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Showing posts from 2020

The Legend of Kyd Lumin | Book Trailer

In a distant time and galaxy, far from any known planet or star.... An empire has enslaved them.... He is a fugitive.... She will stop at nothing to capture him.... And they need him to gain freedom.... The Legend of Kyd Lumin Available February 2, 2021 Sea of Stars Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash Futuristic Adventurer Image by GrandFailure on Dreamstime We Need a Hero Music by Fesilyan Studios

Designing a Book Cover - The Fourth Layer

 In my last post, I spoke about "The Third Layer" in my process of designing book covers. That was adding the author name. I also likened layers one through three to being a cake. It's baked. The layers are stacked. And it's edible. But in order to entice someone to eat the cake, the final decorations—icing, color, flowers, etc.—need to be added. So what can I do with my current book cover to spruce it up? The Fourth Layer of course! This is the crucial and final layer. This is where everything comes together to form the complete book cover. The steps I use below are my own. You'll need to determine what is needed for your cover when you get to this layer. Only you know your book. Only you know what's important. The Fourth Layer is where you can get creative. First, I want to continue with the older adventure book type feel. With The Legend of Kyd Lumin , I want people to think it's a book not published in 2021 but rather, published sometime in the 80'

Designing a Book Cover - The Third Layer

In my last post, I spoke about "The Second Layer" of designing a book cover, which is making sure you title stands out well.  Now we head to "The Third Layer". This one probably will seem obvious and it complements "The Second Layer" . It is your author name. It's important that your author name be positioned and sized correctly. There are a few approaches to this. For well known authors—for instance Stephen King or James Patterson—having the author name prominent and big on the cover is good. The reason is, their names are so popular that the author name sells the book more so than the book title sells it. As a self-published author you could use this thought process for your cover to give the impression that you are a popular author. Of course, your mileage will vary with this approach. The other option is to not allow the author name to dominate the content. So you would want it to be smaller than the title. You could even make it barely noticeable

Designing a Book Cover - The Second Layer

In my last post , I discussed how I go about designing covers for my book. That post covered "The First Layer" , which is the main background cover image. So off to "The Second Layer"! What is it? That would be the book title. It's important to make the title stand out properly. Doing so is the difference between a book cover that looks professional and one that screams mediocrity. Remember, often the cover is the first impression of a book. If the cover is boring and drab, potential readers will assume your book is, too. I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover." But, well, that's the first thing people often do, whether consciously or not. Pick a font that pops and don't just use the default settings for the font. Vary and alter it to the best of your ability to give it some life. A good way to do this is to research book covers in the genre you wrote. Pay attention to how the title is presented. For The Legend of Kyd Lumin , whic

Designing a Book Cover - The First Layer

I'm gonna take a step back from my typically scheduled posts (like The Legend of Kyd Lumin  wiki) and focus on a series of posts that outline the steps I use to design my books covers. You've written your book. You've proofread it. It's ready to go! You just need that one thing completed before you can upload it for publication. You need a book cover! There are many options to do this. You could hire someone to design it. You can use the generic cover designs offered on some self-publishing sites ( don't do this! ). Or you could design it yourself. Let's assume you want to design it yourself and that's why you're on this page. Because, if not, this entire series of posts are pointless. How do you go about designing a cover? I use a process of thinking of the book in layers. The first layer is the main cover image. This is something that captures the feel of your book. That will convey to the audience what it might be about. It could capture the emotion o

Smashwords Pre-Sale - Fram Gage and The Holographic Man

We're one week away from the release of Fram Gage and The Holographic Man in digital and print. But you don't have to wait until then to read the book. Why would you if you didn't have to? Right now, through a Smashwords Pre-Sale , you can pick up your digital copy ahead of the general public. And on top of that, you'll get 40% off the retail price by doing that. If you purchase a copy, don't forget to mark it on your  Goodreads profile and write an honest review of the book when you're done. And if you want, drop me a note about the book at dshepherd210 at hotmail dot com. (Enter the email address as a standard email. I just typed it out that way to prevent getting spam in my inbox.) Hope you take advantage of this offer and I hope you enjoy the book! Click here to buy Fram Gage and The Holographic Man now!

A New Story Begins...

Photo by Toby Christopher on Unsplash In just over a month, the first new book I've published in nearly six years will release. It's been a fun ride getting back into things. Things are wrapping up on the production of Fram Gage and The Holographic Man   and I'm looking forward to it's release. So I can breathe a little, right? Actually, no. Because over the past month I've been putting together a new story. I've been working out the plot, characters, settings and more. I'm excited to start this book because it's completely new ... kinda. While it's not part of any particular franchise I've already written, there are things about this book that I have to carefully reveal. That being said, the characters and settings are completely new. While writing the third Fram Gage book helped ease me back into that writing rhythm, this story is helping me dive into something fresh that I create from the beginning. What's the name of this story? Tentativ

Shadow Fall (Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron, #2) Book Review

Add caption Shadow Fall by Alexander Freed My rating: 3 of 5 stars I'll preface this by saying I did not enjoy the first book. I listened to it on audiobook and it took a couple months to get through it. I decided the narrator was the problem and that I would read the second book instead. This book came across much better. Though in the beginning, I had the same issue of not being able to dive into it. It just didn't grab my attention. Fortunately, about a third of the way in, I started reading it at a regular pace and enjoyed the book for the most part. The story is okay. To me the biggest part of the story happens about halfway through and then it became a book of survival on assorted planets/moons/I'm not sure what. So, I liked it at least. That's saying something compared to the last one. But I'll admit, there are just too many characters to follow, too many perspectives to focus on, and thus, too much going on all the time that it makes it difficult to know

Fram Gage and The Holographic Man Pre-Order Bonus!

As mentioned on my live broadcast today (video below), anyone who pre-orders Fram Gage and The Holographic Man between now and September 8, 2020 will be sent ebook copies of the first two books in the series ( Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability and Fram Gage and The Three Adversaries ) for FREE! All you need to do is message me on Facebook or email me at dshepherd210 at hotmail dot com (spelled out to prevent spambots from finding it, but you should enter it the normal way😎) with a copy of your purchase receipt. Please be sure to blur or hide any personal information on the receipt if at all possible. You can pre-order the book at any of the below locations: Amazon Apple Books Smashwords Barnes & Noble

Fram Gage and The Holographic Man Book Cover

I am excited to reveal the cover for Fram Gage and The Holographic Man ! The first new book I've written and published in nearly six years. (Stay tuned for the book trailer later this week!) The final showdown has arrived! Orphans Fram Gage and his friends hope to be reunited with their parents. But The Holographic Man has other plans for them. He's trapped them within the confines of a holographic world where their forgotten pasts are revealed. What they learn affects them in ways they never imagined possible. They must overcome adversity, heartbreaking revelations, and painful truths in their determination to put an end to the Holographic Man, escape, and ultimately, find their parents. Will they succeed? Pre-Order Now on at: Amazon  Apple Books Smashwords  Barnes & Noble

Fram Gage 3 Release Date

Not Actual Cover or Name! As I mentioned on my weekly live broadcast on Facebook and YouTube , the third book in the Fram Gage series will be coming out very soon! On September 8, 2020, you'll finally be able to read what happens after the conclusion of Fram Gage and The Three Adversaries that came out nearly eight years ago. I'm so excited to finally be publishing another book after all this time! In the coming weeks, I'll be revealing the full title of the book (the title on the cover image is not the title) and the final book cover (the cover image is also not the cover). If you just can't wait until September to order the book, you can pre-order it now in anticipation of its release. It's available at many locations, including the ones listed below. Amazon Apple Books

Imaginary Me - Audiobook Now Available!

It's been four months since I took the journey of turning Imaginary Me  into an audiobook. And now, it's finally available for sale! I can't wait for everyone to hear the book brought to life through the narration of Michel Young. His reading will no doubt inspire you, make you laugh and make you cry. Most importantly, it will draw you into the world of Sammy Pruitt as you root for her to find a better life through her imagination. So where can you pick up your copy of the Imaginary Me audiobook? I'm glad you asked! You can purchase Imaginary Me  at the following online retailers: Audible Amazon iTunes If you're not ready to buy it, you have an opportunity to win a free copy of the book! Head on over to the YouTube and/or Facebook post of the audiobook trailer, then Comment, Like and Share the post to your heart's content. From those that help promote the audiobook in this way, I'll be selecting five winners of a free copy. Enjoy listening to the audiobook

How to Make a Face Mask

The United States' president and some governors are now recommending people wear a face mask to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They're also asking that the N95 masks be reserved for healthcare workers as they help those who are suffering from the virus. In light of this, you might be wondering if you can make one yourself? In the video below, my wife demonstrates how to make a reusable face mask for you and your family. Though this won't guarantee prevention of the spread of the virus, it is in line with what we're being asked. Every little bit can help!

An Interview with Voice Actor Michel Young

Not too much longer now and the audiobook for Imaginary Me will be available for your ears to enjoy! And your ears will definitely enjoy what voice actor  Michel Young does for this special book I wrote. He was able to bring the book to life in a way I never imagined. You'll laugh. You'll cry. And most importantly, you'll be inspired by the tale of Samantha Pruitt and how she overcomes the obstacles in her life through imagination. I had the chance to ask Michel about his background, what he enjoys most about voice over work and his thoughts on Imaginary Me. Below are his responses. Michel Young - Voice Actor What do you enjoy about voiceover work and audiobook narration? Voice over is so much fun for me because I can bring to life so many different characters. What education do you have for it? A lot of training and studying with many different coaches. Voice over has many different genres: commercial, promo, animation, audiobook, narration, etc. Each one of

Book Review: The Death Cure

The Death Cure by James Dashner My rating: 3 of 5 stars I was real close to giving this to giving this book 4 stars, and I'd probably give it a 3.5 if I had the option. But did I "really like it"? No. Did I "like" it? Yes. It starts off promising. Having not read the second book in the series for many years (maybe three or four to be exact), it took me a moment to get reacquainted with everything happening in the story. Fortunately, some clues here and there reminded me of what happened in the first and second book. The entire first act was fun and mysterious as Thomas tries to discover why WICKED has him and [SPOILER: it details he and his friends escape from their facility :END SPOILER]. As we go into the second act, some things happen. Some interesting but not nearly as much as before. [SPOILER: Thomas stumbles into some new people who want to take down WICKED and his best buddy Newt suffers some tough stuff that eventually leads to his death. :END

Quaratined or Stuck at Home? Here are some free books.

Photo by Sangga Rima Roman Selia on Unsplash The global crisis regarding the COVID-19 virus (or coronavirus) is affecting anyone and everyone. Whether you get the virus or not, in some way, our lives are being impacted. Schools are closed. Parties discouraged. Social distancing encouraged. Entire countries in lockdown. Toilet paper being bought up like it's gold. The list goes on and on. Pretty stressful stuff for sure. Something out of a movie or book. Something none of us have ever experienced to the point that it might be surreal. You probably find yourself stuck at home right now, looking for something to do. Netflix, Disney+, video games, books. Those are probably keeping everybody company. I'd like to give you something to occupy your time while you wait this thing out. So, starting today until the end of the month (or possibly longer depending how all of this goes), you can read any of my books at no cost. This option is available through the Smashwords websi

Book Review: The Many-Colored Land

Sometimes a book challenges your intelligence. This may be through twists in the plot or factual information you knew nothing about. Sometimes it's simply the vocabulary used within the book. The Many-Colored (or Coloured, depending on where you live) Land challenged my vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure from the start. However, after reading a little over 10% of the book, it either settled down in its approach or I adapted to the writing style. You see, that first 10% will make or break you. If you are unable to get past it, you will probably not enjoy the book and even choose to close its pages or delete it from your device. Fortunately, I enjoyed the book. My initial draw to it was it being a group read and also that it contained time travel, which always entices me no matter how bad a book or movie turns out to be. This book is an adventurous romp through the Pliocene era of earth, nearly 26 million years ago (give or a take a year). The wham and bam o

Imaginary Me - Audiobook Cover

As I'm writing the next book for Fram Gage , it's getting more difficult to find time to write blog posts. They're probably going to be more infrequent and shorter in length as a result. But here's one for today! And true to the above statement, it's shorter in length! The final cover design for the audiobook for Imaginary Me  is below. It's a slight variation of the book cover. You'll notice that my author name is less prominent. And it also specifies who is reading the audiobook. Of course, that's Michel Young ! So far, about a third of the book is recorded and I have to say I can't be happier with what Michael is doing! This is turning into a fantastic production. He's bringing the book to life in a way I never could have imagined. Other requirements for an audiobook cover is that it be square in shape. This forced me to make some slight changes to how the image of Sammy Pruitt and her imaginary friend were placed. For most, it'll

Book Review: Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge: A Crash of Fate

Oh, sweet love! We were just childhood friends, but now you and I have grown up and apart. Our reuniting after being separated at a young age surely must mean something. You, a man who’s lived his entire life on Batuu and me, a woman who has traveled the stars as a result of my parents chosen “occupation”. I do enjoy the little life you’ve made for yourself; even if you’re just a farm boy. You’re all I’ve considered and all I’ve dreamed about since my parents took me away from you. But I’m afraid I may not be good for you. That I’ll bring danger to your life. That pursuing anything more than my lonely course could lead to your peril. This is an enjoyable book that not only sheds light on the world that is Batuu but tells a good and predictable story between the two main characters, Izzy and Jules. The Force is mentioned but never demonstrated, and that is perfectly fine. It’s what makes Star Wars books great! The universe is so big almost any type of story can be told. An

The #beplus Initiative: #besilent

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash Maybe you're on a forum for video games or books or whatever interests you. Someone makes a post about a specific one of those things you so fondly enjoy and you read the post. And then you see a reply on the post the person made. Someone says something to the effect of: That [said interesting topic] is so stupid. I hate [said interesting thing]. Anybody who thinks it's cool should go jump off a cliff. Wow! People get worked up about things on the internet. They love to hate. But let's not focus on them, shall we? What do you do in this situation? Do you respond? Reason with them that their view is flawed? First, that response lacks constructive criticism. It simply says negative things without giving any reason why. It's there to instigate a reaction more than anything else. Second, why would you want to feed that negativity with a reply that will most likely generate an even more negative reply from the individual.

Star Wars: The High Republic

Yesterday, Lucasfilm announced the next era in Star Wars. It takes place during the High Republic era, which is a couple hundred years before the Skywalker Saga. Looks like right now it's going to be a books/comics thing with crossover storytelling. I'd have to imagine that there will be movies that fall into this category, too, at some point. The Jedi are more like "Texas Rangers" (not the baseball players type) who keep the peace and enforce the law from what I gather. And the big baddies are the Nihil described as "space vikings". It's said to have a "wild west" type feel to this time period. Guess they watched The Mandalorian . There will be stories for adults, teens and kids in all forms of publishing media. All of this starts in August 2020. I can't wait until then to start reading some material with new characters in a different time period than everything right now. How about you? More details than I give are in the video be

The #beplus Initiative: #bepositive

A Negative Waterfall You just watched a movie, read a book, bought a car, or even went to a park. And you know what, you had a bad experience. The pacing was bad, the plot was bad, the headroom too low, the playground equipment rusted. So what do you do? Oh, I'm sure you go right on the internet, find a forum or site for review and let the world know your dislike for whatever got you frustrated. Then you make sure you convince everyone to think like you and feel the same way about said thing. What's this all about? Well, last week I revealed what The #beplus Initiative is. Today, I'll expand on what it is with one of the many rules that guide it. As I discuss these rules, they are in random order so as not to place more weight on one rule than the other. They all actually equal up to one rule. That rule being #beplus! In the scenarios mentioned above, the focus of everything went to negativity. As a society, we have been ingrained with the idea that we need to

Imaginary Me - The Recording Room

Just a quick post here regarding the audiobook for Imaginary Me . Things are moving along! Maybe you wonder where all the magic is happening. I know I was. So I contacted my narrator/producer, Michel Young , to have a look at his recording studio. I've learned that a studio can be a large room or literally the size of a closet. And either way, the recording result can be professional with the right equipment and set up. If you listened to Michel Young's audition for Imaginary Me , you'll know that it sounded very professional. In fact, the best of all the auditions I received. I exit this post with a picture from his recording studio. More is to come regarding Michel and the Imaginary Me audiobook production. Stay tuned.... Michel Young's Recording Studio

Writing a Book After 5 Years

The last time I wrote and published anything goes all the way back to November 2014. I released the first episode of season two of The Permanant Man . At the end of the book, I wrote a message to the reader letting them know I will no longer be writing fiction. This was for a number of reasons I won't go into here. Though if you purchase the episode you can find out what I said. Wink. Wink. It was a difficult decision at the time, but I had to do it. I hated not finishing the series for those who read it to that point. Fast forward now to over five years later and something has happened. As you know, Imaginary Me is being turned into an audiobook. And the process of doing this has re-inspired me to again write fiction. It's kind of scary. I haven't done it in so long. It's like learning to do it all over again. Will I remember the things I learned before? Can I take the time to do it? Is it like "writing" a bike and it'll all just come back to me? S

The #beplus Initiative

Recently on my Twitter account and right here on my blog, I've referenced what I call "The #beplus Initiative" or simply the hashtag #beplus. The natural question to ask is the one I'll refrain from asking in written form. 😊 But I'll still give you the answer. The Internet (and the world at large) has this need to focus on negativity. Whether it's news reports, gadgets releases, video games, Star Wars , politics etc. etc., you will find people posting snide remarks about something. Hating on it until you can't take it anymore. Bashing people for their  liking something. It goes on and on etc. etc. It's like people live to be negative and force other people to feel the same way or goad them into an argument. You know "trolling". And lately, I'm tired of it. I'm not a negative person. I try to be positive and focus on that. And so, that's when I thought of The #beplus Initiative. To describe all the details of what it entai

And the Audiobook Narrator Is....

As posted previously , I've been accepting auditions for an audiobook narrator for Imaginary Me . And today, I'm happy to announce who that narrator is! After my wife and I listened to all the auditions and took into account the different things to think about when choosing a narrator , I decided to go with.... [cue drumroll] Michel Young! My wife says that the moment she heard Michel's voice she knew it was the voice to compare all other auditions to. Michel's rich baritone and ability to transform the characters from the page to her ears made listening to [the audition of]  Imaginary Me so enjoyable. It is an emotional book and she feels his voice will be able to properly move listeners to feel what these characters are feeling. I couldn't agree more. As I listened to his audition, I  was impressed with the voice acting ability; especially since the three small sections I provided for the audition reading were taken out of context. Michel's abili

How to Choose an Audiobook Narrator

As mentioned in a previous post , I've been going through the process of choosing a narrator for the audiobook version of Imaginary Me . It's been a fun process, but it does require thinking through exactly what you want out of a narrator. My wife helped me as I listened to the auditions I received. Some of the auditions came unsolicited and some were a result of browsing the many narrators on ACX (also known as audiobook producers) and contacting them to see if they'd be interested in an audition. There are things to consider when choosing a narrator. The obvious one is that you want someone who can read and narrate well. The top three auditions we received highlighted that. Coupled with good reading would also be an ability to act. Imaginary Me  has a lot that happens in it, with scenarios being imagined from pirates to astronauts to spelunkers and more. From my perspective, it would be a challenging book to narrate because of this. I imagine having to sligh

Audiobook Narrator - Scott Ellis

As  previously posted , I'm turning my novel,  Imaginary Me , into an audiobook for your ears to sniff up like a bouquet of flowers. But just note, this audiobook won't have any kind of smellovision effects. It's just audio. I'm using the flowers as a comparison to try to be a clever writer. Am I succeeding? I'm happy to say that I have picked someone. Who is it? Well, that'll come in a future blog post. But for now, I will let you know who my top auditions were! Complete with an audition sample! This week, I'm highlighting the top three auditions I received. All of these individuals could have narrated the book and I would've been happy. They were able to bring what I wrote to life and it was amazing to hear their interpretation of my story in just the little snippets I gave them to read. In no particular order, this third audition I'd like to present to you is from Scott Ellis. His audition was full of energy that made it exciting to liste

Audiobook Narrator - Michel Young

As  previously posted , I'm turning my novel,  Imaginary Me , into an audiobook to shout my book from the rooftops! Of course, I want to do whatever I can to make sure the “shouting” isn’t annoying and is actually more like signing. Yes, I want my audiobook to be music to your ears, only without the music (maybe) and singing (again maybe)! I'm happy to say that I have picked someone. Who is it? Well, that'll come in a future blog post. But for now, I will let you know who my top auditions were! Complete with an audition sample! This week, I'm highlighting the top three auditions I received. All of these individuals could have narrated the book and I would've been happy. They were able to bring what I wrote to life and it was amazing to hear their interpretation of my story in just the little snippets I gave them to read. In no particular order, this second audition I'd like to present to you is from Michel Young. His audition was fantastic! He managed t

Audiobook Narrator - Jake Hunsbusher

As my last blog post discussed, I'm turning my novel, Imaginary Me , into an audiobook for your ears to scrumptiously consume! Yum, yum. To make sure the audiobook is as delicious to the ears as possible, I have to make sure the narrator sounds great. So I've been reviewing auditions from narrators. I'm happy to say that I have picked someone. Who is it? Well, that'll come in a future blog post. But for now, I will let you know who my top auditions were! Complete with an audition sample! Over the next week, I will highlight the top three auditions I received. All of these individuals could have narrated the book and I would've been happy. They were able to bring what I wrote to life and it was amazing to hear their interpretation of my story in just the little snippets I gave them to read. In no particular order, the first audition I'd like to present to you is from Jake Hunsbusher. His audition was great! Not only is his narration clear but his abilit

Time for Audiobooks

So we all know I haven’t written and published any books for what has been over five years now. And by we, I mean me and the few fans I have. But I’ve gotten a little jolt lately to market all the stuff I have written in the past and I’ve seen some good results. Then I had another idea. Why don’t I start publishing my books as audiobooks? So a quick Bing search later (yes, you heard that right) and I found ACX. A company that is SURPRISE! owned by Amazon that allows you to produce audiobooks. I thought maybe I could do it myself at home and gave it a test. Boy was I wrong. Getting those audio levels to meet the ACX spec isn’t easy. Since I couldn’t do it, the next obvious step was to find someone else who could. Fortunately, ACX allows me to do that. I put up Imaginary Me and browsed the plethora of narrators on the service. They all have sample readings on their profiles so I am able to listen for a voice that would fit my tale told from the perspective of an imagina