Monthly Archives: September 2015

Now through October 3

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Now through October 3

If you are in the Santa Monica, California, area, you might be interested in this exhibit of kinetic art at the Santa Monica Art Studios at the airport.

Watch for an article about one of the featured artists, Joshua Kirsch, on ARHtistic License in November.

Own a Piece of the Met

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Own a Piece of the Met

Antique Lovers: have you ever wanted a distinguished piece of furniture or decorative art? Something of museum quality?

Well, get ready. On October 27, 2015, Christie’s in New York City will be auctioning 200 lots of English furnishings from THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART!

Our real challenge has been to determine which pieces belong in a museum and which, on the contrary, would sing louder and better in someone’s home.–Luke Syson, curator of European sculpture and decorative arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Proceeds of the sale will benefit the Met’s Acquisitions Fund.

Read these articles from ArtNews and Christie’s website for more information. And save your pennies. 😉

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Monday Morning Wisdom #16

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Monday Morning Wisdom #16

Art

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From the Creator’s Heart #12

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From the Creator’s Heart #12

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV)

Morning Walk Slideshow #2

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Morning Walk Slideshow #2

One August morning I went out to take photographs of the footbridge over the canal near my house. On the way I walked through Redden Park. In my town, there is a public park next to every elementary school.

Then on to the canal. The greater Phoenix metropolitan area gets its water from mountain reservoirs through a network of canals based on ones that were built by the Hohokam people 2,000 years ago. An amazing engineering feat built without modern technology, the entire community, young and old, scooped up earth with shells and hauled it away in baskets.

The canals are operated by the Salt River Project, part government agency and part utility company. Either SRP or the city maintains recreational paths along the canals, which residents use for jogging and biking.

On the way home through my beautiful neighborhood, I stopped to admire stuff.

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In the Meme Time: Disappointment

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In the Meme Time: Disappointment

A few weeks ago, I’d planned to spend an afternoon in the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, taking photographs and sketching. I even treated myself to a new sketchbook. Unfortunately, on the way, I hit the curb of a divider and blew my tire out. As I waited for AAA, I did a little art therapy:

Bummer

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Video of the Week #12

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Video of the Week #12

My favorite museum ever! The incredible Unicorn Tapestries are shown at 18:20. To read my post about The Cloisters, click here.

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Designing a Book Cover That Tells

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Designing a Book Cover That Tells

This post by Guest Blogger Christopher Lentz first appeared on Writers in the Storm, one of the best writing blogs online. 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a storyteller. That’s part “story” and part “teller.” So what do your book covers tell potential readers?

First confession: I may be new to the self-publishing world, but I’m not a newcomer to the universe of design and marketing. Since the launch of my novel, Blossom, I continue to be amazed by how many people are attracted to and comment about the book’s cover.

Though trends in romance cover designs come and go, timeless and tested truisms of marketing contributed to Blossom’s cover design. Here are five things I applied while designing what’s proving to be an impactful, engaging cover.

Second confession: If you’re looking for a guaranteed how-to list of tips for designing covers that will propel you to the heights of The New York Timesbestsellers list, this isn’t it. If you find one, let me know! What you’ll find here are some useful concepts to consider for your upcoming releases.

This is a hands-on blog discussion. You’ll need to have a book cover in front of you (printed or on a screen). Now sit back and ponder the following five points.

1. Sprinkling breadcrumbs in a backward “6” trail

Marketing studies show that the human eye scans things in a backward “6” pattern. That’s how we glance at a magazine cover in a grocery-store checkout line or the front page of newspaper on a Sunday morning (yes, some people still get ink smudges on their fingertips from reading a paper).

Take a moment and test it out. Look at your book cover. Scan it. If you’re like most people (I know, I know, you’re special), you’ll start in the upper left corner, slide down the right edge, cruise along the bottom moving to the left and end moving to the right. It’s like a backward numeral “6.”

Does the cover you’re looking at deliver something of interest at the “Start Here” spot in the upper left section and pay off the journey in the right part of the lower third of the cover?

2. Delivering between the covers

No one appreciates a bait-and-switch trick. We all want to get what we think we’re paying for.

Are the elements of your book’s cover telegraphing the story’s key themes and messages in its images, colors and fonts? Does the cover instantly communicate an accurate and intriguing pitch?

3. Seeing it as a billboard and a postage stamp

The attributes of a well-executed billboard hold true to a book on a store’s shelf. As you speed down the highway (unless you live in Southern California where speeding is impossible), there are precious few seconds to grab someone’s attention and deliver a message. Does the cover you’re looking at do that?

And with online retailing, the thumbnail version of a book cover must communicate even more powerfully. In a space smaller than a postage stamp, the cover should attract attention and evoke an emotion … and it better do it a lightning speed.

4. Squinting at it

Your optometrist won’t like this, but do it anyway. Squint at your book cover. What pops forward? What fades back? Is there enough light and dark contrast? Is the book’s title the most prominent element? Is the author’s name the strongest element?

What pops should be a deliberate outcome of the key message and goal for the cover. You’ll make different choices if you’re an established author/brand or trying to set a visual context for your story. Your story and your standing in the marketplace should drive these decisions.

5. Tinkering and testing

We’ve all heard about Thomas Edison and the overwhelming number of failures he endured. But he had to tweak and test to get his inventions right. And so do you and your cover designer. Try different options and show them to people whose opinions you value. Be sure to include some published authors.

Below are four approaches that were considered for my recent book. It’s been described as “Titanic on land.” It’s a scandalous love triangle set against the devastating 1906 Great Quake in San Francisco. Which cover gives you the greatest sense of the story that sits behind that cover?

Which one creates an instant conflict of an exotic beauty with a beast of a disaster looming? Which one has tension? The winning choice was the one with the burning cityscape.

book cover5_blue     book-cover8_black-lace

Blossom_large 8.14.13     Beauty

I hope these time-tested marketing principles will help you publish book covers that tell and sell. And the next time you look at a book cover, I dare you not to squint and scan it in a backward “6” pattern!

Do you agree that the cover with the burning cityscape is the best choice? Does it pass the backward “6”test? What other clues about the story do you think are part of the cover’s design? What about the girl’s eye? The fan?

from ARHtistic License: To read a follow-up article by Christopher Lentz, see Book Covers–Speaking the Language of Color.

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ABOUT CHRISTOPHER

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Christopher Lentz is a man who writes romances, a self-starter who self-publishes and a dreamer who thought growing old would take longer. He truly believes love changes everything. As a journalist, a corporate marketer and now a romance writer, his career has been all about storytelling. His first romance novel, Blossom, is now available and it is the first book of the Blossom Trilogy. For more information, visitchristopherlentz.org and blossomtrilogy.com.

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In the Meme Time: For Whom Are You Writing ?

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In the Meme Time: For Whom Are You Writing ?

Found on The Write Practice:The-One-Secret-to-Writing-a-Classic-Childrens-Book

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Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon

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Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon

Reading my friend Shonna Slayton’s blog, I found out about a short challenge to tackle one’s To-Be-Read pile of books. This sounds like a good idea. It’s a fourteen day challenge, starting today. If you’d like to sign up, check out the info on Wishful Endings by September 23.

I’ll never finish my Mount Everest of TBRs in two weeks (or two years), but I could read a few. I am hoping to read:

Books 1

  1. 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper (I’m half-way through)
  2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (it’s been on my list for decades)
  3. Story by Robert McKee (started it many times; could really use the information in it now)

The challenge ends September 27. I’ll post an update on the 28th to let you know how I did.

What do you think? Will you take the challenge, too? Comment below.