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Nica of Los Angeles (Frames #1)
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message 2: by S. Usher (new)

S. Usher Evans (susherevans) | 35 comments Cover: The Series title is larger than the book title, and so I was confused when trying to figure out what the name of the book was. Also "By" isn't needed, and I would look into changing the font. With the white background, it looks a little like a Word doc.

BUT - I love the concept of the frames and the photos.

Blurb: "You've never read anything like this" immediately elicited a negative response from me. "Missing Persons Cases" just reads kind of strange (to me) - too many s's I think. Ends on a cliche, as well.

Look Inside: First line captured me right away. But then there's a grammar error: "Are you, like, listening to what I say?"

I'd have to say thumbs down


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
As far as I know, constructive feedback is the point, so definitely, discuss away until someone tells us otherwise.


message 4: by Sue (last edited Nov 06, 2014 07:29PM) (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments S. wrote: "Cover: The Series title is larger than the book title, and so I was confused when trying to figure out what the name of the book was. Also "By" isn't needed, and I would look into changing the font..."

Thanks much for your feedback! Regarding the cover looking like a word doc, it sounds like, for you, the white background is the problem ---seems like I would have to use one crazy-ass font to change the impression. Also, regarding the grammar error - I'm not sure what you would like to see changed; that character speaks ungrammatically.

P.S. to Mods: If it is not appropriate for me to engage in back-and-forth, please let me know or just delete this.

P.P.S. It may appear that Christina has ESP, as she posted a reply to my P.S. before I posted the P.S. That happened because I deleted my message right before she posted, then re-posted it a titch later.

P.P.P.S. Whether Christina has ESP cannot be proved by this post.


message 5: by Turhan (last edited Nov 07, 2014 02:25AM) (new)

Turhan Halil | 270 comments Sue wrote: "S. wrote: "Cover: The Series title is larger than the book title, and so I was confused when trying to figure out what the name of the book was. Also "By" isn't needed, and I would look into changi..."

You know what's 'really' weird (you would, if you were Christina because she absolutely does have ESP) I just made a similar comment to yours about adding personal comments on the 'Pilgrimage' appraisal thread and clicked over onto this/your thread and she answered me here, hours before I asked! I had to do a double take on the time stamp for her response! Yowzer!!!

BTW, I wanted to do an appraisal on your submission but couldn't carve out the time to do it. I did try but my life outside of Goodreads caught up on me. I'm going to do it in the next few days, so watch this space!


Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Appraisal: Nica of Los Angeles - Thumbs up

Cover: It's an interesting idea, but the execution does not look professional (people say the same of my covers, so there you go). A coloured or grey background, make the title more prominent and say "FRAMES #1' in smaller type. Take out the 'by.'

Blurb: Lose the first line. It's condescending, you don't know what I've read. Surreal urban fantasy is out there, I think. Otherwise it's fine, gets me interested. 'tackles missing persons cases' --> looks for missing people?

Content: Oops. You did pay for a designer. Sorry, designer guy. The contents page being centred looks odd. Prefer left-alignment.

I do like the tone and the style of writing. I can see where grammaticians could get uppity, but ignore them. I'm a little reminded of Janet Evanovitch, and believe me, that's a good thing. I always turn to her when I'm less cheerful. And Stuart Kaminsky, also good.

In retrospect I wonder if the style of the story can be reflected better in the blurb, which is a bit prosaic.

I'm hooked.


message 7: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Turhan wrote: "Sue wrote: "S. wrote: "Cover: The Series title is larger than the book title, and so I was confused when trying to figure out what the name of the book was. Also "By" isn't needed, and I would look..."

Maybe Christina doesn't have ESP. Maybe she is simply omniscient.


message 8: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Richard 2060 wrote: "Appraisal: Nica of Los Angeles - Thumbs up

Cover: It's an interesting idea, but the execution does not look professional (people say the same of my covers, so there you go). A coloured or grey bac..."


Thanks for the feedback. FYI I am going to revise the cover and post the new version, in hopes of getting something on-line before a 1-day promotion I've got next week. So, all of you, if you have time to check back and comment, that would be much appreciated.


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
I'm not sure about ESP. I don't even have ESPN.

Per our semi-firm rules, I can not rate this book at the moment, but I will weigh in on the cover if you are planning on making changes.

The title: Nica of Los Angeles, makes me think of movie posters from the fifties and sixties. If you had unlimited funds and creative consultants, I would suggest mimicking those posters with a world-wary Nica clinging to one of the towers, looking out over a divided landscape: half in our frame, half in a dramatically dystopian frame.
But since you probably do not have a couple spare thousand to throw at a Hollywood movie poster painter, my suggestion is to jazz up the font and put the emphasis on Nica rather than Frames.


message 10: by S. Usher (new)

S. Usher Evans (susherevans) | 35 comments Sue wrote: "S. wrote: "Cover: The Series title is larger than the book title, and so I was confused when trying to figure out what the name of the book was. Also "By" isn't needed, and I would look into changi..."

I don't think a crazy-ass font. But hit up 1001Fonts.com to find some better options. Make sure you select a commercial font. Add some shading to make it pop.

And I think it's the white is definitely what is throwing me off. Since most often the book cover on webpage is against a white background, a different color would help it come off the page.

Grammatically incorrect dialogue still requires grammatically correct comma placement. I only nitpick because it's the first page - and that's as far as I got and I noticed it.

I don't mind the back and forth - and I'm excited to see the new cover! :D


message 11: by Turhan (new)

Turhan Halil | 270 comments Sue wrote: "Richard 2060 wrote: "Appraisal: Nica of Los Angeles - Thumbs up

Cover: It's an interesting idea, but the execution does not look professional (people say the same of my covers, so there you go). A..."


Fun!


message 12: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Hey, all,

Here is a link to a revised cover, and below is a revised blurb. Let me know what you think.

P.S. to Richard, I agree, I wish the blurb was in the style of the novel, but I have yet to pull that off in 140-ish characters.

Revised blurb: When rookie private eye Nica takes on a mysterious case, she enters a world of multiple dimensions called Frames, where buildings and lawn chairs can be sentient, a stray cat has great powers, books can be killers, and clouds can be spies. At home, Nica solves missing person cases; in the larger reality of the Frames, she gets swept into an escalating battle with stakes that could not be higher.


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
The blue background is nice. The font is a little jazzier. I like the art deco look of Frames, but I still say it's conservative. Maybe keep the deco look on Frames but give Nica of Los Angeles something that might convey the fantastical elements?


message 14: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments I have made a few more changes, and now present both versions for comments/thumbs. I don't like fonts that call attention to themselves so this may be as unconservative as I can go, although I remain open to suggestions.

Rev Cover 1, the basis of Christina's comments

Rev Cover 2, w tweaks to font, background, and a couple frames images

To have everything in one post, I also reproduce the revised blurb below.

Revised blurb: When rookie private eye Nica takes on a mysterious case, she enters a world of multiple dimensions called Frames, where buildings and lawn chairs can be sentient, a stray cat has great powers, books can be killers, and clouds can be spies. At home, Nica solves missing person cases; in the larger reality of the Frames, she gets swept into an escalating battle with stakes that could not be higher.


message 15: by S. Usher (new)

S. Usher Evans (susherevans) | 35 comments Sue wrote: "I have made a few more changes, and now present both versions for comments/thumbs. I don't like fonts that call attention to themselves so this may be as unconservative as I can go, although I rema..."

Both of the covers look SO much better! I'm partial to the navy, but I think it's your call.

The blurb is a lot better too - although I would perhaps rethink the "at home" part, and maybe just stick to "In the larger reality of the Frames..."

Well done!


Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Stick with the blue background. It pops.
About the blurb, I agree about the 'at home' sounding odd. Maybe try 'In her home Frame' or something like that.


message 17: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Thanks, S. and Christina. Apparently my tastes will never match, so I much prefer the teal background - but I will keep toggling the two and see which wins over time. It does make me uneasy to go with the teal when you both prefer the blue.

As for the blurb - I am going to leave it alone temporarily. I've used all the characters I'm allowed for some sites, and want to have an identical blurb on all sites, so even modest tweaks are complex. More importantly, Richard is right and I need to find a way to capture the tone of the book in the blurb. I tried early on, failed, gave up; but now see it is time to try again.

I am grateful that these conversations pushed me to make changes.


message 18: by Turhan (new)

Turhan Halil | 270 comments 2 Thumbs up and if I had any more I'd use those too!

I have to keep this appraisal short. Life outside of Goodreads is kinda intense, so I'm typing this up at 3:16 a.m.

Cover: I like the navy/blue moreso than the teal but either of those are way better than the white. Also, like, 'S' I like the concept of the 'Frames' on the cover, pretty cool!

Blurb: Perfect!

Sample: OMG, I attempted reading it a half a dozen times but something, including having to sleep kept sidetracking me. Despite not being justified, despite grammar issues that others may have brought up, none of it detracted from the wit and flair of your voice and the story. It's multi-layered and entertaining in a good old fashioned 'private eye/investigator' kinda way.

Excellent writing skills, well done!


message 19: by Sue (last edited Nov 11, 2014 10:02AM) (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Thanks, Turhan, for your heartwarming comments and sleep sacrifice on Nica's behalf!

It's now 3 for 3 - votes for blue over teal - so I am going with the blue cover.


Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Just bought me a copy of this. I'll read it when I've finished re-reading Hogfather, and review when I can.


message 21: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Richard 2060 wrote: "Just bought me a copy of this. I'll read it when I've finished re-reading Hogfather, and review when I can."

Awesome! Thanks, Richard!


Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Very enjoyable read. I didn't remark on it in the review, but I was impressed how your MC loved Los Angeles. It's a city many disdain, so it's good to see someone on it's side!


message 23: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Thanks much for your articulate review, Richard, I am so glad you liked it.


Richard | 490 comments Mod
Sue, it's like buses: you wait ages for one Richard, then two come along at once! I've just posted my review too.


message 25: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Christmas in November! Your review has yet to become visible but I am looking forward to seeing it. Thanks for making the effort!


message 26: by Turhan (new)

Turhan Halil | 270 comments Richard wrote: "Sue, it's like buses: you wait ages for one Richard, then two come along at once! I've just posted my review too."

Excellent review Richard. I don't know how the hell I'm ever going to read 'n' review it, but I hope somehow amongst the insane and crazy place that I am in my life right now, that I can carve out the time to do so. I already know that I'm going to be amazed by it :)


message 27: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Richard, I feel honored to have triggered that review! Also, you do a better job describing the book's elements than I have to date...

Turhan - eek, I hope you can manage your expectations some. I want you to read Nica and I'm confident that you will enjoy it, but --- expecting to be amazed! Yikes, that opens a very wide door on disappointment.


Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments What's the collective noun for Richards? I like 'A royalty of Richards' but I may be biased.


message 29: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Certainly, "a gaggle of Richards" fails. My vet has a poster with a bizillion of such phrases. (I took a snapshot of it.) From that, some candidates (and the original animal). Not all the original phrases were alliterative:
"a rafter of Richards" (turkeys)
"a richness of Richards" (martens)
"an exaltation of Richards" (larks)
"a shrewdness of Richards" (apes)
"a singular of Richards" (boar)


message 30: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) How about a rasher of Richards. It appeals to my bacon obsession.


message 31: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Ha, love that one! Although it is of course up to the Richards to decide.


Richard | 490 comments Mod
I like Mr Bacon's suggestion too.

Unfortunately, though, in this part of the world "Richards" is also Cockney rhyming-slang for "turds" ("Richard the Thirds") as in "Oi, your dog's just left a pile of Richards in the middle of our patio."


message 33: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments tsk.


Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments My gas has been off for a couple of days, limiting me to microwave cooking. I think I'd go for the "rasher" option, to celebrate its return.


message 35: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments A rasher of Rs, it is then.


message 36: by G.G. (new) - added it

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 200 comments Cover: When I look at it, it reminds me of Windows 8, and I'm almost anticipating to see a box instead of a book; however, it fits the title and it looks good so...

Blurb: Short and to the point. (The part saying you've never read anything like this has been removed, which made a huge improvement.)

Sample: Well written. It caught my attention immediately. However, there are some strange wording. Sue assured me it was done on purpose but sadly it doesn't work for me.

For example, I got stuck on this sentence: 'I led us into the hall, where we milled around until I walked us to the elevator where we milled around until I pushed the down button and the G for ground floor.'

I understand that repetition can be used to emphasize and can add power to a sentence when well done; however in this case, no offense but it looks more like a copy paste error. Not only that but the 'milled around' is used once more in the same paragraph and another time in the same page.

Verdict: The sample intrigued me enough to buy the book so I'm giving it a reserved thumbs up. Why reserved? Well, Alice in Wonderland isn't my genre and Nica of Los Angeles brings this fairy tale to mind with its talking and moving towers and television, so I'm going to have to choose the right time to read this if I want to enjoy it.


message 37: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments OMG. Windows 8? That is a blood-curdling comparison which - in my 100% Apple household - I would never have made.

I think it is so wise to hold off on reading books until you are in the right er frame of mind for them.

Thanks for your comments!


message 38: by K. (new)

Caffee K. (kcaffee) | 461 comments Cover: Eye catching because the series name is bigger than the book's title. I like the broken pictures through the white frames, and how the two sides of the city are distinctly different without any observable cross-connection

Blurb: Light, concise, fun, and easy to read. It does come across as a little dry, but that dryness feels more like dry British humor, not a textbook's dull dryness.

Sample: Ok, where's the rest of it? Had me from the first page, and kept me flipping pages hoping it would never end. Can't wait until I can get the entire thing to read. Nica has a complexity that is fun to explore. The rest weren't around enough for me to judge yet how complex, but I'm willing to bet they have the same type of complexity once you get to see them more. Also like the dual story lines woven together.

Verdict? Definite thumbs up. Can't wait to read the rest of this one.


Richard | 490 comments Mod
Nica of Los Angeles: thumbs up.

I've read-and-reviewed this one already, but we discussed this subject a couple of months ago and the consensus seemed to be to hold off appraising a book you've already read - unless it's been sitting there for months. Well this one has been stuck here since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, so I'm giving it a nudge onwards.

Cover: Like it, although I think I'm the only one who preferred the original white one. I was probably imagining it as a paperback though - on a screen it does merge with the background a bit.

Blurb: Very good, everything you need to know in five-and-a-half-lines.

Sample: Liked everything really: the characters, writing style and, above all, the setting.


Richard | 490 comments Mod
...and, since that gives Nica five thumbs ups, it's moving to the "Books For Reviewing" thread - so no further appraisals needed here thanks.


message 41: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Perry | 175 comments Thanks, Richard!


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