Blurbs are still tough to write. What do you think of these?

 

Blurbs are still tough to write - what do you think of these?

 

Her dream was to go to university. Instead she’s working in a nursing home hunting a killer.

When high school graduate, Bittany Wright, gets a job cleaning at Happy Hearts nursing home, she is terrified of old lady Flo and desperately wishes she could be in college instead.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two. Brittany discovers that Flo, who may or may not have Alzheimer’s, is in grave danger. But, from whom and why?

As Flo’s condition worsens, Brittany scrambles to save her. But, ironically, it may be Flo who saves Brittany.

When the Sun was Mine: If you like suspenseful mysteries with complex and strong characters you’ll love this adult read, hopeful and humorous in spite of the ugliness of Alzheimer’s.

Buy When the Sun was Mine to experience a unique friendship steeped in intrigue and surprising twists.

 

Blurbs are still tough to write - what do you think of these?

The old lady is dead, but she could still destroy him.

When rebel leader, Sidu Diagho, learns that reporter Flo Mc Allister has died, he knows that her power to destroy him is still very much alive.

Flo was with him during the coup attempts. She saw everything, yet has remained silent all these years. But Sidu could still be tried at The Hague for his crimes with her notes the testimony needed to convict him.

Sidu is not the only one seeking to unravel the truth through Flo’s records. How much does Flo’s young friend Brit know? And Flo’s son and his wife? What did Flo tell them?

Sidu will do what he must to find and destroy the evidence against him.

Whispers Under the Baobab: A thrilling mystery—notes in code, unsent love letters—the  story weaving from past to present as the characters race to solve Flo’s puzzles.

Buy Whispers Under the Baobab to join the hunt and perhaps shed a tear or two.

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

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Blurbs are tough to write – what do you think of these?

Blurbs are tough to write - what do you think of these?

 

~~~~ EMBATTLED ~~~~

Gifted with superpowers she can’t refuse, her life spirals out of control.

Bounced from a jungle battle, to an Islamist stronghold, to a corrupt Columbian trial, Em Roberts, your average school principal, knows that something is dreadfully wrong.

Now she must challenge “the voice” in her head— the voice that transports her around the world, forces her to face unbelievable danger, and insists she can stop wars.

Will she outwit that voice and end the nightmare, or will she die trying?

EMBATTLED is book one of the Em and Yves series. If you like “soft” science fiction with a touch of romance, then you’ll love the harsh reality and magic of Darlene Jones’s series.

Buy EMBATTLED today to join Em as she “saves” the world.

 

~~~~EMPOWERED~~~~

She’s crazy to build her life on childhood visions, but …

Jasmine Wade, rich man’s eye-candy, trusts in visions she experienced as a child. In them she “traveled” with a woman facing incredible danger and vanquishing evil. Driven by this ideal,

Jasmine is determined to change the world—at least her little corner of it.

Kidnapped, not for ransom, but to be eliminated, Jasmine must depend on her wits to survive.

But where, in this mix, are the aliens who are using her as their tool? Will they be the ones to save Jasmine? And, if not …?

EMPOWERED, book two of the Em and Yves sci-fi series –action, suspense, and human relationships woven into a story you won’t want to put down.

Buy EMPOWERED to enjoy grand adventure as aliens try to “fix” Earth.

 

~~~~EMBRACED~~~~

Controlled by an Alien, Abby must decide if he’s real before she loses her sanity.

When school principal, Abby Davies, hears clickings in the fillings of her teeth she doesn’t understand why she believes they are messages from aliens.

Changing the world was never part of her career plan … but, letters she didn’t send bearing her signature are showing up in newspapers around the world. The things asked for in the letters are coming true.

To complicate matters even more, the alien controlling Abby has fallen in love with her. Is this her one chance for true love?

EMBRACED – Book three of the Em and Yves sci-fi series brings the alien down to Earth.

Buy EMBRACED to see if Abby survives alien intervention in her life and finds love.

 

~~~~EMBROILED~~~~

Inexplicably drawn to the man stalking her, she knows she needs help.

School principal, Emily Roberts, can’t shake her attraction to the man following her. Scared, she turns to the wonderful Dr. David, but even he can’t help her.  Real fear sets in when the stalker claims to be an alien who has loved her in other lives.

Now, trapped in his perfect heavenly world, she is the only one who sees the danger threatening him.

Does she love him enough to give up her life on Earth and stay with him forever … if she can save him, that is?

EMBROILED – From a reviewer “Em/Jaz/Abby/Emily – how are all related? What has Jones done to bring these heroines full circle? To answer that question would be a spoiler. Better to say that some of the story line in this book which concludes the series made me very angry. Involving the reader so strongly in the characters’ lives is surely the sign of a powerful author. All I will say is that the ending is satisfying in every way.”

Buy EMBROILED now and travel with Emily to experience a world “up there somewhere.”

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

 

 

 

 

 

Traversing the Sahara – adventure and romance

Traversing the Sahara - adventure and romance

 

Like an ocean, the desert holds a magnetic pull that mesmerizes us. From Bamako to Mopti to Tombouctou to Goa and all the villages in between, I was forever captivated by the Sahara.

In Whispers Under the Baobab, I tried to convey the majesty of the desert as I had Flo flee for her life with young Josef as her guide.

Other authors have written more comprehensive tales of survival in the Sahara – Jane Johnson, for one. Her romance / adventure stories are captivating. Here are two that I particularly enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

Stories that won’t quit

Okay, here’s the thing. Ever since you were a kid you wanted to write a book.

You write that book and publish it.

BUT, the story just won’t quit and suddenly (or not so suddenly as you don’t write that fast) the one book morphs into four—never had you dreamed of writing a series, a sci-fi one at that.

Okay, that’s done. What next? A compilation of short, mostly humorous, bits.

And then?  Another story, of course. Never had you dreamed of writing a mystery, but here it is.

BUT, this too, does not want to quit and a few months later you have a sequel.

You don’t think these two will become a trilogy or a series, but you never know for you’ve learned that it’s the story that has the control, not the author.

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

 

 

Stories behind the door challenge

The challenge, should you choose to accept, is to write one of the stories holding its secrets behind this door (300 words maximum).

I’ll post your stories here and send you copies of my newest books — When the Sun was Mine and Whispers Under the Baobab (neither of which were found behind this door) — as a token of appreciation for your writing .

Please send your entries to darlene@darlenejonesauthor.com

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

What does Uzo have to say about my new book?

Always exciting when “the book” is finally edited, formatted, and published. Holding the print copy in your hands never fails to make your heart beat a little faster. You’ve done it.

 

Whispers Under the Baobab, my seventh book, is as gratifying as my first. Perhaps even more so for not only have I honed the craft of writing in the process, I’ve set much of this one in West Africa including Mali, a country that has been dear to my heart ever since I lived there many years ago.

Even more gratifying are the comments from my Nigerian friend, who graciously agreed to be a beta reader.

As an African currently living in Nigeria, my country, I could relate especially with the African setting. Aside from developing the plot, Jones doesn’t fail to present the reader with tidbits about the life and culture of Sidu’s people.

Some sequels tend to lose steam along the way, but not this one. This second installment is a book you can relax to, and finish in a day. If you are looking for a novel where good triumphs over evil, where love is mutual and undying, where new friendships are forged from the unlikeliest of situations, and above all, where the plot is driven by suspense and some bit of code-cracking, then Whispers Under the Baobab is the book for you.

Darlene Jones demonstrates exceptional talent as a wordsmith, and for plotting an intriguing story whose premise invites readers be to resolute in their quest for what is true and right.

See both books here: http://ow.ly/aKXh30bMH88

 

Rubber ducky reading

My little granddaughter has a collection of rubber duckies. She came home from her walk with Grandpa and showed me the latest addition – the pink one.

“Grandma, her name is Darla and she found your new book and is reading it.”

Gotta love the kid. Here’s the book she’s referring to. If you’ve read When the Sun was Mine, my new book, Whispers Under the Baobab is a sequel of sorts (perhaps companion piece would be a better description), for they do not have to be read in a particular order.

 

When high school graduate, Brittany Wright, gets a job cleaning at Happy Hearts nursing home, she is terrified of old lady Flo and desperately wishes she could be in college instead. As an unlikely friendship develops between the two, Brittany discovers that Flo is in grave danger. But, from whom and why? As Flo’s Alzheimer’s worsens, Brittany scrambles to save her. But, ironically, it may be Flo who saves Brittany.

 

When rebel leader, Sidu Diagho, learns that reporter, Flo Mc Allister, has died, he knows that her power to destroy him is still very much alive.

Flo was with him during the coup attempts and all these years later Sidu could yet be tried at The Hague with her notes the testimony needed to convict him.

And the girl, Flo’s friend? How much does she know?

Sidu will do what he must to destroy the evidence against him.

Building a Book Cover

Outline, first draft, rewrite, copy edit, proof read, and choose a cover. Finally, I’ve reached the truly fun stage of preparing a book for publication. Working with my new cover designer is exciting for I never know what her brilliant brain will come up with.

I loved the cover she designed for When the Sun was Mine

not at all what I had in mind, but ever so much better than the image my non-artistic brain had imagined. Let’s see what she’ll do with the sequel.

  • Mon 3/20 10:06 am

Hello Anita,

I hope this finds you well.

I am in the final stages of completing a new novel about Flo and Brit (When the Sun was Mine) and am hoping you would do a cover for me.

Please say yes!

Anita’s response comes a couple of hours later. Yes! She’ll do it, wants to know when I need it and is ready to brainstorm in a couple of days. (Yes, Anita reads the book before she works on the cover design.)

  • Mon 3/20 2:09 pm

Hi, thrilled to hear that you’re willing to do this cover too. I could send you the word file if you’d like to start reading it. And I’m in no great rush.

Anita asks me to send the book and wants to know if I’m looking to have covers for both eBook and wrap/paperback? Then she asks for more information:

  • Tue 3/21 10:49 am

Hi Anita,

Here’s my novel. As you read keep in mind that I’m still doing some fine tuning and it hasn’t been formatted yet.

Your questions:

  • Interior type: Black and White, Black and White with Bleed, Full Color, or Full Color with Bleed? Black and white – no bleed.
  • Trim size: 5×8
  • Number of pages: I don’t have that yet.
  • Paper Color: White or Cream? Cream
  • Author Name: Darlene Jones
  • Title: Ah, now that’s one of the hardest parts of writing a novel. I had a couple of ideas, but when I checked Amazon there were numerous books with those titles and they were all cheesy romances. My book is definitely not a cheesy romance.
  • Tagline/subtitle if applicable: Will be working on the tag line and blurb in the next few days 
  • Back cover blurb:
  • Do you have anything specific in mind?  If so, can you please provide samples of photos/imagery/other books that helps tell your vision? I thought perhaps a boy herding goats in the savanna of West Africa superimposed over a battle or a man’s silhouette. You’ll see why when you read the book. BUT as this is directly connected to When the Sun was Mine, perhaps the cover should be connected in some way?
  • If you don’t have anything specific in mind, please see the following: Argh, ask the tough questions, why don’t you?
  1. What is the genre? Always difficult to answer because my books are cross genre and I need to have a genre that fits Amazon’s categories. Possibly adventure or mystery/adventure or …
  2. Synopsis You read the first book (When the Sun was Mine) so you know that story. In this book, Sidu is desperately trying to find out what Flo wrote on her laptop all those nights at Happy Hearts for she witnessed his crimes and if the authorities get their hands on evidence he could face a trial at The Hague and possible death. He kidnaps Brit to enlist her help for he knows she spent a lot of time with Flo. Meanwhile, Perry and Nancy have Flo’s files, but much of it is gibberish. Then Nancy figures out how to decipher Flo’s code and Brit finds letters of Flo’s and the pieces start to come together. 
  3. What other books might be a good comparison to your story? (Please include links.)
  4. Are there any books with covers that resemble what you are looking for in terms of design? (Please include links)
  5. What is the emotion/vibe you want the design to communicate? Danger, love, triumph over evil, and anything that strikes you after reading the MS. I’ve tried to show life in Africa back in 1970 (which is when I lived in Mali).
  6. Anything else you would like to add? Anita, I trust your judgement completely. You came up with a perfect cover for Sun, one that I never would have thought of so please don’t feel limited in anyway by my thoughts. ALSO. I welcome any ideas you might have for title and genre or anything else that comes to mind.

On March 29, Anita tells me she finished reading my book and really enjoyed it. My cover artist likes my book. Bonus! Then she adds, “I have been thinking about your story, and I understand your references to “a boy herding goats in the savanna of West Africa superimposed over a battle or a man’s silhouette,” I am just trying to think of how we can tie it with the same design style as book #1.  I did a quick search for herding goats and battle stocks There are lots of photos of battles and goats but not in the setting we need.

Another concept that came to me was a desert scene with a baobab tree with silhouettes of Sidu and Flo.  It captures the setting with a little bit of romance.  So I looked for some trees and these too are hard to find.  I can find silhouettes of trees but was thinking we should keep the silhouettes to the people if we use any.

I did create an inspiration board as a starting point. Many of these are not a good fit to work with, but might trigger an idea, or if you see something that catches your eye I can see if I can find something that is better suited:

http://www.istockphoto.com/collaboration/boards/sxChB4_rMk-ydsjNXYAwp

 

  • Wed 3/20 8:53 pm

Anita, I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed my book. You’re the first one to read it besides my writing partner/editor.

I love the camel/desert pictures, but that’s the smaller part of the story. I think the middle picture in the seventh row could work as that’s the exact image of a baobab tree that I pictured as I wrote. And there are some huts in the background which rather mirrors the building on the cover of the first book. Silhouettes would add the right touch for the romance too. If you do the silhouettes the woman should be in a pagne. I’ve attached a couple of pictures so you can see what the clothing looks like – the first is one that I took when I was in Mali, the second I found on the Internet.

Anita tells me she’ll do some experimenting and explore silhouette images and see if the stock I picked will work for us.  She’s concerned about the exposure of the photo as it is very light.

Anita warns me that they’re expecting another big snow storm and may have a power loss.

NOTE: Anita is north of Boston and I’m on Vancouver Island

On Tuesday, April 4, Anita sends me to a link she thinks might work as the angle of it ties in with the girl from book #1:

http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/baobab-sunset-burst-gm476757284-66259397

“And,” she says, “When I blend it in with some of the imagery from the first book it is starting to take shape and have a streamlined look.”

 

  • Tue 4/4 2:52 pm

Anita, I have to say that I had a picture in my head of one big tree that they could meet under. I like the way you have tied it to When the Sun was Mine, but the trees are so tall, they make me look up right away and not focus on the center of the page. What about a picture like the attached?

Anita says she understands what I mean, but the challenge with the stock I picked is that the trunk is too short so it would have to be located near the upper half of the cover and it might be overpowering.

On April 6, Anita writes, “I attached a composite with the tree you last shared.  Let me know what you think.  If we go with this tree, we’d need to use a solid color for the spine since the tree branches are cut off, I can’t really extend them unless we find another stock where the full branches/tips are showing then I can manipulate and add those in.

For some reason I feel a sunset theme fits well with this story.  It helps set a dramatic tone.”

We go back and forth as Anita experiments with pictures I’ve chosen. She has concerns about perspective as she tries to incorporate huts into the trees to make it look realistic and we have to consider the issue of silhouettes of the people.

On April 10, Anita sends me a picture she’s not happy with as she can’t overcome the over exposure of the tree and asks if we could use another tree or a desert scene or something else.

  • Mon 4/10 3:54 pm

I agree. The impact of the tree is lost.

How about this? The tree is the kind that’s found in West Africa and the terrain suits too.

https://www.shutterstock.com/fr/image-photo/africa-sunset-baobab-trees-colorful-sky-178172774?src=wuq4LvAcYCdGAN3-ff9vNQ-1-6

 

On April 11, Anita sends another composite.

  • Tue 4/11 10:06 am

Anita, the tree and sky work, but not the couple – she’s too big and old and he looks like a white man.

With this picture, is it possible to have the village in the background?

Anita asks me to search for couples and send links to those I like and to try to find some where they sit in tall grass as that works best to help blend the photos.

 

  • Tue 4/11 1:42 pm

OMG I don’t know how you do this. My eyes are going buggy. Trying to find silhouettes, but either the man doesn’t look African or has the wrong clothes on or you see too much of their faces or the pose is entirely too sappy romantic or….

But I might have a solution. Would this silhouette work if you put it as if they were walking towards the tree? Also could this village be way in the background?

 

Anita agrees that it’s a time consuming process especially when looking for specifics. She can’t use my choice (an image of a couple holding hands) as their bodies are cut off, so in order to use it, it has to be enlarged and cover the entire page. But the village is a possibility depending on the image we end up using for the couple.

She attaches a sample.

 

  • Tue 4/11 6:35 pm

Anita, I really like this!!!

And I should have realized about the silhouette. That’s likely why I’m not a graphic artist – LOL.

Here are some silhouettes that might work. I particularly like the first one as it suits the story right down to the ponytail.

On April 12 Anita says,I think we have a winner!!  This is obviously a rough draft but the silhouette will be very similar to this, the houses as well. I’ll play around with the birds and see where they might best fit in to tie it in with book #1, as well as some minor tweaks with blending, shadows and colors, once we’ve finalized the concept.

 

  • Wed 4/12 11:04 am

Anita, There are so many aspects I love – the barren terrain, the subtlety of the village that is barely there (how do the people survive?), the dominance of the tree and the sky—all fit so well with the images I had in my head as I wrote. The silhouettes work well too. The man’s profile looks “African” (as opposed to American black) and the clothes are right as is the positioning – not a romantic couple per se, but showing a “togetherness” in that immense landscape.

I will purchase the stock and get them to you later today or tomorrow.

 

On April 13, Anita asks if I’ve decided on a title and if I have the firmed up page total as well as the back cover blurb?

 

  • Fri 4/14 11:41 AM

Hi Anita,

The book should be about 265 pages and I’ve attached the back cover for you.

Title: Whispers under the Baobab

 

On April 14 Anita sends me the current version.

 

  • Sat 4/14 9:04 AM

Anita, it’s beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Once again you have done an amazing job.

I ask for a few tweaks which Anita completes in a couple of days and sends the final version asking if I like it.

 

  • Mon 4/18 10:45 AM

 

Anita, I don’t just like it, I love it! The cover alone should “grab” readers. I’m impressed with your creativity and the way you can bring my vague ideas to such a brilliant conclusion.

My Beta reader is a young Nigerian – the one who came up with the When the Sun was Mine title. I sent him a picture of the new cover and he says: “Whoever did this cover deserves a special thanks from me, and well, a tall glass of sweet palm wine *smiles* I love it.”

 

Anita says, “Thank you so much for sharing, you truly made my day … and so very neat to receive such a nice compliment from someone from a different culture, especially when trying to resemble a scene from his world.” Thank you!!

And I say, Thank you, Anita!  Contact Anita: www.race-point.com  

 

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

Looking for a good book?

 

Avid readers are always looking for a “good” book. Of course what makes a book good to one reader is not necessarily going to appeal to the next, but we all search for that sometimes elusive read that will have us turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. We read reviews, seek out books on-line, watch for our favorite authors latest releases, and most importantly look for suggestions from fellow readers for word of mouth is said to be the best advertising off all.

 

And so I present three books I’ve read recently for your consideration.

 

   French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain

A letter that arrives 33 years late, a rock band that missed a chance to touch fame, the members of that group who have led diverse lives now trying to reconnect. Throw in right wing politics, an upcoming election and you have a compelling read. I decided to read this novel because I had already enjoyed two of Laurain’s books, The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook. And, bonus, he has another out soon called, The Portrait. It’s on my wish list.

 

 

  The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

Two women who lived 400 years apart are brought together by an embroidery book with faint dairy entries that tells a tale of pirates and captivity in 1625 Morocco. This review comment was enough to entice me to read the book. “The Tenth Gift is wildly yet convincingly romantic—a rare combo…both a sensitive portrayal of Muslim culture and a delectable adventure of the heart.”—USA Today

I now have more of Johnson’s novels loaded in my Kindle.

 

 

Watch the Shadows by Robin Winter

I know Robin (via the Internet) and had already read her first book Night Must Wait, a gripping story of the Biafran War. I tried to read her second book, Future Past, but it was too dark for me. Watch the Shadows is dark too, but so intriguing. Winters brings together a diverse group of characters—several homeless people, a postman, a couple of professors…. and a young girl determined to solve the mystery of the odd things that are happening in her neighborhood. Where have the birds gone? Why have many of the homeless disappeared? How did her neighbor’s cat lose its tail? I’m glued to this book every night and will be until I finish it.

 

What are you reading? Which books do you recommend?

 

How to make an author’s day

Received this review today and, yes, it made my day.  sun_eBOOK_NEW (1)

Reviewed by Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers’ Favorite

Brittany Wright’s life isn’t going as she hoped. She can’t afford to go to college, despite graduating as valedictorian of her class, and is stuck in a small town, working as a cleaner at Happy Hearts Nursing Home. The job goes wrong from day one when she stumbles upon Flo, the home’s most eccentric patient who terrifies Brittany, but also holds a strange allure. An unlikely friendship develops between Brittany and Flo, despite the shadow of Alzheimer’s – a friendship that is discouraged by the home’s head nurse, who forbids Brittany from seeing Flo and forces her to sneak into the home after hours. The nurse’s reaction strikes Brittany as curious, until she sneaks in one day to find that Flo is being treated unethically. Soon, Brittany finds herself and two of her remaining high school friends embroiled in a mystery surrounding Happy Hearts that’s putting Flo and the other patients in grave danger from the very people who are supposed to protect them. When the Sun Was Mine by Darlene Jones is an intriguing mystery with twists, turns, and revelations that will keep readers guessing.

I truly enjoyed this story, and think it could appeal to both young adult and adult audiences. When the Sun Was Mine is more than a mystery; it captures the essence of multi-generational friendship. This book reminded me of the senior citizens that I became friends with when I volunteered in a nursing home right out of college. It also touches on the issues that affect both the young and old, from the expense of a college education and life planning to elder care and end of life issues. The mystery bridges the gap between two divergent generations to show us that friendships can truly transcend anything. Darlene Jones does a wonderful job of not only weaving a compelling mystery, but showing readers the beauty of friendship as well.