Interview with December Book Cover of the Month Winner Amalia Chitulescu

Interview with December Book Cover of the Month Winner Amalia Chitulescu

Greetings all! I’m happy to say I’m catching up on my interviews for the Book Cover of the Month bracket. Today, I’m sharing my interview with Amalia Chitulescu, the cover artist who designed the December BCOTM winning cover, Betrayer’s Bane.

Hello Amalia! I just want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I’m a huge fan of the BCOTM brackets, and yours will always be special because it was the first. Let’s get started.

904677_568318963202210_169616517_oWhen did you get into art?

Since 2008.

How long have you been creating covers?

For almost seven years. The first cover that I realized was in 2010. By 2014, I had a break, working for a personal portfolio.

What got you started in creating covers?

Honestly, at first I started with each photo-manipulations. When I was at the beginning of my career, I never thought I would become a cover artist in the future, I was just doing what I loved. After the first client contacted me, in 2010, I started to be a lot more interested in working in this field.

Do you have someone who inspired your own work? If so, Why? Why? 

Yes. I have always loved Sandara’s artworks.

What makes you choose to work with an author or not?

I’m excited to work with anyone as long as there is a mutulal respect.

What do you look for in a great client?

There are some clients with whom I worked who showed me more than respect. They are wonderful clients who have kept their word, but in the meantime, they are also very good writers. I can also see that through the way they are lovingly describing every scene, every detail, so that the cover can be perfect. In general, I want to consider that all my clients are great.

16939298_1449172218450209_2269127847798440152_nWhat are some of your pet peeves about clients?

One of my biggest pet peeves is lack of respect. I had to deal at the beginning with some disrespectful clients, but this certainly was adjusted over time. It is true that some customers want to pay the lowest possible price for what they get, but overall, I did not have this problem.

What would an author need to do to work with you? Do you have a link to your standard rates, or do you negotiate fees by author?

I always give them a list of requirements, with everything I need to know, in order to realize the cover they dream for. I have always tried to make every author 100% happy with the final product. We must also understand each other about the deadline. I do have a price list, the price starts from a standard one, and can increase depending on the level of detail involved, the level of hand-painted elements, the author’s requests, ect.

15326549_1179426122094499_6318367043184922848_nHow did you come to be chosen to create the cover for Betrayer’s Bane?

Michael and I have worked together before. I am honored to be his cover artist.

Artistically, what were your goals for the cover?

My biggest goal for this cover was to manage to express, though an illustration, the painful feeling of the protagonist.

How was Michael to work with?

He’s always amazing. He’s a nice person. We are on the same wavelength. We understand each other very well.

Betrayer’s Bane was an awesome image. Is it your favorite? If so, why?

It is, yes. The image radiates a very strong emotion. I do not know why, but I find it easier to work in a more darker theme in the illustrations.

What can we expect to see from you next?

Hopefully many other illustrations, which I hope to enjoy and inspire you. Soon, I’ll open the website, and wills tart working on a new portfolio.

Is there anything you’d like to say to readers?

Never give up, and stay true to your dreams.

Thank you again for taking this time with us, Amalia! Best of luck in the Book Cover of the Year bracket.


I’m honestly having a blast with this whole idea. Just having the chance to look at work and see what others think is amazing. I hope you’re all having fun voting and seeing what the artists think.

Thanks for reading,




Book Cover of the Month of December!

Book Cover of the Month of December!

For those who didn’t see how things panned out via Brackify, it’s time to announce my Book Cover of the Month of December!

And the winner is…


This image and other associated images are used for review and critique purposes under fair use doctrine. Also, I’m trying to help this guy sell books.

Betrayer’s Bane by Michael G. Manning.  For  those who want to see the Facebook post that launched it all, just click here.

As I said, this image just had so much impact. The design is beautiful, the text is well placed. Everything in this cover builds off of the other. Notice the way the eyes of the older figure direct to the author’s name while the line of sign of the younger figure takes you to the title text. It’s a linear design, but the flare at the base of the title text holds the eye and keeps the viewer from wandering off. The spot color is perfect in hue.  The moment is tragic. The detail in the art/design is spotless.  It’s really not a mystery this cover did so well.  How well?  Let’s look at the stats!

Betrayer’s Bane simply dominated! It received 42 out of 144 total votes (29%).  To give you some scope, it’s final opponent, A Throne of Bones (which is still an amazing cover) received just about half as many votes. (15%).  It never received less than 5 votes in each round of the bracket.

december-bracket-finishThat means this was a great cover, and you all were very loyal and wonderful voters. Seriously, the last round was amazing! I lost some editing time because I kept refreshing to see just how many votes this cover would get. I’m so glad I had this idea.  But, enough about the voting, let’s talk about the book with the cover pretty much everyone loved!

Betrayer’s Bane is the third book (and final) in the Embers of Illeniel Series.  It’s connected to Manning’s Mageborn series. Manning states in his forward to Bane that this book is closer to horror than fantasy. I don’t hold that against him.  If I were just a reader, I’d have bought the entire trilogy. Alas, I have to work at some point. So I picked up my e-verson of Bane.  Here’s the teaser from Amazon.

“Tyrion was a good person who had been born to a simple family and raised with love, but the world has shaped him for a different fate. Twisted by violence and torture, he is obsessed with a relentless desire for vengeance, and he has sown the seeds of wrath in his children. The She’Har have offered him the opportunity to be a great leader and usher in a new era of prosperity and peace, but despite his gentle beginnings, Tyrion is no hero.

Heroes are born to build, and while many laud the efforts of such leaders, others will work to bring them down, for all good things must come to an end. Every forest must inevitably face the flame.

Destiny has chosen Tyrion for a different path and given him the spark that will burn the world to ashes. Embracing the evil within, he will reap a harvest of hatred, and no one will find safety in the purge of fire that he brings; even the betrayer has his bane.

Will anything be left to rise from the ash?”

This is Book 1 of The Embers of Illeniel. Click here if you want to start from the beginning.

I’m not yet familiar with Mr. Manning’s work, but I’m optimistic I’ll enjoy Bane. I tend to become loyal to authors who peak my interests, so it’s possible I’ll read most of his other work.

Here’s Mr. Manning’s bio from his author page.

I’m actually trying to find out who did the cover, but I’m not having a lot of luck. I’ll keep researching, and if I find out who created this awesome sauce, I’ll update this post because if this guy is affordable, I think any author should see about his prices!

Bane is currently number 4 on my TBR list. (There’s this Sanderson guy, and that Sleeping Legion series).  I’ll post my review here when I finish.

I had a ton of fun with this, so here’ my plan. I’m already going to do a bracket for January as well as the rest of the year. I may fill in the bracket with some HMs from previous brackets, but most will be from covers I found in Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my page, you can see what covers will make the bracket. (This month is already looking amazing!)  At the end of the year, I’ll do a final, winner take all (just bragging rights, I’m broke) bracket for the Book Cover of the Year.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have.

Thanks for reading


Book Cover of the Month Finals!

Book Cover of the Month Finals!

It’s been a fun experiment, one I’m glad I thought of. I know I’ll be doing one for January. We’ll see how this thing grows. I like competition and things like that, so I’ll give this some time, and hopefully it’ll take off.

With that said, voting for the finals for the month of December are officially ongoing! It’s been fun seeing how things have progressed.  We started with 16 nice covers, and I can really get behind the two remaining books.

Your finalists for the month of December are:

A Throne of Bones by Vox Day and Betrayer’s Bane by Michael G. Manning. Both are beautiful covers.




(NOTE: Both covers provided to assist in voting and review purposes under fair use)

You can see the whole bracket and vote here. But thanks to J.R., I noticed some devices have trouble loading the actual matchup, so if you just want to vote and see larger versions, you can do that here. (Also, I have the books above for your full viewing enjoyment.

Voting lasts until Jan. 17 at midnight (so it’s over the first minute of Jan. 18). I’ll post the winner on my blog the following day. I’ll also buy that book and add it to my TBR pile.

Thanks for reading



Book Cover of the Month Final Four!

Book Cover of the Month Final Four!

I just wanted to update you all on the progress of the Book Cover of the Month bracket.  We’re into the Final Four. The bracket is going along well. You can vote in the next round right here. Voting on this round only last for two days, so vote now while you have the chance!

Thanks for reading,





Book Cover of the Month Update!

Book Cover of the Month Update!

december-bracket_round-2Round 1 is over!  The Book Cover of the Month voting is now down to the Elite 8!

I want to thank everyone who voted. I think we ended with 68 votes. I hope you found a cover you fell in love with and that it won this round. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Now, the next thing is to vote in the next round!  Head on over here to plug in your votes for round 2!

This round of voting will last until Midnight Jan. 12.

Thanks for voting and reading,


Book Cover of the Month for December 2016

Book Cover of the Month for December 2016

december-bracket-round-1Where the idea came from: As a teacher, I follow my students after graduation. I look at their work. What I do, is I go to (where all the Navy photography can be found) and look at 10 pages. I share the photos I like on my alter ego’s page. It’s my way of giving my students credit for what they do, showing my support, and helping my current students see what we’re looking for.  So I took that idea to Amazon. I want to the Fantasy & Science Fiction section and looked at books released during the past 30 days. I look at 10 pages, and pick my favorite.  Then I post it on FB and talk about why I like the cover.

If you follow me on Facebook, and I’d be honored if you did (just like my page), you’ve seen me post my Book Cover of the Day post.  Well, since I’ve been talking about the book covers I’ve liked over the past month, I figured it would be fun for everyone to vote on their favorite.  Now, I started this in late December, so you’ll notice there’s only 16 this time. I’ll have a full 32 cover competition at the end of January. It’s my plan to do one every month, then do one for the whole year. This lets you all do a few things.

  1. It allows you to participate in my blog, which is pretty much awesome!
  2. You can get a picture of what I like about covers. I teach photography, and layout and design (among many other things). I like to look at work and talk about what “works” for me and what doesn’t
  3. I’ll read the winning book and post a review here on this blog.
  4. I get to meet more of you on FB and other social media sites.

How it works:

Well, that’s simple. The bracket is right here. You should also be able to see and vote on it below. This is my first time trying something like this, so we may have to work on some bugs.

First round voting goes from midnight Jan. 4 to midnight Jan. 8.

The Elite Eight voting last from the end of the first round until midnight Jan. 12.

The SEMIS go from then until Jan 14.

The voting for the FINAL lasts until midnight Jan. 17. I’ll post the results here on my usual Wednesday blog, Jan. 18.

I’d love this to reach as far as possible, so any like’s shares  RTs and whatever else social media allows would be greatly appreciated. I love book covers, and this gives all of us a way to talk about them, which brings me to my last point.

Talk about these. Talk about what you like. Talk about what you don’t. If we can look at art and critique it, we’ll all get better. I want to know what you guys think.