Category Archives: Art

THE FIRST – Podcast with Dr Sandi Webster

picture of guest, Karina Kantas a d host Sandi Webster. In a gold frame.
Promo graphic

I was a guest on Dr Sandi Webster’s, podcast. Available on video MP4 and MP3.

I talk about my writing, my books and then about Author Assist. What I do for my clients.
I answer the questions, why it works, and why authors are anxious about hiring someone who can help with marketing or promoting, such as VA or PA?
And I talk about my own experience when hiring a ‘professional.’

Sandi then asks my honest opinion about her book cover and I give it to her straight. As I normally would.
I’m very open and honest when I talk about my work, experience and how I can help authors out there.

Watch or listen to this very engaging interview with tips and advice throughout.

iTunes https://podcasts.apple.com/…/karina…/id1572493336…

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/episode/3zTjtdwveTXnQug6pzGRG5

Audible https://music.amazon.com/…/the-first-with-dr-sandi…

A Match Made In Heaven

Please make sure to read the author’s note at the end of the story.

Illustration by Gabriel San Martin © 2022

The Blue Stone Bench

Karina Kantas ©2022

She’s there again. Just like clockwork, her and her dog. Every Thursday, ten o’clock in the morning on the dot, she arrives, coffee in hand. I wonder what she does or where she goes when it’s raining?  Why every Thursday? Why always this park, this spot, this blue stone bench?

Every time, I say I’m going to go over and introduce myself and talk to her. But every week my feet say glued to the ground. My mouth goes dry and my heart feels like it is about to jump out of my chest.

It’s her big brown eyes and the smile she gives to her dog. I swear she casts a spell that leaves me frozen.

Again, another week was wasted. Again, she bewitched me, and I knew at eleven o’clock she would stand up and leave the park. And I would have to wait another week before I see her again.

But fate had another plan!

“Benji, no!” I yelled as my small, patched Jack Russell scarpered off. I watched his little legs and the lead disappear around the corner before I registered what happened and started running after him.

I chased after him, but I’m not what you would call an athletic man. Don’t get me wrong. I’m tall and slim. You just won’t find me in a gym. That was made obvious as I had just completed a lap of the park, yelling for Jack (yes, I know, very original.)

And guess where I found him? Sitting beside her dog. I threw myself on the bench and held out my finger to her, hoping she would let me get my breath back, before she started up a conversation. I hoped she didn’t see my shaky legs that felt like they had turned into jelly and would have caved in on me if it wasn’t for the blue bench that became my rock.

The gorgeous lady looked at me. Her eyes twinkled with laughter.

I smiled, even though I hadn’t got my breath completely back. The lady held out her coffee to me. I shook my head.

“Please take it. You look like you need it more than me.” Her voice sang to me; smooth, clear and left me with goose-pimples.

She held the coffee out, and so I took it.

“Thank you.” I sipped the cooling dark, strong coffee. Umm just how I like it. A took a couple more sips when I turned to face her, intent on talking normal English words that would come out of a human, but instead, I just looked at her, with a half-open mouth and nothing coming out of it. Thankfully, she shot the embarrassment down and spoke first.

“I wondered how long it would take you to get the nerve to come over and say hi.”

Now my mouth opened wider in shock.

“I see. A man of few words.” There was laughter again twinkling in her eyes. “I’ve seen you and Jack a few times around the park.”

I knew I had to say something before she accused me of being a creepy stalker or something, which, okay I was watching her, a lot, but not stalking, and now it seemed my stealth wasn’t as good as I thought.

I sat the cup on the blue stone in between us and then held my hands up in defence and hopefully gave her my winning smile.

“Yes, we come here regularly and if you don’t mind me asking–Oh, shoot, my manners. Hi, I’m Mark.” I held my hand out to her, and she fitted her soft small hand into mine.

“Hi Mark. I’m Jessie.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jessie.” I must have looked like an idiot just staring with this huge smile on my face. “Thanks for the coffee, by the way.”

She laughed. “You’re welcome.” She looked down at her dog and then looked up at me. “Maybe you can return the favour sometime.”

She looked so shy. I guess it wasn’t often a woman ask a man out for coffee. Well, I wasn’t about to leave her hanging. “Yes. That’s a definite IOU.”

Jeez, her smile warmed my chest. I could just stare at Jessie all day.

“Umm, you were saying before you introduced yourself to me something about if I don’t mind you asking. I don’t, so go ahead.”

Her hand reached over and touched my arm. No, electricity didn’t occur, but when she moved her hand away I felt the warmth leave with it.

“So, umm. I see you and your dog sitting here every Thursday at around the same time.” I saw her smile vanish, and she had a faraway look in her eyes. Gosh, did I just put my foot in it and ruin this chat? “I’m sorry. It’s none of my business. Just pretend I didn’t ask.”  I turned my head away while trying to think of something smart to say to her.

She shifted away from me, and my stomach dropped, knowing I had messed things up, and it didn’t look like I was going to get a second chance.

“Grace was my sister,” she said with a sigh. I looked to where she was pointing and saw a silver metal plaque with the words ‘In memory of my loving sister Grace,’ and two dates and then underneath was the line, ’Sing with the angels.’

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Jessie. I should never have asked.”

“No, it’s okay. It must have seemed strange seeing me here at 10 am every Thursday. My sister lost her fight with cancer on a Thursday at 10 am. She loved this park and used to come and sing. She had a wonderful voice, and people stopped to listen.”

“Then I can understand why this place and spot means so much to you. That was a beautiful thing you did for your sister, and I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, Mark.” She smiled, and my heart lifted.

“I hope this is not too forward of me. But it’s coming up to 11 am when you normally leave. I don’t suppose you would like to go for a coffee with me?”

“I would love to.” She answered and held my hand as we walked out of the park with our dogs following behind us.

Author’s Note:

I manage the group Children’s book and illustrations, on Facebook. This is where authors and illustrators of children’s books can promote their work. When I saw the above illustration I immediately wanted to write flash fiction about it. The illustrator Gabriel Martin was very excited about the idea. And so above is the story I wrote using this wonderful Illustration as inspiration.

For more information and wonderful illustrations by Gabriel San Martin, go and check out the website. http://www.gabrielsanmartin.com

Please let the artist know what you think about this illustration.

I am an award-winning author of fourteen publications. You can find all my work and social media links right here.

https://www.linktr.ee/karinakantas

Are You Ready For The Mayhem?

Indie Mayhem

What do you get when the hosts and contestants are all indie creators, the questions don’t always make sense and the answers are usually wrong? Lots of laughs for everyone and total mayhem!

Indie Mayhem is the new quiz show on YouTube as part of the content on the media platform Go Indie Now, owned and run by author, screenwriter, and director Joe Compton.

The brains behind Indie Mayhem are humorous sci-fi author Ron Lahr and his partner in crime, RJ Burchett.

The first-ever episode aired on the 30th of March 2022.

All the contestants are independent artists, such as authors, musicians, and filmmakers. And it’s an international show, so the guests and viewers are from all over the world. In fact, in the premiere episode, the contestant came from the US, Greece and Ireland.

All the shows are listed on this playlist

Please watch the show, it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Like and subscribe to the channel and make sure you don’t miss any of the great content on the Go Indie Now.

Win A Set of 3 x prints of original illustrations by artist Stephen Barr

How good is your imagination?

Here are three monsters from The Quest, book 2 of the YA fantasy, duology, Illusional Reality.

These evil creatures have names, but I want you to dig deep and come up with three names for these monsters. Everyone who plays will have their name put in a hat and one winner will be shipped this original set of prints.

Now, if you go and buy the book and learn what their real names are, please contact me at kkantasauthorassist@gmail.com and I will need POP so only new purchases are allowed to enter.

If you know the real names, and you are the winner, I will throw in something very special with the prints.



This contest is open to everyone. Get your imagination going and name these three monsters from the epic fantasy novel, The Quest, book 2 of Illusional Reality duology.

Just leave a comment or email me your three names to kkantasauthorassist@gmail.com

Day 29 #MarchoftheWriter

Unpopular Opinions!!!

What’s popular but you HATE?

Movie: Any Batman film.

Book: Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Food: Steak

Band: Beetles

Artist: Leonardo De Vinci

Location: Philippians

Drink: Iced tea

Song: Hey Jude

Author: Stephen King

What’s on your list?

Author Assist

I took part in Go Indie Now Teachables. Basically, I showed how anyone can use Canva, the free graphic design program. So extensive, you can do almost everything on it and it’s so easy to use and navigate, a child can do it.
However, after you’ve watched the lesson, if you have any questions please ask.
Enjoy.

Day 25 #MarchoftheWriter

What’s your brand?

Good question and I bet many authors can’t answer that. One of the services I provide with Author Assist is branding and design. Many authors don’t see their book as a business but that’s the mindset you need to succeed in this industry. Writing, publishing and selling your book is a business and now it’s time to put that business hat on and take hold of the reigns.

Why brand?
Because you need to stand out in this overly saturated market and having a brand and logo will make you stand out. A unique branding, a unique logo. Everywhere you post, you show your brand and soon people will recognise the logo and know it belongs to you. You get your merch printed with your branding. At cons, your table, banners, bookmarks should all carry your unique brand.

How do I come up with a concept?

Putting my business hat on, I will explain a couple of concepts I have created for my clients. Victoria Saccenti was an award-winning author with a three-book series called Destiny and had a stand-alone book called Noémie’s Journey. What these books had in common was they were set in the 20th century but during a historical time. Now there are thousands of writers that write romance and again historical romance, so how would Victoria stand out? I asked her what plans did she have for her next books, and she surprised me when she said fantasy paranormal series and then something even darker. How was I to tie them all together? I started thinking about what romance represented and it certainly wasn’t all candy floss and chocolates. I thought about the colour of romance and then it clicked smell. The perfume. The Essence of Romance. So we had a branding now to design a logo. I saw a perfume bottle. I played around with the initials, and a signature and then we decided how about the bottle with the scent coming out and making the essence shape into VS.

Here’s how the completed branding looked. I came up with the initial concept, and design but I did not create the logo. but I take no credit for the creation of the banner.

All her following books all fitted so well under the branding of The Essence of Romance.
https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Saccenti/e/B013H2XYPK

As for me, I write in most fiction genres so trying to find a box I fitted in could have been a difficult path to be on and so I jumped off and branded myself as Explosive Writer, as all my books are explosive.

Here’s a testimonial from a client who needed branding and logo.

I only had a vague idea about branding myself as a dystopian author. After a brainstorming session with Karina, she created an identity and brand for me that I wouldn’t have ever considered. Karina is very easy to work with. She is very receptive to an author’s input and thoroughly explains how all the elements of the brand design work together.
Karina is an extremely talented designer she creates beautiful logos and social media banners that are not only original but beautiful as well
I’m very happy with the brand she created for me and I’d highly recommend her services.

James Ayling author

You can read more about what services Author Assist provides and check out the other logos and promo graphics I’ve created over the years.
https://kkauthorassist.wordpress.com/graphics

Day 21 #MarchoftheWriter

Bookmark Brag

Ummm this could quickly become redundant if you don’t read paperbacks.

However, one of the earlier services Author Assist offered was designing Bookmarks.

So take a look at my gallery.

So these are the only ones I can find on this computer. I’ve had many laptops since Author Assist started back in 2015. Here is the website where you can see more of my graphic designs scroll down a little and you’ll see more books marks.



3 lucky peeps will get a master sheet of bookmarks. No matter if you’re an author or reader. We can discuss the design.
For a chance to win some unique bookmarks from Author Assist, just read and comment on a few of the #MarchoftheWriters blogs.
Don’t worry if you can’t see your comment, it has to be approved.

Good luck.

Day 15 #MarchoftheWriter

 How do you social?

On Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Linkedin… actually that’s not what this is about.

How do you connect with other writers, with your tribe and with potential new readers?

I have two answers for you.

The first; Go Indie Now.
Yep, you’ve seen me mention the media platform Go Indie Now and the workaholic, Mr Joe Compton.
Joe has created a platform where the indie community can meet, chat have heated debates, get drunk at Joe’s bar (Just kidding) – no I’m not!

Find out about new indie films, books and what’s hot in the gaming community. These shows, panels, interviews, and reports are entertaining for the public and the indie community.
Authors, there is so much you can learn from those that have done it all. We’ve all made mistakes so learn from those that have tried and failed but don’t give up. Get tips and get the inside scoop on what’s going down in the indie world.

Have you always wondered what’s inside a writer’s mind? How do they build these magical, dangerous and extraordinary worlds? How do they come up with the characters you love, with the plot twists and write stories that will keep you turning the page and gasping for more?

You will find these answers and more on the media platform Go Indie Now. So please support Joe and all the hard work he does for the Indie community. Seriously, this man just never stops.

The reason I mention this in my article about being social, is I have made some wonderful connections and long-lasting friendships with indies I’ve met while being a guest on the shows. This then takes me to their safe place. Their group, where I’m welcomed and treated as one of the family. Thus creating more connections and friendships, thus learning more from my peers.

Please subscribe to The Go Indie Now YouTube channel and take a look at the shows he hosts. Watch and be entertained, leave a comment and like the videos.
Thanks, and remember, it’s always time to Go Indie Now

And my other way to socialize is not knowing who is Behind The Pen. (Did you see what I did just then. lol)



Podcasts, Zoom interviews, Radio shows, they are so hot right now. If you want to find new readers, you have to step up, show your face, and let us hear your voice. There are thousands out there waiting to hear about exciting new books and authors they have never heard of. The world is yours to conquer!
Okay – maybe I went a little too far with that last line. But I’m sure you understand what I’m trying to say. People don’t know you. They don’t know your name, they don’t know your books, and now you have a chance to be seen, heard and noticed.
If you’re camera-shy, contact podcasts and radio stations. If the camera loves you, get on some pannels, shows and interviews. Your readers are out there waiting.

Behind the Pen is a YouTube show and audio podcast where I chat with all artists; musicians, authors, illustrators, writers, editors, anyone who uses a pen for work.


Day 8 #MarchoftheWriters

Writer’s DNA

Well, right now with my dark romances, it’s sex and violence. Sex sells, so does violence. Now imagine a book with them both!

I always throw my readers through a loop. Twists just come naturally to me, I don’t even know I’ve thrown one in there until after. I don’t want my novels to be predictable. I like to keep my readers on their toes. Just when you think you know what’s going on… you really don’t. Trust me.

Conflict. Every novel or flash fiction has to have a type of conflict. Conflict gets the juices going, the adrenaline rush and keeps those pages turning.

There is always a piece of me in my books, some more than others and I would never tell you which parts are fictional and which are reality.

I like my female characters to have heart, compassion, but still be strong and able to kick arse, either literally or with magic.

A satisfying ending. That doesn’t mean there will be a HEA. I write about real life, and real-life is dark and gritty. And in my fantasy, you still have the darkness – the good vs evil and the darkness the protagonist is fighting.

I had to put this in. DNA by BTS