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?

August Reader Contest

One More Time by Deborah CookeThe prize in this month’s reader contest is a signed trade paperback copy of One More Time, book #3 in the Coxwell Series. (You don’t have to read these contemporary romances in order.) Booklist called OMT “witty and insightful!”

All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is comment on this post. I’ll pick a winner at the beginning of September. As always, my contests are open internationally. 🙂

August Reviewer Contest

Here we go again – another month means another reviewer contest here on the blog.

There are two monthly contests here on the blog. This is the contest for people who post online reviews of my books. The idea is that if you read one of my books and like it, then post a review somewhere out there on the Internet, you can comment on this post to be eligible to win a signed book from me.

What you need to do to enter:

1. Read one of my books and like it. :-)
2. Write a review of the book and post it online – you can do that at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, AllRomanceEbooks, Smashwords, Sony, KOBO, Apple, Goodreads or Shelfari. (If I missed a place where you can post reviews, let me know!) Just a word to the wise, here: Amazon has been removing reviews. I’m not sure why, but you might want to post your review on Goodreads or Shelfari so it sticks.
3. Add a comment to this post, saying which book you reviewed. Your comment will be your contest entry.

N.B. Your email address will not be displayed to the world, just to me, and it needs to be right if I’m going to be able to contact you. Also, if you add a link to the book page in question, that’s okay but your comment will go to moderation. Your comment won’t appear immediately, but will be waiting on me. Once I approve it, it’ll be there for all to see. All comments with links go to moderation on this blog.

Please only enter once for each review. If you review multiple books in a month, you are welcome to enter multiple times. The contest is open to international winners.

The Prizes

The winner can choose a print book from the following list of my books – I’ll sign it and mail it to the winner. I do have some gaps in my collection, so here are the choices:

Claire Cross/Delacroix time travels – new trade paperback editions.

Bride Quest I (PRINCESS, DAMSEL, HEIRESS) – mass market copies of TD and TH only.

Bride Quest II (COUNTESS, BEAUTY, TEMPTRESS) – new trade paperback editions.

Rogues of Ravensmuir – new trade paperback editions. I have WARRIOR in mass market, too.

Jewels of Kinfairlie – new trade paperback editions. I have BEAUTY BRIDE in mass market, too.

The Renegade’s Heart – trade paperback edition.

The Highlander’s Curse – trade paperback edition.

The Prometheus Project – mass market paperback of GUARDIAN and REBEL.

Dragonfire – I have all titles in mass market, EXCEPT I have no way to give away the digital short story “Harmonia’s Kiss”. The Dragon Legion Collection in trade paperback is also available.

The Dragon Diaries – trade paperback edition, and UK trade of the first two titles.

The Coxwells – all in new trade paperback editions.

Of course, if you want something in French, Spanish or German, that’s a whole ‘nuther list!

As usual, for every 25 entries, I’ll draw for another prize.

Good luck, everyone!