Your Vote Matters: Help Me Pick My Next Book Cover

I swear, this next sentence is NOT fake news: I went a little bonkers a few weeks ago and came up with a baseball team’s worth of cover designs for my upcoming book, Domna. Now I need your help to decide which one will make the cut.

I have a few favorites, but I would love your thoughts on/votes for your favorite design. It should only take a couple minutes and there’s even a handy dandy survey box below if you’re shy about leaving comments.

If you’ve never helped me pick a cover before, there’s a few things to keep in mind before you scroll down to make your selection (unless you’ve already scrolled down, you eager little beaver)…

  • Most Important: The cover needs to be eye-catching at a small size, so please resist the urge to enlarge them as you look them over.
  • Second most important: I want the cover to convey a sense of mystery, of mythical/historical fantasy, and/or of a strong female protagonist.
  • Third most important: Try not to overthink this. Look over the samples as quickly as possible then pick the cover that entices you the most.
  • Important? Not so much: The e-book version will be serialized into six parts, but I plan to use the same cover design for all six parts (except as noted); the paperback will have a single cover.

Ready? Here are the nine designs to choose from…..

From left to right, these are covers 1A, 1B, 1C (the color of this cover could be altered for each “part” of the series). Note: Ignore the Canva watermark on the image (it will be removed).

From left to right, these are covers 2A, 2B, 2C. Again, ignore the Canva watermark on the image (it will be removed).

From left to right, these are covers 3, 4, and 5.

How to vote (Easy!!)

  • Simply use the survey form below to mark the number of the design that most caught your eye (sometimes you can’t see the form in WordPress Reader or email, in that case, just visit this post at my blog to vote).
  • If none of these covers appeal to you, please mark “None” so I can know to go back to the drawing board.
  • Of course, any thoughts are welcome, so don’t hesitate to critique, compliment, or offer suggestions. The covers can be adjusted for brightness, saturation, color tone, so if there’s one you like but think it could use a color/tone shift just let me know.

Bonus points for the Over-Achievers Out There!!!

Once you have a favorite in mind, please scroll down a tad bit further and read my temporary description of the book’s premise. Then take some time for a little re-think and decide….

  • Does this description change your opinion of which cover is your favorite?
  • If so, which one do you think is better suited?

Thanks everyone!!! Your opinion really does matter, so please, please, please take a second to cast your vote.

I’ll be back next week with a little background information on the history that went into the making of Domna. And Saturday, Finn and I will be back on Inishmore hunting down ancient sites and encountering a traffic donkey.

See you then!


Domna Description (for now)

“My destiny, my goal, my ambition was to be a priestess. Instead I was forced to became a wife. Even worse, I became the wife of man with no goals, no ambition. A man who wanted destiny to fall on his lap like a nymph who indulged in too much of Dionysus’s bounty. Worse still, I was already in love with someone else.”

Set in Osteria a few generations before the start of The Trials of HerculesDomna tells the tale of Sofia Domna, a woman who believed herself destined to become high priestess of Apollo but whose life takes a cruel turn when she’s forced to wed a man she barely knows. As Sofia’s life moves through the trials of marriage, motherhood, and yearning love, she learns that destiny isn’t given; it’s made by cunning, endurance, and, at times, bloodshed.

In the classic style of serialization, Domna is a single novel told in six parts, with the first part scheduled for release in January 2019. Each subsequent part will be released in three-week increments in ebook format. The paperback will be released in late January or early February and will contain all six parts in one volume.

To keep up to date on the release of Domna, be sure to sign up for my mailing list.


Finn McSpool Pedals Into the Bronze Age

After the hustle and bustle of Cork and narrowly escaping the swirling pit of evil in Galway, Mr Husband, Finn McSpool, and I woke up to the fresh air and bird song of Inishmore. Even better? Breakfast was ready!

After slogging through a vast amount of protein, a gallon of tea, and a mountain of mushrooms, we waddled down the hill into the heart of the big town (okay, village) of Kilronan to rent bikes for the two full days we’d be on the island.

Now, before we get too deep into the next bit, let me just state that I used to cycle A LOT on my 20-mile round trip commute to work, but with Portland drivers growing more aggressive, no commute forcing me to ride, and simply being too lazy to pump up the tires, I’ve slacked off on my cycling skills.

Still, they do say once you learn to ride a bike you never forget. Um, clearly “they” haven’t met me.

About five minutes into our first outing, I was on the ground with the bike (aka “Killer”) physically attacking me (or so it felt).

Finn’s ready to go, but it looks like I’ll be doing all the pedaling.

In my defense, I’m used to “real” bikes that require swinging your leg over to mount. Killer was a step-through (“girly”) frame with a rack on the back. With my natural inclination to swing my leg over, I misjudged the distance of the swing and got tangled in the metal puzzle of that damn rack.

There was pain, both physical and mental, but we had sights to see and the first was Dún Aengus (or Dún Aonghasa if you to get all Celtic about it), a Bronze Age fort that’s touted as Inishmore’s Must-See attraction. So, recalling Harry Potter’s introduction to Buckbeak, I cautiously approached Killer and, after he gave me permission, climbed into the saddle.

Soon, I was nervously pedaling along 9 km of coastal road and enduring scenery like this to get to the Dún Aengus visitor center. Continue reading

My Roller Coaster Writing Week

This week, I had so many ups and downs in my writing world, I wouldn’t have been surprised if, next to my computer, a sign had been appeared stating, “You must be this tall to ride.” So, slap on your seat belts and let’s go for a little loop-the-loop (and please keep your hands in the car at all times).

Someone did NOT keep his hands in the car at all times.

As with any thrill ride, I started the week with that tinge of excitement because I managed to outline Books Five & Six of the Osteria Chronicles.


Who knew there was an Osteria-themed roller coaster/water park!?

Sort of like that slow chugging up that first climb of the roller coaster, my outline started out a little clunky. First, I had no idea where my notes (which I had written out way back during the production of Book Two, The Voyage of Heroes) had gone. A little hunting and searching and voila, there they were lurking deep in a desk drawer. Continue reading

Finn Learns the True Nature of Evil in Ireland

Don’t get me wrong with that post title. The Irish aren’t the evil ones. The majority are, in fact, helpful, welcoming, and able to talk circles around you. However, they aren’t always good at keeping evil Englishmen off their island.

This inability of the Irish Border Control to recognize evil was true in the past and led to a lot of strife for the Emerald Isle. As we’ll soon discover, some of that evil-induced strife continues today.

With our trip to Kinsale having taken up most of a day, Finn McSpool, Mr Husband, and I only had one more day to endure in Cork (and by that I mean, one more day to spend as much time  away from Mr. Weirdo’s AirB&B as possible) before we caught the Citylink bus to Galway for our next adventure and an encounter with evil.

Unfortunately, this malevolent encounter turned out not to be our first for this vacation, nor would it be our last.

Besides a spin around the Crawford Art Gallery, a linger over a coffee at the English Market, and a wander along the river, we wasted a good amount of time in an Aldi we stumbled upon. Since there’s few things more fascinating to me than non-American grocery stores, this was a great way to kill time. And Finn even found a bag of snacks made just for him…

Notice that monster on the bag of “Creepies” is a ginger? That should have been a sign of the evil to come. Continue reading

kinsale, ireland, charles fort

Finn McSpool: Star of Kinsale’s Charles Fort

War, huh, good god, what’s it good for?” The next line is supposed to be “Absolutely nothin‘” but war is actually good for one thing (at least in Kinsale, Ireland, anyway): fascinating architecture to explore.

After Finn’s self-discovery/holy revival in Cork, I thought we better get out of town to let things settle down. Since Kinsale is an easy bus ride away — and since Mr Husband and I made a little error last time we were there (more on that in a sec) — we grabbed Finn and headed for the bus station.

Now, if you want quaint, Kinsale is your kind of place! This bayside town sits on the southern coast (southeast, to be exact) of Ireland and is about 28 km straight south of Cork. The town itself is a tourist mecca due to its colorful shop fronts and status as foodie central.

But we weren’t there for the food. We were there to explore Charles Fort. First though, we had to get to the fort. As usual, Finn took up his napping position in the backpack while Mr Husband and I trudged 3 km uphill to the site. But the views along the way were amazing! Continue reading