Re-covering your books

Coincidentally, the two authors I first connected with when I set out to become an author both revamped the covers of their debut novels recently. I’m also in the process of re-examining my published book’s cover, so I thought it would be useful to discuss the matter further.

How does a writer’s perception on covers evolve?

Science fiction and children’s books author Nicholas Rossis and fantasy and paranoral romance author Effrosyni Moschoudi gave their novels a great boost with new, fresh, awesome covers.

Before I start the Q&A with both Effrosyni and Nicholas, note that they both have amazing offers running right now.

Effrosyni Moschoudi’s The Necklace of Goddess Athena which we will further discuss is FREE from 19-22 November.

Nicholas Rossis’ first book in the Pearseus series is FREE until November 20 and again on November 30.

Have you grabbed your copies? Now let’s talk covers.

profpic 690x884 png 300dpiEffrosyni Moscoudi has received accolades for both her paranormal romance trilogy The Lady of the Pier (an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards quarter-finalist) and her debut time-travelling fantasy The Necklace of Goddess Athena. When the book first came out, Effrosyni had chosen this cover for it:

 

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If you click on the book’s title above, you’ll see this new, amazing cover. Let’s ask Effrosyni about this need to give her debut a fresh look.

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Hi, Fros! The new cover is awesome. Really eye-catching! But I’m sure you loved your first cover when you chose it. What were the elements you intended to bring out back then?

When I started two years ago, I knew no one, and my indie budget was non-existent, thus I didn’t have the luxury of employing a professional who could make me a tailored-made cover. Luckily, my sister-in-law, Deborah Mansfield, worked in London as a high-flying graphic designer at the time and although she did anything but ebook covers at work, I thought I had nothing to lose asking if she could help. She was a sweetheart, getting all excited about the prospect of assisting me at the start of my publishing journey and I am forever grateful to her for that. Deborah made the initial cover for The Necklace of Goddess Athena as well as all three in the Lady of the Pier series (plus a fourth cover for a companion poetry book to the series that I plan to publish in January).

 

I didn’t give much input on the first cover. I just sent to Debs a lovely image of the Parthenon (courtesy of my brother-in-law, Adrian Leach – yes, I involved the whole family in that first cover, LOL). I also said it would be lovely if I could have a little owl and a necklace somewhere on the cover and that was the result. Debs chose the graphics, the fonts, the placement of everything and I trusted her blindly. I got a multitude of compliments for this cover across the social media and it helped me tremendously during the first two years of my indie journey.
How has your perception on covers shifted since then?

Well, as you know, they say you live and learn and, boy, is this the case when you’re an indie author! By the time I felt the need to give the sales on this book a boost via a new cover, I had picked up a thing or two on book covers and what makes them more appealing to the reader. They say, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but it’s a fact that we all do. It’s human nature. So, for the new cover I knew I wanted the wow-factor to be taken under consideration more than anything else. Also, I knew the first cover was static and I needed to have a couple and an action thrown in there for a more dynamic result. I also learned at some point that colors play a very important role and that every genre has its secrets when it comes to the colors its expected to have for the genre to speak for itself. So, for The Necklace of Goddess Athena I imagined dark colors to convey mystery, danger, and to add tension – everything you would expect from a mysterious fantasy story.

And then some. How did the new cover come about?

As I mentioned earlier, I needed a new cover as to give the book a sales boost. This time round I was able to afford a professional designer specializing on e-books and I knew, more or less, what the cover should look like. My graphic designer, the talented Alex Saskalidis of 187designz was, like, in my head! I gave him the blurb and told him I wanted an antique clock and a couple on it, mentioning also the Parthenon and Athena, of course, in case he could find something suitable. Alex worked miracles with that. He came up with this awesome cover that made my jaw drop, and it was his very first proposal. It was exactly what I had in mind. He picked the dark colors without me even talking about this, and picked these incredible graphics too. The glint inside the Acropolis and the clock convey the time travel element perfectly while the couple running hand in hand were straight out of the first chapter. It’s the scene of Daphne and Phevos arriving in modern-day Athens at night. One thing I know for sure –  I’m done looking for graphic designers. Alex was a breeze to work with – polite and easygoing, and that’s equally important to me. Alex was a real treasure to find and I recommend him highly!

No need to use special powers of persuasion. Your cover speaks on its own. I’m already using Alex to work his magic on my own cover.
Readers, if you think the cover is attractive wait till you delve in this book. I did and easily 5-starred it. Here’s my review.

And don’t forget. This awesome book is FREE from tomorrow until November 22! Don’t miss out! Here’s that link again: The Necklace of Goddess Athens.

Rossis_1000pxNicholas Rossis’ rampant fantasy constructs fantastical worlds for grown-ups and imaginative tales for kids. His Pearseus epic fantasy series has reached the No. 1 spot on various Kindle categories, and Runaway Smile, his heart-warming children’s story has earned notable distinctions. You can read Runaway Smile for free on Nicholas blog.

 

Nicholas, let’s talk about your Pearseus series. If I remember correctly, you created the first version of the cover, right?

Yes, and I was insanely proud of it at the time. I used a couple of designs my illustrator friend, Dimitris Fousekis, drew for me—the Pearseus logo and the scales of Themis. I hand-drew a map of Pearseus, scanned it and used it as the background, along with some paragraphs from the book in script font.

I then arranged everything to create the cover, using the best of my artistic abilities.

And why did this enthusiasm wane?

We are such terrible judges of our own work, aren’t we? That’s why we need nice people like editors and beta readers. We fall in love with our work, but can’t be sure just how great—or poor—it is until we verify it with the world.

In my case, I uploaded the covers to  Rate Book Cover—a website that allows visitors to rate your books covers using a simple one-to-five star voting system. To my horror, my covers rated between 3 and 3.5 stars. That’s when I decided to have a professional designer, Alex Saskalidis of 187designz, redesign them.

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I love the texture in the new cover. 

Alex is great with fonts. First, he got rid of the Pearseus logo, which was intricate and impressive, but hard to read. Instead, he used a simple, modern font that hints at science fiction, thereby better conveying the unique mixture of fantasy and sci-fi of my books.

Second, he redesigned the scales of Themis, using photographs. The new scales are much more realistic and eye-catching.

Last, he used photorealistic backgrounds to create a tactile image that suits the books well.

In short, Alex’s approach was more professional than mine. You can tell he does this for a living, can’t you?

The final proof that the redesigned covers work better came when I uploaded them on Rate Book Cover. The new covers got an average score of 4.5 stars. One could argue that a difference of a single star is insignificant, but there are three reasons why I felt it was worth it:

First of all, my book covers now reflect the professional writing and editing of the books.

Second, as Pearseus has been Indie published, it has to compete against professional publishing houses. How can you do that with an amateurish cover?

And last but not least, my professional pride (fine, vanity) has now been fully satisfied. Which is priceless🙂

Hear, hear! Alex did a great job on Pearseus as well!

Readers, make sure you grab your FREE copy of The Rise of the Prince now! Here’s the link. Yes, I’ve read and reviewed this amazing series. Here’s my review.

And if you want to see more work of the talented Alex Saskalidis, here’s his Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The phenomenal Kim Linwood – Part Two

Last time I invited Kim Linwood over to talk about the spanking success of Rebel, her debut stepbrother romance (no blood-related MCs, big HEA) and her method, I ended up publishing one of the most read and widely shared posts on this blog (here is the interview if you missed it). Her second outing with Bossy in the same sub-genre was equally successful, proving that she’s here to stay. I’m super excited to have Kim back to give us the lowdown on how she repeated her feat of producing a book that topped Kindle categories and shot up the Kindle bestseller list.

Welcome back, Kim! Are you ready for another third degree? Your success is too good not to be shared. Let’s start with your writing process. Bossy was published four months after Rebel but still, having read both books, I felt you have grown as an author. What are the writing areas that you worked on more this time around?

Thank you! I feel like Bossy is a better book, but it’s really difficult to evaluate when you’re so close to the source. By the time you’ve read over the book for the millionth time, you’re convinced it’s terrible, completely unfunny and hopelessly unromantic.

This time I tried to work on character depth and story depth, without losing the humor and plain fun that I try to inject into my stories. Declan and Claire’s relationship builds more naturally in Bossy, I think, and there’s a subplot narrative beyond just “I love/hate you” that helps drive the story and their relationship forwards. Obviously, the readers will determine whether I succeeded or not, but that was at least what I was going for.🙂

You target a commercial, trendy romance niche: the stepbrother romance. Do you adjust your story to fit a specific mold? Do you follow a specific recipe or do you go by instinct? 

This is a difficult question to answer. By writing to a niche, I suppose the answer is always going to be yes, since I keep the niche in mind while planning the book. On the other hand, it’s a type of book that I really enjoy writing, putting my personal touch to it. I think my books have a definite comedic aspect to them, and I try to make the characters bigger than life with a bunch of over the top antics, all while writing a solid romance with real emotions and a happy ending at the core of it. I think my style works pretty well for the stepbrother/bad boy tropes, so I guess the answer is yes and no. The niche guides my decisions when I plan the book, but they’re usually decisions I might’ve made anyway, so I’m not sure if those count as concessions or not.

You published Rebel in May with great results. What knowledge have you gained since in terms of marketing a book? What did you do differently this time?

To be honest, I’ll be following more or less the same plan. Rebel was #11 in the Amazon Kindle store at its best, and it’s impossible to not be very happy about that. Obviously, I was hoping for a repeat success, but while I was hopeful, it’d be crazy for me to expect it. It could be quite possible that Rebel was a fluke, or just happened to show up at the right place at the right time. It was my first novel, and with a sample size of one, it’s difficult to glean any meaningful data. So for now, I’ll keep going with what I know worked last time, and then in a month or two, I’ll look back at this launch and see if there’s anything I feel needs to change.

Do you see the stepbrother romance trend holding up? Is there another romance niche on the rise?

There are definitely fewer stepbrother novels hitting the top ranks these days, so the trend might be dying down, or there might just be a lull right now. That said, I still see authors doing well with them and I know there are more coming from authors I respect. I have a lot of fun with the trope, so I’ll probably keep at them while readers enjoy them. That said, bad boys and sassy heroines don’t really seem to go out of style, even if the specifics change. Whether they’re werewolves, bikers, stepbrothers, MMA fighters, or something else, I think they’ll be around in some form for a long time to come. Who knows, maybe I’ll even write a few with different tropes just to mix it up.🙂

As for coming genres, I have hopes for science fiction romance. The new Star Wars movie comes out around Christmas, and authors like Ruby Lionsdrake and Mina Carter have had good luck with them. If they’re going to get to top 10 material, I don’t know, though. I think writing sci-fi would be a ton of fun, but contemporary romance does seem to be the vast majority of the bestsellers, but there was certainly periods for werewolves and vampires in the past, so maybe the fantastical will get another chance. There are many authors who are still doing really well in those categories.

I guess my answer is, I don’t know, but if it’s not stepbrothers, I think it’ll be difficult to go wrong with the bad boys in some format.😉

I know you sent out over 300 ARCs which got you over 100 reviews on the first day of Bossy’s publication. With only one book out and a budding platform, how did you connect with such a large number of potential readers and got them to give up their email address?

Well, for Rebel, I sent out 113 ARCs, I think it was, so the first thing I did was to ask them to sign up if they wanted to do an ARC again. I do a new signup each time to keep the list fresh. I figure that’ll get rid of those who didn’t care for the previous book and probably aren’t a good match as an ARC reader anyway. Also, my mailing list had about 230 people on it at the time, so I offered all of them to sign up as ARC readers.

At the same time, I try to get to know other authors, especially ones who write in similar genres, and we’ll do newsletter exchanges, so several of my friends sent notes to their mailing lists asking for ARC signups. In addition, I used Facebook, but I do think the majority came from the newsletters and previous ARC reviewers.

Endorsement through newsletters. Awesome! I keep seeing indie authors adding a whole other book at the end of a new release (two even). You’ve also added Rebel in its entirety as a bonus novel in Bossy. Why an entire book when it’s already up on Amazon and not just the one chapter?

With the way Kindle Unlimited has changed to paying authors by the page, there’s really very little reason to not give the reader as much content as you can, with as low of a barrier as possible. If it’s as simple as flipping a page to start reading another of your books, the threshold is virtually zero, at least so long as the reader likes your writing to begin with. You still have to generate quality product, writing good stories well, or they’ll never get there. But so long as they do, it’s a win/win situation for author and reader.

That makes so much sense. So, readers, you see that writing well is just one of the talents a successful author possesses (although it’s the number one talent, and that will never change). But if sales matter to you, then you have to keep abreast of trends, pool resources with others, and keep those books coming out! (Maria, are you listening?)

Kim, thank you so much for allowing me to tap into your insights for the second time. Here’s to you coming over a third with another bestseller, equally jaw-dropping stats and more useful tips.

Thank you so much, and believe you me, I hope so too!😉

Links used in this article:

Bossy: A Stepbrother Romance (with bonus novel Rebel)Amazon US–   Amazon UK

My review of Bossy

Rebel: A Stepbrother Romance)Amazon US– Amazon UK

My review of Rebel

Kim’s first Q&A on MM Jaye writes

Connect with Kim Linwood

Sitehttp://kimlinwood.com
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/kimlinwood
Facebook: http://facebook.com/kim.linwood

WIP Wednesday: Q&A with author and editor Alicia Dean

Alicia Dean Tin Man BWI haven’t posted a Q&A in a while, but I will compensate through introducing you to today’s guest, author, blogger and freelance editor, Alicia Dean. Alicia likes spinning spine-chilling stories, but she’s successfully delved into romance and paranormal as well. Scarred is her latest release, a Gothic short that appears in the Mysteries of the Macabre, a Halloween anthology, available just in time for the creepy holiday everybody loves.

Apart from her author’s work, we’ll talk about PoVs and newbie writer errors, so come join us!

Alicia, thank you so much for being here. Before we talk about your WIP process and your editing services, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?  

In addition to writing and editing, I work as a legal assistant for a family law firm. I am a huge Elvis fan. I love MLB and NFL. And, I love watching tv. You would think that takes away from my editing/writing time, but I get a lot of work done in front of the television…promise! J I have three grown kids who come over and hang out with me on a fairly regular basis, which I love. So far, none of them are married or have children, so I still get some of their time.

Halloween_cover_lowresYou’re an author and a professional editor. What came first?

 Being an author. I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. Although, now that I think about it, I was officially an editor for The Wild Rose Press before my first book was published. So…

Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

As a teen, High School teacher Sabrina Spencer survived a serial killer attack at Christmas that took her entire family. Ten years later, a few weeks before Christmas, bizarre gifts begin arriving with a threat linked to the Twelve Days of Christmas. At the cabin she rents each year to escape the holidays, she meets Josh, a sexy handyman and a playboy who is the opposite of the kind of man she needs. The threats escalate and her students could be in danger as the Twelfth Day approaches. Sabrina must determine if she can trust Josh or if he is the one sending the twisted gifts.

Ha, just over 100!

Well done, and an enticing story you’ve got there! When you set word count goals, do you usually follow through? Do you have an effective writing method or time saving tips that you would like to share?

Honestly, I am usually behind on my goals, mainly because I have so many other projects that need my attention. The only time saving method I have is to use the speech to text function in Word. I am still trying to get used to it, but if I close my eyes and visualize the scene and just ‘speak’ it, I seem to write more quickly.

I’ve read that although this seems like a strange process, it gradually grows on you and you can indeed add words to your WIP. You run a very interesting blog. My favorite column is your Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip where you post excellent editing tips and sample edits of authors’ WIPs. You go for “deep PoV” edits”. Could you define “deep point of view writing”?

Thank you! I enjoy blogging and I enjoy sharing tips with others. Deep POV writing is when readers are brought closer to the experiences of the characters, rather than being distanced. It’s closely related to ‘showing’ vs ‘telling.’ Using filter words that distance the reader (such as ‘saw’ ‘heard’ ‘felt’ ‘wondered’ ‘thought’ etc) are signs that you might not be in deep POV. Also, using phrases that a character wouldn’t think about themselves, for example: (Let’s pretend we’re in my heroine, Sabrina’s, POV)

Sabrina wondered if Josh was the one sending the gifts. Surely not. If so, she was in more danger than she realized. The teacher’s blue-gray eyes filled with tears. She jumped in fear when she heard the phone ring.  (or, another common way sentences like the first one are stated: Josh could be sending  the gifts, she thought).

There is no need to tell us she wondered or thought. And, believe it or not, some writers DO say things like ‘the teacher or detective did this or the woman did that’ when they are in a character’s POV because they don’t want to keep using the names or pronouns, but that distances the reader, as do words like ‘heard’ and that last sentence is “telling” and distant POV. Also, a character won’t think of the color of their own eyes, or any of their physical qualities unless they are looking at them or it has something to do with their thoughts, such as: “She hated the way the humidity made her hair frizz.”

 This is better:

Was Josh the one sending the gifts? Surely not. If so, she was in more danger than she realized. Please, don’t let him be the one… Tears rose, and she wiped her eyes. The shrill ring of the phone made her jump. Her heart thumped loudly in her ears. (This could all be worded better, but my aim was just to make it deeper POV, less telling. No need to tell us she was ‘in fear’ and using ‘when the’ gives readers a head’s up and puts it in past tense, more or less)

Going deep in writing seems to be the name of the game. I attended a relevant course, and the teacher said that a writer stands no chance being picked up by an agent if she doesn’t go deep. Is that so? And does that apply to all genres?

I can’t speak for all agents, but I would say that it would be difficult to pick up an agent or get published without going deep. They may reject you without telling you that you didn’t use deep POV, but oftentimes if you hear phrases like I wasn’t engaged in the story’ or ‘I couldn’t connect with the characters,’ it’s probably because of distant writing.

Can you give us the most common writing mistakes in a new writer’s manuscript? The ones you’ve come to expect to correct?

Some of the most common are telling vs showing, filter words (both of these related to deep POV, or lack thereof), and backstory dumps.

For more info on Alicia Dean’s freelance editorial services, click here. http://aliciadean.com/editing-services/

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

AliciaWorkspace

Actually, I don’t have a very inspiring workspace, it is a corner of my bedroom with no outside view. But, I do hang things above my computer that inspire me.

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

My best marketing tip is to choose a few social media platforms and be consistent on those, rather than trying to be on them all. Find a few that you enjoy. Facebook and Twitter are my main focus. As for a promotional site, I run an Authors Helping Authors loop where we promote for one another so we aren’t always ‘tooting our own horn’ and I have met a fabulous group of supportive authors. This is the link if anyone would like to check it out:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/AuthorsHelpingAuthors/info

Your site is http://aliciadean.com. Where else can we connect with you?

Blog: http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008364070487

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Alicia_Dean_

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/aliciamdean/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468339.Alicia_Dean

Alicia, thank you for the awesome interview. Best of luck with your future projects.

Thank you for having me! I enjoyed visiting with you.

We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips

I’m super excited to announce that I’m one of the contributors in an upcoming recipe & tips book inspired and edited by USA Today Bestselling author Lois Winston.  When Lois put out feelers, calling for submissions in the Authors Network Yahoo group, I thought that as an indie who’s way down the food chain (pun intended) I wouldn’t stand a chance, but I submitted anyway. And I’m in among NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors!

The book entitled We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips is already up for pre-order for only 99 cents with its release date set for October 30.

Read on for all the book details and please consider purchasing or gifting it as part of the proceeds will go to No Kid Hungry https://www.nokidhungry.org.

We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips

Editor: Lois Winston
Release Date: October 30
Pre-order link: Amazon

Book Description

Have you ever wished you could find more time to do the things you want to do, rather than just doing the things you have to do? Most authors juggle day jobs and family responsibilities along with their writing. Because they need to find time to write, they look for ways to save time in other aspects of their lives.

Cooking often takes up a huge junk of time. In We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips you’ll find easy, nutritious recipes for meat, poultry, pasta, soup, stew, chili, and vegetarian meals. All of the recipes require a minimum of prep time, freeing you up to read, exercise, garden, craft, write, spend more time with family, or whatever.

Within the pages of We’d Rather Be Writing: 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips you’ll be introduced to authors who write a wide range of fiction—everything from mystery to romance to speculative fiction to books for children, young adults, and new adults—and some who write nonfiction. Some of the authors write sweet; others write steamy. Some write cozy; others write tense thrillers.

Some are debut authors with only one published book; others are multi-published and have had long publishing careers. Some are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors who may or may not be familiar to you, but being a bestselling author doesn’t mean they still don’t have to juggle their day job along with their writing.

The authors who contributed to this book are a rather creative and resourceful bunch when it comes to carving out time from their busy lives. So in addition to timesaving recipes, within the pages of this book you’ll find timesaving and organizational tips for other aspects of your life. And if you happen to be a writer, you’ll also find a plethora of great ideas to help you organize your writing life.

Authors who contributed to this book include: Lisa Alber, Reggi Allder, Judy Alter, Krista Ames, Rose Anderson, Cori Lynn Arnold, Judy Baker, Beverley Bateman, Donnell Ann Bell, Paula Gail Benson, Kris Bock, Maureen Bonatch, Ava Bradley, Susan Breen, Lida Bushloper, Michelle Markey Butler, Ashlyn Chase, Judy Copek, Maya Corrigan, Mariposa Cruz, Melinda Curtis, Lesley A. Diehl, Conda V. Douglas, Nancy Eady, Helena Fairfax, Jennifer Faye, Flo Fitzpatrick, Kit Frazier, Shelley Freydont, Mariana Gabrielle, Rosie Genova, Marni Graff, Joanne Guidoccio, Margaret S. Hamilton, L.C. Hayden, Linda Gordon Hengerer, Heather Hiestand, R.Franklin James, Kathryn Jane, M.M. Jaye, Elizabeth John, Stacy Juba, Gemma Juliana, Carol Goodman Kaufman, Melissa Keir, Kay Kendall, A.R. Kennedy, Lynn Kinnaman, Marie Laval, B.V. Lawson, Claudia Lefeve, Alice Loweecey, Cynthia Luhrs, Sandra Masters, Lisa Q. Mathews, J.M. Maurer, Sandra McGregor, Kathy McIntosh, Claire A. Murray, Ann Myers, Tara Neale, Stacey Joy Netzel, Jayne Ormerod, Alice Orr, Laurel Peterson, Irene Peterson, Pepper Phillips, Caridad Pineiro, Kathryn Quick, Renée Reynolds, Josie Riviera, Elizabeth Rose, C.A. Rowland, Cindy Sample, Sharleen Scott, Terry Shames, Susan C. Shea, Judy Penz Sheluk, Joanna Campbell Slan, Karen Rose Smith, Lynette Sofras, Kaye Spencer, Skye Taylor, Lourdes Venard, Lea Wait, Regan Walker, Lois Winston, and Aubrey Wynne.

Thank you, Lois, for offering me a spot in this awesome book, and all of you readers for considering its purchase or promotion.

MM Jaye

Audience Building Via Contests and Giveaways

This week, I am a guest at Molly Greene’s awesome blog, sharing all I know about promotion and audience building through social media contests and giveaways. As a host for two virtual book tour companies, I get to see first-hand the methods both traditionally published and indie authors use to promote their books and gain more followers and fans. In the post, I talk about:

  • Why you should host a giveaway
  • Where you could host it
  • What you could offer as a prize
  • The code of conduct
  • Free and paid tools to help you with the process

Read the post in its entirety, here.

Thank you, and if you don’t follow Molly’s blog already, look around her site. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of reasons to do so.

__________________________________________________________________

For a sensual romance story set on a beautiful Greek island, pick up Fate Accompli, free through Kindle Unlimited. Read in its entirety on the same day by whoever picks it up (according to Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count stats).

Fate Accompli - Clean Version
Fate Accompli – Clean Version

Fait Accompli - Spicy version
Fait Accompli – Spicy version

Amazing sci-fi shorts by Nicholas C. Rossis #free!

Nicholas C. Rossis is an amazing sci-fi, fantasy and children’s books author and a very giving blogger and person. I’ve read his entire body of work, including his two short-story volumes free and on sale till Monday, September 21. Read on for the book details and my 5-star reviews, and don’t miss out!

Infinite Waters: 9+1 Speculative Fiction Short Stories FREE!

by Nicholas C. Rossis
Publication Date: June 28, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Pages: 124
Purchase Link: Amazon

Cover_Infinite_3d_1000

Ten speculative fiction short stories and flash fiction. The anthology includes the following stories:
  • Infinite Waters“: A woman seeks her future at a carnival. She discovers more than she expected.
  • The Things We Do for Lust“: Beware of time travelers bearing gifts.
  • James’ Life“: A man with nothing to look forward to but oblivion, discovers it’s not that easy to escape his life.
  • Two’s a Crowd“: Blood runs thicker than water. Especially when you spill it.
  • What’s in a Name?“: A trip to the tropics has an unexpected ending.
  • The Lucky Bastard“: How far will the luckiest man alive go to escape his luck?
  • A Twist of the Tail“: A confused woman meanders through a sleepy town. But not all is as it seems.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?“: A high school student just loves to experiment.
  • Sex and Dinner“: A timeless combination. Or is it?
  • Would You Like Flies With That?“: Nothing’s scarier than a supermarket.
  • The Hand of God“: Nothing has prepared a grizzly veteran for this meeting *.
    (* first published in The Power of Six)

My Review

Uplifting or dark. these stories make for an easy yet rich and satisfying read. I enjoyed Nicholas Rossis’ first short-story collection, The Power of Six, and had to try this second installment. Nicely tied together through one story that unfolds throughout the book, and seemingly diverse (which adds to the reading pleasure) the 9+1 shorts are rife with questions about the nature of reality and perception. Well-written, fast-paced, clever and thought-provoking. A great collection!

The Power of Six 6+1 Science Fiction Short Stories for 0.99!

by Nicholas C. Rossis
Publication Date: May 4, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 138
Purchase Link: Amazon

power of six 3d book_1000

Six science fiction short stories written by the award-winning author of Pearseus and Runaway Smile. This edition includes one extra story, written by Amos M. Carpenter, and “What’s in a Name,” published in Infinite Waters: 9+1 Speculative Fiction Short Stories. 

The anthology includes the following stories: 

  • “Simulation Over”: How far can we trust our senses?
  • “For the Last Time”: The law of unintended consequences meets Merphy’s law during a man’s unexpected time travel.
  • “The Hand of God”: Nothing has prepared a grizzly veteran for this meeting.
  • “I Come in Peace”: an award-winning short story that poses the question: how far would man go to alleviate his loneliness?
  • “A Fresh Start”: If we were free to go anywhere in time and space, where would we choose to go?
  • “The Sentry”: What is a Sentry to do when the monster that steals away his family’s most precious possessions reappears?
  • “Big Bang”: A friendly game turns into much more in this short story written by Amos M. Carpenter.
  • “What’s in a Name”: A trip to the Tropics takes an unexpected turn. *
(* first published in Infinite Waters)
Humorous and poignant, these short stories are exciting, intriguing and imaginative

My Review

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Nicholas C. Rossis’ bestselling Pearseus series, I picked up this anthology, knowing that the short story format would make the book even more readable. I was right. I read the stories in one sitting (Simulation Over I had already read on Wattpad).

An all-powerful computer, an Adam Sandler-esque remote that enables time traveling, a real life/video game mesh, a willing host to an alien form of life, a haunted house/portal to the multiverse and a David-Goliath metaphor are Nicholas’ vehicles to portray his version of the Cartesian doubt: the fallibility of sensory perception. His main themes—ambition, greed, the need for human contact—all lead to questioning pure knowledge. What we see and feel is not necessarily the truth.

But if this concept sounds profound and philosophical, its delivery is anything but. The stories are very well written with surprising twists, rich detail (where needed) and a general light feel that makes moving from one to the next smooth and easy. What I particularly appreciated was that the main concept interconnected the stories, making this a seamless read. The writer’s choice not to bog the reader down with dozens of names for his stories’ characters also helped. All in all, I found this anthology a fascinating read, and I highly recommend it.

About the Author

Nicholas Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, walks his dog, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats, one of whom claims his lap as home. His children’s book, Runaway Smile, earned a finalist slot in the 2015 International Book Awards.

Nicholas lives in a forest outside Athens with his lovely wife Electra, beautiful dog and two remarkably silly cats.

Author Links

Bloghttp://nicholasrossis.me
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nicholas_Rossis
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicholasCRossis
Site: http://www.nicholasrossis.com
Pearseus Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Pearseus
LinkedIn: http://gr.linkedin.com/pub/nicholas-rossis/0/b7b/122/ 
Google+ http://google.com/+NicholasRossis

Blurb Thursday #2 (What’s hot and what’s not)

After talking up the blurb of A. Star’s Wish For Me (which I’ve also raved about here), today I’ll showcase the blurb of a dystopian, young adult novel that grabbed my attention.

Aftermath (After the Fall Dystopian series Book 1)

by Tom Lewis
Publication date: March 28, 2015
Purchase Link: Amazon
Genres: dystopian, yound adult

Official Synopsis

The end of the world came fast. Between the time the warning had sounded on the TV, till when 16-year-old Paige O’Connor awakened sometime later, civilization had been crushed.

The attacks had come by “them” – those things in the ships in the sky that had appeared suddenly, and without warning.

And as Paige would soon discover, the attacks had only been the beginning.

Aftermath is the first book in the new After the Fall dystopian action series, which follows a young girl’s struggle for survival in the wake of civilization’s collapse, and humanity’s domination by an alien race of beings.

My take

First off, the cover is spot on. From the cold color texture to the solid font, it’s an example of excellent dystopian branding. Also,

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But,

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The blurb is good, but I felt it’s lacking in some ways. Instead of giving an outline of the plot, what it more or less explains is the notion of “dystopia”: “The end of the world came fast”“civilization had been crushed”“humanity’s domination by an alien race” (which, apparently, are called “them” in the book).

As a reader, I’m left wondering: What makes this book different from all the young adult dystopian novels out there?

I have noticed that, when writing a synopsis, authors sometimes play up their genre more than the story. When the cover brands the book well, some key words are enough to brand the genre. The rest of the blurb should show the reader why this story stands out from the rest, and vague references such as “the attacks had only been the beginning” and “a young girl’s struggle for survival” are staple notions in a dystopian book (doesn’t everyone struggle for survival when aliens take over?)

I read some of the Goodreads reviews and saw that there’s much more to this book than meets the eye (blurb-wise) that, if added, would give a clearer identity to the plot.

If you’d like more info on this book, here’s the purchase link: Amazon

You can check out its Goodreads page as well.

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What do you think of this blurb? Would it make you click its purchase link?