Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Guest Blog

Today I'm featured on Holli Castillo's blog, Twelve Question Tuesday. Find out some new things about me. http://www.gumbojustice.blogspot.com/

I had a great time answering her questions. What would you have said?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Radio Interview

On Tuesday, January 21, we were interviewed by Barbara Hodges on her No Limits radio show. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rrradio/2014/01/21/no-limits-with-barbara-m-hodges

We had a really enjoyable time with her and Joseph Haggerty Sr. We met both of them last July at the PSWA (Public Safety Writers Association) conference in Las Vegas.

Listen in to hear about how we write together without killing each other and to hear the first few paragraphs of our new book, The Memory Keeper. Larry also describes how we got the idea for our mysteries, Murder...They Wrote and Murder in Paradise.

Learn a little secret about the cover for our book 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, too.
Stop by and hear what we had to say.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Covers

Some publishers design the covers for all their books, and the author is not allowed any input. However, we’ve been very lucky with ours. (As a type-A control freak, having some say on what the completed book looks like is very important to me.)

For our first book, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, we had intended to use a photo of the two of us at Universal Studios Japan on the cover. However, when we submitted it, we discovered the resolution was not good enough. The book block had been approved, and we were very close to the publication date. Larry went to work and sketched the Universal Studios entrance archway and the pagoda in Kyoto. He faxed them to me. (This was in the days before everyone had scanners at work.) I loved them and showed them to some colleagues who agreed.

When we got home that night, he said he would do formal versions of them. However, I love Japanese Sumi-e painting, and his simple pencil sketches had the same quality. So, he scanned the sketches. (We had a scanner at home.) I did the layout and added the background color. We ended up with a cover I love, but poor Larry never got the credit for the artwork.

My next book was the first of our five (to date) romance anthologies, Snowflake Secrets. I knew exactly what I wanted for the cover and even arranged four crocheted snowflakes on a large piece of poster board and sent a photo to the cover artist, Melissa Summers. She took the idea and ran with it, creating a terrific cover. (See mock-up and final cover below.)
Melissa has done all the subsequent covers for the anthologies. I send her suggestions, and then she interprets them to create terrific covers which convey the ideas of each of the novellas in the books.

She also worked with me to create the covers for our mysteries. I wanted a bird of paradise on the cover of the first one, Murder…They Wrote, so I took lots of photos and sent her half a dozen of the best. I also said I pictured a woven reed background. She sent a couple that were just wrong. Since we had intended to write a series, I wanted the same background for all of them. I finally laid a placemat on the table, shot a photo and sent it to her. It became the background for the first book as well as the second, Murder in Paradise, which uses another of my photos of outrigger canoes.
The publisher for Larry’s short story anthology, Lakeview Park, provided a cover design. We didn’t like the front cover image, but the back cover one seemed to work with the book. We asked to have the background changed from the original lime green to teal, and loved the results.
I worked with a new publisher for my fantasy, romance, mystery, Ghost Writer. When I received the initial cover, I was appalled. It was clear to me that the artist had no idea what the book was about since the cover showed two half-naked people and would have worked well for an erotic romance. (I only write sweet romance—with no body parts.) Larry mocked up an idea and sent it back. The artist, Karen Phillips, did a great job using this image, and I was delighted with the final version.
Now we are working with award-winning artist Jenifer Ranieri on the cover for our latest book, the Memory Keeper. Our good friend and fabulous artist, Robert Schwenck (http://www.schwenckart.com) has allowed us to use one of his paintings for the cover. I’m confident we’ll end up with a terrific image for the new book.

Does the cover make a difference to you as a reader? Do any authors have stories (good or bad) about getting the right cover designs for their books? How do you like ours?