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Valuable Tips for Artists/Illustrators from Aidana WillowRaven

Aidana WillowRaven

Aidana WillowRaven, Cover Artist/Illustrator/Graphic Designer

Copyright 2016 Aidana WillowRaven and 4RV Publishing

Copyright 2016 Aidana WillowRaven and 4RV Publishing

“Valuable Tips for Artists/Illustrators from Aidana WillowRaven” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you, Aidana for doing the cover for Joan’s Elder Care Guide published by 4RV Publishing on April 15, 2016, for sharing it on your website, blog, and social media. I am honored that you agreed to let me interview you for my blog. 

You’re welcome, Joan. I’m looking forward to it.

Let’s get started.

  1. Where were you born? Harlingen, Texas, USA
  2. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why? That one is really hard to say because everywhere I lived had it’s own influence on me as a person and eventual artist.
  3. Did you have a favorite place to draw as a child? Where and why? I rarely drew as a child. I wasn’t good at it so usually quit in frustration. 
  4. Where is your favorite place to draw now? My favorite places change depending on my mood, but it’s also a convenience issue.
  5. How do you keep yourself physically fit? Me? Fit? I love your sense of humor.
  6. What do you do when you think about giving up? I don’t. I have a big stubborn streak, lol.
  7. If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs? Rollercoaster!!! I like water rides, too. Anything fast is fun, but I even enjoy monorails and slower activities.
  8. Would you share 3 covers that you designed? It’s hard to pick a favorite, especially since I work with so many genres, but here are three more recent favorites for three different genres:
    Weaver of Dreams Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Weaver of Dreams Cover
    by Aidana WillowRaven


    A Family for Leona Cover 9000841

    A Family for Leona Cover by Aidana WillowRaven (4RV Publishing)


    Honourable Lies Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Honourable Lies Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

    Weaver of Dreams, A Family for Leona, and Honourable Lies. Your covers are amazing.

  9. What is your favorite novel? Why? Again, with the impossible questions, lol. I’m going to have to go with a favorite series rather than a single book. I think I’ve reread the entire Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan, more than any of my other books in my library.
  10. What is your favorite picture book? That’s easy … Alice in Wonderland
  11. Do you set goals for yourself as an artist/illustrator? Do you reward yourself when you reach them?  Goal? Yes. Rewards? Who has time? I just keep going. lol
  12. What are three craft books about drawing and illustrating that you recommend for study by other artists/illustrators? That really depends on what genre and style one’s goal is as an artist. For me, I study anything Michael Whelan does. I also study the works of Todd Lockwood and Frank Frazetta and too many others to list. I don’t want to limit anyone to any three books, though. I study all I can from many genres and styles. I even take pictures of book covers I like at the grocery store to study later, lol.
  13. Where is your favorite place to visit? Why? Downtown Memphis. There is such a vibe that I’ve never felt anywhere else I’ve lived or visited. That same vibe is probably why there are so many songs written about it, too. But even the swamps in Memphis have a wonderful mystique.
  14. Did they have art courses when you were in High School? We had one art class a week, which I all but failed. The art teacher told me, in front of the entire class, that I had no talent and apparently art was not my ‘thing’, lol. In my art teacher’s defense, my Mom said pretty much the same thing, and even my best friends in high school, reuniting with me decades later via Facebook, were all like, “Sooo… Where did this art thing come from?” As a result, I don’t believe in abstract terms like ‘talent’. I believe in drive, determination, training, and skill, which anyone can acquire when the first three are part of the recipe. I like that you believe in drive, determination, training, and skill rather than being born with the talent. I admire you and your determination to be an artist.
  15. When did you decide to become an illustrator? Why? After my second failed marriage, I was really into epic fantasy books and found myself fascinated with the cover art. I started recreating book covers with visuals I felt better portrayed the stories. Next thing you know, I was standing at a college registrar’s office wondering what major to study, and the only thing I could think of was wanting to create book cover art. Floored EVERYONE who knew me that I chose to study fine art.
  16. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as an illustrator? Michael Whelan
  17. Where do you get your ideas for your illustrations? The books, music, movies, everything … lol.
  18. What are you illustrating now? I keep several projects going at once, so that’s hard to answer.
  19. What has been your most exhilarating moment as an artist/illustrator? When Michael Whelan, my idol, actually responded to one of my tweets, lol. I know that made your day.
  20. Does research help your illustrations? How? Absolutely. I like to be as accurate as possible. One time, I even found a discrepancy within the text that contradicted the period and culture. The author and publisher made the necessary correction to the text. 😀 They were lucky to have you working on this project for them.
  21. What are your top ten tips for illustrators? Study, Study, Study, Draw, Draw, Draw, Paint, Paint, Paint … repeat 😀 
  22. What are three marketing tips for illustrators? Get used to talking about your work on social media. Also, never give up. Keep looking until you find your place.

Connect with Aidana through links on her website:  http://willowraven.weebly.com  

Aidana’s Blog: http://aidana.willowravenblog.com


Aidana WillowRaven, tradigital artist (hybrid artist who combines traditional training and techniques with digital tools and applications) and mother of three, trained in Fine Art, Studio Design, and Animation at NSU and ODU. WillowRaven works with traditional publishers, as well as, independent authors. In addition to her freelance business, she’s Art Director and VP of Operations at 4RV Publishing.

Working in most genres, from picture books to novels, she has illustrated and/or designed over 500 books and ebooks since 2007 through her company, WillowRaven Illustration & Design Plus, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thank you again, Aidana, for letting me interview you for my blog. You are amazing!

Believe in You
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

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Reblog: 4RV Publishing: Two New Books Added to 4RV Library

Thank you to 4RV Publishing for announcing Joan’s Elder Care Guide by Joan Y. Edwards and Ghostly Visions by Penny Lockwood in the 4RV Reading, Writing, & Art News.

April 30, 2016

4RV Publishing announces the release of two new titles in May 2016: Joan’s Elder Care Guide, a nonfiction book by Joan Y. Edwards, and Ghostly Visions, a Tweens & Teens Imprint by Penny Lockwood.

Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive gives  caregivers ways to meet the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social needs of elders to promote healing, well-being, and survival…

To read more, go to the following link:



Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Reblog: Aidana WillowRaven’s “Joan’s Elder Care Guide Cover Art and Design”

Thank you to Aidana WillowRaven for the wonderful cover art for Joan’s Elder Care Guide and for posting an article about how you created it on your blog.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Aidana WillowRaven’s blog: Joan’s Elder Care Guide ~ cover art and design for Joan Y Edwards (@joanyedwards) and 4RV Publishing(@4RV)


As many of my readers know, my primary income stems from commissions from small publishers, plus indie and hybrid authors. One of those small publishers (4RV Publishing) was crazy enough to adopt me as the art director several years ago, then added VP of Operations to my resume, and now they can’t get rid of me.

4RV‘s latest release, Joan’s Elder Care Guide, happens to have a cover by yours truly. As AD, the majority of the books released pass my screen for layout, however, most of the covers or illustrations are not created by me, but by the 4RV team of artists…

To read more, go to the following link: http://aidana.willowravenblog.com/2016/04/joans-elder-care-guide-cover-art-and.html


Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards


Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive by Joan Y. Edwards

Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive by Joan Y. Edwards

smaller Cover Joan's Elder Care Guide by Aidana WillowRaven

Joan’s Elder Care Guide cover by Aidana WillowRaven, 4RV Publishing


Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive gives you, the caregiver, ways to meet your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social needs and those of your elder to promote healing, well-being, and survival. Based on the author’s research and fourteen years of experience caring for her mother, this book provides many resources to find the right place for your elder to live, explains ways to improve communication to help find solutions to problems, and gives organization ideas for medical, financial, insurance, and legal documents. It offers ways for a caregiver to get time away from caregiving responsibilities and contains information substitute caregivers must have to keep their elders safe. Along with all this, the book explains the signs of the end of life, ways to celebrate an elder’s life, and gives duties of an executor of an estate. It also includes ten useful charts to assist in assessing and recording an elder’s needs and capabilities.

What People Are Saying:

“There are several charts in the appendix for the reader to utilize by filling in related information, making it a truly useful, everyday tool for everything from organizational tips to emergency needs that will slide right into a purse or overnight bag. Certainly not one of those books you half-read then sit on a shelf to collect dust.”

“It provides links to online applications and phone numbers, ideas and resources as a starting place to brainstorm easy, meaningful ways to assist you in maintaining your elder’s health and your own…I wish that I had known of it when I was a caregiver. I know that I would have been prepared for everything and possibly paid for it too! If you have a family member who needs your help, don’t hesitate to buy this book. It is a valuable tool for every family, organization, or caregiver. 

“This book is a no-frills, very well-researched self-help guide on how to help. The language is simple, saying what Joan wants to say and no more…What is particularly impressive is the logical, step by step way Joan analyzes each problem, so that without talking down to the reader, she presents a guide even a kid could understand and follow…I have worked both as a psychotherapist and as a nurse in nursing homes. My wife cared for her mother for many years, with me on the sidelines. From this personal experience, I can recommend Joan’s Elder Care Guide as accurate, helpful and even inspiring.”

Official Video Trailer for Joan’s Elder Care Guide

 Joan’s Elder Care Guide Available in Paperback and Hardback




Joan Y. Edwards AE9Z7443

Joan Y. Edwards is an author, illustrator, and retired teacher in North Carolina. Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive is published by 4RV Publishing. She wrote and illustrated picture book, Flip Flap Floodle, and self-published it with BookSurge in 2004. She is currently working on illustrations for her chapter book, Larry, the Terrifying Turkey.

Her Never Give Up blog, http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com has over 340,000 views and 350 subscribers. She encourages writers, illustrators, and others to never to give up. Her website, http://www.joanyedwards.com has a multitude of Gospel-based devotionals, puzzles, and skits.

Joan is a member of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her article, “Find Your Creative Edge,” appeared in the July-August 2011 SCBWI Bulletin.

Edwards thrives on spending time with her family and friends. She presents interactive writing and motivational talks and workshops for adults and children. She reads humorous and self-help books. For inspiration and self-acceptance, she heeds the wise teachings of Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen, Maxwell Maltz, and Tony Robbins.

Facebook Page Joan Y. Edwards, Author https://www.facebook.com/Joan-Y-Edwards-Author-111310278911077/

Twitter @joanyedwards

Other places to find out more about Joan Y. Edwards and Joan’s Elder Care Guide.

Thank you to 4RV Publishing for announcing Joan’s Elder Care Guidehttp://4rvreading-writingnewsletter.blogspot.com/2016/04/two-new-books-added-to-4rv-library.html

Thank you to the following people for their Book Blitz Posts introducing Joan’s Elder Care Guide to the world

  1. Catherine H. Armstrong http://charmstrongbooks.com/2016/05/13/book-blitz-joans-elder-care-guide/
  2. Janet K. Brown http://www.janetkbrown.com/2016/05/introducing-elder-care-guide-by-joan-y.html
  3. J.Q. Rose http://www.jqrose.com/2016/05/spotlight-on-joans-elder-care-guide.html
  4. Kristina Stanley https://kristinastanley.com/2016/05/13/farleys-friday-a-special-announcement/
  5. Linda Andersen https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/blog-blitz/
  6. Melanie Robertson-King http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/wp02/?p=12265/

Thank you to the following people for interviewing me:

  1. Carol Baldwin Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder and Giveaway
  2. Deb Hockenberry Video Interview Interview with Joan Y. Edwards
  3. Megan Vance interview with Joan Y. Edwards, Author of Joan’s Elder Care Guide, Published by 4RV Publishing
  4. Pat Rullo Internet Radio Speak Up Talk Radio: Interview of Joan Edwards on Speak Up Radio, iTunes:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/speak-up-talk-radio-network/id1109775369; Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/speak-up-talk-radio?refid=stpr
  5. Sandra Warren Social Media Extraordinaire-Joan Y. Edwards
  6. Sarah Maury Swan An Interview with the Amazing Joan Y. Edwards


If you’d like to have me as a guest on your blog, please send an email at joanyedwards1@gmail.com/.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards







Ten Blogs That Help Writers

Copyright © Joan Y. Edwards 2015

Copyright © Joan Y. Edwards 2015

“Ten Blogs That Help Writers” by Joan Y. Edwards

There are hundreds of blogs that help writers. Here are ten that I read most often:

  1. 4RV Publishing Stephanie Burkhardt  Self Editing Your Work
  2. Ann E. Eisenstein  Internet Safety Tips for Writers
  3. Becky Shillington  Reflections on France
  4. Carol Baldwin  Writing Resources, Part IV Critique
  5. Darcy Pattison  Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2015
  6. Karen Cioffi and Writers on the Move  Blogging and Google Rankings – Do You Really Want to Use that Content in Your Blog Post?
  7. Kathy Temean – Writing and Illustrating  Agent Looking to Build List
  8. Linda Andersen-A Writer’s Playground  March Calendar Events–Spring Bursts on the Scene
  9. Joy Acey -Poetry for Kids Joy  Rodeo Parade
  10. Query Shark  A Query Letter That Works #172-FTW

A Bonus: An inspirational article: Henrik Edberg’s article, “Ghandi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards


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261 Subscribers. When you subscribe you’ll receive new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as Joan uploads them PLUS 2 free gifts: 12 Affirmations for Writers and a Never Give Up image. Thank you.


Thank you for a Wonderful Year!

Copyright © 2013 Writers on the Move

Copyright © 2013 Writers on the Move

“Thank You for a Wonderful Year!” by Joan Y. Edwards

This year has been fun writing blog posts for this blog. It’s truly amazing that so many of you subscribe to my blog. You honor me with your comments. I’m so lucky to have met you on the internet in the virtual world of blogging.

A special thanks to those who interviewed me on their blogs:

1. Becky Shillington – Thank you.

2. Linda Martin Andersen – Thank you.

3. Roxie Hanna – Thank you.

Thank you to all the people I admire who allowed me to interview them or who were guest bloggers. I’ve decided to put all of these into a “People I Admire Series”

  1. 4RV Publishing – Vivian Zabel. “Vivian Zabel and 4RV Publishing:”  https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/interview-with-vivian-zabel-and-4rv-publishing/
  2. Ann Eisenstein. “Catch the Great Dialogue of Amazon Best-Selling
    Author, Ann Eisenstein:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/catch-the-great-dialogue-of-amazon-best-selling-author-ann-eisenstein/
  3. Bob Rich, PhD. “Interview with Dr. Bob Rich: Writer, Mudsmith, Psychologist, and Editor:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/interview-with-dr-bob-rich-writer-mudsmith-psychologist-and-editor/
  4. Jeff Herman. “My Interview of Jeff Herman:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/my-interview-of-jeff-herman/
  5. Joy Acey. “Joy Acey Says Pub Sub Works (PubSub3rdFri):” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/joy-acey-says-pub-sub-works-pubsub3rdfri/
  6. Juliana Jones. “Top Ten Reasons I Love Being a Part of PubSub3rdFriday! by Juliana Jones:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/top-ten-reasons-i-love-being-a-part-of-pubsub3rdfriday-by-juliana-jones/
  7. Linda Andersen. “Linda Andersen Is Proof That PubSub3rdFri Works:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/linda-andersen-is-proof-that-pubsub3rdfri-works/
  8. Linda Andersen. “What Entices You to Submit Your Writing:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/what-entices-you-to-submit-your-writing-by-linda-andersen-guest-blogger-pubsub3rdfri/
  9. Megan Vance. “Interview and Great Writing Tips from Author Megan Vance:”
  10. Nicole Thompson-Andrews. “Nicole Thompson-Andrews Loves Pub Subbing:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/nicole-thompson-andrews-loves-pub-subbing/
  11. Sandra Warren. “Fascinating Ideas and Advice from Sandra Warren, Author:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/fascinating-ideas-and-advice-from-sandra-warren-author/

This year Karen Cioffi invited me to join Writers on the Move. You’ll find many writing and marketing hints on that blog. I am honored to be sharing ideas with the readers there. Karen compiled an ebook of the quotes  that inspire her and fellow members of Writers on the Move.

As a bonus, this ebook, Winter 2013 Compilation of Quotes is SHAREABLE, as long as it remains intact. This is my gift to you, the people who read my blog. The book contains ten quotes that keep me going. You can use it as an end of the year gift to your readers, as a freebie, or for some other incentive as long as you keep it as it is. I hope the quotes inspire you so that you Never Give Up.

I hope you will check out the Writers on the Move blog: Writers on the Move.

Writers on the Move eBook.  Winter 2013 Compilation of Quotes: http://www.karencioffi.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/12/WOTM_Winter2013_ebook.pdf

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards


Blog Tour

Joan Y. Edwards and Her Mother, Ethel Darnell Meyer

Joan Y. Edwards and Her Mother, Ethel Darnell Meyer

Joan and Carl Edwards wearing hats

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
Joan and Her Husband, Carl Edwards

Thank you, Eyvonna Rains for asking me to take part in this Blog Tour. In her Blog Tour post, she shares a few of the wonderful illustrations for her new book, Breakfast Is for the Birdshttp://countrymisadventures.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/books-and-blog-tours/

I love to write. I write for children, young adults, and for adults. I love to learn. I love to teach. I love to incorporate humor in my writing. Laughter is healing. Here are three things you may or may not know about me and my writing:

  1. At present, I am working on revisions for Joan’s Elder Care Guide. I’m happy to say that 4RV Publishing moved the release date to June, 2014. Now it will be 2015 before it is released. Any month is a great month to launch a new book.

Joan’s Elder Care Guide is a resource for caregivers packed with practical day-to-day survival tips from fourteen years of taking care of my mother and helping my husband with two health problems. The guide has charts to assess an elder’s skills and abilities necessary for daily living. It gives questions to ask before making the commitment to care for your elder at home. It shows ways to decide if a certain elder living facility is the right place for your elder. It has resources to help make things go smoother to meet the needs of both the elder and the caregiver.


My Family Loves Flip Flap Floodle, Your Family Will Love It, Too

My Family Loves Flip Flap Floodle, Your Family Will Love It, Too

  1. In 2004 I wrote, illustrated, and self-published the picture book, Flip Flap Floodle, the happy little duck who won’t give up: http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/. When I read it to a group of children or adults, It amazes me how Flip keeps their attention. They love the repetition of his song and sing along with me. When he’s afraid, they’re afraid. When he’s proud, they’re proud. My family loves Flip Flap Floodle, I believe that your family will love it, too. Flip Flap Floodle keeps on playing his song even when he finds himself in the belly of Mr. Fox. I’ve seen that this little duck encourage people of all ages to face their problems with courage and determination,

Jane Henderson stated in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on August 16, 2013: http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/book-blog/how-many-books-do-self-published-authors-sell/article_4fafc45a-e7a3-11e1-a95e-0019bb30f31a.htm that most self-published books only sell from 100-150 copies. If that is true, Flip Flap Floodle is a success. I personally sold 264 copies of it and about 36 online for a total of 300. I have 13 Five Star Reviews on Amazon. Thank you to all the people who bought Flip Flap Floodle. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write a review for me.

Dan Poynter, self-publishing guru suggested that self-publishers give away at least 200 books. He said it would help virtually unknown people and books win over the hearts of readers. So I did that. David Laughrun tells Why Giving Away Thousands Of Free Books Is A Good Thing in his blog.

In 2011, I mentioned to a motel manager at our family reunion that I was the author of Flip Flap Floodle.  He said, “Flip Flap Floodle.” I’ve heard that book. My daughters read it to me. It’s a great book. That day I felt ten feet tall. He bought a copy of it! Hip Hip Hooray! Then I felt twenty feet tall.


  1. A new picture book I’m working on right now is: Porky Wins the Race. Here’s the pitch: Porky hates racing, but agrees to enter a race to help save Farmer Dell’s farm. He doesn’t realize that each contestant must take a bath. will Farmer Dell have to sell or can bubbles entice Porky to pull Farmer Dell passed the finish line to win $10,000 to save the farm?

Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate you very much. You are a gift to me. Thank you for sharing your time with me.


Please continue this Blog Tour with the following three creative and talented young adult and/or children’s authors. You will learn fascinating things about them and what they write. Enjoy!

1. Sandra Warren http://sandrawarrenwrites.blogspot.com/2013/09/blog-tour-next-stop-grateful-writer.html
2. Gretchen Griffith http://www.gretchengriffith.blogspot.com/2013/09/blog-tour-interview.html
3. Megan Vance http://www.inchristalone-byhismercy.blogspot.com/2013/09/9302013-blog-tour.html

Over 69,480 Reads

The big celebration comes when we reach 70,000 views. It may be during the next 3-4 days. I will give away three free critiques, a free copy of Flip Flap Floodle, and free copy of a writing craft book, too. Come back so you can leave a comment on the celebration blog to put your name in the hat.

152 subscribers

Sign up for an email subscription from the left-hand column for a free Never Give Up logo image. When I reach 200 subscribers, I’ll give a free MP3 recording of positive affirmation statements to all who subscribe to my blog.

Thank you for being here.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards


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