Cover Girls

November 12th, 2011

So much book cover stuff is going on, not just with my own books, but other people’s too, that it’s all I can think about.

Which is not good because I have so much to get done before I leave for my mini – book tour at the end of the month in, of all places, FRANCE. I have deadlines to meet and French to learn and suitcases to pack for the Salon du Livre Jeunesse! (If you’re going to be in France at the same time, also look for me in Lille, Montpellier, Strasbourg, and other bookstores of Paris! I’ll be putting up a real schedule soon, but in the meantime, check out my French publisher’s site, Lecture Academy, for updates.)

Meanwhile, both the covers for my 2012 releases have been released, and, if I do say so myself (and I can, since I had nothing to do with them), they’re pretty gorgeous.

But your input is vitally needed for one of them.

But first, OK, the cover for Underworld? OMG. So amazing. Don’t even get me started, I love it so much:

Underworld JKT
Underworld won’t be in stores until May 8, 2012!

Yes, that’s the same model from the first book! Isn’t she amazing? Just LOOK at her. And yes, that’s John’s arm.

Blue is my favorite color (to look at, not to wear), FYI.

But for my next book in the Heather Wells series, Size 12 and Ready to Rock (in stores in July 2012), I completely need your input! Because we’ve got two covers and we couldn’t decide which one was better! So I was like, “What if we just asked everyone what THEY thought?” and my editor, Carrie, was all, “YES.”

So take this uniquely rare opportunity to VOTE on which cover you like better here on the Heather Wells Facebook page (voting ends Sunday)!

This one?

Size12Rock4[8]

Or this one?

Size12Rock42[8]

I know some of you are looking at these covers and thinking, “What is the difference?”

But to some speople (like me) there is clearly a major difference (I will not tell you my preference so as not to prejudice the voters, but I do have one. Although honestly, either one would be fine).

And thank you to the amazing people at William Morrow for letting everyone have their say! You have no idea how many covers we went through to narrow it down to these two! We saw Heather in black dresses, gold dresses, red dresses, green dresses, jeans, on and on.

But this was hands down our fave. It’s just so . . . Heather. Sometimes you have to let your heroine dress up a little. Even if she’s solving a MURDER.

Anyway, here are some of the other things in my life that I’m excited about:

Of course, Princess Mia Thermopolis has a Twitter page and has started Tweeting. Mostly she’s just quoting Grandmere’s advice right now, but occasionally she has her own stuff to say. If only that lazy royal would update her blog.

(It was pretty sad when Princess Mia went to start her Twitter page and her own name and just about every variation of it was already taken by people who are not her, as was The Princess Diaries, etc. But of course Mia is too princessy to complain. Not.)

Did you know we’ve launched something called the Fab Five for Friday? That means every Friday we pick five fabulous commenters from my message boards and give them a free book (of mine or the author whose book we’re reading on the book club, or sometimes both or sometimes some completely random ARC I have lying around. YOU JUST WON’T KNOW)!

All you have to do to be a potential Fab Five winner is comment on the message boards (in the Books section, duh). So go do that right now while I wait.

Hi, thanks for coming back.

OK, also, next week I’m doing a webinar with the Girl Scouts of New Jersey. Yes, I was a Girl Scout! I freaking LOVED Girl Scouts, and not just because of the cookies (which I can’t eat now because of celiac disease, so we need to work on a gluten-free cookie, Girl Scouts)! I loved the Girl Scouts because all the fun, creative girls were in it.


Love this. Although no real Girl Scout would ever do this.

Speaking of fun girls, I’m so excited about this new addition to the Betsy-Tacy series (which also has all new covers) with a forward by Judy Blume, Ann M. Martin, and Johanna Hurwitz (it even got a mention in the NY Times)!

So cute, right?

Honestly the reason I think I’m so into the Betsy series is the old-fashioned hand-holding (“No!” Betsy cried. “I won’t do it! I just won’t!”) and gossipy misunderstandings and sandwich-making. With all the bad news to which we seem to get subjected week after week, I find slipping into an “old-timey” book more and more comforting.

(My favorite in the Betsy series is the one that I wrote the forward to, Betsy Was A Junior, but I receive no financial kickback if you buy it, dammit! And it’s probably good to start with the treasury to find out how it all began.)

Betsy-Tacy is very nice for comfort reading, but what I love BEST for this is Mary Stewart novels. They do have murders in them, but Mary Stewart’s books are never TOO shocking, and they always have a sensible but pretty heroine, and handsome men with strong, chiseled profiles, who urge the heroine to drink whisky–“Drink it, dammit!”–after she’s had a shock. Plus, there’s kissing.

So that’s why most exciting to me of all (because in case you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a total cover NERD) was my very tardy discovery of the re-release of the entire romantic suspense collection of Mary Stewart, with ALL NEW COVERS.


Ta da!!!

Lady Mary Stewart (yeah, it’s official. She’s a lady) is pretty much my all time favorite living writer. She did most of her writing in the 50s-90s, and is now retired and lives in Scotland, so it’s unlikely I will ever meet her. I will just have to blog about her instead, which is OK, because that’s the next best thing (besides reading her books).

I think these American covers capture the eerie romance of Mary Stewart’s books, but not the wittiness of them (they’re often quite funny) like the new British ones above, although I worry the quirkiness of the new British covers (which of course I’ve already bought) might not attract younger readers used to, say, The Hunger Games:

It’s important to remember that while some of Mary Stewart’s books have elements of magic in them (usually explained as coincidence), almost all of them have MURDER in them! Like The Hunger Games, this book below features children being murdered (for money, not food). But you wouldn’t know it from the cover:

Nine Coaches Waiting is about a modern day English governess (well, modern for 1958) looking after a young boy in a fancy French chateau. She is just doing her job and trying like crazy not to fall in love with the devastatingly handsome elder son of the chateau owner (hint: she fails. It is not her fault, his name is Raoul and he takes her to Monte Carlo in his fancy car one night. How could she NOT fall in love with him?) when she stumbles across a terrifying plot to MURDER THE CHILD FOR WHOM SHE IS CARING.

(Okay, maybe the child murder plot of Nine Coaches Waiting is nothing like The Hunger Games, in that it is a secret plot, and the heroine is trying to stop the child murder, not commit it. But it’s still quite alarming! And the heroine does have to run through a lot of woods, like Katniss.)

This was my original copy (my BFF Beth, who introduced me to Mary Stewart, gave it for me). I have no idea who the hot chick on the cover is supposed to be. I suppose the heroine, though she is barely in her twenties.

Frankly I like my cover best.

There are no coaches in the story Nine Coaches Waiting. There is, however, a BALL (and a fashion designer)!

I don’t know which Mary Stewart novel is my favorite since there’s one for every mood. Right now I’m quite fond of Madam, Will You Talk in which a young lady visiting Provence meets a nice little boy at the hotel where she’s staying. Too bad he says he’s so scared of his widower dad, the crazy MURDERER!

Then later she runs into this very handsome gentleman with a chiseled profile who, when he learns that she’s met this adorable little boy, ABDUCTS her, because it turns out he’s the boy’s dad, and he thinks SHE’s kidnapped his kid, and he wants her to tell him where he is (which she won’t do, because she thinks HE’S a crazy murderer).

Maybe he should just realize what a horrible mistake he’s made after he sees how pretty and nice she is and take her out for a really nice dinner and make her drink brandy to get over the shock of being abducted by him and say how sorry he is and then maybe accidentally try to kiss her because she’s so pretty and then apologize for doing THAT, it’s just that he is so overcome by how CRAZY he’s been on account of being set up for a MURDER he didn’t commit, and he’s desperate to clear his name and get his son back. Also maybe he’s in love with her.

Will the heroine talk, and tell him where his son is and try to help him get him back, or turn him in?

(OMG almost all of the above covers are HIDEOUS and in no way convey how amazing this book is. Here is the new one, but it’s set in the parched Provencal landscape during summer, so why does it look vaguely Christmasy?)

I should probably admit I was asked to write a forward to this re-release of Mary Stewart’s novel Thornyhold, but this edition is currently out of print (and obviously I did this for love, not money)!

I should probably also admit I’ve never read what are considered Mary Stewart’s “scholarly” novels, the King Arthur ones (shut up. I know! I wrote a King Arthur novel myself). But I’m saving these books for when I have a terminal disease and desperately need something new by Mary Stewart to read.

Anyway, one of Mary Stewart’s books, The Moonspinners, was made into a movie by Disney, starring the delightful Hailey Mills.

In the tradition of Disney movies based on books, The Moon-spinners doesn’t exactly follow the plot or tone of the book, which is about a young lady on vacation in Crete who stumbles across an injured young man, and obviously suspects him of having done something terrible when she learns the injury is a knife wound and the young man urges her to get away . . . for God’s sake . . . just get away.

But he is quite the handsome gentleman, so she’s hesitant to leave him to die . . . .

Big mistake? Or best decision of her life? What do you think? Perhaps there’s a MURDER . . . (there is).

It is said that Lady Mary Stewart “took a friend to see the film opening, only to find that the producers had wanted to buy the rights to the title but not the plot, and the story line was unknown to her.”

Ha! But I do remember seeing this movie as a kid and LOVING it. Though not as much as I love the book, of course.

The Mary Stewart novel I just finished reading was about the crazily named Gianetta (don’t worry, her crazy name is explained), a fashion model who is quite tired after all her busy fashion modeling and needs a vacation in the Isle of Skye because it’s so TIRESOME living in London during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth (actually if you liked the TV show The Hours on AMC, which I did, this is the book for you because everyone in it smokes and drinks sherry, even when they’re fishing, and also they listen to the wireless about horrible news coming out of the USSR, which I shouldn’t have found hilarious but I did).

So Gianetta goes for a nice relaxing stay in a swanky inn on the Isle of Skye, and what does she find there?

Not only her bitter ex-husband whom she had to divorce because he was all post-traumatic stressy from the war (and he’s also a novelist, so divorcing him was quite understandable), but . . . multiple MURDERS!!!

I highly recommend Wildfire at Midnight to anyone with an ex about whom they dream of one day reuniting. Or anyone who likes reading about the Isle of Skye, or drinking sherry by the fire, or models.

OK, that’s enough cover chat for one day (obviously I could go on for much longer, but I will spare you). If you want to know more about Mary Stewart, you need to go to this excellent blog.

And of course don’t forget to vote for MY covers here. Lately my poor heroines too have a tendency to be going about their business in a perfectly normal fashion, and then suddenly stumble across a MURDER.

Fortunately they’ve got feisty personalities, handsome (if moody) gentlemen friends, and all of you to help them out. They couldn’t ask for more, and neither could I.

More later.

Much love,

Meg