The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Book's Cover

        Tomorrow, Catherine Rankovic, a local poet and writing teacher, is speaking to the St. Louis Writer's Guild about book covers. From what I hear, participants will hear about font and color (along with graphics) that will catch the eyes of readers.

        After all:  we're all 'bout the cover, 'bout the cover, 'bout the cover, don't deny it. 

        I know there have been a few instances where I've been drawn to a book because the same painter designed the cover of that book and one of my favorite books. A small wave of disappointment would wash over me because I hadn't discovered a new book by a favorite author--I had only stumbled upon another cover created by a familiar artist. 

       Covers do matter. I admit,  I've been manipulated and sometimes I've been repelled by a cover. Lots of thought and choices are involved in the creation of a book cover.

        A few writers I know have recently come out with new books (or are just about to). One has blogged about how well the cover artist worked with her, and they came up with a winner. The cover of Lisa Ricard Claro's just-about-to-debut Love Built to Last looks like it was painted by Thomas Kinkade--at least Thomas Kinkade with a bit more personality and warmth. The cover is so gorgeous, it's compelled me to read my first romance novel. (Okay, that's a big fat lie. I'm eagerly awaiting the book because the writer--Lisa Ricard Claro--is so talented, but the artwork that adorns the cover is quite alluring.)

       Another talented (and extremely prolific) writer is Sean McLachlan. Not too long ago, he posted a few prospective covers he was considering for his most recent The River of Desperation, a Civil War horror novel. Asking for input from his followers helped him make his final decision. He did the same with his book Radio Hope...

       Margo Dill is a local writer and editor and writing teacher (Is there anything Margo can't do? I haven't found it yet.) She has three books out (maybe more... maybe I've missed some) for three different age groups with three distinctly different covers. I use her Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies in my third grade class. Her novel Finding My Place is historical fiction. Caught Between Two Curses is for older readers, and the cover shows it. I imagine Margo spent a lot of time considering and reconsidering when it came to her book covers.

       If you're miles and miles away from choosing a cover (because you're not even finished with the second draft of your manuscript), you just daydream about it. If you're just about finished with editing/revising your book, you might be in the preliminary stages when it comes to the cover. Or if you're like me, you sometimes judge people like they're books--by their exterior (outside), and then you have to reassess and realize you were completely and totally wrong...

        How about you? What would be emblazoned across your book cover if you had one? Or, can you tell about one instance where you made a snap-judgement about someone, and you were wrong? Envious minds (I've got book envy) want to know...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kill the Word "Never"

           A couple of years ago, I said (and had been saying for a long time) that I would never write a romance story. However, a couple of romance anthologies called out for submissions, I wrote two short stories and one (not my best one, in my opinion) was published.

          I have said (for decades) that fiction is not and has never been my thing. I'm a creative nonfiction type of gal. Memoir is what I like writing. And yet one of the pieces I'm most proud of is a fictional short story about Bigfoot. (I still haven't found a home for it.) Currently, I'm 50,000 words into a fictional manuscript. There are times I feel like saying, "I will never finish this," but I bite my tongue and remain optimistic...

         And even though I know that death is inevitable, I thought we'd never lose Huey. Huey came to us as a foster dog a few years ago. His owners had moved and just left him--a senior dog--to fend for himself. He was always funny about thresholds--he'd do several quick left turn-arounds before coming up the two steps into the kitchen--and in fact when he first came to us, we'd have to lift him into the house, because he'd refuse to cross the threshold.

This is Huey when we first got him.

        When Teddy (the little dog who lives behind us) would be out running the perimeter of his yard, Huey galloped (as much as an old guy can gallop) and tried to join in the fun. Huey was always in the mood for getting petted. At times he was a grumpy old man, but he earned it. After all, he was just shy of being sixteen years old.

        Last week I got up and Huey couldn't get up. His hind legs could no longer move. We made an appointment for that evening. He was fed lots of treats, he got to take a last ride in the car as he savored the smells--the windows down and the wind blowing his ears back--and he was put out of his pain.

        Here's a picture of Huey on his last day:

         So, the first two nevers I should do without. Perhaps I'll write another romance (but probably not, as I'm not very good at it). I'm sure that I will write more fiction and am determined to finish my manuscript. However, there is one never I am going to hang onto.

          I will never forget Huey...