Happy December!

On my walk this morning, a massive red-tailed hawk swooped down right in front of me, flew along a head of me for a bit, then finally went to land on a nearby rock. (“Nearby” being relative.) Gorgeous bird, and I always take these things as a sign. A good one, I hope!

1. “Belief” by Gavin DeGraw
2. “All That You Can Stand” by Little Feat (my favorite Little Feat song; it speaks to my experience)
3. “Carefree” by The Refreshments
4. “A Matter of Trust” by Billy Joel
5. “I Don’t Need Another Thrill” by Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers
6. “It’s About You” by Train
7. “A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Jimmy Buffett
8. “Lady I Can’t Explain” by Jimmy Buffett
9. “Last Chance” by Maroon 5

But what I’ve got stuck in my head now?

(Makes more sense if you watch this one first: http://youtu.be/RKOZgQy8qrw)

I also urge you to go have a look at the cover for Christine Rains’ upcoming book.

Cover Reveal: Effigy by M.J. Fifield

It’s a seriously beautiful cover (by Ravven), and I look forward to reading the novel, which comes out July 22.

The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.

effigy_promoA sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.

Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?

Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.

About The Author:

M.J. Fifield Author PicArmed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn’t writing, she’s on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures—mostly pets—in New Hampshire. Effigy is her first novel.

You can visit M.J.’s blog via my links to the right or at the following sites:

http://www.mjfifield.com/
http://mjfifield.blogspot.com/

Add Effigy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22545883-effigy?ac=1

Coming Soon . . .

Fall&Rise_cover

After a walk through a bookstore, I chose this cover. It’s different, it’s eye catching. I opted for the blue and red version because I found it more vivid and feel it has more tension than the green. (Someone mentioned they felt the green could be a quirky comedy novel, and I had wondered about that myself; I feel the red and blue, however, is less likely to be taken for “funny.”)

Anyway, I hope to finish up the story and have it out by July. Earlier if possible. But now I have a cover to motivate me!

Running for Cover

I’m down to the final couple cover options for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller. It has been remarkably difficult to pick one; I’ve loved so many of the designs. But I had to think about what would look good both as a thumbnail on sites like Amazon, what would look intriguing enough that people would click on it (or pick the book up in a store), and what accurately represents the contents without being so generic that the cover would fail to give any sense of the book.

For those who’ve read either St. Peter in Chains and/or St. Peter at the Gate, you know the story is a 60s British spy drama. But this isn’t James Bond. There are no car chases, no big gun fights. It’s part character study and part intellectual cat-and-mouse. The tension is mostly within Peter as he tries to figure out whether his lover Charles is actually an enemy agent.

So here are the final two:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00028]

cover2

Which one would catch your eye? Which one would interest you enough to make you pick it up or click on it?

The second one comes in another color (or two colors, really):

cover3

I’m partial to the green, though. I don’t want to bias anyone, but I think it’s interesting that my friends with design backgrounds seem to like the retro cover (“Saul Bass” they tell me) while those without that angle seem to gravitate toward the first. And really, they all seemed to like ones with big British flags on them, but I eliminated those because they were somewhat generic. I mean, those covers could have been on any kind of book: history, historical fiction, general dramatic literature . . . They were beautiful but didn’t say anything definite.

And then there were some covers that were very cool but promised more action-spy-thriller than I think my book actually offers. My fear there was that readers would ultimately be disappointed if they chose the book in the hopes it was Tom Clancy in tone. It isn’t.

Finally, there were a few that struck the right tone but were indistinguishable from other book covers in the category. I didn’t want to blend in too much and get lost in the shuffle.

So. That leaves these. Thoughts?

Oh, and Happy New Year!

ETA: The green is now out of the running. Much as I love it, I think the red and blue would stand out more on a bookstore shelf or table and would catch more eyes online. Plus the green one could be a comedy while the red and blue suggests more tension.

Cover Designs for Peter

So we’ve settled on The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller for the title. And now we’re getting the first round of cover submissions! Designers have three more days to submit, but I’m enjoying the options so far. A wide range of styles. See them for yourself. Of course the question becomes whether to have Peter depicted on the cover or not . . . Could go either way . . . I naturally have a mental picture of Peter that is unlikely to be realized by a random book cover model, but it could still work. And someone with the right “look” may draw more readers than any generic British cover. Hmm. Lots to consider. But it’s fun!

Cover Reveal: The 13th Floor Collection

Backstairs - 5 - in an apartment building.

Coming on October 13, 2013:

Six supernatural tenants
Living in a haunted apartment building
On a floor that doesn’t exist.

Six novellas telling their tales.

  • A retired demon acquires a price on his head.
  • A werewolf is hunted by her pack.
  • A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.
  • A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.
  • A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can’t find.
  • A banshee falls in love with someone who’s death she has seen in a vision.
  • And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.

All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy! player. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She’s a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has eight novellas and twenty-one short stories published.

Website: http://christinerains.net/
Blog: http://christinerains-writer.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorchristinerains
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@CRainsWriter
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4017568.Christine_Rains

Men of Foxwick by Cherie Reich

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image19586643Men of Foxwick by Cherie Reich is now available! This fantasy short story collection features five men from the Kingdom of Foxwick.

A blind teen seeks a place in the kingdom. A dragon seer journeys to Wintermill to spy on the queen. A sword master’s worst fear comes true when he fails to protect the royal family. A king falls in love with an herb witch, but will she feel the same way? A hunter will rise to the challenge to hunt down a man-eating monster.

Short stories in this collection: “Blind Scribe,” “Dragon Spy,” “Sword Master,” “Courting Magic,” and “Monster Hunter”

An Excerpt from “Blind Scribe” in Men of Foxwick

Dallan counted his steps as his mama and he weaved through the busy streets of Foxwick. Twenty-six, twenty-seven. They’d passed the fruit stand and were now farther into Foxwick than he’d ever been in his fifteen summers. People, just moving shadows, brushed against his shoulder. He scrunched toward Mama to make his lanky frame smaller. The odor of sweat and manure combated the more pleasant scents of flowers and baking bread. A bead of sweat trickled into his hairline, and he longed for the comfort of their small house.

“Keep up, Dallan.” Mama’s skirts brushed against his pants’ legs.

“Where are you taking me?” He clung to her arm and dragged his feet. They’d gone too far. The shadows darkened, as if the sun had slipped behind the horizon, and he had no clue where he was now.

She halted mid-step before yanking him forward. “I do not wish to do this, but we have little c-choice.”

“Do what, Mama?” He wanted to dig his heels into the pavement and halt their progress. Had she decided he was more trouble than he was worth? Times were tough, and he was such little help. He tried to plow straight—despite counting his steps and placing one foot in front of the other—but he often tripped over the rocky soil. He tried cooking, but he couldn’t even boil water without scorching it. Though he wasn’t too bad as a tailor because he could count stitches and feel where he needed to go, he still needed guidance.

She pulled him closer. Rough stone rubbed against his arm through his thin shirt. A sob hitched in Mama’s throat as she emitted a mouse-like squeak. She embraced him tightly and then smoothed his damp hair from his face. “My sweet boy, I’m so, so sorry.”

“What’s wrong?” His heart pounded like a horse galloping across an open field, each hoof beating the ground in a frantic rhythm.

Want more?

Purchase Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D7ORVGM
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00D7ORVGM
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/322951
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Men-of-Foxwick/book-511QsAd03EK-Ax_xJKFBjw/page1.html?s=0w1ah5UoCUu8dDgBQtPoGQ&r=4
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/men-of-foxwick-cherie-reich/1115517736

Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17732987-men-of-foxwick

About the Author:
A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror series Nightmare, a space fantasy trilogy titled Gravity, and a fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.

Her debut YA Epic Fantasy novel Reborn, book one in The Fate Challenges, will be released on May 23, 2014.

Author Links:
Website: http://cheriereich.webs.com
Blog: http://cheriereich.blogspot.com
Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/j3D5X (She’s giving away Smashwords coupons for a free copy of Women of Foxwick to newsletter subscribers.)