Creating a Book Cover: The Ghost Machine

A good cover alone doesn’t make a good book.

I’d wager there are plenty of books out there with gorgeous covers that were quickly forgotten because the story inside didn’t live up to the captivating image on the front. But on the flip side, amazing stories go overlooked everyday because the cover is ugly or bland.

A cover has a critical job: to get readers to pick up the book.

As an indie author, I have complete control over my covers. This is great, because I won’t end up in one of those situations where the publisher chooses an inaccurate or just plain bad cover, and the author can’t do anything about it. This is also terrible, because I’m a writer, not a designer or marketer, and I don’t always know what type of cover will sell best. And I pay for the cover up front, so if the book doesn’t sell, I don’t get that money back.

What I’m trying to say is this: trying to figure out the best cover for your book can be… stressful. Continue reading Creating a Book Cover: The Ghost Machine

Book Review: Cold Stone & Ivy

You know that feeling when you finish reading a certain book? When you just have to tell everybody how awesome and amazing it was? You’re a reader, so you know what I mean

I finished Cold Stone & Ivy: The Ghost Club by H. Leighton Dickson a little while ago. I was in a bit of a reading slump beforehand, and boy, did this novel shake me out of it. Take a look:

Cold Stone and Ivy Cover

Book Description

Jack the Ripper gave her his heart. Now he wants it back.

The year is 1888, the clockwork British Empire is crumbling and young writer Ivy Savage has literally received a heart in the post. Terrified, her father sends her north to a strange sanitarium in Lancashire where the brilliant but unpredictable “Mad Lord of Lasingstoke” makes his home. Continue reading Book Review: Cold Stone & Ivy

Free Short Story: The Braden Banshee

Mirror Dance CoverYou know the feeling of finishing a good book? You loved it but end up depressed that it’s over, longing to spend more time with the characters.

If I did my job right, that’s the feeling you got at the end of The Ghost Machine. And do I have good news for you.

The Braden Banshee, a short story set after the end of The Ghost Machine, is available for free in the latest issues of Mirror Dance Fantasy Magazine. You can read the whole thing online here.

The basic premise is that Ella, working as a spirit medium after everything that happened in The Ghost Machine, is hired not to do a seance but to banish a banshee to prevent the death its wail foretells. There are plot twists, steampunk machinery, and ghosts, of course. I hope those of you who liked The Ghost Machine will enjoy another gothic adventure with Ella Rosenfeld. Continue reading Free Short Story: The Braden Banshee

Announcing the Secret Stairs Anthology

You mustn’t talk about the stairs.

There they stand, surrounded by nothing but forest, pristine as the day they were built. No sign remains of any other structure around them, no ruins of long forgotten buildings. They look… wrong. They feel wrong. Bad things happen if you get too close. Horrible things.

You must never, ever ever talk about them.

Thirty-four of today’s best up and coming writers provide wonderfully unique interpretations inspired by the urban legends of the Internet age. Tales range from science fiction to fantasy, horror to mystery, and one writer even penned a romance!

But you must never tell anyone about the stairs!

Secret Stairs Cover

Last year, I came across a call for short story submissions about stairs in the woods, the urban legend of creepy stairs standing alone in the middle of a forest. Inspiration struck, and I wrote a story about Ella and Viktor from The Ghost Machine. Set after the events of the novel, it features a mysterious staircase that’s the center of ghostly happenings, and–well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. 😉 Continue reading Announcing the Secret Stairs Anthology

The Ghost Machine Sale and Extras

Ghost Machine CoverHey, guys! If you haven’t read The Ghost Machine yet, it’s on sale for 99¢ this week as part of the promotion for Clockmaker‘s upcoming release. Grab the ebook off Amazon before it goes back up to $3.99 this weekend.

Also, I had so much fun making a Pinterest board for Clockmaker that I decided to make one for The Ghost Machine, too. Check it out to see pictures of beautiful Victorian Era gowns, steampunk robots, and spooky scenery.

Finally, here’s a bonus look at one of my early drafts of The Ghost Machine‘s first chapter. It’s not as drastically different as that early draft of Hero Status that I posted a while back, but there are still some interesting changes.

The Ghost Machine was originally an epistolary novel told entirely through diary entries and letters like Dracula or The Woman in White. When early beta feedback pointed out that format killed the tension, I changed it to a regular novel with letters and journal entries spaced throughout. Continue reading The Ghost Machine Sale and Extras

Around the Web, 1/21/17

If you’re interested in hearing me gush about gothic romance and explain the inspirations behind Ghost Machine, I’ve got a guest post up at The Silver Petticoat Review about just that. Check it out here.

Also, in case you missed it, Hero Status won the shiny 2016 standout award you see below from One Book Two Reviews. They’ve got a great review of the novel on their site.

2016 Standout Award Badge

This Book is Full of Ghosts

Ghost Machine CoverGhost Machine is available on Amazon now–and already a bestseller in the young adult steampunk category. Woot! Check it out here. Not sure if it’s a book you’d like? Here’s some of the stuff you’ll find inside:

  • A creepy Victorian asylum full of ghosts
  • Airship battles
  • Mad science
  • A logical heroine and Byronic hero
  • Giant killer iron automatons

Still not sure? Then read the excerpt below:

Chapter 1

The door shut behind me with a deep thud followed by a clink as the nurse locked it from the other side. A jingle of keys, a rustle of skirts, and then the nurse’s footsteps trailed off down the hallway, leaving me alone in silence.

The meat pie I’d eaten for lunch tried to make its way back up my throat. I swallowed firmly.

My new room was small and simple. The only pieces of furniture were a bed with white blankets and a battered wooden nightstand. There was a washing basin, bucket latrine, and… well, that was all. Night was approaching fast, but they hadn’t even left me a candle. The walls were gray and bare, and metal pipes ran across the ceiling. The window had cheerful yellow curtains at least, but the effect was ruined by the iron bars outside the glass.

Bars… locks… My knees shook, and the room swam dizzily before my eyes.

No. I pressed my hand against the door to steady myself. I refused to faint, no matter how ladylike and appropriate it might be in these circumstances. Continue reading This Book is Full of Ghosts