to make the final decision and walk away with a cover they love and feel is most appropriate for their book.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! But mostly I draw inspiration from other covers. Covers are like eye candy for me, and I’m always browsing through them, studying them, drooling over them.  It’s important to be knowledgeable about trends in my genres and also to keep an eye on which types of covers are selling the most books.  I also find inspiration in artwork as I’m browsing. I’m constantly finding images of models or backgrounds or historical paintings that make me stop and say, “Oh, that would make a great cover someday! I better save this.”

As a Historical Fiction enthusiast, do you feel this helps when creating book covers for Historical Fiction writers?

No doubt about it. Spending so much time in the genre makes me very familiar with cover trends and the types of covers that appeal to particular audiences. It’s also immensely helpful in choosing accurate period clothing and settings.

In your professional opinion, what is the importance of book cover designs?

Your book cover is at the top of the list in terms of importance. You’ve poured your heart and soul into your book, but no one outside of your immediate sphere of influence will read it if you don’t have a cover that catches their attention. I’m sure we all wish it weren’t so, but we do tend to judge books by their covers, and I think this is especially true of indie books. I tend to skip right over books with crappy covers. Not because I’m a cover snob (okay, maybe a little bit), but because I expect an indie book to be just as professionally produced as a book coming from one of the big publishing houses.

What are the other services you offer?

I often create social media banners for my clients based on the covers we design, and I can also prepare print files for bookmarks, business cards, and other marketing materials. On another note, I do offer several tiers of pricing for cover designs. A custom cover design can be expensive (as it should be given the hours and hours of work that go into finding and choosing the right artwork, creating concepts and putting together multiple mockups, and then the rounds of revisions necessary until the final product is complete), but authors who already have their art or who are willing to take on the responsibility of finding their own cover art get steep discounts from me.

Where can people find you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google +, and LinkedIn.

What advice can you give to inspiring graphic designers?

Keep honing your craft and studying your market. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. Be sociable and network, which is easier to do than ever thanks to the digital world and social media. Strive for professionalism and to develop a reputation for being easy to work with, but don’t let people take advantage of you either.

Links:

Facebook Page

Facebook

Twitter

Jenny Q -twitter

goodreads

linkedin

Google +

A Message from L.A.P. it Marketing LLC:

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Writers, Artists and Photographers, are you wanting to spend less time on social media and spend more time on your craft or are you looking to expand your brand? L.A.P. it Marketing can help you in your endeavor! For more information about our company, visit our Website