As most of my loyal readership knows, left to my own devices with covers, I’m like a hobo in a big box liquor store with a fifty dollar bill. Except slightly better dressed and groomed. Most of the time. Unless I’m hungover. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
And so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been tweaking the covers for the Assassin series. The first in that epic saga, King of Swords, is not only free for a limited time, but also has gotten a makeover. I messed with a lot of images on this one, including sticking a sniper in various quadrants, but in the end went with the simplest design, because it’s the most striking. I’ll post the also ran as well just so you can see where I was going with it.
Why am I fixing what ain’t broke? Because I want a more refined look for the series by the time we move into the Fall selling season. It’s not that I didn’t like the old covers, because I really did. It’s just that I like this approach better. Looks higher tech. More visually interesting. And most importantly, these new covers really stand out when seen on Amazon next to similar books in the genre. And that’s the main thing. We’re in a retail world, and in retail, it’s visual appeal on the shelf that gets the reader’s interest. You have to grab em in the first two seconds and convey genre, mood, level of sophistication, etc. or they flip right past you. To stop the reader, you need curb appeal. And I think the new covers have that.
First, we have the final one I went with:
Again, the goal was clean, simple, and direct.
Here’s the also ran, which I almost went with:
Now, never mind that the sniper looks a little like a scarface Chuck Norris (is that just me?) I can work with that. I just felt, in the end, that the cover was trying to convey too much in a glance, and was too busy. Maybe I’m wrong. I can always switch them if my first choice falls flat.
So what’s next? All the rest of that series will get the same treatment over the next few weeks. Oh, and I’ve hired one of the top male cover models to do a set of shots for my new one, BLACK, which should release end of August, and which I’m HUGELY excited about. Not just because of how it’s written, which is sort of Elmore Leonard/Dashiel Hammet meets Geronimo Breach with more humor, although I’m pretty stoked about how it turned out. No, it’s because the concept for the cover is so damned cool. I have high hopes for this new series, and I’ve already written book 2 and am working on book 3. The plan is to have four in that series out by Xmas, and a new JET – JET VI. That’s aggressive, especially given the project I’m currently working on, but I think I can make it. Guess we’ll all find out.
I was sitting around, staring at my navel, and decided that I wanted to give some of my backlist a facelift. Yes, tequila was involved. And what of it? Cast not the first, and all that.
Anyway, I’m really happy with the new cover for Fatal Exchange I commissioned, so I thought it would be cool to give another favorite, Silver Justice, a new look. Nothing wrong with the old one, mind you. But I like to mix it up now and again. Because that’s just how I roll, Dawg.
As readers of my work will know, Silver Justice is a Wall St conspiracy thriller set against the backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis, and it has serious implications for anyone interested in understanding just what happened, and why. It’s been a strong seller, and has garnered generally favorable reviews, except for readers for whom the financial stuff was not their cup of tea. Why those readers chose to buy a Wall St thriller is beyond me, but so is Bieber’s popularity, so what do I know?
And yes, I understand that was a gratuitous slam, largely to attract the web crawlers looking for mentions of celebrities, which is why I’ll also include the Kardashians in this blog.
But I digress. I think what I’m really trying to say here is that I rather like the new direction the covers are going in, which have a grittier, more immediate feel, which reflects more accurately their tone. Although I want it noted that I love puppies, ponies and kitty cats, which should boost my popularity with a certain segment through the roof – at least that’s my hope.
Without further ado, here’s the new cover for Silver Justice, which everyone should go buy and read immediately, or you’ll suffer from non-specific back pain and become addicted to Vicodin and hillbilly heroin and wind up living in a shack eating from Taco Bell dumpsters while in constant danger of being boogarized by clowns as your highschool sweetheart laughs and mocks you and your parents point and shake their heads in disgust because you disappointed them yet again, as you have so many times before, which is why they wish you dead, as do your numerous enemies, who will do a victory dance on your cold unmarked grave whilst urinating upon it. Don’t let that happen to you. It doesn’t have to. Just buy the frigging book, you cheapskate. Don’t tempt fate.
Drum roll, fireworks, cue the marching band…
It’s with great pleasure and a certain trepidation that I launch my bio-thriller, Upon A Pale Horse. Pleasure because I think it’s a good read that hits a host of the right notes and tells a gripping story in a compelling manner. Trepidation because it’s so controversial I know it’s going to get slammed by some, particularly those aligned with Big Pharma and the U.S. Government. If you think that’s paranoia, read the book and you’ll quickly understand why it’s not.
There are certain things one just doesn’t discuss, and doesn’t even dare to consider. We all know what those things are. Things that are simply too jarring, too unthinkable, and if the official stories aren’t true, would mean that the world’s a completely different place than we believe it is – and that’s uncomfortable and disturbing.
NEWS: Don’t miss bestselling author Steven Konkoly’s book review of Upon A Pale Horse. It’s really a must read.
NEWS: A new interview on writing 15 hours a day at Writer’s Guide, with yours truly.
Upon A Pale Horse is fiction, but its basis, the hard science behind it, is not. And the facts are not only troubling, but once one really digs down, contradict the anodyne official accounts in a way that will have any thinking person shocked and demanding answers. And the establishment doesn’t like a citizenry that demands answers. It prefers a docile, credulous population that believes anything it reads on Wiki or sees on the news. It understands that if one can control the dialogue in certain key areas, one can control history, and the public’s grasp of what’s true and what isn’t.
Upon A Pale Horse draws back the curtain on an area of science and medicine that’s rife with corruption, hidden agendas, lies, distortions, statistical malfeasance, and the advancement of almost laughable official theories that make the clumsy old ‘singing tractor worker’ saws touted by a creaky Soviet apparatus appear to be brilliantly plausible descriptions of reality. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the book is how completely bogus the official explanations of some things are, and how even a cursory examination of the facts leads one to immediately question those explanations, which appear to be complete fabrications once one considers the data and simply uses skepticism and deductive reasoning – sadly, two attributes that are largely missing from most dialogues on ‘loaded subjects.’
During the writing of this novel, I consulted with a number of experts, several of whom prefer to remain nameless. I can certainly understand why. In some areas of scientific endeavor, it’s best to accept the party line, and avoid refuting official theories. Of course, when those fall apart, the talking heads and spin doctors merely say, ‘it’s all water under the bridge,’ or, ‘it doesn’t matter how it happened, let’s move forward and focus on the future.’ In other words, avoid a serious examination of anything that would demand accountability, and God forbid, enable the public to truly understand how things actually work. Best to breeze over the inconvenient or the contradictory, and dismiss certain lines of thinking as ‘rejected by consensus’ – and omit that the consensus is one of scientists who are all tied to the military/industrial complex, many of whom may have played a role in whatever’s being rejected. In other words, the furthest thing possible from uninterested science is politics and power masquerading as scientific method, and that’s exactly what appears to have happened. After reading this novel, you might have some doubts as well.
When those in power wish to muzzle inquiry, it’s usually by either branding the inquirer as treasonous, or as a kook. Nobody wants to be marginalized as a nutcase, especially by a compliant media that will parrot any tripe those in power wish repeated as fact. After all, if the NY Times says you’re nuts, you must be – who are you going to believe, the experts, or your lying eyes? And as to treasonous, if you can’t get people to ignore the facts, you can simply state that to consider them in any but the approved manner is a threat to the flag, puppies, children and apple pie. It’s absurd, takes the population for fools, and generally works. Because those in power understand that the public’s apathetic, and fairly stupid, and that only a tiny fraction will think critically about anything. That’s in all societies, BTW, not just any one country. Lenin knew that if you repeated a lie over and over, it would eventually be accepted as truth. That’s apparently just as true today as it was a century ago. We haven’t changed much, and neither have those who abuse us. We get the leadership we deserve, and we routinely discover that many in power believe that the end justifies the means, and that the unthinkable is merely a matter of spin.
I hope you enjoy Upon A Pale Horse. I think that reaction to it will be either five star, or one. It should create a visceral effect in the reader, and hopefully foster outrage and anger, not merely resignation and acceptance and a shoulder shrug. I come from an ethical place where genocide is wrong and evil, regardless of the positioning. Upon A Pale Horse contemplates in a fictional manner the politics of genocide. And it does so in a way that’s bound to cause a reaction, good or bad.
Here’s the cover. I rather like it. The bio-hazard symbol over the planet says everything I could wish for, and then some. Now go buy it so I can pay my bar tab. Stop being so damned selfish, and for once in your life do something for me, or you’ll die cold and alone in a small airless box buried in my back yard. You don’t want that. Neither do my dogs. Trust me on this. You’ve been warned.