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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Sekrit Project Big Reveal with Mickie Mueller!

As some of you already know, my first book for Llewellyn came out in 2007. Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice was based on my first year's practice with my coven, Blue Moon Circle, and contained a year's worth of full moon, new moon, and sabbat rituals, as well as advice for those practicing with a group of any kind.
To my amazement, I got lots of great feedback from solitary witches too, saying how useful they found it. (You can check out some of the reviews on Amazon, if you don't believe me.)

Alas, the book went out of print last year. That's not unusual in publishing--once they have sold out all the originally printed copies, the publisher has to look at the current sales to see if they merit another print run. And unless you are very popular, that doesn't happen a lot. [On the other hand, The Goddess is in the Details, my 3rd book, went to a 5th reprint last year, so you never know.]

In theory, that might have been the end of that. You can still find the occasional print copy around, usually used, but there won't be any more.

Or will there...?

Thankfully, Llewellyn was really great about giving me back my rights to the book, so I decided to put it out as an eBook. There was only one catch. Well, two. The first catch was that I don't know squat about putting out eBooks. It's a pretty complicated procedure, where you have to convert the manuscript into the correct format (which is very fiddly), upload it to Amazon, jump through all sorts of hoops--not something I had time for while working on two different nonfiction books and a Baba Yaga novella.

So I called on the wonderful Sierra Meintser again. You might remember that she is my way-more-savvy-than-I-am-about-computers friend who did a bunch of online research for me in the past. This time, she actually taught herself how to do all this eBook voodoo, and made it possible for the book to be published after all. (And yes, if you're thinking about publishing your own eBook, she is going to be adding that skill set to her new business. Just sayin')

But then there was catch number two. The book belonged to me...but the original cover was still the property of Llewellyn. I needed a new cover. And this is where Mickie Mueller came in! She did the amazing illustrations in The Witch's Broom book, so naturally I thought of her right away. And luckily, when I asked her if she was interested, she loved the idea. So we've been working on the project for the last couple of months. In sekrit :-)

Here's Mickie's take:

"When Deborah contacted me to create a new piece of art and cover design for her book Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magical Practice, the first thing we did was to discuss her vision. It obviously needed to portray some kind of coven. We discussed it and decided that a small coven would be perfect so that the figures would have some impact. We also wanted to add Magic the Cat in there somewhere. We decided a coven of three would look great and then I started thinking about composition, mood and color. I wanted the scene to be dark and witchy, but at the same time welcoming and inviting and not scary.  I think of Deborah as being that kind of teacher, her roots are firmly planted in the world of the witch, but her friendly demeanor makes her a great teacher, I wanted that to come across on the cover, so I suggested that we could base the center figure on her likeness.  We really had fun with it. She sent me some photos of her early days with her coven for reference, and the wonderful thing that happened was that it brought the story of the teachings in Circle, Coven & Grove back full circle and infused the art with the energy of those early days with her group.

So we had decided on the three figures. I kept thinking of an altar covered with magical tools, the coven looking into the book and the central figure looking at the viewer, inviting them in. I couldn’t seem to get past the idea of an altar because I thought of the cat being there in the middle of everything. I had done art of an altar with a cat on it a couple of times already, and so I kept trying to think outside the box. Once I got the Book of Shadows off of a table or bookstand and right into the hands of the central figure, it finally all came together!  A magical and artistic epiphany, it’s not the tools, it’s the teachings, what you carry inside of you!  So I kept it simple; three figures, there was the book in the center, the teachings, the cat happily rubbing against everyone’s legs and I thought, “They need some light out there in the woods.” Once I sketched the witch on the right with a candle, it hit me! Bell, book, and candle!  Since the candle was going to have a lovely glow, I decide the book and bell could have a magical glow as well. Deborah approved!

I kept the colors complimentary so everything would pop. Blueish gray and warm golden oranges were my palate. I really had fun layering the trees in there to give the whole thing atmosphere. I added the same orangey golden glow to the horizon so that we would be at the in-between time of dusk, a very magical time to be in the woods.  I had originally suggested a circle of magical symbols to be superimposed over the art for the cover design, upon seeing that, Deborah suggested the moon phases to better represent her coven. I loved the idea and took it a bit further adding the astrological illustrations on an inner circle, further suggesting the changing cycles of the magical year."
 So, are you ready to see what she came up with? I REALLY love the way it turned out. I hope you do too!
What do you think? It sure is different from the original cover, isn't it? 

I also decided that I wanted to make the book affordable for people, so I only priced it at $2.99 And no, I probably won't even earn back what I paid Sierra and Mickie for their work, but that's not the point. Remember I told you that I had one more surprise gift for my readers, to thank them for all their support and enthusiasm for me, and the new book in particular? This is it! My gift to you. I hope you like it.

Circle, Coven & Grove on Amazon And yes, Nook users, we'll be putting the book up in all the other fomats after 90 days.

Don't forget that the contest celebrating the release of The Witch's Broom is still on for the next three days, and you can get extra entries by doing some things (like spreading the word about the book) every day the contest is running. The Contest Blog Post We did pretty well for a while there, getting the book up as far as #9 on Amazon's "nonfiction/witchcraft" list. It's sitting at #20 now, which still makes me pretty darn happy.

And I'll be packing up all the signed books people ordered from me from the "But Now" link at the top of the blog, and taking them to the post office later today! (Along with a few little treats, just because)

Thanks again for all your support. So, what do you think of the Sekrit Project? Inquiring minds want to know...

ADDENDUM at 7:20 PM
My fans ROCK!!!

25 comments:

  1. That's great!!! The UPS guys JUST handed me my copy of The Witch's Broom AND, I couldn't help it, but I had to order a signed copy, too. You can never have too many good books, even if some of them are the same :D Hope I got it in time before you went to the Post Office.

    By the way- I LOVE LOVE LOVE all the drawings inside. How adorable!!!

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    1. Aren't they great? I loved them so much, I thought of Mickie right away when I realized I needed a new cover. And yes, you should make it out in today's bunch :-)

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    2. Thanks Christa, I'm so glad you liked the illustrations, Deborah is such an awesome writer to work with!

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  2. OMG OMG OMG!!! Squeeeeeeeeee!!!! Excitement!! BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE!! LOVE this artwork so hard! YAYAYAYAY! (I'm excited, can you tell?!)

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    1. So you kind of like it, Lisa? LOL
      I'm glad that someone else is as excited as I am. I think it rocks. In fact, I'm thinking of getting a poster or two made...

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  3. Looks fantastic! Will it be available in the UK?

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    1. It is! Lisa Millar posted the link on Facebook (on the discussion about the reveal), but you should be able to find it on Amazon.uk
      It's available right now!

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  4. I love the cover and just ordered my copy!

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  5. I absolutely love this cover ( actually much better - imo - than the previous cover . I only wish it was in actual print , because I love the feeling of a book in my hands
    Bonnie
    windsongbreeze2001@yahoo.com

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    1. Me too, Bonnie. Unfortunately, print-on-demand would just be too expensive. Would you settle for a poster on your wall?

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  6. Since I came late to the non-fiction party, I was very sad that the book had gone out of print. But now I can have it with a wonderful new cover and a great price! Blessings all around - and thank you for thinking of us!

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    1. I live to serve :-) And I'm just glad that people are excited about it. I always worry that I'll do something like this and people will say, "Meh. Big deal."

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Hey--I saw the original comment, Melissa--why did you delete it?

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  8. It is absolutely beautiful! And it looks just like you! It reminds me of a picture I have of you at the wedding <3

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    1. Oh, I know which one you mean! We both looked pretty good that day :-)

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  9. That cover is amazing. I have the original book but I'll definitely be buying this one for my Kindle. Congratulations!

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  10. I'm so happy everyone is digging the cover art, I really loved working with Deborah on this! Be sure to let her know if you're interested in posters! Also watch my Etsy shop, I'm planning to make some pretty gifties with the artwork on them too!

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  11. I am blessed enough to have a copy of the book in paperback, but for the times that I am reading on my phone or iPad- I had to buy a kindle copy, as well! Congrats, and the cover is awesome!

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  12. I am so glad that you found a way to keep this book out in the world! Mickie's cover is gorgeous - what a duo you are!

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  13. Love, love , love that cover art - and it's so clearly you!
    I'm thrilled that you've managed to turn it into an ebook - I was too late to the party to buy a hard copy, and now I won't be missing out on it after all :D

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  14. Holy $2.99 Batman! Thanks for making the book affordable for late-to-the-party, penny-pinching types like me. Now I can finally read Circle, Coven & Grove! When I found out it was out of print I shouted a nice, loud "Noooooo!" (There may have also been some falling to knees and shaking a fist at the sky...I'm a bit of a drama queen when it comes to books.)

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    1. So THAT was what I heard the day I decided to put the book out :-)

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