Judging a Book by its Cover by Christine Amsden, author of 'Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective'


Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs. Purchase at: barnes and noble amazon amazon
Judging a Book by its Cover:
Reflections on the Cassie Scot Cover

Whether they should be or not, books are judged by their covers. Cover artwork is the first and most prominent representation of a book and as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words. (It's a cliché for a reason!) As an avid reader I understand the reality. As an author I confess that it feels weird to have my art (the story itself) judged by someone else's art (a cover picture).

Let me start by saying that I don't create my own covers. Most authors don't. Most of us have little control over them, although I'm happy to say that my publisher gives me more input than usual.

The cover art for Cassie Scot was painted by Ural Akyuz. Wait, painted? Yes, that's right. If this cover strikes you as a bit different from other urban fantasy novels then that's probably because the popular trend these days is for photo manipulation. This style does create striking, vivid, even beautiful images, but I confess that I've got a soft spot for handcrafted art. Photographs are almost too perfect. Paintings leave me with a sense of the abstract. This seems particularly fitting since the title, with the “para” in “paranormal” struck through, is also abstract.

I really like the cover for this book. I didn't care for the cover for my last book, The Immortality Virus, so this is something of a relief! It has also been something of a relief that the response to the cover artwork from the public has been generally positive. I've seen one naysayer (that doesn't mean there aren't more) who thought the cover looks dull compared to others in the same genre. Well, like I said, we didn't do the photo manipulation for this project. If you're in love with that style, this may seem a little dull. I prefer to think of it as different, but to each his own. :)

In case the picture isn't giving you a thousand words, here are a few hundred more to help fill in the details for you:

The woman on the cover is Cassie, more or less as I envisioned her when I wrote her. I even provided the artist with a link to a picture of the outfit she is wearing, though he adjusted the color to better suit the background. She’s looking off into the distance, thinking of… well, any number of things. This series is written in the first person, and a lot of it takes place inside Cassie’s head. There is a mystery, some romance, and even a bit of action, but her own desire to be something more than she is drives the story. It will drive the entire series, actually, only resolving in the final volume.

There is a glow coming from the lake, one the crescent moon can’t fully account for. This is an abstract, a representation of a source of magic that Cassie can’t see and is therefore not looking at, though she knows it’s there somewhere. It is intentionally subtle, and I don’t expect readers to pick up on it. It’s enough that I know it’s there, and if you care to buy into it, then so do you.

Mostly though what I asked for, and what I got, was lovely cover art. There is some darkness in this story, but it is full of light, life, and hope. The leaves are green, the plants are in bloom, and Cassie has a snapdragon tucked behind her ear.

The body of water in the background is Table Rock Lake, a man-made lake that stretches for many miles through southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. The story takes place in a fictionalized town called Eagle Rock, MO, a tourist town on Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains.

There is a real Eagle Rock, by the way. An old friend of my grandfather’s used to live there years ago, and my family visited him when I was a child. He would take us out on the lake on his motor boat. I can’t remember exactly what made me think to use the town’s name and location for this story, but I assure you, it is fictionalized. The real Eagle Rock has a population of 1 or 2 dozen people, and if you blink driving through, you’ll miss it. It was a beautiful area, though, and going with the advice “write what you know,” I decided it would suit this story nicely.

Ural Akyutz should be available to do the artwork for the rest of the series, which will give the books a consistent look and feel. I was nervous while waiting for the cover artwork for this book – more anxious nervous than excited nervous because of the experience I'd had with The Immortality Virus. Now as I anticipate the cover artwork for Secrets and Lies, the second book in the Cassie Scot series, I am excited anxious.

It still feels weird to have my story judged by Ural's artwork, but I stand behind it. I've used the cover artwork on facebook, twitter, google+, and have it printed on the bookmarks I hand out to readers I meet in person.

Whether the cover is to your taste or not, I hope you'll consider judging my book by its first couple of chapters. That is unapologetically mine – my voice, my style, my character. I have a prominent link to them on my web site or you can find them here: First Chapters


Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt's Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.) In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children. Her latest book is Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective



Pump Up Your Book and Christine Amsden are teaming up to give you a chance to win a new Kindle Fire HD!

Here's how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn't set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries. This promotion will run from May 13 - August 16. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on August 17, 2013. Each blogger who participates in the Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)gmail.com.  What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!


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Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

Monday, May 13 - Book reviewed at Sara's Organized Chaos
Tuesday, May 14 - Book trailer reveal at Margay Leah Justice
Wednesday, May 15 - Book spotlight at The Busy Mom's Daily
Thursday, May 16 - Character interview at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
Friday, May 17 - Book reviewed at By the Broomstick
Monday, May 20 - Interviewed at Review From Here
Tuesday, May 21 - First chapter reveal at Offbeat Vagabond
Wednesday, May 22 - Book reviewed at Offbeat Vagabond
Thursday, May 23 - Guest blogging at You Gotta Read
Monday, May 27 - Book reviewed at My Cozie Corner
Thursday, May 30 - Guest blogging at Miki's Hope
Monday, June 3 - Guest blogging at Janna Shay
Tuesday, June 4 - Guest blogging at The Book Connection
Thursday, June 6 - Book reviewed at Miki's Hope
Friday, June 7 - Book reviewed at Repeat Reads
Monday, June 10 - Interviewed at From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, June 11 - First chapter reveal at By the Broomstick
Wednesday, June 12 - Book reviewed at Waiting on Sunday to Drown
Thursday, June 13 - First chapter reveal at Butterfly-o-Meter Books
Friday, June 14 - Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Monday, June 17 - Book reviewed at Carol's Notebook
Tuesday, June 18 - Book featured at Naturally Kim B
Wednesday, June 19- First chapter reveal at Inside BJ's Head
Thursday, June 20 - Book reviewed at Quilted Reviews
Friday, June 21 - First chapter reveal at Literary Winner
Monday, June 24 - Interviewed at The Writer's Life
Wednesday, June 26 - Book reviewed at From the TBR Pile
Thursday, June 27 - First chapter reveal at As the Pages Turn
Wednesday, July 3 - Book trailer reveal at Pump Up Your Book
Friday, July 5 - Book reviewed at Inside BJ's Head
Monday, July 8 - 5 Things at Literarily Speaking
Thursday, July 11 - Book reviewed at Mary's Cup of Tea
Friday, July 12 - Interviewed at Blogher
Monday, July 15 - Interviewed at Broowaha
Friday, July 19 - Book featured at By the Broomstick
Monday, July 22 - Book featured at Book Marketing Buzz
Tuesday, July 23 - Interviewed at Examiner
Wednesday, July 24 - Book reviewed at Naturally Kim B
Thursday, July 25 - Book featured at I'm Shelf-ish
Friday, July 26 - Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Monday, August 5 - First Chapter Reveal at Confessions of a Book Habitue
Tuesday, August 6 - Book reviewed Confessions of a Book Habitue
Wednesday, August 7 - Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Thursday, August 8 - Book featured at IceFairy's Treasure Chest
Friday, August 9 - Top Ten at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
Monday, August 12 - Interviewed at Beyond the Books
Tuesday, August 13 - Guest blogging at The Writer's Life
Wednesday, August 14 - Book featured at Authors and Readers Book Corner
Thursday, August 15 - Up Close and Personal at Between the Covers
Friday, August 16 - Book featured at The Road to Here
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