All Roads Lead To Rome

This week, I took the next step in the Great Website Amalgamation. If you’ve been peeking at my purple Château Delacroix site, you may have discovered that the delacroix.net url now brings you here. The url for the Dragon Diaries (www.thedragondiaries.com) also brings you here now, as does the Claire Cross url (www.clairecross.com).

You can find information about all of my books on this single site. If you had bookmarked individual pages on any of those sites, clicking on them will bring you here and give you a 404 message. The content is all relocated to this site, but the urls will have changed. Simply use the drop down menus to find what you were looking for.

Everything about my books is now in one place, which makes me happy. 🙂

Websites on the Move

Welcome to my new website!

I’ve finally updated all of my legacy systems and amalgamated everything in one place. Here you’ll find all of my books – written as myself Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix and as Claire Cross – as well as the new incarnation of my blog, Alive and Knitting.

The move will be an incremental one. First, this site had to be created and turned on for the world. That’s done. Next, the domain name deborahcooke.com will repoint to this site, and its url will change.

As a result of that change, a lot of links are going to go 404. 😦 The ones I’m most concerned about are those in the back of the digital editions of my books. The next phase of the move, which will take several months in 2014, will be to update the end matter in all of my digital books with new links, links that point here.

The next big ugly job will be moving all of the content from my current blog (located at http://www.delacroix.net/blog for many years) to this server and address. There will be missing images and links resulting from that transaction, too. I’ll also have to hunt down all the blog feeds on the internet and update the address for the rss.

Phew! After that’s done, clairecross.com and delacroix.net will be repointed to this site, although its url will remain deborahcooke.com At some point in the future, the hosting on dragondiaries.com will expire and it will be pointed here, too.

It’s a lot of work, but once it’s done, it’ll be easier for me to maintain and for you to find information about my books. So, have a look around the new site and familiarize yourself with it. This is where everything will be!

October Reader Contest

It’s time for another reader contest! This month’s prize is a signed trade paperback copy of my contemporary romance, All or Nothing. The story starts at Thanksgiving and ends at Christmas, which makes it a perfect read for this time of year.

All or Nothing, book #4 of the Coxwell series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke (writing as Claire Cross)

All you have to do to have a chance to win is comment on this post. How easy is that? At the end of the month, I’ll choose a winner. As usual, for every 25 entries, I’ll add another prize. Good luck!

Covers for Double Trouble

Once upon a time, I wrote a contemporary romance, in first person, about a woman who had tons of attitude and a lot of secrets. She also had a twin sister, and when her sister left her husband and kids, the heroine of my story found herself stepping into the void her sister left. She rationalized this as “helping out”, but the truth was never simple with Maralys, particularly when it came to her sister’s husband, James. I loved writing Double Trouble because I loved how tough and vulnerable both Maralys and James were.

My editor loved the book, too, which was exciting. Yet it was extremely difficult to decide upon a cover for it. While it was a romance, the story defied many expectations of romance readers. It was different, although it still ended with an HEA (and no, Maralys is not a nasty or ignoble character. Trust me on that and read the whole book before you decide.) We spent hours on the phone, bouncing around ideas. We really wanted to get it right, but couldn’t decide upon a strategy.

This was the first cover for Double Trouble. None of us were really over-the-moon about it (not even the artist), but in the absence of any other ideas, this is how the book went out in its original mass market edition. It was matte paper, with shiny shells. (There is a shell in the book. Not this kind, but the image does tie in to the story.)

Double Trouble, second in the Coxwell series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke (writing as Claire Cross), out of print mass market edition

The book didn’t exactly take the world by storm: the title “didn’t perform”, as they say in publishing circles. My editor and I still loved the story, but sales numbers determine a great deal in publishing. Claire Cross went to sleep for a while after that.

A few years later, Berkley launched Sensation, a trade paperback program, and my editor wanted to give both Third Time Lucky and Double Trouble another shot at the market. They were both republished in trade paperback editions, with new “chick-lit” covers. The cover artist was very popular at the time – these illustrations were done by Masaki Ryo, so the books were given a great second shot. This look really captured the playful tone of the books, and the trade paperback format itself indicated that they were different. Here’s the one for Double Trouble:Double Trouble, #2 in the Coxwell series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke (writing as Claire Cross)Yup, that’s Maralys. She really does have chartreuse boots and a suitcase figures in the story. We had some nice reviews from the first time out to promote the book, which was good. The second time out, the two books did well enough to justify Claire Cross reviving to write the third and fourth books in the Coxwell Series.

In the meantime, some foreign rights to Double Trouble had been sold. Here’s the Danish edition. To me, it looks like a Harlequin Super Romance, which doesn’t evoke the tone of the book well, but might work in the Dutch market. (Authors generally aren’t involved at all in foreign editions of books. We find out when it’s over and done, IF we get copies of the finished book in the mail. Otherwise, we find out when there’s a payment posted to a royalty statement. We’re talking years after it’s all over and done.)

Double Trouble, second of the Coxwell series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke (writing as Claire Cross), Dutch editionAnd here’s the Brazilian edition, which I really like. The approach was very different, more photographic, but captured Maralys’ tendency to provoke James very well:

Double Trouble, second in the Coxwell series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke (writing as Claire Cross), Brazilian editionThere also was an Estonian edition, but I don’t have a copy of it. (In fact, I found out about the Estonian edition on Goodreads, when I was updating my covers. See my note about foreign editions, above.)

Last year, when it came time to repackage and republish the Coxwell Series, I had the same issue that my editor and I faced in 2000 and again in 2005. How should the books be packaged, so that readers knew what to expect? I kept coming back to the Brazilian cover for Double Trouble. I thought it was too dark, but I liked the core idea. After a lot of discussion with Kim Killion, my fave cover designer, we ended up with the current cover.

Double Trouble, book #2 in The Coxwells Series, by Deborah Cooke

In fact, she did all four Coxwell covers, so that they’re clearly a linked series. This is new for this series and pretty exciting. I’m probably biased (!) but I think the new cover for Double Trouble is just about perfect. What do you think?