Judge a Book by its Cover by @Dani_Haviland

Picking pretties to read on the phone is FUN!

Do you judge a book by its cover? If you said no, you’re in the minority. The first thing a person sees when it comes to selecting her next read is the cover. Whether it’s the title, the author, or the image, they’re all there together on the cover. It doesn’t matter whether they are displayed in brick-and-stick stores, on smartphones, or on the neighbor’s coffee table, either. Their purpose is to grab your attention.

Of course, there’s the huge possibility you’ll hear the news your favorite author has a new book coming out. If you’re like me, then the cover won’t make a difference. I’ll grab it, sight unseen.

An author’s tastes change as do the buying habits of readers

It was over ten years ago I published my first book, DANCES NAKED. I thought the title would grab attention, but the original cover said nothing. I knew it was a painting of The Trees, the Portal through Time, but it conveyed nothing. The next one, by Kim Killion, was great. I chose the model (Harvey Stables) and she changed his hockey gear into a breechclout. He was supposed to be an older man, but he was so cute, I let it go, hoping his pose was enough. He looks older (and hotter!) in the third version (current).

I wrote twelve more books for the series and used four other cover creators, then came back to Kim Killion. I trusted her to find a theme for my series. Wow! She really delivered! Check these out and see what I mean.

The early versions of my covers lacked continuity. Now you can tell they’re part of a series.

If you like time travel with a splash of Fountain of Youth water or discovering your favorite ‘fictional’ characters are real, check out THE FAIRIES SAGA. You could start with the first one in the series (LOST: THE TIME TRAVEL ROMANCE THAT STARTED IT ALL) which is essentially a prequel and #free, but sometimes you aren’t ready to know everything about a guy.

That’s what happened with James. I fell in love with the British lord even though he was only a minor character in the original first book (now the second) in the series, Naked in the Winter Wind. See what I mean in AYE, I AM A FAIRY. Sharp, compassionate, and willing to come to anyone’s aid despite the consequences. The 21st-century hottie has the heart of a white knight despite his spotty history.

So, turn off YouTube and the TV and tune into a great book (or series of thirteen). Let the cover inspire you, and leave the rest up to the author and your vivid imagination.

Get ready for the FIRST Cozy Mystery Box Set from The Authors’ Billboard!

Preorder for only 99cents. Price goes up soon after release. It will be available to read for free with Kindle Unlimited, though.

Writing Short Stories by @Author_Carmen DeSousa

I’m a fan of Wikipedia for general research for my books and short stories, not quotable text. It’s a great place to start, as it usually has a great compilation of information from other sources. Often, when I Google a question, Wikipedia is the first page to pop up. So I tend to begin my search on the most “clicked on” page, and then I dig deeper based on my findings. In the case of my mysteries, especially where the cause of death and ways to die are an essential part of the story, I seek out scientific journals and experts in that specific field. There, that’s my disclosure. On to my blog post. 🙂

Writing Short Stories

Recently, I had a quick question on the popularity of short stories. I agreed with Wikipedia until I read … “Sometimes, authors who do not have the time or money to write a novella or novel decide to write short stories instead…” — Wikipedia

Say, WHAT???

Umm … wrong! How on earth does a short story cost less? Most authors spend the same dollar amount on their cover, and it doesn’t cost anything to upload it to Amazon. Time … maybe … but even that seems silly, as authors who write short stories, usually write many of them. I think authors write short stories because they enjoy writing short stories, especially in between large projects or while waiting for their editor or publisher to finish reading their current project.

“Short stories date back to oral storytelling traditions which originally produced epics such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey circa 7thor 8thcentury” — Wikipedia, again (I didn’t see the need to research further.)

The Power of the Short Story

Charles Dickens and Washington Irving — who were famous for novels and biographies — wrote short stories and, of course, Edgar Allan Poe argued that a literary work should be short enough for a reader to finish in one sitting. And yet, when I went looking for advertising, I found it almost impossible to find a website that was willing to promote my short stories … even if I were willing to pay the same amount as I would to advertise a full novel. I also noticed many publishers refuse to publish short stories, which as far as money goes, I can understand that. They would have to shell out money for a cover for little return.

And now for the craziest thought, considering what Wikipedia said about money. I wrote my short stories, knowing I was going to give them away. Yep. I wrote my first short, The Pit Stop (This Stop Could be Life or Death), as an exercise in “pantsing” versus “plotting” and to have fun with my readers, which a lot of them happened to be authors. I wrote five hundred words a week on my website, and then asked readers where we should go next. When I finished, I informed them I’d publish it and pay tribute to my top contributors.

But then something happened! My lovely readers demanded more — I love it when that happens. Per readers’ requests, I wrote The Depot (When Life and Death Cross Tracks). And then, based on those two short stories — again per readers’ demands — I wrote a follow-up novel, The Library (Where Life Checks Out).

And with no awesome book advertising, but because of word of mouth from some great readers, The Pit Stop and The Depot hit #1 in Mystery Short Stories and spent plenty of time in the top 100 in the last few years. When I received my rights back from my publisher, I had to re-upload them. Again they the hit #1 and #2 spots! The Pit Stop is still available as a free download, but I decided to include The Depot with it AND its follow-up novel, The Library, so readers wouldn’t happenstance on The Library and miss the set up.

My Thoughts on Short Stories

An average movie is one and a half to two hours long, and yet, it can still convey a full life — from birth to death — of a character. We can solve a ten-year-old murder mystery, or view a first date as it matures into marriage and kids. So why wouldn’t I like a quick escape when I’m sitting at the DMV, waiting in the doctor’s office, or a hundred other places where we waste hours of our time? The answer is: I do like that. In fact, I love it! I’ve read many short stories on car trips across the state, flights, and waiting while my car gets serviced.

Short stories are a great way to meet an author without a long-term commitment or a nice release when you need just a little escape before going to bed, since there’s no risk of staying up too late to finish the story, as most short stories take less than an hour to read.

Well, that’s it. Just my thoughts on why I write and read short stories. And so you know, I would never think to compare myself to the “greats” I mentioned above; they were just my point that short stories can be great and are an art. I have a long way to go, but my short stories do have hundreds of reviews averaging four-plus stars. So if you want to try one on for size, you can download The Pit Stop (This Stop Could be Life or Death) and The Depot (When Life and Death Cross Tracks) absolutely FREE from your favorite retailer. I hope you enjoy the quick escape from reality!

American Haunts by Carmen DeSousa

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Thank you for reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I promise you, I will answer. If you’re curious about what I write, please visit one of my author pages. I offer lots of information about my novels and short stories. And hey, I’ll even give you a couple free full-length novels just for stopping by.

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As always, happy reading, friends,

Carmen DeSousa

 

FREE eBooks for the Taking @Donna_Fasano

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Listening to your favorite book

If you are like me, then you never have enough time to sit and read all the books that you want to read. Or, it’s hard to read because you are getting older and your eyes are not what they once were. I fall into both those categories.

That’s why I started working on publishing all of my books into audio. It’s a long process since I have over sixty books published, but I am slowly getting more and more on audio. I have about half of them in audio now, and I love it. One of my favorite things is listening to my narrator after they are done to make sure there are no major mistakes. I find myself sucked back into my book, and sometimes even forget that I’m the one that wrote it as I laugh and cry with my characters. I did that recently as I listened to the final audio of Second Shield II: The Return which will be available for sale soon.

I can’t remember the last time that I physically read a book that wasn’t mine, but I have a nice collection of audiobooks that I can listen to while I’m cleaning or cooking. Sometimes I even listen in my car. It’s a great way to be entertained, without the wear and tear to my eyes, and while I get other things done.

Do you listen to audio? Are you new to audio?

Want to win an audiobook? Fill out my survey, and you could win one of my audiobooks!

If you are an avid Audiobook fan, make sure to check out our sister site, Audiobook Love with the Authors’ Billboard Audiobooks!