Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tsunami: The New Slush Pile

When the initial shock of DIY publishing hit the industry, there was a slump in publishing new books. The industry experts were assessing the categorical storm that was about to hit. The tide was sucking agents and publishers out into uncharted waters, dragging the slush piles from their desks with them. All these slush piles began to mutate into one magnanimous tsunami of self-published books that would hit the internet sites such as,, and

This has resulted in issues that are stagnating the industry of publishing - especially in books.

The Big Six are not taking on new unknown authors. Of course they aren't. They face the same problems the independent authors face. Even though their authors are known - famous even - they have to wade through the floodwater left behind by the tsunami just like the indie authors. The saving grace for their known authors is a reader can type in the author's name on a retailer's search function and bring up all their books - old and new. Unless a reader knows an independent author by name, or a book is recommended by another reader, this likely isn't going to happen to an unknown. The slush pile has been tossed ashore by the tsunami, leaving millions of books piled high on the cyber-beach for miles in any direction. The likelihood of a Big Six editor or an agent happening upon an unknown author's book in the tsunami's aftermath is slim to none.

Marketing is unstable. Competition is fierce in the publishing world. It always has been. In the aftermath of the tsunami, the competition has become vicious. Unfortunately, readers are the ones who are suffering the most. Indie authors are forming networks where the primary purpose is to promote each other's books. Sounds legit. However, what happens is readers are inundated with "Buy this Book," "Read this book," and other similar postings on all the social networking sites. I'm not going to lie; I've done it myself, and sometimes still do, although I am not a member of any indie author network. I rarely write reviews for other authors' books, because I refuse to write reviews for books I haven't read. I also don't request reviews for my books, even though I know it helps in the rankings on the on-line retailer sites. If a book sells one copy, I'm satisfied. The words I have put together have reached the world.

Pricing is also unstable. Readers are being gifted with free, free, and more free e-books. For avid readers, it's like being a kid in a candy store on free sample day. Sadly, many of those books sit at the bottom of reading devices with the likelihood of never being read. The free e-books have created a problem for not only the independent authors who do not publish for free, but also the publishing houses. When non-free books are published, they are buried in the rankings by all the free books and it's more difficult to find the paid titles.  Believe it or not, many readers will not use the search and sort functions. The 99 cent books are piled on top of the free books, pushing non-free books even further down in the rankings. It's not Amazon or B&N's problem. Their primary purpose in the e-book industry is to sell reading devices, and as long as there is content to be downloaded it doesn't really matter whether it's free, 99 cents or a million dollars, as long as the e-readers are selling.

As with all categorical events in the world, we will be wading through the floodwater of the DIY publishing tsunami for several years into the foreseeable future. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

No! You Cannot Have it for Free!

Do you ever have one of those pull-out-your-hair-and-scream moments? I'm sure most artists, writers, musicians, and other creativepreneaurs have. There is a unified voice rising across the creative markets and we are all saying, "No! You cannot have it for free!"  So today, I am going to paint a picture with words that describes exactly why you cannot have my work for free.

I want a new car. I want the best new car the world has to offer. I don't care how much time you, the engineer, have put into its design, or how many hours you, the factory worker, have put in, making sure it's safe. I want it for free...and I want it now. No CEO in their right mind would accommodate such a request from one person, let alone a whole slew of people salivating over the coolest, most luxurious car ever made.

The creation of such a car takes time. Sometimes years of research, engineering, and testing go into making cars before they ever hit the manufacturing plant. Writing songs, composing music, painting pictures, or telling a story can take years of research, engineering, and testing before they ever hit the medium of choice.

A lot of people are involved in the transference of car design from monitor to street - people who have to be paid. The same is true for creativepreneurs. There are editors, publishers, marketing people, designers, vendors, managers, etc. involved in that great new creative piece by your favorite author, musician, artist, composer etc. They all have to be paid - by the creativepreneur.

If we all gave away our work for free, in essence, we would be paying the world to read our books, view our paintings / digital art, or listen to our music. That doesn't seem to be a very lucrative idea, any more than the car company giving away their product.

The next time you think, or say, this or that creativepreneur should give this away, think about how you would feel if we said the same thing about the products or services you are paid to provide. If your company gave it all away, you wouldn't have a job.

Next time on Butterfly Phoenix, I will be addressing the New Slush Pile - DIY publishing and how it is hurting the publishing industry.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Chrysalis: The Butterfly Fields - Official Release!

Chrysalis: The Butterfly Fields is now available on in e-book format. The paperback can be purchased at, an Amazon company.  The Butterfly Fields is book one in the Chrysalis trilogy.

Read the prologue here:

Darkness shrouds the encampment where Máire sits by the fire that burns with the flames of the ancient days. Wrapped in a wool blanket, she beckons the clan to gather around, “Come, come and sit about the fire that I may tell you the tale of Wishing Woman and Dances with the Butterflies. It is the tale of the fiercest battle ever fought within these Lowlands we call home, never to be forgotten.”

Máire’s visage bears the passage of time and her body aches with the age of its years. Her now white hair pulled tightly in the traditional twisted knot at the nape of her neck. Even in her aged state, she is the favorite among the children. It is she who tells the legends and lore of the family, the clan, and the tribe.

Huddled together the clan folk take their places upon the logs, their faces aglow in the light of the crackling fire, anxious to hear this tale of which they had not yet been told. “Oh, do tell, Máire, do tell us of Wishing Woman and Dances with the Butterflies!” a cheery faced young maid exclaims as she sidles up next to the old storyteller.

When the listeners are settled, Máire leans in close to the fire as though to watch the story play out before her very eyes as she speaks. Máire takes a deep breath, resting heavy against the cheery faced maid beside her as she falls deep into remembrance of the story. “In the years after the great clan wars, the McCormick Clan reigned all the Lowlands as far as the eye could see from the great manor known as Bainsford. The ruins lie just there beyond the hill,” she starts, her boney finger pointing off into the distance. “Within the great walls of Bainsford lived the two sisters. It was they who brought the war between He Who Created All Things and He who Rules the Land of Eternal Flames upon the lands,” Her gray eyes smile in the firelight as she looks from one to the other to ensure each is attentive to the details of the tale she is about to begin in earnest.

“It is said that long ago, on the northern most edge of the canyons, carved by the Great River, where the sun strikes the sky in a glorious display of burnt oranges and deep sapphires lay the village of Johnsport. It was a village filled with quarrels between the original people, the Daoine Réalta, and the interlopers from the land across the great sea to the east; our people, the na hÉireann, men of science and discovery. The na hÉireann held fast to their belief in He Who Created All Things, yet partook in the sciences of creation; an abomination according to the Daoine Réalta.

The Daoine Réalta, translated to the common language as Star People, came upon these lands millenniums ago with no accounting for the means of their arrival. In appearance, they were a simple folk following the traditions, culture, and beliefs of the ancient days. Yet, deep within the keep of their fortress they kept a secret. It was a secret so valuable, so ancient, even they themselves were unable to lay eyes upon it…lest the guardians lay them low.

As the story goes, a stone’s throw downstream of Johnsport, amongst the mighty oak, silver ash, and cottonwood trees, where the gentle breeze brushes the tall bristles of wheat grass, intermingled with the occasional petals of tiger lilies, crocuses, and wild roses, were freedom, safety, and sanity…The Butterfly Fields.”

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Sky is Falling on the Indie Authors...NOT

There is clucking on the internet! Chicken Little is making her way through cyberspace, declaring the sky is falling on the indie authors. As with the original children's story of Chicken Little, the sky is NOT falling. Yes, change is coming. It always does, but that is no reason to race around the cyber streets sounding the alarm.

The ways of the first million-sales authors are not going to work anymore. The 99 cent books, the freebies, and the give-aways are becoming obsolete. These are gimmicks. Gimmicks were never meant to last forever. It's Marketing 101. I realize there are thousands, if not millions, of indie authors who have plowed hours of time, and immeasurable amounts of money into these methods, but all good things must come to an end. And, in this case, the end IS near.

Before you run into your shelter to take cover from the imaginary pieces of sky, falling on your head, think. Is the sky really falling? Do you see evidence of pieces of sky lying about on the ground around you? No. What you are seeing is the color of the sky is changing. It's twilight time in the publishing world, the time to prepare for the sun that will surely rise over the horizon tomorrow.

In my research, I have found an important key aspect of promotion and platform building that seems to be largely ignored, or maybe just overlooked in the indie author world. When a large publishing house takes on a new author, what do they do? Start promoting a title or the author themselves? It's a little bit of both, but in the end it's the author that is promoted and the title secondary eg: John Grisham's new book, insert title here.

I have spent the last three years building the Butterfly Phoenix platform. Oh God yes, I have promoted my book, but I have been doing more promoting of myself. People know that Donna R. Wood and Butterfly Phoenix are synonymous. They know my views on humanity and the environment. They know I have a special place in my heart for the unloved, uncared for, and unwanted. They know I have an interest in history. They also know that somewhere in my writing, these things will appear, or perhaps be the very subjects of the prose.

The majority of my Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, and those on Google+ are not other authors. They are like-minded people who share the same interests as I do. Some are just the curious. Some are those with opposing views. The one thing all of them have in common is they all read. I can't say that every single one of them have purchased Sticks and Bones or will purchase the books in 'The Chrysalis Series', but odds are some of them have, and will.

The best thing you can do at this point is stop hiding behind your titles, and put yourself out there as a person. Build your platform and fan base around you. I have found that it is much easier to promote myself as a package deal. I am a blogger, a writer, and an author. I have a blog, a book, a short story, and a trilogy in the works. If I have to promote each of these separately, I will never get any writing done at all.

Think about this and then ask yourself, "Is the sky falling, or is it only changing color?"

Friday, February 22, 2013

Shine a Light Through an Open Door

The heart of the world beats in the breast of every man. The door to the world is attached to the heart, and once opened it can never again be closed. The world is filled with a vibrant fabric of cultures and traditions that have survived the millennia. Through war and conflict, natural disasters, and the march of progress the fabric of culture is becoming tattered and frayed at the edges. Nonetheless, the original culture of man survives in its natural state. In spite of our differences, barriers, and lack of understanding the culture of love survives.

We all have our histories in the world from the beginning of our ancestral lines to this day in which we live. These histories overlap and intertwine with one another, attaching to the heart that beats ferociously in the universe. We work each day to survive in a world that seems to be overcome with greed, selfish desires, and the need to acquire and have more. The headlines scream of atrocities that the human mind can scarcely comprehend, as they have since the beginning of the written word. Yet, underneath it all, there is a steady beat that fills the human being, which cannot be vanquished even by the darkest of evils that have plagued the population of the Earth. It is the heart of the world. The heart that allows us, as one race, to overcome all that has been, and all that will be. It is said that Love conquers all, and I hold that as a truth in life.

I have spent the majority of my life in one place where the world had not entered in until the last of the twentieth century. It was when the world seeped into my existence that I was able to open my heart and shine a light through an open door. I began meeting more people from all over the world in my own backyard. Some of these people were only to be in my life for a short while, and others have become long-time friends. The secret to the world is held within ourselves. It is the ability to see another as a human being not unlike ourselves. It is the ability to give and receive love, which transcends all barriers.

Please visit the above video on youtube for links to Ven Tribe and other information regarding the makers of this video, which is the sole property of Lindsey Stirling.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Butterfly Phoenix Receives the Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I was honored when my good friend and fellow author, Linda Lee Greene, informed me she was nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award! I was so blessed! Her novel, Guardians and Other Angels is available in eBook format and print on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Here are seven things about me that will help define who I am, and what I do best.

Seven things about me....
I was born in Boynton Beach, Florida, and moved to my mother's home state of North Dakota when I was a toddler. I was born a blue baby in the late 1960s, and this is where my story is somewhat interesting. My first doctor was a man who had narrowly escaped Cuba before the Bay of Pigs. He just happened to be in Miami and had specialized in a relatively experimental surgery in cardiology for infants.

I am the mother of three beautiful grown daughters, and grandma to two very special grandchildren.

I love culture and world history. Growing up on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota immersed in two story-telling cultures, Irish and Native American (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara), gave me the ability to appreciate and accept people for who they are.

I'm supposed to talk about an achievement in my life. However, I view my life itself as an achievement. I could have, and in all likelihood should have, died at birth, but I didn't. I grew up in a time of extreme conflict, fear, and violence and survived - not unscathed, but survived nonetheless. I endured eight years in a loveless relationship as the significant other of a man whose life became consumed by drug abuse and alcoholism. I championed a home to the best of my ability as a single-mother in a relatively conservative state. I graduated college twice while providing for my three daughters. I have overcome many obstacles and challenges in my life, and that is an achievement that cannot be dwarfed by any award or accolade I could ever receive.

I am currently working on "The Chrysalis Series", a fantasy trilogy set in the times of the Gael - although not a historical fiction series. The first book, "The Butterfly Fields," is near ready for release. However, I don't have a set date. The story follows two sisters, Elsie and Annalicia McCormick, as they both find their way through the wilderness of life in the hopes of finding the freedom, safety, and sanity they enjoyed in their youth.

I have my favorite organizations, and as many of my long-time readers know, those organizations are the ones who champion for the unwanted, uncared for, and unloved of the world. Diva Connection is one of those organizations, because they not only champion for women, they empower women of all ages and all walks of life to champion for others. The Jeremiah Program, because they help young single mothers build sustainable successful lives. And my national organization is GEMS, who advocate for and assist young women who are victims of sex and human trafficking. I have been a mentor mother for the Young Mothers Network of Cass and Clay Counties since 2009.

I am not currently serving on any boards or committees. I am a member of the American Legion Auxiliary - Arthur Solie Post, Parshall, North Dakota. I am a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals. I served as a parent volunteer, and later as the Secretary of the Executive Bethel Council of Bethel 32, Moorhead, Minnesota, of the International Order of Jobs Daughters.

I would like to take this opportunity to nominate some of my friends who are bloggers that I feel have made a positive impact on my life. I hope that you will go visit their blogs and leave a comment. In alphabetical order, they are:
Arlene O'Neil - Although she is not a blogger, she's still very inspiring, so buy her book Broken Spokes, you won't regret it.
Sarah L. Wallace at Cross Roads of Humanity
Wendy and Charles Seifken at Seifken Publications

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blessed are the Children of the Bookworm

Reading was a big deal in our family when I was growing up. It wasn't just reading for the sake of completing book reports at school. It was reading for the simple idea of it. In every household of the family there were stacks of books, all of which had been read by one or more family members. The adult women of the family would share books back and forth, trading their favorite authors like commodities in the grain market. The value of each author would rise and fall with the collective opinion of the readers. The adult men would read their books in solitude and generally keep their opinions to themselves. My grandfather's favorite was Louis L'Amour and other western authors. Both of my uncles are avid readers as well. My cousins, both of my sisters, me, and even my brother read.

I remember my mother read to me and my next oldest sister every chance she had. It is one of my favorite childhood memories. My two favorite stories she had read to us were Stuart Little and The Velveteen Rabbit. My sister and I shared a room across the hall from our mother's room. After all of us kids were in bed, my mom would spend at least a half an hour reading, sometimes longer if the story was particularly good before she went to sleep at night.

Albert Einstein is quoted as "If you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Children need to be encouraged to read. Studies show that children who are read to while still in the formative years have an easier time in school, a larger vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and the ability to reason and imagine. Children who are read to and grow into independent readers also become better decision makers as they are not easily persuaded by the opinions of others.

I want to share with you today a few resources on children and reading:

The Pew Report: "Younger Americans' Reading and Library Habits" published in October 2012.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library: Free books for young children and more. I signed up both of my grandchildren for this program, and they each received a free age appropriate book every month. 

The Global Fund for Children: Books for Kids project. The GFC project donates children's books to community-based literacy programs.

It is my hope in these days of visual entertainment, parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, and all who are involved in the lives of children will pass on the importance of reading the written word to the children of the world; the future of our world.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dreaming Big in the Big Dream Blog Hop

In early January, Cody L. Martin, author of The Adventure Hunters, asked me to participate in an intriguing blog hop, entitled: The Big Dream Blog Hop, the purpose being to dream big about your project, and letting your readers know what those dreams might be. I agreed to participate, because all great achievements begin with a single dream, right?


The Big Dream Blog Hop:

(Cody L. Martin)Writing is largely solitary, and sometimes a lonely endeavor. Sure, you talk to friends, experts for research, discuss what works and what doesn't with your editor, and bounce ideas off of fellow writers. But in the end it's one person pounding the keyboard or twirling the pencil. But what if it didn't have to be completely alone? Who would YOU work with if you could work with anyone on your favorite project?

In this post, that's what I'm asking. Choose a person for each category and tell why you want to work with them. If you want, feel free to post their picture, a piece of their work, or a link to something about them. The only rule is that the person must still be alive.

Writers dream. Now it's time to dream BIG.

You have the opportunity to hire anybody as your cover artist. If you write children's books or books that are heavily illustrated, who would you get for the interior artwork?

That's an easy one. Elena Dudina would do all the art work for "The Butterfly Fields" and the other two books in "The Chrysalis Series." Hands down she is the best and only choice.

Who would you co-write your next novel with? What genre? Why?

If I could write with anyone at all, I would choose Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods and Neverwhere, among others. The man is a genius, and a master story-teller. He is also a relentless propagator of the metaphor, like me. I'm afraid he would often refer to me as grasshopper or little spider or something along those lines. It would be in the fantasy genre. His sense of knowing when to insert comic relief would also be invaluable. 

Your publisher wants to do an audiobook version of your novel and they're not sparing any expense. Who do you think can narrate your masterpiece?

Sadly, I don't generally buy or listen to audiobooks, so choosing someone is difficult. However, to answer the question, I would choose Adele. She has a vocal range that would nicely accommodate the story of "The Butterfly Fields." She knows her way around a recording studio, and I think she would be fun to work with on the project.  

They're really going all out! Your novel is getting a full soundtrack. Who should compose it? If your novel uses a lot of songs, list your compilation here.

I love music, but I know very little, actually nothing, about composing. However, I listen to a lot of music while writing. There are many artists who come to mind while reflecting back on the writing of "The Butterfly Fields." If I had to list those I would like to have in the soundtrack, these would be them:

Aoife Ní Fhearraigh - one of the most beautiful Irish Gaelic voices I have ever had the privilege and pleasure to hear. Younger readers may know her song, "The Best is Yet to Come" featured in the PlayStation 2 game, Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 4 in the PlayStation 3 game. However I would choose her song, Mo Ghra-Sa Mo Dhia as it is so beautiful and fits the plot of the story.

Mary Chapin Carpenter - I love Mary Chapin Carpenter's folk songs. The depth of the emotion involved in her songs reveals the very inner soul of the singer. The song for "The Butterfly Fields" would be Closer and Closer Apart. Although the song is about lovers, it also can be applied to the situation between the sisters, Elsie and Annalicia.

Albannach - "The Butterfly Fields" is written in reflection of the times of the Gaels, although it is not a historical fiction novel. Albannach is a Scots-Gaelic performing group of drums, pipes and other traditional instruments of the times. They have a song that works well in the story during the time of preparation for battle, The Fire and Thunder of Scotland.

Clann An Drumma - As with Albannach, Clann An Drumma rocks the drums, pipes and other traditional instruments of the times of the Gael. Like many other tribal cultures of the world, the Gael used drumming and dance as a means to prepare themselves, in all aspects to go to war. The Gael is comprised of three of the six recognized nations of the Celts: Irish, Scots, and Manx. The dynamics, legends and lore of the Gael plays a significant role in "The Butterfly Fields."

Viktoria Tocca - Although her rendition of The Dark Waltz (Phantom of the Opera) is vampire based, she sings the song beautifully. I can't say much about this part of "The Butterfly Fields" as it would be a spoiler to the story. We mustn't disappoint our readers before they've had a chance to begin the journey into "The Butterfly Fields."

Enigma - I have loved this group for years. Their music speaks truths into the world that otherwise would not be heard. The Age of Loneliness speaks volumes to the loneliness of the soul of Annalicia in "The Butterfly Fields."

I could go on and on with lists of performers I would like to see on the soundtrack for "The Butterfly Fields", but there is not enough room in this post.

Congratulations! Your novel is being turned into a major motion picture. As the creator of the original work, you get to pick the director.

The Butterfly Fields is a work that could only align with the vision and insight of Polish film director, Agnieszka Holland. Not only is she a director, she is also an author, which I feel gives her a greater ability to envision what "The Butterfly Fields" really are, and portray it as such.

Agnieszka Holland is a Hollywood outsider, as far as director's go, which in my book says that "The Butterfly Fields" would be fresh and new on the screen.

The director has some ideas on who to cast, but you get to cast one character. What role/character is it and who portrays them?

There are no other options. The role of Seanmháthair, a pivotal character in "The Butterfly Fields", must be played by no one other than Dame Maggie Smith. One would think this decision is based on her acclaimed performance as Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter series, but no. I love British films and one of my all-time favorites is The Secret Garden (1993) where Dame Maggie Smith plays the role of Mrs. Medlock.

Dame Maggie Smith has the best ability to portray Seanmháthair as the character is complex and requires someone who can pull off a traditional grandmother role, a strong grand matriarch, and yet someone who surprises even the most astute reader / viewer.

You've been hired to write a novel based on a preexisting character or franchise from another medium. Which character or franchise is it?

I love a challenge. I love complex people who confound and astound the masses with their antics. Yet, at the same time wear their emotions on their sleeve in broad daylight even though the world may not recognize it. I would love to write a novel on the life and times of Eminem. You didn't see that coming did you? Although Eminem is considered a 'person', in reality "Eminem" is the public persona or character played out in live action for the masses. Eminem is the alter-ego of Marshall Mathers III. Eminem is a man who is definitely Not Afraid. (Video not family friendly due to language)

It's the anniversary of your favorite literary character's debut. You've been hired (yay, work!) to write an anniversary novel. Who is the literary character?

The Velveteen Rabbit. This was one of my all-time favorite stories as a little girl.

Be sure to check out Charles and Wendy Siefken's blog tomorrow as "The Big Dream Blog Hop" continues. Charles and Wendy Siefken are the co-authors of Kia's Journey.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Interview With the Amazing Digital Artist, Elena Dudina

If you enter the words “Fantasy Art” in a simple Google Images search, you will be inundated with copy after copy of the art of Elena Dudina, one of the world’s most popular digital artists. But who is Elena Dudina?

Elena Dudina was born in Russia, the daughter of a military pilot. They moved around a lot. Her childhood and youth was spent living in places such as Estonia, Latvia, the Artic and Ukraine, and seven years in Siberia. Elena has lived with her husband in Madrid, Spain, since 2002 (He is Spanish).

In December of 2012, I emailed Elena, to ask if she would be willing to do a five question blog interview. Within a couple of days, I received an email response saying, "with pleasure." I was so excited. In her answers to the five questions, you will find that Elena is a hardworking, impressive artist with a history in working in the visual arts, and in the midst of it all, is a very humble woman.

Today, Elena Dudina shares a look into her process and how she became a professional Photo Manipulator (Digital Artist):

1.)What does your work space look and sound like? (Music or silence? Office or kitchen table? Organized or organized mess? etc..)

I have two rooms, the bedroom and the ‘techno’ room. I have a big office table, big PC and all the accessories. I am quite organized.

I work at night, late at night. I feel most comfortable working in silence, with a diet coke and cigarettes. While I work, my Scotish Fold cat, “Sara,” sleeps next to me, and my husband sleeps in the room in front of me.

2.)Why do you create? Tell us about the artist inside. Is there a part of you that absolutely must be creating something?

I have always created. I have drawn and painted since I was a very young child. I had that gift. When I was about 10 years old, I had drawn a horse scene, covering the fence of my grandmother’s house. People loved it. I started to study fine arts when I was 16. My mother became seriously ill, and I had to leave to take care of her. Twelve years ago, I began sculpting too. Finally, four years ago, I discovered Photo-Manipulation. Since then, I am exclusively dedicated to this field. I feel it is the summary of all the things I had done before.

3.)When you first started creating digital images, did you ever believe that you might become one of the most infringed artists in the world? (Have people pirate, steal, or otherwise use your images without permission).

I don’t know that I am, but I try to take it easy. There are times when I get along better, and others are worse. I forgive ignorance without malice, often from very young people, but I hate and pursue malice and lying (copyright infringement).

People must understand that the internet is not a free buffet. You can’t consider that all in the Net is a gift, unless stated that way. (Blogger note: All of Elena Dudina’s work is copyrighted and protected under International Copyright Laws.)

4.) Looking back over the last 4 to 5 years, is there anything you would have done differently, knowing what you know now?

Yes. I wish I had discovered Photo-Manipulation before. And after developing my own technique and style, I wish I had become a professional sooner.

5.) What is the one thing you would most like to say to your fans, clients, or those who are just now discovering your work? Any advice on digital image creation for aspiring artists?

It is not my place to give advice, just relate how I started. Practicing with a lot of tutorials. Working a lot of hours. Making mistakes and restarting over and over again. Exercising much patience and perseverance.

When I thought I knew the tools, I attended three Photoshop courses with a master tutor. About 200 hours.

I have always tried to develop my own style. I work for my own satisfaction and thank others for liking what I do. But, I don’t put myself out there for the compliments and fame.

I consider, and recommend you do too, Stocks (stock images.) A good collection is basic. Any knowledge and / or skill is very useful. I am referring to photography, drawing, painting, knowledge of perspective, lighting, etc.

Finally, as I did, I recommend contacting a good teacher too. Work, patience, and perseverance.


Some services provided by Elena Dudina are:

Book Covers, CD Covers, flyers and promotional materials…for publishers, authors, self-publishers, artists, bands, etc.

The official website of Elena Dudina:




Thank you, Elena for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us a brief glimpse into your world of art!