We're happy to have back author Kari Lee Townsend today. Kari lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, her three busy boys, and her oh-so-dramatic daughter, who keep her grounded and make everything she does worthwhile...not to mention provide her with loads of material for her books. Find out more about Kari at her website and Mysteries and Margaritas, the group mystery blog she co-hosts.
Kari is giving away a copy of Tempest in the Tea Leaves to one of our readers who posts a comment to the blog this week. -- AP
Thanks so much to the fabulous Anastasia (aka Lois Winston) for letting me blog here today. And thanks to all of you awesome readers and writers who came to hang out with me today. As I tried to think about what I would blog about this morning, I looked around and noticed the covers for Tempest in the Tea Leaves and Corpse in the Crystal Ball (books 1 and 2 of my Fortune Teller Mysteries). I LOVE my covers! I got lucky. Berkley Prime Crime has some amazing artists on their staff, and my editor is always great about asking me what I’d like to see on the cover. Smart, since authors know their books better than anyone else and can probably come up with some pretty cool aspects to add to a cover. So basically I get to give my input, but I do not get final approval. What they come up with is pretty much what they come up with, period. Especially when an artist paints a picture. Knowing all that, I try to think of exactly what I really want to see on the cover first. Often times the artist has not read the book.
With Tempest in the Tea Leaves I sent them this blurb:
In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal—and her predictions can be lethally accurate… Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune-telling business in an ancient Victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled town librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a “non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.
I also sent descriptions of the main characters, and a description of the house as well as Morty. I think something about all the covers in a series needs to brand the books. In my case, each book will have whatever fortune-telling tool that book is showcasing. Also, the big white cat with black eyes named Morty is quite the character and plays a big part in helping Sunny solve the mysteries. So I suggested that Morty be on each of the covers. Then I suggested for book one, since it’s the first in a series and the first time we meet Morty, that it would be really cool if we could showcase Vicky—the ancient Victorian house that is presumed to be haunted that Sunny buys to be used as her home and business. This house has charm and character and was Morty’s house first. The only thing I didn’t consider mentioning ahead of time is that Book One takes place in winter, and the flowers and the house on the cover are definitely not set in winter. But that minor detail is overshadowed by the great detail they put into the cover: the peeling paint, the tea table on the front porch, Sunny’s Sanctuary sign hanging from the roof. Even Morty looks eerie and mystical. All in all, it’s a fabulous cover.
For book two, Corpse in the Crystal Ball, I sent them this blurb:
Psychic Sunshine Meadows makes a dark discovery in the woods… After clearing her name as the prime suspect in a murder, Sunny Meadows hopes she can finally enjoy some serenity in the idyllic town of Divinity in upstate New York. She’d also like a second chance with Detective Mitch Stone. But when Mitch’s gorgeous ex-girlfriend Isabel Gonzales shows up, Sunny’s not sure she can compete. Then Isabel mysteriously disappears. When the police turn to Sunny for help, her visions lead to the discovery of Isabel’s corpse in the woods. Before she died, Isabel scrawled in the dirt a message implicating Mitch in her murder. Now Sunny must help the man she’s falling in love with as she sets out to find the real killer. But this time Sunny’s clairvoyant abilities might not save her—as what she doesn’t see can hurt her.
I also sent them descriptions of the main characters once more. Then for this book, I suggested that we go inside Sunny’s Sanctuary so we could sneak a peek inside her world. I gave them a detailed description of her sanctuary, and again suggested that Morty be in there somewhere. I mentioned that money is a clue in the book as well.
I love this cover even more than the first, and I really hadn’t thought that was possible. The amount of detail that went into this cover amazed me. The constellations on the ceiling, the horoscope border, the Victorian style blue walls, the palm reading chart on the wall, the beaded doorway, the Victorian table with the black scrying cloth on top, the crystal ball behind Morty, and even the protective crystal angels on the corners of the table. I couldn’t be happier. I also think lots of color in a cover is eye catching and will surely hook a reader into at least flipping the book over and reading the back cover blurb. And isn’t that the point?
So next up will be book three, Trouble in the Tarot. I am already thinking ahead to what should go into this cover. Tempest took place in winter and involved tea leaves. Corpse took place in spring and involved a crystal ball. Trouble will take place in the hot and sticky summer and will involve Tarot Cards.
I don’t have a blurb for this book yet, but it will involve the local summer carnival that takes place in the center of old fashioned Divinity with its lantern street lamps in Mini Central Park. There will be the park’s gazebo and the swan pond, of course, but also carnival tents with games and crafts and rides, etc. Sunny will be helping her grandmother who’s sewing group put on the carnival by setting up shop in one of the tents and giving Tarot Card readings to the locals. Granny Gert is also quite the character who was introduced in book two and will now be a regular. I’m thinking book three’s cover could be a shot of Mini Central Park with the gazebo, the swan pond, and Sunny under one of the tents reading the victim’s tarot cards with Morty by her side. That could be fun. What do you all think? Any ideas? I’d love to hear them.
Any suggestions, readers? Post a comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Tempest in the Tea Leaves, and don't forget to either include your email or check back on Sunday to see if you've won. -- AP