Book Cover Concept

Don’t judge a book by its cover,” I heard it said. But in reality a good book cover can attract potential customers. Isn’t that what all authors want?

So, when comes to my novels, I design my own book covers.

I have the idea I want in my head. I clip art or photos from the Internet and paste them together like this. Then I have I send the concept art over to one of my computer designer people to make the finished product.

Posted are previous book finished covers.

Since the photos I use for my cover art are most likely copyrighted, I have the computer artist redesign the book cover without using the actual photo. The point of the photos is for the artist to get the basic idea of what I am looking for and not to plagiarize their material. Later, the book cover artist will present to me about three versions of what I am looking for. I might make a few suggestions for tweaking something here or there…so that in the end I get the ‘look’ I want.

Here is a sample of the first clip art concept for my book The Secret of La Danta.

Publishing date: January 1st. 2020——

What do you think of the concept book cover? (alexzabala2@gmail.com)

Stay tuned in for some future blog to see the final version.

I’ve Been Busy

I took a break from writing for an entire year. (hence why I have been absent from writing my blogs). I concentrated my creative energies on finishing my backyard projects. In 2018 I finished my waterfall and this year (2019) I finished my outdoor pizza oven! I only have two hands. I can’t do everything, so I had to make a choice between writing and building.

I chose building.

My outdoor projects are officially over. But building a waterfall and a pizza oven practically with no help was a BIG challenge. Writing a novel is a big challenge too.

So…what has happened to my writing? It had to go on hiatus, but in no way was it forgotten. In reality, getting away from writing for a while was a good thing. How so? I saw all the things that needed correction in my manuscript for The Secret of La Danta. I saw things from a different perspective.

I made the proper changes.

Now, I know I have a better product!

(I am a licensed landscape contractor, if you live in Arizona I can build you a pizza oven).

Alex Zabala is the author of:

-Treasure of the Mayan King

-The Golden Scepter

-The Mind Games of Dr. Sova

-Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Coming soon:

The Secret of La Danta

Things are not what they seem

I took this picture of a Saguaro cactus growing in my neighborhood.

A- Is this cactus screaming?

B- Is it in pain?

C- Or did the Desert Gila Woodpecker peck into the flesh of the cactus 3 holes to make a nice home for itself thus creating the illusion of human face.

Answer: C.

Scientists have a name for it. It’s called Pareidolia. Here is what it means:

Pareidolia (/pærɪˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music.

It’s easy to be fooled by the things we see with our eyes. It’s also easy to be fooled by things NOT seen. Take me for example. You have NOT seen any of my blogs in the last 8 months or so.

Does that mean that I:

A- Died?

B- Was I abducted by space aliens?

C- Been extremely busy with many projects?

Answer: C. (thankfully).

What were those projects?

What is the status of my book The Secret of La Danta?

Those two questions will be answered at the end of May. (yes, may of 2019)

Chilling out!

I built this waterfall in my backyard. (See May 14, 2018 Blog).

I live in a Phoenix, Arizona suburb.

It was 118 degrees Fahrenheit this specific day.

Pictures tell a thousand words.

A hot day, I have a waterfall and a Dos XX.

‘Nuff said.

Breaking News!——- My co-author has announced he will have a working manuscript of The Secret of La Danta ready about end of this September, 2018! (More info in coming blogs).

Alex Zabala is the author of 4 books:

Treasure of the Mayan King

Mind Games of Dr. Sova

The Golden Scepter

Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Contact me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com to discuss books, waterfalls or whatever. All conversations are private.

The Brutal Art of Selling Books

The good news is that becoming an author nowadays is easier than ever! The bad news is becoming an author is easier than ever!

Is that a contradiction? Yes and no. The reason why it is good is because anybody, and I mean anybody with a manuscript and Internet access can publish and sell books online. The obvious consequence, or bad thing, is that Amazon now has about 5million e-books for sale. Yes..you read right, this is not a typo…approximately 5 million e-books!

So, what’s wrong with that?

Well, imagine walking into a bookstore that offers 5 million books! Where to start? Even if the customer is only looking for a certain genre, he will still be inundated with so many choices! Besides that, no human on earth has a lifespan long enough to read all the books ever printed. So, how does an author go about getting himself noticed so he can sell his wares?

That is not an easy task, nor is the answer simple. I have spent years studying and reading books from publishing-gurus on how to become a successful author. (Funny thing is, some of these self-help-gurus can barely sell their own books).

Why then, do we authors persist in writing books when the market is so over-saturated with a gazillion books? Simple answer:

Because we LOVE telling stories.

We LOVE writing.

We LOVE it when people read our stories.

We LOVE the positive feedback from our readers (and yes, even some negative feedback helps us to be better writers).

Did you notice how many times I used the word LOVE? That’s the main reason I write.

I LOVE IT!

I have sold thousands of my books, no, not millions, thousands. Would I like to do better? What author wouldn’t? It would be nice to sell millions. Somebody has to, right? Why not me? So I persist in what I LOVE and hope someday that millions will LOVE my books.

Alex Zabala is currently writing his new book The Secret of La Danta.

He is also the author of:

-Treasure of the Mayan King

-The Mind Games of Dr. Sova

-The Golden Scepter

-Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Accomplishments!

I recently built this waterfall in my back yard and a rainbow came over my project right on time when I took this picture!. It took a lot of work and money (and they rarely come together at the same time).

I consider this project one of my major accomplishments in my life (and a major accomplishment for my backyard!). I love waterfalls, I love the sound of flowing water. It’s comforting and peaceful.

The waterfall didn’t get built by inaction. There was a lot of planning, thinking and hard work involved to get to the final result. It’s the same with writing a novel. There is plenty of research, writing and imagination done to get a book published.

There have been a lot of accomplishments in my literary world too.

I published my first book Treasure of the Mayan King (TMK) on December 9th, 2013. Since then I have published three other books: The Golden Scepter, The Mind Games of Dr. Sova and Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

I have reached heights and goals in my literary career I only dreamed of before.

More books to come

But I am not done. There are more books coming down the line.

My next goal of accomplishments is to write a new trilogy of books with a different character.

As mentioned in my other blogs, his name is Troy Rollock, (son of Chauncy) and he has a boatload of adventures that will blow your mind.

I don’t know if I will ever make a living as an author, but for now, I will continue writing, publishing and sitting in my back yard, enjoying a glass of wine and the peaceful sound of running water.

I’m a licensed contractor in Arizona, so if you live there, I can build you a waterfall like this too.

Contact me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com to discuss books or waterfalls or whatever.

Life imitating art?

Is it life imitating art or is art imitating life? Hard to tell with the latest news and my new novel The Secret of La Danta (currently under construction).

I recently read a news report that scientists and archaeologists are using revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”). After taking photos and videos of the area, technicians digitally removed the tree canopy from the aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed (See above picture).

After learning this I was amazed that my novel, The Secret of La Danta, has the very same theme. I wrote my novel last year, before the news came out. In this instance it can be said that ‘life is imitating art’! How?

In reality, this area contains a large Mayan megalopolis that is hidden under the jungle canopy. The area is also home to the largest pyramid in the world, named La Danta. In my story, the main characters are able to use similar technology to discover the secrets of La Danta (hence the title). The premise of my story is that with the advent of newer imaging technology scientists are able to map the entire El Mirador area in Guatemala and find ancient technology hidden inside a pyramid.

While awaiting the completion and release of The Secret of La Danta, check out my other books available at www.amazon.com:

Treasure of the Mayan King

The Golden Scepter

Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Contact me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com to discuss books

The Sedona Vortex

If you have ever visited or read anything about Sedona, Arizona, you may have heard of the Sedona vortex. What is a Sedona vortex, you ask?

 Sedona Magazine explains it:

 “Sedona vortexes (the proper grammatical form ‘vortices’ is rarely used) are thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Many people feel inspired, recharged or uplifted after visiting a vortex.”

Many people visit Sedona to explore these vortices (yes there are more than one) of supposed swirling energy that are found around the red rocks near the hiking trails. My wife and I usually travel there twice a year and stay for a few days at a time. When I go, besides resting, hiking and eating at the local restaurants, I usually get my writing done, too.

I have always been curious about these vortices. However, because these areas of energy have always been associated with people who promote mysticism or Spiritism, I tended to shy away from going there. But then I asked myself the following questions: Who was here first, the shamans or the vortices? If they really do exist, is there a scientific explanation for the energy in the vortices? The last question came to mind due of some research on electrolysis that I had done for my forthcoming new novel The Secret of La Danta.

Electrolysis (no, not the hair removal service) is the electrical energy caused when water is in motion and an electric current passes through a liquid or solution containing ions. Ions are produced in running water and dissolved salts. How does electrolysis come into play in Sedona? Where did the salt come from to produce ions? According to geologists, the red rocks of Sedona are compressed oxidized sand from an ancient ocean.

Sandstone has salt.

Okay, so what about the running water?

Oak Creek runs year round through the Sedona area. Since it is perennial, I have always wondered where the water comes from. If followed upstream, it disappears into the rock. I figured some of the water from is not just from above ground because the creek runs just as full when there is no snowmelt on the mountains or rain nearby. My research shows the watershed comes from underground percolation from the surrounding mountains many miles away.

The Sedona area has underground water in motion. 

Could it be that electrical ions are being produced by the underground running water that is interacting with the salt in the limestone and sandstone under Sedona? Our cells are specialized to conduct electrical current. Is it possible, therefore, for humans to feel the energy in certain vortexes due to the ions produced by underground running water?

My Take

Armed with all this information and wanting to experience a vortex, I decided to take my wife and go hiking. After all, they are found on the Arizona State Park trails and are accessible to all. When I arrived at a supposed vortex I sat for a few moments admiring the surrounding scenery high above the valley.

At first I felt nothing.

Then, within a few minutes a peaceful feeling came over me. I didn’t want to leave the area! The weather was perfect and the scenery was great.

When I finally came down the hill, I had a realization. The peaceful feeling I experienced was the same feeling when I visited Yosemite Park, when I sat at the beach in California or Mexico and watched the sunset. It was the same feeling when I hiked Mt. Saint Helens in Washington or Mount Hood in Oregon and when I admired the great Redwoods in the Sequoia National Forest!

Nature…is a God-given, peaceful gift for us to enjoy!

But what about the vortices in Sedona? Since underwater rivers run under Sedona, I believe the ENTIRE city of Sedona is a vortex!  Yes, I’m aware that Sedona is a tourist trap, but it’s a trap worth getting caught in!

What do you think? Have you been there? What was your experience? What is your take?

Contact me: alexzabala2@gmail.com

Teaser Synopsis

Movies have teaser trailers, books have teaser synopses. In my last blog I wrote a small teaser. Here is a bigger teaser-synopsis revealing more plot lines for my latest book, The Secret of La Danta that is currently under construction.

The Secret of La Danta

There is a secret hidden inside La Danta, one of the largest Mayan pyramids known to man. The problem is that the pyramid and the ancient city that surrounds it are entirely covered by the Guatemalan jungle vegetation.

Javan Morgan is the man who knows that secret.

Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has Javan locked up in a maximum security prison for allegedly stealing the Mayan secret from the United States government.

Enter Troy Rollock, son of famous archaeologist Chauncy Rollock. Troy belongs to a clandestine club called Secret Society of Savant Archaeologists. SSOSA’s mission is to recover stolen antiquities from tomb raiders and return them to their rightful owners.

Under the direction of the imprisoned Javan Morgan a beautiful but mysterious nuclear physicist, Rio Jordan, enlists SSOSA to help her get to La Danta to retrieve the secret.

However, Rick Cannon, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary is zealously going beyond his duties to make sure Javan doesn’t escape from prison.

Meanwhile, a notorious tomb raider Gerald Bollinger has his sights on stealing the Mayan power to sell it on the black market. He will do whatever it takes, even murder.

What ancient power did the Mayans harness that has the potential to help humanity or…destroy it? With Javan imprisoned and DHS officials and the tomb raider hot on SSOSA’s trail, Troy and his crew are on a race to La Danta.

Its’ just another day for Troy and his crew!

The Secret of La Danta is coming in 2018…meanwhile you can read the full collection of Troy’s father adventures with Chauncy Rollock Chronicles now available at Amazon.com

Under Construction

Can you hear that noise – the noise of a building under construction? Do you hear the bulldozers grading the land? How about all that hammering and sawing going on? Look at the cranes lifting trusses overhead, and see the carpenters, plumbers, landscapers and others plying their trades!

Where is this construction taking place? What is being built?

This particular construction is going on in my head as well as that of my co-author. A new novel is under construction! The title is: The Secret of La Danta

This novel will be the beginning of a new series based on a character from my existing books in the Chauncy Rollock Chronicles.

Chauncy Rollock has a son, Troy Rollock, who is now an adult.  He is twenty-four years old and fresh out of the university. Troy is ready for adventures far greater than Chauncy could have imagined. Why? Troy’s personality and outlook in life are different than those of his father. So the reader can expect new things.

I guess the elevator pitch would go something like this:

The Secret of La Danta is like Indiana Jones meets Mission Impossible. Troy Rollock has assembled a motley crew of intellectual like-minded individuals and formed a business where typically they are hired by wealthy patrons to retrieve stolen archaeological relics. In this story a mysterious lady hires Troy and his crew to venture down to Guatemala to find an incredible secret the Mayans left behind in the tallest pyramid in the world, La Danta.”

There is more to it than that, of course, but in a nutshell what the readers can expect is an incredible adventure that reveals ancient technology that will astound many readers.

What building phase are we in?

The solid foundation and infrastructure have been built and the project has been passed on to my co-author, Dyego Alehandro. His job is to finish the building by adding all the right aesthetic parts to make the building great to look at! Currently he is about 50 percent complete.

When will the novel be available?

As is the case when constructing a building, it must be inspected by local municipalities to ensure it’s up to code. This takes time. And, once the “building” of our novel has been completed, it must pass the rigorous “inspection” of the dreaded editor!

Our goal is to have it available for our readers to “occupy” in 2018.