Ceri London

Excitement! The lovely David Njoku at IndieAuthorLand interviewed me today. Go check out my interview here.



Thank you, Indie Author Land. Some great questions and I very much enjoyed trying my hand out at a mini-story! Glad you liked it.

IndieAuthorLand host a wonderful array of interviews with authors and can also introduce you to FREE books. Follow them on twitter @AuthorIndieLand

Council of Peacocks
Tips for Designing Your Own Cover – What I Learned From Working on Cover Art for Su Williams

I met Su Williams through a group of fantastic writers I belong to, Author Social Media Support Group. She posted a draft of the cover for her second novel and wanted feedback. Here was her original draft:

She created this using Illustrator and PowerPoint. Her editing options were very limited. After offering advice for a bit, she asked if I could take her chosen images and work with them in PhotoShop. I wanted more expose and experience working with cover art so I agree.

WHY IT DOESN’T WORKThe core images are not bad. However, I believe the fonts destroy this cover. It’s impossible to read the back cover. The eyes behind the title are extremely distracting. I call this “photobombing”: insertion of a random image that obviously doesn’t belong.

LESSON FOR OTHER DESIGNERSKeep it simple. Graphics programs allow you to do tons of tricks. That doesn’t mean you have to use them. I sent her the graphic below.

The eyes are from Pixabay. The woman on guitar was DeviantArt by ModelMSangi. This was never intended to be a final cover. It is simply a mock up to show how to improve the impact of the cover by keeping it simple.

After Su sent me the images, I came up with three different alternatives: one with the old eyes, one with new eyes and one without eyes at all. I preferred the one without any eyes. Su stated she liked the image with the original eyes best.

Rock Star Cover with New Eyes

Rock Star Cover with Original Eyes

Rock Star Cover Without Eyes

WHY IT WORKS BETTERFirst of, the colors work better with the original graphics. I’m not a huge fan of the greens in the original. The wording on the back is much easier to read. I added names to all the quotes in the “praise” section. Quotes without names, I find, are not as convincing. I also added the short bio on Su and her picture. Readers like to put a face to the name. It’s very important for brand building.

WHY IT DIDN’T WORK IN THE ENDCreateSpace has very specific requirements. The space taken up by her picture needed to be left blank for CreateSpace to put one of its elements.

And here’s where I made a big mistake. Su was relatively happy with the one cover I sent her. However, i was not. I kept working on it for another 20 hours playing with different designs. To me, the cover still felt amateurish.I didn’t want to put my name on something I could not be proud of.

I read the description of her first book and realized there is a supernatural element to her series. I don’t think that comes across in any of the above images. Su wanted something that looked more painted. The graphics she sent me were not of a high enough quality to do this well. She also wanted more of the green coloring from her original design.

So I purchased two pictures from Fotalia and tried again. I read the reviews for her first book, Dreamweaver, and found a truly great quote: “Now is the time for new immortals.” I love this. It sets the ton and establishes genre in a way the original cover doesn’t. Below is the cover I came up with.

I was extremely happy with the end image, believing it to be much more professional in appearance. Su, however, believed it was a cool image but had nothing to do with her book. She asked me to try again with the original images. She also said she was running out of time because her set publishing date was only a few days away.

At this point, I had spend in the neighborhood of 30 hours playing with different versions of the cover. That is a ton of time to volunteer.

I told Su I could not devote any more of my time to her cover because my own writing and promotion was falling behind. I also suggested that self-publishing deadlines are wonderful but it is always better to publish late than put out something you might regret later. She was very thankful for the help I’d given her. We both gained from this. I learned tons about Photoshop and cover design. I also made a new friend in Su.

Here is the final cover Su decided on:

I wish her the best with the release of her second book. Here’s where you can purchase her book:

Rock Star by Su Williams on Amazon

Designers, it’s not about you. No matter what you think of the cover, if your client is not happy, you need to keep working. If the author is happy, stop. I know this is the better option but my ego still tugs at me to not put my name on something I can’t be proud of.

Authors, keep it simple. The best advice I can give you is spend a few weeks looking at covers in your genre before you decide what your cover should look like

You can do some amazing things in Photoshop but you’re still subject to Garbage In Garbage Out. The higher the resolution of the photos, the better you can manipulate them.

This isn’t the point of covers. I understood this from my love of comic books. The cover image is supposed to set a tone for the story. It doesn’t need to be accurate. My favorite cover designer, Christian McGrath, does the covers for the Harry Dresden stories. In every cover, Harry wears a hat. He almost never wears a hat in the books. Please don’t get hung up on “accuracy” in cover art. That’s not its purpose. Never has been.

Link: Christian McGrath’s Official Website

January Black – Myth Rating 5 Stars

Myth 8

January Black by Wendy S. Russo


Maer’s Review

jan black

This is one of my favorite Indie/small press books that I read in 2013. The intriguing title is at the heart of this mystery, as sixteen year old Matty tries to answer a question for the king and earn his Master’s. In an undisclosed world, he has been set a task by the king – discover just what “January Black” is. Clever, full of twists and turns and mysteries, Matty’s journey to solve the riddle is also a coming of age story. With his interest in Iris and their growing friendship, it’s also a love story.

I loved Russo’s intelligent style, her intricate world-building and characters who seemed to leap off the page. There are so many rich details on every level of this novel: story, plot and character are layered and complex.

I was thoroughly drawn in immediately and was sorry when the book ended. I fell in love with this novel and can’t wait to see what Russo has in store for us next. I highly recommend January Black!


Myth Maer


Read on for more about January Black and Wendy S. Russo!


Myth about the book

January Black

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He’s been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost…or call the king’s bluff.


Myth about the author

Wendy S. Russo

w russo

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.


You can buy January Black at Amazon.


You can follow Wendy at these links:

Wendy S. Russo

Wendy on Facebook

Wendy on Twitter

Wendy on Google+

Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom
Guest blogger, Terri Talley Venters

I am very pleased to have Terri Talley Venters as my guest blogger again with her new release, Copper Cauldron.

Author of Carbon Copy, Tin Roof, Body Of Gold, and Copper Cauldron
Terri received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Florida. She is a licensed CPA and a Second Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. She lives in St. Augustine, Florida, with her husband, Garrison, and their two sons.

Carbon Copy, currently available from Wild Child Publishing,is the 1st thrilling novel in the Elements of Mystery Series. The title of each novel will contain an element from the Periodic Table of Elements. Tin Roof, the sequel to Carbon Copy, coming soon from Wild Child Publishing. And Terri’s romantic/suspense novel, Body of Gold, is coming soon from Freya’s Bower. Terri just finished writing, Silver Lining, the final book in the Carbon Copytrilogy. For more about Terri’s upcoming releases, please visit her website Terri is the daughter of Leslie S. Talley, author of Make Old Boneswhich is also available from Wild Child Publishing.


Penelope Manchester, a good witch with one green and one blue eye, awaits her destiny: a warrior of God with the face of an angel, the heart of a saint, and eyes which match her own. St. Michael the Archangel flies into her life and sweeps her off her feet. Meanwhile, an evil sorcerer captures witches, steals their powers and most of their nine lives, and shrinks them to the size of a doll–a Nürnberg, doll. But when he turns two of the Manchester witches into dolls, the Manchester clan fights back with St. Michael and divine intervention. Armed with the legendary copper cauldron, a fire breathing dragon, and an arsenal of spells, good battles evil.


Here is a short story featuring Terri’s main characters from her new series.

Thanks for traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to join me on this excavation, Tommy,” Victoria Ventures said. She hugged her ruggedly handsome colleague.

“When a beautiful woman calls and asks me to leave the harsh winter in Scotland to play in the dirt with her in sunny Florida, I take the first flight out of Edinburgh,” Tommy Garrison said.

“You came at the best time, we finally cut through all the bureaucratic red tape so now we can start getting our hands dirty,” Victoria said.

“How did you find this place?” Tommy asked.

“A condo developer demolished an old hotel near Disney World.  When they dug the hole for the basement, they found an entrance to a cave,” Victoria said.

“Just a cave?  I thought you mentioned an excavation every archeologist dreams about,” Tommy asked.

“I promise you, Tommy, it will be! I haven’t told you the best part yet, come on,” Victoria said with a wink.

They walked the cave system for over an hour, covering the distance of almost four miles. They barely spoke as they hiked through the spider web-like tunnel system. Victoria’s excellent physical condition made it easy to keep up the intense pace. Her excitement to show Tommy her discovery motivated her to practically run to the find of a lifetime.

“I’m glad you marked the path with ropes, if I got lost I’d never find my way out again,” Tommy said.

“I’ve walked this tunnel so many times I don’t even need the rope anymore. But it’s good to have just in case,” she said.

“Like the guy who killed the Minotaur in Crete, didn’t he use a rope to find his way back out of the labyrinth?” Tommy asked.

“I forgot how nerdy you are,” Victoria said.  She laughed, poking fun of her college boyfriend.

“Yuk! Did something die down here?  It smells like rotten-eggs,” Tommy said, holding his nose to mitigate the foul smell.

“We’re getting close now. You’re smelling the sulfur commonly found in hot spring water,” Victoria said.

“This all reminds me of how they discovered the ancient roman baths, in Bath, England. During the Victorian era, hot water started leaking in someone’s basement.  They started digging and uncovered the archeological find of the century,” Tommy said.

“Sorry I’m walking so fast, but I’m anxious to see the look on your face when you see what I found,” Victoria said.

“You mean what your team found,” Tommy said correcting her.

“What I’m about to show you no one else has seen, at least no one still living,” Victoria said. She grinned at the joy of teasing Tommy. His perplexed look proved priceless.

“I’ve been in a holding pattern waiting for you to arrive. I need a diving partner, and no one will take the risk. The cave dead ends into a hot spring,” Victoria said.

“Sounds fascinating, but I imagine the fear of diving in an undiscovered hot spring sounds intimidating,” Tommy said.

“It’s not exactly undiscovered. In fact someone discovered it thousands of years ago. They left markings. The Ancient Egyptians discovered it before the Spanish did 500 years ago.

“Okay, now you just gave me the biggest hard on. Did you say the Ancient Egyptians were here?” Tommy asked.

“Yes, but I’m not an expert in hieroglyphics, that’s one of the reasons I called you. I merely possess the most basic knowledge, and I don’t recognize much,” Victoria said.

“No one has ever found evidence of the Ancient Egyptians in the new world. But we studied Egyptian hieroglyphs together in graduate school.  I’m surprised you’re so rusty. I recall feeling furious when you earned an ‘A’ when I got stuck with a ‘B+’,” Tommy said.

“Do you regret turning down your fellowship at Harvard to be with your father in Scotland after his heart attack?” Victoria asked.

“Not as much as I regret not staying in the States to be with you,” Tommy said, feeling his heart ache for the missed opportunity with his college sweetheart.

“You’re here with me now,” Victoria said, smiling through her bashful feelings.

“So if the Spanish found this cave in the 1500s, why haven’t we heard anything about the discovery?” Tommy asked.

“I think I know why this place is still a secret. Look here. Our predecessors left warnings,” Victoria said. She shined a light on the cave wall a few yards away from the start of the hot springs.  She and Tommy stared at the engravings.

“Don’t feel bad for not recognizing the hieroglyphics, they’re not Ancient Egyptian,” he said.

“What are they?” she asked.

“Something older, Sumerian perhaps,” he said.

“The one below it is written in Spanish,” she said as she translated.

            Do not touch the water, or you will watch everyone you love die

Ponce De Leon

“Come on,  We’re almost there,” Victoria said.


She grabbed Tommy’s hand and led him to the start of the hot springs.  She pulled out her lighter and ignited the incense to mask the pungent smell of sulfur. She shined her flashlights on the control box for the lights she recently installed.  She placed her finger above the “on” switch and looked at Tommy.

“Ready?  3, 2, 1,” she said, as she pressed the switch and the lights shone brightly on the hot water springs.  A layer of steam hovered several inches above the milky water.

“Oh my God, the only thing stopping me from diving in is Ponce De Leon’s warning,” Tommy said.   


“I have a confession to make,” Victoria said, grinning up at Tommy.

“No, please don’t tell me you risked your life by touching the water?” Tommy asked.

“Only by accident. The other day when I installed the lights, I tripped and stumbled. My hand automatically reacted by going down to brace my fall.  It accidentally landed in the water,” Victoria said. She held her right hand up to show Tommy.

Tommy gently took her hand in his and examined it. He enjoyed the intimate moment of caressing Victoria’s hand. He ran the tips of his fingers over her soft skin as he admired her youthful hand.  He instinctively pulled her hand to his lips and kissed it.

“Your hand is as beautiful as I remember. It’s like you never dug in the dirt in your life,” Tommy said, still holding her hand as his strong feelings for Victoria came rushing back, filling his heart with love again.

“I know.  That’s just it, until the other day, my right hand looked as rugged and aged as my left.  Here, look,” she said, holding her left hand next to her right to allow Tommy to compare the astounding difference between the two.

Tommy looked at her hands and he jerked his head back, shocked at the sight before him. While Victoria’s right hand appeared youthful and unblemished, her left resembled his own–wrinkled, rugged, and covered with tiny scars from digging in the dirt for a living.

“When I noticed the change, I initially thought it healed from the medicinal powers of the hot, sulfur spring water.  But then I did an experiment, and I realized this is something much more,” she said.

“Victoria, no, what are you saying?  It can’t be,” Tommy said.

“My cat is fifteen years old and ready to be put to sleep, but I can’t muster the courage to say goodbye,” Victoria said.

“You still have that calico cat from college, Amaretto?” Tommy asked.

“Yes, I brought her down here,  carried her in one of those papoose things mothers use to tote their infants around.  I submerged her in the water for only a second, and now she’s as good as new,” she said.

Tommy stared at Victoria incredulously, his eyes bulged from his head as the shock settled in.  “Do you mean you discovered…”

“The Fountain Of Youth.”

Find Terri’s books at these sites:

The Evolution Trilogy
A HUGE thank you…
I have just written a melancholy blog post on my main Author blog called “Perseverance” – where I discuss (or talk to myself as I write) my dilemma for the year.

Mainly, the question I ask myself is “should I continue writing or get back to my “real” job?

I don’t have the answer to this yet, time will tell… but, from what I know most writers lead a double life – they have their day job and then at night they write.

Either way, I am extremely grateful for the moderate success I have had to date. Since HYBRID has gone free (or permafree – what a word!), I have had sales for Complications and Return. I have not had any new reviews on Amazon though, which makes me think readers don’t love or hate it, or just have not read it! But, tracking sales/ ratings is driving me to insanity… I keep thinking “Why does that one sell?” “Why does that one get downloaded all the time for free and mine slips down the ratings?”

I am convinced that publicity and promotion is key, but if I do this all the time when do I actually write?

So, I have made a decision to write – yay! And I will have to watch as my books slide down the charts again – easy come, easy go!

If you happen to enjoy my books, it would make my day if you leave a review – on this blog, amazon, anywhere…

To those of you who have – THANK YOU. You are the reason I have worked so hard over the past few years. I know a lot of you have had enjoyment from my writing and so I know I have some promise. To those of you who don’t like my writing – you know what, I respect you for sticking your neck out and saying so. I can be pretty critical too, but find I have to bite my tongue recently or I’ll get accused of “jealousy”.

Anyway, to anyone who visits this site for the first time… I hope you forgive my rant. Being an “indie” author is really hard, not all of us can achieve the sales Amanda Hocking got – she is what I call a true indie success story. She inspired many of us to give it a go, but I am afraid the bubble is set to burst or perhaps just loose air and fizzle out.

If you are a new writer I suggest you try to get an agent first, they are still looking for new talent. In this current market, they have found their feet and will use their marketing knowledge to sell books in a way indie’s will struggle to compete against. Not every book should be represented or published, not every book is a mass paperback, but there is certainly enough out there to know that your book might have a place amongst the big boys! Don’t lose faith, persevere… and if nothing works, ask me for help. I might be able to give you a few pointers.

Publishing a book is no longer hard – getting noticed is.

All the best,
Vanessa 🙂

J.B. Cameron, Author
Independence In A Digital Market
There’s no mistaking the signs. Electronic books are more than a passing fad. They’ve established themselves in popularity as not simply a supplement to traditional books, but as their potential replacement. Though reports show that ebook sales have levelled off in recent years, vendors such as Amazon UK are reporting record highs in ebook downloads, surpassing sales of both hardcover and paperback books.
This changing digital marketplace invites both accomplished authors and newcomers alike to offer their wares in an unrestricted, free market environment. Some readers are feeling the pressure of caveat emptor, as they shop for books from their favorite NY Times best-selling author, now ingloriously set alongside John Doe’s latest treatise on “1001 Ways To Pluck Navel Lint.” Others are viewing the changes optimistically as they discover exciting new titles from indie authors on sites like Goodreads. No matter how you feel about the digital revolution in literature, this is a trend that’s only going to become more prominent as the technology evolves to support even more media-rich storytelling.
In this current, ungoverned marketplace, it’s not surprising to find the same sorts of issues that you would find in any unregulated bazaar. Shoddy craftsmanship, price gouging, and questionable reviews are all issues that ebook readers must face on a regular basis when considering the best outlet for their entertainment dollars. To be safe, most readers will stick to familiar names. Some may even choose to purchase the ebook version of their favorite writer’s latest works, despite its cost often exceeding that of the print version. Unfortunately, the concept of “getting what you pay for” is the rule of law for established authors in this new marketplace, where an appearance on a best-seller list serves as an open invitation for inflated prices.
The age of the 99¢ ebooks are on the decline. In a recent article in Publishers Weekly, Mark Lefebvre, Kobo’s director of self-publishing and author relations, admitted that even the $1.99 price point is “dead.” Royalty limitations instituted by the vendors themselves have forced many authors to embrace the $2.99 to $5.99 price range, falling back on the lesser price only when offering discounts. For newcomers to the table, struggling authors with only a small handful of books, this price point is an immediate detriment to their sales figures. Despite the author’s best self-marketing efforts, most readers will always have second thoughts about spending that kind of money on an unfamiliar name.
The marketplace seems to be trending towards stabilization on behalf of readers. The increased price for books means that, barring an exceptional title or a phenomenal marketing effort, untested writers will be forced to prove their work belongs on the digital bookshelf, alongside those of established authors. The threat of a bad review forces independent authors to work twice as hard as established ones, to provide a more compelling, original story, complete with professional editing and artwork. The added cost for these services means they either increase their own price tag and risk driving off potential readers, or absorb the loss. Either way, the situation places a first-time author at an immediate disadvantage.
Yet as the mantra for the indie author goes, “Book sales are not a sprint, but a marathon.” 
There will always be as many poorly written, badly edited books dumped on the market as there are people seeing digital publishing as a get-rich-quick scheme. Bad reviews and a unfamiliarity with the author usually cause such titles to languish on the digital bookshelf until they fade into obscurity. 
The independent authors to stand the test of time will be the ones who persevere, who make the effort to provide a quality title again and again. Whereas traditional authors had to simply contend with rejection from publishers, this new generation of authors also faces a substantial financial hit, until such time as their accumulated works receive their much-deserved recognition from readers. Though unfortunate, it’s a fact of life for serious independent authors in our new age of digital publishing. As any traditional author will be quick enough to declare, a real writer needs to pay their dues. Burgeoning authors in the evolving ebook market are paying every day in lost sales and the increasingly higher cost (both in time and money) of publishing and marketing their books. It’s a paradigm that most established authors don’t even fully understand.
Over time, independent authors will establish themselves in the eyes of a new generation of readers, in much the same way as the Internet fundamentally opened the doors to a world of previously unknown independent artists in the music and film industry. When that happy day comes, there will be no more discrimination between traditional authors and indies in the eyes of the readers. There will only be good authors and bad authors.
Unfortunately, I don’t personally see the price of ebooks dropping in the near future. The increasing cost of marketing online, coupled with piracy concerns, means there will always be a hefty price tag for digital editions. The same factors that have driven up the price of video games over the years also play a role here. 
Examining that parallel market further leads us to realize that independent game designers provide a substantial savings in their products, compared to established gaming studios. Though (in general) their work may not have the polish of the titles released by industry-recognized giants, that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. Independent titles, whether in music, gaming, or film, fills a niche market as a viable alternative to potentially derivative work delivered by established entities who’ve lost touch with their customer’s desires. Sometimes, the quality can even amaze.
There’s a similar need for independent authors in today’s marketplace. More readers are discovering this fact daily. Whether these writers choose to retain a lower pricing structure for their work, or emulate those of their traditionally published peers is entirely up to them. Having the freedom to establish their asking price is one of the few perks of self-publishing. Having the freedom of choice to buy their books is the readers’.

Jessica Knauss, Famous Author
Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop — Celebrating 50,000 Hits!

Sometime when I wasn’t looking (in October, I think), this blog hit a thrilling milestone: 50,000 page views. I never imagined it would come this far.

I’ve now had many more views than that, but I still thought I would take this opportunity to celebrate by giving you, my readers, FREE BOOKS.

The books up for grabs:

Egyptomania by Bob Brier. A fun study of the fascination with ancient Egypt in the Western world and a great resource for understanding what the museums are talking about. This is a publisher’s Advance Reader’s Edition paperback with just a few signs of wear. Full review to come later.

Dragon’s Child by M. K. Hume. The first book in a new King Arthur series that’s sure to enthrall all round table enthusiasts. Another publisher’s Advance Reader’s Edition, but with almost no signs of wear.

The Abencerraje. The softcover edition of this enchanting short story from medieval Spain includes the original Spanish with modernized spelling and the popular new English translation. A Top 20 Amazon bestseller and 2013’s #2 bestseller at Açedrex Publishing, which has also been adopted as a college textbook.

Tree/House by Jessica Knauss (yours truly). The softcover edition with the gorgeous new cover of my jaw-dropping, head-scratching coming-of-age novella. Highly rated on Amazon, Tree/House gives any reader a lot to ponder.

The Fleet Angels of Lakehurst by Barbara Marriott. Loose Leaves Publishing‘s first book is a humorous and factual tribute to the Navy helicopter pilots from Lakehurst who saved so many lives. Seven ***** reviews on Amazon and Silver Medalist in the Stars and Flags Military Book Award!

Three fiction, two non-fiction! Prize winners and bestsellers! Have you chosen your favorite yet?


To win, just comment below. Please tell me which book you’d like and include your email (written out to avoid spam if you desire) so I can contact you for a mailing address if you’re a winner. Winners will be drawn on January 11th and notified the same day. Increase the number of times your name is in the “hat” by following this blog via GFC or email, liking my and/or Açedrex Publishing’s Facebook page or following me on Twitter or Pinterest. Drawing is open to US residents. (Sorry, I wish postage wasn’t so expensive!)

There are a lot of other books that need new homes! Check out all the other blogs on this linky list to enter their drawings — you could get quite a library going!

Thanks for 50,000 magical internet moments! Many more to come!

Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time

Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time, favoring the #indie authors! Full explanation and more data in article linked, below.

A few more excerpts, paraphrased for Twitter, just to whet your appetite!

86% of top 2,500 genre fiction bestsellers + 92% of Top-100 best-selling books in overall Amazon store are e-books!

Indie authors outnumber trad pub authors in every earnings bracket but one. Even extreme outliers do better w/self-pub.

Self-pub authors make 50% more profit than trad pub, even though indie books represent only half of the gross sales revenue.

“Our data suggests that even stellar manuscripts are better off self-published.”

“When given a choice, readers will buy books other than those vetted by [the New York Times]. The Kindle bestseller lists prove this.”

image from

Advice self-pub author, Hugh Howey (article author), gave publishers three years ago, when the Big 5 were still the Big 6. Did they follow it? What do YOU think? (From the same article):

“Publishers should stop trying to convince themselves and others that they’re relevant, and start actually being relevant. Here’s how:
1. Offer much better royalties to authors.
2. Release titles faster. It can take 18 months after a book is turned in to be published. I can do it myself in a week.
3. Use up-to-date accounting methods that are trackable by the author, and pay royalties monthly.
4. Lower ebook prices.
5. Stop futilely fighting piracy. Hint: all such fighting is futile. Piracy can only be made redundant with cost and convenience.
6. Start marketing effectively. Ads and catalog copy aren’t enough. Neither is your imprint’s Twitter feed. Especially if your author has more Twitter followers than you do.”

Link to article I’m referencing, here:

Are you an author (either or both trad and indie/self-pub)? DO THIS!
“The website is now up and running again. Even if you’ve read the info here, I encourage everyone to visit and take the Author Survey and sign the Petition.”

Thanks, Joe Konrath and Hugh Howey!

If you’d just like to read Hugh’s report without the Q & A and conversation with Joe (less entertaining, but shorter), here is the link:

Filed under: Blogging and others’ content, Indie or Self-Publishing, Writing Tagged: ebook, indie authors, self-publishing, Writers

Scribbling Tales
A Zombie Bites Back

battle of dornoch

Picture depicting battle at Easter Ross


Hollywood is awash with films about zombies, but according to Scottish legend there really was such a creature in the 9th century.




Máel Brigte the Buck-toothed  was a 9th century Pictish nobleman, most probably a Mormaer of Moray. He was challenged by Sigurd to a 40-man-a-side battle to settle their differences. Treacherously, Sigurd brought 80 men to the fight, and Máel Brigte knew he had been betrayed when he saw that each of Sigurd’s horses had two men’s legs on its flanks. Máel Brigte exhorted his men to kill at least one man before they died and although a fierce fight ensued he was quickly defeated and killed. Sigurd had his enemies’ heads strapped to his victorious men’s saddles as trophies, but as Sigurd rode home, Máel Brigte’s buck-tooth scratched his leg. The leg became inflamed and infected, and as a result Sigurd died.

The site of the battle is unknown. However the saga states that Earl Sigurd built a stronghold in the south of Moray, then a much larger province than today and that he was buried in a mound on the banks of the River Oykel.


moray scotland



river oykel

River Oykel


Máel Brigte’s power centre was probably in or near modern Inverness. In the 13th century a farm near Dornoch, now called Cyderhall is recorded as “Syvardhoch”, meaning “Sigurd’s mound”.It is therefore possible that the battle was staged in Easter Ross somewhere between these two places.





Easter Ross


Little is known of Máel Brigte’s life, but the story of his death is recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga.


Orkneyinga Saga


The Orkneyinga saga (also called the History of the Earls of Orkney) is a historical narrative of the history of the Orkney Islands, from their capture by the Norwegian king in the ninth century onwards until about 1200.


orkneyOrkney Islands


It goes to show, legend is stranger than fiction.



Oh, Father Jack

The Man Who Wept Blood


Java Head Musings
Radiant Heat: An Earth Minders Romance
Yay! My new Sci-Fi/Paranormal Romance is live on Amazon. Here are 2 maps from the future world you’ll encounter is this new series.  You can find Radiant Heat: An Earthminders Romance at Amazon:   Radiant Heat – Treyton … Continue reading


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