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Monday, April 14, 2014

Waiting for spring

I have to consider myself an optimist. Or realist. Or, as my husband calls me, a Pippy Longstockings.

Alaskan winters seem to go on and on forever. I try to break up the six-month plus season with a trip 'Outside' for color, warmth, and sunshine. As you can see from the photo above, April is still a time of white and grays for us. That wee bit of green on the conifer is just a funky shade of gray to me. Sure, we now have over 14 hours of daylight, and the sun is creeping northward. The sun rises and sets in the east and west now instead of in the southeast and southwest, visible from the same south-facing window three months out of the year. The snow piles are shrinking,  the snow cover on the ground evaporating. The soil below is dark brown, soggy, yet promising.

I envy, sort of, my friends' pictures posted on social media, showing off bushes loaded with rose blooms, while my recently released from cold storage potted plants are only beginning to green up, a few buds striving to photosynthesize sustenance from the fluorescent tubes above and limited sunlight, peeking through the north and east facing windows.

June, July, and August will get here eventually. They always do. As I said, I'm a realist. And the Pippy Longstockings attitude knows that while others are suffering from high heat and humidity, cockroaches and hornworms, water restrictions and drought, I'll rely on the evening rains and occasional breezes to take care of my plants and the air conditioning. And I'll snap as many pictures as I can, to look over through the long winter.

Summer always gets here.
And when it does, it's fabulous.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What a difference a visual makes.

Okay, so the model (Harvey is his real name) on the new e-book cover of Dances Naked doesn't have enough gray hair. Would you have wanted him to? To be more true to the story, yes, but to be more appealing, nope!

DANCES NAKED is the story of a 60-ish British Lord, Marty Melbourne, who has traveled back in time from 2012 to 1782 via The Trees, portals through time. All turns out well, at first, and then he gets lost, is robbed, is rescued by a Cherokee hunting party who accept him into their small tribe, and then...well, the chief knows where the crazy white man he calls Dances Naked wants to go, but he doesn't want to return to those bad medicine trees that swallowed his brother years ago. He makes him wait, and then a couple of pretty white women join the tribe for their own reasons...

Lots of other events occur, too, but how much can you, or should you, show on the cover?

And then there's the discretionary issue. If you're getting a print version of a book, and you already know its a good story, wouldn't the tame version on the right be a little more appropriate to have lying about if the in-laws or pastor showed up unannounced?

The truth is, the e-book cover needs to pull in readers with a glance. Tame doesn't work for that. As soon as I changed covers for THE GREAT BIG FAIRY, sales shot up. True, it was for e-books, but print versions are less in demand.

Instant gratification with inexpensive downloads is what is selling right now. So, I'll share the eye candy for the e-books, but will also offer 'tamer' print versions...just in case you want to give your mother-in-law a great book to read, that won't make her blush if the pastor catches her reading it.

(Cover art on left by Illustration on the right by Tony Woodward)