Sunday, June 29, 2014

Creating a Cover-Finding the Right Mood

So I'm at the stage where I needed to get a cover created for my new novel "Tracking a Shadow". I didn't want to be cheap but couldn't afford to spend a ton of money on the cover. I solicited ideas on how to find someone to create a cover. I received ideas to use sites like which is very inexpensive, all the way up to expensive services costing $500 or more. One of my Circle friends on Google Plus mentioned where you put in bids for various types of work, giving a description of what you are looking for and a price range of what you are willing to pay. Within a very short time, no more than a day I had offers from 18 or so people with various skill ranges offering to create my cover, all of them providing examples of covers they had created through the years. Weeding through the offers, some I tossed out right away, narrowing it down to 4-5 choices. Using Elance's messaging functions I interviewed each of them until I found the person with the talent and style I was looking for. No more than a day later I had 9 cover mock ups from her to go over.

That was when the internal struggle began. You see I'm not a visual person myself per say. The cover isn't what I look for in a book. It's the description of the book, the synopsis and genre that will sell me on a book. But everyone agrees the cover is the first thing you see and you if you grab them with it, they won't explore further. So even though I had an idea of how I envisioned the cover I needed to reach out to my peers in the social world to get opinions if what I had envisioned jumped out at them. So I posted on Google Plus and Facebook for feedback from those who cared to comment and to my the beta readers who had read the novel. Of the original 9 covers there were three that most liked the best. Of those I had my designer do another batch with some modifications which she had back to me quickly, 9 more variations to ponder. The reactions I had to those were very positive and nearly all liked the same one, which coincided with one of the two I liked. Now to decide which one to be the final one?

The cover final choices came down to one major difference, either the woman was standing looking pretty and sultry, the shadowy man behind her with a knife, or she was huddled on the floor in fear the same shadowy man behind her. Some of my peers thought the pretty sultry style looked too romantic and would give the wrong impression of what the story was about. The huddled woman gave more of a mystery feel to it. For me it was a toss up but I went with my gut and choose the sultry look with the stalking man behind her. I'd lived with this novel for nearly a year and I wanted to have the balance of sexy and scary on the cover, as that is the mood I believe comes across in the book. Either would have been very good and I wished I could have two covers, one front and one on the back, but one is all they give you. It was a matter of finding the right mood and hopefully I did. Time will tell.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Free Today and Tomorrow-The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card

In advance of the release of my new novel Tracking a Shadow, get the short story FREE that introduces Private Eye Jarvis Mann in The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card, where Jarvis helps a young high school student track down a valuable missing Ernie Banks trading card in the streets of Denver Colorado. Enjoy a good detective story, enjoy some biting humor, enjoy characters that make you think and smile, then you will like this short story. Get it today (6-26) and tomorrow (6-27) FREE on Amazon in eBook format and look for in the coming months on Amazon Tracking a Shadow where Jarvis Mann tries to find out who is stalking his sexy female client.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ha Ha: Humor in the Story

I noticed the bulges as both had guns, the first in a shoulder holster under the sport coat, the other in a belt holster covered by his hanging shirt. Both approached slowly trying to size me up, as I had been of them. I wished I’d pulled my gun out of the glove box when I’d gotten out of the car. It was a little late now and saying “Excuse me gentlemen while I get my gun” would not likely be met with joy on their part.

I'm a funny guy I've been told. Well by people other than my wife and daughter have said this. Apparently they've heard all my jokes already. But in my writing I like using a sharp wit with my main character Jarvis Mann. With even the craziest things going on around him, he cracks a joke to defuse the situation, even at his own expense. In the parking lot of a shopping center he tries to crack the intimidating stone face of two men trying to drag him off against his will. This is crucial to mask his fear and in this case distract his opponents.

“What can I do for you gentlemen?” I asked, seeing there was no one around to notice us. “If you’re looking for a good deal on a TV Best Buy is the place to shop.” Sometimes I couldn't help myself with stupid humor. “Or maybe you need some cat food. You both look like cat owners to me.”

No humor for me makes for a boring story. I need a few laughs within the violence and action, rounding out the storyline. Releasing some of the tension in the room is important. I like the idea of bringing a smile to a readers face.

“I think you two got your wardrobes mixed up,” I said. “Shouldn't the cowboy hat go with the cowboy boots, and the Rockies cap with the sneakers? I call out fashion faux pas.”

Or maybe my wife and daughter were right all along... :-)

Do you use humor is your writing and how do you incorporate it?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Write, Edit, Promote, Sell, Write Again

I haven't posted on this blog in over a month. After some responses received from questions I asked in various Communities it became clear I had to bear down and get my novel finished. I needed more written work out there to sell. No blogging, no social networks (well maybe a little!), no promoting; just write and edit. Bang the keys and drain the batteries on my wireless keyboard. It's completed now and in the hands of my beta readers. Feedback so far has been positive. The follow-up to The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card is in the home stretch. After incorporating their feedback I'm hiring an Indie Editor to polish it up, will get a cover designed and Tracking a Shadow will be ready for publishing.

So the Circle of a Writers Life will begin again.Write, Edit, Promote, Sell and Write again. Somewhere in there I have to work at my job, spend time with family and do chores around the house. This is the day to day routine of an Indie Writer. I'm excited and dreading at the same time what is ahead. It could be great, it might be terrible, I'd be happy with something in between, but I'm ready to face it. At the same time the follow-up to Tracking a Shadow is started, an outline for the book after that already forming. The series for Jarvis Mann PI is on track, our thrilling adventure together transforming from the inner mind to bits and bytes. The work never ends. Back to work...