The Queen of England: Grand Tour, cover reveal.

Yes, I’ve been busy.  Well, not me personally, but my new cover artist.  We’ve been trading comments and images over the past two weeks and I think this is where we’ve finally arrived for the Grand Tour cover.  I’ve also just finished the formatting on Book #2.  Now, it’s just time to decide when exactly to release the novel!  And no, I didn’t just look at the astrology of releasing books — apparently I’m supposed to avoid Mercury in retrograde to start any new projects.

Can you spot the similarities with the new Coronation cover?

A new cover look, The Queen of England: Coronation.

While part of me will always love my first cover, I’ve been thinking for awhile that it was time to try something new.  With 28 mostly great reviews on the book so far, I’ve been wondering…okay, not specifically wondering, but altogether denying why the book might not be living up to its potential.  So, as painful as it was, I went about trying to find a new cover artist, and was very fortunate to have landed myself in the situation I’m in (more details on that at a later time).

While this is certainly a departure for me (I’ve always shied away from this style of ‘commercial’ fiction), I really want to do whatever is necessary to increase the chance of connecting with my audience.  I believe in the Queen, and want to set up the trilogy for continued success.  Furthermore, we’re having fun designing the remaining covers in the series, which will feel very much in this tone.  I hope to share some potential versions soon!

As I’ve already committed to a book sale (an ad will go wide this Thursday), I’ll be posting the new cover on Amazon next week.

Thoughts and feedback are always welcome.

Life After Joe: Playlist.

I decided Liz (Life After Joe) deserved a soundtrack for her many hours in the car. #betterlatethannever  In case you’re interested, I also did one for The Queen of England: Coronation.

  • Hamilton Soundtrack
  • Hamilton Mixtape
  • Good Feeling, Violent Femmes
  • Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
  • Bad Habit, Offspring
  • Back to Black, Amy Winehouse
  • Drinking in LA, Bran Van 3000
  • Save the Last Dance for Me, Michael Buble
  • Mess, Ben Folds
  • Come Away With Me, Norah Jones
  • Tonight the Heartache’s on Me, Dixie Chicks
  • Landslide, Dixie Chicks
  • Die A Happy Man, Thomas Rhett
  • Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, U2
  • Stolen Dance, Milky Chance
  • FourFiveSeconds, Rihanna
  • Don’t Speak, No Doubt
  • 99% Invisible (podcast)
  • Bitch Sesh (podcast)
  • This American Life (podcast)
  • On Being with Krista Tippett (podcast)


Week by numbers.

Yes, it’s been awhile, but I’ve been busy! (I promise!)

The Queen #2 is done — like, complete and total final draft.  It’s off to the formatters.

  • 73,997, words.  I ended up cutting about 1,000 words from what I thought was the final draft to the real final.  I’m actually quite happy with this.  Basically, there is something great about reading on my Kindle and how that impacts the real experience of the book.
  • 224, pages, in case you were wondering.
  • 0, covers I’ve decided on.
  • 0, dates I’ve decided on for actually publishing the book.
  • 10,000AED, I managed to save after negotiating our rent yesterday.  Another year in Villa Hooks.
  • 1, dozen free chocolate covered strawberries I received (promotional).
  • 1, panel I’ll be speaking on this evening at NYUAD.
  • 1, pitch I’m working on for a NatGeo children’s show (no, I don’t have kids).
  • 1, article I’ve had accepted for Lonely Planet.
  • 1, article I’m hoping to place with USA Today (keep those fingers crossed).
  • 1, manuscript I need to start working on.
  • 1, fan fiction I’ll probably end up writing instead.
  • 1, book treatment I am actively avoiding.

The Queen of England: Grand Tour (more cover looks).

I realize you’ll probably not believe this, but the final draft of book #2 is almost done!  I guess I’m having similar feelings that I had with book #1 re: ‘it’s not really done just yet’ which is why I haven’t mentioned much about it this year.  So, I was a bit surprised today when I found some motivation to work on some cover looks (I had another crack at these in March 2017, if you’re interested to see).

As usual, I thought I would share with you, for feedback and other general comments.  I’m trying to figure out how to get rid of the overwhelming ‘blueness’ and other overlapping colors.  I’d like things to be a bit simpler/easy to read.  Also, in the interest of a series, I realize this is only close to the first cover in that it’s vaguely ‘historical.’  For all the evidence out there, books should look like they belong together, but I guess I’m kind of a ‘wait and see’ and I can always do a collection of covers once they are are all finished and published.