Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The coffee stain...

A complete image of the OPERATION MAXTRACKER cover came to me very early in the process of discussing my new novel with Cathy, my cover designer over at Avalon Graphics. That's never happened to me before.

I usually have a general inkling of what I want the covers of my new books to look like (although there have been times when I've had no clue). But this cover came to me complete, in full colour, with graphics and text, background--the whole thing.

And in that vision, on that TOP SECRET file centering the cover, there was a brown stain from a coffee cup.

I wasn't sure why, since there had been no mention in the story of such a file, nor of a coffee stain.

Upon reflection, I realized potential readers seeing the cover, will likely interpret the stain as long, late, tension-filled hours of hard covert work...because what else would a ring of coffee on a folder stamped 'Top Secret' symbolize?

That interpretation is very representative of the story. Strange how one small, well-placed graphic can carry so much meaning. A picture perhaps really is worth a thousand words!

Avalon Graphics did a great job of translating my vision into a reality--replete with the coffee stain.

Stay tuned for the backgroud info on other elements of the OPERATION MAXTRACKER cover.

Cover Reveal (Part 2) is brought to you by:

The BackTracker Series The BackTracker team--sacrificing their souls to save the crime at a time.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Awarding winning author....

Would you like to add "award-winning author" after your name? Self-published authors and those who have published through small independent publishers now have a chance to pick up this honour with the newly-established CHILL WITH A BOOK AWARD.

Pauline Barclay, author and founder of the award visits Magic of the Muses today to bring us more information on the award.
Thanks for dropping by, Pauline!

Chill with a Book AWARD

 by Pauline Barclay

September saw the launch of a brand new award, Chill with a Book AWARD.

The Award is exclusively for indie authors and authors with small indie publishers and is designed to promote the best books from indie authors.

Indie authors write some of the great reads on offer in the market place, but due to a number of constraints their work is not always as visible as authors published with large publishing houses, yet many of them deserve as much, if not more, recognition.

For those who know me, understand I am very passionate about supporting indie authors, I am one myself and know from personal experience how tough it is to gain recognition and a large following whilst sitting down and writing the next novel, and that is why I have created Chill with a Book AWARD .
Pauline Barclay
I want Chill with a Book AWARD, not only to gain a reputation for recognising great reads, but for authors to feel proud to receive the accolade. However, the AWARD is not for everyone, it will only be honoured to the best.

How the process works:

Once a title has been accepted for consideration it will be read by a number of Chill’s readers and checked against the following criteria…

  • Were the characters strong and engaging? 
  • Was the book well written? 
  • Did the plot have you turning the page to find out what happened next? 
  • Was the ending satisfying? 
  • Have you told your friends about it?

Readers have clear instructions on how to arrive at their evaluation.

Authors must understand that a book accepted for consideration for a Chill with a Book AWARD does not guarantee it will receive the AWARD.

Authors of books accepted for consideration for the AWARD will be notified directly whatever the final decision.

Awarded books will be promoted on Chill with a Book’s web site, Chill's Pinterest board, Chill's Facebook page and Twitter

A small fee of £15 is charged for each book accepted for consideration payable via Paypal (the fee is for the purchase of Kindle copies for readers and any balance left used to maintain Chill’s web site)

There are limited places each month for books to be considered and if you are interested in submitting your title, please email Pauline at in the first instance.

Chill with a Book’s decisions to accept or reject a book for consideration is final.
Chill with a Book's decision to award a book or not is final.

It is an exciting time for Chill with a Book and indie authors and I look forward to seeing great, well written reads sporting the coveted Chill with a Book AWARD button on every book shelf.

For more about Chill with a Book AWARD click on the following link: 

*  *  *  *

"Awarding winning author"  has been brought to you by

The Traz, The Traz School Edition, Fatal Error, Firewalls and the soon-to-be-released fourth book in this dynamic action-packed series, OPERATION MAXTRACKER

Bikers vs cops on the Alberta prairie...
and throw in a 13-year old girl.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


There are many elements in a book cover: font, cover, graphics, placement, author's name, title.  Each must serve a purpose and together they must blast a potential reader's senses

Despite the adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," we all do. A cover needs to catch the eyes of potential readers, needs to get people to reach out and pick it up, turn it over and devour the back cover copy. For an eBook, it must stand out among all others, must look enticing and amazing. Must get readers to stop and scan the description, and hit that purchase button. It must look good on eReaders and other digital devices.

A cover must do all that while remaining true to the story and genre (readers don't like being deceived) and must not give away the story.  In the case of the OPERATION MAXTRACKER cover, it must also match up with the other books in the BackTracker series.

"It all starts with the cover."

When working with my cover designer, I begin with the mood. Is the overall gist of the story lighthearted, dark, angry, sad, intriguing, romantic..? Mood will play an important role in the cover design, determining the color and font and influencing the graphics and overall appearance.

Here's a peak at some of the elements from my forthcoming OPERATION MAXTRACKER cover.

The title font and design was chosen to match the first three books in the series.  The electric blue background calls to mind the eerie glow cast by a computer screen, while the curtain of zeros and ones represents the binary code used in computer programming. There's nothing like a file stamped TOP SECRET to encourage a reader's interest. Just think, by reading the book, one will be able to share in a secret!

Knowing something that few others do, makes us all feel special. 

The cell phone draws our eyes to it with it's bright reflection. Smart phones are high-tech communication devices, powerful but vulnerable, too, perhaps.

The orange font is a nice contrast to the electric blue, and ties the cover together, complimenting both the TOP SECRET stamp below it and the review blurb above.

Stay tuned for more cover reveal details in the days to come.

"Cover Reveal! OPERATION MAXTRACKER has been brought to you by

The BackTracker Series

Eileen Schuh, Author

Schrodinger's Cat

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Criminal Minds at Work: And on and on it goes...#BikerGangs

Criminal Minds at Work: And on and on it goes...#BikerGangs: How the Hells Angels compare to The Traz--the biker gang in my ongoing BackTracker series... "When I wrote the first novel in my BackTracker series, I had no intention of following it up with eight more novels. But if I had intended t...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Real headlines about biker gangs

Calgary boy, 5, watches as mother, her boyfriend fatally shot in car

Shooting in northeast residential garage believed to be gang related

Ah, yes. It is not easy to leave the gang lifestyle--alive, as Insp. Don Coleman of the Calgary Police Service Major Crimes Section points out in the article.

And once involved with a gang, it's also not easy keeping one's children safe. That's what my young protagonist in the BackTracker Series, Katrina Buckhold, finds out in the soon-to-be-released OPERATION MAXTRACKER, Book 4 in the series.

When I wrote FATAL ERROR, I hadn't intended on writing a series, but then along came the prequel THE TRAZ and the story kept going and going. Much like in real life, I guess, when it comes to gangs. For decades, law enforcement has been trying to dismantle the biker gangs and they just aren't disappearing as this news story reveals: Hells Angels recovering, growing stronger in Quebec, crime experts say
More in this news item: Former undercover agent says biker gang affilates share same values “The initial attraction is the romanticism of that culture. You want to be the rebel, the modern-day cowboy. It’s the sexiness, the glamour of it,” he said during a telephone interview from his hometown in Arizona. “But when you become involved in the Hells Angels, you quickly realize that it’s international organized crime and the stakes are so high. The reality is it’s a nasty, dirty, grimy, blood world.”

So, yes, there is also a future Book 5 in the BackTracker Series, and a Book 6 and 7 because once one gets involved with a gang, there's no turning back...safely.

Real headlines about biker gangs has been brought to you by:

The BackTracker Series

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gang Violins

I’m reading Jonas Jonasson’s The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared as my Book Club selection this month and the story got me thinking about biker gangs—because there are a couple in this upbeat, humorous, Forrest Gump-type story.

I have several biker gangs in my novels, too. I found creating biker gangs not all that difficult, but when it came to naming them, I got in a bit of a tizzy. I didn’t want the names of my gangs to resemble any real gang’s, for fear I might aggravate someone with my portrayal and end up a dead victim.

The Traz, was the first of my gangs that needed a name. I free-wrote prospective names across and down and around on several sheets of paper for almost an entire afternoon. Many of the prospects played on variations of darkness and devils. Evilness. Lucifer’s Liars and such.

I wanted a name that was short—not just because I’d have to type it many times throughout the BackTracker series and its parallel books, but because if I were creating a real-life gang, I’d want something that when embroidered on the back of my black leathers would be fierce and readable from a fair distance. The Traz met that requirement. 

I’m not sure where the name came from. Perhaps because the local high school mascot is Taz, the Tasmanian devil. Also “Traz” is sometimes used as a nickname for the notorious and evil Alcatraz prison of yesteryear.

One can never just have one biker gang, though. The worst violence that happens in gang life, is violence between competing gangs. Other gang names I created in my stories include The Blue Torpedoes, The Shadow Riders, and The Jackals. 

I think Jonas Johansson was much more creative than I was with his gang names.  The first gang we’re introduced to is the Never Again gang. That’s a cool name for bikers who are a bit on the bumbling side.

The best of Johansson’s gang names though belongs to a gang of illiterate bikers. It turns out that the girlfriend who embroidered the gang patches was also slightly less than fully literate. What was supposed to be The Violence ended up The Violins and nobody astride their cycles noticed!

This entire novel, starting with the title is a series of tiny laughs and pickled wit. Give it a go if you enjoy dry humour.

Gang Violins is brought to you by: 

the soon-to-be-released Operation MaxTracker

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Chill with a Book!: Chill with a Book! Award

Chill with a Book!: Chill with a Book! Award: This month Chill with a Book is creating its very own awards. Awards will be given for great reads from Indie authors and small indie...

Eileen Schuh,Canadian