Tag Archives: writing

…Author pal, E.A. Setser’s got yeez covered… or has he?…

Author E.A. Setser’s Guest Post offering for yeez today is a straight entry from his own blog page recently… and it’s a bit of an eye-opener for emb’dy in the scribbler business looking for advice on the best approach to yer book’s cover page… here he is:


Take a look at this picture. No, really. Take a good long look at it.

Elder Blood Cover - Original

You probably want to laugh at it, and that’s okay. I do, too. Because, let’s be honest, it’s crap.

But here’s the thing. It’s my fault that it’s crap. Not my cover artist’s. Not only was that atrocity of three different typefaces entirely my doing, but the concept and the medium used were by my request. She made what I asked her to make, and she did a good job of it. The problem was that what I asked her to make was crap.

What’s inside holds up pretty well, I’d say. You can see for yourself, if you’d like. The problem is that understanding the cover requires reading the book, and the cover doesn’t make people curious to read the book.

I once spent $300 for a promotional campaign through a Facebook Page which, for their poor handling of the matter, shall remain nameless. The biggest buzz I got was when someone Shared it on their personal page where he and his friends gossiped about how bad the cover was and complained that their books weren’t being promoted. (All they had to do was email the Page’s admin, but apparently, being salty was more productive.)

That guy was kind of a jerk, but I did learn two important things. One: Don’t use multiple fonts on your cover text. Two: This cover is bad enough that it’s driving customers away.

So now, I have a friend working on a rebuff of this cover. At my insistence, he’s working at his own pace. He does have other stuff going on, after all. So, I don’t know when it will be done, but sometime in the near-ish future, that old cover will be retired and replaced with a new and better cover.

So, I guess this is another one of those pancake moments. I’m throwing out the first one.

Although I really loathe that saying. It’s among the farthest-from-the-truth truisms that I can relate to the point of. I don’t know anybody who consistently burns their first pancake.

“You don’t marry your first lover” could be a more apt truism for needing to let go of your first something-or-other. Off the top of my head, every married or cohabitating couple that I know personally dated other people before each other. But when they were with their first, it would be reasonable to assume they loved them at the time.

But I also know that some people do marry their first lover. I’ve seen it happen. I just don’t know them personally anymore. “You don’t make a career of your first job” is probably even better. I’ve only ever met one person who did that. Got his first full time job at 18 and was still there at 55.

Anyway, I just got off on a huge tangent, and I apologize for that. Back to what I was talking about, the artist and I had a nice big laugh over his misinterpretation of the original cover. He thought that this…

Biker Helmet Nope

… was a motorcycle helmet. And that these…

Head Arms Nope

… were coming out of the guy’s head. He then referred to him as Doctor Octagonopus.

Doctor Octagonopus

Oh, and this whole thing about not keeping your first only applies to the first cover of the first book. I put more thought — or any at all — into the cover of my next book, and I communicated a lot more — again, or at all — with the artist throughout the design process. This is what came of it.

Into Antiquity Cover Small

And this is what’s inside, because that’s what counts.

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…we happy Band of Bookly Brothers…once a scribbler always a scribbler…

…I first had the pleasure of meeting with Author Jim McAllister several years ago in one of Abu Dhabi’s swankier lunch eateries (none o’ yer McDonald’s fine dining for us, Mabel)… both being of Scottish genes, the elaborate performance about who paid the bill is still being talked about in hushed corridors… nonetheless, a few years elapsed, until this week, we were reunited, this time in Manama in Bahrain, in one of the city’s Costa Coffee outlets… how the mighty epicureans have fallen, eh?… never mind, regardless of the hoi polloi-ish surroundings, the occasion was NUTHIN short of glorious… plugging back in with old (I use the WURD advisedly) pals is always great fun, but more especially so when yeez are both writers… ‘way back then, I read and reviewed Jim’s tour de force, ‘ iNation, To Dry The Tears of a Billion Children’, (look for it under ‘James Mcallister’), and unashamedly I repeat it here…

…imagine a world conceived by George Orwell, Einstein, Groucho Marx, and Larry Flynt… throw in the realisation that the internet and all its spawn have deeply imbedded their irresistible tentacles into almost EVERY element of humanity, and how the world is run and controlled… introduce an ageing one-time rock star with the ultimate altruism as his grail.. to feed the world’s hungry… sprinkle in a young, sexy, one-time abused vamp with a genius IQ… line them up against the powers that be who manipulate the planet’s riches, economies, politics and even for many, LIFE itself… empower them with the capability of taking on and defeating these vested interests on a massive scale… and you have the guts of ‘iNation’… this is by far and away the most intriguing novel I’ve read for many years… it contains lots of direct and indirect ‘invented’ computer-related virtual existences, but even I, a confessed complete novice on all things to do with the internet and computers, enjoyed the narrative immensely… there’s Machiavellian conniving at the highest levels of governments… there’s enough sex to keep the steam high… the action flits in nano-seconds across continents, and into fortresses of protected artificial intelligence … the incredible becomes credible … reality merges with mirages … and all through, the author’s throw-away droll humour seeps everywhere… this novel is an astonishing, delightful, highly entertaining tour de force… treat yourself and grab a copy…
James McAllister, well what can be said about him? Difficult, awkward and a raving loony are just a few of the words used to describe him. Add in reclusive and argumentative and you have the complete picture.
His debut novel follows his empathy with the downtrodden of the world, although the detailed instructions on how to destroy the Catholic Church was described by the Pope as ‘a step too far’. The book ‘iNation’ is now on the curriculum in Quantico in the ‘Cyber Warfare Defense’ classes, although there is no record of the FBI buying a copy. His demands that the FBI pay the $7 download fee has gone unnoticed.In line with his atheist views he has completely ignored the call by the Geeks of the World to be their leader, quoting ‘it would just be another religion guys, but anyway you had me at ELHO’.

He is currently working on the second book of the iNation trilogy called ‘iNation and the Reason for the Meaning of Life’.

He lives in Dubai with his long suffering wife and a collection of self-portraits (described by Simon Schama as ‘ghastly’)

…treat yourselves by downloading a copy, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!...



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…elementary, m’dears… Authoress M. Pepper Langlinais and The Case of The Macho Myth…

…in a literary WURLD of stereotyped characterization, my dear friend, Authoress and Playwright, Manda Pepper Langlinais, (who shares my fascination with all things Sherlockish), bids yeez take another view…

Bad Boys Need Not Apply


M Pepper Langlinais

There is a common thought or saying that girls always want bad boys and that “nice guys finish last.” Books these days are littered with muscled alpha males—or I assume they are based on the half-dressed, tattooed men on so many covers. And these books sell, so I guess there is some truth to that old saying.

Well, I always knew I was weird.

I don’t dig alphas. I’m not into muscles. I don’t mind tattoos, though I’m not particularly drawn to them either. And I certainly don’t enjoy men with repressed anger issues that a main female* character needs to get through to find the guy’s ooey-gooey center. The idea that, if only she puts in some effort, and that only she can redeem him . . . It doesn’t work for me. Not even as a fantasy.

So what do I go for? Tall, thin, smart, well dressed. Even better if there’s an accent of some kind.

I suspect my taste in leading men was largely shaped by a formative addiction to the movie Young Sherlock Holmes. Holmes as a character had already been firmly established in my life—my father read Doyle and Meyer and watched the Granada television series. On the somewhat comedic side I’d seen The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and the Peter Cook/Dudley Moore take on Hound of the Baskervilles. Dad also had this Sherlock Holmes Scrapbook that I enjoyed paging through. So I was perfectly primed for a Holmes tale aimed at my age bracket. Nicholas Rowe’s portrayal of a teen version of the great detective became a template upon which to embroider my pre-teen daydreams and eventually my writing.Manda 3manda 2

Which is why you will find, aside from the Doyle-inspired Holmes himself, characters who fit a similar description in my books. Reserved, intelligent men who sometimes come off as cold. Instead of anger issues, my leading men have difficulty showing their hearts for fear it will undermine their brilliance. Instead of the heat traditionally associated with alpha males and bad boys, I lean toward ice. The fun is in chipping away at them until I (and the readers) discover what it takes to boil their otherwise frigid blood.

About Manda

M Pepper Langlinais is a produced playwright and screenwriter as well as published author. She is best known for her Sherlock Holmes stories and is also the creator of the gay British spy Peter Stoller. Her foray into YA fantasy arrives on August 5 with Changers: Manifesting Destiny. Find her books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M-Pepper-Langlinais/e/B008FBOSPE/ and Like her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mpepperlanglinais

…thanks for this, m’Lady, Manda… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!...




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…my friend, Mary K. Miraglia, rocks this provincial newsroom piece…

…from the treasure chest that is my Guest Blog inbox today, comes a terrific gem from my pal, Mary Miraglia… the piece revolves around the idiosyncrasies of an instantaneously recognizable workplace environment, whether yeez have ever been on a journalist’s chair or any other workplace office… hilariously bang on the button… LUV IT! … enjoy…




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…d’yeez know emb’dy who invents WURDS?… my pal Dave Robertson does…


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…if yeez like historically-flavoured novels, Robin Levin’s is just the ticket…


…my pal, author, Robin Levin has a new book for yeez…

My new novel, in the Wake of Hannibal is now available on Amazon and Kindle.

The Death of Carthage told the story of the Second Punic War, between Rome and Carthage, from the point of view of the Romans. In the Wake of Hannibal tells the same story from the point of view of the Carthaginians. In the Wake of Hannibal has three narrators. There is Mago, the younger brother of Hannibal, Gisco, Mago’s best friend from early childhood, and Gisco’s Spanish wife, Sansara. Mago is utterly devoted to his brother’s cause: “I had always worshiped my brother Hannibal from afar, as he left Carthage for Spain when I was five. Even when I went to Spain five years ago to join the Carthaginian army under our brother-in-law Hasdrubal the Fair, Hannibal and I never spent time alone together. As second in command he was constantly busy and constantly surrounded by underlings demanding his time. It came as a surprise when, shortly before our attack on Saguntum, he called me to his tent for a private conference. As I entered his tent I saw him seated at a small table poring over a map. There was a platter of bread and venison on the table, a bowl of fruit, a flask of wine and two cups. He pointed toward the victuals and said ‘Help yourself, Mago.’ I nodded my thanks and took a small hunk of the meat and poured myself some wine. ‘Mago,’ he said, ‘As you know, we will be taking on the Romans after we destroy Saguntum. I plan to take the army over the Alps, an arduous journey, and I think that the war will go on for several years. Are you with me on this? If you have any second thoughts, let me know now.’ ‘Hannibal,’ I replied, ‘Why would you even ask me that question? You know I’m with you all the way on this. I am more than willing to die for our cause!’ ‘I ask this because it is my intention that you will be the most important person in the army after myself.’ said Hannibal. ‘You will be the key to my strategy to defeat the Romans in battle.’”

Gisco is utterly devoted to Mago. He is also deeply in love with his Spanish wife, Sansara: “I thought of Sansara and the coming child. Despite my complaints about her inability to speak Phoenician, I loved her dearly. She was a willing and able bed partner. This would mean that I would have to leave her and risk losing her. On the other hand, I could not imagine leaving Mago’s side. We had been friends ever since I could remember. Besides, I was a man and a soldier of Carthage, and I knew that I had a duty to my country.”

Sansara is equally devoted to Gisco. Despite being compelled to marry him in order to cement an alliance between her tribe and the Carthaginians, she has come to love him. She, however, has no liking for Hannibal and his schemes. She sees the war from the perspective of an outsider: “Mago follows Hannibal blindly, and Gisco follows Mago blindly. Hannibal. How I loathe that man! Everyone around me worships him, but to me he is a monster. I hold my tongue around his devotees.”

Ultimately, Gisco is forced to choose between his country and his family. After following Hannibal over the Alps and participating in the battles of Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae, Mago and Gisco return to Carthage where Mago tries to persuade the Carthaginian Senate to provide reinforcements to Hannibal. Hannibal’s other brother, Hasdrubal, however, has lost a major battle in Spain and the reinforcements are sent to Spain instead. Mago and Gisco return to Spain where Gisco is reunited with Sansara. Gisco is delighted to learn that she has born him a son, little Gisco. The following year, she bears another son whom they name Hanno. Hanno is a particularly beautiful infant and he comes to the notice of Indibal, the priest of Tanit and Baal-Hammon, who has a disturbing dream about him. Indibal summons Gisco and demands that he sacrifice the child as a burnt offering to the gods. Faced with an impossible dilemma, Gisco takes the only course he can think of-he flees Kart Hadasht with his wife, three young children and two freedmen and seeks asylum from the Romans in Tarraco. He knows that the Romans will demand information from him in exchange for asylum, and that if he is ever captured by Carthaginian agents, he will be crucified as a traitor.

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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… ‘Owed to Joy’ (with apologies to Master Beethoven)… meet my pal, Joy Lennick…

…we’re out of the blocks and running, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… the current Open Season for Guest Bloggers on this ‘ere ‘umble page starts with a terrific offering from my pal, Authoress, Joy Lennick… for fellow scribblers, the sentiments will be swiftly appreciated…  just read and enjoy!…



It started around 5.00 a.m…My ‘word soldiers’ mutinied and I had one hell of a job controlling them after that.  It must happen to all writers occasionally.  Doesn’t it? You marshal your troops, give then a pep talk and expect them to obey orders.  Do they heck!

“Right! This morning it’s an article on minimalism.  Someone? Anyone…?” Silence and then verbal diarrhoea ending in chaos. Someone babbled about ‘Style’; another about ‘Chocolate’(?) A third smart-arse suggested ‘Discipline’.  The cheek of the man; he only added fuel to the fire…I found it hard to cope, so arose and made a cup of tea.  Sanity prevailed. The troops were still silent when an upstart interrupted my reverie and piped up: ‘Minimalism’ and added a few ideas.  I made him up to sergeant and gave him the rest of the day off.

The reason for all this nonsense? The discovery of the so-called ‘Queen of Minimalism:’ American writer Amy Hempel: ‘The Dog of the Marriage’ a collection of short stories. A warning! It’s not to everyone’s taste, but what is?! But and it’s a big BUT, as a writing exercise and lesson in pruning – especially for the short story writer – some of her work is well worth reading. The expression ‘wheat from chaff’ comes to mind. And so I approached my key-board with something approaching enthusiasm.  This is my first attempt. See if it helps or grabs you.

                                                                THE ROW

Outside Autumn glowed golden.  Inside it was Winter: the room icy. The decibel level of the grandfather clock increased alarmingly. Bird-song was strident this morning she thought.

Looks lethal as darts passed between them; time grew heavy, laboured. Remembered niceties, loving smiles, gestures, tried hammering at her door. It was locked.

She poured her own coffee; heard the decisive ‘clonk’ as the cup met the saucer. Her voice was on alert, eager for action…

The wall between them was paper-thin; the silent words pregnant with doom.


Email: joylennick@hotmail.com


Joy’s latest books: ‘MY GENTLE WAR’ a memoir, and ‘THE CATALYST’ a faction novel

joy 2joy 3

Short stories in ‘PRECINCT MURDER’ (WordPlay Publishers.), ‘FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD’ (Quirky Girl Publishing) and ‘DES RES?’ (Quirky Girl Publishing.) All anthologies. AMAZON AND KINDLE.

Having worn several hats in her life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; Joy’s favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. She’s an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth her Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and her current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…
Supposedly ‘Retired,’ she now lives in Spain with her husband and ‘three great sons’.



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