How to Hook a Reader from the First Sentence.

Thanks for finding this BJ! Got to share!

BJ Sikes, author

Combining curiosity and conflict in one sentence? That’s a tough job. I guess that’s why opening sentences are so hard to right.

Lorraine Ambers has some great things to say about first sentences.

via How to Hook a Reader from the First Sentence.

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Inside the Publishing Industry: Stuart Bache, Cover Designer

Awesome post on cover design! Thank youMust share!

GJ Stevens

With well over a decade of experience in both traditional and independent publishing, Stuart Bache started his career as a Junior Designer for Hodder & Stoughton, worked as Senior Designer for Puffin Books and HarperCollins, and was Art Director of Oneworld Publications. He has worked across every major genre for a whole host of publishers and authors, including Mark Dawson, Stephen King, John le Carré, Adam Croft,S. K. Tremayne and the Tolkien Estate.

Stuart is now the Art Director and founder of Books Covered, where he continues to create market-leading book covers for authors, agents and publishers.

GJ: Can you give yourself a quick introduction, including how you came to design covers.

SB: Hello, I’m Stuart Bache. I’m Art Director at Books Covered and have been designing book covers for well over a decade. I started my career as a Junior Designer at Hodder & Stoughton, and was a…

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Re-titling Sand and Bones

Considering the weirdness of my title journeys (on everything BUT the stolen songbird…which just kind of stuck from the get go) this is too good not to share… Let’s see… The Fourth Jhrin Book (nope, now it’s book 1) to Invitation to the Dance (nope, and where did that come from?!) To Dainan, Sarn (nope, he’s not the main character now) to She Wolf (hmm will peeps be annoyed there’s no werewolf in this story?) To Superspy with the Clockwork Eye. Thank you BJ! This is awesome…and can’t take credit for the scene…that goes the the incomprable Mrs. Barbara Earle… Our Elizabethan tlit teacher in high school gave us all the good ones!

BJ Sikes, author

Book titles are funny things. The title should encapsulate an entire novel, be unique, and be concise. It’s not easy to come up with a title. I struggle with every book I wrote to name it with the Most Marvelous Title Ever. Or at least one that doesn’t suck.

Book # 2 was called Sand and Bones for the last couple of years. I thought it was the perfect blend of spooky and evocative. Tropical island was the Sand and the murder and peril was the Bones.

And then came the Beta Readers. I asked them what the title made them think of. Almost everyone said something about archaeologists and dinosaurs. <facepalm>

Right, back to the drawing board. I enlisted my lovely beta readers and writerly friends to help me brainstorm and distill the essence of the book.

What is it really about? It’s about Clara’s journey into and out…

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It’s Today….It’s Out Today!

GJ Stevens

For those of you who’ve been following my journey you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, but for those of you who don’t know….

My debut novel, In The End, is released today!

Advert ITE1 Out Now

Click on the banner or alternatively click here to log in to your Amazon account, add the book to your basket and press buy! Let me know how many you ordered in the comments and I’d be so grateful if you share, share, share this post!

Once you’ve placed your order then why not click the link and check out my interview with TheScaryReviews.Com, where I speak with David about the genre.

And just in case you don’t know what I look like dressed in casual clothes with my new book in my hand standing in front of a wonky picture inspired by the cover, then let me fill the gap now.


If you’re still…

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Kicker: The Forgotten Front

Hello All!

Wanted to share a new book coming out by R. Grey Hoover. This one will definitely be on my reading list! It’s called Kicker: The Forgotten Front, and it pays tribute to a part of World War II we don’t hear much about: the China-Burma-India Theater. The ebook will be free on Amazon November 9, 10, and 11 in honor of our Veterans at Amazon URL

Kicker Cover

About the book:

World War II is raging. A young father must choose between his family and duty to his country- a decision that could cost him everything.

Based on actual experiences of United States veterans and official military aviation history records from World War II, this is the thrilling story of a family’s journey into war. While his loved ones struggle with shortages and rationing at home, Sam endures relentless Japanese attacks against his unarmed aircraft over the treacherous mountains and torrid jungles of Asia. His job is to drop supplies to Merrill’s Marauders and over 750,000 allied soldiers fighting in the perilous jungles of Burma. If the enemy is not stopped, the American way of life will end.

If you like non-stop action with a touch of humor and romance and the chance to learn about the “forgotten front” of WWII, then this is the book for you.

Here’s an Excerpt:

April 4, 1944 – Dinjan Airbase, India

Sam and Bobby Joe were totally exhausted when they crawled into their charpoys. The harrowing events of the day had taken its toll on them physically and mentally. In spite of the heat and noise of the jungle, Sam felt the blessed relief of sleep approaching soon after his head hit the pillow. However, as he drifted off, a feeling of unease came over him. It was a feeling that something was wrong, not here in India, but at home. He didn’t know if he felt uneasy because he still hadn’t received mail from home or because of some unknown reason, but the feeling stayed with him until he finally succumbed to his exhaustion and slipped into a deep sleep.

Thankfully, his slumber was not disturbed by his recurring nightmare, and he slept soundly until the wee hours of the morning when he suddenly awoke not knowing what had disturbed him. A light rain was falling outside, and except for an occasional flash of distant lightning, the basha was in total darkness. He lay very still, listening to the sounds around him. He strained his hearing, but no sound came except for the steady breathing of the sleeping men around him. After several minutes, he relaxed, thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him. He was almost asleep again when he thought he detected a faint unfamiliar sound coming from somewhere in the basha. Once again, he listened intently, not sure he had heard anything; but then he heard the sound again—only this time it seemed closer, and he was sure it came from within the basha. He couldn’t quite place the sound, but it seemed like something soft brushing against an object. He listened closely, but all was silent. None of the other men in the basha stirred, and after an extended period of silence, he relaxed once again in anticipation of sleep.

He was in that dreamy state just before slumber when he felt the presence of something or someone nearby. Once again, his senses came to full alert, and he made a conscious effort not to move. He listened carefully, bringing all his senses to bear. He could see or hear nothing, and yet he was sure something was there. He was startled when someone at the other end of the room moved, but then all was silent once again. He was lying on his back, so he slowly moved his head to the right and scanned the darkness.

At first he saw nothing, but then attention was drawn to a slight movement at the foot of his bed. He couldn’t make out what it was. It appeared to be an undistinguishable shadow against the darker background of the room. As he watched, the shadow moved, and he held his breath as it silently glided along the side of his bed. There was no sound as it moved, and it slowly drew nearer and stopped near the head of his bed. He could tell that it was something large, but due to the extreme darkness, he was unable to see what it was. His instincts told him this was something dangerous and evil, and the hairs on the nape of his neck stood erect. At that moment, a distant flash of lightning faintly illuminated the scene, and in that instant of light, Sam could see the large form of a tiger standing beside him.

The animal’s head was enormous. Its eyes, momentarily reflecting light from the faraway lightning, gave the beast an evil, devil-like appearance. This was death incarnate staring directly at him.

Sam was frozen with fear, and his heart seemed to stop. His .45-caliber pistol hung on the wall not three feet away, and he cursed himself for not keeping it inside the mosquito netting with him. He knew the tiger could see that he was awake, and he feared any movement would cause it to attack. The animal stepped closer, and Sam could see its dim outline and smell its damp fur and the fetid odor of its breath. The tiger appeared to know its victim was helpless. The great beast took its time as it sniffed the mosquito netting as if testing its strength. Slowly it raised a huge paw and placed it against the puny impediment. The tiger’s claws caught in the netting, and with a mighty swipe, it ripped the flimsy material away from the bed.

About Grey:

R Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran with a family tradition of military service that dates back to the American revolution. He wrote his book “Kicker the forgotten front” to honor his father and the other veterans of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.  During the war, the European and Pacific theatres got most of the supplies and media attention leaving the CBI theatre with the leftovers. Even in today’s media coverage of World War II the CBI theatre is never mentioned. The author’s book is an attempt to correct this gross oversight.

R Grey Hoover’s social media links:





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How to Optimize your Book Page on Amazon

Awesome article on how to set up your Amazon Book page. Must Share! Thanks for the great information!

Nicholas C. Rossis

This post is based on an article I helped write for SearchNurture titled How to Hit Your Target ACoS on Amazon.

Optimizing your Book Page

Toasters book page on Amazon | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookAmazon is, in effect, a giant search engine of products. To ensure that your book shows up first, you must target specific keywords both organically (i.e. based on your product description) and through Ads. However, no matter how successful your Ad is, all it can accomplish is lead shoppers to your product page. It is up to that to convince them to buy your book.

Ideally, everything on your book page will be tailored for your target audience. Let’s take, for example, my book, A Heaven for Toasters. I want shoppers searching for “sci-fi crime romance” to buy my book. What can I do to make sure they do so?


Start with your page title. Think of it as a hook. Let…

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…authors bashing other writers’ work?… how very dare they!…

Must share this one! Thanks Seumas!

Seumas Gallacher

…the other day, I read a post from my Facebook friend, the wunnerfully prolific Authoress, m’Lady, Charity Parkerson, in which she shared her annoyance at seeing some authors viciously ravaging other scribblers’ books…

…I am solidly in her corner with that sentiment… since the beginning of my own journey ten years ago into the magical mystery tour that constitutes an Author’s lot, I’ve been the recipient of fabulous support for my novels from other writers… I learned the tenet immediately that I am not in competition with other penspersons… the readership WURLD is large enuff to accommodate most of the production from our collective efforts… better it is then, by far, to encourage my fellows-in-print… very few books are written in less than months – sum’times it takes years, all of which absorbs the traditional sweat, angst, and tears and a large chunk of an author’s life… I…

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Where have you been ?The Volcano Lady is missing!

Yay! The volcano lady is back with some excellent advice!

The Volcanolady's Blog

Relax … I’m right (or write) here.  But yes, it has been a very long time since I’ve sent out a post.  Mea Culpa.  Ambo te ignosce me.

For someone who can’t shut up in real life, you would think I’d blog early and often.  Alas, life has gotten in the way: some of it good – much of it not.  It is difficult to deal with a world full of animosity and politics, daily horrors in the news, and troubles with family and work, yet still create.  I know I’m told over and over that it’s the creativity that will dispel the ennui.  While that may be true, reality tends to muck about with that concept.

So … what do you do?  You can a) just get over it and move along (I’m way too high strung to do that – my off switch doesn’t respond to sudden prodding,)

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The Clockwork Oracle is live!

Must reblog! Go Adelaide go!

BJ Sikes, author

My latest story, “Prophecies of an Electric Man,” has been published! This short novella appears in The Clockwork Oracle, an anthology released by L.E.G.

The Clockwork Oracle Cover Concept.graffleThe Clockwork Oracle Amazon listing is live.

My story in The Clockwork Oracle is set in the world of The Roboticist of Versailles. The main character (the Roboticist of Versailles herself) is Adelaide Coumain, one of the leads of The Archimedean Heart. This is my fourth story featuring her. I love Adelaide. She’s definitely got a lot of me in her. She is a lady-scientist in a field dominated by men so she has to push back to not be trampled.

In this story, Adelaide is still trying to get her Automated Dauphin to function and the appearance of a stranger with a mysterious device diverts her in a new direction.

I will have paperback copies of The Clockwork Oracle for sale at Clockwork…

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…Authoress friend, Dorothy Anne Spruzen, illustrates how easy it is to misuse ‘period’ WURDS…

Excellent post! Must share (and remember to use surgery instead on doctor’s office!

Seumas Gallacher

…today’s Guest Blog is by courtesy of my dear friend, Authoress, Dorothy A. Spruzen… an erudite piece on writing, from a spectacularly insightful scribbling lady… enjoy:

Welcome to you all, and thank you for having me. Seumas invited me to write something for his wonderful website, so I thought that I would share some of the tips I pass on to my creative writing students concerning historical research for writers of fiction. I know some of you are readers rather than writers, but I hope this will nevertheless prove interesting.

I’m not going to give a discourse on how to perform historical research in the broad sense, but rather to point out some of the ways in which one might avoid embarrassing little blunders. Some reader, somewhere will pick up your errors with a malicious sense of glee and self-congratulation.

For me, and I think for most people, if…

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