the new & improved 
LDS Publisher/LDS Fiction site


March 2012 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

There are new guidelines and entry requirements for winning one of these books. Please take a look at the updated Official Rules.

A big thank you to our Prize Sponsors! Please take a moment to learn more about this month's wonderfully generous sponsors.

Arizona Guy by Raymond Spitzer

He didn't know he was an Arizona guy until someone called him a California guy.

Ted White, a high school band director comes to Ajo to house sit for his aunt and uncle, and to get far away from a broken engagement. But the relatives are missing.

In the process of unraveling the mystery of their disappearance, this small desert town comes to mean more to Ted than he ever could have imagined. 

Raymond Spitzer was born in California and resided in Japan and Montana before his parents saw the light and brought him to Arizona. He grew up in Nogales from the age of three and completed high school and college in Tucson. He taught school in Ajo and Gila Bend for sixteen years before becoming a public safety telecommunicator with Pima County Sheriff's Department in Ajo.

Arizona Guy is his first published book, but Spitzer is hard at work on the next book in the series.

The Frozen Trail by Lisa Dayley

Based on a true story THE FROZEN TRAIL details Emma Girdlestone's 1856 trek across the United States with the ill-fated Willie Handcart Company. It tells of a remarkable young woman of faith, who endured a journey wrought with peril to join her fellow Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake Valley of the Utah desert.

The Mormon pioneers moved across the Great Plains in wagon trains and pulling handcarts to seek a new home safe from persecution. THE FROZEN TRAIL is the story of one woman, eighteen-year-old Emma Girdlestone who, along with her fellow travelers, faced starvation, frostbite, and death on the trail to Zion.

This work of historical fiction is dedicated to the members of the Willie Handcart Company. These courageous pioneers showed heroism and devotion in the face of unbelievably harsh and brutal conditions. It is especially dedicated to Willie Handcart member Emma Girdlestone who left behind a legacy of bravery, fortitude, and faith; and who, 155 years later, managed to change the life of her great-great-granddaughter Lisa Dayley, the author of this book.

Lisa Dayley graduated from the Metropolitan State College of Denver with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications and Creative Writing. An award-winning writer and photographer, she has written for both newspapers and magazines. Dayley lives in Burley, Idaho with her husband Darrell. They have three children and one grandson. You can read more about her in an interview with Karen Jones Gowen.

The Heirs of Southbridge by Jennie Hansen

When tragedy strikes Southbridge plantation, young Clayton and his brother, Travis, are forced from the only home they’ve ever known. Fleeing the drunken rage of their grandfather, with bounty hunters and horse thieves thick on their trail, the boys and their father try to eke out a lonely life as fugitives and cowboys.

As Clayton nears adulthood, his greatest desire is for a strong and stable family, but his father’s death and his brother’s departure leave him more alone than ever. Seeking for roots, Clayton visits Southbridge en route to college and kneels on his mother’s grave, only to be accosted by a gun-wielding girl named Lucy, whose father will stop at nothing to make the plantation his own.

Can Clayton realize his deepest desires of marrying the woman he loves, having a family, and reclaiming the plantation that is his rightful heritage?

Jennie Hansen was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She lived in many farming and ranching communities in Idaho and Montana. Her family moved more than 20 times as she grew up. Born the fifth of eight children, Jennie had a ready supply of playmates during her childhood. Her brothers and sisters are still among her closest friends. She married Boyd Hansen of Rexburg, Idaho, and over the next ten years they became the parents of five children. They have made their home in Utah since their marriage.

Jennie graduated from Ricks College in Idaho then continued her education at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been a receptionist, a model, a Utah House page, freelance magazine writer, newspaper reporter, editor, library circulation specialist, mother and grandmother. She has over twenty published books to her credit. Jennie also writes a monthly review column for Meridian Magazine.

Identity  by Betsy Love

While vacationing in Mexico, two similar-looking young women find themselves caught in a chain reaction of mistaken identities. Amelia is a wealthy heiress and business owner, and Savannah is a sweet Mormon girl deciding whether or not to serve a mission.

When they end up on the same flight to Phoenix, Savannah and Amelia unravel the sequence of events that wreaked havoc on their trips, and they make plans to resolve the subsequent misunderstandings. But their flight is cut short when the plane crashes, killing one of the young women and plunging the other into a world of intrigue and deceit where identity means everything.

Betsy Love: Writing has been a passion since I was a little girl. I first discovered the art of pen to paper watching my mother make out her grocery list. It did not take long for me to discover that those indecipherable squiggles meant words, and words have power. What joy I experienced as a first grader learning to write my name. Now the stories dancing in my head would find a home on paper. I hope you will follow me in my journey to share what I have written.

The Keeper's Calling by Kelly Nelson

They come from two different worlds. One fateful discovery will bring them together. Neither of their lives will ever be the same.

Chase Harper's to-do list for senior year never included fall in love and fight for your life, but things rarely go as planned. Tarnished gold and resembling a pocket watch, the counter he finds in a cave during the summer of 2011 will forever change the course of his life, leading him to the beautiful Ellie Williams and unlocking a power beyond his wildest imagination.

In 1863, Ellie Williams completes school in Boston and returns to the Utah Territory only to discover that her grandfather and his counter, a treasured family heirloom, are missing. When Ellie is abducted and told she must produce the counter or die, an unexpected rescuer comes to her aid.

 Kelly Nelson was raised in Orem, Utah, and now resides in Cornelius, Oregon, in the heart of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She enjoys life on a ten-acre horse property with her husband, four children, and, of course, lots of horses. Kelly has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. She worked as a certified public accountant for several years before opting to stay home and raise a family. As a young girl, she was an avid reader and had a passion for creative writing. Her travels to England, France, Egypt, Israel, West Indies, Mexico, and across the United States sparked a love of history, adventure, and exotic places. This led to the inspiration behind her debut novel, The Keeper’s Calling, the first book in The Keeper’s Saga.

Northanger Alibi by  Jenni James

Sometimes a guy is even better than you imagined...

The Russo family and Seattle, Washington, are no match for Claire Hart and her savvy knowledge of all things vampire-related. Thanks to her obsession with the Twilight series, if there is anyone who would know a vampire when she saw one, it's Claire. And she's positive totally hot Tony Russo is a vampire - she just has to prove it!

In this modern retelling of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, follow Claire's hilarious journey on her first summer adventure away from home, where she learns everything isn't what is seems, and that in some instances, reality is way better than anything she'd ever find in a book.

Jenni James: I'm married to a totally hot, redheaded Air Force Recruiter, named Mark. Together we have 10 kiddos (7 ours, 3 fostered). We have just moved back to the States after living 9 awesome years in the Azores Islands of Portugal and England! Our kids love the USA!

When I'm not writing up a storm, I enjoy reading, acting, portrait painting, directing plays, cooking, planning eleborate parties and chasing my kids around the house. Oh, and before you ask--I haven't been to college, YET! But I've always been able to write one mean essay when I needed to. *wink*

Learn more about Jenni and her upcoming books at her website.

Someone Else's Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts

Jason Vanderholt is the hottest actor under thirty with legions of screaming fans. 

Chloe Winters is a college student who hasn't gotten around to watching most of his movies and doesn't follow Hollywood gossip. 

When they meet by chance, he is smitten and she becomes the woman every other woman in America is dying to be, but it just isn’t her fairytale.

E.M. Tippetts: I write chick lit as E.M. Tippetts and science fiction as Emily Mah. I got my start in writing at the Clarion West Writer's Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I am originally from New Mexico,  have a bachelors in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University, and a juris doctorate in business law from UCLA. I also design jewelry (and no, that doesn't fit in with any of the other stuff I've listed here.) Currently, I live in London while my husband does his PhD.


Targets In Ties  by Tristi Pinkston

Secret Sisters Mystery #4!

After two long years, Ren's mission is finally over, and it's time for Ida Mae, Arlette, and Tansy to travel to Mexico to pick him up. They have their itinerary all planned out visiting the ruins in the Yucatan, shopping, playing in the sand and surf and then they'll head to Ren's mission home and be reunited with that dear boy.

But a wanted antiquities thief crosses their path, and soon the ladies find themselves tangled up in a web of lies, intrigue, and costly jewelry. Held hostage by men desperate for riches, they do what only they can do keep their heads about them, plan their escape, and discuss the proper making of tortillas.

Will they survive their most harrowing adventure yet?

With her crisp writing style and attention to detail, Tristi Pinkston pulls her readers into the pages of history and helps them feel the emotions that fueled the events of that time. She has been hailed as one of the most talented historical fiction writers currently on the market.

Jeff Needle's review for AML, said, "This kind of writing can only come about when the author has thoroughly researched her subject and worked very hard to put herself in the place of her protagonist."

Targets in Ties is Tristi's ninth book.

To enter to win one of these books, use the form in the sidebar. One entry per person per month. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 years or older to enter. Limited to U.S. residents. Deadline to enter: March 31, 2012, midnight, Mountain Time. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. CLICK HERE to read the Official Rules.

CLICK HERE for details on sponsoring the contest. 

February 2012 Prize Winners

Here are the randomly selected winners of last month's Comment Contest.

Thanks again to our sponsors. Please take a moment to read their info here.

Cold River


Liz Adair

Winner: Jennifer Reed

Dangerous Favor


Joyce Di Pastina

Winner:Alison Spelman

No Escape


Anna Jones Buttimore

Winner: Tamera Westhoff

Roxanne in La La Land


L.A. Devaul

Winner: Lucy Pinto

Secrets After Dark


Marie Higgins

Winner: Pam Darby

Super Cowboy Rides


Daris Howard

Winner: Courtney Havenwood

Congratulations! I will contact each of you via the email address you used to enter for the contest. You will need to send me your mailing address by Friday, March 9, 2012.

Click here to learn how you can win a copy of one of our sponsoring books.

Click here for details on sponsoring the LDS Publisher blogs.


Musty Writing by Michaelbrent Collings

When considering self-publishing on Kindle, there are four things you must do (“Must”y writing – get it?  Ha!).  They are like the mustard on my hot dog: a non-negotiable element.  Without it, you may as well not even try.  ‘Cause I won’t bite.

Now, before I dive into what those elements are, I should probably tell you how I know about them.  So y’all know I’ve got street cred.  And mad skillz (part of having street cred is always spelling “skillz” with a z).

I’ve been writing for most of my life.  I sold my first paying work when I was fifteen.  Going to college, I won a bunch of creative writing scholarships and awards.  Then I became a lawyer, where my job involved mostly (wait for it!) writing.

Oh, yeah, and somewhere along the way I became a produced screenwriter, member of the Writers Guild of America (which is statistically harder to do than it is to become a professional baseball player), and a published novelist.  Throughout all this, I had a book that I really liked, called RUN.  And though I had done all the above, no book publisher would touch RUN with a ten foot cattle prod.  Largely, I suspect, because it was very hard to figure out how to market it: it was a sci-fi/suspense/horror/thriller/apocalyptic novel with romantic elements.  There is no shelf for that at Barnes & Noble.

But I believed in the book, dangit!  So I researched around, and discovered self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle service.  I decided I didn’t have much to lose, since RUN was just sitting on a shelf anyway, so decided to try my hand at self-publishing an e-book on Kindle.

Within a few months, RUN became a bestseller, topping Amazon’s sci-fi chart, and eventually becoming the #61 item available for Kindle, out of over ten million books, games, puzzles, and blogs.  I also published a young adult fantasy called Billy: Messenger of Powers which has hovered on various genre bestseller lists on Amazon for the better part of a year now.  And followed those up with another e-book, and another, and another.  Some of the others became bestsellers, some didn’t.  But all have made money, and all have increased my fan base.

Now I don’t say this to brag, but I want you to understand I know a bit whereof I speak.  Through the process, I have learned the ins and outs of Kindle publishing (and e-publishing in general), learning as much from what didn’t work as from what did.  And that’s why I’ve come up with these four important things to do:

 1)  Make a kickin’ cover

This is one place where approximately 99% of self-published authors get it wrong.  Look at most self-published books, and they look less professional.  And like it or not, a lot of people go strictly off the cover.  You have about ten seconds to wow them with your cool cover before they click the button and move on to another book.  For the Kindle edition of Billy: Messenger of Powers, I spent days upon days designing the cover.  Everything from the cover image, to the typeface, to the composition of the elements.  It was critical.  And it paid off.  Same for RUN, and another of my books, Rising Fears, all of which have been praised for the fact that the covers are interesting enough to “hook” readers.  Some of my other covers aren’t as effective, or as professional looking, unfortunately.  And guess what?  They also don’t sell as well.

2)  Market yourself

Here’s a fact of life in general: people generally don’t give you things for free.  You have to earn them.  And that includes getting people to read your work.  When I wrote Billy, I spent over a month designing a website (www.whoisbillyjones.com) that was interesting, conveyed a message about the book, and had a look and feel that I felt would intrigue people and make them want to find out more.  Same with the website for RUN (www.seehowtheyrun.net).  And my own website, michaelbrentcollings.com, took even longer.  But that was only the start.  I also had a Facebook “fan” page, a Twitter feed, and did the rounds of book and genre conventions.  Not to mention doing interviews, podcasts, guest blogs, and generally talking to anyone and everyone who would listen.  You have to do more than write a book.  You have to create an event.

 3)  Have a grabby description

 ”What do you do when everyone you know – family, friends, everyone – is trying to kill you?  You RUN.”

 That is the description on amazon.com for my book RUN.  Two sentences that I spent an extremely long time writing.  Like the cover of your book, the production description is something that has to grab people, reel them in, and not let them go.  Some self-published authors think the best way to get someone to read their work is to describe every jot and tittle.  But in reality, the secret isn’t information, it’s captivation.  You have to intrigue your (prospective) readers.  You have to leave them with serious questions that they want answered.  Describing what your book is about is less important than creating a specific feeling in the mind and heart of your audience: the feeling that they will be better off reading your book than not.

 4)  Write something worth reading

This may seem obvious, but the fact of the matter is you have to have something pretty darn special.  I’m not saying this to depress anyone: I firmly believe that most people have great stories in them, and have the potential to learn how to tell them.  But make no mistake, it is something that takes practice, dedication, and perspiration.  Writing is a skill.  It is a discipline.  Anyone can knock out a sentence or two.  But getting those sentences to grab a complete stranger to the point that he or she is willing to fork over hard-earned cash to read them is another matter.  Let alone getting them to like the sentences enough that they want to tell their friends to spend their hard-earned cash on them.  Again, I really do believe that most people have it in them to do this.  But I also believe just as stridently that to get to that point takes practice, practice, and more practice.  I have spent thousands of hours learning how to write … and I continue to learn.  Any author who wants to charm people into buying his or her work has to be willing to put in the effort to make it happen.  Because without the skill to back up your work, no matter how good your basic ideas are, they probably won’t sell.  There are exceptions (that’s right, Twilight), but for the most part a book has to be extraordinarily well-written in order to get people to buy it.

That’s not to say that everyone will like your book.  Some people don’t like RUN, or Billy: Messenger of Powers.  Or Harry Potter or anything by Stephen King or even the bestselling book of all time (the Bible).  But if you don’t care enough to develop your writing skills in service of your storytelling, you can bet that few (if any) will like it at all.

And so…

… there you have it, folks.  Again, I think most people have interesting stories to tell.  But without doing the four things above, the great story will probably sit quietly in a dark corner of your closet.  And that, my friends, is no fun at all.

Michaelbrent Collings is a bestselling novelist whose books RUN and Billy: Messenger of Powers have been amazon.com bestsellers. He is also a produced screenwriter and member of both the Writers Guild of America and the Horror Writers of America. His blog is at http://michaelbrentcollings.com/blog2.html, and you can follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michaelbrent-Collings/283851837365 or on twitter @mbcollings.


You Have Nothing to Fear But That Big Hairy Spider Crawling Up the Back of Your Neck by Tristi Pinkston

The Top Ten Fears of Unpublished Writers:

10. What if my book doesn't sell?

9. What if the stores won't stock my book on their shelves?

8. What if no one will publish me?

7. What if no one likes what I've written?

6. What if I can't get this ending/plot/scene right?

5. What if I used lay when it should have been lie?

4. What if the computer crashes and erases all my work?

3. What if I can't write more than 40,000 words?

2. What if this is the stupidest story ever known to man?

1. What if I'm not really a writer?

I'd wager these fears sound familiar, if you're an aspiring author. You might have put them in different order, and perhaps have thrown in some things like "finding time to write," etc, but by and large, I think every new writer has these fears.

Now, let's look at the other side of the coin.

The Top Ten Fears of Published Writers:

10. What if my book doesn't sell?

9. What if the stores won't stock my book on their shelves?

8. What if no one will publish me?

7. What if no one likes what I've written?

6. What if I can't get this ending/plot/scene right?

5. What if I used lay when it should have been lie?

4. What if the computer crashes and erases all my work?

3. What if I can't write more than 40,000 words?

2. What if this is the stupidest story ever known to man?

1. What if I'm not really a writer?

Notice anything? Yep—the published author has pretty much the same fears as the unpublished author. If you're published, you may feel a little more confident over the whole lay/lie thing (I don't) and you may feel that you've got a better handle on your scene structures, but deep down, we're all the same. We all want people to like us, we all worry that our readers won't like this new book as much as they did the last, and we wonder if our publisher will or will not accept our latest submission. A published author feels nervous while waiting for that acceptance/rejection letter, and it makes our day when we hear that someone liked our book.

I'm not telling you this to depress you -- I'm telling you this so I can lead up to one simple, fundamental truth: getting published is not like waving a magic wand that will make all your problems go away and all your dreams come true. It will not make you more attractive, it will not make you an instant public speaker, and it will not ensure popularity. It will not boost your confidence. It will not make you a fabulous promoter.

You must work on all these things yourself.

You make yourself a better speaker. You make yourself good at promotion. You build your own confidence. And there is no reason on this great green earth why you should wait until you're published to start working on these attributes.

Tristi Pinkston is the author of nine published books, including the Secret Sisters mystery series. In addition to being a prolific author, Tristi also provides a variety of author services, including editing and online writing instruction. You can visit her at www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com or her website at www.tristipinkston.com.


Upcoming Events

*updated info* 

(This was soooo totally NOT supposed to go live this morning. I was still putting it all together. So if you read it already, skim through it again.)

It's the last Friday of the month, so it's time for the monthly post of upcoming events.

Do you know of a writing conference in your area or an open call for submissions that would would be of interest to LDS writers? If so, please email the information and link(s) to me to be included in next month's post.

Writing Conferences

Teen Author Book Camp,  March 10, 2012
Utah Valley University, Orem, UT. Teens only. 
More info at: http://teenauthorbootcamp.com/

Writing for Charity, March 17, 2012
Provo City Library, Provo, UT
More info at: http://writingforcharity.blogspot.com/

"Write Here in Ephraim," April 14, 2012
Greenwood Student Center
Snow College, Ephraim, UT
More info at: www.shirleybahlmann.com

LDStorymakers, May 4-5, 2012
Provo Marriott Hotel, Provo, UT.
More info at: http://ldstorymakers.com

Writers@Work Conference, June 6-10, 2012
Alta Lodge, Alta, UT.
More info at: www.writersatwork.org

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, June 18–22, 2012
Sandy, UT
More info at: http://www.wifyr.com/

Call for Submissions/Writing Competitions

Eugene England Memorial Personal Essay Contest
Essays that relate to the Latter-day Saint experience.
Deadline: February 29, 2012
More info at: SunstoneMagazine.com
(click on red box on calendar)

Writers@Work Writing Competition
For emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Deadline: March 15, 2012
More info at: http://www.writersatwork.org/

Ender's Game and Philosophy
Essays to be part of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series
Abstract Deadline: March 19, 2012
More info at: And Philosophy

Christmas Anthology (Michael Young)
Short stories based on Christmas songs
Deadline: March 31, 2012
More info at: http://www.writermike.com/

Steampunk Short Story Anthology
Looking for short stories in steampunk genre.
Submission period: April 1, 2012 through ?
More info at: Bloggin' Outloud

Wilderness Interface Zone
Looking for a guest bloggers and a variety of nature writing by LDS authors (and others).
More info at: wilderness.motleyvision.org


Brenda Novak's Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes
Donations wanted.
Deadline: February 15, 2012
More info at: brendanovak.auctionanything.com



My template is malfunctioning again!

So I'll be changing everything over to a very bland Blogger template for now until my lovely assistant can get around to creating something awesome for me.

She says it might be awhile. For some reason, she thinks paying jobs should get higher priority than non-paying jobs.



2011 Best Book Cover

Winner of the 2011 Readers' Choice Best Book Cover
as voted by LDS Publisher blog readers

Author: Laura Bingham
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Cover Design: Megan Whittier

Here is the award image that you may download for use on your website or blog.

Winner of the 2011 LDS Publisher's Choice 
Best Book Cover is...

Publisher: Daniel Coleman
Cover Design: Jodie Coleman
Here is your award image that you may download for use on your website or blog.

Congratulations! I'm excited to see the covers 2012 will bring.

2011 Genre Finalist Awards

Before I announce the overall 2011 Best Book Cover Winners, here is a recap of the genre finalists and the awards. Authors, publishers and cover designers may download the award image and upload it to your own blogs and/or websites, if desired.

Readers' Choice Genre Winners
(Click on the Genre link to see details about the cover.)

Genre: Historical
Genre: Mystery/Suspense

LDS Publisher's Choice Genre Winners
(Click on the Genre link to see details about the cover
& my comments about each cover.)

Genre: General/Women's
The Tomb Builder by E. James Harrison (tie)
Genre: Historical
Crossed by Ally Condie
Take the Silver Award if your book was one of the five genre finalists, but is not on the list for Readers' Choice or LDS Publisher's Choice.


Christmas Story Anthology Update

While we're waiting to see the final winner of the 2011 Book Cover Contest (and my list of personal picks), here's an update on Christmas Book #2.

First a word about Stolen Christmas (anthology #1). As most of the authors already know, Rosehaven Publishing helped me put this book together, providing the typesetting and ISBN number. We have come to an agreement to have Rosehaven take over the business end of this book and any future books that I create from our contests here—including this year's second Christmas anthology.

Some time in the next few months, Stolen Christmas will become temporarily unavailable while Rosehaven corrects a few typos and moves it from my account to Rosehaven's accounts.  

Stolen Christmas is NOT going out of print. It will be back up and ready for more sales before the 2012 Christmas season. I'll let you know and provide links when the new version is ready.

Rosehaven is also sending out a one-time royalty to all the authors involved with Stolen Christmas. There are a few authors we've been unable to contact.

If you are an author in Stolen Christmas and you did not receive an email from me in January about royalties, PLEASE E-MAIL ME ASAP.

Now for Christmas Book #2.

I've made the first decisions on the stories to be included in the new anthology which will be available for sale in time for the 2012 Christmas season. The following authors will be receiving an email from Rosehaven Publishing this week with the contract offer:
  • Amie Borst
  • Angie Lofthouse
  • Brenda Anderson 
  • Brian Ricks
  • Gussie Fick
  • Jennifer Ricks 
  • Jennifer Shelton
  • Janice Sperry
  • Kasey Eyre
  • Melanie Marks
  • Michael Young
  • Rob Smales
  • Teresa Osgood
  • Wendy Elliott

I'm posting this list so that when you get the email, you'll understand what it is.

There will most likely be additional stories/authors included later on, for editorial reasons—balance of story content and styles, length of book, or if any of the authors listed above decline the contract offer. I won't know this until Rosehaven has collected all the contracts and determines what else is needed.

Congratulations to the authors listed above—and I'll keep you posted on the progress.


A Sermon and A $50 Amazon Gift Card Contest

Today is the last day to vote for your favorite 2011 book cover. It ends at MIDNIGHT, Mountain Time, tonight. (Click HERE to vote.)

I'm seeing a lot of posts and tweets that say things like, "Yay, I made the finalists! Go vote for my book." And a lot of replies that say things like, "I hope you win! I voted for you like you asked."

While I'm grateful for the help in spreading the word, just a reminder, this should NOT be a popularity contest, as in "Because I'm your friend, I'm voting for you..."

Please, please, please...

As you spread the word, tell your friends to vote for the cover they like best. It may very well be your cover. But then again, it may not be.

I realize I can't control this and you may not be able to control it either. I mean, your mother is going to vote for your cover even if she thinks it's the most hideous thing she's ever seen. Just saying, please, encourage people to vote for the cover they find the most visually appealing.

End of sermon.

Now for the Whitney Reading Contest...

LDS Women's Book Review is sponsoring their 2nd Annual "Read 'Em All" Challenge and I'm signing up! I didn't get all of them read last year, but this year, I'm on schedule!

(See my sidebar? I'm more than halfway done.)

Here's the post with the details:
How to Read 35 Books in 81 Days and a Challenge

Let me know in the comments if you've joined too. I want to know how steep my competition is.


2011 Best Cover Finalists

The Readers' Choice in each of the genre categories are now going head-to-head for the 2011 Best Cover of the Year Award! They are listed below in alphabetical order. Use the poll at the bottom of the post to cast your vote.

Remember, you're voting for your favorite COVER, 
not the story you liked best or the author who is your best friend.  
Voting deadline: Wednesday, February 15, 2012; midnight, Mountain Time.

Publisher: Cedar Fort   
Cover Design: Danie Romrell

Publisher: Covenant
Cover Design: ??

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Cover Design: Barry Moser

 Embers of Atlantis by Tracy Hickman
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Cover Design: Mathias Kollros

Publisher:? (Temporarily unavailable;
will be back on market end of February.)
Cover Design: Jodie Coleman

Publisher: Cedar Fort
Cover Design: Angela D. Olsen

Janitors by Tyler Whitesides
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Book Cover: Brandon Dorman

Publisher: Cedar Fort
Cover Design: Angela D. Olsen

Publisher: Covenant
Cover Design: Christina Marcano
  NYC: Murder Brooklyn Style by Loraine Scott
Publisher: American Fork Arts Council Press
Cover Design: Daniel Silva

Variant by Robison Wells
Publisher: HarperTeen
Cover Design: ??

Wings of Light by  Laura Bingham
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Cover Design: Megan Whittier

IMPORTANT—Additional voting guidelines:
The free polls will only let me list 10 answers per poll, and there are 12 finalists. (Ooops! Didn't realize that earlier.) Although there are TWO polls posted below, I'm trusting in your integrity when I ask you to please only vote in ONE of the polls—either A or B, but not both.

Each of these books have won the Readers' Choice Award for their category. I will post the LDS Publisher Choice Awards for genre and overall cover winners after the voting is completed.


Final Day to Vote for 2011 Covers

Today is the final day to vote for your favorite 2011 Book Covers. There are 12 genre categories. If you haven't voted, please scroll back through the past several posts and vote in each of the categories using  the polls at the bottom of the posts.

Remember, we're voting for the COVER, 
not the story or the author.  
Voting deadline: Midnight, Friday, February 10, 2012.


2011 Children/Middle Grade Realistic Book Covers

Realistic, as in more realistic than straight fantasy, although a
few of these have some fantastical elements to them.

Please vote for your favorite cover using the poll at the bottom of the post. 
Remember, we're voting for the COVER, not the story or the author.  
Voting deadline: Midnight, Friday, February 10, 2012.

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Cover Design: Barry Moser
What I liked about this one is the traditional illustrative look and feel of it. I love the nose-to-nose of the cat and mouse which brings the focus right there. I also like the curved type of the title and subtitle. And the illustrations on the inside are darling! (Click the link on the title to go to Amazon, then click the "Look Inside!" option.)

Publisher: Cedar Fort
Cover Design: Brian Halley
I love that creepy guy behind the children. That grabbed my attention right away. The cloudy eyeball totally freaks me out—in a deliciously hideous sort of way. This would be a book that I would have stored face down when I was in elementary school. The one downside to this cover, in my opinion, is it feels a little busy. There's too much going on for me to have chosen it as the best in this category. But still, it gives me the creepy shivers every single time I look at it, so it HAD to be a finalist.

Publisher: Cedar Fort
Cover Design: Rachel Sharp/Megan Whittier
This cover would really have appealed to son when he was younger. I think the cartoony look to it grabs the attention of readers who want something fun, but not too deep. I like the illustration of the boy on the front. And I love those paint splats. Fun!

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Cover Design: Sally Gardner
I have really enjoyed all the covers in the Splurch Academy series. I think Sally Gardner does a great job illustrating these books. This one, however, has something special to it. I love the yellow that brings your eye right to the boy. I also love all those tentacles coming out of the pool. I think this cover hits the target reader perfectly.

Publisher: Cedar Fort
Cover Design: Jen Boss
I haven't read this book so I don't know if the cover matches what is inside but the title and the cover design match perfectly! Everything about it evokes long and lazy summer days, walking barefoot, maybe splashing around a swimming hole or picking strawberries. I love the girl's face and that big floppy hat. I love the font choices for the title, the mountains in the background, the farm, the swirly stuff. Often when you have this many items on a cover to look it, it can feel crowded and busy but this one just worked for me. I love everything about it and that's why it's my pick for this genre.