aj llewellyn

Cover Artist Dawne Dominique; AJ Llewellyn Tribute to Director John Bruno

I’ve been meaning to post something about cover artist Dawne Dominique for a while now. As a side note, I’ve also wanted to post something about my cover artist for Ravenous Romance for a long time, too, but he doesn’t want the publicity at all. Over the years, I’ve noticed this trend with some of the best cover artists I’ve come in contact with. They aren’t interested in promotion or any glory at all. They love what they do and expect very little in return. In fact, I can say for certain I have never once seen cover artist Dawne Dominique promote herself or her cover art on social media.

That’s probably because most are so busy they don’t have time to promote. I also think it’s a creative artistic thing that all visual artists share. When I owned my gallery in New Hope and represented over one hundred different visual artists for ten years, I learned most were behind the scenes people. And those who weren’t and wanted too much promotion I rarely took on because they were too pushy and could be trouble.

In any event, most publishers would agree that book covers help sell books. There’s even a web site that focuses on coverfail sometimes…and most of the time they are right. What always interests me is how you can distinguish certain styles from a particular artist, and yet no two covers ever look alike. I think that “style” is something readers look for sometimes. What amazes me is how someone like Dawne can take a few lines that I send to my editor, with cover thoughts and wishes, and then turn my thoughts into reality as if she’d read my mind. That takes skill, aside from actually doing the cover. And I’m always left wondering how in the world she can do this without actually speaking to me. Half the time I’m worried I didn’t give a good enough description. And I have to admit that I’ve given her a few challenges over the years.

In any event, here’s a link to Dawne’s web site where you can check her out on your own. If you’re a self-published author and you’re looking for a cover artist (and you should be looking for one), Dawne hasn’t just done my books for publisher Loveyoudivine.com. She’s also done two of my self-published covers as well. And I can say without thinking twice that “Chase of a Lifetime” so far is my all time favorite cover. And it’s not even the most elaborate cover she’s done for me. My second favorite cover she’s done is above for my upcoming anthology, With This Cowboy I Love So Freely.

Here’s the link to her cover art page.

And here’s one to her deviantart page. I didn’t even realize she was on deviantart until this moment. I’ve been going there for public domain photos for the blog and trying to figure out which are legal and which aren’t. If you don’t know what deviantart is, check it out. You can get lost for hours. It’s actually very therapeutic.

AJ Llewellyn Tribute to Director John Bruno

This afternoon author AJ Llewellyn wrote a blog post about the death of a personal friend, John Bruno. He was a director in the adult entertainment industry and also a photographer and artist. As I stated above, I worked with artists when I owned my gallery and I know them well. It will break your heart. It’s one of the most touching tributes I’ve read in a long time and I think it’s something that most authors who write erotica and erotic romance can understand. In fact, it’s something most artists can understand. Here’s the link, and below is an excerpt:

When I first started writing gay erotic romance fiction six years ago, I didn’t tell many people. It was a new medium for me and I wanted to see how it went. I had coffee one day with my friend John Bruno, who had been struggling to find work as an artist. I’ve never met a kinder, more talented man. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t get a break. He told me he was getting work here and there…and suddenly mentioned a movie he’d directed. When I probed he wouldn’t say what kind of movie at first. He finally said he was directing gay porn.

I was delighted. I told him I was writing gay erotic romances and we had a good laugh that we were such shy purveyors of porn. John Bruno (his porn name, not his real name), became one of my biggest supporters and introduced me to Adam Killian before Adam became the multimedia superstar he is now. Adam and I did a shoot for three of my favorite bookcovers and John showed an intense interest in my work.

Big Thanks to A.J. Llewellyn and Gay Rom Lit 2012

For those who don’t know, every year there’s an event held for authors and readers and publishers called Gay Rom Lit…GRL. This year it was held in Albuquerque, NM, and though I would have liked to have attended it was just too far and there were too many things happening. I’ve had four weddings this fall so far, and one more to go. And Tony and I don’t travel often these days because we have two dogs and we take them with us when we travel because I don’t trust pet sitters or boarding kennels. I’ve seen and heard too many bad stories. And one dog is going on thirteen years old and it’s not easy for him to travel anymore, so we’re basically stuck with taking short weekend trips for the time being.

So when I received an e-mail last Monday morning informing me that I was one of the winners of the Final Give Away for GRL 2012, I was both thrilled and surprised. It’s a DVD of “Is It Just Me?” and I haven’t seen it yet. So I’d like to send a big shout of thanks to the people at GRL for this.

Next year, from what I’ve been told, GRL will be held in Atlanta. And that’s nice to hear. Not only is Atlanta one of my favorite cities in the US, Tony and I are both familiar with it. Tony traveled there on business for years, and I actually lived in Spartanburg, SC one summer taking classes, which was only a few hours away from Atlanta. I spent a lot of good times there, and I LOVE the south. It’s also not that bad a drive from New Hope…about twelve or thirteen hours…and we don’t consider that a long drive at all. So I’m hoping I’ll be able to attend next year, and get to meet so many of the people I know online.

I’d also like to thank author A. J. Llewellyn. A. J. had a contest about a week ago and I entered never thinking I would win. I don’t usually win contests, not even small amounts in the instant lottery, so that was a nice surprise, too. And I’m a big fan of A. J.’s work. I’ve collaborated with A. J. on blog posts, I’ve ranted about piracy when I was frustrated, and I’ve posted about A. J.’s work here on this blog a couple of times. A.J. has a writing style that draws me into the story from page one, and keeps me there until the end. I can even remember certain characters (I’m bad with names, but I do remember the characters), which doesn’t always happen. I like that. It means I’ll take that with me forever.

The book I won is titled, “Mating Tomeo,” and you can read more about it here.  So a huge thanks to A. J. as well for having the contest.

  

I Got My Prize From AJ Llewellyn: Sins of Autumn


Last week I was informed I’d won a prize. I never even win the lottery, so I was more than thrilled. And when I found out the prize was an anthology, “Sins of Autumn,” with stories by DJ Manly, AJ Llewellyn, and Serena Yates, I was even happier.

It just came in the mail yesterday and I only had a chance to read a small part of AJ’s story late last night. But trust me on this, AJ’s story has a hook that drew me in and I can’t wait to return to it late tonight.

The mc is sort of a quiet, friendly guy who has what I always refer to as “the love.” It’s the love of food. He’s five seven and weighs in at 250 pounds. In the beginning of the story he’s picking up a birthday cake for his trendy LA sister, he gets stuck in traffic on the freeway, and winds up trapped with a delicious birthday cake that’s sending him signals he can’t resist. He winds up eating a few roses off the cake and smoothing out the frosting with his credit card, hoping his sister won’t notice. He’s even worried about the credit card contaminating the cake. But he’s left with no choice. At the birthday party, when he notices one of the guests he winds up stepping on the dog’s foot and then tripping over his own big feet. I laughed until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. And as I write this post, I’m wishing I could stop working right now and go back to the story.

I’d like to thank AJ for the prize. It’s also a well designed book, with great cover art and it looks great on the coffee table. The photo I took above is a little blurry, but you can get a good idea of what I’m talking about. If you’re looking for something both interesting and funny, check this antho out. It’s rare for me to start reading a story and take to the character so soon. I usually need more time. But I fell in love with him right away.

Another Favorite Author: AJ Llewellyn

Today I’m catching up on a few short posts I’ve been meaning to write since Christmas. I have two new releases coming out soon, plus a short novella with Loveyoudivine.com marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and I’m just finishing up edits for the 10th installment of the next stand alone book in The Virgin Billionaire series…THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE’S LITTLE ANGEL. In this VB installment, I can promise a few emotional surprises I haven’t written about in the past. Lives change drastically for more than one character. No spoilers.

I’ve been meaning to write about this author for a while. While I’ve read a number of AJ Llewellyn’s books I rarely ever write reviews for anything m/m or gay-lesbian oriented. If I love a m/m book, the review sounds awkward…to me. If I don’t love a m/m book I sound like one of those raving author/shrews who write negative blog posts and sit in front of a computer screen the size of an old fashioned TV dipping into the gin pail between rants about how bad and how dumb other m/m authors are. Dismal at best; I have a rule about keeping things positive here.

So I always keep a low profile with m/m reviews. But I don’t mind talking about another author’s work in a general sense. I love AJ Llewellyn’s work. I’ve never been disappointed by AJ Llewellyn’s books, or what AJ has the ability to contribute to the world as an author. As a reader, I’m always inspired.

So check out this link to Amazon for AJ’s fiction, here.

And check out this link to AJ’s web site for more information, here.

From what I see on social media, I’m not the only fan of AJ. A lot of readers agree with me, too.