The Ariana finalists came out yesterday and I have two this year. As a winner last year, I wonder if this year will see me repeat. Possibly not. It’s always a stiff competition. There are more than a few talented cover artists out there. I’m not up against Anne Cain who is the best cover artist on the planet in my opinion, but Reese Dante is definitely very, very stiff competition.

Most artists work for one or two houses and some only do freelance stuff, preferring not to be tied to a house. And many of them work for a publisher and do a lot of covers for people who are self-publishing. I’ve a feeling that my cover for Debra Holland’s Sower of Dreams will be a fantasy entry for me in next year’s Ariana awards. It’s a lush cover that took more than half a dozen images to create and it doesn’t have a single person on it!

Aside from doing covers for authors who self-publish, I occasionally do covers for Pink Petal Books, Passion in Print and MLR Press. Last year’s win for me was a Pink Petal Books cover. This year the two finalists for Winterheart Design are Black Heart Down by SJ Frost, an MLR Press cover and Blown Away by DL Jackson, a Passion in Print cover. I love pretty much anything Shannon and Dawn write so I’m doubly pleased to be able to provide both authors with a little cross-promotion.

Now, the question is whether I can repeat and win an Ariana again this year. I have to admit I would be so very stoked to win again. I’m not being hopeful because as I said above, the competition is quite stiff, but I would really like to win a second year in a row. It gives me a little bit of cache to be able to say I have two Arianas. But we’ll see what happens in March. And if I lose, there’s always next year and Sower of Dreams. Besides, I’ve done a lot more covers in other genres this year. I’ve got several historical covers under my belt now and of course Debra’s fantasy trilogy. Having covers in more categories is a good thing.

Now, I need to show you a luscious Marcus for this Monday to be complete. I just cannot face a Monday without him any longer. This is what I get for having posted him for so many years of Mondays. I can’t handle Monday without him.

Working in his underwear. It doesn’t get any better than that for me! Well, unless he was nekkid. LOL

October is just around the corner now and I’ve got an October release the first week of the month and deadlines for two Christmas stories, both gay rom. I’m about 3K words from finishing the first one so I’m thinking I just might be right on time to my editor with it. The second one has hardly any words written but since it’s a short story of 8-10K words I hope to be able to write it fairly quickly. Then it’s back to a novella I’ve had a lot of trouble with. I’m determined to complete it before Christmas though so wish me luck!

Happy Monday!

Go Shopping

I spent Sunday redoing my Cafepress store. I haven’t done anything about the template, but I have added products including a whole Lex Valentine section. This was one of the main thrusts of the store for me. I have people ask me about my cover art all the time. Now, they can go buy themselves a poster of my latest covers. Well, the covers I created anyway. Eventually, I think it would be cool to sell posters of all the covers I’ve done even the ones for other authors. I like the idea of cross promotion in this manner.

The store still has the Socially Dead stuff and a couple of the original Sunlight Sucks shirts and best of all the Sex Toy and Queen of Snark shirts are back!  I love the Queen of Snark graphic. One of my all time favorite creations. And just so you know, I don’t mark up my items like other people do. The biggest markup is a whopping $1.01. Others are fifty one cents and some don’t even have a mark up! *gasp*

I’m not out to make a bunch of money. Just want to keep the shop up and running so that my dream of cross promotion can come to fruition. Like Amazon, I need to spend time slapping tags on things, but as usual, time is my enemy. It’s elusive. I never have enough of it. Eventually, I’ll get it done though because I do want this store to swim not sink. So do me a favor…go shopping! The new store is called Winterheart Design.

The other thing I did this weekend besides spend time with Nikki on Saturday, is finalize the cover for my next print book, Tales of the Darkworld Volume Two. The last two Tales books were just a little short of the word count needed to go to print. So my publisher will combine the two novellas into one print book just as she did with the first two Tales books.

Volume Two features Sunstroked and Breathe Me In. Trying to create a cover for it at first was tough. I wanted a lodge to represent Gargoyle Lodge but every image I found of a lodge that looked like it could be Gargoyle had snow in it. Since Gargoyle Lodge is in California, in the spring, summer and fall there’s no snow. So the photos didn’t work. I ended up with part of the Breathe Me In cover including a very hot photo of cover model Brooks Johnson. The photo is similar to the one in Breathe Me In but not the same. Then I used the Eiffel Tower image. To represent Sunstroked, I found a different image of the man on that cover, but instead of using the tribal wolf I used a wolf photo with piercing eyes. I think the cover is really striking while still representing the original covers of those two books.

Now it’s Monday and it’s back to work. I love my job but man, it’s been demanding lately. Actually, it’s demands seem to have been growing. My phone never stops ringing. When it does, there’s someone at my desk or important email. There’s deadlines every week, meetings, and stuff that comes up out of the blue. I juggle a lot of oranges there. Actually, I juggle apples and oranges and so much of it requires immediate attention. I multi-task well but now everyone knows that so they keep throwing things at me all day long and expect me to just deal. There are days I’m just spread too thin to deal unfortunately even when I work OT.  It’s a good thing I’ve learned to apologize.

So before I head off to the office, here’s my Marcus for this Monday. I need this bit of beauty and sexiness to keep my motor revved when I’m so tired from work. 😉

Geez, he’s gorgeous. On that note, don’t forget to check out the Winterheart Design Cafepress store and don’t forget that I’m at Castles and Guns this coming Sunday. I’ll also have another Six Sentence Sunday on the Lex Valentine blog on Sunday. I’m giving readers another bite of Breath of Heaven one of my Christmas stories for this year.

Have a fantastic Monday!


Defending My Title

I’m not really. Not defending my title, I mean. In my head I sort of feel like I am, but I’m not really. See, last year I won an Ariana award. Entries close on Friday for this year’s contest and I haven’t chosen my entries yet. I asked for some help over at my good friend ZAM’s Yahoo group. As always, the gang helped tremendously and I decided to enter a cover I did for a YA book and a sci-fi book, two categories I hadn’t entered last year. In all honesty, the sci-fi cover is my first in that genre and the YA only the second in that genre.


In the contemporary category where I won last year, I have two covers I could enter and the gang at ZAM’s is equally divided on which cover I should enter. One is a het romance and the other is a gay romance. The covers are as diverse as could be for falling into the same category.

And then there’s the paranormal category. My heart’s favorite is my own cover, but there are other good ones too. So how do I choose?

I could even enter in the historical category this year. I created two historical covers but only one of the books came out in the eligible period so I’m thinking maybe As Time Goes By will be my historical entry for next year.

I have until Friday morning to choose my entries so if you have an opinion on what I should enter, leave a comment and let me know!

And now, it’s Marcus time!

Ahhh. What a visual treat! Today’s been nothing but visuals for you. LOL I’m gonna head off to the cemetery and leave you all to ponder those covers. Don’t forget to let me know which ones you think I should enter in the Arianas.

Have a great Monday!


I’m in a big hurry. I almost forgot to post! But what is a Monday without Marcus? I could not let you all down!

Here’s the deal. We’re looking for a house  (mobile home actually) in a big hurry. We saw one we like. Like the price. Love the park (out in a canyon.) There’s some issues. Meh. I don’t wanna jinx anything and we’ve not even made an offer or anything. Rott’s still thinking…but neither of us can get the place off our minds. So excuse my stress please.

I finished Breathe Me In. LOVE this couple. Really, really do. And the trading cards for them will come this week and I can’t wait to see them.

Finished cover art for SJ Frost and Stevie Woods. Lovely authors, both of them. Working on a few covers for other authors. Nothing done yet, nothing to show off yet, but soon over at Winterheart Design.

And speaking of showing off…

I have a new hairdo also but you’ll have to hit my Facebook page to see it.

Okay, how quick was I? I gotta go to work…

Here’s Marcus and then I’m racing out the door!

Oh yum. Sooooo handsome! Okay, I’m outta here. Have a wonderful Monday!

Tap, Tap, Tap

Shhhh! That tapping you hear is my keyboard. I’m on a deadline. Breathe Me In has to be turned in to my editor tonight. I’m in a rush to finish. No time for anything else. However, I do want to tell you that on Saturday night I won an award. The 2011 Ariana Award from EPIC for the best erotic contemporary romance…COVER. Yes, cover. Neither of my finalists in the book part of the EPIC Awards won. The other cover finalist I had didn’t win. Just this one.

What a winner, eh? I was inspired, I swear. Tess’s book is seriously hot and I actually read it before I did the cover. The inspiration seems to have worked.

Anyway, back to the tapping keyboard of my computer and the manuscript I need to finish. Before I go, here’s my Monday Marcus!

Even his arms are pretty, I swear. LOL You can see how old that photo is by looking at the software behind him. Windows 95? Yikes! Everyone have a great Monday!