I'm feeling a bit schizophrenic this week -- so much is happening, so many things to do, that I find it hard to give each item my full attention. It's been a week of good news, of catching up, of diligent research and not nearly enough writing. But that's okay, it's coming. I have a title for the 4th book in the Taylor Jackson series as of Wednesday.
I've mentioned before that I'm worthless if I don't have a title, and I've proven that to myself yet again. The new book is going along, but I haven't been feeling those EUREKA moments. Which scared me to death. Am I done after three? Can I not do this anymore? Why can't I come up with a title for this book that pleases everyone?????
Then, Tuesday night, in the middle of torture America(n) Idol, I realized that something was humming in my brain. I've been looking at titles that are symbolically telling, that encapsulate the story of the book into one or two words. What I was neglecting to do was step away from what I think the story is about and look deeper. Past the plot. Past the characters. Past the twists. Look deep into the series. Into what I, as a writer, am trying to do.
The title appeared within five minutes. I was telling Randy I was almost there... I felt like I was on the edge... the edge? And then it came to me. I said it aloud and got goosebumps. I knew. This was it. I sent off the email to New York, fingers crossed. I got the big YES emails back. We have liftoff.
Which magically settled everything into place. I renamed all the file folders, the manuscript, the research files on the laptop. Suddenly, the research makes sense. The story is coming together, all the backstory floating around in my head is piecing its molecules into a semblance of coherence.... I'm writing a book again instead of talking about writing a book. The relief, as I'm sure you understand, is palpable.
It shouldn't be like this. Any professional writer will laugh at you if you say you can't write without a title. And I'm blessed, because the original 4th title was the first that got rejected by the house. So, now that I have all that behind me...
Oh, the title? EDGE OF BLACK
I'm in love.
Which leads me to cover art. I can not wait to see what they do with that.
Art is the most exciting part of the publication process for me. I fill out the art sheets, give my synopsis and themes, the hidden metaphors for the titles, and sit back, anticipating what the artists will dream up.
I've been blown away both times now. It's so much fun getting that email from my editor, knowing that something spectacular lies within. I'm having what I assume to be a rare experience -- twice now, my editor has sent me a cover and I've said yes immediately, no changes, no worries. Granted, Mira's done a very nice job of branding me. The scratchy, insane asylum font, the graphic scenes, the bold colors... what's not to love?
I know we've talked about covers a hundred times. I think we return to it, again and again, because there's a certain element of communication intrinsic in cover art. A good one gets you noticed. A bad one, just like a bad title, and the readers will pass you by.
But what is it really that draws us? Isn't there a certain reality that the writer doesn't have anything to do with their covers? Yes, we have input, but just like titles, the publisher makes the final decision based on their publication model.
Getting your first cover is a bit overwhelming. Especially for authors who are less than enthralled by their art. How do you tell your house that you aren't thrilled? It's hard. But open lines of communication make life easier for everyone.
Anyway... all that's just a precursor for the main event today. Like I said, lots happened this week. I've been given the go ahead to release my next cover. I've been sitting on it for what feels like months (only two) and can't wait for everyone to see it. I sent out my newsletter early this month so I'd have a chance to debut it to the fans first. (Okay, that was a heady little statement.)
So, without further ado... the second installment of Taylor Jackson and John Baldwin is going to look like this...
Another completely visceral reaction on my part when I got this in my inbox. I was so taken with the look... but the copy was great too:
Ten victims, each with pale skin and long dark hair.
All have been slashed across the throat, the same red lipstick smeared across their lips.
In the mid-1980s the Snow White Killer terrorized the streets of Nashville, Tennessee. Then suddenly the murders stopped. A letter from the killer to the police stated that his work was done.
Now four more bodies are found, marked with his fatal signature. The residents of Nashville fear a madman has returned, decades later, to finish his sick fairy tale. Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson believes the killings are the work of a copycat killer who’s even more terrifying. For this monster is meticulously honing his craft as he mimics famous serial murders…proving that the past is not to be forgotten.
Creepy, huh? I think they did a great job. I was chilled to the bone.
So tell me, have you ever seen a cover that's stayed with you? Something that really rocked your world?
And the update question: Do you have a title in the closet that you're desperate to use but no one will let you? Or something you've fallen in love with and are saving for your Magnum Opus?
Wine of the Week: Penfolds Thomas Hyland Shiraz 2003 I agree with the sentiment that now is too soon to get the full body of this wine, but it's pretty good regardless.