Decisions, Decisions…

Recently I posted a blog called Writer’s Crossroads about deciding on what to write next. A month later I am still struggling with that decision. I’m not sure what my hold up is exactly.

I have actually written the first couple pages of the sixth book in my paranormal wedding planner series which means that I am heading in that direction, right?

Maybe. Because then I wrote the first couple of pages of the potential first book in my Mind Sweeper shifter spin-off trilogy.

And as amazing as I try to be at balancing my day job with writing and publishing, I can’t write two books at once. So I really, really, really need to make a decision and settle back into my writing process once again.

Do I roll the dice? Ask my magic eight ball? Shuffle the deck?

Any suggestions on decision-making would be greatly appreciated!

 

Writer’s Crossroads

When an author writes “the end” to a story, it’s an amazing feeling. But it also signals the author to gear up for what they are going to do next. If they are in the middle of a series and have obligations to finish that, then it isn’t hard to make a decision to move forward.

For me, I will be publishing books 4 and 5 in my paranormal wedding planner series this fall which leaves book 6 to go. And I will get to that book soon. But right now, I am at a crossroads. Because when I’m done with book 6, I have to decide what I want to write next.

I have some ideas (all possibilities and not certainties, aka – no promises!).

I could write a spin-off shifter trilogy for my Mind Sweeper series and tie up the loose ends for my unattached characters – Doc & Jason for one, and Grffin for another…

I have also been toying with writing a cozy mystery series as well…

I could pull a partially written book I have started that would jump start a new trilogy on some pretty interesting supernatural that I have been playing with…

Or, I could work on a new series that’s starting to form in my brain which would be very different than what I have written before…

See? A lot of options to sift through. And while they are exiting, they are also a bit daunting. So any suggestions (or votes) would be appreciated. I’m writing for my readers after all…

WHERE is the journey taking us?

I hope you’ve been having a good time on this journey. We have been talking about re-covering my Mind Sweeper Series. We’ve touched on WHY, WHO, WHEN and WHAT. Today we’re going to talk about WHERE.

When you decide to change or re-brand your books, it isn’t just the print book cover that you need to worry about (if only it were that easy, my friends). No, re-branding touches ALL aspects of the book.

First, the retailers need to be updated. When you download the books from Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or Kobo, or Apple you now see the amazing (if I say so myself) covers.

But that also means updating my website with new book covers as well as an social media that carries the AE Jones brand, like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

And let’s not forget my newsletters, and other areas where my covers appear. It can be a bit daunting to change all of this, but it’s worth it to give your covers a new look and feel. Because covers also convey emotion. Take the two covers of my series that deal with Jean Luc and Talia – I was looking for emotion and I got that and more in these two covers!

Now to the WHAT of our Journey…

And away we go again on this journey of new covers for my Mind Sweeper series. Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about the WHY, WHO, and WHEN of recovering my series. Today I’m going to talk about the WHAT.

Sweeper Ebook Final (1)What is it that I am trying to say with my covers? With the new covers, I wanted to convey more of the Urban Fantasy vibe. To give readers a hint of the paranormal or other that my Mind Sweeper world lives in.

And this is when the fun and creativity comes into play.

My cover artist conveyed the sense of other with color. The purples, blues, pinks and turquoise takes us down a path of being a bit different, yet the colors all tie together overall, making the books compliment each other.

Then there’s the smoke or glow around the characters on the covers that give you that paranormal sense.Shifter Final Ebook (1)

Backgrounds also help convey a message. Since this series is Urban Fantasy, the urban (or in this case grunge) backdrop is important. Believe it or not, each background plays a part in that particular book’s story. For example, part of Shifter Wars takes place in a body shop, so it seemed appropriate to showcase Kyle standing in one.

And one of the coolest parts of the Shifter Wars cover is the cat sitting on the car. He plays an important part in the story as well!

Mind Sweeper has several pivotal scenes that take place in empty warehouses which lends itself to that urban feel.

Sentinel Lost’s background of the hallway on one side, and the stairs on the other represents choices. In that book, Kyle has to make a number of choices when it comes to love, her family, her own safety, and finally her life.

Sentinel Ebook Final (1)Even the font type conveys a “feeling” of other for the stories.

And we can’t forget about the pics on the t-shirts. For Mind Sweeper, the little girl with the magic wand is a perfect example of Kyle. Trying to find her way in the world when she doesn’t exactly “fit in” with everyone else.

The wolf on her Shifter Wars t shirt is pretty self-explanatory, (I hope) and finally the key on her t shirt on Sentinel Lost is the crux behind Kyle’s entire story arc.

Am I making your head hurt yet? Needless to say, my cover artist rocked these covers! And I wanted to share with you the WHAT behind the covers to give you an idea of what they represent for the series. And also to let you know about the thought behind them.

Let me know what you think…

 

 

Series Cover Reveal

Hello! If you’ve been following along with my blogs over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about the new covers for my Mind Sweeper Series. We’ve talked about the WHY and the WHO on this re-cover journey. This week’s cover journey is all about the WHEN. When are you going to see the new versions of my covers for my series?

Answer: Today!

I spent last week (with the help of my wonderful book formatter) uploading all the new covers to the retailers so that these beauties are now available and also are on my website as well! Check them out and tell me what you think…

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I think my cover artist Melissa from The Illustrated Author is AMAZINGLY TALENTED. And yes, I am plugging her name and company to you before you ask me who I worked with (because you were going to ask me who I worked with…)

Plus,in celebration of the new covers, I’ve bundled the three Flashback (prequel) Stories for my Mind Sweeper Series, so if you don’t already own them, you can get them in this amazingly beautiful box set.

Order: Amazon   B&N   Apple    Kobo

3d Boxset

So there you have it! Next week, we’ll spend some time talking about the actual process of creating a cover – dig a little deeper, into the creativity of it 🙂

The Journey Starts with Why…

Last week I talked about spending some time on my blog over the next few weeks talking about the journey of recovering books that are already out in the world. And it is indeed a journey.

And at the beginning of this (and any) journey is the question WHY. Why do I (or you Jane Doe Author) want to recover our books?

There are a number of answers to that question. It could be that you don’t feel that the cover truly reflects the book and/or brand. It could be that the covers were from a previous publisher and you have retained the rights back to the books and want to publish them. It could be that even though you feel the books are good, they aren’t selling. It could be that the covers worked for you for the first book(s), but as you write more books in the series, they don’t seem to work anymore. It could be that the genre isn’t evident in the covers. Heck, I am just brushing the surface on this. The bottom line is that you need to sit down and ask yourself WHY.

Because your answer will tell you if you should move forward or not AND it will also help you work with your cover artist to come up with a new design that does fit your vision for your series.

When I sat down and looked at my Mind Sweeper covers, I still like them. They were after all the first books I published and have a special place in my heart for them. However, if I look at the covers objectively, I think that they look more like suspense books and less like urban fantasy. So I chose to re-brand them with the hopes of appealing more to my audience and ultimately increase sales.

And so we begin the journey…

 

Cover This

This spring I will be releasing new covers for my Mind Sweeper Series. Why, you ask? As much as I love the original covers, it’s time for a face lift – taking the brand and dialing it up a notch.

Covers are a vital part of a writer’s book (and brand) – it entices readers to click on your cover, read the blurb, AND hopefully buy your book.

For many authors, changing covers has become a part of their normal marketing process. And yes, authors are also marketers as well. We have to be. In 2017, over 1 million books were self-published and that doesn’t count the books traditionally published. I’m sure that number increased for 2018.

So authors have to find ways to get noticed in the ginormous crowd. Covers, blurbs and other marketing techniques to find readers are something we have to take seriously as part of our writing business.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll share my new cover journey with you and some of the thought behind where I started and where my cover artist and I ended up.

Come along for the ride – it should be interesting!

It’s Never Too Late To Be Thankful

Last week I lost track of days. Maybe it had to do with only having to work three days  before Thanksgiving. But Monday came and went last week and I didn’t think about posting my Monday blog. And when I woke up Thursday morning and turned on the Macy’s day parade for some reason that jogged my memory that I hadn’t posted anything!

I had planned on writing about being thankful – very appropriate for the holiday. And I realized that it is NEVER too late to talk about being thankful. I think it is something we should think about every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.

I am so thankful for my family – my dad, especially. And my friends who have been with me for years and those I have met recently as a writer.

And I am thankful for my writing. It has opened up a world for me. I have met amazing people and readers! I am so thankful for my readers – you jump into my world and understand my characters and keep reading! How blessed and thankful can one writer be?

Very, very thankful!

Release Day: Demons Are Forever

Book Three in The Realm trilogy is heading out into the world today! As usual, I am sharing my release day kickbutt writer princess picture with you! Tah, dah!

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I am so excited to share Sergei’s story with you. Both Misha and Aleksei are larger than life and I love their personalities (and don’t worry, they both play large parts in this book) but there is something special about Sergei.

Sergei sees himself as a disappointment to his family, but they set him straight like good families are supposed to. And that’s another reason why this story is special – yes, it’s about Sergei finding purpose and love, but it’s about the importance of FAMILY.

I hope you enjoy this book! It has been a wild and crazy year – especially releasing a new book a month for three months (whose idea was that, anyway?).

Take a look and if you missed the first two books, Misha and Aleksei are waiting patiently…

And before I sign off, today is Veteran’s Day in the States and I have to take a moment to mention the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the armed services. Thank you.

Order:  Amazon  iBooks  Nook  Kobo

Halloween Treats (Excerpt) Coming Your Way!

Last week, I celebrated Halloween with parties and costumes! This year, I dressed up as a Minion. What do you think?

I got a kick out of it and the costume was like wearing a warm hug all day long.

I also bought something appropriate for celebrating the Halloween season. In the past, I have had trouble not buying Halloween decorations. This year I controlled myself (for the most part) until I saw this pillow.

Now how could I walk away from that? I am the Queen of Halloween – self appointed – but still true.

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And as the Queen of Halloween, I am giving you a treat today (better than a trick, I think).

Attached below is an excerpt from DEMONS ARE FOREVER, the third book in my Realm Trilogy that releases one week from today on the 12th!

Chapter 1

Sergei Chesnokov was a demon without purpose. A pathetic admission, especially for someone two hundred forty-five years old, but true nonetheless.

The bell sounded, announcing that the plane had taxied to the gate and passengers could leave their seats, and the people around him leapt into action. Always the same–everyone trying to wrestle with bags that were too big and should never have been in the overhead to begin with, then jockeying for position to rush off the plane to their newest adventure, only to have to wait for their connecting flight or ride.

Sergei used to be like them, traveling throughout the world for the past century to experience everything it had to offer, and using his camera to capture it. So much anticipation. Hell, he had been one of the first to cross the ocean on a commercial flight. There was something about being the first that appealed to him. Maybe being the third son played into it. Growing up, he had never been the first to do anything…except disappoint his father.

“Is everything okay, sir?”

The plane was empty, the flight attendant looking at him with concern. “Yes. I’m fine. I’m not in a rush, so I decided to let everyone else get off first.”

She smiled. “It is a bit crazy, isn’t it?”

Sergei pulled his backpack out from under the seat in front of him and stood. “Yes.” He grabbed his appropriately-sized duffel from the overhead as well.

She walked with him to the front of the plane. “Is Chicago your home?”

Chicago. He’d forgotten where he was for a moment. Nonstop traveling did that. “No. I’m not home. Have a good day.”

The teeming crowd of people had him stopping in the middle of the terminal to get his bearings. He hadn’t been in the States for a while now, and it always took a few days to acclimate to the craziness. Next step was to grab something to eat and then figure out where he wanted to go next.

Sergei pulled his phone out and switched out of airplane mode. In seconds, it beeped, telling him he had a voice mail. He frowned at the name—Irina, his grandmother. She insisted that he call her on Sundays if he was in an area that actually had cell phone service.

The call came in an hour ago – five pm on a Tuesday. His stomach twisted. Something had to be wrong.

Sergei hurried over to the wall, dropped his duffel at his feet, hit play, and listened.

“Sergei, you need to come home. Aleksei is in grave danger. Call the following number and talk to Kyle. She’ll pick you up at the airport and explain everything. Please, Grandson. Your family needs you.”

Sergei’s chest tightened. What kind of message was that? What had happened to his brother?

He called his grandmother’s cell, but it went to voice mail. Then he listened to her message again and wrote down the number for this Kyle person before rushing to the ticket counter. Luckily only one person stood in front of him. He studied the flight screens while he waited. A flight to Cleveland left in less than an hour. Stepping up to the counter, he booked a seat on the plane even though the ticket agent said he would have to run to make it.

Ticket in hand, he ran toward the gate and yelled for them to stop before they closed the door. He clambered onto the plane, stuffed his duffel into an overhead, and dialed the number his grandmother had given him. The person answered on the second ring.

“Sergei?”

“How—”

“Irina gave me your number before she left. Where are you?”

“I’m in Chicago, and just got on a plane for Cleveland, so I should be there in an hour.”

“Good. I’ll be at arrivals waiting for you. I’ll be in a black van.”

“What’s going on, Kyle? Where’s my grandmother?”

“Your family is trying to help Aleksei.”

Sergei let out a breath at the use of present tense. “So he’s not dead.”

“No. I’ll explain everything to you as soon as I can, but it would be better to do it in person.”

Sergei gripped the phone tighter and opened his mouth to argue.

A flight attendant stopped beside him. “I’m sorry, sir. You’ll have to turn off your phone now.”

“I’ll call you when I land, Kyle.” Sergei hung up the phone and flipped it into airplane mode as the plane taxied down the runway.

He leaned against the headrest and rubbed his hands on his jeans.

“Are you okay, son?”

He hadn’t been paying attention to anyone when he boarded, and he turned to look at the older human female next to him who’d made the comment.

“I’m fine.”

“Are you afraid to fly?”

He shook his head. “No.”

“Are you traveling for work?”

He wanted to ignore her questions, but he had been taught to respect elders, even though he was older than she was by at least a hundred years. “I’m visiting my family.”

“Ah. Families are both wonderful and stressful. I hope your trip home is a happy one.” She picked up the book in her lap and thankfully began to read.

Home. He didn’t have a real home anymore. And now the family he had for all intents and purposes abandoned was in trouble. His grandmother had been telling him for a while now to come home, but he always made excuses. Now he didn’t know what awaited him.

He hadn’t spoken to either of his brothers in a long time. He had little in common with his older brother, Misha, and the last conversation he had with Aleksei had ended in an argument. What if those were the last words they would ever speak to each other?

Sergei ran his hands over his face. He had a lot to make up for. He just hoped he wasn’t too late.

So did that entice you??? The Queen of Halloween hopes so!

Releases November 12th – PreOrder:  Amazon  iBooks  Nook  Kobo