What I Did On My Vacation 2016–Or, I Think I Need a Vacation From My Vacation…

Hello, folks! Well, I must say, vacation hasn’t exactly shaped up the way I planned. I got a lot of work done on books the first few weeks and for that, I’m grateful. I also made a lot of art. I had to, there was a lot invading my head. Namely three things come to mind and as a woman of business and industry, I’m not sure I want to mention more than the most terrible one. The rest only adds insult to injury. Here in the neighborhood (American spelling because I’m American, for those who might not know) we had a tragedy. One of our residents was in a car accident and killed. He was young. As a matter of fact, my son and this other young man went to school together since they were four years old. They are now almost nineteen years old. Something I forgot, my son and his long-time friend were only about two weeks apart as far as birthdays go. He will be missed by many.

In the midst of grieving, it seems like all the year’s bad stuff falls on your head at once. Well, me being the constant typical self-deprecating writer, I always feel like every screw up I ever make lands in my lap during the time I don’t need it. Case-in-point below:

The art I made over vacation is something I needed to do because there is always a rare occasion when that one perfect thing you find belongs to someone else. In terms of that, I didn’t use the best discretion, I suppose, once. (You heard me, ONCE!) For one of my own novels. Although I find threatening me to be laughable at best, harassment trumps entertainment laws in the U.S. any day of the week unless you already have more money than you know what to do with. So, even though hollow threats don’t bother me, what bothers me is people resorting to name-calling like common children. Which is, in turn, harassment. SO, in the name of professionalism, I won’t tell you to bite me. (You can thank your friends for that, by the way. You know who you are.)

Building book covers is a form of digital artistry as well. I was, by all rights, needing something new anyway. It’s not like I made a million dollars by using an image it took someone two years to notice and yell at me about. Let’s be completely honest, I didn’t make enough to worry about asking permission. Zip, zilch, nada. That was karma, I suppose. Anyway, the new ones for the whole Revenging the Evil series were created using a lot of different elements not just Internet photos. I made them with my own hands using filters and techniques I learned while learning the program I use to do my work in. And I used (ohhh…wait for it…) a picture for one of the backgrounds I took myself with a camera! Let’s see, two photos, three or four filters all set to different lighting, fonts, colors…all me and my brain. Boy, it sucks being a fake artist. *insert sarcasm*

NEW JNH1_Butterflies2_FRONT

I will go so far as to admit something else I feel is necessary to say. At the time I started using the different picture I was using for my book, I didn’t know how to do all the stuff I later learned. Anytime anyone asked about it, I said I made the cover not the picture, HUGE difference. I told them it was a Google find. It’s not my fault what people thought. Anyhow, it’s all a wash and a million miles under a burned bridge as far as I’m concerned at this juncture. As I’ve mentioned above, I’ve had things ten times worse than being accused of stealing happen this month.

Just so all you good folks know, if that book had been a decent seller, which it never has, I think the right thing to do would have been to split the royalties with the original image owner 50/50 because at that time I was good at typesetting, not creating from nothing which I learned later in my career.

In the publishing industry, getting fifty percent of the take, if the money is good, is more than sufficient to pay one artist. Actual numbers dictate, unless self-published, the author only gets forty percent royalties at best from the publishing house, that’s not to say they get all one-hundred percent because they don’t. The other sixty percent of what they do get goes to pay back the publisher for money spent on the project which a lot of the time goes to pay the editor, formatter, and cover artist. Unless you’re me, that’s usually not the same person. Most companies aren’t as generous as mine was, they usually offer a 35/65 split. Research this and find out if you don’t already know.

On a positive note, I got the fourth book (Freed from the Past) in the Revenging the Evil series (JnH4) almost done and an in-between series book started. (12K+ words.) This other novel is canon for the missing years in the original short story/first book in the series. It begins right after the short story ends. So, if you’ve actually read that, you may be interested to know, I’m working on filling in the blanks.

I’ve also been working (editing) which I didn’t figure I’d get back to until I was slated to in June. I’ve been working on two assignments. Books, of which, I enjoy both stories. One gets a bit scary and gory at times and the other is a historical romance set in the time of the Civil War. Complete paradox of mental capacity, I know. All people are different and so are their stories. *smiles*

Don’t worry, if you’ve missed me being on social media, I’ll be back soon. I have some other photos I took while I was away to post up for people. Prom in this area happened while I’ve been gone as well. Not to mention, I was just trying to keep my eyes set on the prize of trying to live life. Unfortunately, not all things go as planned. I can say, I’m happy I took my vacation this year as I was able to. The last three years have been busy ones. Anyone who knows me and my career path knows this. Owning and running businesses takes a lot of time, energy, and effort as I’m sure some of you know.

Oh, I thought I would mention one more thing. I shut off all comments to this blog until further notice. You can thank the people whose mamas never taught them how to behave. I have absolutely no tolerance or respect for people who think they can be mean behind a screen. If anyone ever has anything to say to me, email me like a person with a little bit of class. It’s not like I hide my email so no one can find me. (WordPress has this neat little feature of collecting emails and IP addresses.)

And last but not least, my given name at birth for all of you who get confused is Jennifer Oneal Gunn—first, middle, and last. (I’m not married and haven’t been for a long time, folks! LOL!) The next person to screw that up is paying me a lot of money! LOL!

Jennifer Oneal Gunn—author, editor, formatter, and mom.

Cover Art 101

Cover art is my topic of the day today. Today, I want to show you something. It’s a cover I made. It’s generic, I know. My point with making it was to illustrate how easy it is to come up with some ‘manufactured’ crap. Anyone with a mild willingness to learn layers and paint brushes can accomplish this.

beautiful landscape photography

This type of cover is an example only. I’ve never made one like this other than to illustrate and create a plot point for you. I mostly derive my artistic pleasures from making art an author falls in love with. (Meaning, pre-fab will NOT do.)

Here are some examples of past work I’ve done, just to show you what it is I love so much about creating art.

Roderick Simons3
The cover of an unpublished novel (example of Steampunk)
JNH4_Front 1
The fourth book in the Revenging the Evil Series
Beautiful Monsters_Jan2016_1
My first cover, created in 2014
Mystery Cover 2_June 2015_2.1
Example taken from online tutorial

These are just some of the reasons why hiring a good cover artist is definitely worth the time and money spent. Have a good day, folks! And happy Friday!

 

Jennifer Oneal Gunn

Freelance editor, artist, and mom.

Press Release for Jennifer Oneal Gunn September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mother of Two Finds Time to Update Books

[Joplin Metro Area]Author Jennifer Oneal Gunn has completed revisions of the first book of her series, Fire, Ice & Blood-The Story of Jake and Holly Book 1 (Revenging the Evil Series) and would like to share the news with her readers.

jnh1_9_2016_3

Jake Louglin is special, extraordinary, in fact. He’s been using his power of premonition since he was a kid, but the night he used his gift to save his Holly was the night he was changed forever. Now in the present day, he and Holly have a family. They created a brilliant son, Chase. While living their life, the family used their gifts to lay ghosts to rest.

One skeleton filled their closet to the brim, the Loughlin’s then had to decide how to end the possessive reign of one blood-thirsty soul over the body of Jake’s Holly. Does he win the fight and save her from the world’s most dangerous soul, or does he lose her to darkness forever?

Price: $12.00

Length: 316 pages

Genre: Fiction / Romance / Paranormal

Published: May 24, 2014

CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/4811917

Jennifer Oneal Gunn, mom, writer, editor, and artist.

About Writing May 31 2015

Hello! I realize it’s been a while since I last blogged. Life has a serious way of keeping us from stuff we used to like doing. As someone with three blogs I rarely see, much less use, I think you all might have a hint as to what that one thing is I like to do. I used to love talking to you all, telling you stories, talking about life and some of the deeper aspects of it.

It’s been a while since I’ve even heard from some of you. Yes, I miss seeing you reading my posts. I miss the occasional interaction and the lighthearted way you all helped me feel. When you become a product of the industry instead of part of the writing/book authorship of it, it makes you think about things other than writing far too often. I guess I miss the innocence of aspiring to something new. I’ve been working in this industry since 2011. I would have preferred to have kept writing and learning. Some people never have the angle to the inside that I do, but I’m not sure you want it. It wasn’t any easy road. I can say I gained knowledge from the experiences, so I can’t trade that for anything. I would, however, trade the pain for something else. Anything else besides more of the same.

I’m not done writing, I don’t know that I will ever be. I’m done expecting anything from anyone in regards to people caring enough to actually read and enjoy what I do. That part of the innocence is gone. I think these days, if you decide to pick up a book and read it, if it just so happens to have my name on it and you enjoyed it, lovely, score one for the Mistress of the Macabre. If not, I am not going to let the words of others who will never in a million years begin to understand the intricate workings of my addled mind get me down. (Your best bet would be not to waste your time.) It’s not fair to me to let people’s ill will and nasty attitude get me depressed about something they probably think I suck at, but don’t have the guts to try as hard as I have. I began this long journey before some people were even born and learned (am learning) a lot to improve. I will have a legacy to give my children when I’m not here anymore. What will you have? (Yes, Poe fans, his fame springs to mind here as well. Maybe when I pass, my name will finally be known…no idea! LOL!)

If you don’t already know this, I’m not just the Mistress of the Macabre. I actually write in a few different genres. I know not everyone is comfortable with my scary stuff. The one thing about writing it that makes me love it so much is knowing this. You’re not supposed to be comfortable, you’re supposed to feel things and be taken out of your element and into another world. That’s what reading a good book is! I had a comment said to me once that made me laugh. It was about my first novel. As it was going through edits, the lady who worked with me on it was brash enough to say to me, “Who are you trying to impress?” The answer is simple, EVERYONE! Who do you not want to read your work? I mean, come on, you WANT people to want to read your stories. At least I used to care about that stuff. Especially when I first wrote that particular book. It was supposed to be the one that launched my career. Again, as a writer, how do you NOT want that to be impressive? And this book ended up being a first novel feat of its own. It came out at over 119K in word count. I am whittling it down from that, of course, but not as much as some people would hope, I’m afraid. The newest version is sitting at 113k respectively, right now. It’s my baby, what can I say? I love that book. I think aside from the Revenging the Evil series, Mystik Legends was the most fun to write of anything I’ve ever done.

Again, Horror isn’t the only genre I write in. I’ve written a little bit of erotica, paranormal romance, dark fantasy, dystopian fantasy, children’s, satire, and poetry. I even challenged myself once to write a short tale in a style similar to Edgar Allan Poe called Her Uncaged Heart. (Yes, I love his work, imagine that! LOL!) I’ve found I like to explore genres as much as I like to explore methods of murder, which is a lot. (Someone please erase the browser history off of all my computers when I die. Thank you in advance and send copies to the person who I deem my file holder, you know who you are, ‘George’!)

All through the time I’ve written in the open, all five years, I’ve let you all see me, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with words. I remember the days when we were all first networking, we used to have nerdy fun with words, phrases, metaphors, and sentences. That was back when our world seemed far more lighthearted than it turned out to be. We put on this façade and wore it. Some of us wore it better than others. In my innocence at the time, I didn’t understand this. Then I learned to hide behind the mask and not truly reveal what I felt, after I tried so hard to unleash what I’d been hiding all that time. The real me used to scream, wanting out. I let her out and then reeled her back in. I felt I had no choice, because it wasn’t professional to show people who you really are. Are you even human sitting behind that machine? Some of us just so happen to be, closed off from the rest of you, not free to be the wild, wounded, bleeding souls that we really are. So, yes, I write in a number of different genres as a challenge to myself, so I might express something that’s hidden away from the world and can one day come to light.

People have said that writing can help cast out our demons. In some ways that’s true, it can help us heal from some of the battles we face, but it also helps us express all the things we’ve had to hide. All people are different, vastly in some cases. Maybe some of us are shy, or scared. Maybe some of us are afraid of how we’d be seen if we wrote about a certain aspect no one wants to talk about but, still exists, ahem, I think you know where I’m going with this… That doesn’t make it any less worthy of being talked about. So, people hide who they are or what they want from the world. I don’t believe in using fake names or fake lives. I write using my given name from the day I was born as a way of trying not to hide at least some things.

I’ve only got the one life and will lead it how I choose, I am not here to judge you. Only you can fully do that because you know what you’ve done or haven’t done that you should have. I guess I’m trying to say, make the most of it in your own way, if that means writing what you damn well please, so be it. Use those words to get your point across and tell us who you are. Me…I’m just, well, you know…me. All I can ever do or be I’m doing and being right now. Without a list of my ambitions in life, I’m still the same wayward, wild, spunky little thing who loves her kids. I’m still an overachiever at whatever I do. I guess, no matter how hard we try, some things remain the same, whether it’s writing, or anything we want to do. I happen to love creating things and I always have. Before writing, I had many hobbies, most of which I’ve not done since I started all of this five years ago. Remaining focused on the goal, I stayed in a large way, looking toward the future of my career. I didn’t know at the time I entered into this field that I would become any of what I became. Having three little to no paying jobs sucks, by the way. When I first started working for others, I didn’t know how much my ‘internship’ was costing me. Live and learn, learn to get it right, and back to the drawing board are some things I’ve tried hard to base this career on. I’m not talking about a career as an author, I’m talking about a career helping them. For those newbies to my table, I started out as an agent’s apprentice and an editor at Romance eBook publisher, then I was also working at one of those self-publishing package type of publishers (short lived, of course.) And all of this was pretty much simultaneously. This is when you go partly insane, almost literally. It took me a while to figure out I needed to generalize myself and resign myself to the fact that I can’t do everything. (It was hard to come to this understanding with myself, at first, I’m not sure me, myself, and I were in agreement.)

After some much needed time away from working and some time spent writing and getting better from all those crazy days I spent without half of my brain functioning properly, I decided to stick with editing, formatting, and learning in that area. So, yeah, that is the career in writing I meant to say earlier. As a writer, those of you who are there, you know we don’t make much selling our work online. There’s a pretty flooded market out there, that’s not a joke. So, if there is something besides the writing that you like, that can tide you over until you get picked up by a house that has that amazing track record for sales; find it, be it, do it to the best of your ability and keep learning. For me, it just so happens, I still get to create things. Sometimes it’s that smashingly beautiful cover work, or that gorgeous layout you noticed when you opened the book of an author I might know. It could even be the website of one of your long-time friends. You never know.

Until next time, folks, enjoy yourselves. Get some sunshine between all these bouts of rain. Happy spring!

~Jen

 

Jennifer Oneal Gunn is a mom of two who loves her job as author almost as much as she loves helping authors make their books shine by editing, formatting, and sometimes making them great covers. To find out more about Jennifer, check out her author site: http://jengunn79.wix.com/jengunnauthor

Winds of Change 2015: The Road So Far

The-Road-So-Far1

Usually I write these posts after something major happens or to let my followers know what’s going on in my life, whether it’s my writing life or life in general.

This time, (again with the Supernatural references) I’m doing the ‘carry on my wayward son’ thing, even though I’m a girl. One day when I rest my weary head, I will know I did the best I could with the life I had. A lot has to go wrong before something can go right. I keep fighting for something to go right amidst a world that seems to be turned on its head more and more as time passes. So be it. I will continue on my slow path in the life journey.

I guess my path, with whatever forks I happen to choose, will always lead me somewhere and teach me something I was obviously meant to learn. I am at this juncture a freelance editor, formatter, and cover artist. That last one, I picked up with my time at Vigilante Publishing Group LLC. (Officially closed Feb 28, 2015.) I’ve spent my time trying my best not to take the loss of a place I built with a couple of friends too hard. I’ve done the customary keeping busy to try to stave off the depression of this loss. (Thank god for freelance work!) I can only try my best not to lose what is ever left of my mind in these situations. We will go on and we will be okay, but it’s hard to see what your hands created crumble back to the dust it was before you took the time to build and shape something. It’s almost like losing someone.

So, I’m doing my best to carry on, to keep fighting, working toward my ultimate goal of helping people. Even in my time of sorrow, I think about those who suffer losses in different ways and of course, my heart goes out to any and all.

The silver lining to this unfortunate time, maybe I will get back to writing. Maybe I will have time to cultivate ideas I’ve had for a couple of years since my mind was made to put them on hold. I just released a children’s book I had on my back list for a couple years because I wasn’t confident about drawing the pictures myself. I guess it takes a while to jump that hurdle and become comfortable with yourself. There are other projects I would love to have the time to finish, so, having devoted myself to others for so long, maybe it’s time to devote myself to me. (I know some might find that selfish, but when you devote so much of your time working with, for, and thinking about others, it’s only natural that you feel a little lost at times.)

I suppose what I mean to say is, that time really does and will heal us. We are meant to be ever-changing, always learning. This is just another chance for some of us to do that. The winds of change are blowing, you must carry on, fight your way through the hurdles, and then lay your weary head to rest. As the song goes, ‘don’t you cry no more.’

So, folks, that’s what’s going on, on the road so far…in my path and personal journey through writing and through life. I hope anything you’re dealing with, you’re able to see the value in the silver lining as well and learn from the situations that may seem down-right hard right now. When we step away and look from the outside in, we must try our best to see the good even in something that breaks our hearts. Even when it’s hard to see passed the pain.

Jennifer Oneal Gunn is a mom of two who loves her job as author almost as much as she loves helping authors make their books shine by editing, formatting, and sometimes making them great covers. To find out more about Jennifer, check out her author site: http://jengunn79.wix.com/jengunnauthor