Cover Reveal for FOREIGN EXCHANGE by Denise Jaden (plus a Special Giveaway)

 

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Author Denise Jaden’s next book, FOREIGN EXCHANGE, is due to be released this October. Denise is here today to let us in on the cover reveal, and she also has a special giveaway for us, involving Stephanie Perkins’ ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Read on to find out more. 

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First, here are a few of Denise’s thoughts on Foreign Exchange and its cover…

 

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I’m so incredibly excited to share my cover of Foreign Exchange with you! This book holds a very special place in my heart. I wrote it during a very difficult year of my life, and the characters and their stories were a real bright spot for me.

Because this book is so important to me, I’m giving away something VERY important to me to go along with this cover reveal. I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of the highly-anticipated Isla and the Happily Ever After by one of my all-time favorite authors, Stephanie Perkins. ISLA and Foreign Exchange are both romances with swoon-worthy boys, and they’re both set partially in Europe. So I want one lucky person to receive my advanced copy of ISLA to get you excited for Foreign Exchange!

Read on, check out my cover, and read the first chapter of Foreign Exchange below. It’ll all help you in earning extra entries to win my copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After!

And here is the beautiful cover…

 

Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.

As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer. 

 “Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance makes for a can’t miss read.”
 – Eileen Cook  Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries. 
“A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry kept me turning those pages!”
- Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore
“Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful…the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare.”
 – D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the upcoming Noir et Bleu MC series.
 

One of the entries in the Rafflecopter below will ask you a question from the above chapter!

This contest is open internationally!
Don’t forget…this copy of ISLA could be yours…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Note – If you cannot access the Rafflecopter Widget through this blog, access it HERE.

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More on the subject of book covers

Last week I threw out a question about creating book covers and admitted that, having designed only one, I don’t know much about the process. Today I’m welcoming Rachel Elizabeth Cole who knows a whole lot more! In fact, she’s made a business out of designing them. She says, “I’ve only worked with a few small publishers, but otherwise mostly self-publishers. So I can’t really tell you what goes on in, say, Random House’s art department.” But she was willing to answer questions, so here we go…

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Rachel Cole

Rachel Cole

Hi, Rachel. Thanks for sharing with us today. How did you get into book cover design?

Quite by accident, really. I’d decided to self-publish a few of my previously-published short stories on Amazon and, having a background in art and design, I opted to design my own covers.

A few months after I published, a writer friend contacted me and asked if I’d design a cover for a short story he was planning to self-publish. I agreed and he loved the results. I’d received comments from other author friends suggesting I might make a business of book cover design. So I decided to give it a shot. The rest, as they say, is history.

What do you think makes a good book cover?

Ask one hundred book cover designers and you’ll likely get one hundred different answers. But there are several areas where many designers agree. First, a good book cover is eye-catching. There are literally thousands of books out there–in book stores, libraries, and online–vying for reader attention. A good design will stand out from the other book covers out there, causing readers stop browsing the shelves or scrolling down the screen.

Second, a good cover design conveys genre. Is your book literary? Then it should have a cover that reflects that. If it’s romance, then it should have a cover that looks like a romance cover. Readers may only give a book cover a few seconds’ glance before moving on to another. If your book’s cover does not represent the genre accurately–or worse, doesn’t represent any genre at all!–readers will keep on shopping till they find what they’re looking for.

And lastly, a good design creates interest. It raises questions in the reader’s mind so they just have to read the back cover or click through to the description to find out more. 

I hear some authors mention that they get to approve their covers before publication, but others don’t, or get very little opportunity for input. Why don’t publishers give authors more say in their cover design?

Authors often aren’t familiar with design concepts and what will both look good on a cover, and, more importantly, draw in readers. Also, authors can be far too close to their work to see it objectively.

Some authors have a very specific idea of how their characters look, or their setting, or a scene in the book and they want that recreated on the cover. But that’s not always the best choice for a book cover. With the exception of a few genres (SF/F, historical, and children’s fiction come to mind), most books don’t have scenes on the cover. They’re usually far too busy. Or require expensive custom artwork or photo-shoots that aren’t in the budget. And finding stock photos of a model who looks exactly like the MC (or MCs in the case of a romance) can be excruciatingly difficult. Ditto the setting. Plus, some buildings, locations, etc. have trademark issues connected with them that would require expensive licensing and legal work to be usable on a book cover.

This isn’t to say publishers won’t try to create a cover with a model who looks like the MC or put a scene from the book on the cover, but they realize that every reader will have a different perception of the characters, settings, scenes, etc. and so recreating these images exactly as the author sees them isn’t necessary to good design.

How have ebooks influenced cover design? 

Until the ebook revolution, book covers were designed to capture attention when viewed from about five feet away on a book shop or other retail store shelf. Today, however, more and more books are purchased online, where they are viewed as tiny 100 pixel (or so) high images. Design that would cause a reader to walk closer to view the details, in effect drawing them in, doesn’t always translate so well onto the screen. Readers often scroll right past covers with small text, low contrast, faded colours, overly dark, or intricately detailed images. Good ebook covers usually have clear, eye-catching images, high contrasts (either colours and bright/dark), and easily readable titles. Though there’s debate over whether a title needs to be readable at thumbnail size, there is definitely a shift from the way book covers were designed before ebooks to the way they’re being designed today.

What are your favourite genres to design for?

Literary fiction, women’s fiction, children’s fiction, and historical fiction.

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Thanks so much for giving us your take on this topic, Rachel. I browsed some of your available premade covers and discovered one you’ve identified as ‘The Beach House’ which I’ve fallen in love with. I think I’ll have to reserve it and then write a story to go with it! (If only it worked that way!) :D

Rachel can be found on the web in various locations:

Now it’s your turn. Readers, what kind of covers appeal most to you? If you’re a writer, what do you envision for the cover of your next book?

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Book Review & Giveaway: REBELLIOUS HEART by Jody Hedlund

Author Jody Hedlund

Author Jody Hedlund

When I first encountered Jody Hedlund back in mid-2009, she was a new blogger seeking representation and publication for her writing. She often used examples from PILGRIM’S PROGRESS in her posts, and admitted a passion for John Bunyan. So it was no surprise when her first published novel was a story loosely based on the second marriage of John Bunyan. (THE PREACHER’S BRIDE, Bethany House, 2010)

In that book Jody’s writing transported me right into the story’s mid-1600s setting… something that rarely happens unless an author has done a remarkable amount of research and used the information effectively.

In each of her successive books, Jody’s knowledge of historical times – i.e., 1836 Oregon, 1880s Michigan, and 1763 Massachusetts – evoked the same reaction, and I’ve been drawn into reading a genre that previously had never appealed to me. I eagerly devoured her newest book, REBELLIOUS HEART, when it was released in September by Bethany House.

At the end of this post you can leave a comment and be entered in the draw for a copy of REBELLIOUS HEART. :)

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Rebellious-HeartREBELLIOUS HEART takes us into the lives of two people from vastly different backgrounds. Susanna Smith is a bright young woman of good social status who, despite being denied the education she desires, displays her intelligence and asserts her independence as she works for social justice. When she seeks to aid a runaway indentured slave, she is assisted by the son of a farmer, country lawyer Benjamin Ross, who is also involved in the pre-Revolutionary discontent of the time. Their developing friendship places Susanna and her family in great danger.

Inspired by the unique friendship of US president John Adams and his wife Abigail, the story places richly detailed and believable characters into historically correct settings while playing out a fascinating and fast-paced plot.

I asked Jody which scene in the story she found the most challenging to write…

“Which scene in Rebellious Heart was the most challenging to write? I’d have to say the first scene in the courtroom where Ben is defending Hermit Crab Joe. I always want the first chapter to accomplish many goals. But often that’s hard to do without being wordy (and potentially boring the reader!).

“My original version of the scene was MUCH too long. And once I’d written it, I realized right away that I would need to pare it down quite a bit. But at the same time, I was told I needed to add more period detail to the scene so that readers could understand right away that they were in Colonial Times. So essentially I had to cut AND add at the same time!

“Fortunately, I’m not married to my words and I can usually cut and chop without mortally wounding myself. The hard part was trying to figure out exactly what was necessary for the scene and setting and what was overkill.

“Once I had eliminated as much as I possibly could, then I had a Colonial “expert” give me advice on where I could add a little more period detail to make the chapter/book more authentic.”

That authenticity stands out in all Jody’s writing, but especially in REBELLIOUS HEART. If you enjoy good historical fiction, you’ll want to add this book to your list of must-reads!

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If you’d like to have your name included in the draw for a free copy of REBELLIOUS HEART, please leave a comment below and be sure to provide your e-mail addy when prompted. The draw will close at 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24th. I’ll be taking a blogging break during Christmas week, but will post the name of the winner on Friday, December 27th.

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You can find out more about Jody and her books on her website: jodyhedlund.com

She hangs out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund and also loves to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund

She is represented by Rachelle Gardener at Books and Such Literary Agency.

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eBook Giveaway and Author Interview: Susan J. Reinhardt

I first met Susan Reinhardt on Facebook and in exchanges around our blogs, and have always appreciated her thoughtful comments and responses. I’m delighted to be among those who are getting the word out about the recent release of her debut novel, THE MOSES CONSPIRACY

“A trip to post-terrorized Washington, D.C. in 2025 and a buggy accident in Bird-in-Hand, PA set in motion events that expose a diabolical plan to destroy the Christian community. Ellie and John Zimmerman find themselves embroiled in a life-threatening investigation, fighting a shadowy enemy.”

Thanks, Susan, for dropping in here to answer a few questions about your book. And thanks, too, for providing a free eBook for one of my readers. (See info below.)

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flatecover(11)Readers often wonder where the idea for a book originated. What inspired you to write THE MOSES CONSPIRACY?

My late husband and I visited Gettysburg prior to Christmas in 2004. While standing in the old town square, surrounded by history, I could “hear” the forefathers’ voices. However, they were like fading echoes.

After several failed attempts to write non-fiction pieces, I put it on the back burner and prayed for direction. In August 2005, my husband and I were talking about “the Gettysburg experience,” and he said, “That’s it!  That’s your book! And you’ll write it in four months and call it Ghosts of the Past.”

I thought he was crazy, but caught the vision. The name changed to Echoes of the Past and later to The Moses Conspiracy. When I sat down at the computer, I had no clue what I was going to write. By Christmas 2005, I had 55,000 words.

How long did it take you to write the book and what was the journey like?
The first draft took four months, but then I had to learn how to write fiction. I cut my writing teeth on this book. There were multiple re-writes while I shopped it around. It took eight years to write, get a contract, and an agent.

The journey was far from easy. From 2006-2007, I wrote very little due to my husband’s battle with leukemia, death, and the subsequent challenges. When I came through the grief process, I knew I had to finish the book both in his memory and because I felt the Lord had directed me to write it.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

There are several messages, including the faithfulness of God during difficult times, the importance of protecting our freedoms, and building strong family relationships.

What genre is THE MOSES CONSPIRACY?

I loosely define The Moses Conspiracy as Christian Speculative Fiction because it takes place in 2025. Although it takes place in the future, I’ve avoided a lot of techno-babble. One take-away I wanted for the reader was the possibility this or something similar could happen.

What are you working on now?

The Moses Conspiracy is the first book in a trilogy. Book 2, with a working title of The Scent of Fear, takes place three years after the initial story. The rough draft is written and is now in the editing stage. The third book, Lost and Found, is still in its infancy. Each book is a stand-alone novel, but builds upon the previous plotline.

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the moses conspiracy on kindleSusan is offering a free eBook (PDF version) of  THE MOSES CONSPIRACY to one lucky reader.

Over this weekend, from now until midnight Sunday, those who leave a comment on this post will have their names entered in a random draw — one entry for each comment — and the winner will be announced on Monday. (This giveaway is available internationally. Be sure to include your e-mail address when prompted so we can contact you.)

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SusanReinhardtAbout Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt’s journey to publication began as a non-fiction writer. She’s been published in The RevWriter Resource, Devotions Magazine, A Secret Place, Vista, Live, and numerous other compilations and periodicals. Her appreciation for using fiction techniques inspired her to use fiction as a vehicle for truth. A widow, stepmom, and active church member, Susan enjoys reading, couponing, gardening, and searching for small treasures in antique shops.

Susan is represented by Joyce Hart, of the Hartline Literary Agency.

THE MOSES CONSPIRACY is an eBook available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & Kobo.

Visit Susan on her BlogFacebook, and Twitter.

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‘The Next Big Thing’ Meme


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There’s this Meme going around, called The Next Big Thing. Folks have been sharing details of their current writing and up-and-coming projects. My DD, Shari Green, was tagged and I was happily reading her post when, wham! I came across my name. So I’ve been tagged now, too.

The idea is to answer the questions and then pass them along to another writer. It’s a great way to learn about each other’s work and to do a little self-promotion. Here are my answers:

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What is the working title of your book?

Since I don’t have a working title for my current w.i.p. yet, I’ll use the previous manuscript, and its title is UNLIKELY SHOWDOWN.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve been involved with the world of purebred dogs and dog shows for more than thirty years, and have seen some bizarre situations and behaviour. I heard of dogs being killed by obsessive competitors and that got me thinking about what might drive a competitor to murder someone.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s fallen all over the place, from cosy mystery to romance to inspirational romantic suspense! The revision I’m currently querying is simply a romantic suspense.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If it wouldn’t be considered too arrogant I would love to see Meryl Streep as the MC and David Strathairn as her husband. On stage they both display the strong, independent personalities that cause so much conflict in this story.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

UNLIKELY SHOWDOWN is the story of what happens when one woman’s addiction to purebred dogs and the competitive world of dog shows speeds out of control and turns deadly.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I have friends who have very successfully self-published so I know it’s possible, but it’s not for me. I can’t imagine myself venturing into today’s tough publishing scene without the guidance of a knowledgeable agent and the help of an experienced editorial team. Does that make me a wuss?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

If I said ‘forever’, I’ll bet other writers would understand. Much of it was written during last year’s NaNoWriMo month, but I continued to work on it right through the spring. I guess that means about nine months for the first draft, but I was still rewriting  parts of it earlier this fall, and am continually tweaking it now… especially since attending a recent workshop by Donald Maass on the topic of Writing Twenty-first Century Fiction.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I left this question until last, but even now I can’t really pinpoint perfect titles. I’d like to say a movie match-up would be combining the quirkiness of BEST IN SHOW with the out-of-control adventure of THE RIVER WILD, but that’s not exactly right either. Let’s just move on, shall we?

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think my earlier answer covers this. The plot reveals an aspect of the dog show world few people know about, and should. Once the idea germinated, the story pretty much blossomed on its own.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Everyone loves a dog story, but this one is more about the people who love dogs. There are many wonderful people involved in the dog show world, but also many eccentric ones. I was the official consultant for the filming of ‘Best In Show’ and if you’ve seen it, you’ll remember how passionate some people are about winning at any cost. There might be “eight million stories in the Naked City”, but there are a whole lot of them lurking behind the scenes at dog shows, too.

There! Now you have it. And now that I’ve done my share, I’m to tag others and invite them to participate. So, in alphabetical order…

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Laura BestFirst victim:  Laura Best

Laura’s first novel was an historical YA story, although I think I recall hearing her hint that there’s a non-fiction project somewhere in the works, too. She can be a little kooky at times (yes, you have to read her claim to the Booker Award) but when she talks about her little Miss Charlotte, you know she has her priorities straight.

KeliGwyn-V4-SmallSecond victim:  Keli Gwyn

Keli writes inspirational historical romance. Long before she was published herself, she interviewed me on her Romance Writers on the Journey blog. There is nobody with a heart like Keli’s when it comes to supporting and encouraging her fellow writers.

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 Third victim:  Ruth Logan Herne.

Ruthy is a multi-published inspirational romance author, a dog breeder, and an out-of-this-world cook, plus she has an outrageous sense of humour. I met her on Seekerville, but she has multiple websites for her books and a couple personal sites as well.

Katherine WagnerFourth victim:   Katherine Wagner

Katherine writes Gothic horror, but I like her anyway. Anyone who has attended the Surrey International Writers’ Conference more times than I have has to be on the right track. She’s the co-facilitator of my writing critique group, Golden Ears Writers, so I have to be nice to her and her red pen.

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If you’re tagged and don’t have time to take part, or would prefer not to, it’s okay to decline… although since I’m dying to hear more about your “next big thing”, I’m going to be very curious about your answers to this meme, so I hope everyone will choose to participate. :)

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Interview Elsewhere (at Charlie’s blog)

Charlie Holmberg

If you’ve ever wondered what my latest book is about, or who is my favourite author… you know, earth shattering questions like that… then I invite you to skip on over to the “Myself As Written” blog where I’m being interviewed today by freelance editor and aspiring fantasy author Charlie Holmberg.

If you’re not up to skipping, I won’t mind at all. But since I’m not writing anything else here today, it’s gonna be a mighty boring place if you decide to wait around.

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Secrets and a giveaway from author Jody Hedlund

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Today I’m sharing in the excitement of author Jody Hedlund’s newest release, UNENDING DEVOTION. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “a meaty tale of life amid the debauchery of the lumber camps of 1880s Michigan . . . exciting and unpredictable to the very end.” This is stop #2 on Jody’s blog tour sharing fun secrets you probably didn’t know about her.

There’s also a signed copy of her book to be won. Check out the details below.

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Secret #2: The secret source of my writing inspiration

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

The secret of my writing inspiration is my bed. Yes, I really do get most of my story ideas when I’m lying in bed at night before I fall asleep.

Ideas stay in my heart and mind at all times during the course of writing the first draft. But it’s at night, in the quiet of the house, when my mind slows down and when my body is at rest, that I can hear my characters, that I fall in love with them, and they become real to me.

Interestingly, the moment I turn my book in to my editors, the characters leave my heart and head. It’s as if hitting ‘send’ severs the tie with them—which thankfully prepares me to be more objective with my work during the editing phase.

After the story is out of my hands, then usually the very next night, as I lie in bed, I begin the search for a new story and new characters. I begin to sort through ideas, always trying to find something fresh and exciting.

In fact, if I don’t have direction for a story, I start to feel lost. Then when I’m lying in bed, my mind is restless. And that undercurrent of restlessness remains until I latch onto another story and new characters.

Of course, I do find inspiration from many other places besides my bed. I glean ideas from biographies, history books, interesting people, old photographs, etc.

But it takes a quieting of the mind and the peacefulness of rest for those ideas to simmer and to come to fruition.

Are you building enough quiet and rest into your life to fuel your creative energy? Where do you find your greatest inspiration?

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Thanks for sharing with us today, Jody! Next time I’m lacking a good story idea maybe I should just go to bed! ;)

 To celebrate the release of UNENDING DEVOTION, Jody is giving away a signed copy. Leave a comment  on today’s post (along with your email address) to enter the drawing. Valid only with US or Canadian addresses. Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, September 6th. Winner’s name will be posted on Friday.

For more secrets about Jody and additional chances to win her newest release, visit her Events Page to see where she’ll be next in her “Fun Secrets About Author Jody Hedlund” blog tour. Also join in the Pinterest Photo Contest she’s hosting. Find more information about it on her Contest Page.

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Jody would love to connect with you! Find her in one of these places:

Website: http://jodyhedlund.com/
Blog: http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/
Facebook: Author Jody Hedlund
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JodyHedlund
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jodyhedlund/

 

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