Scavenger hunting, review of What's Not Said by Valerie Taylor. News - cover choices, teasers.


National Scavenger Hunt Day on May 24th each year sends us off to find random items all in the name of good fun.

American gossip columnist, author, songwriter, and professional hostess Elsa Maxwell (May 24, 1883 – November 1, 1963) is credited with the introduction of the scavenger hunt for use as a party game in the modern era.

The game challenges teams to scavenge for a list of odd items. As part of the rules, participants are not allowed to buy the objects. Depending on where the hunt takes place, players may have to beg, barter, or even work for them, too. Some scavenger hunts add difficulty to the game by adding riddles describing each item. The team with the most items, or the first to complete the list, wins.

HOW TO OBSERVE #ScavengerHuntDay

Scavenger hunts have become popular at weekend get-togethers, parties, family gatherings, and holidays. Even co-workers put together scavenger hunts to keep the workday interesting. Practice your riddle-making and create a scavenger hunt for family and friends.

If you’re looking for a scavenger hunt, download and print the Game Piece Scavenger Hunt we created. It can be played traditionally or at home. You don’t even have to have the game pieces to play the game. Print pictures of the required pieces. Add extra clues to the riddles to guide players to where the images will be found.

Use #ScavengerHuntDay to post on social media.

Cover Story – Part 1

Multitudes of marketing books and seminars stress the importance of a great, eye-catching cover and blurb on a book. Getting a professionally done cover is stressed, usually by cover artists who would like the work. I don’t resent them. I’m out there doing the same thing with my writing, after all.

My journey to get book covers was a long one and involved three professional companies as well as three more helpful folks with a knack for listening to what I wanted and a willingness to “get it right”. To me that’s important.

I first published under Createspace back when they were doing covers. The first three covers in my series were originally done by them based on a brief description of my work. As people read my books a comment was that the covers were beautiful but the first one said nothing of the genre or ancient Egypt. It showed rock formations, leading some to think Voices in Crystal was a book on gemology or crystal energy. These things are IN the book, but not what the book is about. The second book Going Forth By Day was to be a broken tomb. The best I could get from the pros was a mossy looking catacomb (Wrong era, wrong country, wrong mysticism) still not saying Egypt.

By the third book Opener of the Sky, I gave up and allowed a modern weatherworn silhouette of a pyramid with a sunburst above. This was closest to stating genre, because of the mystical feeling it imparts.

My son, Thomas Woldering whose background is in computer engineering and now works for a branch of the government, had begun editing and formatting my books in his spare time as of book 3. When Createspace was absorbed by Amazon/KDP and no longer did anything but the most basic premade covers, Thom wanted to try a design for the fourth book Heart of the Lotus. I said yes and the result was a cover with pyramids the way they looked when the story takes place and a Flower of Life motif which is part of a “pattern” that moves through the stories.

It turned out better than well for a first attempt by someone with minimal art training.

The reason for me was clear enough. He knew the story. When I decided to revise the first two books I knew I would revise the covers. I drew sketches and sent them to him. The specs were this: One blue and one green like the original. I also wanted scenes from the books rather than a generic image. Having looked at other Visionary Fiction covers, I saw mysterious and mystical images that attracted a more thoughtful target audience.

I didn’t want people on the cover unless they looked like the characters in the books. I decided on carrying the Flower of Life through the series. The first book shows the scene the shepherd Marai sees when he hikes over the wasteland to look for the “fallen star” which is a vessel illuminated by a star. The second book shows a broken tomb, inspired by the broken box in the King’s chamber at Giza. That leaves one unanswered question. What about Book 3? It needs the Flower of Life, and though it originally had a pyramid, it takes place in ancient Sudan, not Egypt.

Cover Story – Part 2 Getting a good cover is about networking. Communication is the key to getting a cover you want. One should choose an artist who’s flexible and versatile. I’m an Indie Author. I like supporting Indie Art when possible. I also have a very dusty and old Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with focus on painting, so I at least know my way around a color wheel. Unfortunately that makes me a bit stubborn. I know what I want so I need an artist who communicates well and can convince me of the marketing ability of any changes.

It’s also important to me to convey the mystical or the paranormal in my covers. For my series, I was focusing on a full spectrum of color across the five books, though not in rainbow order. Book 1 was blue, Book 2 was green, Book 3 was yellow-orange, Book 4 was purple-rose. Book 5? I have a recurrent dream image of a deep jungle with a huge tree and roots extending into water. An image of a flower of life is in the water. At this point my color progression goes out the window so I’m still thinking. One cure is I could redo Book 3 as red-orange and do 5 as green-gold.

I was advised by other authors who were publishing their short stories from anthologies as standalone mini-books, that inexpensive premades were the way to go. I wasn’t thrilled by that but decided to try again with premades artists.

One emails an artist who uses them the idea and the wording on the front. A mockup is sent back and generally approved in one or two tries. For Ana’s Dream of Flying I used Covers by Lisa, Lisa K. of Got You Covered. I stated African American pre-teen looking out of a window at a moon with a dragon flying past it. Within thirty minutes I had a proof. My son used it and created the cover, but did have to change the girl’s hair style.

The next four mini-books were to be handled differently. That project went to Canadian Mara Reitsma of Covered by the Rose. The four short stories had been in various Ghostly Writes/Rites Anthologies produced by Claire Plaisted of Plaisted Publishing Co. Mara had created advertisements for each of the short stories so my first and only thought was to ask her to revise the covers into a front cover. Two covers were almost what I wanted

as is. One cover she had hand drawn but I wanted the book cover to be an altered photo, so I’ve been sending photos of a Green Cabinet Door via email. The best cover she’s done for me so far graces my latest release “Raemkai’s Stairs” It had the most changes, going from grey tone with color hints to full color, but just Raemkai and his staircase as opposed to a cassette box, a little girl, stairs, Raemkai and a fog. I was stunned and delighted.

The final cover was for Kaleidoscope Hearts A Romance anthology. I believe Raven Genevieve designed my cover with just two descriptives: blonde woman and man wearing denim.

Summary? Communicate and try to go with your gut about what you want. If you don’t understand what your cover artist is doing, take the time to ask.

Detail oriented businesswoman Kassie wants out of her decades long marriage, but is waiting on the perfect time to make her statement. She and Mike were once a passionate couple, but over the years they have disappointed each other and have grown apart. Her secret affair with a younger man she met on a solo trip to Venice five years earlier has turned serious.

Just as she is ready to go through with it and the young man had relocated to her town to be with her, Mike reveals he has Stage 4 kidney disease - a secret he kept from her. Now everything is about to go sideways.

The tale is less of a morality play and more of what happens when people hide or lie about inconvenient truths - about their needs and dreams, as well as their dark secrets and shady deals in the past. Valerie Taylor has written a very readable first novel. Although I tend to be far less secretive and don't understand the need for cloak and dagger relationships, I was still eagerly turning pages to see how Kassie, Mike and her young man Chris were going to resolve the problems they created for themselves and each other. Worth every page!


NEW RELEASE What became of the bad boy shifter/sorcerer/prince in Children of Stone? We caught up with him in 1970 #paranormal #hauntedhouse #ghoststories #shortstory #MEMPHIS A stand alone tale - a spinoff of a character - a 45 min short read for Mature teen-18+ E-BOOK or PRINT $.99-$5.00

A reviewer: Rife with magic, compelling characters, betrayals, enigmatic prophecies, and awakenings, Going Forth by Day is a fascinating read. (Newly revised in 2020) As Naibe prepares for her life without Marai, she sadly reflects on the gifts the Children of Stone have given her. WHAT WILL THE FUTURE BRING? #visionaryfiction #historicalfantasy #ancientegypt #romanticsuspense

Wing and Nien, Book 1 of the Leader of Legend Saga by Shytei Corellian 5-11/21

Wing Merehr Cawutt doesn’t want to be the leader of his race, he wants to be left alone to tend his fields. His brother Nien is a warrior and a scholar but not the leader their people want. In a single night, everything changes for Wing and Nien, as their world is torn apart, and the brothers are separated. Wing is forced to leave the valley, running for his life. Alone and lost in the mountains, all Wing wants is his people, his family, and his life back. Taken in by a mysterious old man, Wing recovers physically but not spiritually. Unable to do any more for Wing, the man sends Wing on to an old friend… In a distant place, Wing is reunited with Nien, but not in a way either of them would have expected. Together, the brothers struggle to face their demons even as they attempt to unite the races of their continent against a foe that could destroy them all. Wing and Nien is an epic family tale of survival, a religious revolution, and consciousness expansion into a new world.

The Raven Thief: A Grimm Retelling Kindle Edition

by Andi Lawrencovna 5/14/21

Once Upon a Time…No, not once upon a time, because this is no fairy tale, and a thief doesn’t deserve a Happily-Ever-After.This is the story of a woman who thought she could have whatever she wanted without consequences, and in the stealing, lost the one thing she wanted most. It’s the story of the man she left behind, who could never let her go.Only this time, if he fights to stay with her, it could mean more than just their deaths, but that of their world. Orali never thought that Diorlin would agree to work with her again, and even if he did, that he would never feel the way he had in the past for her, or that her feelings wouldn’t have changed either. If only love were enough to fight against the power of The Raven Thief.

The Great Centurion: Punic Wars 3 (A Real LitRPG Roman Series) Kindle Edition

by Angelus Maximius(Author)Format: Kindle Edition 5/14/21

A new war approaches. The time has come to protect the seas and expand to the northern borders of Rome! The Second Punic War continues!

After a major victory on the island of Sicilia, Victor’s confidence soars along with his fortunes. He has the respect of Emperor Tiberius and the senate as he has his sights set on the lands of the Gauls. Victor will lead Rome into uncharted lands filled with untapped riches. Glory awaits and Victor is ready to level up further as the LitRPG adventure continues.

Along the way, he must upgrade his navy, towers, walls, and research new technologies, all the while staying in the gods’ favor. Keeping his ladies happy remains a top priority. One of them proves to be a formidable fighter.

In the north, barbarians await. They’re an enemy perhaps more dangerous than even the Carthaginians.

Whispers of a new foe come from abroad as Hannibal Barca prepares to make his mark on history. His forces gather beyond the Alps, emboldened to attack Rome head-on. Without support, Victor’s army must defend this assault on the empire. But will he be able to defeat Hamilcar’s son and gain victory in the Second Punic War?

This is a Real LitRPG, so everything including the pain is real.

Warning: For readers 18+ due to sexual references and violence.

Raemkai's Stairs Kindle Edition

by Mary R. Woldering(Author), Mara Reitsma(Illustrator), Thomas Woldering(Editor)& 1 moreFormat: Kindle Edition 5/14/21 He was a demon cursed and compelled to haunt a staircase in an abandoned and tired old mansion which he had once called home. One day he realized he was not alone.

Detour for New Year's Day (Calendar Girls Holiday Novellas Book 3) Kindle Edition

by Gina Ardito(Author)Format: Kindle Edition 5/18/21

Sometimes, love happens by accident.

On the day after Christmas, Pandora Bartlett has left Snug Harbor for a dream cruise meant to help her forget the man who dumped her. Months before, Justin Vais broke off their relationship with no reason and no warning. When a car crash scraps her vacation plans, it’s Justin who comes to her rescue.

Now, she’ll discover the real reason he gave up on them, a secret he’s kept from everyone he knows and loves. With the truth revealed, she’ll have to battle his pride─and hers─to rekindle the love they both thought gone forever.

Claiming His Virgin Mate: Howls Romance: Maccon City Shifters 3 Kindle Edition


C.D. Gorri(Author), Book NookNuts(Editor)Format: Kindle Edition 5/18/21

Alex Kensington is a Tiger Shifter from the Island Stripe Pride. In Maccon City on business for his Neta, he runs into the one person he never expected to meet. His fated mate.

Margaret Flint is just trying to live her best life running her late father’s seaside motel down in the Jersey Shore town of Maccon City. At twenty-nine years old, she never expected to wind up back at The Sunset Inn, raising her much younger sister, Joelle.

When unforeseen events cause her to be late with her mortgage payment, she learns someone else has bought the loan. Some New York City business tycoon who is trying to force her out! But Maggie will not give up without a fight.

Will Alex follow his instructions and toss the female out on her ear, or will he claim her as his own?

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