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Graphic Design., Inspiration., Projects., Ramblings., REUTS., Writing.

Some New Things…

June 28, 2016

Since the blog has been experiencing some radio silence lately, I figured I might update you with what’s going on in Ashley land, and what to expect in the future (read: it’s a lot).

Cover Art Tutorial

After all the interest I received from my previous cover art tutorial for REUTS Publications, I’m excited to revive it and offer a new cover art tutorial based on a dear friend’s manuscript. You can expect weekly (or bi-weekly, let’s be real… my summer is p-a-c-k-e-d) posts, from start to finish documenting how a cover design goes from an idea to an advertisement on a Barnes and Noble bookshelf. I’m super excited, so don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list (form below in the footer) to follow along!

From Dill to Dracula

Did I mention I’m busy? From Dill to Dracula is the source for a lot of my daily efforts. Honestly, it started as a joke. I tweeted about how Romanian recipes tend to be unhealthy, and how I should try to create a cookbook of interpreting Romanian recipes with a healthy twist. Playing off this joke-of-a-concept, I tweeted the hypothetical name of my cookbook:

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And then… I fell in love.

I secured the domain name and got to work. From Dill to Dracula has transformed a bit. I dub it A Romanian Food and Folklore Blog where I’m planning on sharing both my family’s Romanian recipes, as well as different cultural tidbits you might not be aware of. There’s already a recipe posted, with a few in queue awaiting release. For the first few months, I’m going to try and be ambitious, posting every week. Then, once there are enough posts in the blog, I’ll be cutting that down to every other week.

If you’re interested in following along, please be sure to sign up for my mailing list. It’s different from the one I use for Eventide & Barley, so you’ll need to make sure you’re signed up for both 😉

A New Writing Project

That’s right. I started writing another book. Except, this time, I already have 15k words written, and (almost) a full plot ready for execution! I can’t explain much about said book, other than the tentative title’s acronym ends up being OTSaON. Any ideas? It’s my first true attempt at Young Adult. Not New Adult. Not Adult. Straight-up Young Adult. And, you know how I feel about Happily Ever Afters, but I’m happy to say OTSaON features a happily ever after… for most everyone 😉

REUTS., Writing.

LakeFly Literary Conference

April 8, 2016

Guys, I’m doing it. I’ve decided to break out of my introverted, anxiety-ridden shell and take a step towards interacting with people—real live people—by taking book pitches at the local LakeFly Literary Conference. The conference runs May 13 and 14th, however, I’ll be most active (taking pitches and helping REUTS Editorial Director Kisa Whipkey at our book selling REUTS books) on Saturday, so if you’re in the area, stop by to say hello! learn a little more about your craft, and pick up some awesome indie books.

Interested in pitching to me? I’m most interested in New Adult titles (though YA with a more mature feel can make the pass, too), within the following genres: paranormal, fantasy/sci-fi, humor, magic realism. REUTS Publishes all genres within the YA/NA range, but you’re more likely to hit a home run with me if you pitch within the above :)

Will I see you there? (I hope so!)



Cardboard Monet, Graphic Design., Ramblings., Random., REUTS., Web Design., Writing.

Why #ILoveTwitter.

March 26, 2016

Twitter recently celebrated a milestone anniversary and, with it, started trending the #ILoveTwitter hashtag. Fitting, really. Now, I’ve only been on Twitter—consistently—for about three years, but I did partake in the hashtaggy goodness because I truly felt obligated. Why? Well, let’s rewind a little bit.

Not many of my IRL friends know I’m on Twitter. It’s actually a social media service that’s more looked down upon than embraced. And, quite frankly, I felt the same way they do about Twitter before I found myself swept up in the community. So, yes, at one point I all but scoffed at the thought of using Twitter, and believed the people who did use it [as frequently as I do, now] were self-absorbed narcissists that only talked about what they had for dinner, or what they were wearing. Hey! Look! I did both of those in one tweet.


As you can see, things have changed. I don’t view Twitter as the sewage of the internet, though you can find those dark alleys, spewing hate and violence, as you might be able to find anywhere online. Instead, Twitter has taken up shop in a very special place in my heart: the writing community. I know I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, and I’m hoping to make the transition from writer to published author very soon, and, before Twitter, I felt disconnected from a community I so desperately wanted to be a part of. Sure, starting your own publishing company helps, but I really have Twitter to thank for introducing me to other awesome writers, contests and activities to help me hone my writing skill, and exploding my “To Be Read” list beyond anything I can conceivably finish within my lifetime.

That’s why #ILoveTwitter.

I feel like I finally belong in the little niche of the world where I can combine my love for words with my love for design. I feel like I can lament about writer’s block troubles and participate in writing sprints to pull me out of those dark moments. I feel like I have made genuine connections with friends I have never, and may never meet. And, when we do, it’s as if we’ve been best friends our entire life.

#ILoveTwitter. And I’m no longer ashamed to say so because it has enhanced my life in ways I wouldn’t have been able to fathom if I hadn’t fully immersed myself in that community.


Blog Tour., Cover Reveal., Graphic Design., REUTS.

Cover Reveal // Sachael Desires by Melody Winter

October 27, 2015
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Just because I haven’t posted these in a while, doesn’t mean they haven’t been happening. I need to get back in the groove of a posting schedule, so what better way to start than with a cover reveal? (None. The answer is there is no better way.)

This time I’m happy to reveal a sequel cover I created for the beautifully mystifying SACHAEL DREAMS from REUTS PublicationsSachael Desires, by the lovely Melody Winter, comes out next month! Here’s the blurb and cover:


During her ordeal with the Sect, Estelle Bailey dreamt of escaping back into the arms of the sea—and Azariah. But freedom came at a price, and though she’s back with the Sachael who’s stolen her heart, she’s also land-bound until the next full moon. And with the threat of Orontes looming ever larger behind them, Azariah, Estelle, and Michael—her once-captor turned rescuer and friend—are on the run.

Following Michael’s lead, they seek sanctuary amidst the natural beauty of the Orkney and Shetland Islands until Estelle can complete her next submergence ritual and Azariah can whisk her away to the safety of Saicean.
​ ​
Secrets, betrayals, and old enemies await them, though, and as events spiral out of control, Azariah makes a decision that puts all their lives at risk, forcing Estelle to face a journey she never wanted to take. With time running out and tempers running high, her only hope to save the man she loves lies in a reconciliation between two kingdoms who despise each other.

Book Two in the Mine Series, Sachael Desires further expands on the intricate underwater world of the Sachaels, and the hostility and isolation of not belonging.​



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Cardboard Monet, Graphic Design., REUTS.

#Covelution: LINK by Summer Wier

June 30, 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve had a good Cover Evolution (a.k.a. Covelution) to share, where I show you how a cover evolved from starting mock-up to finished product. I should have quite a few of these coming up once the final covers are revealed, and I’d like to kick it off with the cover I shared in a previous post, LINK by Summer Wier. This one in particular didn’t have a ton of variations before landing on the final, but it does show how the creative process works and how each suggested revision (COLLABORATION!!) makes a design better, stronger. You’ll notice a theme within all of these, and each one builds off the next. Summer was great to work with and had a good eye for both design and how she wanted to represent her story.



I’m always curious to hear people’s thoughts, so let me have ’em! Or Tweet me @AMRuggs.

And don’t forget to add LINK to your Goodreads TBR list!


Blog Tour., Cover Reveal., REUTS.

Cover Reveal // LINK by Summer Wier

June 23, 2015
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I’m always happy to participate in my own cover reveals since I’m proud to have been a part of an authors journey to publication. LINK, by author (and good friend) Summer Wier is no different, and an especially fun one to reveal because it’s a bit of a departure from my typical design aesthetic but I’m really (really) happy and excited with how it turned out. There are three books in Summer’s THE SHADOW OF LIGHT series, so I have the opportunity to apply a really cool brand across two more covers! Well, I’ve said enough, here’s the blurb, and if you can’t wait just scroll to the bottom to see the cover:

For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, LINK pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.

LINK by Summer Wier (The Shadow of Light, Book 1)



Summer Wier is an MBA toting accountant, undercover writer, and all around jack-of-all-trades. Link is her debut novel and the first in The Shadow of Light series. She has three short stories appearing in the soon-to-be-released anthology Fairly Twisted Tales For A Horribly Ever After and is working with a co-author on an upcoming web serial, Splinter. When she’s not digging through spreadsheets or playing mom, you can find her reading/writing, cooking, or dreaming of the mountains in Montana.



Facebook  //  Twitter  //   Website // Add LINK to your Goodreads


REUTS., Writing.

It’s My Blog, I’ll Blurb If I Want To.

June 8, 2015

Yeah, I know I just blogged on Friday. Yeah, I know today is Monday. Yeah, this isn’t exactly the blog post I had planned for the week. But you know what? It’s better. Today is the first time in forever (cue Frozen music) I can say I actually have an editor-approved blurb for my novel—A Valley of Blood and Bones. In my last post I mentioned how I’ve been working on AVBB for over seven years, so this is a big milestone of my publishing journey. Endless thank yous go out to my wonderful editor, and very best friend, Kisa Whipkey (who is available for freelance hire, here).

So instead of continuing to talk about it, here’s the actual thing:


For centuries, vampires were only believed to be one thing—the embodiment of death; a predator perfected. Devoid of more than just their life, they are a leech on the living, lurking in the shadows and . . . going extinct.

Fewer and fewer individuals possess the required DNA to change once bitten, leaving an entire immortal race struggling to find a way to survive as they teeter on the line dividing never-ending life from permanent death.

No one expected the key to universal immortality would be found in one young, impressionable twenty-three-year-old. But this young woman can biologically unlock the vampiric curse, and the prospects of a solution to their dwindling numbers calls out to other vampires, turning control over life and death into a deadly race.

A Valley of Blood and Bones brings vampires out of the darkness and into new light, where the world of the undead runs parallel to the world of the living and the lines are often blurred beyond recognition.


That’s Castle Bran in Transylvania in the header image incase you were wondering. One of these days I’ll visit, but for now I’ll live vicariously through the photos and my characters. If you haven’t already, go read the Prelude (yes, I have one), First and Second chapters of AVBB, and don’t forget to add it to you TBR list on Goodreads!

Cover Reveal., Graphic Design., REUTS.

Cover Reveal // Off Book by Jessica Dall

April 9, 2015
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Today is an exciting day for multiple reasons. First, it’s my kitten’s birthday, so a very happy 3rd birthday to my ‘little girl’ Dexter Chloe. She’s without a doubt the best cat I’ve ever met, and I’m thankful to call her mine. Not to mention she’s an adorable goof that loves belly scratches . . .


And I have a book cover to reveal! (Reason #2 today is exciting.)

Off Book caught my eye as soon as we received the submission over at REUTS. I’ve become a huge fan of meta-fiction, or in this case, meta-fantasy which is what Off Book is classified as. It takes book characters and makes them real. Have a look-see at the blurb:

Twenty-year-old Eloise has learned all she can from the School, where characters live until joining their novels. No one knows genre and plot structure better than her, but despite her knowledge, she’s yet to be assigned to her own story. All her friends are off starting their lives with their authors—and if Eloise doesn’t get assigned soon, she’ll fade away, forgotten by all.

When she is offered a job at the Recording Office, instead, she takes the chance to write her own future. Suddenly living among the post-storied, Eloise meets Barnaby Fitzwilliam, a former romance novel hero who hasn’t lost any of his in-story charm. But just as their relationship begins to get serious, Eloise is sucked into a novel she was never meant to be part of, turning everything they thought they knew about their world upside down.

Now, caught where the only rules are made by authors and truly anything is possible, Eloise must find her way back home—or her life might end before she ever gets the chance to live it.

Set in an intriguing, unique world, OFF BOOK explores the story beneath the stories we all know and love, taking readers and characters alike on an adventure just waiting to be written.

So designing for this one was fun, and most definitely meta.

Off Book -- Jessica Dall -- REUTS

Off Book will be available at all online retailers April 28th, 2015, and then out in paperback soon after that.

Pre-order Off Book on Amazon  // Add to Your TBR List


Jessica Dall finished her first novel at age 15 and been writing ever since. She is the author of such novels as Grey Areas and The Bleeding Crowd, the Broken Line Series, and a number of short stories which have appeared in both literary magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she works as a freelance editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.

Find Her Online

Twitter  //  Facebook  //  Goodreads



Blog Tour., Cover Reveal., Graphic Design., REUTS.

Cover Reveal // Deceptive Cadence.

April 1, 2015
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Back in February, REUTS signed and announced a duology from best-selling author Katie Hamstead. You can read the full press release here, and the blurb:

Cadence Anderson has the perfect definition of happily ever after . . .

Until she doesn’t. A freak earthquake shatters her life as surely as her home, taking away everything she holds dear. She wakes in a hospital to find that her beloved husband and infant daughter have been killed, crushed by the earthquake’s wrath. Disoriented, injured, and alone, Cadence refuses to accept the loss. So when a man claiming to be her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time to save her family, she doesn’t need to give it a second thought. She accepts.

Thrust back eleven years, she now faces the ordeal of high school all over again. But this time, she’s armed with all the knowledge of her adult life and the determined to do everything better, from preventing the loss of her best friend to avoiding her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. She’s focused solely on Austin, her future husband, and is content to bide her time until she meets him again.

But then James Gordon crosses her path. Cadence wants to remain single, but James has his sights set. He is determined to win her over, and he’s very hard to resist. As Cadence starts to develop unwanted feelings for him, she realizes he threatens to disrupt everything, changing the future and distracting her from her original goal. Now, Cadence must choose: deny the unpredictable and exciting path James offers her, or stay true to the life she had and is trying desperately to resurrect. Second chances are more complicated than they seem.

Deceptive Cadence combines the soaring emotion of a heartfelt romance with the innovative storytelling of magical realism, crafting a uniquely moving, intricate tale about love and loss that asks: what would you do if given the chance to right all your wrongs?

Not only did I have a chance to Deceptive Cadence (and its sequel, Diverging Cadence), but I was able to design both of the covers for Katie, creating a fluid concept and brand across the two. Today, however, I’m only able to reveal the cover for Deceptive Cadence, but hopefully it satiates* you enough to wait for the second cover reveal later this year (:


I’d feel weird saying something like “isn’t she a beaut?” because I’m the designer, so for now I’ll just leave this here. I’m excited to share, and I hope you’re excited to see (and read) Katie’s heart-wrenching, but beautiful story.




*Such a weird word. No wonder I don’t use it very often . . .