Original Book Covers Are The Best Book Covers

Why do some people think that when a book is re-released, the cover should be re-designed? Did they learn nothing from the “New Coke” incident of 1985?

When I read a book to death (RIP Watchers & Watership Down), I search for replacement copies of the original covers. I know the content of the books doesn’t change, but I love the originals. I’m sentimental like that.

Does anyone think this:

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is better than this?

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(The answer is no, in case you wondered.)

I miss the days when authors’ books were easily recognizable by their covers. All of Christopher Pike’s, LJ Smith’s, Dean Koontz’s book covers had designs that were as distinct as their voices.

That being said… I do enjoy getting some classic books with a variety of covers. I have different versions of Pride and Prejudice and some of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland that I enjoy. I like some of the covers better than others, but I’m not emotionally attached to any of them. Maybe it’s because of when I read them?

Did you hear that the original Babysitter’s Club books are going to be re-released with the original covers, in a collector’s tin? It’s true; you can pre-order them on Amazon. I’ve already bought mine. My collection didn’t survive my parents’ attic.

Where do you weigh in on new vs. old book covers?

Finalist in the Writer’s League of Texas Manuscript Contest!

Hey everyone, guess what! My manuscript, Not Dead Enough, was a finalist in the young adult category of The Writer’s League of Texas Manuscript Contest! It’s a fancy way of saying I was a runner-up, but I’ll take it!

When Charlotte’s abusive boyfriend starts texting her from beyond the grave, she has to figure out if he’s haunting her, if she’s losing her mind, or if someone else wants her dead. He may be gone, but he’s NOT DEAD ENOUGH.

I got fantastic feedback on how to improve my book, and I’m eager to start working on it. Plus, I got a great compliment. The person who critiqued my manuscript said, “It is reminiscent of older horror books (like Christopher Pike) but the social media and modern voice stops it from feeling dated.”

For a while, I was getting frustrated by the fact that I keep getting close to winning contests and such, but don’t quite get there. I’ve put it in perspective now though, and I wasn’t even getting this kind of feedback before, which means I’ve improved. I only have a little more to go before I’m where I want to be.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that as long as I keep improving, I’m moving forward to reach my goal. Maybe it’s taking longer than I like, but that doesn’t matter, as long as I keep moving forward. And I’m learning so much writing and editing this book that the next one will be a little easier.

On a related topic, for the last two weeks, I blogged about writing groups, and I have proof that my writing group is awesome. My friend from my writer’s group, Mary Osteen, was a finalist in the same contest in the middle-grade category for her book, The Book With No Story.

Have you ever been frustrated by not making progress or reaching a goal as quickly as you wanted to?

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U is for (Books About) the Underworld #atozchallenge

For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.

If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link for the A to Z challenge.

As some of you may have noticed, I like books about dark topics. What can I say? Horror has always kind of been my thing, and I like books about death.

Graveminder, by Melissa Marr (horror/ romance): Rebekka’s adopted grandmother, Maylene always had odd rituals about the dead. When Maylene dies suddenly, Rebekka comes home and finds out that Maylene’s “odd rituals” were actually about keeping the dead in their graves. Rebekka must visit the underworld to find out what she has to do to make sure the dead stay dead. This was one of those odd books that I found by chance at a used book sale, and once I read it, I loved it. It has a unique and fun interpretation of the underworld.

What Dreams May Come, by Richard Matheson (horror/ romance): Although I enjoyed the movie (I pretty much love anything with Robin Williams), the book is very different. Chris is married to the love of his life, Ann. When he gets into a car accident and dies, he ascends to a place called “Summerland,” where everything is beautiful. Haunted by worries about Ann, he finds out that she committed suicide and is in a dark place of her own making. Propelled by his love for her, Chris braves hell to get to Ann so that she won’t have to be alone. This book is moving, beautiful, and terrifying, all at the same time. Matheson is one of my favorite horror authors because his stories are subtle and multilayered. If you liked the movie, read the book.

Remember Me, by Christopher Pike (YA horror): Since I first read this book as a kid, it’s been one of my all-time favorite books, and I’ve probably read it more than a dozen times. When Shari dies, she visits the scene of her death and learns that people think she jumped. She’s sure someone murdered her, and she follows the detective assigned to her case. Shari isn’t willing to move on until her murderer is captured. Considering the book is about murder, it’s a light and fun book.

The Face, by Dean Koontz (horror): Saying this book is about the underworld might be stretching the truth a bit, but I’m comfortable with it. It’s told from the point of view of Ethan, a former cop who’s now the bodyguard of a famous actor, Dunny, Ethan’s former best friend, career criminal, and dead man who just walked out of the morgue, Frick, the bodyguard’s son, and several others. Most of the characters are alive, but Dunny isn’t, though he’s still walking around. Why he’s still around isn’t clear until the exciting ending.

What are your favorite stories featuring the underworld?

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C is for Christopher Pike

There were several authors who wrote young adult thrillers when I was growing up, and I could probably write about any of them.  Christopher Pike was unique, I think, in that his books had more of a horror feel than some of the others.

His books were hit or miss for me, in that some were wonderful, and others were just meh.  Slumber Party was the first one I read, and it hooked me.  It was the first book I ever read with such a huge plot twist, and for the next several years, everything I wrote had a bad plot twist.  (I’m not saying that his plot twists were bad; I’m saying that my imitations were.)

I enjoyed his other books, but my favorite of his is Remember Me, about a girl who dies and has to solve her own murder.  This one also had a plot twist, but what I liked about it was the fact that the main character was dead.  I know that sounds kind of morbid, but most teenagers go through a phase where the grapple with the big questions on life and death, and this book was a semi-lighthearted way for me to think about it.

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The inclusion of a main character who was dead, no tricks or miracle rebirths, was creative and unusual in 1989, before the current cultural obsession with dead girls as main characters.  I still read this one every couple of years.

“Relationships are mysterious. We doubt the positive qualities in others, seldom the negative. You will say to your partner: do you really love me? Are you sure you love me? You will ask this a dozen times and drive the person nuts. But you never ask: are you really mad at me? Are you sure you’re angry? When someone is angry, you don’t doubt it for a moment. Yet the reverse should be true. We should doubt the negative in life, and have faith in the positive.”
― Christopher Pike, from Remember Me

Road to Nowhere actually inspired a short story I wrote.  My story was a cheap ripoff, but I think that imitation, in early days of writing, is a good thing.  It’s a way for young authors to practice writing and try out different things until they find their own style.  At least, that’s what I tell myself.  My ripoff story stuck with me, even though the original version was awful.  Some of the characters from that story took on a life of their own to become something much different than the original.

That’s the beauty of falling in love with a story.  Everyone who loves the story will take something different from it.  What I take with me, I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

Any other Christopher Pike fans out there?  Which was/ is your favorite?