Book Release Tomorrow!

The Reluctant Bandit Covers

Tomorrow is the day of the digital release! I’m so excited. I’ve had some technical difficulties with this manuscript along the way, so here’s 🤞🏼 that all will go smoothly when I hit “purchase” which equals “publish” at Ingram Sparks. It’s already up on Goodreads as of last night, but for some reason it’s not showing the cover. 🤔 I also don’t have an author page approved, yet. I have a very nice and patient lady who’s been helping me with this. Although crazy as it is, my dissertation is listed there as well. Who knew? A little light reading for you 😂. I wrote that just after my father lost his battle with prostate cancer, giving birth to my second child, and putting an addition on the house (that was during the final chapters, drafting, and editing stages). Writing that thing took a few years. Talk about nuts. I had two kids under the age of five, a house and yard full of workers, and a neurotic architect–also acting as project manager, who kept calling, texting, and finding me. (Won’t lie, there were times I hid. I was trying to get work done, people.) I’m long-winded, but he beat the band. It was a special kind of patience I needed to cultivate for that period of my life.

This process was much different and took a year–for a bunch of reasons. Toward the end, I contacted a former colleague and asked if he’d work with me on this cover. The basic layout and concept is his doing. Annabelle was a couple of different women before we decided on this one. The first woman he had was great, but she couldn’t pass for Annabelle’s nineteen. The second was closer in age, but not quite right in her facial expression. This is starting to sound like Goldilocks…I loved the final one he came up with: she had to have a mass of curly hair because there’s a bathing scene and her hair is an important element of it. When I started writing that scene I worked with the familiar struggles as a curly-haired girl–especially one who lacked a hairbrush to brush her hair before washing. Been there. Not pretty. Annabelle really evolved into her hair from that one scene. 🤔 It made my general concept for this scene easier to write. I felt compelled to ask Roland if he had Keira Knightly in mind when he created her image. “No” was the answer to that. Do you see a similarity with her? It’s the first thing I thought. I’m curious, let me know. Pop it below or get a hold of me via your usual methods. What I loved from the onset was his idea of having one side shaded and the other brighter–a kind of good vs. bad dichotomy going on with Charlie (the protagonist) in the middle incorporating both elements. Each iteration of the cover became more saturated with color which I really liked. I love Arizona sunsets, sunrises, and skylines. Sunsets, however, are my absolute favorite. Frequently, the sun looks like a ball of fire igniting the sky as it sinks below the horizon with a last hurrah of vibrancy before moving on to other places. A blaze of glory (or a “see you, bitches!” moment in slang) and a moving picture show of dancing shapes, colors, light. I thought that nothing could compare to Seattle’s skies and lights over the water, but these are different. The more I looked to the sky, the more I fell in love with it and Arizona. Let me tell you, it was not love at first sight. I was repeatedly dismayed and often disappointed when we first moved here. (And no, it wasn’t my attitude–I approached this move to Phoenix as an awesome adventure, not quite like Bill and Ted’s excellent one 😁, but I was hopeful and optimistic). A portion of it was acclimating to a new environment in terms of extreme weather and topography. It was dry, bleak, and the polar opposite of what I grew up with. We also moved here from a drought-ridden Seattle–limited water usage. That meant no car washing, no lawn watering. Things were dead in the Evergreen state. We arrived here where it was lush and green, yet felt artificial with water everywhere. The golf courses are manufactured and curated for pleasure not necessarily cooperation with the environment. I will say they’re trying to do better. They’ve been using what they call “grey” water to irrigate for a while now, but it’s still a sharp contrast to the natural Sonoran desert. Unnatural water fountains and features plopped in the middle of office parks consisting of concrete, brick, and glass. Pools and block walls everywhere. People driving everywhere–very few places to park and walk (like shops on an actual city street vs. big planning). At first, I felt like the dehydrated characters trudging across the desert in The Three Amigos stopping to drink out of their canteens. One has minimal water, the other dust. They watch as Chevy Chase’s character drinks a bountiful and non-stop amount water, gurgling and spitting it out in the dry, dry desert before tossing the canteen to the ground, while looking on in dismay. He has all the water and is wasteful. Then the lip balm moment, which we still mimic to this day. 🤦🏻‍♀️ I think the conservationist in me freaked out with all these manmade things stamping out nature, then being replaced by elements requiring excessive upkeep to remain looking good. It took some getting used to, but once I looked beyond all these things I could see the natural beauty in the cracks as well as all around me, really appreciating it. It was quite a shift when it finally happened. (water rant over…although some of you may know this summer is the hottest on record for Phoenix 🥵 ironically, I linked this and it mentions the concert jungle, too–it’s brief, unlike me.)

I’m pretty sure I made Roland happy when I stopped apologizing profusely for having to make changes and just asked him for specific elements. We fell into a funny format of discussion. One of us would call the other and we’d discuss the changes which would digress to discussion about school in some way, shape or form. The only rule was we couldn’t end it on a specific colleague or anything sad. Hard rule. It’s like putting a bad taste in your mouth after having a delicious meal. No good. Final comments about the cover: it’s funny that Roland used a font pretty darn close to the one I use on the site. Sheer happenstance. “Happy little” coincidence (for the Bob Ross fans). Roland’s original concept was that the man behind Charlie was his brother, Jimmy. No, I decided he’s Wrighty of the burro fame in an earlier post. In addition to the symbolism of light and dark, that works out even better. It’ll be more obvious when you read the book. Wrighty is pure nasty and no-good. Jimmy is a good kid who’s going to get justice his own way. Hint-hint, he’s the protagonist in Book 2 of Lawlessness & the Law. We can’t have him completely in the dark–he needs light, although Jimmy’s a little darker than Charlie. Charlie’s a man who needs to “do the right thing” and “protect.”

If you’d like to see short quotes from Goat, Van Der Kamp, Wrighty, Annabelle, and Charlie (coming tomorrow) check out my instagram page. In fact, here’s a sunset I posted a while back–no filter (that’s way too fancy for me, anyway). The cover isn’t a stretch from the truth. I run out every evening and watch the sky, even if it’s for a moment. Unless I have something epic in a disastrous way happening in the kitchen or I’m working, then there isn’t sky watching and I miss it.

One last thing–I had planned on posting something for National Left Hand Day. I actually started it. Since I have a release I want to give a shout out to, I’m going to post that next week. I feel compelled to note that it’s a “day” and I’ll get to it, for what that’s worth. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s also another installment of Horse Tales. All righty then! I’m surprised by where my mind took us today, and I can’t wait to send this book baby off and hear what you think about it!

Give me a shoutout! 🤠

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