Judging a book by its cover.

I've recently read a few articles about bad book covers and quite honestly, as a self-published writer, it got me to wondering about my own work and how it is perceived. For everything I have out there now I designed the cover. Two short stories, a novella, and a novel. But I've never heard any comments about the cover. Nor have I asked about it.

So now I am. I'm asking for your honest opinion. Be as brutal as you want. I can handle it. Hell I sold Kirby's door to door for two years, and made a living at it. So don't worry about hurting my feelings. I ask only one thing. A reason for your dislike, if that's how you feel about a particular cover.

Reviews, both professional and amateur,  help me gauge my ability as a writer. But honestly I've never asked how anyone felt about my covers.

First my novel's cover, Shadows of the Past,  the old and the newest one. 



What do you think?

Now for the cover of my novella, Enter Night

Now the covers for my two shorts.

Opinions please. As an added bonus everyone who responds will receive a free digital copy of my current work in progress, Reprisal: Vengeance knows no boundaries. When it is completed this spring. I will contact you through my bog.

Thanks for stopping by.

Are you a storyteller?

Or do you just tell stories?

There's a big difference you know.

Writers who tell stories recount the details of what's happening on the page for the reader. They may go into minute detail of every aspect of the scene and the characters appearance as they set up the plot. They tell the reader what the character is feeling. Revealing their emotions like a shopping list of items to be picked up for dinner.

Storytellers on the other hand draw the reader emotionally into the story as they set up the plot.  They filter the scene through the characters eyes. Revealing only those details that are absolutely pertinent to the story as it transpires on the page. Investing the reader with the characters emotions.

Those who tell stories worry about word and page counts.

Storytellers know the story is done, when it is done.

Becoming a storyteller is not easy, but it can be done. Some are born with that innate ability while others struggle to achieve that goal.

I fall into the latter group, close but not quite, so I continue the struggle to train that storytellers voice. Most times it's a disappointment, but every so often the inner storyteller takes over, and it is these rare moments that compel me to continue writing in the face of all the odds stacked against me.

It is not the lure of riches or fame that drives me. Rather the desire to connect with the reader on an emotional level, to share with them my unique vision of the world around us. To tell them a story in the old tradition.

Are you a storyteller?

Or do you tell stories?

By the numbers: Authorhouse vs Createspace

I was recently engaged in a conversation with an opponent of self publishing who possessed an obvious hatred of Amazon, and had little understanding of self publishing in general. I thought I'd post my final response here as it contains some interesting comparisons for anyone considering the self publishing route.

Names have been deleted to protect the innocent.

Thank you for your responses to my inquires., I engaged you in this conversation to get a little insight from the other side of the aisle. To understand why, aside from the obvious factors of sub par execution, many people are so down on self publishing.

The biggest thing that jumps out at me while reading your two articles and your responses is that you really don’t know as much about self publishing as you believe you do. Your views are also shaded by your obvious hatred of Amazon.

As one who has first hand experience with self publishing in the present, and the past, I can tell you from experience that your beliefs are misguided. For starters you confuse self publishing with Vanity publishing. They are two entirely different animals. You lump Amazon in with S and S and Vanguard as those publishers who rip off aspiring writers.

Let me give you an example of this. With S and S to have your book published in print and as an e-book there is an upfront fee for everyone that starts at $749.00. For that you get a custom color cover, interior design, ISBN assignment, a complimentary copy, author support via a free subscription to their self publishing learning center. as well as digital formatting and distribution.

Take your pick of any of the vanity publishers listed, the packages will be similar.

While you’re there check out the list prices of books already published in their bookstore. For a 332 page book prices start at 19.99 for perfect bound soft cover. A royalty of $2.53 is paid to the author for each copy sold. Authors can purchase up to 24 copies for a discount of  30%, with the discount increasing to 60% for orders in excess of 1000 copies. Let’s see that’s 19.99 minus 30% ($5.99) equals  14.00. Shipping charges are not included. All of this info is available via the FAQ’s

Doing it myself through Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing and Create space, their print on demand division, I can get a similar package for $10.00 if I want a custom isbn that lists the imprint of my choice as the publisher, $0.00 if I opt to list Create space as the print publisher. Granted I will have to do the formatting so my book files print properly, and design a cover, but they have a community of freelance professionals who can format a book for print for as low as $50.00. I can get a professional cover design for a couple of hundred bucks. Using these option I’m  $260.00 into the project, with $10.00 of it going to Amazon, if I choose that. The finished print product will be listed at all major online retailers, not just Amazon, imagine that, Amazon sharing with Barnes & Noble.

Another point to consider is pricing. A 332 page perfect bound soft cover can be listed for as low as 9.99 with the author still making  2.29 on each copy sold through Amazon, and $4.29 on each copy sold through the Create Space book store. This same 332 page book can be purchased by the author for $3.40 each,  plus shipping and handling.

Everything I just showed you can be found here.

If you honestly compare the two, who is ripping off the writer?

Ancient Aliens?

Was watching an episode of Ancient Aliens on H2 yesterday and it piqued my curiosity enough to do a little digging. There are some who debunk everything the series offers as proof of alien visitation in the past. 

Personally for me, when I look to the stars, I’m not conceited enough to believe that among the thousands of spots of light spread across the night sky,  representing a very small fraction of what can be seen with the naked eye, that we are alone in the universe. With that thought in mind here is something to consider.

Many people cannot wrap their minds around the concept of time beyond the measure of a human life, which is but a brief twinkle, a nanosecond if you will, when compared to the immensity of cosmic time.

Current estimates place the age of the Universe at around 13.75 billion years. The Earth, by comparison has only been around for 4.54 billion of those years meaning the Universe was 9.21 billion years old when the Earth, and the solar system it inhabits, first formed.

Allowing sufficient time to cool to support life, say it was 4.6 billion years after the big bang before the first single cell organisms could have conceivably formed on earth like planets. A point in time over 9 billion years ago. Life on Earth has had 4.54 billion years to develop into the intelligent beings of today. What’s to say intelligent alien life wasn’t standing at the point we currently find ourselves, when the Earth first formed? Giving them a 4.5 billion year head start on humans.

Granted some alien societies would not have survived beyond the nuclear age. We ourselves face the possibility of extinction as a direct result of our nuclear proliferation. I’m sorry, but while others may disagree with me, there are some nations and leaders who should never possess such capabilities. Iran being the first that comes to mind.

But at the same time we face unlimited potential. Given time I’m confident electricity can be generated in a safe, low cost, manner that protects what natural resources we have. Just as I’m confident many alien societies faced the same hurdles we do now when the Earth was but a spinning ball of mud and gas vapors whipping around a newly formed star.

Those that didn’t succeed perished. But not all of them would have fallen to extinction. Some would have realized the potential we now face. Some would have overcome their internal bickering to become a single species united in a common goal. Be it a life of leisure, or one of exploration. Some would have chosen to live their lives in eternal comfort, focusing on their concept of beauty and the arts.

Others would have followed their curiosity to the stars in vehicles capable of reaching across the vast expanses of time and space. Quite possibly visiting our world at a time when man viewed these visitors from the stars as gods.

Could it be the legends of the past were inspired by these otherworldly visitors?

Are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith, mere imaginings, or did they come to the same conclusions I have?

Everything should be taken with a grain of salt and much of the proof presented on the program is in the eye of the beholder. But the cosmic timeline is indisputable, opening the possibility, no matter how slim it may be.

Do you believe in Aliens?

The Power of Belief

Do you believe?

The power of faith is a force with no equal. Nothing can defeat a person who believes. Nothing can stop a person whose faith is strong. The world around us is full of stories that reveal the true power of ones faith. Be it a religious or secular belief, nothing can deter one following a path they believe is right.

But is that power reserved only for Christians?  Muslims? Jews? Man as a whole, no matter his individual belief, can benefit from the power of faith.

Is man unique in his belief systems?

Are we alone in the universe?

It's doubtful. And if an alien race has progressed technologically to the point we have achieved, would they too not have some belief system in place?

If mankind has his gods, wouldn't an alien life form have it's own gods?

That which inhabited Jack Griffith believed so. He believed so strongly that he was compelled to seek out the only one he felt could stand in his way. A brain damaged four year old child. Sam Hardin's son.

Wanna learn more?

Check out Shadows of the Past
Only $3.99 for the Kindle edition.