Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Covers

Here's a sneak peek at the cover for my upcoming romantic thriller, Sleep No More (January 2010). Just a little scary, just a little sexy -- just like the book.

For those of you who don't already know, as a general rule we authors get to see our covers when they're just about a done deal. Which I suppose is a smart idea. Writers write. Publishers and marketing departments sell. And that's the name of the game, after all -- sell that book! The sole purpose of the cover is to get you, the reader passing by in the retail store, to stop and pick up the book, read the back cover copy (which generally is also written by someone other than the writer of the novel).
We novelists sometimes have a problem with being concise when it comes to describing our stories. Back cover copy is an entirely different skill set. Of course, there are authors who possess both. I am not one of them. But I digress.

Back to covers. Although I was privilaged to have my publisher use an idea I offered for Sleep No More (the van partially submerged in the water, which was one of the most fun-to-write scenes in the book) I still did not see the cover until it was finished. Luckily, I was thrilled with the finished product.

Another fun fact about book covers, there are actually contests devoted to cover art. Two of my covers have been nominated for said awards: Back Roads and A Kiss in Winter

Truly beauty is in the eyes of the beholder ... but a beautiful cover can still fail to prompt the desired response ... a reader picking up the book. I have had people tell me they chose my book because of the cover. Which is wonderful. But I would urge folks to open up that cover and read the first page before dismissing a book because the cover does not appeal to you. The words inside could very well sing to your heart.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Planting Surprises

When you plant a blub in the ground in the spring, sometimes they result in wonderful surprises. I planted these dalhias because I loved the color. I alternated them with dark purple dalhias. The dark purple ones turned out just as I was expecting, beautiful and about 2-3 inches in diameter. But these pink ones! Imagine my surprise when the first one bloomed as was over 8 inches in diameter.
These flowers are gigantic! It's so cool when you get more than you were expecting. I guess it just goes to show that you should plant seeds in your life as often as you can, you never know what surprises they'll yield.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Don't Get the Wrong Idea ...

... about my obsession with food, but seriously, the Indiana State Fair has started and I can't wait to get there -- and the food is the reason.

Let's see, I'll start with a lemon shake-up, cause I'll be thirsty from the walk in ninety-degree heat from the car. Then I'll have to hit my very favorite food before I get too full to really enjoy it: elephant ear! Hot, fried, buttery with cinnamon sugar, what a way to consume about a thousand calories (I'm not really exaggerating here).

Then, just to walk a bit and make room for more fair food, I'll go watch the pig race and check out the piglets with the Grand Champion Sow. This is always a highlight. Those little piggies are sooooo cute. I mentally separate them completely from the pork products to follow.

No fair experience would be complete without a stop at the dairy concession. I could be a good girl and get a cold glass of milk, but I prefer soft-serve ice cream. I think they even have cheesecake on a stick this year!

Now, after walking and looking at some of the exhibits, I'll swing by the pork chop tent and get a real meal, which of course will only be completed when I add the mountain of curley fried potatoes. Mmmmmm.

There are a few items even I, the ever intrepid food junkie, will not be trying: Fried pizza -- why mess with perfection? A fried turkey leg -- seriously a girl has to draw the line somewhere and walking around with a giant drumstick in hand just does nothing for my feminine image. Waayyy too caveman. And believe it or not, those suckers have as many calories as one of my glorious elephant ears. I also won't be partaking in the newest craze: chocolate covered bacon. Yes, you read it correctly, bacon. Although I'm a fan of both bacon and chocoalte, some things just shoult NOT be mixed.

Of course, I'll be taking a stroll around to see what other culinary delights might be new to me, so this list could get much longer.

And on my way out I'll be stopping to take home a box of salt-water taffy and a three-foot-long bag of kettle corn. Oh make that two of each, because I need to share with, my mother.

Oh, and maybe I can think of a way to integrate this trip into a suspense novel....

Friday, August 7, 2009


Because this is my first blog on this site, I'll give a bit of a rundown on how I came to be here -- and how I ended up with this fabulous career as an author.

Unlike many writers, I didn't major in English Literature (I was a science major) and I didn't begin penning stories as soon as I learned to write. My path was much more convoluted and, yes, I'll admit it, serendipitious. Born with a love for words, and raised as an avid reader, it seems that the idea of becoming a writer really should have crossed my mind without prompting. Alas, it did not.

It wasn't until my younger sister, she of the avid imagination, came to me one day with a stack of track-feed (yes, it was that long ago) computer paper and admitted to "closet writing" that my adventure as a novelist began. Working with her on that manuscript I discovered that although I loved reading, I knew less than nothing about novel construction and even less than that about the publishing industry.

And here comes the most serendipitous even of all. I wrote a letter (real snail mail, mind you) to the author of one of my favorite books Outlander. Imagine my shock when I received an actual telephone call from Diana Gabaldon herself! She was amazing and kind. She pointed me in the direction of the two organizations that ended up changing my life: CompuServe's (again, it was a while ago) Writer's Forum and Romance Writers of America. Those two connections opened up a whole new world for me.

Now I have eight published novels (six women's fiction and two romantic suspense), the ninth, another romantic thriller, SLEEP NO MORE, is slated for January 2010. I've been honored with my very own RITA, as well as other awards that are so very precious to me. I might have gotten here without fate intervening, but it certainly gave me a big boost.

So, the lesson learned: persistence and patience, hard work and committment will someday deliver your dreams to your door. And sometimes it gets a little help along the way.