A Fortune Teller’s Luck now available

The hard copy is now available on createspace here: A Fortune Teller’s Luck for $10.99. It wound up being pricier than I wanted, as most of that is eaten up by printing costs. The e-book will be $4.99.

Here is the preview, where the first chapter is available for download: https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1218176

It’s currently under review on Amazon where the e-book will be $2.99. Once that is up, I will provide a link and also look into paperback versions on there.

Business at Madame Lucy Zharakova’s psychic shop has been struggling all summer, and her love life is non-existent. Despairing and hoping to foresee an end to this streak of bad fortune, she does a Tarot Card reading. She draws the dreaded Tower card, portending disruption and chaos.

Her luck appears to turn around when a distressed, but gorgeous, man arrives in her store. He claims his house is haunted and he desperately needs her help. Though contacting the spirit world can be tricky, it would help cover her mounting bills. She crosses her fingers, hoping this gig will turn into something more.

Unfortunately for her, she’s right …

As co-host to The Debunkers, former magician Thomas Janssen has been sent to expose Lucy’s sleight-of-hand tricks by getting her to conduct a séance in front of hidden cameras. He quickly becomes enchanted with her but cannot risk losing his job. When she learns the truth about him, she inadvertently conjures the very destructive force the Tower Card had warned her about.

Each participant becomes lost in a world where they’re forced to contend with their most deeply-rooted fears. It’s up to Lucy to vanquish it, or face the possibility she is a fraud after all.

Page Count: 246

Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 6″ x 9″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Fiction / Fantasy / Paranormal

Cover for A Fortune Teller’s Luck finally complete

I originally designed a cover that I was never quite satisfied with. While I liked the overall concept, which was based on a flower of life pattern, I was never happy with either the colours or the font. Time for a redesign, I figured, so I re-started from scratch.

I downloaded and modified Tarot card images in the public domain via Wikimedia commons. For the border, I tweaked my own version of one I’d found on Freepik.com.

Since a Tarot card reading was what launched the overall story, I used that as the focal point for the cover. The cards I chose correspond loosely with the progress of the story as well. Originally, I picked the planetary spread more for design purposes than anything else. However as I went through myriad interpretations, the eventual layout fit closely with how the story played out.

Getting the shade of blue I wanted was the biggest challenge, since computer screens rely on RBG for colors and printing of course, is in CYMK. This online conversion tool is handy giving you a preview before wasting paper and ink each time: http://www.rgb2cmyk.org/

I used Gimp, an open source design tool similar to Photoshop. On my YouTube channel, I have saved several instructional videos I found useful.  For vector graphics, I recommend another open source graphics tool called Inkscape. I’m only just learning to use it by fiddling around for now, have had fun making spirograph-type patterns with it.

For various reasons I have chosen to go the self-publishing route for this one. Oddly, according to a post I saw on Twitter, someone was commenting about a ‘mini trend’ in fake psychics, so I shall see if this novel, A Fortune Teller’s Luck, becomes part of it when I send it off into the aether later this week.

front med

Fingers crossed…

My ‘brother’ site

Currently I’m querying this project and while one top agency said it stood out from the rest, I still got the old ‘not right for their list’. The story is the first in a series I’d like to do, though only the first one has been written so far, but I envision as sort of Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones by way of Terry Pratchett. For now the protagonist and his two sidekicks are teenage neophyte wizards at Archon Castle which, as they soon discover, has its share of worldly corruption.

Ivan McRae Writes

Querying again

I sent out maybe five query letters last fall for one novel I’ve finished, and heard back from about three. So I’m forcing myself to start following agents on my new twitter account and next will be looking up my password for Agent Query Connect and so on.

Sometimes I don’t know what I’m waiting for – a stock market crash? Mercury to come out of Retrograde? Someone next week on YA Writers in Reddit is going to be critiquing queries, so I’m going to submit it and see what they have to say. I tried #Pitmad on Twitter and got no bites, but each time I clicked ‘refresh’ there where 300-400 new tweets. If I were an agent, I might do a search for something super-specific like “Magic Ponies” or “Werewolf Bartenders” and otherwise …I’d probably only check out whatever my colleagues and friends were favouriting. I can only imagine what their inboxes must look like.

It’s impossible to know what will hook someone even after researching their blog, twitter feed, client list or Goodreads profile, especially when every aspect can’t be included in a 200-word pitch. Especially when you’re one of hundreds. According to some query advice sites, a *really* good query letter should get a 75% request rate, though. While I have no clue whether that’s true or not, some authors do get multiple requests right away, even if no one ends up liking the manuscript. So they’re doing something right that’s eluded me so far. Hopefully I’ll figure it out.

Favourite quotes about novels

One of mine, defending reading fiction to those who would disparage it, comes from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. It is still one of my favourite books of all time. Back when I was first writing, I began my own updated version of the story, switching it to a “New Age” retreat and inspired partly by Moliere’s plays as well. I’ve since lost whatever it was that I’d written and sometimes I wished I’d kept at it, especially since re-workings of Austen novels later became quite a trend.

“It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language”

What are YOUR favourite quotes about novels, books or reading?

I just did one of the worst things a would-be writer could do

I let myself get distracted with a new project before completing any old ones. Bad, bad, bad!

Instead of finishing final edits and finishing the book cover for The Fortune Teller, I wrote four thousand odd words for the opening of a brand new novel. Normally, I don’t bother writing new ideas down. If they’re good enough, they’ll stick in my mind regardless. Well, this new idea stuck like crazy glue, though it’s barely the skeleton of a story. More like a premise. However, it’s also that ever-elusive ‘high concept’ idea that might someday sell. I hope.

As for the cover of my almost-finished project, it’s basically a fairly generic-looking fortune teller, complete with hands hovering around a crystal ball. When I looked up something similar for inspiration in Google images, there were two general versions: one with an opaque, glowing crystal ball like the one I created myself, and one with a glassier looking, more traditional crystal ball. Naturally, I’m now dithering on whether I should try the latter instead. I have a blue marble I photographed, but I’m thinking of getting a clear one from the dollar store or one of those new age shops and trying that instead.

Decisions, decisions… or is that excuses, excuses?

At least I have still been plugging away at something… *sigh*

Hoping to get back into writing after a longish break

I have several manuscripts that seem to be forever almost finished. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been concentrating on one called The Fortune Teller, which I plan to self-publish, and have spent a good chunk of time designing a cover for it.

I used GIMP, which I wasn’t completely familiar with, though it is similar to Photoshop. Thankfully I’ve used that one plenty of times. It’s free to download at http://www.gimp.org and while there were a couple of annoying quirks (mostly to do with floating toolbars that I couldn’t figure out how to re-anchor), it’s an excellent program overall.

There was still a learning curve and it took me a few tries to settle on one particular photo, testing several different backgrounds and so on. After several substantial revisions, I have to admit that the first one was horrible. I knew it was at the time, which was what prompted me to start again from scratch. While the adage goes, You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, sales numbers say otherwise. Mine probably won’t be perfect, but so long as it doesn’t look amateur, I should be okay. I do have an art background and some in design, and a couple of friends who are design professionals who’ve given me some great tips.

The cover is nearly done, and I just finished yet one more revision after getting some feedback from a critique site. Now I’m letting it sit while I make a final version of the cover, making sure it adheres to the various technical standards for Smashwords and Kindle. After that, one more run-through in the novel to make any last story changes (like changing one character’s age a little) and check for any inconsistencies, it should be ready for a final, line-by-line edit.

After that (oh, and uploading and trying to get the novel ‘out there’), I will finally be able to get back to what I really love doing most. Working on another story!