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How was your first week of Spring?

On Monday, we couldn’t believe our eyes. Color in the landscape!

On Tuesday, here at Chateau du Chat, we dared to feel a little enlivened by the sun, even a little spiffy.

On Wednesday, the temperature soared into the high 60′s. Made us feel frisky.

Made us want to get all toesy.

Made us want to shake of Winter’s hoary pall.

Made us want to cloak ourselves in the meadow’s joyous abundance and stuff.

Turn over a new leaf.

Start to be a kinder, gentler person, one in tune with the rejuvenations of the vernal spirits.

Cut back on the hateful things we think about people, like whenever we see that neighbor lady, the one who thinks she can still get away with the Stevie Nicks look that worked so well for her in high school, back in 1975, before her ass got the size of Delaware.

The one who lets her hair go all froozy — in that oh so attractive, just-rolled-out-of-bed (or the crack den) look.

 The one who makes us want to yell “Get a comb, for god’s sake! And a mirror!”

No, we weren’t going to be that person anymore.

We were going to be as Glinda, the Good Witch, and the world was our Yellow Brick Road.

Ah, Spring, wrap me in your sweet spirits of good personhood.

And then it was Thursday, and we said the hell with it.

Thank you, one and all, for such marvelous notes on the Damn Cover Dilemma. Your comments constitute the most in-depth discussion I’ve ever had about any artistic choice I’ve had to make, ever. Even my dear Production Editor never took so much time to think about the pros and cons of what we should and should not slap on the cover of a Vivian Swift book.

My original book cover was Cover No. 1, but the Art Director (who I have not met) sent word that it would not do, seeing as it was too similar to a page of the book. No, she riffled through the manuscript, giving it a full 30 seconds of deliberation, and picked out an illustration that, when my editor showed it to me on approx. page 98) I immediately said, “No. No way. NO.”

The Art Director had chosen a goofy little jot that I had made in fun, a full-page image that I intended to be light-hearted and a bit poignant, but one that I dashed off as if it were for a children’s book — I like to change up my style every now and then so that my reader doesn’t get tired of the same old same old. The picture was entirely NOT about me, my work, or the book. I was even a bit insulted that of all the stuff in the Damn France Book, THAT was the image that leaped out.

My editor gave me a list of words that the Art Director wanted from the book cover’s image: Adventure, warmth, Frenchy, interior-exterior, comfort zone.

The Art Director thought that the image she’d chosen had all these things. (And made me think, all that from that dopey joke-picture? Damn, I’m good.)

So I went back to the drawing board and jumbled some adventurey, warmy, Frenchy, etc. stuff together — but THANK YOU, majority of you, who stuck with Cover No. 1!

I have been pouring over all your suggestions and I am eager to incorporate so many good ideas. I am so amazed, and excited, and all toesy and spiffy that so many of you took the time to give me such much-needed and high quality advise. You make me want to be a better person, you really do, as if you were all the sun-kissed spirit of Spring or a really, really huge margarita.

And for those of you who liked Cover No. 2, all I can say is:



Now, blurbs are a whole other thing. Let’s talk on Monday.

7 comments to The Rites of Spring.

  • Yay! Number one WAS better.

    Those poor “ferel” cats look sooo underfed. I love to see cats sleeping on their backs, feet outstretched. cute.

    Blurb should be ad for your previous book. One suggestion.

  • Deborah

    We had a similar shift in weather — from 80′s to 40 — with the same effect on me (really it was the sunshine vs raw gray, rather than temp, that shifts my mood)

    Glad to see that both pictures will be on the cover, at different ends. It had occured to me after I’d commented before that a section of ‘outtakes’ — paintings you considered using but didn’t — at the end of the book would be interesting (to me, at least). As would inclusion of a page or two of the comments we’ve all made on this blog. I can’t imagine said art director going for any of that, though.

  • Barbara Lemme

    Art director, schmart director…does the AD know what we the public think or want? Hah! I still go for #1.

  • Shelley

    I sure hope that you are allowed more input on the cover of your book, than the art director who gave it a 30-second riffle (is that a word?) and obviously doesn’t have a clue about you or your art.

    What’s wrong with the cover art being similar to a page in the book? I always thought the cover was supposed to give the reader an idea of what would be found inside!

  • Barb

    Well, The art directors approach certainly explains a lot of strange book covers. Since when would the reader/buyer not want to see the same feeling as is in the actual book! It also explains why so many books are sold for the cover art and are inconsistent with what is within. Your book is about the art style and of course buyers want to see it. The writing content is a yummy facet as well. Just one to echo the above.

  • Ha ha! Same thing here on Thursday… probably a few inches deeper. Wanted to let you know that the Commonplace book arrived safely and I am SO excited to use it. The cats were very interested in smelling the packaging and playing with the ribbon. Thanks!

  • Jeannie

    Mother Nature is sure being feisty this year! Back cover is good. :) New art director might be good also. My cats have been dragging in all kinds of detritus from the yard. I guess it just feels so good to roll in the dirt. Maybe I should try it! Have a beautiful weekend.

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