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What Did You Eat?

Hello everyone! I’m pleased to be able to announce and share that friends of ours over at Dice and Stuff have created a fun and educational card game that they are currently launching over on Kickstarter!

The game is called, ‘What did you eat?’ and is a fun way to learn about the digestive system, or just to play a card game where the goal is to collect the most poop. Yes, that’s right, I said poop!

The game has the cutest artwork featuring foods that help and hinder digestion, viruses, and poop! But you don’t have to take my word on it. Head on over to their Kickstarter page and watch the video for yourself!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/785093067/what-did-you-eat?ref=discovery

That’s it for today! I urge you to check out this great game and consider backing it, but otherwise we will see you again on Thursday for the launch of Spellhaven by Sandra Unuerman and next week when we reveal the cover for Joshua Pantalleresco’s The Wandering God!

See you then!

 

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So Many New Worlds to Explore…

I know I just did one of these update kind of posts, but I’ve been so busy there’s more to tell. Here’s what we’re currently working on at Mirror World in no particular order:

Sandra Unerman’s Spellhaven: I got my first shipment of Spellhaven paperbacks yesterday and they look phenomenal. I can’t wait to share the cover with you on July 13th! Spellhaven is now also available for pre-order. You can order your copy from your favourite book retailer, or directly from us. Or, if you’re a reviewer, you might be interested in the copies we’ve allocated to Library Thing to give away as ARCs. You can claim one of those, here.

Leigh Goff’s Bewitching Hannah: This book is next on our new release list, launching September 17th, with a cover reveal coming in August. I’ve just finished creating the ebook and formatting the print interior and I’m now working hard on finalizing the cover layout. Again, I’m really excited to share this one with you! You can read about this book on our website, or subscribe to this blog or our newsletter to be the first to hear more details as we announce them.

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Rita Monette’s Nikki Landry Swamp Legends Series: We’re pleased to announce that Nikki is back again! Author/Illustrator, Rita Monette, has outdone herself with The Mystery on Lost Lagoon, the fourth installment of the series. We’ve tentatively scheduled this for a November 2017 release and we’re currently working on ideas for the cover.

Joshua Pantalleresco’s The Wandering God: Joshua was the first outside author to join the Mirror World family with his epic poem, The Watcher. Last year, he followed that up with Stormdancer and this year we’re bringing you the stunning conclusion to this epic post-apocalyptic tale. Currently in the editing phase as we wait for Florence Chan to work her magic, we expect this will be ready to launch October 2017.

mixterIn addition to all this, we’re also already looking ahead to 2018 with the children’s book, Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast by Regan W. H. Macaulay and the quasi-sequel to Spellhaven, Ghosts and Exiles by Sandra Unerman. We’re also looking forward to Book Two of Sharon Ledwith’s Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, Blackflies and Blueberries.

And last but not least, we have Mirror’s Deceit by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred, the third in the Mirror World series. Currently Mirror’s Deceit is being given a once over by our Editor, Robert Dowsett, but will soon be available for beta readers. Whether you’ve read Mirror’s Hope and/or Mirror’s Heart or not, if you’d like to beta read Mirror’s Deceit, please get in touch with us. We expect to be able to have the beta readers start in August.

Here’s the description:

Mirror’s Deceit by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

Dark Fantasy/Romance – Coming in 2018!

In a seeming utopia, Mirena, a gifted student of majik, is on the verge of graduating from a secret college that will give her a leg up in her political career, when her achievements are overshadowed by the arrival of a mysterious woman with an unknown agenda.  Desperate to keep what she sees as her rightful place in the spotlight, Mirena goes to astounding lengths including taking it upon herself to pose as a double agent to investigate a rebel force plotting to destabilize the government. Unfortunately, her actions cost her the trust of those around her, so when she is proclaimed the Dark Avatar of the Destroyer, she finds she has nowhere to turn.

My Love Affair with Writing

I am often confronted by the question, ‘why do I write?’ and I don’t feel the answer is one that is easily put into words. Yet, despite not having an easy answer to this question, I know for certain that I have to write. I would feel incomplete without it.

So why is that?love-of-writing.jpg

Well first, being an author has always been my dream. I remember as a kid wandering through bookstores and libraries, I would often imagine seeing my own name on the shelves listed next to my favorite fantasy and YA authors. There’s also the thought of wanting to leave something behind; to make my mark on the world. I’ve never wanted children, but I sometimes think ‘when I’m gone, who will remember me?’ I’d like my work, my stories, to live on after me.

So that answers the question of why I strive so hard to publish and reach my audience, but it doesn’t address why I chose writing as my medium or what drives me to type out page after page. I think the answer to that has something to do with the concept of ‘Flow’. I first learned about Flow in a university course about the creative process and I was fascinated by it. A term used in psychology, Flow is defined as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

A state of flow, otherwise known as ‘being in the zone’ can be achieved doing any task, but in my experience it happens more frequently when doing a task that you are good at, passionate about and interested in.

When in a state of flow, some or more of the following things are experienced:ca27d20b95c49679195e5c81f016ea1f

  1. An Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  2. A Merging of action and awareness
  3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness
  4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  5. A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
  6. Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding

 

As a creative person, for me, achieving a state of Flow is the purpose; it’s what makes the experience meaningful. I’m also a person who thrives on a sense of achievement or feeling productive and writing gives me that. With writing, unlike any other vocation, I’m able to purposefully achieve a state of flow and at the same time produce something meaningful that I hope to one day leave behind as my legacy.

So that’s my love affair with writing, put into words. Thanks for reading.

Why do you write? Let me know in the comments below and happy V-Day, everyone.

Cover Design 101

Cover designer is one of those hats I didn’t expect to wear when I started Mirror World. At the time, I was fairly new to Photoshop and I’ve never considered myself to be an artist. But the most important part of designing a cover for a book is having a vision of what it should look like and being able to communicate that vision to create a final product, whether you end up making it yourself, or finding an artist or another cover designer to realize it for you.

So how is it done, then?

Step 1 – The Vision

As I read or write the book, I try to keep an eye out for a scene or for facets of the book that would make for a good cover image. For Unintended, for example, the scene on the cover is the from the end of the first chapter. It takes place after our main character Kenzie has just accidentally married someone other than her intended prince and looked back to realize that he’s left the symbol of their union, the white flowers, to be run over by a wagon wheel.

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“He was right behind them, hurrying to fall in step with the procession, the white-flowered wedding bracelet shredded where it lay discarded by the wheel of the carriage. As Kenzie watched, the carriage started moving again and the perfect white flowers she had so painstakingly woven together from a rare out of season patch in her homeland were crushed and forgotten.”

If the book is by another author, I usually ask them what they have in mind for the cover and their suggestions, even if they don’t have a full cover image in mind, will usually lead to me having some ideas.

 

Step 2 – The Concept

Once you have a vision of what the cover should look like, it’s time to start looking for concept images. These are images that represent parts of, or the whole of the vision you have in your mind. Keeping with Unintended’s cover, this involved finding a wheel, an example of the white flowers, the cobblestones, and a puddle with the reflection of a castle in it to give the fantasy feel. You want to find examples of the colours you want to use and the things that will appear in the image and get them as close to your vision as possible. It’s also helpful to gather passages from the book that describe the various elements you want to include, especially if you’ll be giving these things to an artist or designer to work from like we did with Unintended.

Step 3 – The Design

Now that you have your concept art, it’s time to put those ideas together and create a cover image. This can be done any number of ways. We have artists who paint, those who sketch, and digital artists, and then there’s also the method of using composite images. For the purpose of this blog, let’s say we’re using composite images. For Black Lightning, by K.S. Jones knew she wanted a certain scene from the novel, but she didn’t want to show her main character, Samuel’s, face. Out of the concept images, I found the ones that most closely described what we were looking for, and that I could blend together using Photoshop to create the image we needed.

Step 4 – The final image

Typically in step three, I will be working with low quality watermarked sample images and playing around with them until I get something that works well. If working with an artist, I’ll be seeing their rough work as they try and recreate what I’ve described to them. In this step though, the design has been agreed upon and approved by all parties, and now it’s a case of making the finished product using quality materials and attention to detail.

After that, you just need to add the font – which is of course another crucial design choice 😉

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Interview with Owen Swain, Creator of the #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book

Owen Swain, a Windsor-based artist, is the creator and artist behind #tourdesketch Windsor, an adult colouring book featuring the sights of Windsor, Ontario. I’ve invited Owen to answer some questions for us, so we can get to know him and his seeing/drawing process.
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M|W: Other than drawing, what do you do in your spare time?
Time is flow. I enjoy: bicycling (really, really dislike driving a car), reading (fiction, nonfiction), listening to music, volunteering in my community and parish, meditation, hanging out with the Love of my life and our dogs. And when I am not drawing I am often to be found drawing or painting or, well, you get the idea.
M|W: What was your biggest obstacle in getting where you are today with your art?
Not fully believing in myself or say, not listening to my own narrative for my life. Everything belongs though and it all is a part of “now”.
M|W: What made you choose to feature Windsor in particular?
I’ve lived in Windsor since 1999 but only more recently have come alive to being alive “here” and discovered our city by bicycling and drawing on-location.
M|W: How long does a typical drawing, like the ones in the book, take you?
Roughly 57 years and 8 or 10 hours. It’s a largely different process from my usual on-location sketching in that I took my own photos, make sketch notes on site and then returned to the studio to work. They are less immediate than my usual methods for on-location drawing and more particular in trying to make them suitable for colouring in.
M|W: What’s your favorite part about drawing?
Seeing. I feel the most alive to myself and my environment when I am drawing. Getting to know a person, place, animal, tree, thing, etcetera by trying to truly observe the essence of the subject not merely rendering what I think I know about them/it.
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Owen Swain is a Windsor, Ontario illustrator and painter who works in a variety of media and styles and is interested in all manner of subjects while specializing in on location, observational drawing, sketching, mentoring and portraiture. He is never without a sketchbook.

Owen’s creative impetus is daily observational drawing that moves beyond looking to seeing, from thinking to being, and from mere drawing to discovering and developing one’s own mark. Owen believes that the Zen of what Frederick Franck coined as ‘seeing/drawing’ has transferable life skills for all.

He is the creator of #tourdesketch, an art-for-all monthly event that includes in-season slow-bicycling Sketchouts with a focus on local culture and heritage and during autumn and winter months, sketch meet-ups with instruction on ‘seeing/drawing’ as meditation as well as good fun drawing, tips, and sketchbook skills for the artist within each of us.

Owen moved to Windsor with his family in 1999 for what seemed a clear path and purpose. Things changed, life morphed, the path clouded and it wasn’t long before he felt discouraged, as though he was living someone else’s narrative for his life. He persisted in trying to make the detour make sense. However, at a critical point, Owen determined the best thing was to simply be more fully who he’d always been, to rediscover his first love and vocation as a person who makes art. To re-learn how to be, rather than to do. He got back on his bike and rode and rode and drew and drew and gradually he came to love Windsor, its people and his ‘new’ way of being.

Introducing Regan W. H. Macaulay and Mixter Twizzle!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve announced our upcoming 2017 titles one at a time. This week, we’re giving you a little sneak peak into 2018 by introducing our newest author, Regan W. H. Macaulay and her upcoming children’s picture book: Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast!

Regan, a Toronto-based writer, met us while we were at the Word on the Street Festival. She saw Nate Friedman’s The Coffee Monster, and thought (rightly so) that Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast would be a good fit for us. Here’s what Regan had to say about the star of her children’s book:

Mixter Twizzle is an odd, red, round-shaped, mischievous creature.  He lives in a hovel, beneath a rustic barn, underneath the chicken coop.  He’s a snoozing sneezer and a snoring barker; a peculiar sort that both annoys and pleases. 

The illustrations for Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast will be done by Regan’s husband, Kevin Risk. Here’s a sample of what you have to look forward to:

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We’re super-excited to watch this project come together and we hope you are as well. If you want to be kept informed of Regan and Kevin’s progress, and be the first to know when Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast will be available, please subscribe to this blog, or to our mailing list. Thanks for reading!

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Regan writes novels, short stories, children’s literature and scripts.  Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film and television.  She is an animal enthusiast as well, which led her to become a certified canine (and feline) massage therapist.  Other books by Regan include picture storybooks Beverlee Beaz the Brown BurmeseSloth the Lazy Dragon and the novella adaptations of her feature film (available on iTunes and on DVD), Space Zombies! and her screenplay They Suck (both co-written with her husband, Kevin Risk).  Coming soon, two other picture storybooks:  Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far and Merry Myrrh: The Christmas Bat.

Owen Swain’s #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book Launch!

December 1st marks the date when Owen Swain’s colouring book #tourdesketch Windsor becomes available worldwide and also when it will be available for purchase in stores all around Windsor. In addition to our online store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, and ect, it will also be at Juniper Books, Story Tellers Books, PB Books, City Cyclery, Mudpuppy Gallery, and Levigator Press, just to name a few…

Following that, on December 15th, Owen Swain and I, along with our friends at Sho: Art, Spirit and Performance, will be hosting an open house colouring party/book launch from 1 pm to – 9 pm at 628 Monmouth Rd, in Windsor.  Owen will be on site throughout the day signing copies of his colouring book and there will be a mound of crayons for you to colour some oversized prints with! Including a massive Christmas card dedicated to the City of Windsor. So some out and join us any time between 1 pm and 9 pm or for the formal book launch/reception at 7 pm.  Light refreshments will also be available.

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending Owen Swain’s first indoor #tourdesketch class and it was an experience I will never forget. I’ve mentioned before the importance of going on ‘artist dates’ and experimenting with new artistic mediums, like drawing, painting, writing, ect. Well, I got the chance to really put this theory to the test and came away with a newfound understanding of a very deep connection between the seeing/drawing philosophy Owen Swain teaches and the way that I write.

First, Owen taught us all the importance of seeing what we’re about to draw in our minds’ eye and really connect with what we’re looking at. We learned various techniques, such as drawing quickly to get the overall shape of something, and then drawing more slowly to fill in the details. But what we spent the most amount of time learning was the ability, or the style, I should say, of drawing what we are seeing without looking down at the page to see how the art is progressing.

This, for me, had a valuable connection to writing in that when I write I visualize the scene in my minds’ eye and really try to place myself in it so I can see/hear/sense/taste/smell the situation. Usually I do this from my character’s perspective, so I see the world through their eyes and through the lens of their experience. Then I write, letting the words flow directly from that place, instead of looking at the screen and thinking about the sentences or the art of writing. And from there, I try desperately to get to the end of the scene, the chapter, or even the whole draft of the novel, without feeling like I have to go back and read it or make edits to what I’ve already written.

I’ve only just begun to learn Owen Swain’s method of seeing/drawing, but I fully intend to continue learning from him to see how else I can apply this discipline to my other artistic endeavors and to see if getting better at seeing/drawing will also help improve my writing.

That being said, I urge you to check out Owen Swain’s #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book. It’s a lot more than just something to colour, or an ode to Windsor. It’s a window into the mind of the artist, and a window into the soul of our city, which I believe Owen has managed to capture vividly. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/adventure/products/tourdesketch-windsor-colouring-book

And don’t forget to use promo code: WEDELIVER for free delivery within Windsor-Essex!

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Featuring The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum

It’s November and that means a new featured book! This month, in honour of its upcoming release on November 17th, we’re featuring The Time Traveller’s Resort and Museum, written by David McLain and illustrated by Felix Eddy. As usual, please use promo code: FEATURE for $3 OFF any version of this book in our store. That’s hardcover, ebook, and paperback versions all ON SALE for the entire month of November! Don’t miss out.

14731184_1306675979395903_3666018888957435109_n It occurred to me that we never had an official cover reveal for this book, so we should probably do that now:

coverimagettrmLike the illustrations within, the cover is by Felix Eddy. If you’d like to see more of her art, you can visit her website here.

Here’s the back of the book:

“If you need to know men’s secrets
Or if there’s something you need to find
If you want to see the dinosaurs
Or the insides of your mind.
If you want to watch the earth begin,
Or see what the apocalypse will leave behind,
You need to thank Alice Anderson,
For Alice is the mother of time.”

That was how the rhyme went. Every time traveler knew it. Everyone that is, except of course, for Alice herself, since she hadn’t invented time travel yet. Since returning to London, Alice’s life has been turned upside down. She’s been accused of murder and lost her position in the scientific community. Her only ally in this journey is a strange man who seems to think that Alice may be about to open up a strange new world of possibilities, but is probably not telling her everything he knows.

What I love about this book is that it’s got one foot in every ‘escapist’ genre. It has time travel, romance, adventure, science fiction, fantasy, comedy, steampunk… you name it.  This book has it all. Want to find out for yourself? Pre-order now, or check out the sample chapter available for FREE right here.

And now for something completely different.

Here at Mirror World Publishing, we pride ourselves on outside the box thinking. As a small independent start-up in 2014, no one, least of all us, could have predicted that in less than three years we would grow from three authors with a handful of books to twelve authors with over twenty books between us and a new imprint coming under our banner. Well, you’ll be happy to know we’re not stopping there.

For the past year, I have been actively searching for an event/retail space. I wanted somewhere our books and authors could belong. Somewhere we could hold book launch events, workshops and signings so that our local readers would know where to find us. I knew that on top of everything else I was already doing keeping the gears turning here at Mirror World, I could not do it on my own, so I thought I was stuck.

sho-logoThat’s when I found Sho: Art, Spirit and Performance. I was familiar with Sho through their regular event ‘From the Page to the Stage’ which combines theatre and literature by having actors read short stories by local writers to a captive audience. What I didn’t know until I looked into the organization further is that their mission is specifically to partner with other artists and creative organizations to innovate, collaborate, produce and present art across all creative borders.

Sho is a theatre and a workshop space, but more than that, it’s a collection of like-minded artists who live to collaborate and bring art in all its forms to Windsor. From life drawing classes, to theatre performances, to literary reading nights, they do it all. And what would be more perfect than to have that kind of creative energy and spirit of showmanship helping to bolster our efforts here? I knew I couldn’t do it all myself, but with the help of such a strongly established creative presence in Windsor, I thought I just might have a chance.

And so I joined Sho as an associate member. And wouldn’t you know it, the collaboration began at once. Not only will our next event, Worlds Collide Gala, take place at Sho’s main space 628 Monmouth Rd, Windsor on September 30th, 2016 at 7pm, but I also met with and started working with some fabulously talented people, including artist/entrepreneur Owen Swain.

toudesketchAnd so, I would like to announce our next project. In partnership with Sho: Art, Spirit, and Performance and the amazingly talented Owen Swain of #tourdesketch, we will be producing an adult colouring book titled #Tourdesketch Windsor. Filled with sketches of the sights of our hometown, #tourdesketch Windsor is our way of thinking outside the box and bringing you a glimpse into the world we live in.

It was my intention to tell you all about Owen Swain and the work he’s done with his innovative cycling and sketching events, but I’ve gone on long enough for today. Stay tuned for part two of this announcement by subscribing to this blog or checking back again soon. Next post, I’ll introduce you all to our newest addition to the Mirror World family, Owen Swain, and his upcoming book,  #Tourdesketch Windsor

Thanks for reading!

A Fusion of Epic Poetry and Graphic Art

The Watcher by Joshua Pantalleresco and its sequel, Stormdancer, are our featured books this month! Get the ebooks for $0.99 each with promo code: DRAGON in our online bookstore and enjoy an epic post-apocalyptic journey of discovery shown through a unique fusion of poetry and graphic art by the talented Florence Chan! Here’s a sneak peek:

  1. The Watcher

 alive and aware as the light comes in

rising to the sound of the morning drum

it’s plantation time

all of us work extra hard

they said we’d have bigger shares this year

if we did good

we wanted to try

I look to my mom and dad still sleeping

their hands calloused

their skins toughened

catching that last extra minute of shut eye

before they come

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the light darkens

snouts forming silhouettes in the shadows

scaly reptilian eyes and angel wings gaze down on them

he (she/it?) knows

for just a second, there is mercy

then justice rears its ugly dragon head

and roars

time to get to work

my job is atop the watchtower

I watch the skies for weather

we cannot work in rain or hail

if I see a cloud, I clang the bell

easy peasy and important

two dragons guard me from below

wielding their sticks of flame, they look up

making sure I do what I’m told

I would’ve anyway

I wanted that extra bit of honey

I wanted to feel the crunch of blackberries

I would be good until harvest time

days and weeks pass

the fallow ground sprouts with crops

corn and beans can be seen for miles

I gaze into the horizon

the skyscraper gazes back

it once stood tall and proud

now it is bent and tilted

covered in trees and shrubs

unable to tell the forest from itself

I cannot help but wonder

what were we like back before the dragons came?

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were we like them?

strong and proud

not caring about how hard we worked others?

many claim we were better then

more prosperous and possessive

me, I think we were the same

struggling and starving

tilling concrete instead of corn

working to eat a decent meal

had we really changed at all?

even more time passes

I stand atop the tower

thinking, thinking

I don’t know when it happened

But now I see things differently

I know what’s going to happen at harvest time

without counting a single crop

it is not enough

it was never enough

we would always fall short

my parents would be waiting for me at shift’s end

tears in their eyes

wondering just where they went wrong

blaming themselves for nothing

I’m furious now

I imagine wrapping my hands around a dragon’s neck

squeezing and squeezing

until I hear something snap

and I am satisfied

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I am unafraid

death doesn’t scare me

because I know the truth

next year it’d start again

the same empty promises, the same cycle repeating

we’d work and work and work

and get not a shred more than a crumb from their table

the way it has always been

it doesn’t have to be this way

I have to be patient

soon my chance will come

I’ll bide my time until then

waiting until their guard is down

I’d steal one of their sticks of flame

using it on their headquarters

I’d burn them to the ground

afterwards, I’d seek something

there just had to be something better out there

I just needed to be brave enough to find it.

I just needed one chance

until then, I’ll wait and watch

and be ready

one day, I’ll be free