ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Velvet Dogma Wins for Cover Art!

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The internet has a lot of advice. If one were to stack all the pages of data on top of each other, it would  be a modern Tower of Binary Babble and probably reach the moon, which is made of nacho cheese btw. When I decided to create a cover for my original un-published novel, Velvet Dogma, The Book Designer. Joel Friedlander, who runs the site, has a lot of good advice. Since I'm not a publisher and I'm definitely not an artist I decided to use some of that advice. The result is this cover--

there were a few sites that I trusted more than others. After all, eBook covers are not created equally. Some are better than others. One such site is called


The most important thing on book covers to me is the art. It has to be catchy. It has to stop someone in their tracks and make them want to pick the book up, or in this case, click the link. I figure with all the eBooks out there that's more than half the battle. I could have made my own image, but again, I am not an artist. So I went out to find one.

I'd always loved Matt Hults' book Husk. The imagery is captivating. So I asked him who did the art work and he told me, Danielle Tunstall.


So I googled her. As it turns out, Danielle isn't a one shot wonder. She has hundreds of pieces that she created using real models, photography and digital manipulation. The image on my cover is based on an action shot from the model Collette Von Tora, known far and wide for her alternative modeling. She loves Velvet Dogma, btw.



After a few email conversations with Danielle, she and I came to terms. Use of her art for the cover wasn't free, nor did I expect it to be. In fact, it cost enough dough to be painful. But then her creativity should be rewarded as much as mine should be. A lot of hard work went into the creation of the image for Velvet Dogma. There's an old adage about the relative value of something being what you paid for it. If it was free, then it's value would be zero, and I wanted Velvet Dogma to be worth a lot more than zero.

The Vivacious Collette Von Tora
Of course once I got the artwork, then I had to create the cover. One thing I didn't want to do was ruin the effect of the image with a lot of text. I'd read about the use of negative space and tried to apply it. BTW, a very successful friend of mine, Joe Konrath, advised in one of his blogs that one of the biggest mistakes people make is not paying for good art. I didn't want to be one of those folks.

After a few hours on Photoshop, I came up with what was eventually going to be the cover. I sent it to Crossroads Press, the publisher, and they subsequently published the book. Velvet Dogma has received many popular and critical reviews for the content and now it's won an award for Cover Design from none other than Joel Friedlander's site The Book Designer.  Hooray for Velvet Dogma, Danielle Tunstall and Collette Von Tora!

Here's what Joel said about the cover-
Velvet Dogma by Weston Ochse, Design by Weston Ochse, Art by Danielle Tunstall. A great way to use the cover space without having to look like a print book. There are so many things going right here, from the ultra-cool art to the designer’s deployment of negative space, to the interesting use of a traditional font for this sci-fi cover. Rad.

Glad to see that I stumbled onto the right way to do things my first time out. I guess it pays off following other people's advice. If you get a chance, drop by Daniell Tunstall's and Collette Von Tora's sites and pay them a compliment. And of course, pick up a copy of Velvet Dogma. It's a kick ass book.

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