Cover reveal! I normally begin each newsletter with an essay of sorts, but I just received my batch of advance reader copies for my upcoming book, The Dead Husband (coming May 2021) and can’t wait to show you the cover. There’s nothing like opening a box of your books for the first time…watch the video to see how they look!
There’s both art and science in creating book covers, and my publisher always sends me an analysis along with their proposed design. They look at other books in the same space and analyze what works, what doesn’t, and most importantly consider how the cover would look on both large computer screens and small phone screens. So if you see a lot of books in the same genre that all seem to share a general look and feel, that’s because there are teams of people researching trends, patterns, colors, and fonts, and all that research gets paired with very creative cover artists to find that perfect look.
Isn’t she a beaut?
After I wrote The Dead Husband I spent the last year writing another book, which I recently sent to my agent, Pam Ahearn. This was the 12th book I’ve written, which includes the first three that never sold and one I rewrote to such an extreme I count it twice. And in all those books, I’ve never typed the words “The End” on that last page. There’re two reasons for this. One, it just kinda seems stupid. Two, those words make it seem that the book is done, and I know better than that.
A book is never done, it’s simply a work in progress that I have to ultimately let go of. After giving my current manuscript to Pam she’ll have comments—good ones—and changes will need to be made. In the process of making those changes, I’ll find other stuff, bits and pieces I didn’t notice before that need some editing. And then I’ll think about the ending all over again, second guessing myself. And that first page…it could certainly be better, can’t it? And how complete was that character arc, really?
And don’t get me started on what happens when it goes through the publisher’s editorial process.
A book is never done, not really. It’s certainly never perfect. But at some point, I just have to let it go, knowing it represents the best I could give it at that particular point in time. I know a fair number of writers who struggle to get anything finished because they try to make every sentence perfect along the way, which is asking for the impossible.
Just let go.
Now, those are words you’ll find in my books, time and time again, as my main characters often find that surrendering to situations they cannot control is just as important as mastering the situations they can.
That just might be my next tattoo.
One more thing…
I send Pam printed manuscripts, never electronic. And I always include a little treat along with the manuscript, usually a piece of chocolate or something that has some relevance to the story. In this case, I created a logo for Tuli’s Gourmet Grocer, a fictitious store that plays a small role in my story, and used it to create a food label. Printed that label out, slapped it on a nice little can of pistachios. Voilà!
What I’m Listening To
I’m not the best sleeper. I never have trouble falling asleep, but frequently I wake up around 3am and start tossing and turning. Then, if my mind starts racing, I’ll grab my phone and play a sleep meditation. I don’t always fall back to sleep by listening, but at least it keeps me from being alone with my thoughts. My recommendation? Download the Calm app and subscribe. There are a ton of sleep meditations as well as sleep stories. Yup, just like when you were a little kid. If you weren’t already madly in love with Matthew McConaughey, wait until you listen to him reading you the bedtime story “Wonder” with his soft, gentle drawl. Alright, alright, alright.
What I’m Watching
The Last Dance (2020, Netflix) I’m not a basketball fan, but I do love a good sports story, and one of the best I’ve seen is this ten-part docuseries that chronicles Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1997-98 season as they chase their sixth championship. What’s amazing is that a camera crew was embedded with the team that season, but for some reason that footage was never aired until it became part of this series.
Because of the length of the series, there’s plenty of opportunity to delve into the history of several of the star players and view their rise to fame. Of course, no one is more spectacular or enigmatic than Michael Jordan himself. I think my favorite quote in the entire series was made by one of Jordan’s biographers who said:
“His gift was not that he could jump high, run fast, shoot a basketball. His gift was that he was completely present, and that was the separator.” -Mark Vancil
Side note: I actually got to see Michael Jordan and the “Dream Team” play in the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, and I don’t think I took a single damn photo.
Bits of The Dead Husband
Up until my book launch next May, I’ll be sharing snippets of The Dead Husband in this space. This month’s passage:
Guff is a bit of an asshole but he sure is a good looking cat.
I received the following email from a reader who wanted to thank me for bringing attention to Lyme Disease and those who suffer from it.
Carter, I hope this message finds you well and doesn’t get lost in other messages I’m assuming you get on a regular basis.
I just finished reading Mister Tenders Girl and it’s now my favorite book. The story itself is amazing and I love your writing!
I’m actually sending this message to thank you though.
When I found out that Thomas has Lyme Disease in this story, I had to stop reading for a minute in shock. I have had chronic Lyme my entire life and it rarely ever gets recognized as a legitimate illness even to doctors.
Doctors that try to treat patients for Chronic Lyme can actually get their licenses revoked.
Some private doctors will still treat it, but are unable to take insurance for Lyme treatment they give, leaving people to pay big money just to find relief. Doctors are made to treat Lyme like an infection that will be fixed with antibiotics, not something that may cause lasting damage for life.
So to hear that you bring awareness in this book with a character that has lasting damage just like I do, is a giant shock, but also a breathe of fresh air and i cannot thank you enough for that!
Good luck with all future writing!!
I have to say, when I gave my character of Thomas Lyme Disease I didn’t realize I was helping anyone, but I’m happy to see my words having an impact in ways I never expected. Thanks for writing, and stay healthy and happy.