Light And Dark Cover Reveal!

That’s right, it’s cover reveal time! Light and Dark, the fifth book in my Ambeth Chronicles series, is thisclose to being launched, and here is the gorgeous cover. Of course, if you’ve subscribed to my newsletter, you’ll already have seen it πŸ˜‰

Light and Dark – Volume Five of The Ambeth Chronicles

β€˜So you are… the Child of Darkness?’
β€˜It looks that way,’ he said, β€˜and, as you are the Child of Light, it kind of makes sense that we do this together.’
Returning to Ambeth was always going to be difficult. Alma had brought them the Sword, and the Cup, but at what cost? There had been so much death, so much sorrow. But there was also love, her ties to Ambeth running deeper than she could have ever imagined. And now the skies were showing a dark star, his path coming to intercept hers as they moved towards the Crown.
The board is set, the pieces in play, as the final game between Light and Dark begins.
But who will prevail?

Light and Dark will be released on April 10, 2021. And in the meantime, if you’ve yet to start your Journey to Ambeth, check out Oak and Mist, the first book in the series:

Oak And Mist – Volume One of The Ambeth Chronicles

Take a journey to Ambeth, where time twists and a palace gleams in green gardens. Where Light and Dark hold the Balance of the worlds, and beauty is a birthright, not a gift.

However, appearances can be deceiving.

When Alma stumbles between two trees into Ambeth, she finds she has a choice to make. Three items are lost: A Cup, a Sword and a Crown. Light and Dark are embroiled in a struggle for control. And both sides have been waiting for Alma to arrive…

A hidden world. A family secret. And a choice. But how do you choose between your head and your heart?

My covers were designed by my talented brother, Rich Jones – he’s done all my covers and I think they look fab! Oh, and if you’re wondering about Book Six, the final instalment in the series? It’s half-way written, and I do know how the whole thing ends. My hope is to have it published by this time next year but, as always, I’ll keep you posted…



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Playing with Prisma

Publishing independently costs money – there’s no getting around it. A professional edit, typesetting, a cover design – while you don’t have to pay for any of these things, they can make a difference to the look and feel of your finished book. However, independent publishing doesn’t, for the most part, make much money – the majority of authors these days, whether traditional or independently published, rely on secondary sources of income to keep going. So, if you can save money here and there, it’s a bonus.

I’ve written before about using photography, including the potential pitfalls of using images without permission, the different types of stock images available and the effects you can create using your own images. I still believe that, as independent authors, using our own photography wherever possible is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to promote our work. So, when I heard about the Prisma app, I knew I had to give it a try.

IMG_2622This is a photograph I took with my phone the other week, of the ruined cathedral in Coventry. Not a bad photo, if I say so myself. However, when I put it into the Prisma app, it changed completely:








Picture Perfect

In a past life, I used to work in advertising. I had a few different roles – print production, casting, photography producer, general dogsbody. One of the roles I held involved purchasing all stock photography for the large agency where I worked at the time, meaning I had to negotiate rights and usages for each image, so it would be fair to say I know a little bit about the process.

Many people who choose to self publish also choose to use stock images for their cover artwork. There are several reasons for doing so: the images are sharp and professional, they are easily found online, and it’s not always possible to take the photo you need yourself. Stock photos tend to fall into one of three categories:

Rights managed. These are images which require rights to be purchased for their usage. These fees are based on number of uses, the area where the image will be used, the length of time it will be used for and a few other variables, including fees paid to models who may appear in the image. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend using this type of image for your cover, as it’s quite difficult to predict how many copies you will sell or where, and to purchase a blanket usage license would be quite costly!

Royalty Free. These are images for which you pay a single fee, then you are free to use them as often as you like, wherever you like. Therefore, they are quite useful for use in cover designs, though one downside is that you do not own the exclusive rights to the image, so it can be used by somebody else at any time.

Free. There are lots of sites offering free stock images, some of which are excellent. However, some downsides can include the images not being of the best quality, or that you have to enrol and pay a subscription fee to access the images without watermarks. Also, I have seen some of these free sites with the disclaimer that the images are not to be used for commercial purposes, which then discounts them as being used on the cover of your book. I recommend to always check the fine print before using any of these images.

You will also have to give credit to the photographer as well, so make sure to do so when using any stock image in your books.

One way around all of this is to take your own photos. You don’t need to be a Photoshop whiz to create your own effects either – even Microsoft Word has a whole selection of filters and effects you can apply to your images. For example, here is a photo of some tulips I took with my IPhone (inside the Eden Project, just FYI):


It’s rather pretty, isn’t it? (if I say so myself) πŸ™‚

And now here it is with several different filter effects added:

Tulips effect 1 Tulips effect 2 Tulips effect 3 Tulips effect 4 Tulips effect 5

This was the result of about ten minutes messing around with the images in a Microsoft Word document, then saving each one as a JPEG. As you can see, you can get quite a few interesting effects.

Just something to think about, if you are considering designing your own cover.