Friday Book Cover: A few tricks

Craig Boyack has a very interesting post on Story Empire today, dealing with ways to be sure your book cover does the best job possible. (Yes, covers have a big job to do: grab the attention of potential readers in a way that makes them want to buy your book at first glance.) I like the P. H. Solomon sample covers Craig chose to illustrate his topic, and how he defines some of the basic elements of good design. Check it out! (And don’t forget to share.)

Story Empire

Hi gang, Craig here once more. Toward the end of last year we adopted a group of alternating topics for Story Empire, and when the debate was going on, I was probably late for class. My first friday assignment is to bring you something about cover art. I’m making this up as I go, but my idea is sound … if I can pull it off.

I’m going to pick on fellow Story Empire author, P. H. Solomon. This isn’t a blatant attempt to promote his work, but rather because he did everything so well here. Even so, I have to acknowledge his Bow of Hart Saga is outstanding, if you’re inclined to dig deeper.

One of the things to remember about visual arts is that the rules are more like guidelines. Sounds a lot like writing doesn’t it? Once upon a time, back when I could still buy Kodachrome…

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Mary Smith’s Place – Karachi crocodiles

Am re-blogging Karachi Crocodiles from MarySmith’sPlace as I know Marcia likes these wonderful creatures – maybe her followers do, too!

Mary Smith's Place

I apologise for the lack of decent photos to accompany this post. I visited Manghopir several times, taking many photos of the crocodiles and of the shrine, the busy shops around it and of the hot springs but I can’t find them. I suspect they were in the albums thrown out after our previous cat sprayed on them. He had a tendency, after a stray kitten tried to take up residence, to mark everything in the house as his.

The legendary crocodiles that guard the shrine of Saint Mangho (ManghoPir) were piled in a heap, under a tree. They looked very muddy, and suspiciously lifeless. The shrine, or mazar, lies to the north of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. There are two springs beside it, one hot, and one cold. Bathing tanks have been provided, for the water is reputed to cure all manner of ailments – from…

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The 2018 Interview Series Featuring Elle Boca

Florida author Don Massenzio is hosting a new series of author interviews for 2018, and this week, his guest is Elle Boca. Hope you’ll enjoy it, and share far and wide. I did! 🙂

Author Don Massenzio

Welcome to the 2018 author interview series. Author interviews will be posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with fellow Florida author Elle Boca.

For those of you that have read my interviews in the past, you’ll find a new set of questions in this series. You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directorypage.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at

Now, please enjoy this interview with Elle Boca:

eb elleboca headshotDo you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I strive to write something original and at the same time rewarding, enriching and entertaining. A tall order, I know! While superhuman stories have been around for years generally urban fantasy and…

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Battle lines…

Sue Vincent starts the week off with something very amusing, while at the same time, very contemplation-worthy. Click on over to the Daily Echo and read for yourself. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Clever, clever Sue! 🙂

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

File:William Blake 006.jpgImage: William Blake – Hekate and the Moirai

“Defy me?” says Routine. “Try something new?” asks Habit.

“Yep,” cries Rebellion. “Absolutely!” answers Adventure.

Lines are drawn, this could get ugly. Mediocrity and Excitement peek out from their respective corners.  Wont and Want draw weapons….

Fate steps in as referee… demands to see their battle plans…

… and laughs…

“How about this for a suggestion?” says she. “Admit defeat.”

Rebellion and her cohorts cry out in protest determined to break the siege. Routine and his band stiffen belligerently…

“Think about it….” says Fate, a wise and knowing smile upon her face.

“Adventure will never admit defeat, “says Habit. “Rebellion always pushes the bounds…”

“Routine always tries to win,” protests Adventure. “Habit will never surrender quietly.”

“Exactly,” says Fate, looking just a little smug.

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How I sold 1,000 books over the holidays #marketing #bestseller

For those of you interested in the facts and figures of paid promotions, I’m sharing details of my latest successful promo over on my blog.
Hop across, take a look and tell me what you think.


Here is my promised share of how I sold 1000 books and became a bestseller (in Canada and Australia, at any rate) over the 10 days of the Christmas/New Year holiday. Settle in, folks, this is going to be a long post.

First up, what I did was nothing ground breaking, just plain old advertising and spreading the word.

For a bit of background, the book I promoted was THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in my Epic Fantasy series (only 2 books out so far, 3rd one is underway).

I know it can sell in quantity – when it came out, it was an Amazon Top 100 Hot New Release, selling 1500 copies in the first 6 weeks. That was back in 2013. I’ve written and released several other books since then, including its sequel, THE PRINCE’S SON.

I haven’t promoted TPM in over 12 months, and sales had…

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The Kelpies – a grand day out

I just had to share this great post on Mary Smith’s Place, because . . . KELPIES! One of my favorite Celtic myths, gloriously executed in metal, and simply fabulous. This is on my Must See When In Scotland list! Aren’t they fabulous?

Mary Smith's Place

The DH and I enjoyed a grand day out last year when we decided to visit The Kelpies near Falkirk.

Created by sculptor Andy Scott, each one weighs over 300 tonnes and at 30 metres high, they are the world’s largest equine statues. They dominate the Helix, a fabulous park by the Forth and Clyde Canal. Apart from The Kelpies there is plenty to do with walks along the towpaths, play areas, a wetland boardwalk, eating places, visitor centre and shop – but it was the Kelpies we had come to see.

We were not disappointed. They are fabulous, absolutely stunning.

20170428_132416 Standing sentinel on the Forth & Clyde Canal

Kelpies are mythological water horses or spirits which can change their shape. They haunt rivers and streams. A kelpie can appear as a docile pony but as soon as anyone mounts it he or she is stuck and will be dragged…

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Confessions of a Bibliophile

I like books. I have a few. Okay, quite a lot of books have found a home with me over the years.

I like books for what’s on the inside, yet I admit to judging books by their covers. A bad cover or title can be hard to get past.

I like real books, the ones that don’t have a lowercase /e/ or /i/ associated with them, ones with pages and ink, books that hold some memories of trees.

I buy books. I buy professional books that inform my teaching. I buy books that are recommended to me by others, or books whose author I know I like, or books that just seem interesting, that maybe leap off the shelf at me. I like to buy in local bookstores, and do. I also buy from online second hand book dealers who probably get some of their inventory from the brick and mortar stores that go under. And yes, because it is convenient and expeditious to use them, I sometimes buy books from that huge online place that gets blamed for the demise of our local bookstores. (And they sometimes, but not often, sell my books.)

I buy books but mostly my books find me. They find me at yard-sales and flea-markets, and the Take-It-Or-Leave-It at the dump. These findings, this being found, is the most beautiful way of acquiring books. It cannot be forced; it is a serendipitous, Zen-like connection, to be recognized and acknowledged when it happens and to be counted as another blessing. The book that finds me may be something I had been looking for, or may appear as something I was not looking for, never heard of, but upon reading it realize it is just what I needed. These books might be part of a direction I was already reading in, or they may lead me off in another direction, gathering like minded books along that way.

These books, up for adoption, have plenty to say about where they came from. They reveal the interests and inclinations of their previous owners, the phases that that person went through, the predilections and interests they held. And if those interests and predilections were similar to mine, if I am found, I take these books home where they are introduced to their new bedfellows on my shelves. There may be some shifting around; this placing is important. I don’t impose the Dewey decimal system, but there are themes. Books are placed with other books where they will have something to say to one another. The books are additions to collections, which are really ongoing conversations among books, conversations with my books and myself. Because of course they are read, sometimes prior to shelving sometimes afterwards.

There’s no real point to this. Except to say that I like books. I suppose one day I will have to downsize and put my books up for adoption, to put them back in the same channels they came to me from, otherwise someone else will have to deal with the collections when I’m dead. Come that time, I hope that my books end up finding someone who appreciates them, even as that someone might be wondering about the predilections of their previous owner.


What about you? I have yet to use kindle, but what do you prefer? With print books, do you shelve, share, or sh_t-can? Where do books go once read? 

This had been idling at shiftnshake. I was inspired to post it by Marcia, who had posted this meme, and whose book is still beside my bed, waiting for me to order the sequel. 






Walking off the mince pies

Just wanted to let you guys know that Mary Smith has a brand new blog you might want to check out. This first post has some absolutely gorgeous photos. I particularly like one of the sea stack named “Lot’s Wife.” Nice job, Mary, and best of luck with your newest endeavor. 🙂

Mary Smith's Place

Christmas Day (doesn’t it already seem a long time ago?) poured with rain so I was more or less forced to stay indoors eating chocolate and mince pies and watching feel-good films. Boxing Day, however, was bright and sunny so there was no excuse not to head off with the DH on one of my favourite walks in Dumfries & Galloway – Balcary Heughs. This is a great walk at any time of the year, though not if it’s very windy as the narrow path goes along clifftops.

From the village of Auchencairn a single track road leads follows the shoreline to the Balcary Bay Country House Hotel, built in the 17th century by Messrs Cain, Clark and Quirk who ran a shipping – or smuggling – business. The area around this part of the Solway has an exciting smuggling history.

A car park for walkers is situated close to…

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Marcia’s Resplendent Lagoon

Never been much for swimming

My style likened to that of a log

Don’t know what I was thinking

When I dove into my own murky blog.

The waters finally cleared some

I floated and began to look around

Saw a blog isn’t so boggy and scare-some

Well, let me tell you just what I found.

I was first picked up by some buckaroos

Who taught me more refined strokes

Finer teachers I couldn’t choose

They introduced me to other fine folks.

Like Florida waterways connected

By rivers, creeks and canals

I found that many blogs intersected

And met even more swimming pals.

I stopped being a bump on a log and

Bumped into friendly folks so kind

Who helped me figure out this blog-land,

Gave gifts of their space and their time.

And now I’m swimming at Write Stuff

In Marcia’s resplendent lagoon

so come on by for a swim often

and then return again real soon.

***D. Avery

Hi. I found Marcia’s hide-a-key, so may be showing up here now and again. I look forward to spending some time here with you and would enjoy interacting with the wonderful people that come by, but sometimes may have to just drop something off and then off to work or sleep, or both. If I am slow to respond it is not because I don’t appreciate your comments, it’s just life. But you know this lagoon. Come on in, the water is 

(I did that on purpose; adjectify your own water)