Sunday, May 27, 2012

Claire: the Lost Fae

Author: Aithne Jarretta
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
How long it's been on sale: Feb. 14th
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, & Member of Triberr
Total sold so far: 37
Link to book on Amazon: Claire: the Lost Fae

Product Description:

CLAIRE: THE LOST FAE will carry you through perilous dreams and danger invoked by legions of wicked daemons.

Perhaps you'll stick around and eventually soar over the San Francisco Bay rainbow.

One thing for sure, you'll wish you had never met a nasty hound from Hades, tangled with a wicked scarecrow or discovered the River Styx is real.

However, the chance to grow magically with Claire as she overcomes wicked challenges will win you over with appealing enchantment.

The window of opportunity is here--just a WhisperNet click away. Come in. Journey step by magical step as Claire carries you into this earthly in-between realm. Meet Claire's new friends (including Leeson, the love of her life) and challenge the darkest forces of Hades.

Novella - Word Count: 37,782

Also by Aithne Jarretta

FREE: Wyndy: In a Heartbeat - Short Story - ASIN: B005QR90G2

Novel: Concentric Circles - ASIN: B001PR092Q

First 300 Words:

[1]  Threshold: Angels Speak

Fragmented edges of a horrific dream pummeled Claire into an emotional abyss. Blackness misted the edges of this outland realm, rippled eerily upon the airwaves and moved outward into the summer night.

Claire groaned.

In her nightmare, the surface of a braided rug skinned sensitive palms and skinny knees. Tiny fingers searched for any particle of hope. Its essence proved elusive.

An atmosphere of anger and fear blazed around her.

That was how she saw the world. She was tiny. Everything else was big and fearsome. Terror filled her life even at seven years old.


Claire screamed and crawled across the floor fast, but could not get away from Ms. Bierce's anger. Third foster mother in as many months, Ms. Bierce was the biggest and instantly the meanest.

Snotty nose interfered with breathing and tear filled eyes blurred everything, but did not hide the horror. Claire sniffled and tried to stand up as a last resort to get off the rough surface of the rug. She rubbed the back of a shaky hand across her face.

The massive woman shoved. The corner of a table jammed into Claire's back. Oxygen exploded from her lungs and carried a scream of desperation.


The air across the room parted magically on startling electrical waves. Within a heavenly light a beautiful woman shouted, "Stop that!"

Claire shoved curls away from her face, wiped eyes and stared. The glow around the woman made Claire think she was an angel.

"I know you did it!" screeched Ms. Bierce.

It was as though she did not see the woman who had appeared.

"No! No, I didn't! Joey broke it," Claire wailed.

"Back to the convent!" Ms. Bierce's heavy bosom jostled as she shook a fist at Claire. "Wicked devil's spawn!"

Comments: The cover needs a little work. Google "Fonts you should not use," and you'll find Papyrus on almost all of those lists. Why? Well, it's overused but it also doesn't look professional. I would definitely try a different font. Now the image isn't bad, it portrays that there is magic in the book. It doesn't show any romance, but that's not bad if the romance isn't a major part of the book. If this is a romance novel set in a fantasy world, then I would change the image to a more typical romance image. But I'm guessing this is not the case. I would change the font and I think it will look a lot better.

I get what you're trying to do with the description but I don't think it's working. It doesn't tell me enough about the plot or the characters, so there's nothing hooking me in making me want to read it. I think the description needs to be chucked and totally revamped.

I read the beginning of the novel and saw some telling. In fact the first sentence is telling. This makes me wonder if the entire novel has this issue. I also cringe when a novel starts with a dream. Many, many new authors start their novels with dreams, thinking it will engage the reader. It doesn't. Sometimes they think they will reveal some parts of the character's past in the dreams. That doesn't work nearly as well as just starting the story and revealing bits and pieces as you go. If it were me, I would chuck the dream and start with the main character doing something. If this dream is part of her past, have this come out little by little as the story progresses. I might also suggest joining to help weed out the telling and learn to show more in the writing.

What do you guys think?


  1. Thank you, Victorine. ;) I'm really looking forward to some feedback. I've changed a few things and this story is still struggling. I admit that I have no idea what to do next. ~ Aithne

  2. ;) I also wanted to mention that I'm looking for another font. When I made this cover the image program was limited...wonder if that's why Papyrus is overused? lol Anyway, I'm looking for something curvaceous that could be magical. Do you know of one? ~ Aithne

  3. I don't mind the cover. It does say fantasy. Papyrus, yeah. Everyone was cool with it until James Cameron used it in the subtitles of Avatar. I still think it's a lovely font, but agree that you should probably change it because some people really hate it. Not me, though.

    The description is just not working. It is trying too hard (way too hard) to speak to the reader. The function of the description is to let the story speak for itself. Tell in a few sentences what actually happens. Don't tell the readers what they will feel. Don't address the readers at all. Readers don't like being advertised at.

    The writing is also trying way too hard. Warning: magazine editor here.

    Things like the first paragraph:

    Fragmented edges of a horrific dream pummeled Claire into an emotional abyss. Blackness misted the edges of this outland realm, rippled eerily upon the airwaves and moved outward into the summer night.

    So a dream has edges that can pummel? Blackness can mist? Repeat of edges. What outland? What realm? Something rippled, but I've lost the flow of the sentence and can't work out what noun rippled refers to. Mist rippled the airwaves? What airwaves? It's a term that's used in relation to radio transmissions.

    Sorry, but I am just so confused.

    There is not enough gold in this world to heap on the use of simple, understandable language. If you describe an ethereal scene, as will happen in fantasy, please make sure that it is grammatical and that the overall description makes sense.

    This paragraph:

    In her nightmare, the surface of a braided rug skinned sensitive palms and skinny knees. Tiny fingers searched for any particle of hope. Its essence proved elusive.

    You repeat skinned/skinny. It took me a while to figure out that skinned was the sentence's main verb. Are her fingers tiny? We go from a physical thing, the rug, to a metaphorical thing, hope. Your fingers cannot search for hope in a shagpile carped.

    Relax. Describe what happens and what she feels. Forget about the words. Join a crit group.

  4. The title makes me think it's an MG story or even a children's book. The font says the same thing. The hand doesn't go with the misty globe or the font. There's something jarring about it. Maybe it's too photographic against the fantasy elements.

    There are too many paragraphs in the blurb giving it a disjointed feel. Focusing on a few elements is much better than trying to cram everything in.

    The opening also seems unfocused. It starts out with a dream. When the "smack" came, I thought that someone had come into the room and "smacked" her awake. When I realized she was still in the dream, I had already been thrown out of the story.

    I don't know how the sample looks on the kindle, but there shouldn't be any double spaces between the paragraphs.

  5. I think the cover is a perfectly serviceable one but it doesn't stand out and grab readers' attention. I'd go for something more colorful (possibly showing the main girl) and would definitely drop the Papyrus font. It's way too overused for fantasy books, probably because so many font sites offer it free.

    As for the blurb, in a way I like how it's different than most in that it speaks directly to the reader ("...just a WhisperNet click away..."). But this might be a case where too different makes readers uncomfortable and reminds them you're trying to sell them something. So I'd try going with a more typical blurb and see if it gets a better response.

    Also, the book is described as fantasy romance but there's no mention of what the romantic conflict/situation is, beyond a vague mention of the love of the heroine's life. I'd try to get a little more specific about what the plot is, because right now I'm just getting a vague feel of what type of book it is -and it's a nice feel - but the blurb gives me no idea about what chain of events sets the story in motion or what goal the main characters are working toward. I don't know what they're in danger of losing (although I assume it's their lives).

    Anyway, those are just some thoughts I had, Aithne. Hopefully some of them will be useful to you and, if not, feel free to discard. :)

    --Dara E.

  6. Yeah, honestly I the description told me nothing about what this book was about. Once I read...I only had questions. As for your cover, simply by looking at it I could remake. I like covers that make me go , "Wow, how did they make that?" But I honestly could duplicate your cover in about ten mins. I think the writing is good, but its the outside that needs some touching up.

  7. While I found the cover pretty enough, it doesn't tell me anything about what the story is about. Basically, it looks like generic fantasy. That, however, might be enough if there were other things to draw me in.

    I agree with the others who have commented that you need a new blurb, something that actually gives the potential reader some kind of idea of what the story is going to be about. It's an original way to write the description, but as it stands, it's not providing enough of a hook for readers to follow you there. As with the cover, it's too generic.

    The same goes for the first 300 words. Somewhere along the writing road, I picked up the advice that the first page should tell the reader what kind of story she's getting into and raise a story question in her mind that will make her turn the page. This doesn't really do either. I have some questions, but they aren't story questions, they're questions about what exactly is going on.

    Hope some of this helps!


  8. I would love to redo the cover! But I'm sure you are not looking for a total redo. Still, if you would like new cover art for this book, or if you do another one, email me at

    I want to create covers that really grab readers, and I don't like using generic stock (though there is nothing wrong with that), so your cover would be totally custom.

  9. I like the image of the cover, but not the font. I see that font and think "self-published" and that immediately turns me off.

  10. I wanted to stop by and say Thanks! for everyone's comments and suggestions. Just finished the new blurb and cover. ;)

    @pattyjansen: Yes, in this case Claire's dreams are deadly. They also have 'tendrils' that weave out through the night. That's part of the magical challenge Claire must face. I will work on that paragraph and simplify it a bit, but must not give too much information in the beginning. At this point in the story, even Claire doesn't realize how dangerous her dreams are. The truth doesn't come out until later in the story.

    @Margaret: Sorry the micro-particles of Fae magic throw you. Since it's a major element of Claire's magical abilities that won't be changed in the presentation. However, the changed blurb is more focused and follows a 'romance genre' example I found posted online. Thank you for giving your opinion and your time. ;)

    Anonymous -- aka Dara E. ;) Trying not to laugh first I thought you were hiding, but _I see you_.

    I've changed the cover by dropping the forbidden font and have added my version of hero/heroine image while keeping the magic. Whew! That's a lot.

    In the new blurb I've brought Leeson out of the shadows of obscurity and put him front and center with Claire. I'm hoping this helps.

    @Unknown: Sometimes questions can be good. Your words have challenged me (which is good ;) Thanks for that. Hope if you see the new blurb you'll like it.

    @Ruth Nestvold: Thank you for your comments about the first 300 words. Now that I've finished the new blurb & cover, I'm working on a new beginning. Your suggestions have assisted that process.

    @Sam: Nice offer. But I'm having too much fun with my new Photoshop. vbg I didn't have it for over a year (when I made the old cover) and now Photoshop keeps calling my name--to the point of distracting me from writing my next magical novella. lol

    @Victorine: No, I haven't forgotten you. First, I want to Thank You for the posting my story on your blog and opening the opportunity for comments. Although this isn't a typical critique group, your blog gives a different perspective. I appreciate what you offer authors here.

    Your comments have given me the incentive to make some necessary changes. The old blurb has been 'chucked' and I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

    About the dream... I'm working on a new 300 hundred words beginning, but the challenge I face is to convey the urgency of Claire's dreams because although the events _seem_ in the past, Claire's sleeping body in present time is in perilous danger because of what happens _during_ the dream.

    I realize this is different from the usual way dreams are portrayed in fiction (I can't help but be outside the box), but the danger is a major plot element and the dream in the beginning is the reason for the next pivotal conflict scene. now I'm off to do a brief 300 word rewrite. Thanks so much for everyone's suggestions. Appreciation springs magically & eternally!

    ~ Aithne

  11. I agree on the font. It makes everything look very amateur and as previous post mentioned, while I try not to judge a book by its cover, I kind of do. And that font is an immediate turn off for me.


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