Monday, January 23, 2017

Cover Hunting


Among a slew of other things keeping me busy lately, I’ve been spending time online cover hunting. 

I’m excited to share that I plan to release another full-length novel next fall. There’s a lot that goes into the process of building a book. Edits, marketing, and book design to name a few, but one of my favorite tasks involved with the creation of a book is selecting a picture that evokes the exact mood I’m going for in my novel.

This can take months.

I’ve enjoyed throwing some ideas out at my cover designer. She has a real eye for what works and what doesn’t and I’ve thoroughly appreciated collaborating with her on my other books.

As the date inches closer, you can expect to receive more details about this new book. For the time being, I’ll leave you with a teaser. I’m having a blast searching for a cover that exudes both an enigmatic and alluring appeal.


Any book covers catch your eye lately? What was it about them that grabbed your attention? 



*In need of a break. See you again on February 6th!

Monday, January 16, 2017

More to Learn

I was hanging out with two of my girls the other night trying to figure out what to watch when, after a few lousy starts on Netflix, we all agreed upon Planet Earth. And I’m so glad we did. I’ve seen glimpses of the show before, but not from start to finish and I have to tell you…it’s magnificent. The creative camera angles. The descriptive narrator. Stories unfolding all around us. And we’re mainly unaware.

That’s the part that really got to me—how much exists that we’re generally oblivious to. It struck me that this is true in every category of life. If we adopt this perspective with relationships, to learning as a whole, if we embrace a humble, open-minded approach, then we might be surprised by our findings.

Watching a single episode of Planet Earth stretched the way I think about the term expert. Our planet has been graced with some wonderfully intelligent people, folks who fought for change (nod to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), and individuals who’ve come up with ingenious cures and inventions.

But I’m encouraged to know there is so much more out there to be done. So much more to learn—to fight for. This reality could easily feel daunting, discouraging, or even frightening. (Have you seen some of the creatures that inhabit the bottom of our oceans?) I choose to think of it as exciting. Because I understand I’m a part of this discovery process.

And so are you.



Monday, January 9, 2017

Identifiable



You see this picture and instantly your mind leaps to Starbucks. Perhaps your next thoughts are more than just thoughts, they’re your frequent orders. Or associations. Pumpkin spice. Hope my chair is free. Laughing with a friend. God Bless caffeine. You get my point. You see one partial image and your mind goes places.

This happens with books. Without studying the cover, after reading the first few pages, I can often tell if I’ve read another book by the same author. I should partake in one of those blindfold challenges to test this claim. I’m instantly aware if I have a Jodi Picoult book in my hands or a Gillian Flynn. Author of the bestselling YA novel, SPEAK, Laurie Halse Anderson has one of the strongest, most identifiable voices in the industry.

How can I identify an author by only reading a few pages or paragraphs even? Because any author who’s spent time on their craft has cultivated their voice. Before you roll your eyes and get wigged out by a word that feels as definable as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, take a deep breath. You get more about voice than you give yourself credit for.

Take the Starbucks logo. It’s green and white. There’s a star on top of some wavy-haired mermaid’s head. Crazy recognizable. Even when it’s partially covered. It doesn’t hurt that Starbucks has slowly been planning world domination. (I laugh because when I lived in Seattle there really was a Starbucks on one corner and another directly across the street.)

Author’s leave these kind of hints—these watermarks—in their novels as well. Their words are colored by a specific manner of punctuation and language pattern. Personal experience seeps through each sentence.

I’ve heard mentoring authors coach aspiring writers by telling them to copy a respected author’s voice until they grow comfortable with their own. I’ve never been a huge fan of this advice. Why not? Because I happen to believe a significant piece of finding your voice has to do with an individual’s unique experience. I also think it’s a way to try to hop on a fast track when the real skill of mastering voice comes with time and years of putting in the work. I’d reword this advice instead to encourage writers to read copiously, to study their favorite authors and pay attention to what defines their voice, then to invest the time and energy into getting words down on the page in order to stir the embers of their own voice. There are fires waiting to be stoked.


Here’s a great article on voice I read recently.

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