Monday, February 20, 2012

Cover Story -- plus a contest

Mary O'Malley
A cover can tell you a lot about a book. The covers of the books in our Dime Store Novel series can tell you:
  • Which main characters are featured in the story
  • When the story takes place
  • Where the story takes place
  • Some clues about what happens in the story
This information can help you decide which book you want to read first (or next). But, like many ancient texts, you need to know both the syntax and the grammar to truly understand. Let's look at a couple examples and I'll walk you through it.

We'll start with the cover of our latest book, The Reunion. Take a look in the upper-left corner of the frame. That's the month and year the book begins. This can help you sequence the books. At the bottom-right is the place where most of the action occurs. Of course, some books have action in multiple locations, but the primary location is listed here.

Beneath the title is an icon representing a key plot point or character in the story. This is a clue about what happens -- albeit an abstract one. For The Reunion, this icon is a coyote holding a jewel. I won't spoil the plot by telling you why a coyote would hold a jewel...or why that jewel is important. You'll have to read the book for that.

There are other clues as well. The art around the frame is a collage of images and icons from the story. You know someone burns, someone drives a pink Cadillac, there's a guy with glowing red eyes, there is a hand-stitched bag of something, a baby, and some calla lilies.  I'll give you one clue -- calla lilies are symbolic of death.

The final clue I'd like to mention is the symbol above the title. That's right...the pyramid with the eye and the three letters. The eye stands for Hanover Fist -- that makes sense because he's a private eye -- well, at least he is now. The T stands for Toledo Cats, the R stands for Regan Worth, and the M -- you guessed it. The M stands for me -- Mary O'Malley. If the element is colored in, that character is in the story.

What if no elements are colored, like in the cover of Angels in Hell's Kitchen? That means none of us are in it. It doesn't mean it's not about us -- because it is. It's about how we came to be. In fact, Angels in Hell's Kitchen is about how I came to be -- about how my parents met. But the M is not colored in because I am not even a twinkle in their eyes yet. What else can you tell about Angels in Hell's Kitchen by looking at the cover?

Comment below and leave your email address. On March 15th, there will be a drawing for a free ebook of both Angels in Hell's Kitchen and The Reunion.  PLUS - the first commenter to answer what the significance is of March 15th to Shakespeare's work will automatically win a free Rips in the Weave ebook.