First Glimpse of Fantasy Secondary Worlds

One of my favourite novels, Jilimar, is part of a new bundle from Bundle Rabbit, curated by Barbara G. Tarn. While it will be released on May 26 over at Bundle Rabbit and all other e-booksellers, it’s available now for pre-order at Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Here’s the Table of Contents:
1. The Crystal Courtesan by Karen L. Abrahamson
2. The Mage’s Grave by Timothy L. Cerepaka
3. Firehearted by Sabrina Chase
4. Singer by Brigid Collins
5. Rider by Diane J Cornwell
6. Jilimar by Marcelle Dube
7. Al-Kabar by Lee French
8. The Path of Water (Quests Book 1) by Barbara G. Tarn
9. Elf Saga, Book 1: Doomsday by Joseph Robert Lewis
10. Twice Against the Dragon by Stefon Mears
11. The Last Giant by Mario Milosevic
12. Dragons’ Choice by Debbie Mumford

 

 

You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but…

The job of a good book cover is to make you pick up the book and flip it over to read the back cover. Or click on it to read the blurb. It does that by attracting the eye and providing the right “symbols” to clue you into the book’s genre. If you see a good-looking man and woman on the cover, you would be forgiven for assuming that the book’s a romance. If the man and woman are scantily clad and posed provocatively, it’s probably safe to assume the story contains hot and heavy sex scenes.

As an indie writer, I create almost all my covers. I (usually) enjoy the challenge and I can’t afford to hire a graphic designer for each cover. I mean, really, it would be embarrassing if the graphic designer earned more money on the story than I did.

I know, however, that a bad cover can spell disaster. I also know that “good” and “bad” are subjective. For example, the cover for The Mount by Carol Emshwiller. I had never heard of Ms. Emshwiller when I received her book as part of a goodie bag at a World Fantasy Convention. I looked at it among the 20 or so other books I received and was turned off by the cover. Still, I brought it home. It sat in my bookshelf for years. Every once in a while, I pulled it down and read the cover blurb and then put it back. I just couldn’t get past that ugly (to me—someone else might really like it) cover. Finally, desperate for something, anything, to read, I started reading it.

Well, hot damn. It was a great story—I could NOT put it down. But that cover had put me off so much that I didn’t get to the story for years. That cover failed to do what it was supposed to do, as far as I’m concerned.

While cover art is subjective, a good graphic designer can create a cover that has great appeal. But what if you’re an amateur, like me? You study the genre you’re aiming for. What do those covers look like? What elements do they have in common? Any colours that predominate? Then, trial and error.

When Carina published my first Mendenhall Mystery, The Shoeless Kid, they used the wonderful John Kicksee as the artist. To say I was blown away by the cover is an understatement.

When I decided to continue the series as an indie writer, I knew I wanted to carry on John’s vision. I knew I needed elements of mystery, without going too dark, but I also wanted to carry through the style of title and byline that John had used on Shoeless. What I ended up with was not as gorgeous as John’s original cover, but at least the covers look like they belong in the same series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every once in a while, however, imagination fails me and I can spend weeks (if not months) on a single cover, trying to get it right. “Bloodhound” was published as part of the Superhero Universe: Tesseracts Nineteen anthology. I wanted to put the individual story up for sale, but it needed a cover. Do you think I could find an appropriate image? It was like pulling teeth. The story revolves around a young man who was injured at Antwerp, during World War II. The injury left him with asnomia, or the loss of his sense of smell. Once back home, a series of events reverses the effect, and then some.

I fooled around with ideas for weeks, trying and rejecting, with kind friends looking them over and reacting with “no” to “hell, no!” Here are two of the “best” that got the “uh, no” reaction:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s what I finally ended up with. It may not be perfect, but at some point you have to say, enough, and move on:

What about you? Do you create your own covers? How do you go about it? Any tips…?

(Originally published at Not Your Usual Suspects on February 27, 2017)

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The Winter Mysteries Bundle

Sick of the cold? The snow, sleet, freezing rain? Well, yeah.

To help us all cope, Bundle Rabbit has come up with a 10-book bundle of mysteries set in winter, curated by Michael Jasper. And I have a book in it! The Tuxedoed Man is part of the Mendenhall Mystery series.

Crimes committed in the heat of the moment, during the coldest time of the year…

This ebook bundle collects mystery novels set in the coldest season of the year, or mysteries containing a strong element of cold (in one sense of the word or another).

The full collection includes the following mysteries:

Two sleuths in the North Carolina mountains spend a snowy week in March searching for people who don’t want to be found…

A haunted author must spend the winter battling his addictions, and worse…

A shapeshifter battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a murder…

A desperate man gets a phone call that pulls him back into a world of violence and mystery that he tried to leave behind…

An accidental death, a train wreck and dark secrets in a deadly northern winter places a police chief and her niece in jeopardy…

A crime committed decades ago refuses to lie dormant under the black waters of a lake…

The daughter of the Prince of Polka travels to the polka heartland of New Krakow, Pennsylvania, to solve the mystery of her father’s murder…

A nature-loving woman and a mysterious photographer stand up to a shadowy lumber company that threatens their beloved swans at Turtle Pond…

Two retired detectives search for a friend near a remote Idaho lake, a search that could lead to the most dangerous serial killer in Las Vegas history…

Two brothers must unravel the weird and dangerous secrets of Salmon Run, Alaska: a place of wild animals, wild lands, and wild inhabitants…

Special, limited-time offer:
So stoke that fire against the chill in the air, put up your slippered feet, and start reading one!

Available only at BundleRabbit, until March 20: Pay a minimum of $3.99 and receive 5 of the 10 novels.

Or pay the minimum of $6.99 and receive all 10 ebooks. This option is also available at kobo, amazonbarnes and noble and itunes.

More praise for Shelter

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s November 2016 Recommended Reading List:

Dubé, Marcelle, Shelter, Falcon Ridge Publishing, 2016. Marcelle Dubé has long been one of my favorite writers. Her stories are quietly deceptive. They creep up on you, and make you think.

Ash Gantry is on the run from her abusive husband. She finally finds a place she wants to stay, but she has to confront demons—hers as well as some that exist in the town itself.

Shelter is exactly the kind of novel I’d craved for a long time. Not romantic suspense, exactly. More like a gothic women’s fiction novel, complete with ghost.

The novel has a marvelous sense of dread. The dread got so severe that I finally had to make a decision: set the novel aside or read it on one lump to the end. Of course, I opted to finish it. Marvelous book, dark and rewarding.

Recommended Reading List: November 2016

A Good Read for Halloween Night

From What’s Up Yukon, October 26, 2016, reprinted with permissionshelter-sw-cover:

Yukoner Marcelle Dubé´s newest book is a ghost story

by Elke Reinauer

Do ghosts exist? For some they do.

The main character in Marcelle Dubé´s novel, Shelter, moves into a haunted house in a small town in Ontario.

Dubé started the story as a gothic novel and in the end it became a ghost story.

Marcelle Dubé is well known in the Yukon and she usually publishes one or two books a year. One could think that she is a writer who works fast, but not this time. Lately she had to suffer what all writers have to go through from time to time: writer`s block. A writing workshop helped her to get out of it.

“I could not write a word – for months. I thought that was it for me. But something that happened in the workshop kept coming back to me — a ghost experience, of a sort,” she says.

In her blog Dubé tells about her ghost experience. During the workshop, she stayed at an old hotel, which was haunted. Two people she knew well, who had also slept there, told her they had seen ghosts there. Friendly ghosts, who would show up, but were harmless, they said.

Dubé´s first reaction was to laugh, she tells in her blog article. She sees herself as a rational woman, even though as a kid she had returning dreams of ghost and monsters. She outgrew them and is using her imagination about them in her writing.

Dubé didn`t see a ghost in this hotel room, but she was scared at night, she writes. Back home she would wake up at night, wondering if there was somebody or something in the darkness.

“The experience bothered me, as I am not subject to those kinds of fears, so finally I decided to write about it, as an exorcism. “And once I started, I raced through to the end. It was most satisfying,” she says about the writing process of Shelter.

Shelter is a story about Ash, a woman who’s fleeing domestic violence and abuse. She is already exhausted and scared, and now she has to deal with a ghost.

Reading the first chapters, one can feel pity for Ash, who is wounded by her past. Dubé writes very well and empathically, but she switches perspective quite often. The reader jumps from Ash`s perspective into the head of her realtor Maddie, who is showing Ash the haunted house. It can be tiring for readers to switch perspectives after one page. Some readers might wish to stay longer in Ash`s head and get to know her better. But as the story unfolds, Dubé catches her readers with suspense.

Why did Dubé decide to write about domestic violence? It is not an easy topic.

“I have no idea how Ash came to me, or why she was running from an abusive situation. It’s not anything I have ever experienced, and I had to rely on experts to (hopefully) get the details right,” the author answers.

The whole story came to her as the cure for writer`s block. Also during the writing process she lost her fear about ghosts: “It worked. I’ve just returned from the haunted hotel I was at a year and a half ago, and I am happy to report that I slept very well.”

Do ghosts exist? They do in Dubé`s novel Shelter, a good read for spooky Halloween night.

 

New novel available for pre-order

Sshelter-sw-coverhelter, my latest standalone novel, will be released on October 14, 2016. It’s now available as a pre-order from all the regular channels. Here’s the blurb:

After six long months on the run from her abusive husband, Ash Gantry finally finds a place to call home in Albans, Ontario. It doesn’t take long for her to fall for the small town with the big heart. But more than the town itself, more than its inhabitants, it’s the house on Hawk Street she falls in love with.

But while her heart wants to stay, her head tells her to keep moving. If she keeps moving, her husband will never find her. Only, she’s tired of hiding. Tired of running. Tired of being afraid.

Let him come. She’s staying.

Then she discovers that her new home hides a dark secret, one even more dangerous than the man hunting for her. By the time he finds her, she may already be dead…

Marcelle Dubé’s Shelter crosses women’s fiction with suspense and a frisson of modern gothic. Dubé is the author of Ghosts of Morocco and the Mendenhall Mystery series, including The Shoeless Kid, The Tuxedoed Man, The Weeping Woman and The Untethered Woman.

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | kobo | Barnes and Noble | iBooks

New bundle!

Backli’s Ford is being offered in another bundle: Out of this World, from Bundle Rabbit. For three weeks–Monday, August 15 to Monday, September 5–you can get six novels and anthologies for $3.99, or all 16 for $9.99 on Bundle Rabbit. Then the bundle will become available on all sales channels (Kobo, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, etc.) from September 5 to October 5 with a full bundle price of $9.99.

Out of This World Bundle

For the minimum price of $3.99, you get six fabulous titles:

Interlude Beyond by Rebecca M. Senese

The Science Officer (Science Officer Vol 1) by Blaze Ward

Of Myst and Folly by Leah Cutter

Grim Repo by Mark Fassett

The Cat’s Meow by Jamie Ferguson

Hydrogen Sleets by Michael Warren Lucas

But if you pay $9.99, you get all 16 titles, including:

Alien Influences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Tales of Tomorrow by Debbie Mumford

Invasion by J.D. Brink

Scream Angel by Douglas Smith

Magician’s Choice by Stefon Mears

Backli’s Ford by Marcelle Dubé

The Dark Zone by Rita Schulz

The Crystal Courtesan by Karen L. Abrahamson

Mary Celeste Adrift by J.A. Marlow

Morning Song by Dean Wesley Smith

New Mendenhall Short Mystery

Crime and Mystery coverMy latest Mendenhall Short Mystery, “Home Run,” will be published in Flame Tree Publishing’s 2016 Gothic Fantasy Crime and Mystery anthology. Publication date is in August, but the book can be pre-ordered on Amazon. The anthology will be published in hardcover and as an ebook.

I’m also tickled to be in the same table of contents as Tony Pi, fellow Canadian and excellent writer.

Crime & Mystery Table of Contents:

The Cost of Security by Tara Campbell

Skitter and Click by Jennifer Dornan-Fish

Paperboxing Art by James Dorr

Home Run by Marcelle Dubé

Suggestive Thoughts by H.L. Fullerton

I Am Nightmare by Jennifer Gifford

Three Words by Nathan Hystad

The Marionettist by John A. Karr

Mechanical Love by Kin S. Law

iMurder by Josh Pachter

Creature of the Thaumatrope by Tony Pi

The Whipping Boy by Conor Powers-Smith

The Man Wore Motley by Stephen D. Rogers

The House by Steve Shrott

Catzized by Annette Siketa

Ghosts, Bigfoot and Free Lunches by Dan Stout

Blood and Silver Beneath the Many Moons by Brian Trent

Murder on the Cogsworthy Express by Cameron Trost

Chains of Command by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley and Ruth Nestvold

Update on The Not Only Humans Bundle

The promotion for The Not Only Humans Bundle at Bundle Rabbit ends on June 15.

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There’s still time to get a great deal on five science fiction or fantasy titles for $4.99 or up to 12 novels (including my first A’lle novel, Backli’s Ford) for $9.99.

As of June 15, the bundle goes live in the following places:

 

Don’t forget to sign up for Bundle Rabbit’s newsletter to find out what great bundles are coming up!

 

The Not Only Humans Bundle

My first bundle!

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My first A’lle novel, Backli’s Ford, is part of the Not Only Humans bundle from Bundle Rabbit, along with some pretty fabulous writers: Eric Kent Edstrom, J. Daniel Sawyer, Kim Antieau, Carl S. Plumer, Douglas Smith, Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Anthea Sharp, Mindy Klasky, Leah Cutter and Blaze Ward.

The bundle is up at BundleRabbit for one week only: June 8 to 15, after which it becomes available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, from June 15 to July 20. Minimum cost: $4.99 for five titles but for $9.99 you can get all 12!

Here’s the information on the books:

12 THRILLING SUMMER READS

From galaxy-spanning alien cultures to the discovery of Bigfoot, these page-turning novels feature gripping stories where humans and non-humans work together, fight each other, and even fall in love.

Name your own price and save. List price if bought individually is over $70!

A dozen amazing fantasy and science fiction novels.

Donate 10% of your purchase to First Book and help transform the lives of children.

This bundle is jam-packed with stories …

… For every reader’s taste.

… Filled with robots and faeries. Demons and trolls and vampires. And aliens, aliens, and more aliens.

… Of unparalleled quality. Bestselling and award winning authors.

The dozen novels included are:

The Changeling Troll by Leah Cutter. Christine loves escaping into the make-believe world of her books. But when she meets her doppelganger she discovers there’s also magic in the real world.

From Aurora Award winning Douglas Smith, The Wolf at the End of the World. A shapeshifter hero battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a murder that could mean the end of the world.

In Imposters by Blaze Ward aliens masquerade as humans to protect the human race, but when a protector goes rogue he must be stopped while keeping the alien’s terrible secret from becoming known.

Queendom: Feast of the Saints by Kim Antieau is a seductive tale of love and betrayal. Aided by soothsayer androids, Queen Reina, monarch and CEO of Queendom, struggles against court intrigue and emotional confrontations to save her country.

In Fright Court by USA Today bestselling author Mindy Klasky, Sarah lands her dream job as court clerk for the District of Columbia Night Court. But after she’s attacked by a vampire defendant, Sarah wonders if she can ever bring order to the supernatural court!

Set in 2035, Demon Days by Carl S. Plumer is a darkly humorous look at a future filled with helpful robots but plagued by demons from outer space.

Winner of the 2015 Book Buyer’s Best Award, Royal by USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp. Faerie Brea Cairgead is forced to masquerade as a human in a mortal high school to carry out her mission for the Dark Queen. But when Brea falls in love with Royal Lassiter, a flawed human boy, her heart – and the future of the mortal world – are put in grave danger.

Set in 1911, Backli’s Ford by Marcelle Dubé follows Constance, the first A’lle investigator for Lower Canada, as she faces danger inside and outside her constabulary and uncovers a terrible secret that risks destroying the delicate balance that has endured for two centuries between the alien A’lle and the humans.

Undermountain by Eric Kent Edstrom is perfect for fans of YA adventure and science fiction. When a group of teens are backpacking deep in the Canadian Rockies they meet Bigfoot. And it speaks to them! Soon they’re caught up in a war between two alien races where the fate of the Earth hangs in balance.

Silent Victor: A Clarke Lantham Mystery by J. Daniel Sawyer. When a commando team of Gray aliens steals a Mars rock with microbial alien life in full view of the cameras, the victim turns to Clarke Lantham to solve the crime.

Arthur C. Clark Award Finalist Alien Influences by Hugo Award winning Kristine Kathryn Rusch. On the sun-scorched planet Bountiful, human colonists live peacefully alongside natives known as Dancers until an unspeakable disaster devastates the colony.

Star Rain: A Seeders Universe Novel by USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith. The fight against the genetically engineered aliens seems impossible. Benny and Gina, both Seeders, stand on the bridge of their massive mother ship knowing they need a miracle to win.

This bundle is available ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME

Get your copy today, before it’s gone.