Sunday, July 20, 2014

Designing the Cover of DIVINE FALL #angels #amwriting

I love the covers of all three of my books.  When I received my first contract for SILVER LAKE, I was absolutely overjoyed, and the whole process was brand new to me.  My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, actually allows the author quite a bit of input in terms of cover art.  A detailed questionnaire was provided, and I filled it out with my ideas and suggestions.  We're encouraged to send in pictures or copies of book covers we like as well, and I had a ball searching the Internet for inspiration.  You can find the pictures I sent in on the Pinterest board for SILVER LAKE, and the one for GULL HARBOR.

However, the final decision on the cover belongs to the publisher, as they've bought the rights to the book.  A cover needs to do a lot of this competitive market, visibility is key, and an eye-catching cover can help with that.  I read a lot of YA books, and I think this is especially important within the Young Adult Romance genre.  There are so many absolutely breathtaking covers!  And yes, I know the old adage about not judging a book by its cover, but gorgeous covers get noticed, and a reader can't consider a book unless they've noticed it among the millions of choices.  The cover, or packaging, is one of the 5 "P"s of Marketing.

Which leads me back to my original degree--I have an MBA in Marketing.  So with my third novel, I decided I'd step up and use it, along with what I've learned about the industry in the past 6 years, and take total control of DIVINE FALL.  Yes, that means publishing the title on my own--a scary process.  There's so much to consider and more things to learn.  But it also meant I could design the cover from start to finish, and while it felt a bit overwhelming at first, I am so, so happy with the results.

Where to start?  If you google "book cover artists", the results are mindboggling.  So I headed back to my favorite place for inspiration, Pinterest.  I searched "beautiful book covers" and went from there.  And then I found her--the artist I knew I needed to have: here is a board of book covers created by Phatpuppyart.  Every single one is stunning, in my opinion.  I sent the initial email, and I described what I was envisioning for my new book's cover.  Claudia and I decided to work together, and things moved very quickly from there.

The linked hands

First, I needed to pick out the pair of linked hands from a stock photo site.  That was fun (literally) - I think I viewed every single photo of arms on  I was able to compare them in a "lightbox"; I then picked out my two favorites and sent them to the artist so she could choose the one that would work best.  I purchased the rights to use the one Claudia selected.

Claudia's creation...I love the mystical
quality, the vivid colors, and the
juxtaposition of light and darkness
From there, we discussed the background...this book takes place during autumn, and much of the action takes place in the woods.  Plus, there is the paranormal element...a fallen angel, or Nephilim, with a host of dangerous secrets.  Once I described the setting and mood and sent the blurb, Claudia came up with the gorgeous background in record time.  I was absolutely blown away.  It's perfect!

Then one of Claudia's partners, The Font Diva, took over.  Again, I got to look over the portfolio of covers and pick out fonts I liked.  Once I sent in my choices, she designed the font for the title, author name, and added the floating feathers to bring in the Nephilim element.  Again, I was blown away.  So, so beautiful.  Now that the formatting is done, she'll be creating the spine and the back cover, complete with more feathers and beautiful lettering.

The finished product!  The Font Diva added
both the perfect font and the feathers, and I love
the colors and shading she used in the title

I can't say enough about the level of professionalism and the quality of their work.  I'm so happy with the finished product, and I enjoyed the process immensely!  DIVINE FALL has its own Pinterest board, of course, which I sent to Claudia when we began.  Check out the characters, setting, and cover art inspiration - and click here to add to your Goodreads list!  Less than a week until release day--July 25--, and I'll be able to hold the physical book, with the beautiful cover, in my hands!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My 2nd TV Interview - #amwriting #romance

Last year, I filmed my very first television interview--I was invited to discuss SILVER LAKE on Books and the World, a local cable program.  The first link takes you to the post with the actual interview, but this one explains how nervous I was!  So why, one might ask, did I ask to go through it again?

Because I'm passionate about my books, and I constantly push myself beyond my comfort zone in order to connect with readers.  As an avid reader myself, I know I'm always looking for recommendations.  When I find a book I can't put down, I'm truly's my absolute favorite form of entertainment.  My hope is that my books provide that type of enjoyment for fans of romance, suspense, and the paranormal. 

So...I finally sent the email to the producers of the show, telling them about my latest release, GULL HARBOR.  I was invited to return for another interview, and we filmed on June 13 (Friday the 13th, but that's okay, I'm a big fan of the number 13).  This time, I found I was much more relaxed as I waited in the conference room.  I was introduced to my interviewer, an amazing WWII veteran who said he enjoyed my paranormal romance immensely.  That set me at ease, until he further stated that we would not discuss any questions in advance.  We'd just have a conversation, in front of the cameras.


I'm a plotter.  I like to be prepared.  My nerves fired back up into overdrive.  But it was fine, and I found myself actually forgetting about the camera this time, and just focusing on answering the questions and discussing my passion.

So, here's the interview, should anyone care to watch.  And here's part 2, because for some reason Youtube won't load the whole half hour program.  Finally, here's the way putting myself out there led to even more exposure:

The producers informed me that although the show only airs in certain towns, the episode would be available on a statewide access website.  Any town could pick it up, if requested to do so.

Again, I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone.  I emailed the cable stations in both my hometown and my husband's hometown.  And guess what happened?  One of those stations invited me to come in for THEIR author interview program, which airs in 44 towns with a potential reach of one million viewers!  The authors who've appeared on the program include some very big names.  Since DIVINE FALL releases this summer, we'll be focusing on my new YA paranormal romance.

Of course, I'm over the moon to have this opportunity.  Once again, I'll have to push my anxiety aside for the sake of my passion.  And while being interviewed in front of a camera is not yet something I feel completely comfortable doing, I've got to admit, each time gets a little easier.  Here's hoping I don't make up any words this time!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ghosts and #Angels - #Paranormal Postings

I'm a fan of all things paranormal, but ghosts are my particular obsession.  I’ve always wanted to see one.  If there’s a Haunted Walking Tour, I’m there.  But no luck, so far, seeing one in "person".  I love all those paranormal reality shows on TV.  I’ve even considered paying to spend the night in a haunted colonial jail a few towns over.  Apparently, no one has made it through the night yet!  If they had indoor plumbing, I would do it.  For now, I'll be using the old jail in my current work-in-progress, HAUNTED SOULS.
Although I've never seen anything, I've had other experiences.  In addition to that incident, something odd happened the other night.  I awoke to a strange noise: I thought I heard someone climbing the stairs over and over, up and down, accompanied by the sound of change jingling from a pocket.  Now, my husband runs a few mornings a week, and sometimes he does the stairs a few times to warm up, but I lay there in the dark thinking, why does he have a pocketful of change when he’s going running?  Then I rolled over and saw that he was still in bed next to me, and both our sons were at sleepovers.

The noise stopped, but I still had to get up and investigate.  I didn’t find anything, but in the darkness of 1:30 a.m., I decided maybe it wouldn’t be so cool to see a ghost.  At least not in my own home!

But I admit I had a lot of fun writing the scenes in SILVER LAKE when our heroine Rain Anderson actually sees the ghost.  As much as she wants to help her old friend’s spirit find peace, encountering her ghost is terrifying.  Luckily Jason is at the lake house too—but even he, a Fourth degree black belt in Karate, can’t do much about a ghost determined to get her message through!
I had to tap into a more sinister place to bring the ghost in GULL HARBOR “to life”.  While I would never define my novels as horror stories, the paranormal parts are designed to elicit a few chills.  And the ghost in GULL HARBOR is very angry and aggressive—for a good reason.  Can psychic medium Claire Linden figure out what happened before tragedy strikes again?  And can Max Baron, her former boyfriend, get past Claire’s resentment in enough time to try to help keep her safe?

For my third novel, I found inspiration in a new place--the Old Testament of the Bible.  I was reviewing the story of Noah and the Ark one night for a Sunday School class I had to teach, and I came upon the Book of Enoch.  This text contains the passage about Nephilim, the offspring of male angels and female humans.  An idea sparked for my first YA paranormal romance, DIVINE FALL.  This book will be releasing at the end of the month, and I'm so excited!  If you'd like a peek at the characters and setting, check out my Pinterest board.  You can also add DIVINE FALL to your Goodreads list here

It was fun researching angels for this project, but the beauty of writing paranormal fiction is the ability to allow your imagination to fill in the details.  I'm always careful to try to stay within certain boundaries--I want a story grounded in reality, so that the paranormal elements aren't an enormous leap.  All the supernatural occurrences are backed up with explanations, even if those explanations are created in my mind.  I constructed quite a story about the Nephilim in my head, despite the fact that there are only a few small paragraphs about them in the Bible: in Genesis (Book of Enoch) and Numbers 13:33.  If you enjoy YA paranormal romance filled with dark suspense and forbidden love, I hope you'll give it a try!



Monday, June 30, 2014

How Writing has Changed My Reading - #amwriting #amreading

Having undergone the rigorous journey of writing three novels (which included a number of rewrites, several attempts at creating intriguing query letters, the painful process of summarizing the stories into 3-page synopses, and--after that amazing contract offer--three additional rounds of edits to produce the final product), I now approach reading for pleasure in a whole new way.  I'm not sure it's better in terms of my enjoyment of my favorite hobby, but after everything I've learned about writing these past 7 years, I think my new frame of reference is here to stay.

Reading has always been my passion, and I appreciate good stories in all genres.  That hasn't changed.  But when I was younger, I rarely gave up on a book.  I had it in my head that once begun, a book had to be finished.  This applied whether I was enjoying the book or not.  I can only remember one book that I simply had to give up on--Lady Chatterley's Lover.  After discovering a classic novel with a racy title like that, I assumed I was in for a great read.  But I found the writing dry and tedious; the characters boring and one-dimensional.  I have no idea if the sex scenes were of any interest--I simply couldn't go on with the book.  The fact that I remember this, twenty years later, tells me that I still feel a bit guilty for abandoning the story.

But twenty years ago, I did not have a husband, kids, pets, and a house.  I had plenty of time to read.  Now, my reading time is a precious commodity which I refuse to waste on something I don't love.  Once I combine that reality with the knowledge I've gained throughout the writing process, the guilt disappears.  If, after the first few chapters, I'm not looking forward to continuing the book, I don't.  Unless there's a very compelling reason to keep going, it's time for me to move on to the next one.  I want a book I can't wait to read once I finally have some down time; not one I have to slog through because of some imaginary obligation.

There are a couple of things in particular that will make or break a book for me now.  First and foremost, I have to care about the characters.  I want to feel connected to them, to feel their emotions and root for their success.  If I don't care what happens to the main character, I lose interest fairly quickly, even if the plot seems promising.

One of the most useful things I learned when I began writing was the importance of getting the conflict out in the first 3 pages.  I worked very hard to actually get it onto the first page in all three of my novels--hopefully the reader is hooked and wants to read more.  When reading, I like to see this as well.  However, I don't necessarily give up on a book that takes me a while to "get into"--Outlander was one of my all-time favorite books, and I was definitely not hooked by the first chapter.  But in that case, enough people I trusted had recommended the series, and I'm so glad I kept going--Outlander is high on my list of my favorite books of all time.

Point of view problems are another thing that I may not have noticed before writing my books--but now, they will pull me right out of the story.  Occasional head-hopping is sometimes necessary, especially in romance, and I'm okay with that.  It can be done seamlessly in a way that allows the reader to experience what both characters are feeling.  But omniscience bothers me.  If I'm connected to a character, experiencing events through him or her, and suddenly the narrator tells me something the character can't possibly know, I immediately cringe.  It doesn't mean I'll stop reading, but I do notice it, and it disrupts the flow of the story for me.

It's not just negative things that attract my attention.  When a writer uses a fresh, original metaphor or a wonderfully descriptive phrase, I'll read it over a few times with appreciation.  That's a good thing for a writer to note--but as a reader, it still slows me down and takes my focus from the story to the actual writing.  Not necessarily the best practice when reading for pleasure, but it's something I can no longer help.  Funny dialog, powerful sentences, clever segues into flashbacks: these are all things that grab my interest.  While picking up on these things may momentarily break my concentration, it can also serve as inspiration for my future writing endeavors...and that's a price I'm willing to pay.

If you enjoy romance, suspense, ghost stories, and/or mystery, try SILVER LAKE or GULL HARBOR.  It's finally summertime, and both books are great beach reads!  The hook appears right on the first page, and hopefully it does its job and whisks you immediately into a steamy and suspenseful world for a few enjoyable hours.

P.S. - DIVINE FALL arrives this summer, too!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cover Reveal - DIVINE FALL #angels #romance #ya

Who doesn't love a cover reveal?  This one is very, very special to me, for reasons I'll delve into in future blogs.  I love the covers of all my books, but I got to play a much more significant role in the process with DIVINE FALL.  This is my first Young Adult book, a paranormal romance involving Nephilim, and I really wanted a cover that could compete with all the gorgeous YA covers out there.  Well, I got it - thanks to the incredible talent of my cover artist (Claudia McKinney of Phatpuppy Art) and her partner The Font Diva.  DIVINE FALL is not available yet, but it will release later this summer.  If you have a Goodreads "To Read" list, you can put DIVINE FALL on now!

So, presenting the beautiful, breathtaking cover, with the blurb below!  Thanks for stopping by :)

After tragedy tears Jamie Brandt’s life apart, her only goal is to finish high school so she can leave her small hometown behind.  In the meantime, riding her horse is her main source of solace, until a mysterious stable hand shows up at the barn.  There’s something not quite right about the handsome new employee, and the more Jamie sees of him, the more determined she becomes to figure out what he’s hiding.

Dothan Reed came to historic Huntsville, Maryland, for one reason—revenge.  But his plan can’t move forward until he finds the missing piece he needs to enhance his powers.  As the only surviving Nephilim, Dothan is not only weaker than full-blooded angels; his forbidden lineage makes him an outcast in both worlds.  When he discovers Jamie is the key to locating an ancient weapon, he’s forced to interact with a vulnerable human girl—a task that becomes more appealing with each encounter.

Jamie soon learns Dothan isn’t the only one with a dark secret.  Each new revelation further threatens her safety, and Dothan’s betrayal shatters her heart.  Forgiving him seems impossible, but the thought of turning her back on him is equally painful.

As their connection deepens, Dothan will have to make his own difficult choice: continue on his path of vengeance, or protect the girl he loves.  And when Dothan’s actions thrust Jamie into an unforeseen danger, he must seek the help of his enemy…or risk losing her forever.   

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Television, Talks, and Teaching - #amwriting - Kathryn Knight

Lately I’ve been coming way out of my comfort zone, all for the love of my books.  Self-promotion is hard—very hard—and I’m always looking for new ways to connect with readers.  After all, no one can consider reading a book if they’ve never heard of it!  So I continue to try to take new steps to push my career to the next level.

Last month, before my annual trip to the Delaware beaches, I contacted an independent bookstore located near the boardwalk and requested a book signing event.  Although this was my “vacation”, I figured a few hours devoted to meeting new readers would be a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  And wow, am I glad I took the chance!  Not only did the bookstore agree to host me, the employees did a phenomenal job promoting my event.  I came into town to see my books displayed in the front window on a shelf with bestselling titles like Gone Girl and Cuckoo’s Calling!  Prominent signage along the sidewalk attracted shoppers.  And of course I did my part, sending out press releases to all the local papers and radio stations.
had nice real estate!

The lighting is bright on set!
In April of 2013, I did my first television interview for a local cable show on books and authors.  The interviewer and I discussed my first novel, SILVER LAKE, and although I was quite nervous, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity.  So, I placed a call a few months ago, asking if I might be invited back to discuss my second novel, GULL HARBOR.  I did that interview on Friday, and although I have not seen it yet (it should air in two weeks), I do know I was a lot less nervous this time around.
My day job involves teaching fitness classes, and I have many loyal women who come to my classes and enjoy my books as well.  A few of them have gone the extra mile to help me with promotion.  As a recent example, one gym member contacted the manager of a local Cape Cod club she belongs to—and now, I will be giving a presentation at a luncheon in the fall.  I also connect with library support groups, which often hold author lunches to raise funds and serve as social functions.

Finally, I recently contacted the local community college, which is always open to suggestions for continuing education classes for adults.  I sent in my resume and a course proposal on writing fiction and getting published, complete with a syllabus—and I’ve been asked to teach the class!  I’m very excited to share the knowledge I’ve gained over the years…I worked so hard for that initial publishing contract, and along the way I rewrote, revised, got rejected, tried again…and eventually it paid off.  I’ve now branched out to writing in the Young Adult genre as well, which has its own set of challenges.  Many people dream of writing a novel; I hope to help people take that first step, and perhaps face the tasks involved armed with some advanced understanding of what to expect.    

Amidst all this, I am of course devoting time to my first priority, taking care of my family.  Then there’s gearing up for the release of DIVINE FALL, plus trying to squeeze in more work on my 4th manuscript.  Coffee, anyone?
What would I do without you?


Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Favorite #Ghost Movies - #Paranormal Postings

I have a bit of an obsession with ghosts, as anyone who has read my books knows--I've written two novels featuring a haunting as well as a romance, and more are on the way.  I've made lists before of my favorite ghost stories in terms of books, but I do enjoy the movies as well...whenever my sister comes to visit, we usually have a marathon watch of creepy films.  Anything paranormal will do, but the ones with a spooky and convincing ghostly presence get top billing.  Over the years, a few have really resonated with me, and helped inspire my novels.  Keep in mind, I'm no movie critic...I just found these films to have at least the solid backbone of a believable ghost story, with a decent mystery behind the haunting, as well as a lack of the plot holes I find in so many others.  The suspense kept me guessing, and certain scenes gave me serious chills.  I'll try to throw a little blurb out there for each one without revealing too many spoilers, in case you'd like to give one a try!

The Changeling - 1980 - George C. Scott stars as a widower who moves into a spooky old house in Seattle in the beginning of this film.  The ghost of a young boy inhabits the house, and the tragedy that befell him will eventually expose a cruel plot.  Now, the ghost wants justice, and Scott's character, plagued by scary surprises and terrifying noises, begins to investigate the mystery.  Admittedly, it's an oldie...and at the risk of dating myself, it was one of my favorites when I was in middle school.  In fact, my best friend had an upstairs bedroom that opened upon an attic that bore a spine-tingling resemblance to the one in the movie...late at night, we'd scare ourselves silly imagining that ball bouncing down the stairs.

A Stir of Echoes - 1999- a film starring Kevin Bacon, loosely based on a novel by Richard Matheson (also the author of Hell House and I Am Legend, among others).  Bacon's character, Tom, has a son who seems to possess the ability to speak with the dead...and there is something in their house that wants to be heard.  After being hypnotized at a party, Tom begins to experience visions as well, of a violent altercation which is tied to a neighbor's disappearance.  Clearly the desperate spirit wants its body found, but there are others with a vested interest in making sure that doesn't happen.

What Lies Beneath - 2000 - starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford (two of my favorites!)  Claire (Pfeiffer) and Norman (Ford) are a married couple living in Vermont; Claire is suffering from a memory lapse due to an accident.  When strange occurrences begin plaguing Claire, she investigates a possible killing in the neighborhood.  There is a ghost trying to communicate with Claire, but it's not who she first believes it is...and the spirit is not the only one hiding dangerous secrets.

The Orphanage - 2007 - a Spanish film set in...yes, a closed orphanage...along the Spanish coast in 1975.  My sister and I watched this one with subtitles, but I believe a remake is in the works.  This movie is dark, but full of creepy atmosphere and amazing cinematography.  The basic plot involves a couple and their adopted son returning to the orphanage where the mother once lived.  The family's plan is to reopen the old building as a home for disabled children, but their son soon claims to have befriended a boy named Tomas.  Terrible things happened here, and the truth will come out before the spirits can rest.

In all of these movies, there is a common theme: a desperate spirit who cannot rest because of unfinished business.  The ghost seeks revenge or justice, or wants its story told or its remains found.  Barriers to communication make this difficult, but not impossible.  These are all ideas that inspired my two novels, SILVER LAKE and GULL HARBOR.  Of course, there are many other ghost movies I've enjoyed that rely more on terrifying imagery to ramp up the screams, but have no real "reason" behind the haunting (like the first Paranormal Activity).  Still fun to watch, but my mind usually can't stop looking for an answer to the question, "Why is this happening?".  Regardless, I'll take a creepy thriller over gunfights and explosions any day!

Who knows, maybe some incredible stroke of luck will land one of my stories on the big screen.  Someone is currently developing a screen play for SILVER LAKE, so a girl can dream, right?  In the meantime, I'll keep looking for the shows, films, and books that fuel my imagination.  Feel free to leave your favorites below, I love comments!

If you'd like to follow my Ghostly Inspiration board or the pictures I'm using to inspire my latest work in progress (tentatively titled Haunted Souls), follow the highlighted links to Pinterest