I hope you're loving this week between Christmas and the New Year, as much as I am. The branches outside our window are bare and the air is chilly, but the creek rushes and roars with new life. My "to do list" says: 1) put on a cozy new thing--this year a warm flannel shirt; 2) pour a hot beverage into a Christmas mug; 3) put a cookie or a dark chocolate sea salt caramel on a napkin; 4) open a new book. Bliss!
It's all part of welcoming the New Year, recharging one's batteries, and filling the well to start writing that next romance. My writing new year begins with lovely new covers created for me by cover designer Mallory Rock. These new covers are like "makeovers," turning my books from ugly ducklings into swans.
Writer Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, and more) captures what many writers feel about the experience of getting a cover for a book, when she says, "The right cover is like a beautiful coat, elegant and warm, wrapping my words as they travel through the world, on their way to keep an appointment with my readers. The wrong cover is cumbersome, suffocating. Like a translation, a cover can be faithful to the book, or it can be misleading."
Here's the first of my new covers. All my books are "Austen-inspired," and this one could be set in the garden of Austen's Chawton cottage. I love the lush summer countryside here and the contrast of dark and light between the hero, a loner, and the heroine, who embodies light for him.
My next new cover is for one of my contemporary California-set stories. Here the setting is my own back yard--Marin County, California with its towering Redwoods and beautiful coast. Lexy Clark meets Sam Worth in Drake's Point where she takes over as the new owner of an English-style inn, perfect for the landing site in 1579 of Sir Francis Drake himself. A dog named Winston is a big part of the story, missing from the original cover. Here, Winston gets due credit for his role in bringing Sam and Lexy together.
One of my favorite lines about the New Year comes from the poet and thinker, Rilke--"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been." I love the sense of possibility in that.