Posts tagged with: Charming the Professor

The RITAs are coming! The RITAs are coming!

Can you feel the anticipation?

This Friday, March 25th, Romance Writers of America will announce the finalists for the various RITA and Golden Heart categories.  Every author on this blog knows how it feels to be a Golden Heart finalist (Ahhh…those were the days!) as it was through the Golden Heart contest that we all met.  However, the RITAs, the peer-judged contest for published Romance, is a step above as the entire book is judged and the competition is fierce.

RIta statueSo that’s what I’d like to talk about today.  The RITA  contest and the quest for the golden statue on the left.  How it all works and which of us are in the running this year.  I’m scattering the bandita books entered throughout the post.  Be sure to look for your favorites.  If you click on the title, it should take you straight to Amazon for purchase 🙂 .

Everything starts in October of the preceding year.  That’s when the entry process begins.  Registration opens promptly at 9:00 am central time and there’s a mad crush to get one’s book entered.  You see, the contest can only accomodate 2,000 entries.  Everyone with a book that has a copyright date of 2015 is eligible to enter.  This is the only opportunity to enter the RITA contest, as a 2015 book can’t be entered in a later year.  Self-published titles as well as traditionally published titles are eligible to enter one of 11 different categories.  Those are Short Contemporary Romance, Mid-length Contemporary Romance, Long ContemporaryCharming the Professor final Romance, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance Long, Historical Romance Short, Inspirational Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance novella, Romantic Suspense, and Young Adult Romance

This year, I’ve entered my New Orleans time-travel, Charming the Professor, in the Paranormal category.  In the past, I’ve had books in the historical categories so this is a bit of a first for me.

The next step is to turn in five printed books (no ebooks are accepted) so that five published author judges can read the work.  An author can not judge a book entered into a category they’ve entered themselves, so it’s possible that one CapitolDangerfinalrevisedforBarnesandNobleis assigned a judge that is not a fan of your particular genre.  Hopefully, the book is strong enough to win them over.  A cone of silence surrounds the books one is assigned to read.  A judge can’t divulge the titles or the authors so no one knows who is reading what.

Jeanne Adams entered her novella Death Under Glass in Capitol Danger. A connected series of novellas by banditas Suzanne Ferrell, Nancy Northcott and bandita friend JD Tyler.

Each of the five judges is allowed to give a score from 1.0 to 10.0 (with 10.0 being the highest).  Currently, no guidelines are given on how to judge the works.  Each judge makes up their own system, but, in general, if the book is excellent, it will receive all high scores.  Currently, the top score and the lowest score are dropped, so only the three median scores count.  In 2014, I about cried when my one 10.0 score was tossed out for The Whisky Laird’s Bed but as Turner's+Visionthe top scores are tossed out on all books, the work must be excellant to more than one judge.  In addition, each judge must answer two questions:  Does the story contain a central love story?  Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optomistic?  if the story receives three negatives responses to either question, the book is disqualified.

Taking a turn from her normal thrilling romantic suspense books, Suzanne Ferrell has entered  Turner’s Vision  in Long Historical.

The scores must be turned into RWA by Early March where they tabulate the scores.  The top 4% become finalists. However, no category can have fewer than four finalists, and no category can have more than 10 finalists.  That means that in the popular categories, those scores have to be super high, while there’s some leeway in the less popular categories.  This pool of the top 4% make up the finalists that will be announced this Friday.  Truly being a finalist is a distinct honor as being Doctor's Cowboythe best of the best, but this is not the end of the contest.

Trish Milburn has three books in this year’s RITAs.  All are entered in Contemporary Cowboy GroomCowboy HeartRomance- Short  The Doctor’s Cowboy,  Her Cowboy Groom, and The Heart of a Cowboy  Those are some great looking cowboys!

Which is a good thing as a great cover is important in winning a judge’s favor.

After the finalists are announced, a panel of judges takes over.  All the finalists books in a category are read and scored in ordinal order: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  The books winning the 1st designation are a highly guarded secret and isn’t unveiled until the bigTime for Trouble final ceremony in July.

Susan Sey has entered Time for Trouble in Long Contemporary.  Love this cover as well 🙂

I’ll tell you all right here that my dream is to win the golden statue, but I’d really be content with the finalist’s flag.  You see, at the Literacy Signing on the Wednesday before the official start of the July convention, this year in San Diego, all the finalist get a red flag.  I’ve been lucky enough to sit by RITA finalist during the signing (Sarah MacLean, and Sally MacKenzie – lovely, lovely ladies) and the line of people wanting to purchase their books is always long.  Being a RITA Ruarcfinalist is truly a distinct honor that follows you everywhere in your writing career.

Joan Kayse has entered her Irish Fantasy, Ruarc: Bound by Stone in the Paranormal category.

Finally, the Saturday night award ceremony arrives.  There’s numerous parties before the actual ceremony.  The ceremony offers the chance to dress up in sequins and glitter.  The award presenters are often the winners from the previous year.  Nora Roberts always presents the RITA statue to the winner of the Best First Book category.  We’re talking major drum rolls while the presenter opens the envelope and announces  THE WINNER IS…A Perfect Catch

Man, I hope it’s one of us.  One really cool thing, as a member of the RWA board, I get to call the finalists and let them know that their book was chosen as one of top 4% of all the books entered in their category.  Not a small feat, but an excellent feeling.  Cross your fingers for us.  Let’s not forget:

Anna Sugden has entered A Perfect Catch in Contemporary…but I’m not sure what length.  Anna?

My question to you:  If you were a RITA judge, what quality would you look for in a finalist?



A Fresh Start, a New Year & New Adventures

Happy New Year, Everyone!

January is always a “Clean Sweep” sort of month for me.  By it’s very position as the first month of the new year, it’s an ideal time for starting over, setting new goals, finishing off old projects.

Cleani1While in the past I’ve resisted taking down the Christmas decorations until mid-month (now 🙂 ), this year I couldn’t wait to get it all down and put away.  In part, because I wanted to start fresh symbolically with a clean house, but also because my newly retired husband decided we needed to take a vacation for the next three weeks to someplace warm!  That doesn’t leave me much time to get things wrapped up, packed, and planned.  If you saw my office, you’d appreciate that cleaning that small room alone is a full month project!  🙂 In cleaning out the promotion closet, I see I have some goodies to share as a prize to today’s post.

Then there’s the writing…as you know, I released CHARMING THE PROFESSOR in December amid the crazy project of finishing the floors, CharmingtheProfessorfinalChristmas, and learning the ropes for self-publishing.  It’s been a whirlwind!  I’m sure my promotion of the book is not up to snuff, but I was just exhausted from all the effort.  (And thank all of you who so graciously have left a review on Amazon and Goodreads) With that book, behind me, I’m turning my attention to two projects.  One is revising and re-editing a Romantic Suspense called IN A HEARTBEAT.  This story was released with Samhain under a pen name back in 2007.  I’ve written a number of books since then and, quite frankly, am a better writer now than I was back then.  So I’m almost finished revising and re-editing this book for hopefully a Spring release.  InaHeartbeatIt’s a project I’ve been working on here and there through 2015.  Here’s the cover.

But more importantly, I’m working on TO BAIT A RAKE, the next book in the Rake Patrol Series.  If you read my Christmas short story, SCOTLAND CHRISTMAS REUNION, then you’ve already read a taste of the new book.ScotlandChristmasReunion B&N  You will recall that the Rake Patrol formed as the four ladies involved were determined to root out the rakes that placed personal ads advertising to meet women in the Mayfair Messenger.  My four Rake Patrol members were convinced that such ads were placed for nefarious purposes and they sought to expose the men behind the ads – however, in the last two books, the men weren’t rakes at all.  This is a problem.  How does one find and identify a rake?

Enter Abigail, a young widow who wishes to be part of the Rake Patrol. She volunteers to interview the men who believe themselves to be rakes, so the Rake Patrol can recognize specific characteristics as they investigate the personal ads.  To lure men forward for their study, the Rake Patrol places it’s own ad with an invitation, and all manner of difficulties, conflicts and romantic trysts ensue.  This should be a fun book and I’m hoping to get more time to work on it once we head South for warmer climes.

So my question is:  If you happened to be a curious, very sheltered young widow, what question would you ask a rake if you had the opportunity to interview one?  Anything goes 🙂 .  The person leaving the best original answer will win a tin of Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky Fudge (Made in Scotland).  I can’t wait to hear your answers. 🙂



Happy New Year!!! Coming Attractions

BalloonsI love New Year’s Eve!!!  We go out dancing every year to welcome in the new year with noise makers, balloons and champagne.  Of course, I’m exhausted the morning after – which is today! 🙂  Hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and are ready to start 2016!

I think the wheels are slowly turning in the lair as we recover from the mad partying of 2015, but tomorrow on January 2nd, we’ll post a listing of all the winners and prizes from the Twelve Days of Christmas.  If you left a comment on someone’s post, you may have won a prize – so stop back and check it out!

Jeanne Adams should be popping in on January 8th.

Alexandra Christian will make her Lair debut as Nancy’s guest on January 12th. They’ll discuss Alexandra’s steamy new fantasy romance, Huntress, as well as whatever else crosses their minds.

I’ll be on a road trip in search of sunny skies later in January.  I’ll give you an update in February. But for now I will be changing my normal blog date and blogging instead on January 18th I recently realized how much “stuff” I’ve accumulated, even in areas such as my TBR pile of books and in my stash of promotional prizes.  So be sure to check back as I clean out my office and distribute some of these forgotten goodies. (Scotch whisky fudge anyone?)

Nancy Northcott will be rounding out the month on January 26th.

So be sure to check back for fun, prizes, and conversation as we slug our way through January.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, healthy, peaceful, and productive 2016!!!!


On the 10th day of Christmas, I went back in time.

Santa's rideOne thing about writers, we tend to research.  It doesn’t really matter what the genre is, there’s always something that requires more in-depth knowledge than we normally possess.  Therefore it should not be a surprise to learn that I did a bit of research into the physics of time-travel in the course of writing CHARMING THE PROFESSOR.  I read several books about time theories and it’s relation to space and gravity.  I watched endless videos to explain the basics of quantum physics.

So it is with some authority that I can state that… Santa Claus is a time-traveler.

It’s true.  Consider Einstein’s theory that says time slows as one approaches the speed of light.  It’s been said that in order for Santa to visit all the houses of good little children to deliver presents in the 32 hours available to him in this one night (that’s the true number ofAlbert_Einstein_Head hours given time zones and the earth’s rotation), Santa would have to travel three times the speed of light.  At that speed, time would reverse – didn’t the movie SUPERMAN show this to be true? (And isn’t there a clear resemblence between Santa and Einstein – hmmm?)

Also, it’s been proven that time slows as one moves away from a gravatational force.  Thus time goes by more slowly for those that live/work at the top of a skyscraper than for those at street level.  (Of course, those at the top have to wait for the elevators to take them down, causing them to waste their found seconds of time.)  Santa Claus travels at heights that would laugh at gravity thus giving him more than the necessary 32 hours to deliver gifts.

So the jolly old elf must be a time-traveler!

CharmingtheProfessorfinalAllow me to present an excerpt from CHARMING THE PROFESSOR to help explain time travel.  In this excerpt, Madeline is a French charm teacher who has been transported to modern day New Orleans.  She’s trying to get home and her best bet is Professor Grant Stewart who teaches quantum physics at Tulane University. She doesn’t come right out and tell him of her plight because telling the wrong person could land her in a straight-jacket.  So she’s feeling him out to see where he stands on the issue of time-travel.

“Every year,” he said. “My quantum students talk about building a H. G. Well’s time machine. Just climb aboard and select your year.”

          “A time machine?” Her disappointment lifted. “Where might I find this Mr. Wells?” Perhaps that gentleman could return her home.

          “In a library.” Grant frowned. “It was fiction, Madeline. Don’t you remember H. G. Wells and the Time Machine? Or The Island of Doctor Moreau, or The War of the Worlds?” He shook his head, returning his gaze to the road ahead. “So many people confuse actual science with science fiction.”

          Frustration extinguished her brief flare of hope. Now what was she to do? She’d been so certain that escaping from the iron gates into the company of a time professor was not just coincidence. Even Doc and his voodoo saints thought Professor Stewart held the answer. At least Doc and Cici believed that she had somehow stumbled into this period from the past. Professor Stewart clearly would not.

          “Right now there’s an experiment with entangled particles that holds promise,” he said. “A transporter may result from that discovery. Of course, a transportation device like the one on Star Trek is still decades away. It wouldn’t connect the strings of time, but a transporter…that would be a step into the future.”

          “Strings of time?” She dismissed the confusing combination of otherwise ordinary words, like entangled and particles, stars and trek. “What are strings of time?”

          “That’s right. You missed my lecture last night.” He glanced quickly her way. “Thank you for coming, by the way, you were a life saver. Sometimes Kimmy can be a handful, and if you hadn’t come when you did…”

          “Professor,” she urged softly. “Strings of time?”string theory research

          “Yes. There’s a theory that our existence occurs on a specific string of time, simultaneously with other strings that hold alternate existences. Thus, our medieval past might be occurring in real time on one string and our distant future on another string. Some scientists believe these strings to be an infinite number of bubbles on a plane in space called a brane, but the entire concept is still called string theory.”

          “That is astounding.” She felt her jaw might have unhinged at the discovery and dangled unattractively. She quickly composed herself. “This is what you spoke of yesterday?” she asked. “I would have liked to have heard your speech.”

          Perhaps his speech was the very reason fate had led her to this professor. She needed to hear his speech. And yet once again she’d managed to miss the opportunity. Still, she couldn’t dwell on her disappointment, not with a time professor with such valuable information seated next to her.

          “What happens if two strings were to touch,” she asked. “Say a string from the medieval past and our string of the present?”

          “Then it might be possible for an armor-clad knight to chase a dragon down Canal Street.” He laughed. “But the fact that such an occurrence only happens as playacting proves that such time collisions are not possible.”

          A time collision…could that have been what happened? She’d survived the colliding of strings? But if that were the case, why did the others touring the foundry not follow her in this collision? Why was she alone in this dilemma? She shook her head. None of that mattered now. What mattered was finding the way back.

ScotlandChristmasReunion B&NWe all know that Christmas is a magical night when miracles can occur.  If you could travel to any time past or future, where would you go?  Don’t worry, you’ll be back in time for the opening of presents on Christmas morning.  Let’s take a peek at a time-traveling Christmas (Hey, Scrooge did it – so can we!)  Someone leaving a comment will win a copy of the short story: Scotland Christmas Reunion.  Thank you to Think Geek for the string theory cartoon.

To add a little New Orleans to your holiday, add some creamy pralines 🙂 .     Creamy Pecan Pralines recipe

To add a little break from all the Christmas madness, consider a copy of Charming the Professor.  It’s bound to put a smile on your face.

Amazon     Nook    ibooks

Or for when you only have time for a short story, Scotland Christmas Reunion

Amazon        Nook      ibooks

Merry Christmas everyone!


Monster Mega Bandita Prize giveaway!

th_BanditBootySorry I’m so late posting the prizes won over the past couple of blogs.  As many of you know my Thanksgiving was not the best – I’m still trying to put the house back to rights – compounded by a book launch and I’m behind on life in general 🙂

However, that said – we have prizes to distribute!

From my Dominoes blog on November 23rd, SandyG265 wins a digital copy of CHARMING THE PROFESSOR.  Sandy, I need to know what email who want meCharmingtheProfessorfinal to use to send the gift from Amazon.

ComeToMe-500x7501From Oberon Wonch’s debut author blog on December 2nd, the winner of a digital copy of COME TO ME is Kate Sparks.  Kate, if you could go to Oberon’s website at and send her your contact information, I’m certain she’ll get that right out.

And Finally, from my CHARMING THE PROFESSOR launch on December 3rd, we have the following winners:

MaskColleen C– wins the Mardi Gras mask, a little voodoo keychain trinket, and a digital copy of CHARMING THE PROFESSOR.

Dianna – wins a digital copy of THE MOOR’S TEAR.Moors Tear 1600x2400

Janie McGaugh wins a digital copy of THE MOOR’S TEAR.

Just as a reminder, THE MOOR’S TEAR is the prequel, of sorts, to CHARMING THE PROFESSOR.

Ladies, if the three of you can contact me at and send me your contact info, I’ll get everything out immediately.

Thanks much for everyone’s participation and patience.  Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Holiday.  Don’t forget our Twelve Days of Christmas celebration that begins on December 13th.  We’ve love to have you join us!




Charming the Professor Launch Party!!!!!

Light the chandeliers!  Bring out the eats!  Roll out the Jazz Band!  It’s time to celebrate, New Orleans style!

Kate and LeopoldToday I’m launching a new time-travel set in modern day New Orleans.  Do you recall as a child pretending you had a friend –another child–only the friend was from a century earlier?  You had to explain all the wonders of the modern age to them…or was that just my childhood fantasy :-0 .  That is basically the premise of CHARMING THE PROFESSOR.  A French woman from 1853 suddenly finds herself in modern day New Orleans and her best chance to get back home is with a Physics professor.  This is a fun book that involves the assistance of a six-year-old with an open mind (unlike her professor dad).  Think of the movie KATE & LEOPOLD and add some New Orleans spice.

The Charm Gates have stood at The Court of Two Sisters for more than a century with no one guessing the secret they hold. A jealousCharmingtheProfessorfinal vindictive queen and a blackmailed alchemist have encased French “charm teacher” Madeline Charlebois’s essence inside the gates, at least until a grieving professor touches them during a storm and Madeline tumbles out, not in her own 19th century Spain, but in 21st century New Orleans.

Quantum physics Professor Grant Stewart has mourned his wife’s death for the last three years.  But he must move on for his young daughter’s sake, the child who delights in terrorizing babysitters.  Grant needs adequate childcare to pursue tenure at Tulane.  What he doesn’t need is a French beauty believing nonsense like time-travel and voodoo, and whose very being is melting his heart.

Maddie may be without resources but she’s good at making new friends, even if they are on the quirky side. She believes Professor Stewart can return her home, but first she must earn his trust to win his cooperation.  Babysitting his daughter gives her both proximity, and love for the child. Will Grant be the key to returning to her time? Or will she, in turn, unlock his frozen heart? All they need is time and maybe a little voodoo…

So let’s celebrate!

CHARMING THE PROFESSOR contains a dance sequence at the Tulane faculty dinner-dance.  Madeline and Professor Stewart are there – although not with each other. dancers-clip-art-Kcnkpzncq Grant’s bestfriend, Professor Richard Gaston invited Madeline to the dance.  Grant is there with his career-focused girlfriend, Jennifer.  peacock-feathers-8176918A jazz band is playing and the tables are decorated with lots of peacock feathers (naturally).  We have gumbo and alligator tails with bananas foster and pralines for dessert.  Hurricanes are served in a tall glass.  Either you can come as someone from the past and have someone from this time as a date…or your date must be from the past and you–will be you!  🙂

So tell me the identities of your party and – well, whatever else you want to tell me 🙂  Let’s have some fun!

I’ve got a Mardi Gras mask ornament (because – hey – it’s Christmas season!) and a voodoo keychain along with a digital copy of CHARMING THE PROFESSOR, and some digital copies of THE MOOR’S TEAR for someone leaving a comment.

Oh – I forgot to mention the voodoo element.  My voodoo practioners do no harm, but they have been known to slip a love portion into the punch.  Did you get a cup?

You can find CHARMING THE PROFESSOR at  (just click on Amazon or the appropriate link and you’ll be taken to the site)


Barnes & Noble



November Coming Attractions

Can you believe it’s November already?  Where has the year gone!

PrintI hope you’ll join us for an exciting November here in the Lair.


The Bluestocking Belles will join us on Monday, November 9th to talk about their new boxed set of Regencies.


Scotland Christmas ReunionYou won’t want to miss the blog on November 11th for some early Christmas shopping.  We’ll have a number of Christmas releases from the Banditas and friends for you to browse and enjoy.  Should be fun!





Osburn-OurNowandForever-FT-V2-200x300On November 17, Nancy welcomes Terri Osburn to celebrate the release of Our Now and Forever, the first book in Terri’s new Ardent Springs series.






Charming the Professor finalDonna MacMeans will talk about her upcoming December release, Charming the Professor, on November 23rd.  I guarantee she’s thankful for that one 🙂



November 26 is Nancy’s regular blog day, but it’s also Thanksgiving Day in the US.  Join Nancy Northcott and chat about the holiday season.



Forget Me Not_

Don’t miss the Thanksgiving Day release of Caren Crane’s new novella Lakewood Confidential. It’s part of a 10-novella collection called FORGET ME NOT, with all proceeds being donated toward Alzheimer’s and Brain Health research. Great reads and a great cause! Pre-order links up now on Caren’s website!


We’ll continue our talk into November 27, when anyone who’s avoiding the whole shopping thing or just needs a break from it can find a refuge in the Lair!

All’s Well that Ends Well

Let’s face it. Every part of a book is important. The beginning is important to hook the reader and draw her into the story. The middle is important to flesh out the characters, and ramp up the conflict. The back end is important for the emotional roller coaster of the climax and the all-important happily-ever-after. The best promotion is a good book.  It’s said that the ending of a book will sell the next.

I believe this. I’ve read books and short stories when the ending just…well…ends. And I feel cheated somehow. I want either that perfect sigh that all is right with the universe – especially with this couple that obviously loves each other – or I want a twist or a little punch that intrigues me and makes me rush to download the next book. You know what I mean.

Moors Tear 1600x2400The second book in the Hunger Games series, Halt and Catch Fire, was like that.  I was fortunate that my daughter had already bought Mockingjay.  Have to say I didn’t like Mockingjay as well as the other two books, but I still had to read it based on the previous book’s ending.

Earlier this month I released The Moor’s Tear. Several of you have read it (thank you.) What you may not realize is that I never really intended to write that story. My agent had an opportunity for me to sell a short story but I only had a weekend to write it. At the time I wasCharming the Professor final working on the beginning of Charming the Professor, and thought I could write a story that would tie into my time travel. With the help of fellow banditas Jeanne, Cassondra and Nancy, we plotted a story that I love. However, when I turned it in, my agent said that she forgot to mention that it couldn’t tie into an existing book. Now Charming the Professor wasn’t an existing book at the time, but the ending made it clear that something happened to the charm teacher. I rewrote the ending but I felt it was rather flat. The story didn’t sell and I got to put my original ending back on it. Meant to be, I think. 🙂

Scotland Christmas ReunionOn November 2nd, I’m releasing my Christmas story, Scotland Christmas Reunion. I had some unique challenges to this story. For example, did you know that Christmas was not celebrated in Scotland until the 1950s? This made it difficult to write a Scotland Christmas story. 🙂   It all worked out though. The heroine is the Laird’s mother from The Whisky Laird’s Bed. Remember her? But I Untitled-3had difficulty making the ending pop. I’ve rewritten the ending several times.  You’ll have to let me know if you like it. (and let me know what you think of the excerpt of To Bait a Rake – the next Rake Patrol book included with the short story).

So I’m curious. What endings of books do you remember the most? Were there any that made you rush out to read the next book? Let’s talk about endings today. I’ll give two people leaving a comment a copy of Scotland Christmas Reunion.

Don’t forget I’m giving a book away every month to someone who signs up for my newsletter.  You can sign up here.

As I’ve totally forgotten how to imbed the links in the book covers:  I’ve listed them here for anyone interested:

The Moor’s Tear

Scotland Christmas Reunion

The Whisky Laird’s Bed

Charming the Professor – coming December 2015 (still working on putting it up 🙂  )

Booty Prize from Charming the Professor

1BanditBootyCan I just say that I love you guys!  Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting on my awesome cover.  I don’t think a better set of readers exist anywhere in the world!  So I’m giving away 10 prizes.  Granted the prize is a short story that I’ll be emailing to you – but you’ll be the first to read it, so that’s something 🙂  The Moor’s Tear is a prequel to Charming the Professor so I’m hoping you’ll be curious enough to want to read the novel.  Let me know.Charming the Professor final

The winners are:

Fichen,   Ki,   Heathercm,   Sally Schmidt,   Trina,   Rae Latte,   Helen,   Jean LaGue,   Catslady,   Deb Meredith

Send me an email at with your contact info and I’ll send you the short.

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Donna MacMeans



Cover Reveal – Charming the Professor!

Hi All!

If you’ve been following my blogs, you know I’ve been planning on releasing a really cool time-travel in the near future.  The book is done and ready to publish but I didn’t Bound By Moonlight - cover - finalhave a cover.  This is my fault, not the cover designer.  I didn’t allow sufficient time for the design process.  My agent had arranged for the cover for Bound By Moonlight, not me.  So I figured designing a cover must be a snap.  Not so.

Well, I have my cover.  YAY!  Designed by the talented Lyndsey Lewellen, daughter of the equally talented Suzanne Ferrell.  But before I show you the final product, I thought I’d take you through the cover concepts that went before.

I sent Lyndsey the blurb of my story, Charming the Professor, which is this:

The Charm Gates have stood at The Court of Two Sisters for more than a century with no one guessing the secret they hold. Thanks to a jealous vindictive queen and a blackmailed alchemist, French “charm teacher” Madeline Charlebois’s essence is encased inside, until a grieving professor touches the gates during a storm and Madeline tumbles out, not in her own 19th century Spain, but in 21st century New Orleans.

Quantum physics Professor Grant Stewart has mourned his wife’s death for the last three years. But he must move on for his young daughter’s sake, the child who delights in terrorizing babysitters. Grant needs adequate childcare to pursue tenure at Tulane. What he doesn’t need is a French beauty believing nonsense like time-travel and voodoo, and whose very being is melting his heart.

Maddie may be without resources but she’s good at making new friends, even if they are on the quirky side. She believes Professor Stewart can return her home, but first she must earn his trust to win his cooperation. Babysitting his daughter gives her both proximity, and love for the child. Will Grant be the key to returning to her time? Or will she, in turn, unlock his frozen heart? All they need is time and maybe a little voodoo…

My concept was that a historically attired lady from 1853 would stand back-to-back with a modern professor with a little girl at their feet between them.charming cartoon cover

Lyndsey sent me two concepts.  The first is the “cartoon” cover on the right – that I love!  But everyone I showed it to said it didn’t suggest a romance.  They thought the story was a children’s story about the little girl charming the professor.  Rats!  That’s not at all what the story is about.

Charmed photo coverThe other concept, the one on the left, looks more like a romance.  But I had a problem with the girl’s outfit.  To me, she looked like she was wearing a Halloween costume, the adult version of a historical dress.  The guy looked a bit dorky.  His suit may have been appropriate in Victorian times – but not for today.  He had to change.

I thought the background was too busy and suggested maybe a brick wall might be better.  Meanwhile, Lyndsy found a new pair of models, plus she found a set of gates that looked a  lot like the real Charm Gates.  She sent this:Kissing number two

I love the new hero – now we’re talking!  But the heroine just wasn’t working for me.  Plus, I don’t think this conveys New Orleans the way I’d hoped.  I wasn’t crazy about the dress (which is actually a blouse and skirt).  Lyndsey changed up the colors and added some mardi gras masks which didn’t work at all.  That it’s on the left.  Please Charming the Professor concept 1C[1]note that all of these images have the watermarks of unpurchased images.  Those don’t disappear until the images are purchased and a cover finalized.

About now I’m getting frustrated.  Lyndsey is probably frustrated with me as well.  She found a different image with the same male model, but has a heroine that looks more Victorian, but I don’t know – doesn’t she look like she’s from a model of American Western Victorian attire?  Nothing about the image says New Orleans to me.  Lyndsey tried a different background, Charming the Professor concept 3[1]but still I get more of a feeling of San Antonio than New Orleans.  She changed the background and added some verbage to indicate this was a time-travel, because you really can’t tell by Charming the Professor concept 3b[3]the cover.  That’s the improved cover on the left.

Better, but it’s still not what I wanted.  I’m thinking I might have to use that cute cartoon cover.  We decided to go back to the original concept, however, before Lyndsey worked on fixing that first cover, she found something new.  And in my eyes, she found something wonderful.

This is my new cover for CHARMING THE PROFESSOR.  Tell me what do you think?

Charming the Professor final

Now for a prize, I’ll send someone, or a couple someones,  leaving a comment a free copy of the prequel to Charming the Professor.  It’s a short story that hasn’t a cover (but hopefully will shortly) called The Moor’s Tear.  While it’s not necessary to read The Moor’s Tear first, it does make Charming the Professor that much richer.  If you’re more in mind of winning a book, I have a huge overflowing TBR pile that I plan to give away a book a month to one of the subscribers to my newsletter list.  If you haven’t already subscribed, click here:\    or go to my website, and sign up.  Now let’s talk!





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