Friday, April 27, 2012

The Making of a Cover

I am very excited to show you the cover for my newest novel, Six Degrees of Lost, which releases as an eBook on June 1, 2012. Egads, that's coming up fast!

One of the nice things about working with Musa Publishing is that authors actually have some input on cover design. (Often, when working with a publisher, this is not the case.)

Because the plot features two teens struggling to make sense of their lives and find their place in the world, we wanted teens on the cover. My preference was to have no faces, because as an avid reader myself, I really like to form my own impressions of what the characters look like.

The plot line also features lost dogs, abandoned puppies, rescue cats, a raft trip down a river, and two ancient horses.
The setting is the Pacific Northwest, with tall trees and hay fields.
There are wonderful secondary characters in the story, too, including a hay grower, an animal rescuer, boys that make bad choices, and more.
Could we get all that on one cover?

We tried to fit some of the above, but in the end, it was much too busy.

So we chose simple. The simple story of Six Degrees of Lost is about two kids, Olive and David. Here's what we came up with.

Sometimes you have to take a journey to find out where you really belong.

Coming June 1st.
You can read the synopsis on Goodreads, right here.

So tell me - would this cover make you want to read the book?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writing the Sequel

What have I been working on? Top Secret - Shh! Not really. When I finished The Girl Who Remembered Horses, I never intended to write about Sahara's future world again. Truth be told, creating that world was difficult for me. I don't consider myself a fantasy writer, and most of my novels have been set in the contemporary world that I'm quite familiar with. It was a bit of a struggle to create a believable society in a post-apocalyptic world that readers could still relate to.

But according to this recent review from the UK, I pulled it off okay: Still, it was a surprise when readers, upon finishing the book, immediately clamored for more. "What comes next?" they asked. "We can't wait to find out!"

While this is, of course, a great compliment to a writer, it also feels like a huge responsibility. Can I revisit Sahara's world convincingly and give my readers another great plot? Can I satisfy all the horse lovers, dog lovers, and post-apocalyptic fans that each took something of their own from the story?

Then of course, there are the practical considerations. Where do you start a sequel? Immediately after the end of the last book? One year later? Five years in the future? Maybe a writer should even choose another character from the book, and tell their story, instead of our original heroine, Sahara.

Well, enough teases and conjectures. I am working on a sequel. It is (at the moment) told in Sahara's point of view. And although I have a vague plot rolling around in my head, I am very much a Pantser (which is a writer who writes by the seat of their pants.) So I cannot tell you much more than that.

I did tease one family member recently, who chided me with "what's going to happen?" "I believe I'll make it a Choose Your Own Ending story," I joked. "If you think Sahara and Evan become romantically involved, turn to page 33. If you think a band of marauding raiders come down out of the mountains and steal the horse, go to page 47. If you think all of the dogs die from distemper, or a huge epidemic wipes out most of the food supply, please see page 55."

But I jest. The truth is that I am working on it. I am also working on edits for a brand new book coming out June 1, 2012 (counting the days) called Six Degrees of Lost. You can read about it on Goodreads right here:

But my work-in-progress right now is a sequel to The Girl Who Remembered Horses, and I find that I am quite enjoying myself - becoming immersed in Sahara's world again. She is a great character, don't you think?

For those of you who have written sequels - do you have any tips you could share?

Readers - what do you enjoy, or not enjoy, about reading sequels?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Making a Movie of It

I think every author has a secret fantasy that his or her book will be made into a movie. Especially if it's a big exciting book with lots of action scenes. Like my most recent book - THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES.

"The horses came streaming off the hill. Panicking, screaming notes of alarm, the moon glowed on their silken coats. Sahara could barely breathe. She had never been so close to the creatures. Huge muscles gleaming and feet pounding through the air, manes and tails floating awry, and the sweet smell of sweat foaming on their necks."

Or the scene where Sahara bonds with the foal:

"Sahara stroked the soft coat. I am running my hands across a real, live baby horse. This is not a dream. This is really happening. It seemed like a miracle, and Sahara knew at that moment she would protect this special baby with her life, if she had to."

In the novel, Sahara is a bit older than the girl in this bronze statue, but I think it captures the feelings perfectly.

Have you read The Girl Who Remembered Horses yet? Don't you think it would be a great movie?

Since the movie War Horse showed his affinity for horses, I might even chose Mr. Spielberg to direct. Call me, Steven. Let's talk . . .

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Takes Forever

Spring takes forever to arrive in the Northwest. After a string of gray rainy days in what was one of the wettest months of March on record, the sun appeared this morning and I set off for a walk with my eager dogs. Behind our house are hundreds of acres of forest, but the ground is saturated, and many trails practically impassible without a rowboat. Cedars grow thick with moss, and the fir trees drip-drip on my head as I traipse beneath their canopy.

Still, in a sunny meadow at the bottom of the big hill, we found skunk cabbage finally opening its bright yellow blooms.

My neighbor tells me that bears eat this as they awaken from hibernation, but I saw no bears.

I did see wrens scolding us as we approached too closely, and heard many trilling their lovely song. I can't help but think of the lyrics from that old Kenny Loggins tune called A Love Song: "There's a wren in a willow wood . . ." Anne Murray sang this, too, and I hear her voice every time I walk through the woods where a springtime wren sings.

Every little rivulet of water is rushing off the hillside, towards the creek, and then the river, and finally the Pacific Ocean.

On our way home, at the top of the hill, the salmonberry is finally blooming.

Such a pretty color, don't you think? Later, they'll produce yummy berries the color of salmon, but for now I just enjoy the pink of their bloom.

Sometimes I complain about living so far from town, but on days like today, I can't imagine life in a city.

Just wanted to share some of our springtime beauty. We're expecting another big storm tomorrow, and we have to enjoy these brief respites in the weather while we can.

Hope you are enjoying Spring, also!