From The North Rim 37

If any of the new readers want to catch up, the newsletter is archived on the Shadytown site:  Shadytown – Middle Grade paranormal adventure novel (wordpress.com)

Since I got on the topic of covers last newsletter, here are some others I’ve been blessed with. This magazine, put out by Breaking Rules Publishing, contained my short story ‘MP-3D”.

Digital covers can be artistic, too. My short story ‘Border Incident’ was published online in the Constellate Literary Journal. They designed an enigmatic image.

Back to print, this cover captured the ghostly mood of the story collection including my short story ‘A Sense of Fear’, even though they spelled my name wrong.

I especially liked the cover of this magazine that published my short story ‘Deep Fade’. It looks like the cover of a comic book.

Purple Prose, which published my science fiction short story ‘Womb’, had an excellent cover for their digital-only mag.

This artistic cover was for the print magazine put out by 67 Press that contained my short story ‘Death Pitch’.

My short story ‘The World Ended Last Night and Nobody Told Me’ was included in this print magazine with another strikingly artistic cover.

I hope this gives you a feel for the range of styles of covers that can be created for your works of fiction.

 From the bookshelf of Breaking Rules Publications

New Arrivals (breakingrulespublishing.com)

m.sherer@yahoo.com

https://mikesherer.org

Shadytown – Middle Grade paranormal adventure novel (wordpress.com)

American Locations 39

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Arkansas River Valley and Royal Gorge, Colorado

The next morning we continued south on Hwy. 24, which followed the Arkansas River.

The Arkansas River runs fast, especially in the spring with snow melt. We saw a few rafters flying down the river. At Poncha Springs we turned east on Hwy. 50. Out of the Arkansas River Valley and away from the mountains, the drive was less interesting. Until we came to Royal Gorge. We turned south off Hwy. 50 onto 3A and drove into the park from the north. We stopped at an overlook of the bridge spanning the gorge.

The bridge is closed to vehicle traffic. You have to buy an expensive pass to walk out onto it, but this pass also gets you onto their rides, which includes a cable car across the gorge.

The gorge is impressive. That is the Arkansas River cutting through it.

There is a visitor center you can enter for free. It is on the east side of the gorge.

We wandered around the visitor center. There is an old train outside.

We then drove back north on 3A out of the park to Hwy. 50 and continued east to Canon City. They have a skyline drive there I wanted to drive, but it was restricted to vehicles 20 feet or shorter. We’re 23 feet long, so I had to by-pass it. We continued east to Penrose, where we turned north on Rte. 115 toward Colorado Springs.

Next Location – Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado

From The North Rim 36

If any of the new readers want to catch up, the newsletter is archived on the Shadytown site:  Shadytown – Middle Grade paranormal adventure novel (wordpress.com)

I am inexorably nearing the completion of my science fiction novel ‘Flatlanders’. Which means I am reading through it and reading through it and reading through it, until I can read through it without making any improvements or corrections. Anyway, I am getting close enough to finishing it I am starting to consider such things as blurbs, pitches, and synopsis. But first of all, the cover.

Since I don’t self-publish, the cover design isn’t up to me. I’ve had 4 covers – 3 novels and a stand-alone novella. Two covers I don’t like at all. Such as the cover to my first novel, ‘A Cold Dish”.

The imagery has absolutely nothing to do with the story.

I was also displeased with the cover to my third novel, ‘Souls of Nod’.

This is a ghost story, and if you look really hard you can see human forms amid the smoke that I assume could be ghosts. The publisher offered me a different cover, one that I liked much better.

Since the story was centered around empty houses, haunted houses, I much preferred this cover. But the publisher went with the other one.

The cover to my stand-alone novella, ‘Under A Raging Moon’, I liked a lot.

The two dark forms represent the mother and her 12-year old demon-possessed son fleeing for their lives one night. The huge moon represents the super moon that was central to the story. They are depicted being in the country, although most of the story took place in the suburbs, but I consider that a minor detail. I like the distorted waviness of the image, suggesting otherworldly powers were afoot in the night while also showing the powerful tidal influence of the super moon on the world below.

My favorite cover is the one to my Middle Grade novel, ‘Shadytown’.

Major elements from the story are displayed, such as the dark towering tree, the yellow collection box, and the rattlesnake. The color scheme is cartoonish, which is appropriate for a Middle Grade book.

Here are my thoughts for the cover of my new book, ‘Flatlanders’. Imagine a wooden park bench on the surface of the moon. It is facing Earth hanging above the lunar horizon, so it is seen from the back. On the back of the bench is an equation, Planck’s Constant:  6.62607004×10-34m2kg/s. A man and a woman, seen from the back, sit side by side on the bench obviously admiring the Earth. They are not dressed in space suits, they are clad in something resembling skintight pajamas, with boots, gloves, and a ski mask toboggan so every inch of their bodies are covered. Perhaps one large crater could be depicted next to the bench. I can picture that image perfectly in my head, and it perfectly captures the spirit of my book.

From the bookshelf of INtense Publications

Drummer in Red: Winning the Battle of Yorktown (Young America Book 1) – Kindle edition by Saunders, Gordon . Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com

m.sherer@yahoo.com

https://mikesherer.org

Shadytown – Middle Grade paranormal adventure novel (wordpress.com)

American Locations 38

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Arkansas River Valley, Colorado

The next morning the wind was gone and the sun was out. We found one couple had abandoned their tent during the night and were asleep in their car. But the other campers had stuck it out. Neither tent had been blown away. There was fog in the mountains, and the lakes were beautiful in the clear morning sunlight.

We drove in to see the little town of Twin Lakes, but not much was open. The town must come alive when the pass from Aspen opens on Memorial Day weekend.

Later that morning, we drove out of Twin Lakes east on Rte. 82 to Hwy. 24, then turned south to begin the Collegiate Peaks scenic drive at the headwaters of the Arkansas River.

We took a side trip up Chalk Creek Drive to see the Chalk Cliffs.

We pulled over to see the Calk Creek Cascades.

I nearly got the motor home stuck on the side of the road. After that, my wife had had enough excitement for the day, so we drove back out Chalk Creek Drive to Hwy. 24 and found a private campground in Nothrop. We relaxed there for the rest of the day. It was a beautiful place, with a mountain stream running past our camp site and the mountains all around.

Next Location – Arkansas River Valley and Royal Gorge, Colorado

American Locations 37

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Twin Lakes, Colorado

The next morning we continued east on I-70. After several hours we approached the Rockies once again.

We had several misadventures. First, I had wanted to see the Aspen area, then cross the mountains on Rte. 82 to Twin Lakes. So we exited I-70 at Glenwood Springs and drove south on Rte. 82. Nearing Aspen, I learned the pass hadn’t opened yet (it closes for the winter, spring, and fall). I was 1 week too early. So we had to drive back north on Rte. 82 back to I-70 and continue east. Where we got stuck in some serious construction. After sitting for an hour or so, we finally got through the jam and continued east on I-70. We exited at Vail and drove south on Hwy. 24. This was the western leg of the Top of the Rockies scenic route, which we had already done on the way to Utah. At least we were seeing it from a different angle.

We didn’t stop at Leadville, since we had already spent the night there. Other than to snap some more pictures of the place.

We continued south beyond Leadville on Hwy. 24. This was new territory we hadn’t seen before. We turned west onto Rte. 82 to Twin Lakes. There was a small BLM campground there. It wasn’t open yet, but the caretaker told us to go ahead and camp free of charge. There was 1 motor home and several tents already set up.

The campground was beautiful, right on the side of one of the lakes. It was like camping in the Alps could be like.

I hiked along the lakes for about a mile.

When I first started out it was sunny and warm, but a cold wind blew up and I was freezing by the time I got back to the motor home. That night we were rocked to sleep by the wind.

Next Location – Arkansas River Valley, Colorado

American Locations 36

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Colorado River State Park, Colorado

20 miles east of the state line we pulled off I-70 at Fruita and set up camp at Colorado River State Park.

The mountains of Colorado National Monument were in the background south of the Colorado River.

I hiked several miles along the river. Paved, level, and no snow, it was much easier than the last hike I had taken.

The bike trail I walked on detoured around then over a stream feeding into the river underneath I-70.

Then I had to retrace my steps back to the campground.

Back at the campground, I walked around a lake.

Where a flotilla was crossing.

That evening a storm blew up in the mountains across the river, which made it cool and windy, but we never got more that sprinkles.

Next Location – Twin Lakes, Colorado

American Locations 35

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

I-70 Through Utah

Early the next morning we continued east on I-70. The scenery just never let up on this trip.

We stopped at 5 different vistas along the way. Although back on the Interstate, we were in no hurry. Native Americans were set up selling their wares at several of the stops.

The most impressive sight was Spotted Wolf Pass. It was an engineering masterpiece cutting through these mountains.

Even after Spotted Wolf Pass, the sights kept coming.

No, that speed limit sign was not on the Interstate. In most of Utah it was 70 MPH.

Early that afternoon we drove out of Utah back into Colorado.

Next Location – Colorado River State Park, Colorado

American Locations 34

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah 2

When I got back to the motor home from my hike in the snow we drove on through the rest of the park, stopping at 3 more vistas.

At the highest point on the road we were at 10,460 feet. The highest peak in the park was Brian Head, at 11,300 feet.

In these photos we are looking back at the visitor center.

This is the site of a pioneer ranch. Imagine living up here. So remote and windy and isolated and cold and snow-bound. Little wonder the settlement didn’t last.

We came down from the park on a much steeper grade than going up on the other side. It was a 15% grade. We drove past a ski resort.

Reaching the bottom, we got back on I-15 and continued north. Reaching the western terminus of I-70, we hopped on and headed east. We came down out of the mountains. The stretches of I-15 and I-70 we had been on were a beautiful drive. But now we were coming back down to reality. We stopped at Joseph, at the foot of the mountains, and found a private campground.

We saw ATV’s all over in Utah. Many, like this one, didn’t bother with the lanes that run alongside the roads, they drive right on the road.

Next Location – I-70 Through Utah

American Locations 33

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

Early that morning we drove up into Cedar Breaks NM. These mountains are the highest elevations in Utah.

We were soon up in the snow.

We stopped at the visitor center, but it was closed.

There was a reason the visitor center was put here. The view.

I hiked a mile-long trail along the mountain rim. It was right on the edge, steeply up and down, and half-covered in deep snow and the other half in deep mud from the snow melt. Very challenging.

In the upper left of this photo you can see two people ahead of me on the trail.

I continued on the trail.

In this photo you can barely make out an overlook on the trail.

There was snow along the trail.

In some places there was a lot of snow to tramp through. I still enjoy playing in the snow, but I was cautious as this sloppy snow-covered trail was on the edge of a serious drop-off.

In these photos you can see the trail snaking out to the overlook.

There were some interesting trees along the way.

I finally made it to the overlook. There was a couple I traded photos with.

Great views from the overlook.

Then it was time to hike back.

Next Location – Cedar Breaks National Monument 2

American Locations 32

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Pipe Spring National Monument, Utah

The next morning we drove northwest from Jacob Lake on Hwy. 89A. At Fredonia, we turned west on Rte. 389. We stopped to see Pipe Spring National Monument. This is the site of a Mormon pioneer ranch.

After finishing there, we continued northwest on Rte. 389 to the Utah border, where the route number changed to Rte.59. We continued northwest on this road to Hurricane.

Here we got on I-15. This was the first interstate we had driven on in 3 weeks. We headed north. It was a steady unrelenting ascent from the desert floor up into the mountains. Yet another scenic drive. We had intended to see the Kolob Valley in the northwestern part of Zion National Park, but it was closed. We had spent 4 days in Zion just the year before, so we skipped the valley this time around to see this more remote section of the park, but it was closed. So we drove on to Cedar City where we found a private campground.

Next Location – Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah