Writer Tip Wednesday – Get Out There And Live It!

Good morning, everyone! 😀 Happy Hump Day to all – and only two days to the fabulous Friday. Today, the writer tips go out from the laptop and into the big bad world. LOL Well, in a manner of speaking. I know you’re comfy in that chair. 😀

 

About a week ago, the fabulous Trish Marie Dawson put up a post on her blog about a really vital part of being an author that is often forgotten – reading books! With all the other million-and-one things we have to do on a daily basis, it often gets pushed to one side. But it is so important that we don’t just read, but read EVERYTHING. Even if it’s that rushed few pages in the bathroom, or a quick read on the train to work, we need to keep ourselves – and our muses – fresh. You can read more of her brilliant post here. 🙂

But what’s the other important part of writing that often gets forgotten? LIVING IT. That’s right, I mean leaving the laptop altogether, and heading out into the Great Outdoors. Well, if you character is mainly inside, I guess it would be the Great…Indoors? Either way, it’s a necessity. How often do you read a book (providing you’re following the good advice above 😉 ) and realise that a situation or character doesn’t sound believable? Now, I’m not suggesting that thriller writers go out and commit a crime, or that romance authors throw themselves at a kilted man. (Although if you’re single, and a sexy kilted man walks by, I say go for it, writer or not. LOL )

 

But try to think about what your character would really feel, what they would experience. If your book is set in another country, can you pull off how that country’s culture is? The best way to get this right of course, is to either live in that country, or at least visit it. But don’t fear, you don’t need to book a flight to the middle of Romania right now, there is another way. Research, glorious research. The internet is always a good start, as it holds a valuable wealth of information. Learn all you can about a country. Not just the national costume and how many gold mines it has, but the little things. Is it primarily a religious country? How will this affect your character? Are they happy to go along with this, or do they rally against it? How does this shape them? The second part of this research can come from actual experiences though, even if you don’t go there. Try to find out if any of your friends or family have visited that country, or if they know anyone who has. Perhaps they even know a native of that country! Try to learn all you can from a person who has actually been there.

This same research can go for anything, especially landscapes. If you’re setting your book in a very real-and-here place, then you need to get the geography right. You can do some guesswork, but it takes away from your story when someone has been there, and they know it’s incorrect. Take my current WIP, Daughters Of Brigitania. (Don’t groan, there’s only one mention this time. 😛 ) It’s set in a place called Stanwick, near Darlington in the UK. It’s only twenty minutes drive from where I live, so I’m pretty lucky that I can visit it when I need to. But going to see the ruins of the Iron Age fortifications really gives you a – frankly, breath-taking – idea of just how enormous they were. The hills to one side let me know just what my characters would have seen every morning when they woke up, and being out in desolate country-side shows me just how isolated they would have been two-thousand years ago.

What about if your character is someone very different how your own personality? If you have to write about a crazed killer, (And I’m hoping you’re not a crazed killer here. If you are, thanks for reading my blog, and I live really, really far away from you. Like, really far away. LOL) then how do you manage to portray them? Sometimes, it helps to be a bit of an amateur psychologist. What are the worst things that they’ve done? Why did they do them? It’s no good simply saying, “Because they’re the bad guy”, or slapping some childhood trauma on it without understanding them. You need to build up a picture of them, just as you would for characters you understand much better. Think about what would make you do it. Yes, lovely, docile, sweet you. Your character, when they were born, were just like everyone else. (I suppose at this point, I should make a note of saying sometimes villains in books, depending on the book-iverse, are born as such. But it’s few and far between when this can be carried off, and it makes for a less believable character. Think of ‘The Omen’, with little Damien. He’s possibly the most evil character possible, and yet he’s a sweet, innocent little boy to start with.) So providing your character is just like everyone else, what warped them into who they are now? How did it build up? Do internal research, searching for the emotions that would drive you to change this way.

 

So I hope today’s writer tip inspires you to go and see more of the Great Outdoors – or the Great Inner You! And don’t forget to check out Trish Marie Dawson’s post either, it’s definitely another brilliant tip. 😉

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Manic Monday Rolls By Once More – Your Writing Style

Good morning, folks! 😀 I know it’s Monday, but don’t hide under your duvets. Just think of it as Tuesday Eve. 😛

Now, I’ve got today’s blog post below, but first I want to share some awesome (well, to me at least) news with you guys! I’m a suspense/horror SEMI-FINALIST in The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards, with Vigilante Of Shadows! Okay, so I didn’t make the top 5, but I’m still ecstatic that my little book was good enough to be noticed for at least semi-finalist. 😀 And IN the top 5 is a book from one of my best writer friends, Trish Marie Dawson! (Her book is I Hope You Find Me, and I suggest you pick it up ASAP. It is an amazing book, and the reason I ever got to know the lovely lady herself.) So go, Trish! 🙂

 

What’s your style as a writer? No, I don’t mean all those little gorgeous additions you put in afterwards, like chapter headings and such. What I mean is…would someone pick your book up, and instantly know it was yours? There are certain writers in the world whose style is so well known, that even under pen names, you know who they are. (Clears throat over a certain recent crime thriller) It’s not about good or bad, or who likes it and who doesn’t – it’s about adding to your brand. We as indie authors do so much to ‘brand’ our Facebook pages, our Twitter pages, our covers, our marketing…that sometimes we forget the strongest ‘branding’ is the very style of our writing.

So how do you know if you have a style? What sets your books apart from everyone else’s? It can be a certain way you write, how you describe things, or even the very structure of your plotlines. Let’s pick that apart a bit more, huh? 😛

 

Description

This can be a good thing, or a bad thing. There are authors who describe too much – this is also ‘style’, whether it’s right or wrong – and then they are known for stretching out how a sofa looks over two pages. But by the same token, writers can be known for not describing enough. Too short, and the writer feels like they’re rushing through the rabbit hole with a jet-pack on. So after you’ve got the length of descriptions right, what else are you going to tweak about it? Well, it really comes down to what you like as a writer, as you are going to stuff away those tit-bits for later and recycle your own version. A big clincher for me with any book is character descriptions, I can’t get enough of them. I think (I hope!) this comes across in my books, as I always enjoy a character-driven story just a hint more than a story-driven one. So how you describe your characters can have a big impact on your style. I like to include facial movements a lot. And the eyes can be a true window into how anyone is feeling. If someone twitches, what is it for? If someone’s mouth curls, what kind of smile is it? I like to lead the reader through the tiny details, the ones we won’t miss when we’re actually stood having a conversation with a real person.

 

Structure

So, the next point – how do you lay out your plotline? Is it linear, or non-linear? for my books, I like them to spiral off in many directions at once, joining together at the end to give the conclusion. I’ve tried NOT to do it, but it seems to be a natural thing – so I’ve accepted it as my ‘style’. I write primarily in third-person (I’m not sure how it could be done successfully in first-person, but I’m sure someone has done it 🙂 ), so it allows me to be a fly-on-the-wall of many different characters, giving the reader a view that the character themselves may not have. If you already know what the villain is planning, and the heroes are walking into the trap – what will happen next? It also allows for a lot of explaining in parts that every character can’t be at. (A recent historical series on the TV, based on a certain Plantagenet family, is a good example. It was written from the POV of one female character, which meant it was very difficult to accurately tell the reader what happened with certain battles.) Or is your style linear? Do you lead the reader down a winding path, with curiosities along the way? The way you structure a story can add a lot to your branding, as generally readers will always prefer one way or the other.

 

Recycling

What do you re-use in your books? Now, I don’t really mean using the same structure for another book, and changing the names – I’m pretty certain that’s NOT the way to go. 😀 But do you have a set of rules for characters? Are the heroes always a ‘type’ or person, are the heroines? I like to have strong men and women in my books, but they always have flaws – sometimes severe ones. I’m interested in how a person’s past can affect them too, so I like to either throw in a flashback to their past, or have them telling someone. Sometimes I let the reader guess why they are the way they are right until the end. My villains are never black and white either, as everyone has some good in them. They’re nearly always definitely the ‘bad guy’, but I like to give them redeeming features – sometimes, my ‘bad guys’ can end up helping the good guys, if only for a while. This just happened at the end of Keeper Of Shadows. So how do you write your characters? Do they have a particular ‘style’ of their own? Is there something about your characters that would let someone know they reading a ‘By So-And-So’ book?How can you make them yours? Use something about them that makes them ‘yours’ – after all, they live in your head! 😀

 

So what’s your style? What else would you add to this list? 😀

Focus Friday – Relative Deceit Release!

Welcome to the blog tour of Relative Deceit! This wonderful novel is being re-published through Moon Rose Publishing on the 30th August 2013, and is a crime thriller that will have your brain in knots. A fortune, a family, and one man greedy for it all. Scroll down to find out more, and get ready to add this to your summer reading!

 

The Blurb!

Sir George, Baronet of Bancroft Hall, has run his family and their fortunes into the ground. All seems hopeless, until they are visited by their cousin, Gregory Rogers. He promises to return the family to their former glory, but is he all he seems?

Driven by jealousy, greed and desire, nothing will stop Gregory Rogers from taking that which he believes is his. He’ll do anything to gain money, Bancroft Hall and the power that comes with the title of Baronet.

Even murder.

Until his eyes fall upon the beautiful Jane. Clever, intelligent, and beautiful, she finds herself the unknowing victim of a vicious plan to dispose of her parents and brothers. With no one standing in the way of Gregory’s plans, can she rescue him from himself?

Will she be the one thing that he cannot ruin, in order to have?

More About The Author

SONY DSC

Karen Aminadra is an English author who can usually be found with her head in the clouds and muttering inanely to herself.  She mostly resides in her writing cave, and is occasionally allowed to come out to eat.  Her love of reading, writing short stories and her childhood imaginary world led quite naturally to writing novels.  Encouraged to read by her bookworm father and grandmother and by  winning a writing competition in just her first year of secondary school, she was spurred on, and she has been writing stories ever since.  Her love of mystery and plot twists that she put into that first story continues today.  She has travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in her imagination, and has gained an insight into people’s characters that shines through in her work.  Today, with her feet firmly back in England, she travels the world, the universe and in time through her imagination and her novels.

Links For The Author

Website

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

 Moon Rose Publishing

Links For The Book

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo

Smashwords

Moon Rose Publishing

Teaser Thursday – Creator Of Shadows!

Hello, lovely peeps! 😀 I know, I know what you’re thinking…no, not that thing about the cookies. That I was going to put up a snippet of Daughters Of Brigitania today? Well…I’m not. Muhahaha! I’ve decided it might be nice to give you guys a peek at Creator Of Shadows instead, the third in my Scarlet Rain series. Enjoy! 🙂 

*And as always, this is from a WIP, so remember there might be a few editing errors. 😉

If she tried slamming herself against the door one more time, she was going to break something vital.

Lorenna gave a grunt, and slid down against the polished wood, landing heavily on her butt. She lifted a grubby hand and ran it through her stuck-together hair, rolling her eyes in disgust at the tatters. She slumped back and roved her eyes around her cell, taking in the broken bed and bench. The floor was made up of grey slabs of stone, cold and unforgiving as she perched herself on it.

“You could have at least left me with some water!” she cried out, twisting herself so her shout could be heard outside. Lorenna sighed to herself, and leaned her head against the door once more. She didn’t have a clue where Feoran was. Or why he had taken her—well, no, that wasn’t strictly true. It was because he had the hots for her. Unrequited hots, I’d like to add. But it still didn’t explain exactly why he thought locking her up would help her see him in a romantic light. Stockholm Syndrome might be the closest he would get, and that wasn’t going to happen any time soon.

Receiving no answer, the witch rubbed her hands together, firing up her magic. Thrusting her hands out, she attempted to blow a hole through the stone walls…succeeding only in making a few small sparks jump away from her fingers. “Bloody hell!” she yelled in frustration. There seemed to be some kind of barrier in the room, preventing her from casting any spells. Perhaps snatching her away from battle hadn’t been a spur of the moment thing, after all. Feoran had obviously planned this for some time.

As if on cue, keys rattled in the lock above Lorenna’s head. She jumped up in readiness, cursing the lack of protection she had for herself. Her violet eyes drifted over to the bed, a brief thought about trying to snap off a leg floating past. But there wasn’t time. She shuffled backwards as the oak door shuddered open, revealing the ominous silhouette of Feoran.

“Hello, little witch. Enjoying your stay?”

Lorenna gave a sneer. “The views aren’t much, and the food is terrible. I’d rate it a sh***y experience so far.”

Feoran strode into the room, the sconces from behind him casting light across the sharp planes of his face, black eyes gleaming like hot coals. A slow grin crossed his face, and he shrugged casually, meandering across the stone slabs until he halted in front of her. Lorenna flinched, but kept her features cold and unafraid. “Little witch, you’ll find you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, you know. I have much more comfortable rooms than this.”

“I’d rather jump in a pit of snakes, thanks.” Lorenna’s mouth drew in a hard line.

Feoran hid a snigger. “That can be arranged.”

Lorenna gave a dry laugh, and tossed her hair over her shoulder, folding her arms. “So what do I owe this immense pleasure to? I’ve got a busy day, you know.”

“Doing what? Making sparks?” The vampire jerked his finger towards her hands. “You can’t do much else in here. I had it specially made for you.”

“How kind,” Lorenna spat, her breathing speeding up with her rising fury. “Let’s cut to it. What the f*** do you want, Feoran?”

He twirled around and made his way to the bed, seating himself on it heavily. Lorenna’s eyes flickered over to the open door, but she knew better than that. Feoran followed her eye-line, clearing his throat to attract her attention back to him. “If you want to put it so bluntly, a f***. What do you think I want, Lorenna? A cosy conversation?”

Taken aback by his words, the witch swallowed anxiously, trying to coax some saliva back into her dry throat. She shook her head resolutely, tightening her grip on her skin. Her violet eyes darkened to purple as she innocently replied, “You know what, Feoran? I think you’re a lot like the Phantom of the Opera.”

“Not quite what you would expect under the surface and into choral music?” he smirked back, letting his tongue run over one fang.

Lorenna’s lips twitched, and she retorted, “No. Just as ugly under the mask and twice as unlikely to get the girl.”

Like this snippet? Why not sign up to my newsletter here, where you can be kept up to date with all my releases, including Creator Of Shadows. 😀

(Taken from ‘Creator Of Shadows’, Copyright © 2013 Miranda Stork. Do not reproduce, use, copy, or include in any way in any format, digital or print, without prior permission of the author.)

Writer Tip Wednesday – The Dreaded Rewrite

Morning, lovely  people! 🙂 Okay, so maybe the title of today’s post makes it sound a bit more ominous than it really is. But sometimes, the rewrites can be the toughest – if easily the most creative – part to do. It can be the part where you up the gears of your book, and turn it from a sow’s ear into a silk purse. And yes, I did love the movie Mulan. What of it? LOL

So where do you start? Let’s take a peep at the different steps, because it’s certainly not a job to be done quickly.

1. Where will the reader struggle with what’s in your head?

Take another read through your whole manuscript, and imagine you know nothing of the world you have created in your book, nothing of the characters. At what points would you think it had jumped too quickly? Compare events to real life – would it happen so quickly. It no good having your character escaping from somewhere and turning up in the next town, all within the space of one paragraph. The reader will get bored with things jumping so quickly, and it makes it much harder to lose themselves in the storyline. Mark out all these places, putting notes as to why a certain section needs expanding.

Especially the mud on the face. Why would you put mud on your face?

Especially the mud on the face. Why would you put mud on your face?

2. Expand upon the expansion.

Now that you’ve marked out where you need to fill in the details, read through each one carefully. is it a character? How does it need filling out? Be careful not to fill out parts about characters with too many details of how they actually look. These are things which come later. But perhaps there was a conversation you missed out, a scene where more of the storyline needed explaining through dialogue? What are the important parts of your story, how will this link to them? There’s no point your characters having a conversation about the weather if it’s not integral to the plot. If it makes you bored, it will make your reader bored. Keep the tension running through the whole book, even if at times it’s only a fine thread.

If it’s an event that needs filling out, think of my point above – how would this happen in reality? Not to say you need every tiny detail in there, but a character escaping, an explosion going off, a fight – all of these things would not be over with quickly. Think of it this way, you’re building the tension until the reader is right on the edge of their seat. If it helps, even imagine a fight scene from a movie you watched – a good one. Did you watch the main character with bated breath? Were you wincing with every weapon that was swung or fired? All of that happened because it took a few details to get to that point. The character picked up a weapon – but then it was knocked out of their hand. The secondary character nearly gets to them to help, but he gets pulled back from behind, and slung into a wall. The main character runs for the enemy, but they trip halfway and nearly get killed by someone else. Fill out exciting scenes with extra details, moment by moment. This can really help to expand and build up the anxiety.

Look, the Doctor can get away with it. You can't. Unless you're the Doctor.

Look, the Doctor can get away with it. You can’t. Unless you’re the Doctor.

3. Check the facts

Does everything in your story match up? If one of the characters stormed off in chapter ten, due to disliking the main character after an argument, it’s no good them then turning up in chapter twelve having a hug with the main character, with no explanation of how  – if they did – make up again. Watch out for inconsistencies, and check them against what you would need to put in. This is an opportunity to do another part of rewriting – possible deleting. If something is unnecessary, or if it would be an info dump, consider deleting that part altogether, if it makes the story flow better. Check for time, as well. If an event was due to happen in a month for your characters, then suddenly it all kicks off three days later, you need to go back and change something. Create a story that flows easily from one part to the next. Think of it like a stepping-stone waterfall. One stone is different from another (chapters, if you will), but the water flows across all of them, joining them together. This is your plotline.

Don't leave your readers doing this. It's just not fair.

Don’t leave your readers doing this. It’s just not fair.

4. Be ready with the red pen

This is possibly the hardest part. You’ve constructed your tapestry of a story, woven the threads so tightly it’s like the Fort Knox of books…and now you’re going to tear it apart. Lots of first-time writers will not wish to delete anything, and you’ll fully believe everything should be left in. Not so. Are there any parts where the story drags on? Do you really need that conversation about the garden, if it doesn’t add anything to the characters or the story? What about the long description of the kitchen that goes on for two pages, too much maybe? Delete parts that don’t help keep the pace bubbling along, or where you’ve ‘filled in’ purely to plump out the word count. trust me, a reader can spot where you had that mental block and panicked with the wordage.

Luckily, you don't have to go to these extremes. Hitting the 'delete' button should do. Hopefully.

Luckily, you don’t have to go to these extremes. Hitting the ‘delete’ button should do. Hopefully.

5. Do your edits first

Lots of people will finish up on Step 4, and send it straight across to the editor. DON’T. You have to do your own edits first. There is nothing worse for your editor than picking through a totally unedited script. It shows both that you’re not serious about your talent as a writer, and that you would rather someone else did it. Your editor is there to give your manuscript a polish, to pick up the stray ends you didn’t spot. So remember to start with spelling and grammar – and don’t use Word’s ‘Spellcheck’. Ever read a book and come across a ‘form’ where it should have been a ‘from’? That’s because it won’t get picked up, as it’s still a word. Do it yourself, boring and laborious though it might be, and feel great at the end, knowing you’ve gathered up most of the escapees of good spelling and grammar. 🙂 Remember to check everything, from the right character’s name attached to speech, to a run-on sentence. Then, send it across to the editor for that final spit and polish.

Yeah, don't be this dude. Just don't.

Yeah, don’t be this dude. Just don’t.

Hopefully these little tips might help if you’re in the middle of writing your first book – or even if you’re onto your next one, and still learning all the time like me. Happy writing, lovely peeps! 😀 Don’t forget tomorrow is Thursday Teaser, so keep an eye out for another snippet of Daughters of Brigitania!

Top Ten Tuesday – Some More To Look Out For!

Good morning, folks! 🙂 Yesterday was a bank holiday in the UK (re: Day Off! Woot!), so Manic Monday was spent with family members until my ears zoned out with all the chatter. LOL But today we have our second Top Ten Tuesday, where I feature another ten authors and their books for you to check out! So without further ado, in no particular order, here are this week’s must-have-on-your-virtual-bookshelves…

 

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Price: $2.99

Blurb: Your first job out of college. It’s supposed to be a stepping stone or a transitional job, not the single defining decision that will alter the course of your entire life. Sienna Kennedy never signed on for the craziness, danger and even love that her new job thrust into her world.

But she didn’t run either.

Assigned to a maximum security floor of Western State Hospital for the mentally ill, the last thing she expected to encounter was a reminder of her past.

Cade Collins’ animal magnetism draws her into an unseen world filled with creatures from her wildest imagination. Discovering his story, as well as the very institution in which she works, becomes her obsession. Her every waking moment is consumed with unearthing a way to free the man that has stolen her heart, body and mind.

The secrets Sienna finds will free them of their bonds…or lead them to their doom. Fate flung the two destined souls together, but how can any love survive in such a demented place, filled with peril and danger?

 

Genre: Erotic Romance

Price: $4.81

Blurb: A love at first sight story. Two people hungry for love. Something draws Cassie
to Dominic and it’s not just that he’s gorgeous.
Dominic struggles with a secret and the intoxicating degree of his love for Cassie.
A winter warmer. A delicious love story with a twist.
Cassie and Dominic’s love is written in the stars.

When Dominic Reed looks out of his study window and sees Cassie, he’s not sure what to make of her at first. That’s before he sees her lovely gray eyes and pretty skin. He’s a writer and works alone, which to his sadness has become his way of life.

When he asks Cassie to have coffee with him, it’s the start of an intoxicating romance for the both of them. If only Dominic didn’t have to hide some of his writing, if only he hadn’t inherited a strange gift from his great uncle Aubrey.

 

Genre: Erotica/Horror

Price: $1.15

Blurb: Pomba Gira Mysticism. Creole Voodoo. The zombie apocalypse. Sex, drugs, magick. Paranormal erotica.

Meet Pierre von Minzle and Mary Moore. They are the Adam and Lilith, definitely not Adam and Eve, of today’s zombie apocalypse. Fables of the Reconstruction is a playful yet graphic sexual adventure consisting of what might have been, combined with what possibly might be happening now. It contains Pomba Gira mysticism, Creole voodoo and the seeds of the zombie apocalypse set in Victorian London’s notorious Whitechapel District. Sex, magick , zombies. This ain’t your daddy’s shotgun zombie story. Mature content warning.

Genre: YA/Romance/Magical Happenings

Price: PERMA-FREE!

Blurb: Alyssa Worthington is the daughter and sole heir to the most prestigious coven in the witch world. Her childhood has been spent in the mundane human world learning to blend in and hide who she truly is, and it is here, during her last year that she meets a striking ex-high school quarterback from a small town in Montana who will turn her world upside down.

Alyssa holds the element of fire, unlike her best friends Lisa and Megan, who are both air elementals. It is the elemental powers that reside inside which require positive thoughts and positive actions in order to maintain this magickal connection. What would happen to a witch that let this get out of control? How can evil become the driving force behind revenge and death?

Dark secrets, dark magick and a desperate desire for revenge will bring Alyssa to the brink of destruction. She is being chased, but this pursuit is a silent one and her chaser has but one goal, Alyssa’s complete and total destruction. Will she overcome this dark threat and begin to live out her destiny? Will she survive and if so, will she lose herself as part of the price for being alive? Or, will her destiny rest on being crescent bound?

With all these dark forces creeping around silently in Alyssa’s life, her coven pushes for answers, some of the answers about an eighth and missing coven, in the witch world, lie with her new interest. Marcus may be the key to unlocking the mystery of the silent darkness threatening the seven remaining covens.

Genre: Crime Thriller

Price: $2.99

Blurb: A cult has been killing children for its rituals and only one cop knows who they are. Detective Stan Brookshire knows but his past keeps people from believing in him. Can he rise above the stigma that shrouds his past and stop a cult from taking yet another innocent child from her mother’s arms before it’s too late?

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Price: $3.99

Blurb: The Evil Trilogy
Despite growing up together in their trendy Beverly Hills neighborhood, three best friends hide dark childhoods. The lives of Kit, Baylee and Quinn have been anything but perfect. Little do they know a stranger is about to unravel long, buried secrets, bringing the past back to life with a vengeance.

Just Evil 
Kit Griffin has finally overcome a painful childhood at the hands of her mother, former actress Alana Stevens. No longer living in the grasp of the cold, tyrannical woman, Kit’s life is finally on track. That is, until Alana is found brutally murdered on Mother’s Day, pulling Kit back to the dark horrors of her past. To make matters worse, the police consider Kit the prime suspect.

Jake Boston is an old family friend and the man Kit has loved since she was a teen. He’s fighting his own demons as a suspect in his wife’s murder two years earlier. Despite his past, he’s determined to win Kit over once and for all. But before that can happen they need to convince the police there’s a killer working his way down a list with cold-hearted vengeance in mind.

Forced to delve into Alana’s dark past, Jake and Kit uncover a forty-year-old double murder leading them straight to the door of a legal dynasty. Soon they find out just how far the heirs will go to keep the past buried.

Genre: Anthology/Asian Literature

Price: $1.18

Blurb: Stirring Winds is an Asian Literature Anthology, centering on the theme of life changes and significant moments. It contains six stories ranging in length from 900 – 3000 words.

Two stories included have won prizes and have been previously published: The Wind Blew the Wrong Way (First Prize, Five Stop Story, Sep. 2011) and Ice Walls (Third Prize, Meridian Writing, Spring 2012).

Three Ballerinas and The Smell of Peaches were both shortlisted in online writing contests (Meridian Writing and A Very Short Story). Sapporo Skies and The Waiting World were written exclusively for this collection.

Three Ballerinas: Elise left Japan nine years ago, but still regrets the decisions she made then. She hopes that returning to Nagoya will set her heart free.

Sapporo Skies: Masa and Hikari celebrate their anniversary every year with a hot-air balloon ride in Hokkaido. This year, a long-kept secret is revealed.

The Smell of Peaches: Mayumi is a new mother recovering from childbirth. She prays her son will chase away the ghost haunting her dreams.

Ice Walls: Two Russian ice-sculptors compete in the annual ice-sculpting competition in Harbin, China. Will Katinka and Aleksei finally overcome their rivalry and be friends?

The Waiting World: From behind the veil between worlds, a man watches his beloved wife celebrate his birthday at Matsumoto Castle.

The Wind Blew the Wrong Way: Junko is turning thirty. While visiting her favorite temple in Kyoto, she has a second chance with an old lover, but will fate bring them together or keep them apart?

Genre: Thriller

Price: $3.94

Blurb: Nick Hunter used to be a contract killer. Now he’s cut all links to his former lifestyle and can at last relax and live a normal life. He settles down to married life. He has a son. He adores his little family. Unbeknown to him, shadows from his past step forward to shatter his short-lived peace. His wife is dead, his four-year old son kidnapped and it looks like someone is trying to frame him for murder. Under pressure, broken, is there anything Nick wouldn’t do to rescue his son? Would he kill the villains, despite the promise to himself to stop his life of crime? Would he kill innocents? Would he hurt the people he loves most in his need to protect his son? A fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read that will keep you turning the pages to the very end.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Price: $3.10

Blurb: A funny, hot, and sexy new release from N.M. Silber

Once upon a time two lawyers fell in love across a courtroom …
Gabrielle Ginsberg was a public defender with plenty of nerve and Braden Pierce was an assistant district attorney with a whole lot of swagger. Gabrielle wanted Braden and Braden wanted Gabrielle.
And Cameron wanted Gabrielle.
And Marla wanted Braden.
And Cole wanted Gabrielle.
And Mrs. Mason wanted Braden.
And an anonymous letter writer wanted to keep Gabrielle and Braden apart.
Together Gabrielle and Braden discovered many important things, like which doors at the courthouse actually locked, and that desks could be useful for more than writing. They also found out that the path of love was not always smooth, and it was sometimes tread upon by some really wacky people, like a confused fanny grabber, an eighty-two year old pothead and a gentleman who threw a wine and cheese party in his pants. Could true love overcome a lack of privacy, interference by jealous rivals and the insanity of the criminal court system?

NOTICE: This book contains explicit descriptions of sexual situations and mature language. It is intended for readers over the age of eighteen.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Price: $2.99

Blurb: After literally bumping into a gorgeous stranger, Mackenzie succumbs to a night of passion with him. When she wakes up, he’s gone. But that’s only the start. Three years later, the stranger, Drew, shows up—and she’s pissed.

Drew isn’t all he seems, either. An evil greater than he can battle alone wants something that belongs to both Mackenzie and himself. Their daughter. They fight to find a way to keep Drew’s master from taking Sophie, while battling his fellow soul brokers who are fighting for their freedom.

Unable to defeat his master alone, Drew asks his father for help. Will they survive long enough for his deal to be brokered? Or will they succumb to the evil of Drew’s master?

As always, I hope you do decide to pick some of these great books up – if not all! – and hopefully enjoy them! Remember, an indie author puts a lot of work into a book that will cost less than that coffee and chocolate bar you were going to pick up – yes, I know! – and it’s going to leave you with that happy feeling for an awful lot longer. Plus you get to go back to it if you really loved it, and you’re never going to make that chocolate bar come back. So go on, grab one of them before your sugar craving kicks in. 😉

Top Ten Tuesday – Some Of My Favourites!

Morning, everyone! 🙂 We all made it through Monday! Woohoo! Now at least we can get on with Tuesday – Top Ten Tuesday, that is! Each Tuesday, I will feature ten of my favourite indie books for your perusal. They won’t all be the same genre, so hopefully there’s something for everyone. And today, I’ve even got a few freebies for you! Woot! 🙂

Lookit that gorgeous cover! And it's FREE!

Lookit that gorgeous cover! And it’s FREE!

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Price: PERMA-FREE!

Blurb: Kendra Larkin had everything going in the right direction. Her life was seemingly perfect, and she wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Unfortunately, the course of her life was about to be forever altered. A tragic rappelling accident lands her on Dr. Adam Chamberlain’s operating table.

She agrees to a deal proposed by a guardian angel to help save the soul of the man who is both her doctor and soulmate. If she is successful, she gets to keep her life. However, she later learns that it isn’t just her life that’s in jeopardy, but her soul as well.

Even with the help of her handsome guardian angel, Rhyan, it seems there is no happy ending in sight. Torn between her newly discovered love of Rhyan, and the undeniable attraction she has for Adam, Kendra finds herself at a crossroad. With Adam’s steadfast rejection of God, and his guardian demon conspiring against her, she fears her soul may already be lost.

Will she find a way to overcome the evil her life is suddenly burdened with? Or will Adam’s guardian demon win both their souls and make Kendra his own personal puppet in Hell?

This is a fantastic YA read, and really hits home with some big issues.

This is a fantastic YA read, and really hits home with some big issues.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Price: PERMA-FREE!

Blurb: Piper Willow dies the summer after her high school graduation but she doesn’t make it to Heaven or Hell…instead she finds herself in a spiritual terminal called the Station. She’s given only two choices: Return to Earth as the subconscious for a person in need of some outside assistance, or move on and spend an eternity lost in her own sorrow and pain.

Does Piper have what it takes to save a life – to be the nagging voice inside someone else’s head – or will she fail and end up lost and tormented in limbo…forever?

“Excuse me, Niles…I mean, Mr. Abbott. But, where are we?”
“I’ll explain everything to you dear, just as soon as we reach the Station.”
“What station? We aren’t in the hospital? Where’s my Dad?”
“No Piper, this isn’t the hospital, and your father is at home…he’s fine. Please, follow me.”
He turns away and continues on through the light. I hang my head, staring at my bare feet as we walk. Even though my cuts are gone, I keep rubbing my arm. It’s soothing. I almost bump into Niles when he stops abruptly.
“We’re here,” he says softly.

AND this was nominated for a 2012 RONE award! What more do you need?

AND this was nominated for a 2012 RONE award! What more do you need?

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Thriller/Vampires

Price: $2.95

Blurb: *Nominated for a 2012 RONE Award from InD’tale Magazine*

Murder is serious business among vampires. If you kill, so do they. They are the Penitent – a military order among vampire society charged with one task only. Execute the condemned.

Vesper Hyde is a model Penitent. Solitary. Skilled. Deadly. Only once has she ever lost a target, even though it almost cost her life. Now the one that got away is back with a vengeance, and this time he’s determined to finish the job. She needs to overcome the whispers of doubt and let her instinct and training take over to redeem her failure. But on this second time around, she doesn’t expect a sidekick. A very sexy, stubborn, human sidekick.

Homicide Detective Decker Price has seen it all, including the murder of his wife at the hands of a twisted serial killer. When another murder pitches him headfirst into a world of vampires, witches, and sorcery, he is given a chance to mend shattered parts of his soul. But Vesper’s world is as dark and alluring as the Penitent herself and he will come face to face with echoes of his past in order to help her keep a vicious enemy at bay.

If they are to succeed, they will need to push aside both their failings and work together to ensure the balance of their worlds remains unchanged. Redemption comes at a cost – is their love worth the price?

More vampire-y goodness...you know you can't resist!

More vampire-y goodness…you know you can’t resist!

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense/Vampires

Price: $3.94

Blurb: “Do you believe in things that go bump in the night?”

At only a few hours old, Angela is left on the steps of St Paul’s church. Alone in the world, the only link she has to her past is a pink blanket bearing an emblem with two crossed swords and a snake.

A troubled childhood spent in orphanages leads to Angela attempting to rebuild her shattered life as an adult. Meeting the priest who found her eighteen years previously, she gets a job and a boyfriend, and settles into her new life.

Until she meets Jack.

Drawn to her new boss, she throws herself into work, feeling an unusual bond with people she hasn’t known very long.

Angela becomes embroiled in this new life, feeling a change within herself. A change which isn’t altogether human. Within this change she finds a terrifying secret…a secret which involves her past, her present, and definitely her future…

This is one of the funniest books you will read this year - what writer hasn't wondered this?

This is one of the funniest books you will read this year – what writer hasn’t wondered this?

Genre: Contemporary/Humour

Price: $3.76

Blurb: Polly writes chick lit and her debut novel is a worldwide bestseller. However, something strange starts to happen when she gets back from an international book tour. Polly finds that instead of art imitating life, her life starts to imitate art – or rather, her novel.

She arrives home to find her husband in the arms of the maid. Wasn’t that in Chapter Three of her book, Happily Ever After?

Her best friend is having an affair with her husband, too, and is pregnant! Isn’t that in Chapter Four?

Then she meets a bronzed Greek and embarks on a passionate love affair. Wasn’t that in Chapter Seven?

Will anyone believe her life is mirroring her novel? Can she prevent the ultimate tragedy or must the book play out, precisely as she wrote it, to the bitter end?

Her agent recommends that Polly go and live Happily Ever After on the proceeds of her book, and keep away from drama!

The beginning to an awesome YA series - that cover alone should entice you! :)

The beginning to an awesome YA series – that cover alone should entice you! 🙂

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Drama

Price: $3.98

Blurb: The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.

The first book in another awesome series - plus be sure to check out the rest of this fab author's books!

The first book in another awesome series – plus be sure to check out the rest of this fab author’s books!

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal/Werewolves & Shifters

Price: $4.08

Blurb: **Not for readers under the age of 18+. Contains language and adult situations.**

Gabriel Slade runs Hollywood with his gorgeous blue eyes and egregious temper. No one knows that underneath it all is a man with a frozen heart, cursed to become a beast at every full moon. For seven days he has no choice but to roam the earth as a vicious animal, until he meets a woman who can change it all.

Luna Grace has a hatred for everything Gabriel Slade stands for, but she doesn’t even know what he looks like. When a chance encounter reveals feelings Luna never knew she harboured, it stands to reason that she would run.

Can Luna overcome her hatred and break the curse? Or will Gabriel’s temper keep her from realizing her true feelings, dooming him to remain the beast forever?

Another brilliant book in a series - doesn't that title just make you wonder what's inside?

Another brilliant book in a series – doesn’t that title just make you wonder what’s inside?

Genre: Romance/Contemporary

Price: $4.11

Blurb: “You can’t leave me because I’ll only ever love you.”

What was supposed to be a final goodbye turned into one last piece of unfinished business for Brody Walsh.

As long as Aggie Walker’s heart still belongs to him, he’s destined to remain in limbo, watching over her.
But when her family decides to send her to Scotland for the summer and she meets Camden MacTavish, it seems despite their constant head-butting that there may be something more between them.

That is, if she is willing to let Camden in.

As Aggie finds herself torn between her lover lost and her lover anew, it becomes clear that she cannot hold on to both. If she decides to let Camden into her heart, she will have to let Brody go. And if she can’t let Brody go, she risks losing Camden-and a second chance at love.
Forever.

That cover is the first thing that drew me in - gorgeous and so Lovecraftian!

That cover is the first thing that drew me in – gorgeous and so Lovecraftian!

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Price: $2.05

Blurb: Bookstore owner and novice antiquarian, Sebastian Kaine is proud of his new profession and even prouder still of the collection of antique books on the occult that he keeps locked away in the basement of his bookstore. But his little utopia is shattered one night when he wakes up in that same basement, bound and bloodied, and his prized collection all but destroyed. Making matters worse are the two strange men responsible for the carnage. They want The Seals of Abgal and insist Sebastian is in possession of it. Though he denies having any knowledge of the book, Sebastian soon finds himself at the receiving end of a brutal interrogation–one, he fears, he may not survive.

As he fights to stay alive, Sebastian will learn that The Seals of Abgal is no ordinary grimoire for it holds powerful secrets. Secrets that are older than time itself. And those that hunt it are driven by a hate even older than the secrets themselves.

**The Seals of Abgal is a dark fantasy novella of 20,892 words, or about 128 paperback pages.**
Awesome crime drama stories written with true grit. Great to see old-school crime drama is still out there!

Awesome crime drama stories written with true grit. Great to see old-school crime drama is still out there!

Genre: Crime Thriller/Drama/Historical

Price: $2.96

Blurb: Edinburgh 1745.

Deep beneath the rain soaked and wind scoured streets of the city a foul crime committed in the dark of night leaves two men lying dead in a dank cellar. A bankrupt young nobleman with an addiction to the twin vices of gambling and loose women stands accused of the horrific double murder and all the evidence seems to point towards his guilt. In desperation his lawyer turns to the one man in Edinburgh who can save him from the hangman’s noose.

Robert Young of Newbiggin.

He is a young man who has earned a reputation amongst the city’s legal fraternity for being the one person who can root out the truth by venturing into the capital’s criminal underbelly. His investigation leads from the elegant drawing rooms of Edinburgh’s high society to the city’s most infamous brothel and into the grim hovels of the lowest alehouses on the Cowgate.

But as more bodies are discovered Robert Young is forced to confront the possibility that his client may actually be guilty!

So that’s your lot! Still, I think ten books is an awful lot to be getting on with, right? 🙂 I hope you do decide to pick some of these great books up, and hopefully enjoy them! Remember, an indie author puts a lot of work into a book that will cost less than that coffee and chocolate bar you were going to pick up – yes, I know! – and it’s going to leave you with that happy feeling for an awful lot longer. Plus you get to go back to it if you really loved it, and you’re never going to make that chocolate bar come back. So go on, grab one of them before your sugar craving kicks in. 😉

Manic Monday – Here Again!

*Yawns* Is the weekend over already? No, I needed more sleeping-in time! *has to be prised away from quilt* Oh well, guess we all have to plough on and get Monday over with. As it’s Manic Monday again, (and I’m now caught up with work after being off), I thought today’s post could be about choosing characters in books – at least from a writer’s point of view.

How do our characters come to us? Is it in a coffee-addled haze? Is it in a dream? Or is it from someone we know? Characters can come from all these sources, but at some point, each one is going to need some extra tweaking and planning. So what’s the process of character creation?

The Coffee-Addled Haze Character

Otherwise known as, I’m-actually-writing-something-else-right-now-but-I’m-procrastinating-and-this-came-to-me. The coffee-addled character most often turns up when we’re supposed to be doing something else. Usually writing. This character is the least offensive, but the most certain one to bug you until you write it down. Somewhat whiny and hyper from the addition of caffeine, this character will push your story process aside and demand to be carefully noted down on a bit of paper, sure to be forgotten again. They have a short shelf-life, as most of them are forgotten once a writer gets back to the careful task of doing the story again. But bits of them may pop up in background characters of many books, breeding like rabbits, useful because of their barely-worked-out details beyond how they look.

Only 52 cups? *scoffs* Beginner.

Only 52 cups? *scoffs* Beginner.

The Dream/Nightmare Character

These characters are easily the most slippery, and yet can be the ones to make the biggest impression. Dream characters (otherwise known as the good guys) can turn up in the sweetest of dreams, and sometimes the sexiest. Often used as fodder for the heros and heroines of stories, they make a big impact with their presence, appearing realistic enough for noting down, but fuzzy enough to have bits added on to fit their book. Often they seem to come semi-naked, perhaps from having to squeeze through the membrane of dreamland. No one needs gooey bits on their nice clothes.

Nightmare characters are much the same, but are most prominently used for the villains of a piece. Depending on the attractiveness of the character, they can emerge to become a villain that is both hated and lusted after, quickly earning the inst-hatred of all other characters. Fond of dark rooms due to their inability to find light switches, they often hang about in corners, waiting for a moment where the writer is worrying about that book they can’t find in the spare room. An uglier villain will have the same impact, but will most usually be used as part of a ‘team’ of villains in anything but horror novels.

No more characters in dark rooms. Hell, no. I have to get some sleep!

No more characters in dark rooms. Hell, no. I have to get some sleep!

The Hey-Don’t-I-Know-That-Person Character

This is both the easiest and hardest character to make up. Being based on someone the writer may know, the overall character has a good grounding in realism, how they look, and how they react to events. However, the character must be tweaked to avoid absolute recognition, especially if said character is less than complimentary. (Beware, writers can and will take notes if you annoy them. Don’t blame me if you end up in Mr Nightmare’s dark room. *gulp* ) Not everything can be reversed, but usually the character becomes an exaggerated version of the real person, perhaps even to the point of becoming an annoying feature to the reader. They are then usually irritated by the character until said character finally perishes in a remarkably comic death.

Exactly, Tom, exactly. You can't have people you don't like just popping up and being eaten by a shark. Can you?

Exactly, Tom, exactly. You can’t have people you don’t like just popping up and being eaten by a shark. Can you?

The Mary-Sue Character

Arguably the character with the least development, and usually female, this character is like Marmite – either loved in the extreme, or hated in the extreme. The character will usually have a basic description of looks, but they tend to adapt easily to allow readers to ‘imprint’ themselves.  For example, “Her blond-black hair.” Or similar. The character will display little emotion to events happening around them, unless it’s to point out that the event is ALL about them and no one else, and possibly to stamp their feet until an equally drippy hero/heroine comes in to save them. Unable to do much for themselves, the poor Mary Sues must flap their arms and gasp a lot until someone turns up to move the story along for them, allowing the reader to finally move onto the next piece of self-centred action.

A typical reaction from a Mary-Sue. Beware, ladies and gentlemen, we may need mops.

A typical reaction from a Mary-Sue. Beware, ladies and gentlemen, we may need mops.

The Historical Character (usually just added to Historical Fiction, but can turn up anywhere)

These are the character based on actual figures. Much like the Hey-Don’t-I-Know-That-Person Character, they are covered in great detail, but unlike them, the Historical Character must be studied carefully to understand their inner thoughts. Easily one of the most exciting characters to discover, the writer can use actual events and decisions of the person to work out what they would have thought of a situation. Part-Encyclopaedia, part-psychic abilities, this character should have the earthy charm of the realistic person, but the otherworldly dreaminess that can only come from being pushy enough to decide the inner thoughts of one of history’s greats.

Cat and bubbles may not be included.

Cat and bubbles may not be included.

The Perfect Character

This character is as rare as blue mushrooms growing on your head, and twice as yummy. Usually the secondary character who becomes a hero or heroine in the second book, they tend to have a hefty back-story artfully woven into the novel in bits and pieces. They will be good-looking, but not too good-looking, and everything you want in a hero, but not too much. In a word, flawed. These tend to become the characters the writer will think of with most fondness, They are most commonly found in the most angsty situations, offering much-needed back-up to the main character, or giving worthy advice in the middle of the plot twist. As they enjoy being in the centre of any tension-charged situation, these characters can often end up dead by book three, simply to pull out the emotions in the reader to urge on getting rid of the villains. *sniff*

The usual reaction to a character of this calibre.

The usual reaction to a character of this calibre.

So what do you think? What other characters could go up here, what have I missed? I’m sure there’s plenty more. 🙂

Keeper of Shadows is Heeeeeeeere!

Well, this is a turn up for the books! Another bad ‘book’ joke, I’m sorry. 😛 Amazon has published Keeper of Shadows a lot earlier than it was supposed to go up, so you can officially get your copy now! Just scroll down to find out a little more about the book. And if you do pick it up, thank you so much for your support, and I hope you really enjoy it. 🙂 ❤

Keeper of Shadows

The year is 2038.

Feoran has followed through on his promise to enslave humanity, and humanity is being crushed under his oppression. Anyone who rebels is sent to the Factory.

Until one woman, Psyche Tawton, decides to run.

And she will prove his undoing.

Psyche leads an everyday life—well, for someone alive in the era of the Clan’s long shadow. A single event involving her best friend and her friends’ vampire master puts her on a road to rebellion, causing a ripple that will change the course of history, and the lives of those she comes into contact with.

Then she meets Torolf.

A werewolf with a chequered past, Torolf is instantly intrigued when he lays eyes on the violet-eyed beauty, but the wolf within him cannot accept a human as his mate. But deciding whether they should give in to their desires is the least of their troubles, as Feoran sets them firmly in his sights and makes them the centrefold for his newest horrific campaign. Starting with her best friend sent over to the Factory.

With the help of Torolf, the other immortals, and the Human Rebellion, Psyche will be the catalyst for the most important change in human history  since the Clan took over. But she will also be the catalyst for her own fate, unlocking a secret about herself that is so destructive…

…it may kill her.

 

You can pick it up from these links here!

Amazon US http://goo.gl/Mj36b7
Amazon UK http://goo.gl/1muWSE
Amazon CAN http://goo.gl/scfXEW
Kobo http://goo.gl/F16OtD
Smashwords http://goo.gl/SUqYb2
Moon Rose Publishing http://goo.gl/3Qtyek

Just another Manic Monday!

Morning, folks! 😀 That’s right, Mondays on the blog are now officially Manic Mondays! That means anything goes, so hopefully it gives you a giggle on that most hated of all weekdays. Today we’re going to take a look at book covers, along with more gifs. Always the gifs.

Now, it goes without saying that you need to get a book cover professionally done when you write a book – and that doesn’t mean you need to spends hundreds of dollars or pounds, but simply make sure it’s done by someone who knows their way around photoshop AND knows what readers want to look for.

1. Have a clear idea of what you want.

As a cover designer myself, I’ve often been a little frustrated by authors coming to me with what I thought was a clear idea, and wanting it changed completely (not tweaked) halfway through. If you don’t have a clear idea, neither will your designer or your readers. Try taking a look at books in a similar genre to your own, and mark out what you like about different ones. This can help you to decide what you want on your own, and also let you see what’s popular.

If Tennant can't decide, then we're all in trouble.

If Tennant can’t decide, then we’re all in trouble.

2. Trust your designer

Once you’ve got a clear design in your head, and given a brief to your designer, you now need to be prepared for a few things to be tweaked. If they make suggestions of things they either wouldn’t do, or would change, listen to the ideas. They know what they’re talking about – they do this for a living! I’m not saying do away with your idea altogether. But a common issue, for example, is wanting a lot of stuff on your single cover. New authors especially can want this, as you feel the need to get across as much of the book as possible. But sometimes less really is more. Take note of your designer’s suggestions, remember your own design, and talk it out together to create the perfect mock up.

That's all very well, Doctor, but can you make a fabulous cover in two weeks? I don't know about that.

That’s all very well, Doctor, but can you make a fabulous cover in two weeks? I don’t know about that.

3. Avoid the clichés. 

If I had a pound for every romance cover I’ve seen with a typical kissing couple, or a shifter book with a semi-naked man and wolf’s head on, I’d be a very rich woman indeed. Not only does it make your cover look like the other thousands of similar books out there, it looks as though you only gave your cover two seconds of your time. I’m not saying you can’t use these things. There are circumstances where they could be used in a very different way from usual, and it creates a fabulous cover. But for the most part, I would steer clear unless you’re 100% certain. Try picking something else out from your story that could be used – an object even, rather than people. Perhaps there is a particular piece of jewellery your main character wears? Do they have a penchant for that certain house? Maybe it’s a landscape that captures the feel of your characters. Think outside the box, and avoid doing what everyone else is doing.

Exactly.

Exactly.

4. Does it represent what happens in the book?

While you need to go outside the box, don’t forget it is that box that still defines your book, so don’t stray so far it’s unrecognisable. A sensuous, kissing couple surrounded by roses on a crime thriller is going to look very odd. The cover should attempt to be a 30 second pitch in one image. It doesn’t have to be the whole plot, or even a whole chapter, but it has to get the main thread across. Perhaps the whole book leads up to the reader finding out your main character is in fact a witch? In which case, it would be fine to have mystical symbols dotted around the image. Perhaps another angle is that someone holds a particular ring that can kill her? Maybe make the ring the focus, and stick to dark colours for the background, making the ring really glow or stand out in some way. It can be a punchy image, but it gets across what the book is about.

If you happen to be stuck in a glass case or box, please punch a big hole in the side so you can escape. Thank you.

If you happen to be stuck in a glass case or box, please punch a big hole in the side so you can escape. Thank you.

5. Make sure you like the final design

You’ve followed all the rules above, the mock ups have been tweaked within an inch of their lives, and the cover looks perfect. But do you like it? There’s no point having a cover that looks great, but you don’t like it – because you’ve got to market it. If there’s something you want tweaking with the final layout, tell your designer. If they’re a good cover designer, they won’t have a problem perfecting it for you, it’s what they’re there for!

I NEEEEED this cover. You have no idea how much. #CoverFeels

I NEEEEED this cover. You have no idea how much. #CoverFeels

6. Be prepared for change

No matter how much you love your cover, or how perfect it is, they do have a shelf life. (See what I did there? *giggle*) Think of any product you’ve ever bought, and especially any contemporary book. If you bought it more than a year ago, does the cover still look the same now? Two years ago? Chances are more likely it’s either had an update, or it’s changed altogether. This is because covers change to reflect adapting trends, or even because it’s slipping behind on sales – a refreshed cover can bring in fresh readers. I’m not saying change it every six – eight months – although if you’re doing your own covers and you’re able to do this, I say go for it – but aim to change the cover every few years at the very least. You might just be surprised how much it can give a lift to a book. 🙂

Gits. Just....GITS!

Gits. Just….GITS!

Click here to see my own cover designs, and even consider purchasing one from me. Whether you want one of my stock covers, or you want a brand new design from scratch complete with a trailer, you might just find what you’re looking for at Moon Rose Covers. 😉 www.moonrosecovers.com

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