The blog of author Harper Alexander

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Tournament of Eden Excerpt

An excerpt from my upcoming YA fantasy, The Tournament of Eden… (Enjoy!)…


The whispers create a foamy, bubbling insanity in my head, and I can’t withstand the assault. A headache spreads in my skull, and I cringe tight against the pain, but pressing my eyes tighter closed only traps the whispers tighter inside, pressing them together, squeezing them until the hiss turns to a scream.

I have to get it out.

I have to…let it out.

Before I can see how I aspire to do it, I’m herding the whispers out of my aching skull, channeling them through my veins instead. A coursing shiver goes through me, and I swell with it.

I don’t realize when the scream of whispers turns into me crying out, when my introverted chin-to-chest stance unfolds and projects itself outward, straining against the ropes. But the next thing I know I am doing just that – a brief awareness of the woman-in-labor-like sounds I am vocalizing and the fearsome heave of my body against my tethers – before I fade back into a creature of subconscious, the rest a blur.

Somewhere, there is the pop of damaged fibers. A crazed girl – surely not me? – erupting from the willowy chains and plunging to her feet with ferocious intensity. Only as I stand triumphant in the pooling coil of my broken shackles, hot with unbidden liberation, do I come back into myself.

The whispers spill out of my veins, draining from me, dripping off the ends of my fingers like blood would

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What Comes First – The Cover or the Story?

I was working on a custom cover for an author the other day, really liking the result and wishing I didn’t have to give it up and could, I don’t know, maybe just keep it and use it for myself, when by and by she sent me a message before I was finished to tell me she actually found one of my pre-made designs that she wanted to use.

Which means that the cover I was working on was mine to keep! I was so excited. The only problem was that I didn’t have a story for it to go with yet, but after finishing my quota for The Tournament of Eden last night, I decided to go ahead and play around with ideas for something new. (Which I WON’T be starting until after I’ve completed the others that I’ve promised to work on next, but nevertheless I did allow myself to get into the planning stages.)

Well, an entire, detailed plot poured itself into note-form, and I’m so excited. So, while I’ve never done a cover-reveal until I’m nearing the release of a book (since I don’t usually even make the cover until the book is mostly finished, if not entirely finished), I’m going to break tradition, in this case, since the cover did indeed come first and spark the rest.

Here it is! The ridiculously simple idea that inspired an entire grand ol’ plot in one night:

Scars to Ashes

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Deadlines – Helpful or Harmful?

I’m pretty sure we all know that we writers are known for procrastinating. Thankfully, a big part of the job actually is the day-dreaming, the lounging-around-brooding-and-imagining-without-actually-writing. However, there comes a time when the writing itself NEEDS to be done, especially before you get so carried away with the imagining part that you imagine your way right into another story before finishing your current one.

There are a couple ways to go about buckling down and getting the real work done, but I want to talk specifically about deadline-setting. Is setting deadlines for yourself a good way to ensure you write as much as possible every day, or does the pressure stunt your creativity? I have found both, depending on…I don’t know what. But sometimes it really seems to spur me to action, and other times it just completely kills the spark.

Sometimes, I think setting deadlines helps me in a way that actually has nothing to do with the pressure. It’s almost as if, if I set a deadline, I suddenly feel like a professional, and that’s sort of liberating and fanciful and makes me want to get up in the morning and get dressed in some snazzy office/secretary attire and ‘go to work’, the same way such a thing appealed to me as a kid play-acting that I had some cool, grown-up career.

So sometimes that works for awhile, but by and by I get in a funk and just want to kick off the shoes and put my jammies back on, and revert to the lazy dreamer, because the deadlines and stiff clothes and mechanical words just start to feel like a joke. Like a sham. Like a stuffy essay when it’s supposed to be an epic journey. Something that might get an A in class, perhaps, but would merit only the dullest of fans.

So I’m curious what mayhem deadlines wreak on other writers, or if they actually help you channel what’s swirling about in your head needing to get out.

Any thoughts?

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3D Book Cover Mock-Ups

Hey all you writers out there – have you ever considered 3D mock-ups of your covers? I just started doing them! If you’re any kind of a Photoshop designer, you can probably figure out how to do this yourself, but if you’d like one done and don’t have the means, I’ve added this to my design repertoire as a cheap $5 service. Details below!

Example images:

3d book mock up fiverr 2 3d book mock up fiverr 1

Want to bring your e-book and its promotional material to life? Send me the image and I’ll render it into a 3D mock-up for you! I will send you both the 3D rendering by itself, as well as a collage that displays the 3D version with the original (as shown in examples above). I will deliver both files in .JPEG format, along with a .PNG of the mock-up with a transparent background for you to paste wherever you like. (For the spine, unless you specify a desired color, I will use either black, white or gray, depending on which works best with your cover, or colors/imagery from the cover itself if that works better for blending. Your title and author name will also appear on the spine, though I can’t promise to always match fonts. If I can’t match your font(s), I will use something that goes well with them.) Simply send $5 via Paypal and your cover image to: harperpages@yahoo.com, and I’ll deliver your order shortly! (If you like, feel free to include the names of the font(s) used on your cover, if you know them, and that will make it easier for me to try to match them.)

(The cover image I used for the examples is one I did for a friend (since I make covers themselves as well); check her out here: pageweaving.wordpress.com. And if you’re ever interested in cover work for your own books, check out my ‘I Do Book Covers’ page and shoot me an email!)


A Few Book Announcements

Alright, I guess it’s time to post an update on where I am with the current books I said I’d have done by now, as well as tentatively announce my next project(s).

I currently have about 500 out of 700 pages for The Tournament of Eden, which isn’t reflected in my progress bar because I’m hand-writing this book and only update the word count when I’ve typed something up and can accurately DO  a word count. And I’m WAY behind on typing everything up. For awhile, I was really good about writing and then typing what I had written before writing again, but once that started to slip it all went downhill from there. But I do have 500 out of 700 pages done (and that’s hand-written pages, so the book isn’t actually going to be 700 pages long when in computer-format. My guess is more like 400 or 500.)

I’m about halfway done with Crooked Bird, but since that’s a shorter book I anticipate it will be quite easy to finish once I’m not concentrating so heavily on Eden. I do expect to have both finished and (hopefully) released by summer.

Which brings us to plans for the summer. I was planning on getting the Breathtaker sequels out of the way soon anyway, but especially in light of the sudden mermaid craze that I have accidentally secretly anticipated and jumped on board with… Those are definitely going to be a go for this summer. (And what better books to write for summer than beachy mermaid books?!) So you can expect more updates and progress on those as soon as Eden and Crooked are complete.