Sunday, 27 October 2019

Covering all things Covers

Good afternoon Bookaholics. I'm going to ask a question of you today - Do you judge a book by its cover? I know the saying goes that you shouldn't but I'll be honest and say, I usually do. If the cover doesn't catch my attention, then I usually give the book a swerve and move on. I'm a firm believer that the cover has to attract in order for a reader to take the next step and pick the book up and spend time in reading the blurb on the back. I believe we humans are fickle creatures and we know what we like.

However, as an author, I have to shove all personal feelings aside and step inside the mind of the reader. Or do I? As well as being a writer of crime, I am also an avid reader of crime books and certain covers attract me. I know what covers I expect for which genre or sub genre and, I can absolutely guarantee, so do most other readers of crime. I cannot, however, even begin to imagine any designs for my own covers. I may be able to plot a good story but when it comes to images my brain does not function in that way.

With regards to covers I one hundred percent believe that it's best to call in the experts. My cover, designer Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics, is truly brilliant. She's got my work spot on. When I told her my next book was set in Dundee and New Orleans she came up with the cover above. Dundee is at the bottom and New Orleans at the top, all in glorious gold, purple and green with mist effect,  which suits the book down to the ground. I could never have come up with this but now I see it, I know it's perfect. Cathy is a visionary and can work magic with the little I give her. It fits in with the branding for the rest of the books perfectly. 

Book Description

Faced with the horrific murder of two Father Christmas's, DI Shona is hurtled into the centre of another deadly spree by a killer who will stop at nothing . With no clues and a rising body count she is shocked to find herself not only investigating in Dundee but also, New Orleans and the Louisiana Bayou. As the body count rises higher than the sticky Louisiana heat, Shona joins with her American colleagues to stop a serial killer in their tracks before Christmas is ruined forever. What, and who, could possible link these cities other than one grizzly murder after another.

Killer's Curse will be released in November. You can find out more and preorder your copy now

I hope you love the cover as much as I do. I hope you love the book even more. 

Thanks for tuning in, Bookaholics, I will be back soon with more news, views, help and assistance from the world of books, reading and writing. Until then, keep reading and writing.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Reading and Writing Intertwined

“Readers make writers and writers make readers”
Carl McKever

Good afternoon my fellow Bookaholics. I've been thinking a lot about reading lately and also trying to broaden the scope of my reading material. As you know, I am a writer as well as a reader. However, writing and reading are not mutually exclusive. As the quote above so beautifully says, in order to be a writer you need to be a reader first. As a crime writer, I read a lot of crime books and I mean 'a lot' of crime books. This is my preferred go to reading material but I am making a conscious choice to expand this. Here are my choices.

At the moment I am reading the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I am on the second book, The Angel's Game, which is beautifully written and the sheer beauty of the language pulls the reader into the story and make him, or her, marvel at the way the sentences are constructed. I loved the first book but believe this second one is even better. I can highly recommend them and I am looking forward to reading the next two in the series, which are already in my TBR pile. 

I started A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity by Nick Page, previously but due to a prolonged trip abroad, left it behind. It is a rather large tome and I was conscious of weight limits on planes. Don't let the title or the size of the book put you off. This is one of the funniest books I have read. How can you resist a book with the subtitle - Being a history of 2000 years of Saints, sinners, idiots and divinely-inspired troublemakers. Nick, a Christian himself, gets to the root of things and makes the discussion easily accessible to the average man, or woman, in the street. Christians and non-Christians alike would enjoy this book. It's a perfect example of how to write about a subject in an enjoyable way.

I am also expanding my reading of writing books. One of the best I have read is, Save the Cat Writes a Novel. It gets to the very heart of what a writer should know about story structure, again in an accessible way. It essentially demystifies novel plotting. I strongly believe no writer should be without this book on their bookshelf. It should be well thumbed with tabs highlighting the relevant areas. Needless to say, the image is not of my copy. 

Whilst I haven't read this one yet, I am very much looking forward to reading it, especially with Halloween around the corner. Rosemary Gemmed is an outstanding writer and I am sure this will be an atmospheric read. 

When Cate Stewart's life falls apart, a job cataloguing the vast library at Highcrag on the Scottish east coast sounds perfect. Especially since she has a personal interest in researching the notorious Scottish witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. But the house has a dark past that seems to affect the present. And an owner, Lyall Kinnaird, who unexpectedly stirs Cate's damaged heart. As the Celtic festival of Samhain approaches, when the veil between the living and dead is thinnest, who can Cate trust?

I love these books and was excited to discuss them with you. Now it's over to you. I want to widen my reading choices, so let me know what you would recommend in the comments. 

Have a great week and whatever else you do, remember to keep on reading and, of course, writing.