When a Cover is More Than a Cover

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All authors have a story. Boy, is that an understatement! However, I am referring to the authors themselves. This story is how this author is tied to this cover and how far back it goes. As they say, everything happens for a reason. This is no exception.

Twisted Fate is the fifth novel centered around Ruthorford, a fictional town in Georgia, where being paranormal is normal and nothing is as it seems. This particular novel started about a year ago and evolved into a long story about how things can go wrong or, at the very least, not go as they were planned or expected. As with all my other stories, I had planned to turn to my cover artist toward the end to design a great cover for my book. Except, when I reached out to her, she was nowhere to be found. No one had heard anything and, to this day, I have no idea what happened to her. I suddenly found myself with a very long novel approaching publication and no cover.

I tend to take pictures for my Facebook posts with my cell phone, almost daily. Even so, I am not a photographer. I take pix and upload them to folders, occasionally finding one I want to share. In the process of transferring some old files to a hard-drive, I transferred a bunch of files mistakenly into the wrong folder. When I went into the folder to straighten things out, there were two pictures next to one another—a picture of an amazing sunset I took off my front porch and a graphic I’d turned into a jpg years ago—the background and the hooded figure on my cover. I opened up Photoshop Elements and, as if by magic, I had a cover.

Now, let me tell you about the hooded figure. Many decades ago, my husband (before he became my husband) and I were offered a place to stay until we could get on our feet. Both of us had found ourselves between jobs and living in a place unworthy of our precious puppy. A friend told us she happened to have a townhouse without a tenant and offered to let us stay, rent free, until our circumstances improved. We packed up and, with the help of her and her sons, moved in, sight unseen. As we stepped into this gorgeous townhouse, I burst into tears because it was far prettier than anything I could have dreamed of.

I was in heaven—for a few months. At first, I noticed some cold spots and tended to avoid them. Then, I started hearing a mewling sound, but could find no cat. We had none, just Rufus, our chow, and he didn’t seem to hear anything. One day, I heard him upstairs, growling, in a lower pitch than I’d ever heard before. I went up the stairs to find him staring into one of the bedrooms, his hackles raised. I came up beside him and tried to look around him into the dark room. He kept moving, placing himself between me and the door, until I finally had to put my leg over him, straddling him, because he wasn’t budging. I leaned forward and looked into the room when a cold burst of air hit me in the face. On the window sill sat an animal the likes of which I’d never seen (and, honestly, hope to never see again). It was mostly an outline, except for the eyes, which glowed at us. I grabbed Rufus by the collar, pulled my leg back over him, and pulled him downstairs and outside with me. As soon as he was outside, Rufus returned to normal. Me, not so much. I was cold and shaking like a leaf. When my boyfriend came home, we searched the entire house, finding nothing. Never did see that thing again.

Luckily, we both soon found jobs. Mine was as an assistant editor for a regional magazine which provided long, but odd, hours, so I got to spend some time at home with Rufus. One day, as I was coming down the stairs, I felt a pair of hands shove me. Instantly, I was off my feet, flying down the stairs, head first, toward the wall at the bottom. Then, just as instantly, I was lifted by some energy over the half-wall railing and dropped, none too gently, on the floor on the other side of the stairs, stunned but safe. Rufus was on me in seconds, whining and licking the side of my face. I squinted and saw the edge of a billowing grey robe right as it disappeared. After that, several times a week, I would dream of this hooded figure. He seemed to be trying to teach me something, but it was in a language I couldn’t grasp as it was in my head, filling my mind. After I got over my fear (maybe because I was grateful to him for having saved my life) I came to think of him as Mr. Grey. I never saw his face and never felt any warmth from him. He was more mentor than friend. And, honestly, I don’t think I was a very good pupil. It was at that time that I decided to write my first novel, Capricorn’s Child, which would have been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, had my son not found it, dried out the musty papers, and bagged them for me. I still have dreams of publishing that one day.

For a while, several, mostly annoying, things happened. Just as I was getting comfortable, however, I came home to find the large window fan lying on the floor upstairs with its sides crushed in. Then, a week later, I found all of the living room furniture upstairs in the room where I’d seen the animal (while I was napping on the couch in the kitchen/office). We decided it was time to move.

On our last day in the townhouse, when I was cleaning off the tops of the kitchen cabinets where we’d kept some decorations, I found several piles of fresh wheat, dry and sweet smelling. I cleaned it up, thanked Mr. Grey, closed the door, and thought nothing more about it until my friend called. She told me her son didn’t last a month in the townhouse and, when he left, they found piles of maggots. I guess whatever it was liked us, after all.

That was close to thirty years ago. When I was publishing my first novel about Ruthorford, my publisher asked me to use a pseudonym. My son thought that was a great idea. I chose Shanon, since it had always been a favorite name. I told my son to choose my last name. He went to the bookstore and, after a couple of days, presented me with my new last name, saying it was in the middle of the alphabet, putting it in good spots on shelves, was short and easy to sign (it is). He knew nothing about the townhouse and, honestly, I didn’t think anything about it until I saw those two pictures together in that file folder, years after I’d been signing my pen name with a flourish.

Truly, that cover represents Twisted Fate, not only for the descendants of Ruthorford, but for their author, Shanon Grey.

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Book-signing at Moreland

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The morning of July 4th dawned bright and hot. I had already set up the tables the afternoon before so I just had a few things to throw together, besides myself, and off we went, following our normal route. We arrive just in time to be stopped for the Kids’ Patriotic Bike and Patriotic Dog Parade. I am sorry I didn’t get pictures of this, they were so cute, but I was running a bit late.20190704_090717

I would like to introduce my helper, the elusive hubby. I promise you, I couldn’t do these book-signing events without him. By the time we are done, we have loaded down my extended Trailblazer with tables, chairs, banner stands (out of sight in the hallway), books,  decorations, and food and drinks. You figure, by the time it’s over, we’ve packed and unpack it all four times. When I say we are beat by the time we’ve done the last unpack, I’m not joking. We can barely move.

I took a moment to stroll around, even though I didn’t get outside to see the20190704_105634.jpg food vendors or the BBQ, which is the star of the day’s celebration here in Moreland. It has become an annual event, and more than just Moreland now show up. I hear the lines are long and last for hours, beginning long before they start serving. One of my favorite people is Jimmy (sorry I don’t know his last name). He makes sure that everyone and everything runs smoothly, including the rowdy kids that descend on the Museum, where the authors are, to get cool, carrying all sorts of sticky goodies. I admit to holding my breath a couple of times as they turned the Museum into their playground.

20190704_105528.jpgThe day started out with a treat for me–the Barbershop Quartet chose the Museum to warm up their voices. I never tire of hearing them.

Puckett Station is divided into three sections. The Museum, the middle section–a long narrow section between two large areas, and a large open area used for all sorts of venues. This year the center section held a brass band and a20190704_105736 WWI display area, set up by some Veterans organizations.

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The vendors filled the large open area full of handmade and unique items, including some delicious baked goods. It offered a respite for attendees and a place for some to nosh on some yummy BBQ before browsing the vendors’ tables.

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Moreland, a small town with a very big heart, puts on events several times a year and has always invited me to participate, quite an honor for this author. I hear from Carol Chancey, who does an incredible job organizing these events, that there is a lot more to come this year and I look forward to participating each time and then telling you all about them.

 

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July 4th at Moreland, GA

I have done this so often, it has become a tradition–one that I love. This year looks to be even more fun. Join me at the Puckett Station Festival in Moreland, GA on the 4th, including:
8:30 a.m.: Kids’ Patriotic Bike Parade, followed by Patriotic Pet Parade
9:00 a.m.: Opening ceremonies
11:00 a.m.: BBQ serving starts
9:00 – 2:00 p.m. or so: Authors’ Corner in Museum–book signing and chat with authors about their latest works and writing
All Day: Market of homemade, handmade, and unique items
Entertainment includes: sports; Newnan Brass with Martin Rudy; strolling Barber Shop Quartet; and a strolling Magician
Special exhibits: salute to era 1900-1920; WWI Display and Veterans’ Groups on hand
Museum: Lewis Grizzard and Erskine Caldwell featured
Special activities: Games of yesteryear on the square for the kids

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Shanon Grey is on Karen’s Killer Book Bench

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Hi! I have attached a link to Karen’s Killer Book Bench, where I am being hosted today! Please stop by and learn the secrets behind my cover. Having lost my cover artist, I was on my own. Determination…and some other-worldly help…created a truly magical book cover for Twisted Fate!
Enjoy!
Congratulations, Dalice Peterson, for winning a signed copy of Twisted Fate!!!
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It Derby Day! Glynda’s Dare on Sale!

It’s Derby Day! I’ve been watch the pre-show, with the hats and the horses, enjoying the gala, while sharing the news of my book sale!
 
When Glynda lands a job on a thoroughbred horse farm, she finds her odds of survival just improved! In honor of our famous horse race, the e-book is on sale! Get yours!
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Enjoy Derby Days with GLYNDA’S DARE

The SALE is Active! 99 cents for 11 more hours! Get yours! Put a kick in your derby day with Glynda’s Dare!

In honor of the Kentucky Derby coming up this weekend, I decided to try Amazon’s e-Book countdown (or countup) sale. If you haven’t gotten Glynda’s Dare, give it a shot. It’s a lot of fun and full of suspense. It also holds some memories of surviving hurricane loss for me (couldn’t resist the catharsis). It starts at $.99, easing up a couple of times before returning to its normal e-Book price.
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ITpY79

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Twisted Fate

Welcome to Ruthorford–the oh-so perfect southern town–where the secrets are buried deep. Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UgHkRw

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Release Day for Twisted Fate!

As many of you know, I live and work in two worlds–as a communications specialist and as an author. Both require extraordinary concentration and multi-tasking. The first I keep because I love the security of a steady income, as well as the camaraderie I share with my coworkers. The other is my passion, my obsession, and my salvation.

Today it is my extreme pleasure to announce the publication of Twisted Fate by Shanon Grey. It’s on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Shanon+Grey

“Ruthorford—the perfect southern town, with even more perfect descendants. Except, perfection has come with a price. Now, in order to survive, they must turn to outsiders for help.
A missing body and an accident that looks like a set-up force the powers that be to call in the one person they know they can trust with their secrets. However, when she uncovers secrets even the descendants don’t know about, things start heating up—in the investigation and between people that should know better. Yet, in Ruthorford, nothing is ever as it seems and, this time, new discoveries could threaten the descendants’ very existence.
Welcome to Ruthorford—where science and magic merge.”

Available today on Amazon! Print and Digital!

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Happy New Year!!!

From my home to yours — Have a prosperous, healthy, and happy new year! Twisted Fate should be released soon and I will dive into a few more stories I have up my sleeve. Thank you for all your interest and support in 2018 and I look forward to an even better and more exciting 2019! Happy New Year!!!

Shanon Grey

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Hometown Novels Night

Hey y’all. I’ve been busy finishing up Twisted Fate and learning the in’s and out’s of publishing on KDP. Formatting, reformatting, editing, matching. Two different formats for digital and print. Then, I couldn’t get in touch with my cover artist. Yep, I decided to do it myself. I love it–the cover, not the process. But I can’t get the full wrap I created to work with the template. I am NOT a graphic artist. But, I am determined.

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20181202_144109In the meantime, I forgot to post about the December 2, Moreland Hometown Christmas, which was so much fun. I even got to talk with Santa. Answering that tough question, “Have you been naughty or nice?” kinda stumped me. I asked for his definition. I got a “Ho Ho Ho.”

Up to the present–come one, come all, to Roger’s Bar-B-Que, on December 20th, from 7 p.m., on, for the Hometown Novels Night. It’s off I-85, Exit 28, Hogansville, GA. I will be joining two other authors to talk books and writing. Bring your questions and your appetites!

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