Book Spotlight: The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby

“This is an amazing adventure that is attractive to every type of reader. There are heart pounding moments that lead you to sit on the edge of your seat, situations that will make you cry, and a love story that has you rooting for the main characters the whole way through. The melodies of words used from chapter to chapter are so vivid that the scenes and stories materialize while you read. A wonderful read that should be made into a movie. I can’t wait for the second book!!”

Says 5-Star Review on Amazon

Every now and then a manuscript comes across an editor’s desk that makes one sit up and take notice. It is a rare privilege to be pulled into a story by the sheer power of its narrative. A gift even more exceptional is when the reader feels the earth beneath their feet and smells the wind through the pines. Such is the case when reading The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby.

H.L. Grandin's debut novel, The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby, has been a critical success with reviewers and readers. Yet, it is only the beginning. (click on cover to download on Amazon)

H.L. Grandin’s debut novel, The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby, has been a critical success with reviewers and readers. Yet, it is only the beginning. (click on cover to download on Amazon)

Peppered with historical facts from the founding of Jamestown to the massacre at Wolstenholmstown in 1622, this fast-paced read takes the time to bring the Appalachian Mountains of the late 1600’s alive in exquisite detail. From the description of the Weathersby’s rescue of the powerful Powhatan chief, Opencanecanough, to the ferocious battle on the escarpment between Tyoga and the commander of the wolves, this captivating tale keeps the adventure reader turning the page, and the lovers of romance wanting more.

Set at the turn of the 17th Century in the frontier of Appalachia, The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby follows the adventures of a young settler and the Native American tribe that has adopted him as their own, as he is transformed by deed and circumstance to legendary stature. Mystically awakened to the promise of “knowing” as generations of Weathersbys before, the rhythms of the natural world unfold in mysterious ways as he is embraced by primal forces that seem beyond his control. Tyoga is tested by the might and savage fury of the leader of a marauding pack of wolves, and in saving the life of his companion Tes Qua Ta Wa (the One Who Opens the Door) his life is transformed and the legend is born.

As the lines between man and myth, spirit dog and mortal soul begin to blur, Tyoga Weathersby is embroiled in the intrigue of intertribal politics, captured by the cry of the wild to fulfill destiny’s call, and ripped apart by his love for the beautiful Cherokee maiden, Sunlei, whom he must set free to keep alive.

“But beyond the obvious allure of an engaging story, The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby challenges the reader to explore those aspects of their own lives that define who, and what, they are,” said Lauren Carr, author and CEO of Acorn Book Services. Author H. L. Grandin adds, “I have always been intrigued by one’s perception of self. To what degree do we allow others to define our own personhood? How much of who we are is an acceptance of the views of others? At what point do we reject the opinions of others and embrace self determination?”

The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby is so much more than a captivating story. It is a “must read” for everyone who has ever questioned the whim of fate, and the power of destiny.


The Legend Continues in Book II: The Search for Sunlei:

H.L. Grandin’s second installment in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby series, The Search for Sunlei, will be released May 1. This exciting sequel to Grandin’s debut novel brings the reader closer to the intertribal tensions and international rivalries that permeated the American frontier directly before the French and Indian War and, against that backdrop, brings into stark relief Tyoga Weathersby’s struggle to thwart the inner demons that battle for his very soul.

The Search for Sunlei is Book II in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby series, written by H.L. Grandin

The Search for Sunlei is Book II in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby series, written by H.L. Grandin

Grandin’s sense of timing keeps the reader engaged not only with the main characters, but with an intriguing and unanticipated story line. A careful reading reveals that the author has captured the essence of the Appalachian Mountains in a way that creates a geographic “character” of sorts. The topography of the Ohio Valley and the river routes that were the highways of colonial America play a pivotal role in Tyoga’s search for Sunlei. From the tidewater of Virginia to the shores of Lake Ontario, from the Appalachian peaks to Albany, New York, Grandin brings to life the naked beauty of the land and the dispassionate ease with which it can kill.

“Bringing Tyoga Weathersby to life has been a true labor of love,” Grandin said. “I answer many of the questions that remained open at the end of the first book, but left a great deal for the readers to reconcile on their own. The questions posed by the truth of the Promise are the same for everyone. But the answers that fit into your story belong to no one else.”

The critical acclaim for Grandin’s first novel caught the author and his publisher by surprise. “I recognized H.L.’s work as something special when I read the manuscript for The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby,” says Lauren Carr, owner of Acorn Book Services and Grandin’s principle editor. “I am more than pleased that others share my enthusiasm for his powerful writing style, and his creative use of the English language. I know that his readers will want to read more about the legend of Tyoga Weathersby.” H.L. is already hard at work on the third installment.


About the Author

H.L. Grandin grew up in Virginia and along the way developed a deep appreciation and respect for nature, as well as a yearning to know the heritage of the land and of those who walked it so long ago. Educated in Virginia and France, H.L. has spent his career in healthcare, with a stint as proprietor/owner of a coffee and blues bar. He is a self-taught musician and was drummer for several bands throughout high school and college. He currently entertains his wife and dog with his 12 string guitar. For the last twenty-five years, H.L. has lived on a small farm in western Maryland where he and his wife raised three daughters and a passel of critters.

Author H.L. Grandin (click on photo to visit author website)

Author H.L. Grandin
(click on photo to visit author website)

A natural storyteller and prolific writer, H.L. has been quietly composing a cast of characters and their adventures for at least ten years. About three years ago, he seriously put pen to paper and The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby was born.

This is Harry Grandin’s second novel in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby series. The third novel, Huntly House is about Tyoga and Trinity Jane’s daughter, Rebecca Jane, and how she and her father changed the course of history. He is also writing a book of short stories. To learn more about The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby and H.L.’s future books, please visit




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{Blog Tour: Review and Excerpt} Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr (Mac Faraday Mysteries #7)

{Blog Tour: Review and Excerpt} Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr (Mac Faraday Mysteries #7).

via {Blog Tour: Review and Excerpt} Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr (Mac Faraday Mysteries #7).

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Crossing the Flinch Threshold—and a Giveaway!

Originally posted on Buried Under Books:

Lauren and Gnarly

Lauren and Gnarly

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Each installment of Lauren’s hit mystery series, starting with It’s Murder, My Son which was released in June 2010, has made the best-seller’s list on Amazon. Twelve to Murder is the seventh Mac Faraday mystery.

Also receiving rave reviews, Dead on Ice, released September 2012, introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second book in this series, Real Murder, will be released April 2014.

Mac Faraday’s plan to spend a quiet weekend home alone with his lady love, Archie Monday, is shattered by murder.

A middle aged couple are brutally murdered in their summer place on Deep Creek Lake. To any other detective, the case would be considered open and shut when it appears…

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Twelve to Murder: A Mac Faraday Mystery’: Bodies Pile Up, Gnarly is Gnarly, Commitment Issues with Mac and Archie

Lauren Carr:

“Perhaps the most hilarious hostage scene in crime fiction history.” That’s quite an honor, David. Thank you!

Originally posted on davidkinchen:

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen 

In my previous reviews of Lauren Carr’s Mac Faraday mystery novels, I neglected to mention the humor that infuses these very readable books.

Humor — much of it engendered by Gnarly, Mac’s irrepressible German Shepherd — is present in her latest Mac Faraday mystery, “Twelve to Murder” (Acorn Book Services, 262 pages, $12.99 trade paperback, also available in a Kindle from Amazon).

BOOK REVIEW: 'Twelve to Murder: A Mac Faraday Mystery': Bodies Pile Up, Gnarly is Gnarly, Commitment Issues with Mac and Archie

The murder of a wealthy middle-aged couple in their  home in Deep Creek Lake, MD, opens up several cans of worms involving Hollywood celebrities. And, despite the fact that Mac Faraday is no longer a homicide detective, he becomes involved in the case.

The victims are Janice and Austin Stillman. Janice is a high-profile agent, relocated from Tinseltown to Garrett County, Maryland’s westernmost county. One of Janice’s clients, former child star and teen idol, Lenny Frost, is almost immediately suspected of doing the…

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Lauren Carr’s Latest Mystery: TWELVE to MURDER

Mac Faraday’s plan to spend a quiet weekend home alone with his lady love, Archie Monday, is shattered by murder.

Best-Selling Mystery Author Lauren Carr's latest is Twelve to Murder, a Mac Faraday Mystery. Click on Book Cover to order on Amazon.

Best-Selling Mystery Author Lauren Carr’s latest is Twelve to Murder, a Mac Faraday Mystery. Click on Book Cover to order on Amazon.

A middle aged couple are brutally murdered in their summer place on Deep Creek Lake. To any other detective, the case would be considered open and shut when it appears as if one of the victims has written her killer’s name in her blood—not so for Mac Faraday, who believes there is more to this case than meets the eye.

Anyone who is near the news can’t help but hear about the fall of one child star or teenybopper idol after another. Miley Cyrus twerking everywhere. Lindsay Lohan going in and out of rehab like it had a revolving door. Has-beens arrested and committing suicide or dying of overdoses. In the eighties, Corey Haim was a very successful child star, became a teen-idol, and ended up dead before he was forty.

For best-selling mystery author Lauren Carr, such stories cause her to ask “What if…”

Such was the seed that inspired Twelve to Murder. “What if,” Lauren said, “a very intelligent boy reached his peak before even reaching legal drinking age? What are the emotional effects to an extremely intelligent young man when he realizes he’ll never reach the same level of success that he had when he was a teenager? How does it feel to be a has-been? What would such a person do when suddenly, he is featured on the news again, only this time, it is because he has been accused of a double homicide?”

In Lauren Carr’s latest Mac Faraday Mystery, such is the case of former child-star and teen-idol Lenny Frost when he steps into a pub in Deep Creek Lake to see his face on the television over the bar with the announcement that once again, he’s wanted…for the murder of his agent and her husband!

How does Lenny Frost react to this sudden celebrity? He takes everyone hostage and gives Mac Faraday twelve hours to find the real killer or he’s going to kill everyone in the bar.

Find out all there is to know about Lauren Carr and Mac Faraday's latest case in the Twelve to Murder Virtual Book Tour. Click on the Tour Banner for the tour schedule.

Find out all there is to know about Lauren Carr and Mac Faraday’s latest case in the Twelve to Murder Virtual Book Tour. Click on the Tour Banner for the tour schedule.

About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

Mystery Author Lauren Carr and Gnarly. Yes, Gnarly is a handful. Click on author pic to visit Lauren's website.

Mystery Author Lauren Carr and Gnarly. Yes, Gnarly is a handful.
Click on author pic to visit Lauren’s website.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder. Dead on Ice (A Lovers in Crime Mystery) was released September 2012. The second installment, Real Murder will be out in 2014.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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Today’s guest post is from Cindy McDonald, author of the Unbridled series, and also the First Force series. Cindy is a romance-suspense or suspense-romance author. Get that? She is not a mystery author. There is a difference. Read below to find out what that is:

I’ve had several readers and reviewers post that they love my mysteries. Ahhh, but most recently I had a reviewer complain that she was upset because there was no mystery involved in my latest book, Shady Deals, and there’s a darn good reason for that: I simply do not write mysteries! While some readers and reviewers put my Unbridled books in the mystery category, the simple fact is that I write murder suspense and romantic suspense novels.

Shady Deals is Cindy's latest installment in the Unbridled series, filled with romance & suspense. Click on book cover to visit on Amazon.

Shady Deals is Cindy’s latest installment in the Unbridled series, filled with romance & suspense. Click on book cover to visit on Amazon.

A mystery writer plays their cards close to their chest. Bit by bit the mystery writer will slowly feed you clues as to who killed the poor widow who lives in the Victorian mansion on the hill. During the course of the story they will throw suspicion in several directions and perhaps throw a few twists into the plot to keep the reader guessing all the way to the end as to whodunit. A very good mystery writer will surprise you.

A suspense writer holds nothing back. The suspense writer tells you straight up that the handsome, young man whose car broke down during the storm and showed up at the poor widow’s door asking to use her phone killed her. But now will her beautiful, recently divorced daughter be next?

A suspense writer will toy with your emotions and your apprehensions by leading you to believe that perhaps you—the reader—is mistaken. Perhaps the young man isn’t the murderer, and maybe someone else killed her. A suspense writer will send cold-hard fear crawling up your skin as the murderer charms the widow’s daughter. When is he going to kill her? How is he going to kill her? Will the police officer that lives down the street figure out what is going on and come to her rescue before it’s too late? If you can’t put the book down because you simply can’t wait to find out the answers, then the suspense writer has done their job well.

Cindy McDonald's new series: First Force is a romance-suspense. Into the Crossfire has been receiving rave reviews. Click on the sexy book cover to check it out!

Cindy McDonald’s new series: First Force is a romance-suspense. Into the Crossfire has been receiving rave reviews. Click on the sexy book cover to check it out!

In a mystery book there is always the telling moment when all the characters, which of course includes the protagonist detective and the suspects, all gather together to put all the clues together and reveal the murderer.

In a suspense book the action comes to a climax where people’s lives are hanging on the edge, requiring the protagonist to hatch a dodgy rescue, risking everything to save the widow’s daughter.

It all seems extremely basic, doesn’t it? So what’s all the confusion about?

Stick with me, because this is the important part:

When looking for my books on amazon, you may very well find them under the category of mystery. Why? Because when amazon categorizes books many are lumped together in one category. Mystery and suspense books are put together in a mystery/suspense/thriller category, and then the book will be broken down from there into sub-categories like: romance, police procedural, cozy mystery, romantic suspense, murder suspense etc. Yes! My books could possibly be listed in the same category as Stephen King’s thrillers regardless of the fact that they are not the same kind or genre as Mr. King’s books.

In other words my romantic suspense and murder suspense books can show up in several categories, including mystery, even though it is not a mystery at all.

Whew! Did I clear that all up for you? I suppose the point is, the next time you shop for a mystery on amazon, you may very well get suspense or suspense that teases your sense of deductive reasoning with a mystery.

Author Cindy McDonald. Click on pic to visit Cindy's website.

Author Cindy McDonald.
Click on pic to visit Cindy’s website.

About the Author:

For twenty-six years my life whirled around a song and a dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.

Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy. The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.

I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!

In May of 2011 I took the big leap and exchanged my dancin’ shoes for a lap top—I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with you.

To read excerpts from future books, view book trailers, and keep up with everything that is Unbridled, please visit Cindy’s website at:

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Guest Post: The Heart of the Matter: Why I Love a Good Mystery

Today’s guest post is by Susan Russo Anderson, who is the author of not one, but two murder mystery series! So i is obvious that she must love mysteries. In this guest post, she is going to tell us why.

Too Quiet in Brooklyn is available Friday, Dec 20. Today!

Too Quiet in Brooklyn is available Friday, Dec 20. Today!

While you’re here, be sure to check out Susan’s latest novel, Too Quiet in Brooklyn, which is released TODAY! That’s right! Today it is available!

The Heart Of The Matter: Why I Love A Good Mystery

At first blush, mysteries are not a suitable subject for this time of year—unless you’re like me and would rather peer into the surrounding darkness than squint into the glitz of the season.

For many of us, there is something compelling about mysteries. We can’t put them down, perhaps because we need to know what comes next. And even though we think we have the answers to the central questions of who done it and why, we love the shock of being fooled by a surprise at the end.

I’ve loved reading mysteries since forever. I can’t tell you why, not totally. But the mysteries I’ve enjoyed the most, whether historical or contemporary, have certain traits in common. They are driven by a main character I care about, a character in extremis, pushing against improbable odds, a character who never gives up. And surrounding her (or him) is a sense of doom if she doesn’t succeed, not just for herself, but for a bunch of innocent others.

For me, it’s characters who tell their story and sweep me up into their world.  I like to get to know them—how they’ve been hurt, what they yearn for. I like to know about their pets. (Many of them, like Gnarly, become lovable central characters in their own right.) I am curious about their favorite foods, their friends, their lovers, their failures. I am charmed by their uniqueness. I like to watch them grow. Because I care about the characters, I want to know what’s going to happen next in their lives. So a bonus is a mystery in a series where the characters have lives beyond the mystery of the main plot lines, where the characters think and comment and change. Subplots and character monologue—the stuff that books are able to handle so much better than video or film—this keeps me reading books and coming back for more.

But everything I’ve said so far doesn’t explain why I choose to read a mystery over, say, a romance. Is it the puzzle or the gruesome details of the murder? That’s part of it, but not the total answer. There are some people, myself included, who are intrigued with death, arrested by the sudden, inexplicable yet inexorable demise of everyday life. The abrupt abduction. The ending for us all. And it is this placement of death and terror at the heart of a book, and the protagonist’s quest to find the perpetrator, to achieve justice and balance while struggling with grief and loss and the meaning of life, that is at the heart of the matter for me. The main character’s defeat of that dastard, death, however brief, keeps me choosing a mystery over all the other genres.

Susan Russo Anderson, Author of The Serafina Florio Mysteries and the Fina Fitzgibbons Mysteries

Susan Russo Anderson
Author of The Serafina Florio Mysteries
and the Fina Fitzgibbons Mysteries
Click on author photo to visit Susan’s website.

About the Author

Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a grandmother, a widow, a member of Sisters In Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She has taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes.

The first book in the Serafina Florio historical mystery series was published in 2012, the fourth book, Murder On The Rue Cassette, earlier this month. She has just published the first book in the Fina Fitzgibbons series, a new adult mystery, Too Quiet In Brooklyn. You can connect with her on her website, on Twitter (@susanrussoander) and Facebook. You can find her books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Smashwords.

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My Mother Isn’t a Psychopath. She’s a Mystery Writer—and She’s Giving Away a Book!

Life is difficult when you’re mother is a murder mystery writer, as you will see in Lauren Carr’s guest post at Buried Under Books.

My Mother Isn\’t a Psychopath. She\’s a Mystery Writer—and She\’s Giving Away a Book!.

via My Mother Isn’t a Psychopath. She’s a Mystery Writer—and She’s Giving Away a Book!.

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By the Cover They Will Judge


Guest Post by M.S. Fowle

I don’t need to say it. We all know how it goes. And though it pains most of us to realize it, it’s true. Quite honestly, one can’t simply look at a book cover and know if it’s worth reading. But we certainly try. So authors have no choice but to have a book cover that will grab and compel a reader to give their work a chance. To an author, their book is their heart and soul, no matter the genre. I know this because I’m an author myself. I know all too well of the work that goes into our stories and characters. So I know how important it is to have cover art that not only best reflects the tales we have told, but uses visual prowess to capture potential readers as well.

Some may think that because I’m an author, I must have an advantage in book cover making. It does, but it doesn’t. I do know what it’s like to be in their shoes—the excitement of finally finishing a novel, the anxiety of publishing. But I also know what it’s like to be a cover designer working with authors stuck on a rollercoaster of emotions. In this article, I’ll offer advice to both sides, as well as a few tips for those interested in creating their own book cover art.

Buying Cover Art

Taking the indie route offers up opportunities that you wouldn’t normally have being traditionally published. Signing with a publisher means, most likely, they’ll be providing the artwork for your book cover and promotional materials. The author has little to do with the process. As an indie author, you get to decide how your book will be represented. But there are a few things you need to know about the process.

Lauren Carr's Authors in Bathrobes is a custom design by M.S. Fowle.

Lauren Carr’s Authors in Bathrobes is a custom design by M.S. Fowle.

·         Plan Ahead

I can’t even count how many times an author has ordered one of my premade e-book covers and I respond to their query only to get a reply about how they don’t have the money yet. Or how many requests I’ve gotten for custom artwork with a ridiculous deadline, like I’m surgically planted in front of my computer with no life or any desire to sleep. Try to have book cover art lined up and ready to go weeks, if not months, ahead of when you plan to publish. Anything could happen. If you wait until the last minute, you could miss your release date and disappoint a lot of readers.

·         Keep an Open Mind

 Most authors develop a vision of what their book cover will look like. It is fun to dream. But you also need to realize that sometimes dreams are just dreams, and that’s okay. What you may have envisioned as perfect, may not be the best marketing strategy. Selling books is a business. Having the right artwork is part of that. Listen to your cover artist’s suggestions. They know what sells. Remember: your vision can always be commissioned for other promotional materials or even as a personal memento for your achievement.

·         People on Covers

You know your characters better than anyone. You can see what they look like, you’ve experienced all their mannerisms, and you know all their deepest secrets. But as much you love (or hate) them, putting characters on your book cover may not be the best idea. You can describe them as much as you want in your book, but the reader is still going to form their own vision. For them, that’s part of the pleasure of reading. Why deny them the satisfaction? However, if you’re insistent enough, I don’t recommend having more than ONE depiction of a character on your cover – two at the absolute most. But I still prefer to avoid it all together.

·         All Sales are Final

It feels a bit mean to say something like that, but it’s true. You’re not buying a physical product. Everything is digital and easily replicated. Therefore, returning it for a refund is impossible. Make sure you’re truly happy with what you’re paying for.

Creating Cover Art

If you have experience or you’re really tight on funds, creating your own cover art may be your only option. Quite honestly, I’ve seen some pretty decent book covers going for as low as $20, so buying cover art should be within anyone’s budget. But if you do have some experience, there are a few things you need to remember.

·         Research

Check out other books in your genre, preferably the bestsellers. See what sort of inspiration you can conjure up in browsing the cover art of your soon-to-be competition. Make note of what you like or don’t like. And pay close attention to the fonts and sizes of the title and author names, as some styles work better for certain genres. Also make note of the fact that your author name shouldn’t be twice as big as your title, unless you’ve already sold millions of copies of your last book… in which case, you wouldn’t be making your own book cover.

·         Know Your Copyrights

The easiest way to avoid copyright issues is to use your own resources to create your artwork. Take some photographs and do it up. But if you’re not handy with the camera or looking for something specific that’s out of your element, you’ll need to seek out stock images. There are plenty of websites that offer an expansive variety of stock, but you MUST read their Terms of Use. Most will include a policy for image use on book covers, both e-book and print. Others will attach a Creative Commons License, explaining what others are allowed to do with their work. (See here: If you’re not sure about something, just contact the original artist directly to ask their permission.

·         Photo Editors

Not everyone has experience with Photoshop or any of the other editing software on the market. But there are plenty of online photo editing websites out there that are user friendly and most are free to use. Just try not to go overboard. Sometimes, less is more.

·         Avoid the Overload

You’re already dealing with editing and publishing and promotion, as well as life in general. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Experiment with a few different ideas, save each file with a different name and then, as I like to say, sit on ‘em. Just walk away for a day or two and go back to have another look. Most of the time, all you need is a fresh perspective. Or find a brutally honest friend for a real-life opinion on how they look – you’re loved ones are biased.

Selling Cover Art

This next section is more for independent book cover artists, but it wouldn’t hurt the authors out there to give it a gander. It can never hurt to see things from another’s point of view.

·         The Meet & Greet

Designers provide a service, but we mustn’t forget about customer service. A quality product will get a business off the ground, but the quality of service will either make it or break it. Start off right with a friendly introduction and keep things a bit on the casual side, but not so much you come off as unprofessional. Even if they love the cover art you created, how you treat them as a person is what they’ll remember first and foremost.

·         Deposits

Pre-made cover art is usually an instant sale. But for custom artwork, I strongly advise you get half the full payment upfront. It’s a common practice and most authors should understand. There are a number of free websites that will allow you to create invoices in PDF format.

·         Have Patience

There will be times when you’re blessed with the perfect match of author and designer, where your worlds are so synched they love everything you send them. And there will also be times when you’ll make change after change and feel like it’s never going to end. Just be patient and, most of all, be nice. Politely set limits. Authors tend to get excited about their upcoming book. We’re only human, ya’ know.

I truly believe book cover art to be just as exciting as writing the book itself. Your book is your baby—you created it, you’ve nurtured it and you’re about to send it out into the world. You need it to look its best… because whether we like it or not, first impressions really are everything.


About M.S. Fowle of Melchelle Designs

Melchelle Designs offer beautiful and unique artwork to help your ebook stand out in the crowd, causing a visual appeal that will entice readers to your hard work.

What to expect from Melchelle Designs:

  • Superior customer service – We work with our customers. We’re only satisfied when you are.
  • Affordable prices – We provide reasonable price points to cater to both traditional and indie authors.
  • Beautiful artwork – Great digital art starts with great photography and we work hard to create both.

For more information visit Melchelle Designs at their website.

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It’s Time to Get Into the Crossfire!

It has been four years since ex-Navy SEAL Jack Haliday, had an explosive run-in with a biker gang, wounding their leader, Gunner. During those years, Jack had acquired everything he ever wanted: a beautiful wife, daughter, and a lovely home in the suburbs–everything was just about as perfect as it could get, until Gunner returned to twist Jack’s world inside-out with a vengeance that he could never have prepared for.

Cindy McDonald's new series: First Force is a romance-suspense. Into the Crossfire is coming Nov 1!

Cindy McDonald’s new series: First Force is a romance-suspense.Click on book cover to order on Amazon!

Into the Crossfire the first book of the Cindy McDonald’s new series: First Force. Jack Haliday made his first appearance on Cindy McDonald’s computer screen while writing the third book from her Unbridled Series, Dangerous Deception. “I enjoyed writing the character so much that he returned to Unbridled to make a brief visit in the fourth book, Against the Ropes,” Cindy says. Unable to resist, Cindy is allowing him to ride along one more time in her fifth book, Shady Deals, which will be released January 2014. “What can I say?” Cindy shrugs, “I simply fell in love and decided to create a series that featured the handsome Navy SEAL, Jack Haliday.”

Some of the characters from the Unbridled Series make “guest appearances” in Into the Crossfire to help usher Jack Haliday into the new series: Captain Patrick Lutz, Lieutenant Carl Lugowski, and Kate West—referred to as “the blonde” in chapter one of this book.

The cover photograph of Stuart Reardon was taken by renowned New York photographer, Paul Reitz. “I first saw photos of the professional rugby player turned model on Facebook,” Cindy recalls. “When Stuart posted this particular picture on his FB page, I immediately thought that it was perfect for the cover of Into the Crossfire. I contacted Paul to contract the photograph of the overtly handsome Brit—see, social networking can pay off!”

Stuart’s lovely girlfriend, Emma Hayes, is featured in the book trailer for Into the Crossfire. The trailer can be viewed on Cindy McDonald’s website, Her website also features excerpts from future First Force books as well as the Unbridled Series.

Literary Wealth Review

Jack Haliday has a score to settle–a big one!

Cindy McDonald introduces her new series (First Force) with Into the Crossfire. For romantic-suspense fans, there’s nothing not to love about this book. We have Jack Haliday, a handsome (just look at the cover!) ex-Navy Seal, now undercover cop. He’s got the perfect life: beautiful loving wife and adorable curly headed daughter.

Everything is perfect until Jack’s past comes back with a fiery vengeance to rip it all away.

Four years ago, just as Jack was about to bust the homicidal leader of a bad-ass motorcycle gang after six months of undercover work, he was forced to blow his cover in a big way to save the life of another detective. Gunner escaped.

It’s taken four year, but Gunner tracks Jack down to turn his world inside out by killing his wife and destroying his idealistic home.

That is when Jack discovers the secret world of his kindly (yet mysterious) next door neighbor Walt, who is the leader of the team of top operatives known as First Force.

In her new series, Cindy McDonald takes the reader on a roller coaster of suspense and romance. The First Force team is made up of wonderful characters who are a wonderful mixture of compassion (the team’s beautiful doctor Raine, who has a sorrowful past), strength, and even humor: like a huge, humorless pilot named Stuart Little, who takes exception to jokes about his name.

When Jack’s world crumbles, Walt and his team swoop in to save his life and go to work to bring justice as only they can do, even when the life of one of their own is put in the balance.

I highly recommend this book for readers looking for a thrilling ride of suspense and romance.

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