Update: Shadows and Stars, Cover 1, November 19, 2019

Shadows and Stars Draft cover
Shadows and Stars cover, first draft, for Kindle

I have been searching for royalty-free, public domain images that I can use in my works, particularly Shadows and Stars. Here’s my first idea for its cover using something from Pixabay. Let me know what you think. Of course, the proportions are for an e-book on Kindle, and I would have to modify it for a standard 6″x9″ cover, which I might do tomorrow.  But you get the idea of what it might be like.

Note Friday, November 22 and 29 (Black Friday), on Your Calendars

The new cover for Nocturne as of November 15, 2019.

On Friday, November 22, and the following Friday, November 29 (Black Friday) I will have four of my works free on Amazon Kindle: Click; A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror; The Scent and Other Stories; and Nocturne: Poems of Love, Distance, and the Night, a callous and disinterested lover.

I am doing this primary as an experiment in marketing and publicity. Yesterday, I offered the same four books as free and I got more takers than usual.

If you noticed, I have new covers for three except The Scent and Other Stories. I hope to have a new cover for it by Friday the 22nd, however. This is another marketing tactic. Because I love black and white photography and often find it captivating and powerful, I have used it for most of my covers, trying to express something I see in each book.  But I see that most, more experienced authors use full color, flashy covers to grab the buyer’s attention. So I decided to give that a shot and see if sales pick up.  I tried to make each cover grab the attention of a passing buyer by making it not only in full color, but also expressing something powerful and exciting about the experience I hope to get across in my book.  I would like readers, not to judge my books by their covers, but maybe get a taste of

The new cover for Click as of November 15, 2019.
The new cover for Click as of November 15, 2019.

my books from their covers.

Anyway, I have included the three new covers in this article. If you would like to find out more about each, please go to my Amazon author’s blog. You can sign up for updates there or go to philslattery.wordpress.com and follow me there.

Oh, by the way, if you’re wondering where I got the covers, I downloaded some royalty-free public domain images from Pixabay (and maybe Pexels) and manipulated them in Pixlr. Each one took a few hours to make.

Hasta luego.

I am sitting here right now (Saturday night, 8:47 pm CST, at home in Arkansas Post, listening to Carlos Nakai. It sort of makes me homesick for New Mexico. Beautiful, slow, peaceful, Native American flute music that sounds like it’s coming across a mesa or from some Anasazi ruins. If you ever need to seriously relax I recommend listening to Carlos.

The new cover for A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror as of November 15, 2019.
The new cover for A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror as of November 15, 2019.

Update: November 19, 2019, Preparations for Shadows and Stars

Selfie with Lotus in background near Arkansas Post, September 4, 2019

I am closing in on finishing the first draft of Shadows and Stars. It’s time for me to start (probably late) some of the peripheral tasks of producing a book.  I think I will start designing a cover for one thing. I hope to have Shadows and Stars published by a big, traditional publishing house rather than self-publishing, but in any case, I will need at least an idea of what my vision of its cover should be, if, for no other reason, than to give the cover artists a starting point. I will go with whatever looks the best and expresses the emotional impact the best. At least that’s my initial thought. Any comments or suggestions? I am open.

As I develop ideas, I will probably post them here for comment. Of course, I won’t make a hard and fast decision until all is said and done.

I will probably need an agent as well. I should start checking the Internet and researching how to find and select an agent. I learned a little about this in the Farmington Writers Circle, but I need to get serious about it now.

I am not planning any parties until a publisher accepts it. I am just going to intensify my research in the final stages of producing a novel.

Hasta luego.

Update: November 19, 2019, 4:42 a.m. “Warehouses and All”

Phil Slattery portrait
Phil Slattery
March, 2015

As I often do, I am having trouble sleeping tonight. So I have been surfing the net and going through my electronic files looking for some flash fiction that I recently wrote and that I would like to submit somewhere. However, in the process of doing that, I ran across some early works, one of which I thought I would share here. I have not published it in any of my collections. It was originally published in the online magazine “Six Sentences” over ten, maybe fifteen years ago. The main requirement for stories to be published in “Six Sentences” was that they had to be six sentences or less in length.

The story is entitled “Warehouses and All”. It is based on a true story told to me in 1989 by a woman who had been an assistant agricultural attache to the US embassy in Somalia. At the time, I was working in the Defense Attache Office in Cairo. One weekend, I decided to take a trip to Luxor to see the temple and Valley of the Kings. The lady and I shared a horse-drawn carriage for several minutes. I forget our destinations.  In the story, I changed the narrator to an American ex-pat working in the Somali oilfields for various reasons. Otherwise, the story is very close to the story she related to me. As you can see, it was quite a challenge to reduce her story to only six sentences, but I believe I pulled it off well. If Six Sentences is still up and running, you may be able to find the original story. I received several compliments on it.

By the way, while I was in Luxor, I stayed at the Jolie Ville Hotel. Apparently, it is still doing well. I recommend staying there if you are ever in Luxor.


Warehouses and All

I met the world-weary expatriate American at a garden party in Egypt in ’89, several months after he had left the Somali oilfields. He remembered that outside his barracks near Mogadishu there had been warehouses full of rice donated by foreign charities to combat the perpetual famine. The impoverished, inept government had no trucks to distribute the rice and fighting among factions within the government insured none could be arranged while their arcane laws kept them from simply opening the doors. So the rice sat as starving women tried to glean the few grains they could from what had fallen off trucks hauling it in or from what had leaked out through cracks in the walls. One night he awoke to commotion and found that the warehouses were in flames. “The rice had sat so long that it had rotted, so the government burned it―warehouses and all,” he said with a look that spoke volumes about his exasperation with the world.

Hasta luego.