Everyone Judges a Book by Its Cover!

Writers go on about the first page or chapter of a book being a deal-breaker, and it is as far as the words go, but sometimes, the cover is what catches a reader’s attention before they even check the blurb or read a sample. 

A dull or low-grade cover will put me right off. I can’t help what I feel over an image just as I can’t help what I feel over the first page. The higher the quality and more creative, the better. Of course, I’m mostly referring to fantasy, but the quality applies to any novel in my opinion. 

I don’t mean for big fancy graphics to blind me. Simple can still be eye-catching and creative. I’m talking about smooth images, top quality graphics, and something that relates to the title, which should also relate to the book. The reader should be able to judge the book by its cover and be right.

Below are some top-notch covers on my bookshelf/kindle.

The above covers vary in complexity of imagery, but they express the general ideas in relation to the story based on the blurb and what I read in the book. Also, each one looks professional and well thought-out. 

Simple can be the best if your cover looks graphically pleasing.

When I need a break from actual writing, I like to find inspirational images and music, so I have a collection of character images and cover wishlists. I can’t use them for the book because of copyright on Deviantart, where I find most of my inspirational images. But I would beg them to sell me the images as my book covers. 

Below are some of my wishlist covers. 

Find this image here.
This would be amazing on the cover of Wings of Fire and Fury, book 1 of my pentalogy… when I get around to the next revision. 
Burning
Out of Ashes – This image is perfect in tone and content for my debut novel.
Queen-of-Ice
Blades of Ice and Darkness – This image ticks so many boxes for book 2 of my Starlighters pentalogy. 

With the right graphic designer, I know we would come up with amazing images to each of my novels. Until then, I’ll settle for these inspiring images as my wish covers.


Image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay

Book Review. Once and Future Witches. 5 Stars.

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

So many things to love about this book that I’ve probably missed things.

What I liked…

  • The writing style was an entertaining combination of eclectic and straightforward. I can’t pinpoint anything in particular, but I just love the tone of the POVs.
  • And OMG, I love the spells as epigraphs and the alternative fairytale interludes. They make for such a unique read in modern literature.
  • I love the casual slip into backstory that feel so perfectly place that it doesn’t even feel like backstory. It feels more like justification, which is exactly what I feel like backstory should be.
  • The characters were so wonderfully different but all ended up wanting the same thing. 
  • It’s a strong character-driven story, but the characterisation didn’t feel slow or boring like in some books. It grounded me in each of the sisters’ mindset so I understood their motives.
  • I really liked how it tied into real history with equality. I like real world issues in fantasy. It keeps it relatable to our own world and gives it more meaning and relevance.

 What I didn’t like…

  • Nothing worth mentioning. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves great characters, real issues, and a little magic to make it fun.

Work/Life/Writing Balance!

It’s ironic that my last post was about how writing is the same as running a small business, and then I go and do almost nothing writing related this month. Normally, I’d feel bad about that, and the lack of creative outlet would drag my mood down. But it’s done nothing of the sort. I’ve been immersed in my job and loving it.

When your day job gets busy, it’s important to make it a priority. Your writing won’t pay the bills unless you’re an international bestseller with merch and sponsors and the like. Unfortunately, the rest of us need to keep a regular job and find a better balance. 

Here are some things I try to do to make my life easier so I might find more time and energy to get some writing or writing related things done.

  • Don’t eat food that takes long to prepare. That doesn’t mean eat sandwiches or anything from a packet. Check out my Hungry Writer page for quick prep and healthy recipes that can see you through several meals. 
  • Get as many chores done as possible the moment you get a burst of energy. It’s great to keep a list of things to do each day, but if you get ahead of yourself, you could use the time the next day to write.
  • Pick out your clothes the night before or for the whole week on Sunday night. Sounds a over-excessive, but it takes maybe ten minutes to pull out a few outfits and spares you the hassle in the mornings. I usually pick a bag, and everything matches or compliments that colour. 
  • Try going straight to your computer after you’ve eaten. It’s always good to sit and let a meal go down, so use that time to pull up your document and get to writing, even if it’s only half an hour.
  • Limit your procrastination or… and we all know it’s a thing… check your phone apps when you’re doing a number 2. Yup, I said it. 
  • If you have a long drive to work, try audiobooks. I know they can be expensive, but Audiblle has a subscription with one book included every month for around the price of a physical book (country depending). 
  • Even if you’re tired and desperate to get home, try going via the supermarket on your way home if it’s close by. It’ll save you going out again later. 
  • Speaking of shopping, make a strict shopping list in order of the supermarket layout, or in departments if you shop at various supermarkets. It’ll make it easier to see what you need and grab it as you go round.

I do most of this whether work is busy or not, and I find myself more relaxed and with a little more free time here and there. This month, I’ve focussed more on my job as an English language teacher for children both at work and at home. The academy I work for runs a summer camp in July in the mornings. We sing and dance in English, learn a little vocabulary based on the daily topic and make something fun and crafty. It’s a lot of planning in June and switching from evenings to mornings, but with 1 week left, it’s been amazingly fun.

But, this meant that I was super tired and couldn’t manage long at my computer. Even now, I’ve spent all day cleaning because I lacked the energy all week, and I just want to flop on the sofa and watch a film. I’m thinking the Troll Hunters movie for funsies. I’m five years old inside, so I love stuff like that. Or the new Masters of the Universe. I’ll think about it while I make my usual Saturday night pizza.

Anyhoo, back to my point. 

Balancing work and life and writing is hard, and even if you have the time, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll have the energy or brain power.

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay 

Writing Is a Business!

Writing is a business, especially if you plan to self-publish. You need to start thinking like a business owner as well as a writer. Make time for the various writing tasks the way you would at any other job.That’s if you want to make an income from it, otherwise, write however you want. Or write how you want anyway.

I want to publish my work, but I’m very realistic about how I can’t live on my writing. I love my teaching job and have time for writing, too. It’s like I have two jobs but only get paid for one. Most people who work at home or run a small business from home have the luxury of choosing their hours and managing their own time. But for some, managing their own time is a chore.

Here’s some helpful things to think about when structuring your own schedule to help make the most of your writing and grow it like a business.

  • Writing is your main task, so allow blocks of time to get as much done as possible.
  • Allow time for things like planning, researching, and finding inspiration.
  • Use a calendar to plan and remind yourself of tasks. I use different colours for different tasks.
  • If you use social media or blogs to self-promote, think of that as a presentations for potential clients.
  • Investing in things like writing books or courses or writing software is no different from investing in a startup company. There are things you need from day one, and things you can save up for as you make more progress. See my “Writing on a Budget” post for more on that.
  • Critiquing and sharing your work is like a meeting where you all discuss your current projects and help each other make the best of them.
  • Editing can be fun or boring as hell depending on how you approach it. I like to think of it as making sure everyone else is doing their job properly, and if not, you deal with it. I recommend outsourcing to a professional just as some businesses would with aspects out of their skill set.
  • You could think of querying agents as offering your fantastic services.
  • Then you sell your final product to shops for purchase while keeping up with marketing and designing your next products.

Running a small business can seem like a daunting idea until you realise that it’s just structuring what you enjoy into something you can make money from. Just don’t quit your day job.

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay 

Shadows

I once walked in the dark, a shadow of the woman I used to be.

More shadows followed me, fears and unfulfilled desires.

I became the shadows, chasing what I thought I wanted.

Time taught me to let go and stop chasing.

But now you’re my shadow, watching when I no longer want you.

You pushed me over the edge and watched me fall.

But I didn’t hit the ground. 

I flew despite everything.

So you have no right to watch me soar.

This is my flight, not yours.

And my shadows are far below me as the glorious sun warms my wings.

So to you, my darkest shadow, you no longer darken my flight.

For more pieces like this, check out my Embracing Darkness collection.

Book to Movie Review. Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout 4 stars

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I know I had a lot of negative things to say about Jennifer’s Blood and Ash series, but her Wicked series was a true favourite of mine. I recently read book 3 after a million years since I read book 2. But I decided to refresh my memory with the movie on Passionflix. Book-to-movie adaptations are so rarely what the original author intended, so I always go in with an open mind. This adaptation was produced by Jennifer herself, so I’m sure she had a huge say in her movie baby.

Anyway, onto what I liked…

  • The characters were pretty much how I envisioned them. Maybe Ivy’s hair was tidier than the book implied, but her character felt as close as a real person could get to a fictional character. Same with Ren. Unfortunately, my memory of the others are a bit vague.
  • I loved the on screen chemistry between Ivy and Ren. Just like the book.
  • The locations were spot on from what I’d imagined based on the book’s descriptions. It really was fun to see the words come to life.

What I didn’t like… One thing I didn’t like. That’s all.

  • I think the quality of the production let the film down compared to its possibilities with a bigger production company. I saw the trailer and was prepared for it. Then again, without Passionflix, it wouldn’t have been made. So it was a small sacrifice to see a great story come to life.

Generally, I really liked it. It was so incredibly like the book and a fun movie to watch.

Passionflix is available through most web browsers, Android, and various other devices, including my LG smart TV. Also, if you like romance novels, you’ll find many other titles on there turned into movies. Personally, I’m not a fan of romance novels unless they have a heavy dose of fantasy and sci-fi, but I’ll happily watch a cheesy film. Try “Dirty, Sexy Saint” for a fun film.