The holidays just ended and already I’m getting emails from a major department store telling me it’s not too early to prep for prom.
I took a look at the dresses offered and I have to admit, $445.00 is pretty pricey for a dress you may only wear once. Or twice.
If you’re lucky, you get to wear your prom dress to a college dance, but by then it will be so “yesterday.” Not to mention it won’t fit if you fall victim to the Freshman Fifteen.
But what if you’re not going to the prom because . . . well, you hate yourself because you’re not thin. Who’s gonna ask you?
It gets worse.
When your arch enemy, the Duchess, bullies you about your weight, you lose it. Announce to the universe you’re going to
run against her for prom queen and you’ll anything to get thin. Anything. Even sell your soul.
Guess who shows up…and is Luke the hottest, sexiest devil you’ve ever seen. He promises you that you’ll get thin if you do what he says…
Find what that is in CRYSTAL GIRL when Kaylee makes a deal with the devil to get thin and win Prom Queen.
Available in Kindle and Kindle UnLimited
With all the talk about how women are viewed in the workplace, let’s not forget appearance is also a key factor. Actresses have been “ordered” to lose weight to get a part. Models, it seems, live on lettuce. And the rest of us, well, we see these gorgeous ladies looking like celery stalks and get on ourselves because we don’t look like that.
Thank goodness people are talking about how much women are paid in the workforce compared to men, and how they have to struggle against unwanted advances from men in power.
But we’re also victims of ourselves. The obsession to be thin. It’s not a new problem. I’m doing research now for a story set in the Victorian era and I came across an “X-ray” drawing of a woman’s ribs from using a corset. Pushed, squeezed into an unnatural, skeleton structure. No wonder women turned green. Literally. It was called chlorosis.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t keep a healthy weight. Healthy is the keyword here.
So if you’ve ever uttered those words, “I’ll do anything to be thin,” check out Crystal Girl and find out the price Kaylee paid before she found her way back.
CRYSTAL GIRL is based on a play I wrote that was produced at the Malibu Stage Company Theatre. It was very exciting to see my characters come alive on stage!!
Thanks for listening,
It’s a saying we learn as children: Don’t judge a book by its cover. It means, of course, that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, and we should look within to discover the true meaning and worth of an object or a person. It’s an excellent lesson, made more memorable because of the catchy phrase we associate with it.
As we apply that to sage advice to many things, though, do we follow it literally? Most of us do exactly the opposite when it comes to actual books.
A book’s cover can tell us many things: the genre, the age group that is the target audience, and even how professionally the book has been produced. Take these two anthologies for example: Once Upon a Time: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales for All Ages, and Day of the Dark: Stories of Eclipse.
Certainly the titles and subtitles give us some clue as to genre and target audience, which is good since not every communication about a book comes with a cover image. But, as another old adage reminds us, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so the cover design has a greater impact than the title on our first impressions of a book. The two book covers for these anthologies are:
These two covers elicit very different first impressions. The former (Once Upon a Time) is colorful, magical, and a bit whimsical. The font has a fairy tale feel. One would not have any qualms about picking it up and handing it to a child to leaf through. It invites children and adults into a world of imagination.
The latter cover (Day of the Dark) is mysterious, and bit foreboding. Looking at this cover, you would not expect it to be the reminiscences of people who have viewed an actual eclipse, despite its title. No—this cover tells us these stories are apt to be a bit darker. The color and font used for the subtitle, Stories of Eclipse, reinforces that impression. This book doesn’t reach out to a children’s audience the way the castle and happy dragon do on Once Upon a Time.
The same is true for books within the same genre. My new mystery, Death in Glenville Falls, has a cover that should tell you something about what might lie behind it:
The colors are warm and inviting, and the scene charming. There’s even a cat. This idyllic scene might make you think of Jan Karon’s Mitford series. But there is clearly a sinister element afoot, for what foul force would result in the stabbed book in the foreground? This cover tells you that there is a mystery inside, but it falls within the traditional/cozy side of the genre. It might keep you up at night because you want to keep reading, but it probably won’t give you nightmares.
On the other hand, my friend Geoffrey Mehl has a book, Nine Lives, that also falls within the mystery genre. With a title like that, it could be the story of the cat on the cover of my mystery, but his cover looks like this:
The sinister element is certainly there—silhouettes of people holding guns—but none of the reassuring, small-town charm balances it. Instead, we see computer code streaming behind them. This is clearly an edgier, suspense novel—and probably one having to do with computer data.
The same can be true, even for books with similar titles—only the cover tells us whether it’s one we’ll want to pick up and read more about or not. Take, for example, the books The Vampire’s Prisoner and Vampire King. Both titles suggest a powerful vampire is at work within the pages of the novel, but the covers give very different impressions. Look at:
The two offer very different kinds of chills.
Selecting a cover is often solely left to the discretion of the publisher, but for independent or hybrid publishers, authors have more control over how their books will look. It’s important to bear in mind that the cover image and cover design are truly the potential reader’s first impression of your work. If the cover looks amateurish, the assumption will be that the contents are, too. If, however, your cover grabs the readers’ curiosity, they are more apt to pick up the book, turn it over, and read more about it. If the back cover copy confirms what the cover promises, they might then turn to read the first page. And if they like what they see there, you might well have made a sale.
And all because they have judged your book by its cover.
Carol L. Wright is a former book editor, domestic relations attorney, and adjunct professor. She is the author of articles and one book on law-related subjects. Now focused on fiction, she has several short stories in literary journals and award-winning anthologies. Death in Glenville Falls is her first novel.
She is a founding member of the Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC, is a life member of both Sisters in Crime and the Jane Austen Society of North America, and a member of SinC Guppies, PennWriters, and the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.
Raised in Massachusetts, she is married to her college sweetheart. They now live in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania with their rescue dog, Mr. Darcy, and a clowder of cats—including one named Dickens.
On my bookshelves are a lifetime of beloved books, mine and those of our three sons, all now adults. I’ve always loved books. I grew up in a little Amish town in Ohio, with no library, or bookstore. We did however have the bookmobile. By the age of eight the librarians knew me, knew that I would read however many books I checked out, and would often put aside books they thought I would enjoy to bring on their next trip into town with the bookmobile.
And my father read to us when we were young. Tornado warnings were fun because my father would take us down into the basement with our favorite books and read until the coast was clear. I don’t remember ever being afraid.
My oldest son also loved books. He was reading by age four and loved our library time almost as much as I did. Taking away video games was never much of a punishment because he was happier reading a book anyway. Not just comic books or graphic novels, he read mythology, religion, science fiction and classic literature. I think his favorite authors in high school were Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allen Poe.
Reading didn’t come as easily for our middle son. When he wasn’t progressing in school, we eventually decided to home school both him, and his younger brother. I wasn’t a teacher, but I knew that reading opened so many doors in life…and that not reading kept doors firmly shut. I scoured the library and bookstores for books that might motivate my eight-year-old son. Eventually, I stumbled on the Star Wars Junior Jedi Series, and caught middle son’s interest. Each day we sat on the sofa, he’d read the first sentence on the page…which he seemed to find torturous, and I’d read the rest of the page. As he progressed he read the first sentence of every paragraph, and eventually we took turns reading paragraphs. It made me happy when he finally began looking forward to our reading time.
One day, he came into the kitchen while I was cooking dinner, a book in his hand and asked. “Mom, what’s this word.”
Startled I looked at him and the book and asked “What are you doing?”
His expression told me what a ridiculous question I’d asked. “I’m reading, if I wait for you I’ll never find out what happens!” He answered, and I knew he was a reader. I hugged him, told him the word, and sat down to cry happy…relieved tears.
The other day I was sorting through years of schoolwork that I’d kept for proof of the work the boys and I had done during our homeschooling years. I came across a book report by my youngest son. The book was Mystery of the Dinosaur Graveyard, and we’d checked it out of the library. The last sentence youngest son wrote was “I didn’t want the book to be over.” It was the first novel that he’d ever read. I remember reading that report for the first time and knowing that all three of my sons would be lifelong readers. I tried to buy a copy of the book but it was no longer in print. It was nowhere to be found. I was ready to commit the most heinous of crimes, and tell the library that I’d lost the book and pay their fines.
This was in 1998. We didn’t have the internet yet (or so I thought) because I thought the internet was a betrayal of the library. Oldest son was in high school, he got onto his video game system, accessed Amazon and asked them to search for the book. Within a week they’d found the book, I’d made my first internet purchase, and my son had saved me from life in the ‘Big House’.
I can’t imagine a life without books. Library books, print books, ebooks, there are never enough, although my husband, and friends and family who have helped us move may disagree. And although my sons’ bookshelves are filled with Brandon Sanderson, Tolkien, Ambrose Bierce, and Terry Brooks, and mine are filled with Phillipa Greggory, Sarah Dunant, Rebecca Forster, Erika Robuk (and so very many more) I’m so glad that we share a passion for reading and books.
What’s on your bookshelves? And who shares your love of books and reading? What are you reading right now?