Monday, April 16, 2012

Hurricane Regina

Author: Jason Z. Christie
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Adventure
How long it's been on sale: 5 months
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Interviews
Total sold so far: 4
Link to book on Amazon: Hurricane Regina

Product Description:

Hurricane Regina is a return to the golden days of sci-fi/fantasy. Inspired by Asimov and Heinlein, it's a grand, sweeping adventure in the tradition of 40s cliffhangers.

Regina Long, the President's daughter, has been kidnapped by a man who claims to rule the world. It's up to Captain Dan Nolan to rescue her and save the world...from her. He travels to the bottom of the ocean, Iceland, Nova Scotia and beyond as the world comes apart at the seams.

If she can turn the tables on Tom, her captor, she can gain his mastery over the planet. Far from needing rescue, she wants solitude. Regina has other plans. Without care toward the havoc she wreaks, she reshapes the world in her own image, and considers exercising ultimate power.

Experience the cataclysm that is...Hurricane Regina. 

First 300 Words:

Captain Dan stood at the rails of his ship, sternly and stoically surveying the choppy waters.

"Sir, we're just about out of fuel. We don't have enough to make another pass and get to port before she hits, sir,” Yeoman Clancy pointed out respectfully, in accordance to his duties.

"Yeoman,” the captain said through gritted teeth, never taking the binoculars from his eyes. "If you don't shut up with your nonsense concerns, I am going to throw you overboard." The statement was delivered calmly, evenly, seriously.

Clancy imperceptibly nodded to a man who wasn't looking, and dismissed himself in silence.
His own reaction gave the captain pause. He wasn't known as "The Highest High-C On the Bloody High-Seas" for nothing. Whatever they actually meant by it. He knew his crew loved him like no other, harsh taskmaster or not.

Still, all this for a stowaway?

Twenty minutes later, Clancy returned. An observant captain would have noticed the liquid courage on his breath, steeling himself with alcohol as he did to gain the confidence for another confrontation with his mentor. The world had forced Dan to relocate permanently to the ocean in order to save a shred of his fading humanity. It always came to this, in the student-teacher relationship.

"Sir, we c- ngh,” Clancy emitted, as Captain Dan's left hand raised up silently and backhanded him into unconsciousness.

He saw...something, out there, in her. Her being the sea. Everything was a she when you lived on the ocean with a bunch of hard legs. But he knew his feelings. He trusted them above all. His instincts and feelings made him who his was. And he was the best rogue pilot the NAU Navy could afford.

He radioed the contower. "Kill the engines, and drop some boats,” he said. "I want everyone awake, in these boats, rowing and searching until we find her again. Now,” he gritted. "Move!”

Vicki's Comments: I think the cover needs work. The fancy font at the top is hard to read, and the white drop shadow doesn't look professional. I would suggest getting rid of the blue background. I also don't get a genre feeling from the picture. I can't tell what kind of book I'm getting. It looks like a vacation brochure. My suggestion would be to hire a cover artist. They don't have to be expensive. I attended a conference this weekend where Mark Coker spoke. I learned that if you send an email to, you will get an auto-responder email that lists low cost cover artists and book formatting specialists. That's one place you can start.

I would cut the first paragraph of the description. It's usually not a good idea to start by telling the reader what to expect. The description should give the reader this flavor. If a description starts out: "I wish I hadn't died in a public bathroom," you know right away the book is going to be humorous. The author doesn't need to start out by saying, "This book is a humorous look at the afterlife."

The next part of the description confused me. The kidnapping doesn't seem to have a point. If the world is going to be destroyed by her, I'm not sure how the kidnapping comes into play. I would get some suggestions from other authors on how to improve the description.

The beginning of the novel needs some work in my opinion. I would join a critique group and post a few chapters. is a good one. I got confused a few times, I think there are point of view shifts and unclear pronouns and unnecessary adverbs. With some tightening up, I think this book would do much better.

What do you guys think?


  1. In my opinion, the cover is the weakest link by far. It looks unprofessional, from the fonts to the blue borders. But more importantly, this cover is very misleading.

    It looks like a book of poems or a romance novel. It absolutely does not look like what you describe: sci-fi, fantasy, Asimov, Heinlein, adventure, cliffhanger.

    The description could be stronger. Can you clarify the conflict? And provide some real plot points. The list of locations is a good start. Are there fights? Chases? Gadgets? Trained attack parrots?

    The writing in the sample is not my cup of tea. It feels wordy and a bit awkward to me.

  2. The cover is all wrong for the book. Would've never given a second glance or guessed it's sci-fi. I thought it's maybe some family saga, non-fiction piece of a small towns survival after a hurricane or something like that.

    So I'd say change the cover.

  3. Holy adverbs, Batman! I agree the opening needs work. The description just confuses me. Why does the world need saving from her? Does she have supernatural powers or something? I have no idea from that description what kind of a book I'm getting.

    As for the title and cover, I would never in my wildest dreams have guessed that it was SciFi/Fantasy. I'm sure those things aren't helping with sales. A new cover could work wonders!

  4. I have not yet read the other comments, so forgive me if I'm parroting others.

    First, of course, the cover needs a facelift. The blue and the font are equally offputting.

    Second, the blurb: Normally, I am not at all in favor of 'in the style of' blurbs, but I think for this particular genre, the first paragraph is not only apt, but necessary.

    The third paragraph, however, is sorta nonsensical, and either needs to be replaced with something inclusive that invites readers along on a grand adventure, or cut entirely.

    Third: (okay, I just saw the comment above mine and yes, the adverbs are like red signs to the reader screaming LABORIOUS READING AHEAD. And I'm sorry to say that the lack of editing is very visible in the position, style and number of dialogue tags. I would have chased you with an Exacto knife until those adverbs and tags were more reader-friendly.

    Last: I sent the sample to my Kindle, and this may be a personal thing I have from my old hard-copy manuscript days, but the courier font turns me off like a switch. Times (along with curly quotes) feels more sleek and modern and inviting, so a simple font change might improve the atmosphere.

    All of that said, the premise really does sound interesting. The entire package just needs some love to make it more inviting.

  5. The cover is definitely not sci-fi. From the cover and title, I thought it was a thriller about a Category 5 hurricane destroying a peaceful village.

    The blurb was confusing. It's never a good idea to compare yourself to a famous author in your blurb. You're setting up the reader for disappointment.

    Adverbs are fine in very small doses, but things like "sternly and stoically" are over the top. I use adverbs myself, but sparingly so that when I do use them, they have more effect.

    After "sternly and stoically," the captain is gritting his teeth and then delivering the next comment "calmly, evenly, seriously." A "High C" captain would not be going through such extreme mood swings. They are usually, calm, cool, collected.

    Sorting my way through the blurb (which needs to explain more about the sci-fi aspects), it sounds like a good premise.

  6. I agree with the cover concerns. There is nothing about the cover that draws me in.

    Also, I read through the first 300 words, and I think this manuscript would benefit from some serious editing. Where is the hook? Why should I keep reading? And not to harp on adverbs, but there are too many. Also, it doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense. I don't know whose POV it is, and I can't really make sense of what is going on.

    I think the author would benefit from reading a few books on writing, particularly Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. ( )Oh and listening to the Writing Excuses pod cast. (

    A critique partner would also be a great idea.

  7. Yes, I totally agree with the others who commented about the cover and the typeface. It's a Sci-fi/Fantasy book but it seems not, looking at the cover. As a book formatter and designer, I understand some authors have strange idea of how their cover will look like. It needs some edits on the typeface, making it more well as the cover image.

  8. Wow! Thank you all so much. I hear what you're saying, and I agree 100%. I somehow had to hear it from other people, though.

    All the adverbs - I never considered that before. My book usually have beginnings I'm never totally happy with. I assure you they do get better. ; ) I'm going to have to look closer for point of view errors.

    Confusing blurb - yeah, I really can't write those. Bad cover - yeah, I agree.

    But it's much more meaningful to hear it all at once, and from people who obviously know what they're talking about. You're all more or less in agreement, too.

    Just to sort of explain my design choices on the cover, the text was to represent a storm, and the picture is of a town in Iceland.

    I don't like all the blue, or the placement of the picture and text. I think I had to increase the canvas size for Lulu or something and got even more blue border.

    I think I found my cover artist:

    At any rate, I'm going to apply what I've learned here across all of my books. If any of you would like a copy of any of my stuff, email me, please. collabs.and.covers @ gmail (Musical collaborations and cover tunes - not book covers. ; )

    Thanks again, so much!
    Jason Z. Christie


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