"Tropic Of Skorpeo" Book Launch tonight

"And could I convince you to, er, give the girl four breasts?"

Above is an excerpt from an email Stephen Minchin, publisher at Steam Press, sent me while I was working on the cover design for "Tropic of Skorpeo", and being a consummate professional my first thought on receiving above instruction was: Four in a row, or 2 by 2?

"Tropic of Skorpeo" by NZ author Michael Morrissey is described as :
"---sexy, shocking, and hilarious, this is the story that Lewis Carroll would have written if he’d been into science fiction and consumed more than his fair share of LSD."
And as it's being officially released tonight in Auckland, I thought I'd take the time to share how I designed the cover with a graphic representation, ahem:
"Tropic of Skorpeo", author: Michael Morrissey, cover designer: Kura Carpenter, http://kuracarpenterdesign.blogspot.co.nz Published by Steam Press www.steampress.co.nz

So, if you're in Auckland tonight, Thursday 25 October 2012, the book launch is being held from 5.30pm at the New Zealand Society of Authors offices, 4th Floor, Duthie Whyte Building, 120 Mayoral Drive (cnr Mayoral Drive & Wakefield Street).

But if you're not, Steam Press are kindly giving away a copy. To be in to win, enter the Goodreads competition on the Steam Press website.

And just in case you're wondering, the boob solution = 2 on the front and 2 on the back.







Isemen - the novel in the flesh

"Isemen" author: Giuseppe Tortorici, Cover designer: Kura Carpenter
"Isemen" by Giuseppe Tortorici
Author of Isemen, Giuseppe Tortorici, very kindly sent me a copy of his debut novel which has been published in Italy, and which I custom designed its book cover.

I think the publishers have done a great job, the book format is a nice size to hold and read on dark scary nights (not that I can, the text is all Italian) & the matt blacks on the cover look rich and striking.

Thank you Giuseppe for letting me be part of your novel and all the best for your writing.

Grace Bridges Interviews me about Cover Design

Last week I was interviewed by the lovely Graces Bridges over on her blog, please read about it HERE

SpecficNZ Blogging Week Interview With Grace Bridges



 As part of SpecFicNZ's blogging week, today I'm talking with Grace Bridges. Grace owns the publishing house Splashdown Books, and she is also a science fiction author and has two published books. A graduate of the University of Auckland and a translator by trade, she spent eight years globetrotting chiefly in Europe while working for the police.

1) How long has Splashdown been operating?

Officially since 2009, though I worked at self-publishing my own novel in 2007 (Faith Awakened, now re-released through Splashdown). We are about to release our 23rd title.

2) You’re also an author and have two novels out: Faith Awakened (2007) and
Legendary Space Pilgrims (2010). What sort of readers would most enjoy them?

People who enjoy experiencing other cultures and having their horizons broadened, for a start. Not just because I'm an international writer with settings beyond the familiar, but also because science fiction in and of itself is an exercise in expansion of the mind. That said, my stories are always rooted in reality in one way or another. We don't have to go very far from our own lives and current technological potential to find a mind-blowing new idea. I'm all about bringing the two together: ordinary familiar humanness, and some fresh aspect that gives a new slant on what we thought we knew. In short, readers who like to reflect and savour are those who have reacted most positively.
 
I've been told that my tales stay in people's memories long after they finish reading.

3) What is it like to sit on both sides of the table - as author and publisher?

I adore helping people's dreams come true, by getting their books in print. It is a big thing for anyone to experience, even if a small press can't offer much in the way of fame and fortune. That is my favourite part of publishing - helping authors along the learning curve and watching them develop through it. As an author I still have those pangs of nerves when I send off a submission. Publishing has not changed that one bit. And although time is often short, I try my hardest to keep in close contact with my writer-self, the part of me that gets inspiration and wrestles with edits and plot holes just the same as anyone on my team.

4) There are a lot of small publishers out there. What are the signs an author has found a good trustworthy business to deal with, and what are some of the things to be wary of?

Check out the contract carefully to see what happens with your rights. Be sure you are happy with the manner in which they revert to you, and make sure that option is there. Never pay a publisher for services. They should be paying you. If they want money from you to publish your book, that is a vanity publisher and must be avoided.

5) As well as the portal of Splashdown, where else are Splashdown's authors books sold? And what format are they in? Can I read them on my kindle?

Yes, absolutely, you can! Paperbacks are sold at all the usual online retailers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, even some at Whitcoulls NZ (online), but the best place for Kiwis to get them is the Book Depository, because no shipping is charged and the pricing is reasonable. They are also available in all ebook formats, of which Kindle is the most successful. Links to the various retailers and formats are all in our Bookshop

6) What's it like to work in publishing from New Zealand?

Not as hard as you might think. Sure, there are all sorts of challenges that include technicalities such as coordinating with team members in different time zones, but also the inability to attend in-person events in places where they are most likely to succeed. Fiction doesn't have a good grip in NZ, though I am slowly infecting my friends!

It's all made possible by the miracle of global distribution and printing in America when that's where books are wanted. In that sense, I could be anywhere to publish, and in fact have done so from Germany and New Caledonia. Later this year I plan to be in the USA to connect with my team and supporters, continuing to publish as I travel.

7) What type of book are you after to publish right now?

I'm always on the hunt for good speculative fiction. There seems to be plenty of fantasy all the time, so I'm especially happy when I come across a great science fiction or supernatural manuscript. My particular favourite is literary science fiction that explores the poetry of language and consciousness while also telling an awesome story.

Many Thanks to Grace, you can find her when check out Splashdown Books.


Steampunk Ball - Steam Fest 2012

Get your pretty frocks ready, here's the poster I did to promote the Steampunk ball, part of the Steam Fest events, to be held this October at the Savoy (Dunedin).

Dunedin Steam Festival Steampunk Ball, Octover 2012, Poster designed by Kura Carpenter, http://kuracarpenterdesign.blogspot.co.nz/

Steamfest 2012 - Dunedin Steampunk Events

Here's the flyer I did for my local Steampunk group, listing all the Steam Festival events coming up this October:
Steamfest 2012 Dunedin Steampunk Flyer of events. Graphic Designer: Kura Carpenter http://kuracarpenterdesign.blogspot.co.nz/

"Jack Marlin" by Victoria Nelson

"Jack Marlin, Private Eye" - author: Victoria Nelson, cover designer: Kura Carpenter - http://kuracarpenterdesign.blogspot.co.nz/
I know I've done a good job when I get repeat business from my authors, and so I was thrilled that Victoria Nelson hired me again to custom design the cover for her screenplay "Jack Marlin, Private Eye: The Case of the Barbary Blackbird".

'Jack Marlin' is a tribute to the work of Raymond Chandler and is subtitled as being a Modern-day penny dreadful. It sounds like a lot of fun and I'm intrigued by the whole concept.

Victoria (who has a Masters in Literature!!!) was kind enough to send me several copies of 'Jack Marlin' along with the play "L is for Sayers" which I also did the custom cover design for earlier this year. Thank You, Victoria!

In the flesh, books by Victoria Nelson, Cover designer: Kura Carpenter - http://kuracarpenterdesign.blogspot.co.nz/

And here's what Victoria said about working with me:

"Working with Kura is an absolute pleasure! She is multi-talented, scholarly, personable and possesses a lovely sense of humor. She is also astute and conscientious about her work and professional relationships with clients.
The first time I worked with Kura, she assisted me with a redesign of my book cover for a stage play celebrating the life and writing of Dorothy L. Sayers. Her approach to the project and the suggestions she made not only demonstrated a sensitivity to my vision but also mastery of her craft.
I have just completed my second project with Kura which was to create a front and back book cover for an animation film script. Again, I was delighted at her versatility and the ease with which she was able to accommodate my vision and make wonderful contributions to the work. I look forward to working with Kura again and I give her my very highest recommendation. " 
 - Victoria Nelson (USA)
Scriptwriter of  “Jack Marlin, Private Eye: The Case of the Barbary Blackbird

Tentacles a-go go!

Steam Press have posted a sneak peak of the cover I custom designed for "Tropic of Skorpeo" by NZ author Michael Morrissey over on their website...

Tropic of Skorpeo, author Michal Morrissey, Publisher Steam Press, Cover designer Kura Carpenter
Tropic of Skorpeo, author Michal Morrissey, Publisher Steam Press,
Cover designer Kura Carpenter


"Working with Kura was brilliant – I had a complicated novel that had completely stymied me when it came to designing a cover myself, but after bouncing a few emails back and forth with Kura it was clear that she really got it.
A couple of days later and she had sent me a set of awesome concepts, all of which were a different take on the novel, and all of which would have been perfect.
The final version is going to kick arse, and the author is over the moon about it (when I showed him the concepts, his response was "TERRIFIC!!!!!!"). The books stores aren't going to know what hit them..."
- Stephen Minchin, (NZ)
Publisher, Steampress 
Recommendation in reference to "Tropic of Skorpeo", by Michael Morrissey.



Steampunk Posters for Dunedin Steam Festival 2012

I thought I'd share a few posters I designed for my local Steampunk Group. The posters are to promote their steampunk events which will be part of the Earnslaw centenary celebrations during the Dunedin Steam Festival Labour weekend 18-22 October 2012.

Steam Fest 2012 Steampunk Poster Designed by Kura Carpenter http://kuracarpenterdesign.blogspot.co.nz/

Steam Fest 2012 Steampunk Poster Designed by Kura Carpenter http://kuracarpenterdesign.blogspot.co.nz/

Steam Fest 2012 Steampunk Poster Designed by Kura Carpenter http://kuracarpenterdesign.blogspot.co.nz/



I created these using authentic 19th century advertising posters (public domain of course)

"A Baltic Affair" - Cover under wraps

Every cover I create I find myself thinking, that's my favorite cover yet! And if I do say so myself, my latest effort for author Patrick G Cox's YA historical romance titled "A Baltic Affair" sure is pretty :)

But as it's not out for release just yet, it gets the old 'paper bag' treatment. Also known as: I know something you don't know...

I had the pleasure of working with Pat last year on a Sci-fi design, so I was very pleased me had confidence in getting me to do this historical project. You can read a bit more about Pat's novel, and what he had to say about working with me over on his blog HERE

I'll also be interviewing Pat when "A Baltic Affair" is launched.

"Deviants and the Divine" ebook Released for sale

"Deviants and the Divine" by author Wade Crawford, which I was involved in the custom book cover design work, has been released on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as an ebook - and judging from the rave reviews, it's doing very well.
I started work on the this project several months ago, suggesting a theme of using local graffiti for the cover. I went around my town and I found a lot of interesting images, but eventually Wade settled on an artwork by graffiti artist Eelus and was part of a mural art show in Europe.



Kura is clearly and outstanding designer, but what really sets her apart is her patience and her dedication to creating the ideal final product. We went through countless revisions and she readily incorporated all of my feedback and offered her own brilliant ideas. I can't say enough about how great is was to work with her.
- Wade Crawford (USA)
Author of Deviants and the Divine

Interview with author Giuseppe Tortorici

Today I'm interviewing Dublin-based author, Giuseppe Tortorici, about his debut novel ‘Isemen’, which I was fortunate enough to design the cover graphic for earlier this year.

Hi Giuseppe

Q) Firstly can you please tell us what genre, and what is ‘Isemen’ about?

The genre is crime novel and it is set in Sicily, the place where I come from. It’s about Francesco Taibi, a man that many would consider lucky, to whom life seems to have given everything: he lives in London, has a satisfying job, economic security and, recently, met the love in a beautiful woman, Christine. After a few years of absence, is finally time to take a break and return to his native Sicily with her for a holiday delayed for too long. He already knows that in Sicily there are places and people close to him: the sea, the big house of his
parents, long gone, Aunt Agatha and his friends Stefano and Teresa. A romance that seems too good to be true, an idyll that this holiday will break, perhaps forever, triggering new tragedies and bringing back the past long buried in his memory.

Here’s the book blurb: “Focus and silent spectator of the human tragedies an ancient lighthouse, which for decades held and concealed an important clue ...
Giuseppe Tortorici creates a novel that surprises page after page, chiseling doubts and revelations in an atmosphere that becomes increasingly dark and claustrophobic, with a gripping crescendo that imprisons the soul of the characters and involves the reader.”

Q) Did you always know you would be a writer?

Not really, I wrote this book 6 years ago in a particular period of my life. It was a way to express what I was feeling

Q) What’s your writing style, do you plan everything first, or write and see where the story leads you?

I tend to plan the main body and structure but then I leave the story lead me. Due to the fact that the book is a crime story I had to verify several times that the clues and the rationale of the story made sense.

Q) Where did the idea for the novel come from?

From a trip in Brittany, in the north of France, which I’d taken 6 years ago. There were impressive lighthouses and the entire story is set around a lighthouse.

Q) As someone fluent in more than one language, what influenced your choice of telling the story in Italian?

When I wrote the book I was still living in Italy and I was not so fluent in English. Also my mother tongue is Italian and writing in English would not be the same for me (I would not be able to communicate exactly what I feel or play with the world like I do in Italian).

Q) Were you familiar with the area you set the story in?

Not exactly with the area, which is East Sicily, I come from the west, but I’m very familiar with everything else (settings, colours, food, traditions, themes…)

Q) What was your favourite and least favourite part in researching for the novel?

I had to be very detailed in describing certain Sicilian traditions so I spent a lot of time in researching them but after all, even if time consuming, these researches were interesting.

Q) Which character do you most identify with and why?

Even though for certain aspects  I identify myself with the main character, Francesco, I’m also close to Vittorio, a charming Sicilian guy who befriends Christine.

Q) How did you choose your publisher?

By chance, last year in October a friend of mine told me that they were looking for new authors and I sent them my book.

Q) What do you friends and family think? Are they already bugging you for cameos in the movie?

I wish it could happen.

Q) Lastly, are you planning on writing a sequel?

No but who knows? If I become famous maybe… ;-)
 
Thanks Giuseppe! And for everyone who can read Italian, Isemen’ will be available from Albatros publishers soon, Visit their WEBSITE.  

And below is the cover of 'Isemen', which I custom designed:


Good Design is about Communication but...

...it's also about perception. A couple of weeks ago at the parking lot of my local hardware store I was witness to a parking display that demonstrated this simple principal.




A bright future

I was very pleased to learn Justin Elliott author of 'The Lord of the Beasts' YA fantasy series has converted 'A Dark Future' to ebook format. It's now available on Amazon. Now the rest of the world can enjoy it!

Treasure Island Business card

Treasure Island is one of my favourite novels, and a while ago I mocked-up a cover design for it. And this week as I needed to get some new business cards printed I decided to use that mock-up as the starting point for my card.

I'm quite pleased with the result. I may put up a tutorial on how the images were created if people would find it interesting.

Guest Blogger Appearance

I was fortunate enough to be invited as the Guest Blogger on Shirley Wine's blog over the weekend to discuss how I go about designing book covers. You can read my interview HERE

'Isemen' Release Date To Be Announced Soon

Dublin based author Giuseppe Tortorici has just let me know that is his debut crime novel 'Isemen' which I did the cover for recently has gone into production at the publishers and will out very soon - but until then the cover remains under wraps. :)

'Isemen' is being published in Italy (and therefore written in Italian) through Albatros. You can find their website HERE.

However, if like me you can't read Italian, you can still read the publishers website by doing a Google search for 'Gruppo Albatros IlFilo' and then select  the Translate option.

'Reed Butler's Story' released on Amazon

Just heard from James E Thomas that his ebook novel 'Reed Butler's Story' that I custom designed the book cover of earlier this year is now available as an ebook HERE on Amazon.

When I first read the subtitle for this story: "Cowboys, Vampires, Zombies and the Power of God", I just knew I had to do that cover! It sounded like a lot of fun.

Well, maybe not the zombies. I'm scared of zombies.

Dunedin Writers' Workshop Recruitment Posters

In my non-cover related graphic projects I've been working on some posters to encourage new members to join the Dunedin Writers' Workshop, a writing group established in Dunedin in 1971. I've created 2 posters, both based on old military recruitment campaigns, which will eventually be displayed in the local libraries and bookshops.
Original 'Enlist in the Waves'

DWW Recruitment - 'Enlist in the DWW'

For the 2nd poster I conbined elements of 2 posters encouraging men to join the navy:


DWW Recruitment - 'Man the Pens!'

Guest blogger

As the sun sets and the long Easter weekend draws to a close, I'm looking forward to my list of projects this week - including being interviewed on Shirley Wine's blog to discuss cover design.

Black Swan Bookshop stocking 'L is for Sayers'

I just learned the play 'L is for Sayers' by Victoria Nelson, which I did the front cover for as part of a redesign, is available from Black Swan Books located at 4236 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA 94611.

I love the thought of something I was involved in sitting in an awesome Indy bookshop on the other side of the world. I tried getting directions just to work out the distance but all I got was "Driving directions are not available for a route of this length". 
Drive? As if. I was going to get the bus!

And here's what Victoria had to say about working with me on this project:
“I am truly delighted with the results of my collaboration with Kura! Thank you again Kura for a wonderful design! When I opened that package today and saw the cover and the colors it literally took my breath away. It is so beautiful! Thank you again so much for your kind assistance.”
- Victoria Nelson (USA)
Playwright of L is for Sayers