Monday, April 20, 2009

Like Buttah

The fifth novel in my Murder-by-Month series hits bookshelves September 2009. The book, set at the Minnesota State Fair, was originally titled September Mourn. I loved this title so much that I worked Neil Diamond into the plot. Unfortunately, my publisher discovered another mystery already has that title. Neil Diamond stayed, but the title went, replaced by September Grace.

Strike two.

september fairNot catchy enough, said my publisher, offering up September Fair instead. Nothing was ever going to be as good as the original, so I said fine, grateful to have a publisher who even asks for my input on such things.

Then I saw the cover mock-up.

Midnight Ink has rightfully won awards for their cover art, ranging from the beautiful to the eerie to the complex. With August Moon, I talked them into a streamlined cover more in keeping with the comic mystery genre. They agreed and stuck with that theme for September Fair, for which I was again grateful. But that color. The background was described to me as "butter." I would call it "light nausea." Your thoughts?

And what about that bloody tiara? It was originally an old-fashioned bottle of milk with a blue ribbon draped over it, but since Milkfed Mary, Queen of the Dairy, gets murdered while her head is being carved out of butter in Chapter 1, the bloodied crown seemed more fitting. Other thoughts for what could occupy that space instead, or is the tiara compelling to you?

p.s. My cousin just emailed me to say that you can buy a used copy of the as-yet-unreleased September Fair through for $1000. I will sell you the manuscript fresh off my laptop for half that. :)


Alan Orloff said...

I like it, but then again, I've been known to wear red with orange.

Keith Raffel said...

Jess, Looks like they're making your covers have a certain look. Tiara on this one, bracelet on the last. If so, there are just so many colors to choose from. Nice quote on the cover!

Alan, what's wrong with red and orange? Heidelberg College's colors are red, orange, black, and white.

G.M. Malliet said...

Yes, Alan, so what's wrong with red with orange?

I like the tiara. I'm not sure about the yellow, Jess, but it is eye-catching and comic-like in it's way. It will be a good contrast to the black-spined noir books when it's lined up on the shelves.

Julia Buckley said...

Jess--I like the cover overall, and I like the title, too. Yellow is tricky, because it has pleasing shades and not-so-pleasing ones. This one is sort of in between for me. However, I once noted that many mysteries are yellow, and that includes those big-name bestsellers: I think it's because the color stands out so much on a shelf, even in dim lighting.

Alan Orloff said...

Well, I've always maintained that there's nothing wrong with red and orange together, but my wife thinks otherwise.

And I know who's boss around my house.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

My 5th book cover (Corpse on the Cob) has the same bright yellow (and green), and while I'm not a big yellow fan, I had to say "Yowsa!" when I saw it. All you need to remember, Jess, is that bright yellow jumps off the shelves.

The bloody Tiara is cool. I really like how Midnight has simplified your covers and brand.

Jess Lourey said...

Wait, Alan, are we talking red pants and orange shirt? Because I'm on your wife's team. Thanks for looking at the cover!

It's true, Keith, they're after a certain design, and I like it overall. The color is just a little off, for me. If it was a stick of butter, I'd smell it before I used it. You're right about the blurb, though--I was thrilled when I saw it! Harley Jane Kozak is a queen, and don't let anyone tell you different.

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks for the feedback about the tiara, Gin, and for being an optimist about the book standing out on the shelves. You too, Julia! You guys are a great support team. I'm choosing to believe your interpretation of reality--September Fair will be a beacon in the dim world of noir, thriller, and PI. :)

Jess Lourey said...

I also like how the covers and brand have been simplified, Sue Ann. Thanks for the supportive words! And I've always been a fan of your covers--also uncluttered and unique. Cheers to yellow covers!

G.M. Malliet said...

When I saw Alan in Charlottesville, he was wearing an orange Hawaiian shirt with red plaid pants. This may be the point where his wife drew a line in the sand.

It was also there I met Harley Jane Kozak for the first time. She was dressed normally and I can confirm she's a great lady.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Harley Jane has blurbed my Ghost a la Mode novel coming out in September. I've done several events with her here in So. Cal and adore her.

Jess Lourey said...

I've never had the good fortune to meet Harley Jane Kozak, but she was warm, generous with her time, and hilarious when I cold-emailed her to request a possible blurb for September Fair. I've been a fan of her books since Dating Dead Men, and it was a treat to find out she is as good a person as she is a writer!

Alan Orloff said...


Thanks for not mentioning my purple belt. (I don't want people to think I dress like a pimp.)

Now, where did this whole comment trail begin?

Oh yeah. Jess, I like the cover. A lot.