The Departed Cover Reveal

I just uploaded my new short story (which is actually more like a novelette at almost 8,000 words) to Openbooks. It is *only* being released through their site.

Openbooks has invited authors to submit their Holiday themed stories to be highlighted during the month of December. (I’ll keep you updated about the actual release day, which should be December 1st.)

For now, I’m only going to tell you a little about the story and reveal the cover (which was designed by Mr. Brown).

The Departed: A paranormal romance novelette

Orin is a man in mourning, waiting for the subway on Christmas Eve night.
Natalie is a woman running for her life.
Someone is following her.

The Departed by Julie Roberts Towe

The Departed by Julie Roberts Towe

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: Hold This Close

I have written a novella as a prequel to Winter Seedlings. The purpose of this novella is to give Allie’s point of view and to provide a free (or near-free) introduction to the series. In Winter Seedlings, Jute has a lot of thoughts about why Allie behaves the way she does. Jute also makes clear how she feels about Allie.

But, how accurate are Jute’s assumptions? And how does Allie feel about Jute?

The prequel novella is titled Hold This Close and is approximately 24,000 words. It takes place in Maryville, Tennessee in May 1989. Winter Seedlings will pick up in January 1990.

Some of Allie’s story is revealed in Winter Seedlings. Revelations of what happened to her play an important part of the story, so I wanted to be careful not to spoil those moments. This is why, in Hold This Close, I focus less on the actual events and more on the psychological aftermath. She is trying to figure out how she fits in with her peers when none of them have gone through what she has.

There are two important aspects to Allie’s story. There is the world she moves through and the world that moves within her. In her mind, those two worlds cannot coexist, so she neglects one of them to focus on feeling at peace in the other.

Hold This Close will be out by the first of July. I will announce the date as soon as I know it. For now, I’ll share with you the cover reveal.

This amazing photograph was taken by Nunzia Passaro. Click here to see her work and other photos from this set.

Cover Design by Mr. Brown

Hold This Close Cover

Silencer Cover Reveal

Silencer is my third published book and my first novella. Here is the description:

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Suicidal thoughts had comforted Rhoda since she was a child. She never actually wanted to die. But that changed on a cool autumn day in 1969 when the lifeless body of her infant daughter was pulled from the banks of Clinch River. Distraught, Rhoda set out on a journey to get as far away from War Gap as she could. With bus tickets and the use of her exhausted legs, she made it all the way to Grand Saline, Texas. She fell on the ground in the middle of nowhere and placed a gun to her head. Only, it wasn’t the middle of nowhere. It was one of the few farms owned by a Black family in all of Van Zandt county. It was also the location of a recent murder fueled by racism. Rhoda was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was she?

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When I began writing Silencer, it was intended to be a novella. But as I got to know my characters, I really hated to part with them so quickly. The what if scenarios plagued my mind night and day until I was convinced I could stay true to the original idea while expanding their storyline.

After months of trying out different plot twists, I became frustrated. I almost shelved it, thinking I may never finish it. But then the most obvious solution hit me. I would pick it up again and finish it as the novella it wanted to be. Let me assure you, it is a much more edge-of-your-seat ride as a novella than it ever could have been as a full length novel.

My cover artist, Mr. Brown, had completed the cover design months ago after I assured him in December that I’d have the novella finished by February. So once I decided to stick with the original plan, everything was ready to fall into place. Today I listed Silencer at Amazon for pre-order. I expected it to go live tomorrow, but it is already live and ready to order!

If you buy it now, you will not be charged until it is delivered on June 4th. Also, if you buy it now it will give Silencer a boost on the sales charts on day one which will really help in promoting it. So, thank you so much if you pre-order before the release date!

So enough with all these words, here is the cover reveal to Silencer (click the image to go to Amazon and buy it!):

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Cover Template

Winter Suns Cover Reveal

The release of Winter Suns, the sequel to Winter Seedlings, will happen very soon, I promise. (I have been making this promise for a month, I know.)

While you wait, let me throw out a few sneak peeks and hints:

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Allie

December 25, 1990

I know I’m running because I feel my legs moving. A dim light before me grows larger as I near it. I don’t know what I am running away from, but I hear my heart pounding loudly. The sound of my heart seems to be coming from the tunnel itself. I can hear nothing else. How long have I been running?

The light from the tunnel grows brighter and other sounds emerge. Cries of a screaming baby. The echo bounces off the walls, multiplies. I can’t hear my heart anymore. I can only hear the sound of crying. As I move into brighter light, all sound begins to fade. The light becomes so bright that I can’t see. Then I hear nothing at all.

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The Girl

December 25, 2006

It was with thoughts of eventually sleeping under a large dense pine that I felt my foot step too low. It landed down an embankment, pulling all of me with it. I slid, clinging to my hat, trying to dig in my heels where there was nothing in which to dig. I then fell briefly through the air before landing face down on hard flat rock. I hadn’t fallen far, but I was disoriented. I slowly started to push myself up from the rock when bright light filled the space around me. Blinded for a moment, I thought that it was God. But I registered the sound of a motor just before the sound of squealing tires. I realized I was in the middle of a road.

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John

December 23, 2006

I would have liked to have a normal life, just for a while if not forever. Many times I wished for my parents to actually live together, not just on the same farm but actually in the same house like when I was six. But when they bought this place, everyone decided that I needed to stay mostly with Mom because my Dad Tracy was out of town a lot on tour with his band and Dawson worked at night. So, I didn’t get to stay in the all-guy house with the swimming pool, mini theater, and ten bedrooms. I stayed mostly with mom in the all-girl Victorian house with the endless supply of crying. Secretly, there were times I thought the house was kind of awesome because it was a hundred years old with lots of hidden nooks. It would have been much better if it had been a home for just our family and not the 24/7 abuse shelter Mom had turned it into.

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Jute

“…… life can take many twists and turns and still come out okay in the end. I guess what I’m telling you is that life isn’t planned out ahead of time. Tomorrow isn’t set in stone. There is no fate waiting on you to be ready for things. Life just dances about, whirling, twisting, jutting, and throwing its arms around. Sometimes it even falls on its face. But none of it is planned or synchronized between us all like a movie on a screen. That means you’ll have to step up and try to take a little control over what moves your life makes. You can’t just sit back and watch it dance. I believe in the power of our choices. I don’t believe in fate.”

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Winter Suns

Cover designed by the talented and magical Anna Wand.wintersunsfinal

Winter Seedlings Cover Reveal

I had the idea for Winter Seedlings ten years ago when I began writing a compilations of poems about child sexual abuse. I had shoved it to the back of a desk drawer and forgotten about it. But in February 2014, when I decided to try my hand at writing a novel, the idea of Winter Seedlings insisted I finish what I started. I am now only a few days away from publishing it as my first novel.

In moving from a collection of poems to a novel, my initial concept was to have two teenage characters, both victims of child sexual abuse, who take opposite steps to deal with the abuse. They are best friends, but seem to have nothing in common.

Jute is boyish and she uses that to her advantage. She has a punk style and becomes fierce in both her appearance and her actions. She can be unpredictably violent. The person she has become keeps unwanted hands off her. The last thing Jute wants is to be seen as pretty.  Pretty is dangerous and so is love. Having been denied love, Jute is convinced she doesn’t need it, doesn’t want it. She doesn’t even know if she knows how to love. But if she did, she would love Allie.

Allie is beautiful, wears vintage dresses, and craves approval. She has suffered her own abuse, but she blames herself. She knows if she was a better person, a person worth loving, a person willing to give up everything, a man would love her. Allie doesn’t even care which man, any man will do, just as long as he sees her as the girl she was before she made the terrible mistake that ruined her.

Jute knows Allie is not to blame. Allie didn’t cause her own abuse and she is no less perfect now than she was before. But guilt plagues Jute for her part in it.

When Allie inadvertently puts Jute in danger, their perspectives change. Their illusions are shattered. Their demons must be faced. If they drop their guard and stand exposed and vulnerable before it, will love be able to penetrate their scars and repair their hearts? Or will their self-loathing destroy them before it can?

Other characters will influence the decisions the girls must make. Some have their own demons and need for healing. Others have more selfish desires. Winter Seedlings explores how child sexual abuse is the cold and isolating winter storm in which the most fragile seedlings must try to survive.

Winter Seedlings has grown from an idea I began ten years ago with a collection of poems to a completed novel of psychological fiction with intricate and compelling lgbtq characters. I am excited to be so close to releasing it and allowing my characters to live in readers’ minds.

It was early summer when I finished the first phase of writing Winter Seedlings. About that same time, I contacted an amazing artist and asked if she would do the cover art.  Anna Wand agreed. This was the first cover I had commissioned and the first that Anna had been commissioned to do. We were both incredibly excited. Within a few weeks Anna had sent seven possible cover designs. They were all so amazing, but were not quite what I wanted.

I have to confess that I was very hard to work with, this being my first time commissioning art. Initially, I had been afraid to be specific and so I left it wide open for Anna. I thought I was being helpful, but it turns out I was not.

Anna worked so hard to read my mind. And the process was getting frustrating. At the very end of August, we had settled on something we could both live with. I promised that I would make no more changes and I would ask for no more redesigns. I meant it, too. I was learning to be a much better patron and to trust her.

But Anna Wand didn’t go with our agreed upon design. She pulled a rabbit out of her hat, a magical and beautiful rabbit that I did not expect. She designed an amazing cover that was better than I had imagined. The bruised skin, the frozen heart which may be helping the wounds or hurting them, the colors of passion and pain, everything about it is perfect.

So here it is, revealed for the first time, Winter Seedlings………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Seedlings Cover by Anna Wand