Judging a book by its cover

It is said that the second most important thing to sell a book is the cover. What they don't tell you is the author name is the first thing. So if you are like me and a complete unknown then the cover is your greatest seller of your book. I know we aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover but that is exactly what we do. I have previously spoken of genre specific things that can tell you what to expect from a book and what not to have on the cover if it isn't in there. This is a continuation of this. In this blog I'm going to talk about how to spot an amateur cover. Font First of all don't ever use the standard fonts. They scream amateur. Instead, go download other fonts and simpler is be

Review: Echoes in Time by Cherie Mitchell

Ah, the days when teachers actually had some power in the classroom. By day I'm a school teacher and the opening scene of this book is something of the past I'm afraid. But it was very nostalgic to read. Nostalgia is definitely the theme of this book. We are introduced to Zoe and Jamie who get sent back into the past as Dancing girls in 1861 San Francisco as well as other places. A real eye opener for our rather frivolous girls. At least they keep their wits about them when they find themselves in difficult situations. I certainly would have found a dark corner to curl up in. Though Jamie does faint a lot though that is mostly due to spiders. I do wish they didn't time hop every time they re

Copy Rights and Vultures

I keep seeing people online talking about registering their copyrights which has me scratching my head. You see you automatically have copyright the moment you write it down. Well, that is true in my own country of New Zealand. That isn't true of every country. For instance China doesn't recognise copyrights made outside of China. You have to register it in their country and be a citizen etc before it counts in their country. That is how you can get a lot of knock offs because it isn't actually illegal in that particular country. The thing is if someone is going to steal your work they can do it legally with these loop holes. Which leads me to the whole registering process. Why? I mean it do

My 2 cents of the Last Jedi

It seems every one has an opinion on the Last Jedi. I rather liked it but then I also like most of the Star wars. Mostly because I turn off the critic when I watch these films. They are made for the masses and that means they appeal to the lowest common denominator. But here are some things I liked and didn't like about the movie. Warning spoiler alert. What I liked I liked that they failed. I always thought it strange that the other side had all these soldiers and resources but the resistance some how managed to win the day. This time it shows a more realistic outcome of a conflict between good and bad. Still there is a sense of hope in it all. I loved the new creatures. They were clearly m

Review: Ogress' Son by Page Zaplendam

Please, please read the blurb for this book. The cover makes much more sense when you do and you will enjoy the story a heck of a lot more if you read the blurb. I've seen genre mismatch disasters before and if you read the blurb you won't have that problem. We start off with Slade. He has been adopted by an 'Orgress' and when she dies it sets him on a path to get justice from the people who senselessly took her life. The journey will certainly take Slade away from his relatively sheltered life he has led till this point. I'm not a fan of apostrophe used in names but the author has used it the right way. With purpose and not nearly as willy nilly as others like Stargate. I'm looking at you T

Interview with S. T. Sanchez

Sarah Sanchez was born in Dallas, TX. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA of Arts in Spanish. She loves to write fantasy. She is married and has three wonderful children. She loves hiking and spending time outdoors when she is not writing. Tell us about your latest novel I just released 2 back to back. The Portal Keeper, a Middle Grade Fantasy Novel about a boy named Ajax. He is assigned the sacred duty of guarding a secret portal. When the prince comes to visit, an accident sends the prince through the portal. None who have entered the portal have ever returned. But Ajax must go after him or risk the wrath of the king. They end up in a magical world where an adve

Interview with Sarah Ashwood

Don’t believe all the hype: Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, an expert fencer, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who holds a B.A. in English from American Military University, and is the author of the Sunset Lands Beyond fantasy trilogy, Amana, and A Minstrel’s Musings. She lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily workout or run to save her sanity and keep her mind fresh for her next story idea. Tell us about your latest novel or project: Right now I’m working on a novel called Aerisian Refrain. It’s the first book of my

Review: Trace of Copper by Anne Renwick

This book promised to be the perfect fit for me. Steampunk, check. Strong female character, check. Bi racial couple, check. Bechdel test, pass. Lovely cover, check. Okay, the last isn't really needed for a good read but it certainly helps with my expectations. And the story did deliver. We have our very competent Dr who got ghosted by her love when he came down with a mysterious illness. It is all the fault of a blue frog from deep in the Amazon jungle. I would have liked a few more tension filled moments between the two but their romance is sufficient for the story which more revolves around the mystery of the blue frog. I can't believe I'm going to write this as I hate commas but I thought

Genre Mismatch

I love getting reviews. I hoard them close and stroke them and whisper, "My precious." But the other day I got one that made me bang my head against a wall. They gave my Blazing Blunderbuss 2 stars because it had too much steampunk and fantasy. Blazing Blunderbuss IS a STEAMPUNK and FANTASY. The whole point is to have steampunk and fantasy. This is what we call a genre mismatch and this is the topic of this post. How to avoid it both as a reader and as an author. As a reader there are some things I look for that are unwritten rules in any genre. Authors who don't use these unwritten rules get more genre mismatches and this leads to lower reviews, regardless of how good the writing is or the

Best Books of 2017

I had a terrible year at reading. I only read 150 books last year. I know that is more than all the students in all of my classes have ever read but for me that is a bad year. I usually do double that. I've been writing more and focusing on my publishing rather than reading. Also I've had trouble finding good books. That has lead me to share the best books I've read this year so others can at least have some good books to read. In no particular order. Love Undefined A collection of short stories I was floored as I usually hate anthologies. These are stories by a group of members of my church but overseas. I loved the stories and the sweetness that I often miss in a lot of stories I read by m

Books I'm excited about

I love reading, usually I'll pick up whatever I can get my hands on but there are a few books I read the moment it comes out. This is my list of books I'm going to read the second they hit the shelf. Lake Silence by Anne Bishop I've drooling over the Other's series since I picked it up. Her best series and that says a lot as I once read one of her series literally in a night, I watched the sun rise. This one will most likely have references to the other characters but it stars a new Heroine. The only down side is that Anne also publishes her books on the same day Patricia does I usually have to flip a coin to see which one I have to read first. Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs This is in the s

Why is research so hard?

With Google it is super easy to research. Or is it? I see this with my students all the time. It is painful, first they don't know how to use google. Just because kids are surrounded by technology that doesn't mean they actually know how to use it. I cringe every time a student puts google.com into the bar at the top of Chrome. Even when you tell them they don't have to they shrug it off. They are used to it and it is harder to learn something than it is to continue with what they have always done. This is why research isn't nearly as easy as it should be. I'm on several groups on Facebook and people ask questions for the simplest things. I wonder why they don't just google it. But they are

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