Book Cover Wars

Gilbert CopiesCover Wars: The U.S. vs. the UK

I’m always a little fascinated at how different countries chose entirely different cover art for the same book.  On rare occasions there can be copyright restrictions that prohibit selling a cover overseas so a new one must be made…. But usually it is simply a matter of the marketing departments thinking they know their national audience best, and want a custom-made cover.

Compare these two images for Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book. Both covers are lovely, but the U.S. version (on the left) has a delicate, antique feel, while I’m not sure what the vivid, almost stress-inducing color scheme of the U.K. version is trying to convey.

For more fun looking at rival book covers, click here

With Every Breath

With Every Breath_NewMy next novel is on the way!

So….with about four months until my next novel hits the stores, I’m thrilled to debut the cover!

Here is the blurb:

Washington D.C., 1891.

In the shadow of the nation’s capital, Kate Livingston has a respectable job as a government statistician when she encounters a rival from her past, the insufferable Trevor McDonough. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, so why did he track her down after more than ten years apart to recruit her onto his medical team? In a daring move, Kate agrees to Trevor’s risky proposal to work side-by-side in a quest to rid the world of tuberculosis, a disease so deadly it could kill anyone coming too close.

As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor’s past, she begins falling in love with this fascinating man…but she soon learns his terrible secret. Meanwhile, a while a shadowy enemy lurks in the background, threatening to destroy everything they hold dear.

A story of courage and betrayal, triumph and redemption, Kate and Trevor will risk everything to overcome the barriers between them.

Look for it August 1.

True Stories of the Chicago Fire, pt. 2

Chicago needlepoint

Today I am sharing an image sent to me by Carol in Boynton Beach, Florida, whose great-grandmother survived the Chicago fire.

Carol reports that her great-grandmother completed this tapestry just a few months before the fire, and it was one of the things she chose to bring with her in the chaos of that night.  As my last blog post said, the fire came with no warning, and very few people were able to secure a wagon to transport their belongings.  For most people, the only things they were able to save had to be carried on their backs.

The people who survived the fire were able to salvage so little of their lives, that those few belongings carried immense emotional value for them.  When I wrote Into the Whirlwind, I included a scene where Mollie decides to keep her stained, cinder-marked scarf as a beautiful/terrible reminder of what she lived through.  Many accounts I read by the fire’s survivors mentioned how they treasured those few items they could salvage.

Carol reports that this tapestry has been passed down through the generations….a memento of that amazing, terrible night.  Many thanks to Carol for sending it along!




True Stories of the Chicago Fire

Chicago1I did plenty of research for Into the Whirlwind, a novel of the Chicago fire. I tried to use as many stories from real life as possible to incorporate into the fabric of the novel, since they add a sense of authenticity and the stories were so profoundly moving.

There were many glimpses into the fire I was not able to weave into the book, but they were too moving to be forgotten. Here are a sampling:

In the days after the fire, thousands of telegrams flew in and out of the city. Here is one from a man telling his wife (who was visiting relatives in New York) that they have lost everything: “Store and contents, dwelling and everything lost. Insurance worthless. Buy all the coffee you can and ship this afternoon by express. Don’t cry.”

Oh….. somehow that “don’t cry” gets me every time.

Here’s another:

The streets were chaos and it was hard to breath. The owner of a hat shop stood on his front stoop, shouting at the moving mass of people to grab a hat for their journey. “They’ll all burn up anyway,” he shouted. “Make yourselves at home with a new hat free. No charge! Take what you want!”

Those hats surely came in handy. Survivors wrote that burning ashes swirled through the sky like falling snow, and it was better for a hat to catch fire than someone’s hair!

The story that moved me the most (because I’m a booklover,) was of the old man who was trying to save his set of beautifully bound Shakespeare plays….too many for him to carry. The streets were complete chaos, and the few people driving wagons had them stuffed to capacity as they fled the city. The bookman kept flagging down the wagons, offering people $50 if they would carry his books to safety. One driver after another refused. Finally, the old man said to a driver, “Will you take them if I make a present of them?” The driver agreed. “Take them then,” the owner said. He put them into the wagon, turned away, and burst into tears.”

There are literally hundreds of stories written by the survivors of the fire. You can find them online here.

Below is an artist’s rendering of the absolute chaos on the streets, as people made a mad dash for one of the few bridges to get across the river: