Originally titled “Stuck at Twilight,” Four-Way Stop was supposed to be about a guy who comes to a stoplight, then realizes all four lights are red. He waits around, then finally decides to run the lights… only to find himself stuck in the crossway of another dimension.
Instead, Four-Way Stop turned into some literary/horror mix, about a man whose choices lead him directly to a four-way stop. Maybe later I’ll write the original idea as a short story, or maybe not. Now that I’ve completed the short stories for 1000 Words (and I have the print book formatted, too!), I’m going to be quite happy to return my focus to my young adult novel I’m working on, Distant Horizon (you’ll probably hear more about that in future posts, when I run out of things to say about 1000 Words).
The cover for Four-Way Stop was probably one of the easiest for me to complete, even though it was one of the fastest I had to finish. I knew from the start that I wanted to have a red stoplight play a prominent feature in the image. Better yet, it needed to be gray, and preferably have rows of corn or wheat, as well as a road running through it.
So I searched through my personal stock imagery, and found an amalgamation of images to put together. A road, tall grass, a red stop-light (knew I had to have that picture somewhere…) and a weird tire-texture that I motioned blurred for the rain. Put it together, and by itself, it looked horrible. This is where textures came in handy. Since it was supposed to be rainy, I added a bit of cloud texture to give it a foggy look. Blurred the background, since who can see in heavy rain? Added the rain texture and tinkered with the effect. Finally chose the image of the girl, and blurred out the side of the face as part of the story. Made it look ghostly, changed the color to a stormy green.
Gotta admit, I was pretty happy with the result.
Anyways, I then worked on adding the text. I wanted to play with text placement, and conveying the idea of a stoplight. I also wanted “Stop” to be in red, and play a prominent feature. Thus I placed the texture into the corner, all nice and small. It did show the background, but it didn’t really look like a title. So I made it larger, and while I’m not happy that it obscured the background as much as it did, I am happy about the placement, now.
Below is the background image, as well as the final book cover.
You can find Four-Way Stop, a literary/horror short story, for free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/153784
In the meantime, if you’re curious about the statistics for the project as a whole, Dreamkeeper is in the lead with 122 downloads, easily surpassing The Carrier, which has been up a week longer, and stands at 102 downloads. It’s possible that people are downloading in multiple versions, or not reading them, but still, I found it interesting to see. I’ve gotten a couple more reviews on the stories (mostly good, yay!), but Dreamkeeper has none at this point in time.
Aside from the short I just did upload, Shafted Dreams has a measly 19 downloads, and no reviews. I do wonder whether this is because of the cover or the blurb, since everything else is between 30-70 downloads.
After this, I only have one more 1000 Words short story to upload, Socks, and I’ll have a little bit to talk about its cover, as well. The final short story, dubbed “1000 Words” for the title of the anthology, will only be available in the eBook and print anthology versions. I’m not quite sure what I’ll sell the print version at, but the eBook version will likely cost $2.99. I don’t expect a lot of sells, especially since I don’t have any marketing plans in place for it, however, I think it’s nice to offer something for those who want to “contribute to the author.”
Meanwhile, the print version of 1000 Words is in the proofing stage (to be printed as soon as possible, in order to get in turned in on time), but I’m fairly happy with it. Reminds me that I actually enjoy formatting print books. Of course, the next step is the eBook, which means seeing how to implement special text as well as embedding images into the file.
Let me know if you have questions, I’d be happy to answer them. 🙂