2022 releases

The Traitor's Game
Awaken: Wolves of Timber Falls
Sorrow's Song
Wicked Nights: A TechWitch Futuristic Urban Fantasy Novel
Bite Me, Monster: A Monster Romance
Nightfall University: Midnight Coven: A Reverse Harem Paranormal Romance
Nightworld Academy: Winterfall Witch
Phoenix: The Rise
Fated Wolf
Pray for Mercy
Keeper Of My Desire
Monster's Plaything: A Monster Romance
The Sheikh's Captive Lover (Desert Kings Alliance, #2).
Wolf Fates: Wolf Shifter Romance
Crown of Shadows
Kings of Eden: A Dark Paranormal Romane
Wild Soul: A Rejected Mate Romance
The Girl Sudan Painted like a Gold Ring: Folktales from the Sea Dyaks of Sarawak, Borneo
A Wreath Of Thorns

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Magic Thursday: The Nuts & Bolts of Designing a Book Cover! (Part 3: Analysing Other Images)

by Helzkat Designs (aka Eleni Konstantine)

This is my fourth blog post on the topic of cover design.

In the post, You can't judge a book by its cover, right? Umm, Wrong, I discussed familiarising oneself with what the market - aka your genre - is doing with covers. While you don’t want to mimic it exactly, it gives you a good idea of reader expectation.

The second post, Magic Thursday: The Nuts & Bolts of Designing a Book Cover! (Part 1: Finding Images), I discussed royalty-free stock images and how to search for images for a short story collection.

The third post, Magic Thursday: The Nuts & Bolts of Designing a Book Cover! (Part 2: Analysing Comprehensive Scene images looked at selecting and analysing images in the Folders that were comprehensive scenes.

Today, we're going to analyse images that are not comprehensive but have an aspect I like that can be used in the cover - this can be either for the background or other elements.

Looking at the Favourites Folder

I go back the images saved in the folder named 'Short Story Collection - Enchanted Dreams' (the collection is spread over three pages).  This time, I'm looking at images that either  be used as a background image, or have an element(s) or concepts that is appropriate for this cover. Basically this approach looks at combining multiple images.

Let's look at some of the images, keeping in mind the theme is enchanted and fantastical. It's harder to say yay or nay to some of these as they may need to be placed in a mock up first before a decision can be made. 

Background images

The below would mostly be cropped in a book cover due to horizontal orientation (though you can turn turn image on side and get something different and portrait in orientation). These are suited for background images. 

There is nothing more spectacular than how the universe looks. The top two images are similar. They are colourful but at the same time have a black contrast. Adding an appropriate image(s) on top could work. They may need to be adjusted so the text doesn't get lost. The bottom one is darker and so light text and other images would stand out more. 

Again similar scenes and colouring, which is soft and appealing. I think they both need something more. A dragon? A person on the moon (would be small though but would depend on how it was cropped), a person swinging from the moon would be more like it. :)

I just love fluffy clouds. They are perfect for a background. The pink clouds have a surreal feel to them while the moon/cloud image could be manipulated to be more surreal if you wished, but can still be used as an effective background as it now looks. The stairs and clouds are a little bright, so colour/brightness could be manipulated. Also I'm not sure of the stone steps but love the idea of steps/stairs/ladders going into the sky. 

A background image with flooring is a different look that might just work. A figure or another image can easily be added and flow with these images. 

The window image is lovely and contained. It's a little bit wide for a book cover but it can be possibly manipulated. A moon can be added and a couple of other elements to make the scene dreamlike and enchanting. 

Now doesn't this look amazing. The colours are vibrant yet not overpowering, and I love how her hair looks to be part of the background. I think a tattoo on her back would suit. Though could this be too much bare shoulder? It could be cropped differently to suit. 

More scenic images. Yes, these could be considered comprehensive but I think they need something else to denote the stories. Perhaps hot air balloon or dragon elements.

Again these could be comprehensive scenes for another type of book cover. I think they need something else. They can be cropped at just the right spot to achieve the look I'm more after. I can see a ladder for image 1, a silhouette of a dragon for image 2, and a hot air balloon for image 3. But I do find that sometimes you don't know what works until you mock (quickly) the images.  These are mostly dark images so brightness and contrast may need to be adjusted. Concepts I'm liking are are balloons, moons, clouds, night sky, sea, windy road. 

Elements of images

I'll go through each image for this section and talk about which parts of the image I like. While most of the below could be used as backgrounds, they were chosen for elements. 

I love the moon, clouds, and the owl. The image is a little dark but it can be brightened. 

The window with the moon outside is what attracts me to this. I do like the figure but she seems to paranormal romance/urban fantasy for my cover. She could be replaced with something else. Or just the concept of this could be used. 

The more I look at this image, the more I'm drawn to it. It has an ethereal look to it. I would change the 'earth' to a moon as not all stories in the collection are set on Earth. While this image could have been put with the last post, it was on reviewing the folder again, that I considered it again. While the woman is young, I don't think it denotes YA.

 It's the concept of sitting on a cloud more than the image itself that appeals in this case. 

The stairs with a night sky in the background attracts me to this image.  

Instead of Heaven, this could have 'dreams' on the sign. But really it's the background, the door concept, and the colours that stand out for me with this one. Not sure about the train track - perhaps stairs/ladder instead?

I love the swing concept (as you saw in the last post), as well as clouds and stars. Long, flowing material may look good here. While I do like this image, I think the ones from last post were probably better suited for this short story collection.  

While the background is lovely, it's the concept of the signpost I like here. It can be added to another background with text added to the signs - 'wizards' 'dragons', 'space ships', 'creatures of the night', goddesses, etc etc.

Love the clock on the chain.

I like the moon and the lanterns, not so sure about the wire connecting the two, but this can be removed.

The butterflies flying out of jar, or just the flying brightly lit butterflies would suit many backgrounds. They look spectacular. 

The illustrated hot air balloon would go with many backgrounds. It can be used as a large or small element. While the image on its own would be a good cover, I think the balloon on other backgrounds would work better for this project. 

While this is a lovely concept, it's the doorway I am drawn too. 

Background or Element

Doesn't these two images scream 'magic'? You can either add/merge these on top of a background image (just as long it's not a crowded one), or you can make it so it becomes the background image itself. So much choice!

Round up

Being able to use images for backgrounds or elements is an option if you can't find a comprehensive scene you like. By combining more than one image, you create something totally unique that no-one else has. 

Some images would need more work than others to manipulate. You need to ask if it's worth the time and effort.

Again, there may be some images you are just not sure about. It's the mock up stage that allows you to truly analyse if they would suit. 

By analysing the images, a firmer idea of the book cover would start to formulate. You may even do more image searching for the different elements. I could look at more hot air balloons, or moon/clouds, or sleeping women (dream concept), doorway, stairs, or time.

Next time... Mock ups including using commercial fonts


HelzKat Designs (Helen Katsinis) specialises in designing for writers at affordable prices.

She delivers the right look for each project from book covers, banners, business cards, to setting up and customising blogs and websites. She has also given talks to authors on the subject of blogging and navigating in the online world.

She began by designing author banners for her writing persona (Eleni Konstantine) and her writing groups. After winning the 2010 Little Gems Cover Contest (Topaz), she started to specialise in designing for other writers thus combining her two worlds of design and writing.

In 2018, she's entered the world of pre-made covers. You can see available covers HERE.

Get 50% off any pre-made cover until 30th April 2019 by using the code: DSDUblog.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

DarkSider News for April!


Books, books and more books. Check out the latest from the DarkSiders...


Griff by Anna Hackett (Book 17, Hell Squad) was released on 19 March.

As the battle against the invading aliens intensifies, a group of bad boy bikers and mercenaries will stand and fight for humanity’s survival…

Squad Three berserker Griff lived through hell long before the alien invasion. Once, he’d been a dedicated cop, but then in a gut-wrenching betrayal, he ended up behind bars in a supermax prison. After the aliens invaded, he managed to escape and join the soldiers fighting back…and came face to face with his best friend’s little sister—the bold, vibrant, off-limits woman he’s always wanted. Now the beautiful, tattooed Indy is his squad’s comms officer…and she hates his guts.

Indy Bennett lost her parents and brother in the alien attack, and every day, she vows to suck the marrow out of life. She’s also doing her bit in the fight, as Squad Three’s comms officer, even if it means seeing the man who broke her young heart. Griff was once her brother’s best friend, a boy she adored, but now she knows she needs to steer clear of the hard-edged man who still draws her like a moth to a flame.

Griff vows to claim Indy as his. The only problem is, Indy is having none of it. As their fiery attraction explodes, they find themselves embroiled in the hunt for the aliens’ unexplained octagon weapon, and a mysterious survivor town where all is not what it seems. Both Griff and Indy will have to learn to let go of the hurts of the past if they have any chance of not just surviving, but having a future.

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus | 
Paperback (Amazon)

Envy by Lana Pecherczyk (Book 1, Deadly Seven) was released on 12 March.

Crime rages in Cardinal City. The fanatical Syndicate’s answer is to be judge, jury and executioner, even if that means destroying half the world to eradicate sin. The only thing standing in their way is a family of fearless vigilantes known as the Deadly Seven.

Created in a lab with his brothers and sisters, Evan Lazarus can sense deadly levels of envy, but when he’s blamed for a mass tragedy, it tears him and his heroic family apart. As the Deadly Seven self destructs, Evan loses himself in the city’s ruthless cage-fighting scene, slowly falling prey to the sin he was created to fight. His only hope is to find a partner who embodies his sin's opposing virtue, the last thing he expects to find is his soulmate…

Doctor Grace Go almost died in the blast that killed her parents, and learned a valuable lesson: envy eats nothing but its own heart. So she forged a life filled with purpose and now seeks justice for the survivors. When she crosses paths with a fiercely protective but damaged hero, a desire she thought long gone is ignited. But Grace is wary of risking her brittle heart on a disgraced hero, even if she can’t seem to stay away from him.

When a figure from Evan’s past emerges, in league with the Syndicate, their evil scheme threatens to destroy everything Evan holds dear. Pushed to the limits, he will have to pull his family from the brink of oblivion and become the hero the city needs, or will envy drive him to destroy Grace and his only chance at love and redemption forever?

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus

The audiobook version of Levi by Anna Hackett (Book 15, Hell Squad) was released 11 March.

In the middle of an alien invasion, a bad-boy berserker collides with a spunky mechanic on a dangerous sabotage mission.

Levi King has always lived rough. Raised by a biker dad, he fought for everything he had - including being president of the Iron Kings motorcycle club. But when the aliens invaded, he lost it all. Now, he wades through the muck with his fellow berserkers, fighting to protect the last of the human survivors. He fights hard and parties harder and follows no one's rules but his own. But then he finds himself fascinated by a mouthy, auburn-haired mechanic who isn't afraid to give him a piece of her mind.

Chrissy Hagan survived months of alien captivity, and now, she's found a purpose at the Enclave - as mechanic in charge of the armored Hunter vehicles. She keeps her babies purring...and hates every scratch the soldiers put on them, especially when a certain arrogant, cocky, and annoying biker is responsible. Did she mention annoying? What about tattooed, man-bunned, and far too sexy? Chrissy and Levi do more than strike sparks of each other...they start full-blown infernos, and she isn't afraid to use her wrench on his hard head when required.

But then a vital mission requires Chrissy to step out of the safety of the Enclave and sabotage and steal an alien vehicle. Working side by side, desire burns white-hot. Levi discovers he will give everything he's got to keep Chrissy safe and claim her as his...if they both get through the deadly mission alive.

Available from: 

Kept in the Dark of Love and Lust by M.L. Tompsett was released on 18 March.

Hard working city girl, Misty Statesly travels to a coastal town in Victoria to save her job from sabotage and hopefully win over her new clients from a sleazy work colleague.

The feeling of déjà vu fills Misty when she runs into a gorgeous guy in the town’s supermarket and it happens again when she meets her new client – Braven O’Geary.

Braven is mesmerised by the mark on the inside of Misty’s thigh when they find themselves in a compromising position. A matching mark he had given his soul mate whom he was lead to believe had died in a car accident with her parents, some sixteen years earlier.

Can Braven and Misty outwit the cat shifter clan and survive the evil plot his ex-fiancé and the Alpha have orchestrated? Will Misty regain her lost childhood memories, and fight for the man she loves, embracing her new strange world or will she die this time for real?

Available from: 

BloodWish by Tima Maria Lacoba (Book 4, The Datonville Legacy) has now been released in print. 

Escaping from a venomous gargoyle 
Searching for a hidden diary 
And running from a vengeful vampire hunter wasn’t how Laura Dantonville expected to end her family curse. 

Alec and Laura’s story comes to an electrifying conclusion in this final instalment of The Dantonville Legacy Series.

What do you do when the price of ending a curse means losing the one you love?

As Laura and Alec await the birth of their child, the end of the curse seems in sight.

To fulfil the prophecy, they must travel to Drunvela, in Scotland, the place where everything began and where it must end.

But two deadly foes stand in their way.
Each determined to exact their revenge and destroy every last descendant of the House of Dantonville.

Available from: 

The Datonville Legacy: The Complete Series by Tima Maria Lacoba was  released on 12 March.

This box set contains all four books of the Dantonville Legacy Series, plus a bonus copy of the prequel, Laura's Locket. Within these 2,600 (kindle) pages you will enter the dark world of the BloodGifted: an action-filled sexy paranormal romance that'll have you laughing aloud one moment and biting your fingernails in the next.

Available from:

Hearts Enchained by Delwyn Jenkins (Book 2, Dragon Alliance) was released in January.

Sorcha Meehan is desperate to go home – and she knows she never will. 

Trapped on an alien planet, Sorcha gives into loneliness and temptation to spend an unforgettable night in Jax and Kaelum’s bed. For a breathtaking moment she finds a place with her Enforcers – until she discovers she’s nothing more than a convenient smoke screen.

Jax is scarred and broken, and the only thing holding him together is his relationship with Kaelum. A relationship that is absolutely forbidden and one Jax will do anything to protect. The night they share with Sorcha is beyond anything he ever imagined but he has too much at stake to risk doing it again.
When Sorcha is kidnapped, Jax must face every one of his demons in order to rescue her. Racing into the heart of enemy territory, Jax and Kaelum risk everything to bring Sorcha home.

Buy links from Books2Read

Freedom's Fall by Delwyn Jenkins (Book 3, Dragon Alliance) was released on 7 March.

Tansy Coleman is a fighter. She survived being kidnapped from Earth, she even survived her captivity as a rich man’s mistress. Now she’s free – and safe – she’s ready to embark on her long road to recovery.

Determined to build a life with Rye and Dev - the two sexy dragon-riders who rescued her – she must not only face her demons but conquer them. With Dev and Rye’s help she tries to reclaim her sensuality, but the scars of her imprisonment run deep.

Tansy found the courage to fall in love - now she has to find a way to fall into freedom.

Buy links from Books2Read

Non spec-fiction

Where Angels Fear by D.K. Hood (Book 5, Detectives Kane and Alton) is now in audio book format.

As she opened her eyes and took in her surroundings, a feeling of terror ran through her weakened body. She knew exactly where she was. And she knew exactly what was about to happen to her....

When Ella Tate stumbles into Black Rock Falls, her exhausted and bloodied body is a terrifying sight, but not as frightening as the story she has to tell. Ambushed on their way into town when they stopped to help a man by the side of the road, Ella and her friend Sky ran when he pulled a knife on them. But only one of them got away.

As Detective Jenna Alton investigates the case, she looks into the history of missing persons in the town and uncovers more cases - all young people. All stopped on the same stretch of road into town. All vanished without a trace.

When a distinctive pink sweater belonging to Sky turns up in Black Rock Falls, Jenna follows the trail to a derelict building on the outskirts of town. But she isn’t prepared for what lies behind those doors. Can she stop the killer before more lives are lost?

Available from Audible.

Emotion in Chains by Carolyn Wren (Book 4, Love Under Fire) was released by Serenity Press on 22 February.

Kidnapped, held in chains, beaten and without hope. 

Wealthy businessman James ‘North’ Northam believes he’s a dead man, until his daring rescue by a woman who disappears before he can thank her. Unable to forget his mysterious saviour, he vows to find her.

Omega has always kept her covert identity separate from her real life, but when James Northam invades her world and her privacy, he gets under her skin and lowers her defences. Suddenly, her plan to deny everything doesn’t seem to be working.

As their unlikely attraction grows, neither North nor Omega realise someone else from her past is also searching for her.

Only this time it’s for revenge.

Available from: 



Embodied by Shona Husk (Book 3, Coven of the Raven) is due for release 13 April.

A love potion gone wrong leads to a goddess hijacking Alexis’s body. Now Alexis will do anything to catch her boss’s eye. It’s unfortunate that he starts to notice her for all the wrong reasons. Such as the army of cats following her around.

Peyton Kilpatrick has always kept his relationship with Alexis professional despite the simmering interest. But something has changed, she crackles with magic and she wants more from him than he’s able to give. As a witch and a lawyer his life is complicated enough, throw in a hell hound bite that causes all kinds of side effects around the full moon and he really isn’t boyfriend material.

When Alexis finally gets Peyton in bed, things get hairy. Peyton reveals what he is and convinces her to give up her new-found power. If she doesn’t get rid of the goddess inhabiting her body, she’ll die.

Pre-Order links via Books2Read.

Nightworld Academy: Term One by LJ Swallow (Book 1, Nightworld Academy) is expected to be released on 17 April.

I'm told my curse is a gift. A valuable one that could cost me my life.

My lifelong visions are weird, but my new school is weirder. All lessons take place in the evening, and the majority of students are on an advanced program where they take extra classes late into the night.

The pupils here are predictable for an English boarding school. There's Ash, the rugby team captain and the school’s most popular guy. Then there’s Andrei, the moody guy with a bad attitude who takes pleasure in annoying me. And Jamie who’s studious and friendly but intense.

I thought I had the school figured out: the mean girl, the quirky friend, the nerd, the emo, and the jock. But on the evening I swear allegiance to my new school house, things spin out of control, and I realise I’m dealing with more.

Much more.

One of us will die, and I know who.

Welcome to the Nightworld Academy, attended by vampires, shifters, and witches. A place filled with harmony and mutual respect between the supernatural races.Sometimes.

Available from:

Nightworld Academy: Term Two by LJ Swallow (Book 1, Nightworld Academy) is expected to be released in June.

Available from:

A Stranger's Embrace by Imogene Nix (Book 2, Celtic Cupid) is due for re-release on 3 June.

Cupid is at it again with a little more divine intervention, but can love survive the danger ahead?

Jane has been living a lie, with her daughter Frannie. They’ve been on the run from her abusive husband for years eking out their existence while Jane’s hidden herself with disfiguring makeup and unflattering clothes.

Davis Formosa, world famous science fiction author has been intrigued by the quiet and unassuming waitress at the diner he has taken to frequenting, unaware that she is his soulmate. But things change when the quiet woman is unmasked.

But Cupid in the guise of Jake has his work cut out helping these two to find their happy ending, especially in the face of increasing danger.

Pre-order links from Books2Read

Revenge On Cupid by Imogene Nix (Book 3, Celtic Cupid) is due for release on 3 June.

Sometimes magic isn't enough.

After years of hiding, it's finally Jake's turn to find love… Or is it? Will Cupid's arrow bite him or bounce off the woman who could complete his life?

Diocail, in the guise of Jake, must find his predestined mate and make her fall for him before his father will allow his return, but when Simone, is revealed as the one for him, it becomes clear that there is more than meets the eye.

Simone is hurt when long-term lover Nathan cheats on her, then does the unthinkable, and sacks her as well. An encounter with Jake fuels her desire, but she's not willing to risk her emotions again. When a woman from Jake's past, starts to mix things up, the situation goes from bad to worse.

Now Jake has to make Simone see that they have a future, and he has to deal with a deranged goddess—and all without the magic of Cupid.

Pre-order links from Books2Read

Non spec-fiction 

Whisper in the Night by D.K. Hood (Book 6, Detectives Kane & Alton) is expected to be released by Bookatoure on 20 June.

She opens her eyes and struggles to make out the dark room around her. One thing she knows instantly – her wrists are bound and she’s tied to a chair, unable to move. As she screams for help, she hears footsteps outside. He’s coming…

Fifteen-year-old Lindy Rosen has been having nightmares for weeks, waking in a panic, screaming that there’s a man in her room watching her sleep. Her parents assumed it was her overactive imagination, but when one morning they find Lindy missing from her bedroom, they’re not so sure. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.

Within hours of the schoolgirl going missing, the kidnapper reaches out to Jenna with a video of Lindy bound and tied to a chair, crying to be set free. And a simple message – you’ve got 24 hours to find her or I kill her.

Jenna’s team work around the clock to try to find Lindy before the deadline, but time runs out, and Jenna receives a devastating message. The killer has made good on his promise. He’s playing a dangerous game. And no one knows what his next move will be.

But just two days later, one of Lindy’s school friends is taken in the middle of the night and the countdown begins again.

Pre-order from:


Warrior Born by Kathrine Leannan (Book 1, Katana) now has a new cover.

When the God of War wants you dead, there are few places to hide.

Connor MacDonald doesn’t know of the bargain struck between her parents and the Gods nearly 200 years ago in the Highlands of Scotland, sealing her fate as Daughter of the Sword.

But when Bishamon, the Japanese God of War, decides to create the final battle of the mortal realm, the gods from all beliefs are called upon to stop him at any cost – before he seeks revenge upon Connor and those she holds dear.
When faced with the truth about her past, Connor is thrust into a deadly game where she is a pawn, forced to obey the whim of the deities who watch her every move.

Endowed with the spirit of the Ancient Celts and the skill of the immortal Samurai, Connor must become one with her katana and embrace the will of the gods if she is not only to survive, but kill Bishamon before wreaks havoc on the past, the present and the future of mankind.

Available from:

Redemption by Christina Phillips (Book 1, Fallen) will be released in July.
This book was previously published by Penguin US under another title and pen-name, but the current book has been completely re-imagined, rewritten and edited.

A fallen archangel saves a woman from a deadly fate, and unleashes an ancient power that could destroy the universe itself…

Gabe has no time for humans after the way they betrayed the ones he loved so long ago. But when he snatches a woman from the jaws of the hellish Guardians, he’s compelled to protect her at all costs. Even if she does drive him crazy with her smart mouth and refusal to fall under his archangelic spell.

Desperate to discover her true heritage, Aurora opens a rift between dimensions. But before she can enter her mother’s world, the most breathtakingly gorgeous man she’s ever met teleports her to an impossible island.

Thrown together, they can’t ignore the scorching lust that risks consuming them, or the threat to Aurora’s existence. When raw sex evolves into something far more dangerous, it’s more than their lives that are on the line.

As Gabe and Aurora race against time to outwit the Guardians, they come closer to uncovering an explosive revelation that will challenge everything they’ve ever believed in.

But deep in the shadows, the immortal Guardians lurk. And they have no intention of allowing Aurora to escape their clutches. Even if it means defying the wrath of an archangel.

Non spec-fiction

  Rough and Ready by Cathleen Ross (Book 2, Outlaw Warriors) is due for release on 15 April.

Before special ops soldier Hugo Boudreaux can move on, he has one last thing to do–fulfill a wartime debt to the friend who saved his life. He must infiltrate a vicious Louisiana MC club to stop their next illegal weapons shipment and send the president to jail. What he didn’t plan on was ending up an unwilling bodyguard to the man’s daughter–innocent and attractive nurse Alice Kaintuck.

Alice wants a normal life with a nice guy. But her rough-edged bodyguard is the sexiest man she's ever met. Suddenly she can’t stop thinking about just how hot he makes her. Before she knows it, she’s tumbling into his muscular arms…though she'll be damned if she'll fall in love with a man as dangerous as her father. Only Hugo doesn’t make love, he consumes her and turns her life upside down with his carnal, erotic sex. Dreams of nice guys vanish when her enemy becomes her obsession…

Congratulations to all our DarkSiders!

Thanks for sharing in our news. Until next time, happy reading!