Tag Archive for ebook

Not So Random Musings

Paper Birds

I’m overdue for an update. Usually, I have ideas and themes all worked out (and ebook giveaways all set), but this time it’s different. I still have books to give out, but the main theme of this “sharing” eludes me. So I’m going to write about a few issues that I found interesting in my last month of reading, editing, and watching the news. Reading Last year, I finally bit the bullet and started reading Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” series. I’m on book 11 now… Robert Jordan (this is a pen name of James Oliver Rigney Jr.) began writing the first book in these series, “The Eye of The World” in 1984 and only published it 1990. Considering just how popular and influential these series were/are, it gives hope for writers like me… I love the world created in these books. It’s very complex and deep (and wide). But I kept finding similarities to other fantasy series I’ve read. Of course, there’s the homage to Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series. But I expected that — those were really the founding high fantasy series that gave birth to all the rest. But there was also more than a…

Of Food, Fun, Family, and Fiction

Becoming Animals Cards

I’ve stopped eating three times in my life… well, there might have been many other times — food intake is the easiest thing to control when life feels in turmoil — but those three times had very well defined triggers and so are easy to examine, evaluate, judge even. The first, let’s just call it the first for ease of telling, was when I was about ten. There were several schools in Leningrad that served its talented children and required admission process to get in. I’ve gone to a few of those: The Conservatory of Music — I’ve attended that one as a four or five year old, studying piano mostly; The Hermitage School of the Arts — I’ve started that at the same time as the Conservatory of Music; Leningrad School of Music — did time there as well until I rebelled by the end of third grade, if I remember correctly (piano, musical composition, chorus); A small art school not too far from the Hermitage on Fantanka street — for four years, I’ve spent three nights a week there studying drawing, art history, ceramics, watercolors; and it was my favorite even if very far away from home; And…

Fall into eBooks

spilling stories

Let me start with a bit of my own personal good news. “Becoming Animals” just won the bronze medal from the Readers Favorite! It’s my third book that won something. So I guess I can now write “award-winning author” next to my name… Woo-hoo? To get this award, I will have to go to Florida and to one of the largest international book fairs. I’ve never been to a book fair before (I’ve been asked several times to go to the Frankfurt Fair, but always turned them down), so I guess this is as good time as any. If any of you are from around there, please come find me! I will need all the support I can get! 2018 Miami Book Fair November 16-18 — these are the dates I will be there! (Making a plunge here…) …and one more thing… look for my short story, “The Soil of my Ancestors,” in the Kyanite Press, a Journal of Speculative Fiction: Winter Digest 2018 – Fables and Fairy Tales, available on December 1st, 2018. This too is my little good news for the day. Thank you everyone! These last few years — the 2016 presidential election season and the Trump’s presidency — have been torturous when…

LEGION: Women of Sci-Fi

Legion Women Authors of SciFi

This month on Instafreebie, a group of women writers organized an ebook giveaway. There are amazing stories in this collection (and even two of mine). I hope you take a look and download a bunch… …and as you do, consider the design of a science fiction book cover! One of the interesting side benefits of these giveaways is the ability to view a bunch of covers all together. What do you see? Which books jump out at you? Can you spot problems with book design? I can — a lot of the typography doesn’t work in this size — too small or too convoluted in font selection, making either the name of the book or the name of the author unreadable. Another problem is color — some covers are too muted and lack contrast to stand out in a group. Others have too much detail and are hard to take in at a glance. First impressions matter — readers (as all humans) take in visual information quickly and make judgments based on emotion first (and then come up with reasoned justifications for those feelings). The job of a book cover designer is to make a good first impression, to allow…

What’s in a Cover?

Coding Peter Suddenly Paris 2 Covers

The design of the cover can make the book… or so I was told. Certainly, bad covers don’t contribute to sales. But good covers are difficult. And the thought on cover design has changed over the years… just like fashion. Since I tend to design my own covers (and I’m an artist and a designer), I wanted to put together some ideas, if not rules, to follow and some background of how to think about book cover design. Because if you don’t do your own, you still need to communicate what you want with the person that does. Book Covers Through Time To appreciate a cover, it helps to understand its roots. I won’t go back far, since my genre is science fiction, just a hundred years or so. Consider the cover evolution of Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”: There is a movement from frills to realism to a strong graphic look of the more modern editions. While for the 1800’s editions, we might find it difficult to identify the genre of this story, by the time we hit 1960s, there is no doubt that this is a science fiction or fantasy novel. The cover alerts…

Sci-fi and Fantasy Novels: Download One or Every Single One!

Innovation: Sci-fi anf Fantasy

Have you taken the reading pledge challenge yet? No? I didn’t — seems silly to limit myself to some arbitrary number of books. I read voraciously and across many genres, although sci-fi is my guilty pleasure and a goto place for when I’m feeling blue. Science fiction and fantasy are interesting genres. People have such strong opinions about them: “I only read literary fiction.” or “I consume only non-fiction.” And yet, what is literary fiction but a socially-approved book? A classic? Shakespear had written a lot of fantasy books — Macbeth had witches, A Midsummer Night’s Dream had spells and magic, The Tempest was set on an enchanted isle, Hamlet had ghosts. Go back farther in time and read a few Greek plays — gods, witches, medusas, magical beasts of all kinds… And what’s the Epic of Gilgamesh if not a fantasy novel?  Fantasy is a great way of transporting a reader into another realm and showing real emotions and complicated social dilemmas without getting trapped in a politically incorrect or culturally inappropriate minefield. Fantasy allows us to talk about our prejudices and absurdities of some of our beliefs by taking away trigger words and situations. What a powerful genre. Science fiction takes fantasy one level…