Book Cover Artists + Cover Reveal

Early in January I was finally able to update my cover art for Night’s Treasure. I was so excited! I meant to announce it here but looking back I see that I forgot. But that’s okay because it’s not like it was a new book or anything.

Here’s the new cover made by the oh so talented Ruxandra Tudorica (MethyssART)…

Click on the art to buy Night’s Treasure by Kathryn St. John, available on Amazon for $3.99

I love it! It’s soooo much better than what I did myself. If I had had better graphic artist skills (mine are next to none), I would’ve bee happier with how mine turned out but I could not get past the grey blur around the silhouette. It ruined the whole thing for me!

My friend and fellow author, EarthGirly, won a premade from Ruxandra and gave it to me (having only entered because she had thought it would be perfect for Night’s Treasure). I was ecstatic!! Truly ecstatic. Three days later it was personalized for me and gracing Amazon as the new cover of Night’s Treasure!

In the delirium of my euphoria, I joined Ruxandra’s Facebook group (Methyss Art Premade Covers – the group is closed so you need to be given permission to get in) and have one future commission appointment set for August and then fingers crossed for other covers. If you’re interested, take a look at her page. Her work is beautiful and she’s so nice, patient, and friendly!

Through her I also found Ryse’s Cult. The artist there is Jennifer Munswami (J.M. Rising Horse Creations).

Holy. Freaking. Cow!

That’s all I have to say about her work. When I found out I had won a giveaway from her (amazingly gorgeous artwork that another author won in an auction plus a bunch of other stuff), I was so excited I started tiptoeing around and squealing (tiptoeing because that’s my version of jumping around, and squealing because it was 6:30am and I didn’t want to wake anyone up by screaming). Every time I thought about it for the rest of the day I’d get all giggly and start tiptoeing around. People around me would just laugh.

That day was absolutely exhausting.

Here’s some recent cover art of hers that’s been released…

Click on the art to preorder the book Soul Bound by A.J. Flowers

The auction for this cover got intense toward the end. They usually do. This one was won by A.J. Flowers. Soul Bound by A.J. Flowers is available for preorder on Amazon for $4.99.

Jennifer is pretty much booked till the end of time (only half kidding), but there are always last-minute cancellations and premades you can try your luck with so pop on over there too if you’re an author who loves quality covers. Or maybe you just want to oogle her work or buy extra swag or create brand artwork for yourself (not sure if she’s available for that right now or not), etc.

There are more but those are the main two I’m crushing on right now. Totally stalking and not ashamed.

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New Year’s Resolutions – 2018

Wow! It’s been a long time since I last posted on this blog. Minus today’s post on my fitness blog – Fitness Freak – concerning my fitness-related resolutions/goals, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged at all.

My fitness life has been super busy so that all I’ve been doing for my writing life is reading books – audiobooks and books with my son during his reading time at bedtime. I had a Goodreads goal to read 150 books in 2017. I failed. I got really close – over 140 in fact – but 150 was out of my reach.

For 2018, I’ve gone back down to 100 books. If I was only reading, I’d try for 125, but my resolutions are going to take up too much of my time. There are my fitness goals, yes, but a huge amount of my free time during the day will be spent writing now. Yep! I’ve resolved to get my butt in gear to write Shadow’s Strength, the sequel to Night’s Treasure.

2018 Goal:

  • Write 1st draft of Shadow’s Strength

There’s just the one goal. SS has spent so long on the back burner due to my fitness life commitments, it’s ridiculous. So this year I’m finishing that 1st draft! I’m not demanding that it be in publishable condition – just the first draft. Editing can take forever but so can a single draft, especially when you’re severely out of practice, so one step at a time.

So! That my writing resolution for 2018! What are your goals or resolutions?

Why I Can’t Commit to Reading One Book at a Time

Today on FB I listed the 6 books I’m currently reading and then asked why I can’t commit to reading one book at a time. It was supposed to a quick answer but as I typed I realized I needed more room than I was willing to give on a FB post. I know I sometimes write long FB posts but, believe it or not, I don’t like doing that.

Here’s my current list of books:

  • “Shadow House You Can’t Hide” by Dan Poblocki
  • “Refuge” by A.I. Nasser
  • “We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, The Second Season” by K.C. Wayland
  • “Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J.K. Rowling
  • “Heaven and Earth” by Nora Roberts

The same list is on Goodreads. I didn’t list the last 2 books on my Goodreads list because I’m not actively reading those 2. I should take them off because I don’t intend to finish them in the near future, but I’m lazy when it comes to deleting books from the list.

So why can’t I commit to reading one book at a time? There a various reasons and they all sound reasonable to me…of course or I’d stick with the one book.

  • Filler

I’ll end a book and then start one I’ve already read (Heaven and Earth) in order to pass the time before a new book comes my way. I’ll eventually finish this book but not for awhile.

  • Inspiration

Sometimes I’ll be watching a show or movie that inspires me to read the book. That was exactly what happened in the case of Cranford.

  • Freebies/Suggestions

I might come across an interesting freebie book that snags my attention or someone may suggest an interesting book so I’ll put everything on hold to read it. In the case of Refuge, I had gotten an e-mail from Team Scarestreet asking if I was interested in reviewing a free audiobook series by A.I. Nasser. I submitted my application to be a reviewer, was accepted, and received my promo codes for the books on Audible.com. Refuge is the 2nd book of the series. The first one, Kurtain Motel, I couldn’t stop listening to and powered through it so when it ended I immediately went on to the 2nd book.

  • Traveling

I’ll keep a family friendly audiobook for car trips. Unfortunately, since car trips don’t commonly last more than 30 minutes and we don’t always listen to the audiobook on those trips, it takes a horrendously long amount of time to get through one of those books. Such is the case with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

As for Shadow House and We’re Alive, both of these fall under the Freebies/Suggestions category. In the case of We’re Alive, someone had suggested it as a good podcast for people who like the app Zombies, Run! so I subscribed to the podcast and was wowed, not by the sometimes painful voice acting but by the story.

I was ordering some books for my son from Scholastic.com. Order forms are sent home each month for each class. We don’t usually get anything, but my son’s favorite books were there this time so I gave in. I tried it online this time and saw a notice on their site for Shadow House. I love horror and the cover looked interesting so I read a sample. I found it as an audiobook on Hoopla so I borrowed it last night and finished it by this afternoon. It was fun. Simple, obviously meant for younger teens, but still enjoyable for an adult assuming you don’t mind that it’s not complex and long etc. I’ve moved on to the second book or I will very soon so I’ve already added it to my list.

Believe it or not, my list does wittle down to 0 books every now and then but it doesn’t happen often and when it does it doesn’t stay that way for long.

Why I haven’t been writing or blogging

I say I’m a writer but I haven’t written anything in a long time. Nor have I been blogging even on my fitness blog. There’s a simple explanation for this: I’ve been busy reading and moving forward in my fitness career.

I know, I know. Career? Fitness instructor? Yeah, not really. Barely a part-time thing. But that’s not the point. It’s at least currently what I want to do for a job. Even paying next to nothing pays more than my writing does. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact.

I’m working on expanding my repertoire in the fitness industry. I initially started with learning my friend’s Circuit Fusion class which I can use for almost anything so I’m good for subbing several different classes. Then I added POP Pilates last year. Now I’m nice and experienced with POP and added in several kinds of SilverSneakers toward the end of Winter. I’m only teaching one kind of SS class but it still makes me stressed and anxious the night before.

I’ve also recently started focusing on building my strength etc so I can one day perhaps become a BodyPUMP instructor. That’s pretty iffy as I’m just not sure if I’ll ever be physically strong enough to survive the training workshop.

And now thanks to the Memorial Day Weekend sales, I’ve now started training to be a personal trainer! Yay!!! Super excited about this! All my books etc came in the mail when I was out on vacation. I opened the box and the sheer size and weight of the textbooks was rather daunting, but I know I can do it! It’ll most likely take the entire 6 months I have before I’m ready to take the exam, but I’ll keep at it!

Anyway, sorry for talking about my fitness stuff here on my writing blog. I just wanted to let everyone know why I haven’t been writing stories or blogging here

  • fitness repertoire expansion
  • reading

I should put up reviews of what I’ve been reading, but I haven’t. I’ll try to do that from now on if I do nothing else in my writing world.

Hugs and Kisses!!

Book Review – Lake Nutaq by Ron Ripley

Yet another book review of a Berkley Street installment! Lake Nutaq is the 6th book in the series by Ron Ripley and is even better than the last one.

Lake Nutaq (Berkley Street Series Book 6)

Awesome. Just awesome. It’s amazing how many injuries Shane can sustain and still keep ticking! He’s no longer super depressed, thank goodness. His depression and drinking made it difficult to keep reading at times before. But now he seems to be on the mend…emotionally speaking. Yay! Except I doubt people would say he’s still handsome when he’s missing bits and pieces and chunks of himself. Yowzahs!

I loved the bonus story about Patience. Throughout the whole book I had been wondering about her character and was a bit disappointed not to have gotten her back story…until I started reading the bonus chapters. It was a satisfying background but I was still wanting more. I mean, they mention the Reverend more than once in a way that made me think he was important but he wasn’t.

And then in the story itself there’s the unfinished business with the Englishman and The Woman. Who is she? What’s going on at Lake Nutaq? I really hope these questions are answered at some point. I want to know!!!

The version I read of Lake Nutaq was the audiobook. They’ve all been audiobooks. Shane and the other characters (even the female ones whom he doesn’t do so great a job on) will always be connected with Thom Bowers’ voice. There are times his German sounds a bit on the French side and his Italian sounds like I don’t even know what but, except for the first book, there isn’t much call for foreign voices so I’m content to overlook it. If you’re not the type to overlook something like that, go for the book instead of the audiobook. It’s an excellent series!

For me, Lake Nutaq is perhaps my 3rd favorite in the series, the first two being the first two in the series. My least favorite is Sanford Hospital. Ugh. Super depressing and infuriating. And yet I still enjoyed that one as well.

Book Review – Shallow Graves by Patrick Logan

Horror book review this time.

Shallow Graves by Patrick Logan

I didn’t care for all the sex talk in the beginning of the book. It didn’t seem necessary to talk so much about a certain piece of dangling southern male anatomy and go into so much detail for the beginning sex scene. Just because it’s an adult horror novel doesn’t mean it needs that kind of imagery and language. I’m not a prude but it seems unnecessarily vulgar to call it a c**k every time. It dimmed down after a bit, thank goodness, and my interest picked up with the horror taking more of a front row.

After the horror took center stage, I found it an enjoyable read. I kept getting taken out of the story though because the daughter wasn’t even 10 and Robert kept leaving her alone and not paying attention to her at all. I mean, practically an entire day would go by before he’d remember her existence. I had my suspicions why toward the end, but still. It wasn’t a good enough reason for me but I won’t go into it because of spoilers.

One thing annoyed me big time and caused my interest to wane at the end. Shelley. She’s supposed to be the “best” according to a bunch of internet people, but everything she does and talks about seems to be theoretical. She doesn’t seem experienced at all, just well-read with ghostly matters. Her warning Robert that’s it’s super important not to let the ghosts touch him seems completely useless because he’s touched 3 of them by the end without anything happening to him. True, he only gets “touched by” 2 of them, but that seems pretty nit-picky. If you’re doing the touching or being touched, the end physical contact is the same.

Another thing about Shelley I don’t like is that she’s supposed to have the mouth of sailor, but all she ever says is sh** and f***. Not very creative. It’s like her dialogue was written out and then the writer stuck in the F word in various places to give her a potty mouth. There are lots of ways to cuss and I can sometimes appreciate it. Her dialogue wasn’t creative though. Her cussing was boring and contrived and her dialogue, likewise, was boring and lecture-y.

Also, she was pretty mean I thought. She and Robert didn’t get along but he thought they did? I’m assuming that must’ve been the spirits/house/whatever making him different and horny because there was no indication of them getting along. She was condescending and snobbish to him.

This book was all right. Not great but not really bad. The horror part was really good but there was too much else that annoyed me. If you don’t mind everything I had an issue with, you’ll probably like it. There was some really great stuff in Shallow Graves.

Book Review – The Ghost of Marlow House by Bobbi Holmes

!!!WARNING!!! I’m usually pretty nice with my reviews. That’s not the case this time.

The Ghost of Marlow House (Haunting Danielle Book 1) by Bobbi Holmes

The plot was so predictable I guessed nearly everything right in the beginning. We’re talking as soon as something was mentioned, I knew it would be integral to the plot and mostly how it would all work out. The only surprise was at the end with the last plot point to wrap up. I can’t say it because I don’t want to spoil it for others. It wasn’t a “Oh wow! I didn’t see that coming!” kind of surprise. More like a “Seriously? They sure pulled some strings to make that work out.” Oh, wait. There was one more surprise at the end that elicited the same kind of response. Those two “surprises” wrap things up very nicely. There’s a lovely little bow and everything. One might say that I’m just good at predicting the outcome etc, but I’m really not. I’m the one at the end going “Holy Cow! I did NOT see that coming!!” while everyone else is like, “pfft whatever.” If everything in the book was obvious even to me, it was seriously obvious.

All the characters sounded alike and weren’t fleshed out properly. Conflicts arise only to be concluded with minor work. The point of view would change constantly! That was a huge deal for me. From one paragraph to the next, there was a chance the PoV would change. Hell, from one sentence to the next sometimes. For me that’s like a giant flashing red danger sign warning that there’s bad writing ahead. But I kept reading because the idea for the book was interesting. Unfortunately, the potential for good was never reached and I was left seriously disappointed.

Then there were the impromptu history and human rights lessons that sounded completely scripted. I thought I was reading about a mystery about a ghost haunting an old house that was being renovated into a B&B, but suddenly people were talking about black women’s rights in Oregon in the 1920s. Whenever they started talking about these sorts of things, the dialogue would get supremely flat and everyone (though they all sounded similar to begin with) sounded exactly alike. It was ridiculous.

Add to all of that the extemporaneous details such as Dani’s friend ordering a martini and you’ve completely lost me. Boring! One may argue that it shows her personality and character. I would argue that it was superfluous and showed nothing of her real character. So much of the dialogue was pure filler. Writing a few times that the waitress silently takes away dishes from your table doesn’t further the story, it adds extra words to sift through in order to get through the story. Unless, of course, the waitress is trying to eavesdrop in order to discover some juicy tidbits on some diamond or whatever that she can steal from you when your guards is down…which isn’t the case.

I paid $0.99 for this and am regretting spending even that much. There are so many other mystery ghost books out there. Just off the top of my head, I’d recommend Rose Pressey. Her books can be fun. I don’t recommend bothering with this one. I for one am not going to be looking into her other books.