Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New!

Wait, we’ve got a few months to the new year, don’t we?

Of course we do. I’m announcing a new cover for an old book. Well, it’s not that old. It came out in 2012.

I’m working on a little project to update the covers of my short story collections to make them stand out more. It’s been fun and has stretched my PhotoShop skills, but I like the results.

So, have a look.

Fences and Other Stories

This was a collection of some literary and fantasy stories, ones I’ve always been fond of. Here’s the cover I selected from CreateSpace when I published the collection in 2012.

fences-new-cover

2012 Cover

Not bad, but I could do better–or so several people told me. Four years later, I know about a great site called Pixabay, which is a large repository of public-domain photographs. You can use the photos commercially and without attribution–though I’ve at least given Pixabay an attribution. Pixabay’s selection is extensive, though the more obscure or detailed you get in your search, the fewer returns you get.

The title story for this collection (“Fences”) involves a white, picket fence, which this cover doesn’t evoke at all.

A search on Pixabay, and I got more than enough to choose from.

I selected this one, imported it into PhotoShop, added the title, subtitle, and byline (of

fences-new-cover-front

2016 Cover

course), and this result, I think, is more true to the title story.

This is one of the advantages of indie publishing: If you want to refresh a cover or even the interior (I, uh, may have found a few typos.), it’s relatively easy to do. Your book isn’t available for sale for a couple of days until the databases communicate, but for me, it was worth it for a better-looking cover.

What say you?

 

Blood Vengeance

blood-vengeance-cs

2012 Cover

I used to be into minimalist covers. I wanted people to be attracted to the story inside, not pretty cover art. Yes, I was naive. When Blood Vengeance, my first collection of espionage stories came out in 2012, I thought this cover, again from CreateSpace, was eye-catching. I liked the cover color and the stark font for the title.

It resonated with me, and with some readers, because when I sold it side-by-side with another book, which had art on the cover, the minimalist Blood Vengeance cover out-sold the other.

After a few years of reflection, and learning about the importance of a good cover for an indie-published book, I came to realize the cover was dull as rust.

Another excellent resource for indie authors is SelfPubBookCovers. For relatively low prices (most well under $100), you can purchase a professionally designed cover, which you can customize yourself, either on the site or in PhotoShop, which is what I did. (It can also be imported into other graphics programs and sites, e.g., Canva.) For the price, you get a 300 dpi jpeg suitable for a print cover and a 72 dpi jpeg for a Kindle or ebook cover. All you have to do is give an attribution to the cover’s artist, which SelfPubBookCovers provides.

You can also pay extra for more customization, including a back cover and a spine, and for additional covers for a related series of books. I purchased a cover from SelfPubBookCovers for my 2015 novella, The Yellow Scarf, and I was wowed by the result.

bv-new-front-cover

2016 Cover

Here’s the new cover for Blood Vengeance. Again, I feel as though this cover, even in its simplicity, is more eye-catching and relates better to the title story (“Blood Vengeance”).

The other thing you may have noticed is a slight change in the byline. The espionage genre is mostly a man’s game. That’s changing. I’m certainly not hiding the fact I’m a woman who writes about spies, but bearing in mind the person who picks up a book on the basis of its cover, why not give myself a little extra step on that break-in ladder? Again, I don’t hide my gender–you’ll find it on the “About the Author” page in the book.

What’s Next?

Expect new covers for 2012’s Spy Flash and 2015’s The Better Spy, as well as a new cover for the other 2015 novella, My Noble Enemy.

And before the year is out–[insert drum roll here]–cover reveals for Spy Flash II and my first novel, A War of Deception.

Yes, you read it here first. In 2017 my very first, standalone novel will come out.

Are you as excited as I am?

P.S., I doubt it. 😉

 

THE BETTER SPY – Release Date Announced!

The_Better_Spy_Cover_for_KindlejpgIt’s official! My newest collection of short stories about the globe-trotting U.N. spies Alexei Bukharin and Mai Fisher, The Better Spy, will be released as a paperback and an eBook on July 28, 2015!

You first met Mai and Alexei in Blood Vengeance, Spy Flash, and My Noble Enemy (a Spy Flash novella). The Better Spy isn’t exactly a continuation but, rather, another piece in the mosaic of these two characters’ lives.

What is it about?

“The defining mission of UN covert operative Mai Fisher’s career came in the mid-1980s when she went undercover in the IRA. It was a mission she barely survived, when a shipment of Semtex she intended to destroy before the IRA would distribute it to various cells exploded too soon. Nine people, including a man she’d come to love, died, and she carried the guilt for the rest of her career. Nearly three decades later, a dying soldier has a secret he wants to tell her, one that will change everything.”

You can pre-order The Better Spy starting today. Click HERE to pre-order. Enjoy!

 

A Shameless Plug

If you’re enjoying the flash fiction adventures of U.N. spies Mai Fisher and Alexei Bukharin written for Jennie Coughlin’s Rory’s Story Cubes Challenge (Click on the Spy Flash tab above.), you’ll probably love this first collection of short stories about them:

Blood Vengeance is a collection of linked short stories for sale as an eBook at Amazon, and it’s only $3.99! I can even sign your e-copy through Kindlegraph.com.

Here’s what a recent reviewer of Blood Vengeance had to say:

“This is as real and intense as it gets. The stories mix real events with fictional characters in a way that makes everything extremely believable. The fact that those events can be researched on the web, where explicit pictures show the extent of the horror, is hair-raising.

“The characters’ expertise takes them to world hotspots. They get the job done while trying to lead normal lives, which is a lost battle. But they try very hard, and live very intensely. I enjoyed their struggles immensely and hope to read more about their undercover work. A great find.”

Give Blood Vengeance a try. You may like it, and then I won’t have to resort to these shameless, buy-my-book-please plugs. 😉

It’s My Birthday, and I’ll Cry if I Want to!

Seriously, today is my birthday. A significant one. One you don’t look forward to, but considering the alternative, I’ll accept that I’m leaving a specific decade behind. And, no, I won’t say which one.

It’s been a great week–the two eBooks of the updated, revised, polished short stories from my 2000 print collection, Rarely Well Behaved, are now available for your Kindle or Kindle App. That was exciting; just as exciting as when the book itself came out nearly twelve years ago; perhaps more so because I had to transcribe it, edit it, and format it myself. Now comes the hard part–all that self-promotion that makes me cringe. Just think of all the “buy my book” Tweets as a necessary evil.

If you want to buy my two, new eBooks–Blood Vengeance and Fences–just click on their images in the sidebar to the right. 😉

To read today’s Friday Fictioneers’ story, hover your cursor over the Friday Fictioneers tab above and click on the story “The Day After.”

I’m an E-Book Author!

I finally cracked the code on uploading my manuscripts to Amazon Publishing without formatting errors. Tucked away on an obscure “Help” page is the phrase, “Converting your file to .htm will help with formatting errors.” What? That couldn’t be in big, bold letters (capital letters) up front? That would have saved a lot of sobbing, hair-pulling, and disconsolate DM’s to writer friends. But discovering that it worked made me do a happy dance. (Good thing the web cam was off.)

Regardless, both books–Blood Vengeance and Fences–are uploaded, and if you look at the sidebar to the right, you can buy them both by clicking on the image.

If you happen to buy them, I can send you a message and a signature through Kindlegraph–who’ll be first?

So, now off to send self-serving Tweets begging people to buy my books. 😉