The Biting Cold release

Last December, I released my short story, The Biting Cold, as part of an anthology with Susan, Connie, Debra, JC and Jen. It went very well under both schemes we used. But it’s time to release it on its own. And to do that, I need an ISBN, a cover, the cover copy, and a price/package.

The ISBN I buy in bulk, so I just pull the next one off the list.

The price? Well, Amazon won’t let me put in anything less than 0.99 cents or pennies. I will put this story initially in the Kindle Select listings, so that Amazon Prime members can read it under their Kindle Unlimited contracts and I get paid for the number of pages read. This story was only ever intended to capture marketing information or be a tease to get readers into the Athanate world.

The cover copy I have from the anthology, but I want it shorter and sharper to stand on its own:

What price would you pay?

Dr. Amanda Lloyd, a dying psychiatrist with just days to live, is desperate to give the only testimony that will keep the criminal mastermind of a human trafficking network in jail. She can’t spare time for the handsome, mysterious patient who claims to be a vampire.

Unless what he offers her is exactly what she needs…

And the cover…

I’ve no intention of going out and paying a studio for a cover. So, what does the cover need to depict? “Vampires and romance”.

I don’t want fangs or a bitten neck on the cover, which leaves me with one obvious way of implying vampires (apart from the title itself), and that’s the font. I went looking for letter shapes that looked like knives or fangs, and I found Abaddon. Not perfect, but *free*. To ram the point home, so to speak, we need some blood dripping off a fang – ten minutes with PaintShop Pro.

The romance, well everything is a cliché. Naked male torso, serious abs and pecs. Bodice. Flesh. Kissing or embracing couple. Hands entwined. Red rose. Lipstick imprint.  For no other reason than it was abstract, cheap and easy, I took the lips. Mwah.

What would be ‘nice’ for the cover to depict? Detroit, cold, winter, legal setting, a tale with a twist. I wanted to keep the cover simple and abstract, so the cityscape was out, as was the twist. They are respectively too detailed and too complex. The legal setting was interesting – there are lots of visual clues you can use, but I didn’t want to clutter. So I went for cold and winter, at which point, Jessica, Joshua and I came up with our interpretations and the attached are the result.

The covers have been getting votes on Facebook already. In case you haven’t seen it there, please vote here in the comments. Left to right, cover number 1-3. (I’ll be releasing the book on the 8th August).

The Biting Cold - Draft Cover All 3


Where next?

As promised, the story of Amanda and Scott will continue for at least one more short(ish) book, and then will bind into the main Bite Back series.

I have been looking at names for the next book…  maybe   Heart of Winter

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About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first books are available on Amazon at

18 responses to “The Biting Cold release”

  1. Charles Wood says :

    Definitely number 3.

  2. Rachel says :

    It looks great! Will be picking this up soon 🙂

  3. Rachel says :

    Oh ya, forgot to vote… #3 for sure!

  4. bretthumphrey says :

    I think cover 2 works best for me. I would pay $2.99

  5. Jason says :

    I like number 2 or the one in the middle, the snow flakes falling give it a softer feel and more romantic and number 3 is a little harsher with the ice looking background but to be honest at first glance number 3 just has a strange background color. I would go with number 2.

  6. Alfred says :

    I am partial to #3. Athanate life is not soft or empty.

  7. Libro Vore says :

    I also liked #3. $2.99 seems to be a popular price point for standalone stories. The story is certainly worth it. (I read it when I picked up the Paranormal Holiday anthology.)

  8. Mark Henwick says :

    Thank you Brett, Jason, Alfred and Libro for your votes.
    Also Brett and Libro for the supportive comments on price. I just can’t bring myself to charge $2.99 for a short story that’s 20,000 words. I need fixing! 🙂
    I’ll have a look at working with the prices when I get the next installment in Manda & Scott’s story out. At the moment, I’m just wanting to spread the net a little wider, maybe catch some readers who come in for the PNR and stay for the ‘real’ feel and complexity. That’s the theory anyway.

  9. Deborah Jay says :

    I like both #2 and #3, but if I had to pick I’d finalise on #2 as the snow flakes add that little something of interest that the ice (I assume that’s what it is on #3 background) does not. Somehow #2 has more contrast for me, to make the cover stand out at thumbnail size.

  10. soireadthisbooktoday says :

    reading your beta now! On this one, 2 and 3 are both good, but I would agree with Deb, the contrast in 2 is better. Cheers! Leiah

  11. John ritchey says :

    Definitely 3…

    And I have to say I loved the anthology. I have added Deborah and Connie to my favorites.

  12. Mark Henwick says :

    Thank you Deborah, Leiah and John!
    This ‘pick 1 of 3’ here and on the Facebook pages has been *hugely* productive of votes and opinions.
    The contrast of the white lettering on the blue background spurred a rework but I will go with whichever is the leader of the 3 offered in an hour’s time. Because I’m an indie, thank goodness, I can change it later!

  13. Sarah L says :

    Sorry I’m late to the party, work gets in the way 😉 I was torn between 2 and 3 at first, as I like the white on blue but I like the background of 3 best so I’m going to go with 3 as my favourite. I see I can’t follow you on Facebook, do you friend fans/readers? As would love to keep up with things there!

    I loved the anthology and it introduced me to a few new authors that I really liked. In line with what I tend to see on Amazon for short stories I’d guess you’ll go with .99p – £1.99 but I would happily pay £3 for a short of yours. Although if I’ve not read an author before .99p is the best way to suck me in!

  14. Mark Henwick says :

    Thanks Sarah!

    Hope you’ve got the work out the way and you enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    I’m happy for friends to turn up on – there are a few readers there already.
    or you can ‘Like’

    Thanks to Facebook interference, that doesn’t always mean you will get every post, but it’s the best under the circumstances 🙂

    I generally share anything reading/writing/Bite Back related on both FB sites, and I always share links to the web site posts.

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