Has anyone noticed that a lot of my books are getting new covers? (Har har!) OR that my newest book, Untethered, is way later in being released than initially anticipated? (Har har triple-har!)
Well, I figured that, along with a new random contest for this week (1st week in April! Hallelujah!), I’d do a little explaining. And we’ll start with Untethered:
Here’s what happened…stress, pressure, more stress, the Winter Blahs, and me needing to reboot! Those are some of the reasons that Untethered was delayed. I had hoped to see Untethered finished and released last autumn, but it just wasn’t flowing out of my mushy brain the way I wanted it to. I didn’t want to rush it, and I was. 🙁
I really, really, really love this book! It’s in the same genre and ‘feel’ in my soul as The Visions of Ransom Lake, Dusty Britches, Weathered Too Young, etc. and when I began to dread working on it, I knew I needed to let it go for a while. So I set it aside and waited until I thought I was back in the swing. But then I found I was still forcing it. For some reason, I just couldn’t find my rhythm with this book!
To be honest, it freaked me out quite a bit! I started thinking, “Oh no! I’m lost it! I’ve lost my groove! What if I never recover it? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!” And obviously, those are not great thoughts to be having when one is writing! So I stepped back again…waited a little while, and then tried to return to writing Untethered. But, just like before, it wasn’t happening!
You see, I had the story in my mind…the whole thing! But putting it on paper seemed such a daunting task, that I just couldn’t do it! I couldn’t find my stride. And I confess, this went on for several months…which of course caused me to begin panicking…which of course kept me from being able to write…which of course stressed me out…which of course made me unable to write…which of course kept me up at night…which of course caused me to be sleep-deprived…which of course stressed me out…which of course caused me to pack on the hard-fought 10 pounds I’d managed to lose…which of course stressed me out…which of course kept me from being able to find my stride…which of course….So you’re getting the idea, right?
Well, one night, my darling super-hero husband, was trying to talk me off the ledge, so to speak, and suggested we rearrange some things to ease up my time. What he suggested, simple as it may have seemed to him, hit me like an epiphany! I felt the stress begin to swirl down the drain and immediately began to feel free, inspired and motivated. The 10 pounds was still back on, but I felt like I’d lost 50!
I went to bed that night feeling refreshed, hopeful and with some peace of mind I hadn’t had in forever! And when I woke up the next morning, I sat down at my computer, pulled up my Untethered Master Doc and decided to start to read through the book starting at the very, very beginning.
I read the copyright page, then went on to the dedication. That’s when I realized that, although I’d put in WHO I wanted to dedicate the book to, and some buzz words for what I wanted to say…I had never fully written out the dedication! Hello? You know how, that unless I have the title for a book chosen, then I can’t hit my stride? Well, it hit me in the face that the same was true for Untethered where the dedication page was concerned! I mean, does the word “Duh” mean anything to you?
I decided then and there, that if I got nothing else written that day, I needed to get that dedication in my mind and heart. So I sat there for a brief 3 minutes and wrote the simple, short dedication. WHAM!!!!! Whoomp there it was! That was all I needed! The last little piece of the puzzle to pull the trigger on the starting gun had been put in place…and as I began to reread Chapter One of Untethered, I began to find the rhythm of my stride once more!
Wow! It was like magic! As I reread the first chapter, the book as a whole began to come together again! What had once been in pieces (part of a chapter here, and part of a chatper there) began to knit together perfectly! I LOVED my book again!
Believe me…Untethered has been a hard book for me to write…for several reasons…but I LOVE it! And I’m hoping you will, too! And I’ll tell you this…the hero is one of my all-time favorites! I’d put him neck-and-neck with Ransom Lake or Mason Carlisle! THAT’S how much I love who he is and what he does! He’s an awesome kisser, too! (Just in case that helps you to favor him.)
Now, the other thing I wanted to talk to you about is the cover redesigns that have been taking place over the past few months. Though 99% of the responses Distractions Ink (or myself) has received have been wonderfully positive, understanding and supportive, I have received one or two questions as to “WHY?” the covers are changing.
The answer is simple…sort of. Way back in the olden days (2001, 2002, 2003), scenic covers were ‘in’ and I pulled a lot of weight where their concept was concerned. I even chose the cover concepts for my first four published books. However, once the “Love Notes” collection began to come out from another publisher that I’d agreed to work with, that was the end of my choices. AND that’s when I began increasingly unhappy with my covers.
The other hurdle I had to leap (and you know that I haven’t run track meets in over 30 years) was that I couldn’t get hold of the cover artist I’d always dreamed of having, Sheri Brady. I had known from day one that Sheri was who I wanted to do my covers. But she was unavailable at the time, and so I limped along with covers that were either chosen for me, or that were not what I’d dreamed Sheri Brady could do.
Then, miracles of miracles, in 2009, Sheri’s schedule finally opened up and I was able to beg her to squeeze Marcia Lynn McClure covers into her business. The timing was right, too, because I was beginning to regain control of all my titles…winning back the printing rights from another publisher, etc.
Sheri knows me VERY well, and she started off carefully easing me to a different direction with Weathered Too Young…the silhouetted cowboy image! From there, she began to empower me with the realization that I was the author of these books…and that not many author’s can choose what they want for covers…but I could.
Since the day we met in 1995, Sheri has been one of the greatest forces for helping to buoy me up and encourage me to stretch and be strong! (Kevin had been the only one who could do that up until I met her, and I’m sure he was glad to finally have an ally!) And as I finally let go of the fear of redesigning covers and the reaction readers would have, I felt liberated!
I loved the covers of those early books…11 years ago, I loved them. But times have changed, and with the advancement of e-books and the changes in reading culture, my books all needed a face-lift. I’d wanted them to have that chance FOREVER, and even though I know some of us will always cling to those old covers, the new ones inspire me!
The McCall Trilogy is a perfect example of how those three stories FINALLY have a cover I can be proud of, smile over, and sigh with contentment! I LOVE the new An Old-Fashioned Romance cover, too! And did you just nearly faint when you saw what Sheri did with The Prairie Prince and a photo of Kevin? Ahhhhhhhh! I LOVE IT!
The new cover of The Visions of Ransom Lake was probably the one that freaked me out the most while Sheri and I were working on it. I mean…HANDSOME RANSOM LAKE!!!! I wanted it to be perfectly what I envisioned! And thanks to Sheri “The Miracle Worker”, graphics design QUEEN…it is!
And that brings me to the upcoming re-release of Shackles of Honor. Yikes! I’m not sure whether it will premier this week or next week…but YIKES! The new cover is GORGEOUS, of course! But my teeth are chattering all the same! This is a nerve-wracking process, you know! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! We’ll just have to wait and see what you think when it releases.
But…I suppose I’ve rambled for far too long…just judging from the length of this blog! Yuck! Sorry about that! 🙁
So let’s get down to brainless business, shall we? This week’s contest! Yippee!
So last week was the Michael’s Gift Card…and the winner is…Jessica Spafford! E-mail your snail mail address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jessica and I will get your gift card in the mail to you! (Psst…thanks to my Customer Framer Friend, Jaclyn for chiming in! I feel so special!)
As for this weeks contest…hmmm. How about…the DVD edition of Little Dorrit (starring Matthew Macfadyen!)? Yep! That’s it! Leave a comment on why you like Matthew Macfadyen, period drama movies, or anything somehow related, and you’ll be entered to win! Fun! Do you need a little video clip to whet your whistle? Ooo! Then here’s one (below)! Love it!