Category Archives: Nevada

Cover Charge

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(If this sounds like a rehash of an old post, I agree with you because, gosh darn it, I feel like I’ve written a version of this post before, but I couldn’t find it. Oh well. New followers won’t know any different, so apologies to older followers. Here we go!)

Creating art is an art, but there’s the analytical aspect. There’s no point in painting a Mona Lisa or sculpting a Rodin without discipline and a self-imposed system of quality control. For me, the most difficult quality control portion writing a book was not sentence structure or character development but picking out a cover.

I’ve used 99Designs for three or four books. If you’ve never used 99Designs, the premise is straightforward: you start a contest, you outline your needs, you have X number of days to pick a set of covers that will advance to a final round, and then another set of days to pick the finalist. I’ve developed a QC system that might help you in the future:

Communication: You cannot overcommunicate, in my opinion. When you establish the contest, you provide a book outline and some details, and a list of your expectations. As the contest continues and the book cover designers post their covers, you have opportunity to provide feedback. The biggest favor you can do for the designers and for yourself is to be open and candid. Provide sample chapters and links to your web sites (social media, blog, home site) so the designers can see your public thinking.

Rating: You can rate book covers on a system of zero to five stars. For me, I use zero to three stars, reserving zeros and ones for book covers I’m never going to use. Two stars are for book covers I’m not quite sure about, and three stars are for designs that I’m certain or near certain are going to survive to the final round. When designers ask why they received their rating, answer all questions. Don’t be afraid. The designers really want to give you what you want.

Be Realistic: Don’t fall in love with the first submissions (like I always do). You’ll have a lot of great designs by the end of the first round if you have adequately communicated your needs. Be patient and stick to your rating system from the beginning of the contest to the end of the contest.

The Final Cover: I have no idea how to pick up final cover. For my latest contest, I bounced back between three or four designs because they were all great. When I narrowed it down to two designs, I couldn’t decide, so I bought them both. They each have their strengths, and I would have been happy to post either on Amazon. The final decision came down to which cover do I want to see five years from now. (The winner is here, if you’re interested.)

If you have a better methodology, please share. To paraphrase Edmund Gwynn, “Writing is easy. Book covers are hard.” Thank you.

Cover Reveal

Published / by JT / 1 Comment on Cover Reveal

Lots to cover, but as I have the attention span of a mayfly, let’s be economical with the words.

The first Emma Parks book is free for download on Friday, October 19th. Lots of positive feedback for this and the sequel, so grab it! Here’s the link to Hope Knocks Twice.

Second, yep, that’s the cover of my new book, A Sheriff in Nevada. I bought two covers and pinged back and forth for weeks. They’re both excellent, but this one nudged ahead by a hair because I feel it best represents my home state. The second cover will be the subject of a future blog post.

Last, the book itself will be available for pre-order very soon with the release date of October 31, 2018. Why release it on this date? Because that’s Nevada Day, gosh darn it, and a book about Nevada for Nevadans should be released on our admission day.

I want you to read the book, so I’m asking for less than a buck of your hard-earned money. You’ll get more than your money’s worth, I promise!

Edit: Amazon got the link up quick! You can pre-order right now.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and take care of each other, okay?

Status Report

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News you can’t use…

Today begins the professional editing of “A Sheriff in Nevada.” Twitter followers know my stomach has butterflies the size of B-52s because I’m flashing back to high school term papers (“Was I even close to the target???”). The edit will take two weeks.

Around that time, Cassidy Carson and I will be jetting off to faraway lands because we’re both in “use it or lose it” situations. Such is our level of dedication to the fine citizens of the Silver State.

Our return home will herald the shaking of bones and such over the keyboard to position ASIN for publication. I hope creating a Kindle copy is easier than it used to be back in the day. (“Tell us another story, Grampa.”)

This all takes us into November and Nanowrimo with this year’s subject being the first of two sequels to ASIN. No, it will not be another Emma Parks book (Hi, Lisa!), but I will do one as soon as I get something that’s worth 70K+ words.

Last word: this Monday’s blog post will be on cochlear implants.

Okay, that’s all for now. Return to your lives, citizens.

Road Trip

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Hello, all. I’ve been on a writing sabbatical, a fancy-schmancy way of saying I’ve been busy with Real Life and not touching the keyboard in a fictional way. That’s not 100% true, as 15+K words were written during July’s Camp NanoWriMo, all for a brand-new book. The key-tapping stalled when Real Life came back. My other WIP, completed at 70+K, waits on the virtual shelf to be made publishable.

The two works have little in common save one grace: they’re both placed in rural Nevada. That’s not necessarily a good thing. To some outside the Battle Born borders, our nether regions are filled with under-educated western rednecks trapped in the Nineteenth Century sensibilities. I want to say that particular demographic is firmly the One Percent, a plague found in every state of the Union, but never having been east of Fallon, I don’t know.

Therefore, my two favorite words: Road Trip!

The Bride and I are leaving soon for Eureka, Ely, Elko, Winnemucca, and other parts East via the World’s Loneliest Highway to capture the flavor and nature of the Silver State. We’ll avoid all chains (Holiday Inns, McDonalds, and so on) to see if we can find the true center of rural Nevada. My hope is we’ll return with memories and impressions that I can stick in these two WIPs. Maybe this trip will give readers insight to what has been best part of my home for many decades.

I’ll try to post a travelogue. If you have suggestions for sights and stops, shoot them on over. Appreciate your attention. Thank you.

Home Means Nevada

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Here in the Worldwide Headquarters, my thirty-five-year partner Cassidy Carson and I often joke about how hard we work on our “hobby,” that writing thing. I wager she works equally hard at her day job, and I know I certainly do. We’re always banging the keyboards, easily spending ten to fourteen hours a day working in one way or the other. This is by choice, as we are volunteers in our chosen professions and can quit at any time, though not without consequence.

Bellyaching is our birthright, and you can ignore our noise about writing. I find the act of literary creation to be a lot of fun, even though I get a tad grumpy around editing time. In the current WIP, I’m doubling the fun by dropping dozens of fun facts about my adopted state, Nevada. Though I was not born here (my parents had sex in Texas), I am a product of the Washoe County, Clark County, and Carson City School Districts, and received three of five degrees from the Nevada System of Higher Education. My favorite middle school class was Nevada History, with the textbook written by my grandfather’s colleague while they taught at the University of Nevada.

Plugging Nevada into my WIP is an opportunity to brag about the Silver State because we tend to hear about the dysfunction more often. Nevada receives a fair share of negative publicity as the Sin Center of the United States, deservedly so with the legal gambling and prostitution. The local economy is built around one industry vulnerable to recession and depression (gaming), while its most lucrative industry operates nearly in the dark and nearly tax-free (mining).

Having said that, I love Nevada. From the vast mountain ranges to Lake Tahoe, from the cantankerous veterans to the laughing kids, from the political games to the fact that hard work is always rewarded, there’s no place like the Battle Born State. The chance to express my feeling about this wonderful screwed-up state adds an extra layer of fun to the WIP, not to mention doing a Nevada-centric novel is a tribute to my teachers, in a way. They’ll probably be surprised someone was listening in class.

Blogging is a kind of procrastination for me, so back to work on the book. Let me know you’re contemplating a trip to the northern part of Nevada, or if you need some trivia or background information about Nevada gaming or something. Glad to help!