If we’re being honest, I admit I DO judge a book by the cover. No, the cover doesn’t have to feature a hunky guy’s torso (not that I mind if it does). What the book cover must do is make me believe the content is something that will intrigue me. I love book covers by many self-pubbed or indie pubbed authors as well as those from traditional NY publishers. A cover must tell the reader the genre and time period and give a hint to the story's flavor. For instance, of my four covers from Kensington Publishing, one was a bit odd, one was great, one was worse than no cover at all, and another almost as bad. All of my covers from The Wild Rose Press were superior. My self-pubbed covers follow a distinct learning curve. ☺ Yes, Hero and I are getting the hang of it, but the journey is painful and slow.
Earlier this summer, I recovered the rights to OUT OF THE BLUE, a romantic suspense time travel with a heroine who is clairvoyant. Talk about cross genres! My friend Sandy Crowley helped me plot this book, then Geri Foster and others helped critique the book as I wrote it. Honestly, this book was the most fun of any book I’ve written. It is my husband’s favorite of all the books I’ve written. (My favorite is always the one I’m writing.) When I conceived the cover, I wanted a photo of the cliff in the book, the formation known as Hell’s Gate at Possum Kingdom Lake in Palo Pinto and Young Counties. The formation and lake are important to setting up the story.
Next I thought I would have a lovely woman on the front. Apparently no one else thought she was lovely, because sales almost zeroed. Did prospective readers think she was an angel and the book an inspirational? That she was unappealing? What? I have no idea, so I have a new cover to introduce:
This one leaves nothing to chance. As you can see on the cover, the multiple genres are listed: TIME TRAVEL ROMANTIC MYSTERY. Above the title, Hero added DEIRDRE TRAVELED FROM 1845 TO TODAY AND FELL ...In addition, the hero and heroine are shown with the lake in the background. He tried to cover everything. Now, in the event you’ve forgotten this book, here’s a blurb:
Deirdre Dougherty never cursed at anyone, much less put a curse on the potato crop of her remote Irish village. She’d rather take her chances with the Atlantic lapping at the bottom of the cliff than the mob intent on burning her as they have her cottage. Deirdre leaps . . . and plops down over 160 years later in a Texas lake. She doesn’t understand how she’s ended up with the man from her recent visions or why he has the same name as the saint to whom she prayed. She’s in danger of falling for the handsome policeman who rescued her, in spite of the fact that he thinks she’s lying to him. How can she convince him her story is true when she’s finding it difficult to believe the tale herself?
Police Detective Brendan Hunter wants answers. Who shot him and killed his partner? Why? And why does Deirdre know details of the event? Her story has to be a colossal fabrication or else she’s a beautiful psycho. Either way, he wants her gone before he becomes even more fascinated with her. But he can’t let her out of his sight until she confesses to how she learned details no one but he and his late partner knew.
|Another photo of the models for Deirdre and Brendan--|
of course, this closeness is near the end of the book
The set up for an excerpt of OUT OF THE BLUE is that Blossom is the hero’s mom, and she owns a Health Food Store where Deirdre now works. Blossom is a sort of leftover hippie, with compassion for everyone. She also is sweet on a nearby neighbor, Dave Roan. In addition to being Brendan's mom, Blossom is also mentoring Deirdre and teaching her the ins and outs of our current time.
|Blossom Hunter and her beau, Dr. Dave Roan|
Here's the excerpt of OUT OF THE BLUE:
Blossom gave Deirdre the mail. “Do you mind, dear? I hate going out in this sticky heat. It frizzes my perm, but it seems to have no effect on your gorgeous, thick hair.”
“I’ll post these and be back in a minute to straighten the front display of that new organic salsa from Austin.” Deirdre carried the letters outside and dropped them into the box on the corner across the parking lot. She turned to start back.
A huge black car apparently had been parked at the back of the lot by the Dumpster and pulled alongside her. She saw the dented fender before the door opened. Then she realized the two scary guys from the bar were inside, partially obscured from view by the tinted windows. The blond stepped out and reached for her.
She understood his intent so she screamed for help and ran away from him. People came to the store window.
Polly rushed to the door. “Blossom’s calling the police. Hold on, Deirdre, we’re coming.”
But no one rushed to her aid. What could a few ladies do against these two frightening men? She’d have to save herself, so she screamed again.
The blond caught up with her and grabbed her arm. “No use screaming, lady. You’re coming with us.” He dragged her toward the car.
She kicked him and screamed again, clawing at him with her free hand. She drew blood along his arm and scratched his face.
He jerked her and grabbed both her hands. “You’re gonna be sorry you made me mad. I have lots of ways to get even.” He told her what he planned as he yanked her toward the car’s back seat.
Strong as an ox, the man held her in an iron grasp so her feet barely touched the ground. He heaved her toward the open door. Suspended above the ground, she braced a foot against the car’s body. With her other, she kicked him between the legs, just as Ma had taught her.
He turned red and released her as he doubled over and dropped to his knees. Without him supporting her, she hit the pavement hard. Her back took the force of her fall and the air whooshed from her. She couldn’t stand but she rolled away.
The driver pointed a gun at her. “Get in or you die right here, right now.”
What had Brendan said about this situation when they watched television? Never get in the car with anyone. But how could she resist without him shooting her? She recalled the blonde’s threats. If she had to die, she’d rather it be here quickly than at the hands of these two later. She made the sign of the cross and prepared herself for death.
A horn honked and tires squealed. Brendan yelled. “Deirdre, I’m coming.”
Blossom and Polly hurried toward her, each carrying a broom and wielding it as if they intended to beat on the blond man. Several associates came with them and lobbed jars of something at the car. In the heat, the jars exploded like small bombs. After one loud crack, red oozed along the spider-webbed glass windshield.
“What the hell?” The scary man in black turned back toward the steering wheel. “Damn it, Rod, with or without her, get the hell in here.”
She struggled to her knees then stood, backing away.
Apparently unable to straighten, the guy she’d kicked hoisted himself back into the car. He yelled, “I’ll get you for this, bitch. When I do, you’re gonna beg me to kill you before I’m through.”
The black car took off with a squeal from smoking tires, dripping red salsa and leaving glass shards in its wake. The driver had his head stuck halfway out the side window, his front windshield obviously too damaged and dirty for the wipers to clear. Aromas from the salsa’s spicy contents filled the air—cilantro, tomatoes, chili peppers. Deirdre fell in love with those scents.
Then Brendan was there, lifting her and carrying her to his car. He cradled her in his lap with the door open.
Blossom followed them and stood beside the car. “I called the police. We couldn’t think of any weapons but brooms and one-pound jars of salsa. Pretty feeble.”
Polly hovered behind Blossom. The other associates had gone back to their duties. A dozen customers and people from nearby stores stood near the building in the shade of the overhang, talking to one another or staring.
“You were brave and clever,” Deirdre assured Blossom and Polly then looked up at Brendan. “But they’d have been unable to stop the men if you hadn’t come.”
He smiled. “It looks like you had them on the run, Mom. Salsa was a clever touch. Didn’t help the parking lot, though.”
Polly said, “Oh, those horrid men, at least they’re gone. We’ll use the brooms to get rid of the glass and hope for rain. Otherwise, maybe we can talk the fire department into hooking up a hose and spraying the lot for us.”
Deirdre nestled her head near Brendan’s ear. “The scary guy with the black hair had a gun. A broom and jars of tomato salsa are not much against a bullet. He could have killed everyone.”
She shivered, recalling her fear and her decision. “He pointed it at me and told me to get in or he’d shoot me. But I remembered what you said.”
“Don’t get in the car with a kidnapper. Thank God you didn’t, honey. I don’t have my gun with me and all I could do is chase them and phone for backup.” He closed his eyes and held her tight. “Damn, they got a good look at both of us at the bar, but I never thought they’d come after you. And another thing’s for sure, that’s the SUV that ran me off the road.”
She held onto him, grateful for his strength. “That’s what I saw first when they stopped, the cracked fender with scrapes of paint on it the same blue color as your old car. If Michelle was correct, they killed Frank.”
Polly came back out and handed them a piece of paper. “Here’s the license number of that SUV. One of our associates wrote it down while Blossom and I grabbed brooms and the other associates loaded up on jars.”
“You all did some quick thinking.” He took the paper.
Sirens blared and a police car pulled up short of the broken glass. An officer got out. “Hunter, you snatching women now? What’s going on? Heard there was a kidnapping in progress.”
“There was.” He slid Deirdre from his lap, but kept her hand in his. “Two men in a black SUV tried to abduct Miss Dougherty at gunpoint.”
Deirdre noticed he copied the license number into his own notebook before he handed it to the officer. “One of the clerks got the license.” He told them what kind of SUV and the approximate year. “Could we go inside where it’s air-conditioned to continue this?”
Half an hour later, the officers left.
Brendan still held Deirdre’s hand. “Mom, I’m taking Deirdre home. She’s been through enough for the day.”
Blossom nodded. “Yes, this was terrible, but I think I’ll stay here. Both Chrissy and Rosa are off today, and we’ll be understaffed if I leave too. Oh, won’t they be sorry they missed this excitement?”
“Are you sure you want to stay? They can get along without you for an afternoon.”
“I think I’ll worry less if I’m busy here.” Blossom, normally cheerful, looked near tears. “So many horrid things keep happening. When will it end?”
“Soon, Mom. It’ll all be settled soon.” He hugged his mother then tugged Deirdre toward the door. “Come on, honey, let’s go home.”
With as much enthusiasm as she could muster, she turned and waved. “Everyone, thank you for your help.”
They left to calls of “Goodbye” and “Take Care.” Deirdre hated to abandon Blossom, but she’d be useless at work. Her legs wobbled and she couldn’t stop shaking. Hitting the pavement had created aches across her shoulders and hips. Her stomach still fluttered but at least her heartbeat had returned to normal.
Broken glass had been cleaned away, but she and Brendan had to weave around chunky blobs and streaks of tomato salsa.
She surveyed the damage. “They must have thrown fifteen or twenty jars. Too bad. That’s wonderful salsa made from organic tomatoes and herbs. It’s very expensive.”
“Not compared to your welfare. I’ll make sure Mom gives all her employees a bonus for helping you. ”
“You’re a generous man.” Deirdre forced a smile for him but they were well on their way before she spoke again, “It’s a lovely car.”
He glanced at her and raised his eyebrows. “It’s silver.”
She nodded, pleased he’d remembered her choice. “So I see.” Then the aftermath of terror hit her anew and she reached for his hand. “Brendan, I was so very frightened. Those men said they’d come back for me. Th-They plan to do terrible things to me. They will too, I know they will.”
Deirdre has a right to be scared. Those guys mean business and you know they won’t give up so easily. In the meantime, why not snag a copy of OUT OF THE BLUE for yourself? It’s available in print or e-book from these places:
Print (slow to change cover): http://www.amazon.com/Out-Blue-Caroline-Clemmons/dp/1478327138/ref=sr_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348441881&sr=1-14&keywords=caroline+clemmons
Barnes and Noble (who are also very slow to change to the new cover):
|Brendan's dog, Prince, a Leonberger,|
although Brendan calls him a mutt mix
You can see that not only are the characters real to me, so are there pets. ☺ I hope you are enticed to purchase OUT OF THE BLUE.
Thanks for reading!