The Anais Collection - Cover from Beetiful

The Anais Collection – Cover from Beetiful

Anais of Brightshire - Cover from Beetiful

Anais of Brightshire – Cover from Beetiful

For awhile now I have been thinking about what to do about book covers.   As an Indie author, I don’t have access to the same resources available to the traditional publishing companies.   Up to this point, my mother has been drawing pictures for my covers, which are very lovely, and then I have been doing a shoddy job scanning them and manipulating them and adding font.   Suffice it to say, I wanted to experiment a bit on book covers.   So after doing a bit of research, I found that there are individuals/companies who make pre-made covers, and post them on their sites, where you supply the book name and author and they will add your information to their pre-made cover.  This seemed a cheaper route then custom covers and I was a little wary of custom covers, because I wanted to know what I was going to get before committing.   So I searched online looking for the perfect cover.  Easier said then done.   Eventually, I stumbled upon Beetiful Bookcovers, and found a great cover.  I contacted the website and in a very short period of time, with little fuss, I was sent the cover with my information.   This was the cover for ‘The Anais Collection’.   I was so happy about how nice it looked and how easy the process was, that I kept looking back on the site hoping to find pre-made covers that would fit the other three books in my series.   Alas, nothing seemed quite right.   So after some internal debate I contacted the website about making a custom cover for ‘Anais of Brightshire’.  And it was just as easy.  I found a picture on Shutterstock that required some manipulation, and Beetiful Bookcovers supplied me with the perfect cover.   My Amazon ranking and sales are up, and I am a happy camper.   I still need to update ‘Anais of the Stolen Road’ and ‘Anais of Gable’s House’.  I will likely try to do this next year in the spring.   I am looking for the good starting pictures, on Shutterstock and saving my pennies.    Anyway, the message is – if you are looking for an awesome pre-made or custom cover, and you are looking for a company to work with that is fast and effective – my recommendation is Beetiful.



Although I must be mad, I signed up for NanoWrimo this year.   Considering that I am 7+ months pregnant, it seems unlikely that I will finish.   I find myself easily distracted these days.  Nevertheless, I did sign up.   My username is jrobyn.   If anyone else out there is doing it, I need some writing buddies so please add me.   I’m also posting my ‘draft’ on Smashwords for the duration of November.   So go take a look.

I posted Anais of Brightshire on the new website.   I am curious about their analytics capability.   I may wait a week or so and then post a screenshot of the information they provide.  

I gave the manuscripts of Anais of Brightshire, Anais of the Stolen Road, and Anais of Gable’s House to Amber at Editing by Amber, for some help on grammar and formatting.  I’m on the schedule for late July / early August 2013.  I’m pretty excited.  The sample that she edited looked great!

Also, I am hard at work on book 4, Anais of the Protector’s Path.   A snippet of the first chapter is shown below…

The feast was desperately extravagant.  Wild duck, roasted quail, seared boar, sweet breads, fresh greens, and candied almonds abounded.  Gold banners streamed along the joists and ramparts and candles of many colored flames twinkled.  Harpists, lutists, drummers and bell ringers lined the walls creating a melody of merriment.  Dancers in sheer tights and pastel flowing silks twirled across the floor in fluid steps, weaving intricate patterns through the air.  In turn, they pulled the guests onto the floor and danced around them.  I wondered if the gold spent on the festivities was meant to offset the dire circumstances of the war.

I sat at a long table near the front with the other sisters of mercy.  I had a perfect view of the head table.  Colin was laughing and feeding Mediera a slice of cake slathered with honey wine frosting.  She looked radiant, without a shred of concern to mar her expression.  Melise, deep in conversation with a tall thin bearded man who was bent over the table, sat at Mediera’s side.  And Cedric, who was seated at Melise’s side, was staring at his food.  He was the only one at the table who looked unhappy.  Colin had three men at his side, all decked in highly decorated red-coated uniforms, indicating high status positions in the military.  I was glad not to see Carenhail amongst them, for he was the Captain who had treated my team so badly in the field.

“I wonder when Lady Melise will leave the Great House,” Zilla, who was sitting on my left, mused.

“So she is planning to leave?  I had wondered.”

“It’s not safe here.  Colin and Mediera must stay.  But now that Mediera is married, Lady Melise could travel to Courtshire, and take up residence in the family estate.  I had hoped we could go before the weather turns cold again.”

“You would go with her?”

“I imagine she will take all her sisters with her.”

I nodded.  It made sense.  She wasn’t the sort to travel alone.  “I will miss you.”

“And I you, but we must go where we are led.”

“That is the truth.”

“Here, here,” Colin shouted.  “It’s time for the wedding gifts.”  The chattering and the music slowed at the sound of his deep voice barreling through the room.

One by one a parade of merchants and landholders approached the table, bearing assorted trinkets, treasures and trappings in attempts to ingratiate themselves with the new Lord of Barriershire.  There were no nobles.  No visitors from the western shires, as one would expect for a wedding of such importance.  But, one couldn’t blame those for staying away from Barriershire.  It was not safe here.

When Gailin Fairweather, the wool merchant, approached, I had a momentary fear that he would rip the necklace off of Mediera’s throat.  I had stolen it from his estate after all.  He couldn’t be happy about losing his leverage.  But he only offered bolts of silk and finely woven cloth.  A footman helped him walk, and another carried the offerings.  I noticed Melise sigh in relief as he stepped away from the head table.  She must be happy to have escaped the potential embarrassment of having let the necklace fall into Gailin’s hands.

He looked toward the sisters’ table and caught my eye and glared at me.  He must have known it was me who had taken the necklace.  But, he couldn’t do anything about it.  At least I didn’t think he could.

My lip curled in a grin.  I shouldn’t have done it.  I should have tried to appear confused.  But, today was a day for victories.

We approached the table last with our gifts.  Each sister approached in turn bearing either a beaded necklace or a book for Colin and Mediera to add to the library.  I wondered if the books would be returned to the sisters at some point, for how could Colin and Mediera possibly need so many copies of the Tome of Endless Light.

Like most of the other sisters, I gave Colin yet another book.  But, I had wanted to give Mediera something different.  I had no skill at crafting or needlework, so I had resorted to buying her a gift in the market.  I had found a small dove grey drawstring purse with a row of pretty pearls sewed down the seam.  It wasn’t much of a gift, but it reminded me of the little purse I had bought for myself when I lived in Brightshire.

“Oh Ani, thank you,” Mediera left the table and grabbed me in a tight hug.  “It’s lovely.”  As she held me, she whispered in my ear.  “And thank you for the necklace.  You saved me.”

“You’re very welcome.  Congratulations.  The wedding was perfect.  You were perfect.”

As she held me, Cedric’s eyes fell on me and a look of confusion lit his eyes.

“Anais?” he mouthed the question.

I felt frozen under his scrutiny, but I nodded silently.  There was no point denying that I was myself.

I followed the other sisters away from the head table, and stood silently as the music started up again.  Wine was poured most generously in all of our goblets.  Given that most of the wine produced this side of the mountains came from Brightshire vineyards, which were no longer producing anything, I wondered if Colin had had to deplete all of the Great House’s cellar to host this wedding feast, with no hope of replenishing anytime soon.  I took a sip of the rich plum wine.  It was very sweet, definitely a Brightshire vintage.

Soon after the gifts, Mediera and Colin tried to slip away from the table quietly, but were interrupted with cheers and jibes about the consummation of their vows.

Most of the sisters left en mass, to take carriages back to the Abbey as soon as Colin and Mediera fled the hall.  Zilla left with Melise, who had grown tired and groggy from too much drink.  I considered departing as well, for I didn’t have a place amongst the revelers, who were become less and less civil as the hour grew late.  The floor filled with half drunk dancers shouting nonsense.

Before I could slip away, a hand fell on my shoulder.  I turned, to find Cedric at my side.  He looked forlorn.  I was surprised that he had been able to escape the flock of young women who had attached themselves to him once he had left the head table.

“Would you care to dance?” he asked.

I hesitated and considered saying no.  For it wasn’t that I was angry with him, but I certainly wasn’t happy with him.  At the same time, I needed to speak with him, to clear the uncertainty that had built between us. And I couldn’t be certain another opportunity would present itself.  I nodded and let him take me by the hand and pull me onto the floor.

As we joined the other dancers, a few eyes turned to me with looks of surprise.  I imagined that a sister of mercy dancing with a soldier was not a common sight.  And Cedric was hardly common looking.  Tall, with dark unruly hair, and a strong square jaw only slightly lined with stubble, and a fitted uniform decorated with marks of prestige.  I couldn’t help but notice that women were eyeing me with displeasure, as if I had stolen him unfairly.  How odd.

In the center of the dancing, the noise became overbearing.  Any attempts at holding a conversation were squashed.



I just published ‘Anais of Gable’s House’ on Amazon.  Yay!!!   So glad it’s finally out there.  This is also the first time I’m trying Kindle Select.   I realize I probably missed the boat with Kindle Select, but I wanted to try it out.  Who knows, maybe I will like it.  I also just started writing the fourth book in the series.  I’m aiming to finish it in about a year.  Cheers!

Wow – I’m clearly a poor blogger in terms of update frequency.

After some effort I was able to make ‘Anais of Brightshire’ free on Amazon, and have had  346 downloads in the month of May, and 73 so far in the month of June, which is quite a bit higher than my total Smashwords downloads which are at 187 as of today.   See my Smashwords statistics in the graphic below.

I finished a draft of the second book – ‘Anais of the Stolen Road’, which is running about 32,000 words.   It is being edited by my sister in law and brother in law, and my mom is drawing a picture for it.  Keep it in the family – I say.   I’ve been slacking at working on the audiobook for ‘Anais of Brightshire’.  I have to get working on it.  Hopefully, next weekend I can put a few hours in.

Last 90 Days of Statistics for Anais of Brightshire

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Visits to Anais of Brightshire page at Smashwords.


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Anais - Drawing 2

Anais - Drawing 1


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