Monday, October 17, 2016

Cover art is important but no enough to steal

As I've mentioned I wander through Amazon and look through other top sales and high stars while reading reviews. It's a great way to spend a Friday night. Any way I'm clicking around and I see this: 

But his gorgeous face had been cropped out and someone was using the rest as a cover for their self-published title. Now I know I've said repeatedly a good cover is important but STEALING is just plain fucking wrong. 

For those of you who sadly do not know the man in the picture, his name is David Gandy and he's a pretty damn famous model. When I first saw the cover, (author will not be named) I wondered what the hell to do. From the look of the cover and others, she had many that looked the same, no face, hot body and it was clear it was a home made cover. Either that or a really shitty cover artist. Someone made the suggestion it could have been a stock photo but here's the thing-I've been on about six different stock photo websites and never once have I seen a David Gandy picture nor have there been other covers with a picture of him. Although the guy could make nice bucket of money doing the beefcake shots for branding or merchandising he hasn't.  So taking a photo from a shoot he's done and using it as a cover or in other promotion for your book, website, blog, or anything else is stealing, Period. My thoughts were confirmed when I sent the cover to an email address for him. I got a response back in less than 24 hours thanking me and letting me know his assistant would forward it on to his legal team. Less than two weeks later the cover disappeared and the ebook as well, unless she retitled it and did a completely different cover. 

Using any celebrity picture, model, or other picture you haven't paid for is stealing. If you're lucky you get a cease and desist letter from a lawyer, keep going down that road and you could be sued. Is it really worth taking a chance like that? Seriously? Stock photos are NOT that expensive. I know because of I've bought them, if my terminally broke ass can afford them the author could too, you can too. 

It's not fair but it's true, self-published authors need to do it better, cleaner and without doing shit that is in the least bit shady or unethical or could get your ass sued. I get it, hot pictures of men get posted all over the place and I've tweeted more than my fair share of them and of David Gandy but sharing a picture is different than taking it and using it to promote your work. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pen Names and different Genres/Categories

Most writers *shocking* are writing under a pen name, moi included. With that comes a cushion of anonymity some feel necessary when writing 'dirty' books such as romance and erotic romance and for others simply the anonymity desired because writers are a weird quirky bunch. For my non-romance it is also under a pen name, I like my privacy, as you might notice I'm not a selfie kind of person and will happily say I've only ever taken one selfie in my life and that was to whine about a haircut I thought was too short-weird yeah whatever. Any hoo, I've seen posts and talk about using pen names for other categories since I'm at loose ends without another topic I'm putting in my two cents. 

Personally, I only think you should use different pen names on your work for two reasons:

1. You don't want people to know you write the two different kinds of categories. Completely understandable if you are going from fantasy with fade to black versus romance where you gratuitously drop the f-bomb for description as well as dialogue. Better not to confuse or turn off a potential reader and completely understandable. 

2. If you are in fact going from two vastly different categories like thriller to chick lit. For better or worse people have preconceived notions and it's best not to lose out because of them. 

Otherwise I really can't see the benefit. If you usually write romance new adult and you are writing romance thriller why the heck leave readers behind? Just like most writers read and therefore write other categories your readers are just as likely to read other categories/genres. Most readers enjoy dipping into something different if they see a familiar name then they are pretty damn likely to pick yours over someone they've never read before. 

Another thing to consider is the time it will take to give the other pen name life for promotion. Do you really have the time to devote to building profiles on Facebook, Twitter for four or five different pen names and make them seem interesting and if you don't and half ass it by throwing out, yeah I also write under this pen name then why the fuck do it in the first place? Honestly? If you have enough time to spend building up multiple pen names then that is time you are spending when you could have been writing. 

Maybe I am over simplifying it but I just don't see an upside to it. 

Monday, September 5, 2016


For the love of god people your book cover isn't just kind of more important than what is inside the book, it ACTUALLY is more important. It doesn't matter if you have written a Nobel Prize winning piece of literature. If your cover looks like crap it won't get bought. I have seen some covers that make me cringe from writers I know have worked hard. Yet when you put in the work and pay for the editing don't short change everything you've done with a crappy cover.

Of course my first shout out and much love goes to Carrie at Cheeky Covers who has done all my covers and I love every one. Her custom covers run from $25-100.

*Disclaimer 1*
Except Carrie Cheeky Covers I have never worked with any of these people and will not accept any blame if it doesn't work out but will accept kudos if all goes well. Pricing from various sites seem to run around the same $150 to as much as $300 for me $150 to $200 seems fair, I guess-what can I say am poor/cheap. I'm the first to admit when I just spent almost $300 for editing it's damned hard to open my wallet again to spend almost that much on a cover HOWEVER to spend that much on editing and then spend only $20 bucks on a cover is stupid as fuck.

I have tried to go all new on these, no repeats from my past covers but yeah this is the third blog on covers and those others were hot too-you should go through my entire blog to find them if you are searching but didn't find quite what you were looking for here   ;)

*Disclaimer 2*
I never look at the Hardcover/Paperback costs so check those because I only do ecovers.*

Yocla Designs caught my eye from someone on Facebook and so I wandered over. Glad I did. The premade covers are only $45 and do not look it (they look like they cost more). They do all kinds of work, everything from romance, to fantasy, to thrillers, The pricing runs normal $95-quick but hopefully not dirty, $150-basic and $299-all the frills. Their work on premades alone are impressive so I'm intrigued to know what they do for more.

Cover Bistro I like to give everyone a shot, the premades are inexpensive, and while no I'm not floored (sorry, I'm honest) I would say almost seventy percent of them were pretty dang good-so the portfolio leaves me curious to see what they would deliver-enough to include them in this. Because I would be willing to take a chance, especially since like I said the premades are pretty good and inexpensive. Take a look, you never know what you'll find.

Indie-spiredbookcovers Very good prices. Covers are also good.

Litteradesigns Premades run from $20 to $40. WTF?! They are good, damn good-I love you Carrie I promise I won't leave you. Covers all genres, and each one looks like it was just for that genre. These covers are all different styles and I can't say enough good things without y'all think they paid me. The price for custom seem standard $145-basic, $195-Standard, and $245-Premium 

Firefly Covers This one is definitely a you get what you pay for, a flat $200 gives you as many back and forths as you need and a promise of satisfaction. These covers are more mystery, thriller, and impressive. 

Jared Rackler Now y'all know I'm poor/cheap so the mention of this cover artist for only $100 made me type so fast I messed up twice. But I found it and DAMN! Wow, I was blown away. No there are no premades, but for the portfolio of past covers I wouldn't blink to pay for a cover. Genres are all different and all really great and fitting. 

Go Book Cover Design  All kinds of genres are represented and all look great. Very impressive and prices are even better. $99 to $169. They are also the first site I've noticed (sorry if I haven't mentioned before) that offer swag. Swag being the stuff authors give out-bookmarks, stickers, bookplates, post cards, etc. 

Angela Haddon Great timing, she followed me on twitter. I checked her out and bookmarked her for the next ebook design post. Her premades are pretty good and range from $50-80. She has a flat rate on custom ebooks $220 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Stranger Things and learning how to make the old seem new again

OMG WTF WHAT WAS THAT?? Unless you've been living under a walk you've seen something about this show call Stranger Things. I saw the ads but was all huh, it seemed familiar and I kept thinking Stephen King. So I'm at the gym with my overpriced five inch screen phone trying to watch and I almost pull a Taylor Swift on the treadmill. Okay I'm not going to watch on my cell phone. This past Christmas I bought my dad one of those Smart TVs cuz they don't do cable either. I had mentioned Stranger Things before and my dad was cranky. After almost losing my life on the treadmill my dad owed me. 

So sneakily I started it before he could object. Again even as I waited in jumping anticipation mind was screaming STEPHEN KING, the little girl, the creepy world, and kids. Yet it also reminded me of the 80's Stephen King so I'm thinking someone took one of his lesser known books and did it for Netflix. I'm actually looking up Stephen King's wiki page to confirm my thought. Then it started and I didn't pick up cell phone the entire time I watched the show. ALL. EIGHT. EPISODES.

Because I watched it with my family and they were wimps not up for binge watching we planned two episodes a night. It's one of those shows if you miss five seconds you could miss the most important thing ever. Yes, yes, I'm not the only one in love with this show for too many reasons to list. I grew up in the eighties and I saw almost all the connections, Goonies, ET, Firestarter, more than I had watched cuz I was a kid in the eighties. And I have to tell you when that van flies over the kids I was just as in awe as when the kids' bikes started flying. 

Eight short episodes wasn't nearly enough and I caught myself watching one of those videos that talked about it-but not those explaining ones I hate those ones. What I saw as I watched was him make those connections and more that I hadn't seen one after another. In seeing those things one after another that had been done before yet still seemed new, exciting, and unlike anything I had ever seen. Even though in bits and pieces I had. 

I cannot stand to watch a show and know what will happen next and it's even more annoying when I know the dialogue. It happens alot, a whole hell of a lot and even more so when I read (I have a small circle of writers I like.) Out of all the books I've read and movies and television I've watched. There was only once that I knew what was coming in Stranger Things

And this, boys and girls is what writers have to do every time we start writing a story. Especially romance, boy meets girl some kind of something keeps them from living happily ever after until it all gets sorted and they do end up happily ever after. This is one of the most important reasons to read other stories and see the way they couldn't quite get it done. 

If you can and are able to make a brand new story that no one has ever heard or read of before but that's damn hard. The story doesn't have to be new, all the stories have already been told before. But you can make it new and different from others by bringing your style or giving it your own spin or quirk. You just have to be the one to write it. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Being Present

It sucks like a mother fucker but this writing thing is a business, especially if you're doing it on your own. There are all these cogs that keep the machine running, the writing-duh, the editing-huge duh-then there's the part that's hardest for most but is sadly almost as important as all the others and that is keeping your social media presence an actual fucking presence. It's the letting people know 'hey, I'm here.' If you like pictures of half nekkid men, sarcastic and saucy humor then you might just like the books written by that person. 

It can be a sonofabitch because to me it feels like I'm being pushy which is why I just post the stuff I find funny and think has to be shared. I also am an extremely private person so those times when I'm going through personal things and don't have the time to post to explain why I'm not in every day But here is the sad yet also glorious fact, the world keeps turning when you aren't in it. So if you don't reminding people you are here and are someone they should check out they will move onto the next person. 

The cool thing about it is that it doesn't have to take over your whole life, a few funny tweets you can steal from others. Quirky, unique abounds everywhere and if it fits you then share. Some twat once wrote you should spend an ungodly amount of time advertising and selling yourself unless your writing is complete shit then what the twat said is complete shit. 

Even when you're in the writing cave peek your head out and let everyone know you're about to deliver some awesome and maybe share a snatch of this and that. There are big things and little things, like you know maybe writing a blog on a consistent basis-just a thought.  (yes, that was sarcasm directed at myself)

Monday, July 25, 2016

20 Questions

Yes, I have no idea what to write and I haven't posted in a bit so I am posting a get to know you 20 Questions someone tagged me in on Facebook. 

1.) What is your Author name? Fiona Aina Murphy

2.) What is the first book you ever published? Abby has Gone Wild

3.) What is your publiversary? (The day you released your first book) 4/16/2014

4.) What is your favorite book you've written thus far? Grr...that's like asking someone their favorite kid. Abby has Gone Wild and my newest His on the Rebound battle for the top spot on different days.

5.) What book took you the longest to write? His Under Contract! I rewrote that sucker four times-I wanted to trash it over and over again but I'm glad I didn't

6.) How long did it take you? About seven months

7.) What kind of music (If Any) do you listen to while you write? Most often sexy times-R&B

8.) Who is you favorite character from any of your books? Avery from His Next Chapter

9.) What are you currently working on? I have three WIPs-I usually am working on two at a time-another reason I often wonder why I do this.

10.) Do you have anything you snack on while you write?I wouldn't say snack on but I usually don't cook-so I don't have to stop-so I order pizza after breakfast and will have it for lunch and dinner.

11.) What is your favorite quote or line from one of your books? The size of a woman's dress has nothing to do with her beauty. (From His Under Contract)

12.) Are you a self published or traditional published author? Self-published

13.) What is your writing inspiration? The real crazy oddly beautiful world

14.) What genre do you write? Erotic Romance

15.) Do you have any writing rituals? Nope more like habits of mainlining coffee and cursing and rocking back in forth in distress when the voices stop talking

16.) Do you have a specific place you write or time? Not really but I never seem to hit my stride until after midnight.

17.) Do you have any advice for inspiring writers? Just keep writing and don't stop even when you think you have writer's block keep writing-there's thing called editing that will fix it all later.

18.) What are your writing goals? If any? To make a living off writing so there is no day job

19.) What authors inspire you and your writing? I'm a huge Lynne Graham fan. I have reread her books over and over when I feel like I need inspiration.

20.) What will be you next release? I have no freaking idea.

Monday, July 4, 2016

I joined a gym. Man, I hope those aren't famous last words.

For the record I do yoga at home and I love it but isn't exactly burning the calories. It's been almost ten years since the last time I was in one and those ten years have not been kind. I actually used to work out often and the funny thing was I hated every minute of the 45 minutes cardio and fifteen minutes on the weights that I worked out for-loathed it, counted down the seconds but then afterward when I was done and heading to my car  I would be bouncing with energy and happy but then I busted my knee up pretty badly and when I tried to work out my knee screamed 'bitch no!' until after a few months I just stopped trying. 

I've been looking around and there's the Y but damn it's expensive and all those classes don't really work for my schedule and I prefer to do yoga at home anyway. I look around at the gyms in my area and the least costing one is one that serves free pizza on Mondays hmmm....they are actually hella smart it ensures they have continued business fine I'm in. Finally I tell myself to stop fucking around and I go in. It's actually less expensive then I feared it will be. 

If I put stuff off I'll find an excuse so, I joined yesterday. 
First day of working out. It starts with preparing at the Dollar General store next door, I need socks, a lock and ear buds. Okay I'm ready. 
It's late which is good, I generally hate interacting with people-there's a reason why I work in a call center I can roll my eyes and flip off the phone without them seeing me. Any way it's pretty quiet. Since I have a bad knee and I want to get gradually in my plan is to start on a stationary bike go to the elliptical, then the treadmill and then finish with the weights. My goal is twenty minutes on each. (hahahshahahahahha)
Sitting down on the bike, it's hella different than the last time I worked out and fuck I'm short I can barely get my leg over the middle. Great my freaking legs don't reach the peddles. I move the seat and...shit now I'm to my knees. Okay scootch back a little and I'm good. Plug in my ear buds find me some 50 Cent (I said it's been 10 years) and go. 

Huh....okay...Is it weird I lost feeling in my foot at only two minutes in? Okay now my other foot, look down to make sure feet are still there. Really???? Only four fucking way. Okay let's make it fifteen minutes. Close my eyes and oh shit my thigh is burning, burning, burning oooohhh okay that works, numb is better than burning. I'll take it. Ow, ow, ow I can feel my foot oh please go back to numb, please. Okay you know what it's been ten years so how about ten minutes let's go to ten minutes. Glare pleadingly at the clock then holy shit entire lower body is no longer numb and on fire. Squeeze eyes shut and pray it's over. Open eyes not even a minute has passed. Two minutes, please ten minutes. And I'm done. Fight not to whimper as I get off and my knees threaten to buckle. Very, very slowly wipe down machine. On legs of Jello I move to the elliptical. 

Okay, learned my lesson so ten minutes it is. Dead foot, dead foot sonofabitch okay, it's good. It's all good. No, no it's not. I want to go home right fucking now. I'm going home. I'm going home. Ewww...I'm sweating!!! Five minutes and I'm swaying off that motherfucker. I stumble past the weight machines because I really just want to sit down and cry. Then remember there are people watching so I keep swaying toward the treadmill. 

Fuck these fuckers are tall I think as I climb up. Okay, passing out would be so bad right now. Grip the edge very hard and take a deep and then another then try not fall over.....and the moment has passed. Turn on the machine, just start walking it jolts and my heart kicks, oohh good for the not passing out thing. Slow, very fucking slow-I'm plodding if you will-a toddler could beat me but I'm still fucking moving. Find Til I Collapse by Eminem and pray it keeps me standing. Ten minutes, that's all. Although legs are feeling like cotton at least they are there and I keep going. Eww...I'm sweating on my back and sweat is getting in my eye. That glow, remember that fucking glow? Remember how bouncy and happy you felt? Ten minutes I hit stop and jump down from machine and fuck my knee is screaming like a banshee. 

I stumble into the locker room and sit gasping for a solid five minutes. Not going to pass out. I wipe the sweat off grab my stuff and shuffle out of the building. I get into my car. Well I fucking did it. Didn't quite hit my goals but I did it and didn't pass out. 
No fucking glow though *sigh*