Ruby Release: Kiss That Frog (+ why I changed my cover art…)

When magic happens, don’t get in the way.

That was my mantra last month during Camp NaNoWriMo. I’d had every intention of working on The Soul of Magic, a book that’s been in the works at various stages (and titles) since 2001. Soul is the chronological link between my two full-length novels, so I’ve been feeling urgency (and guilt) about it not being done and published. And yet, two other characters elbowed their way to the front of the queue. Okay, three characters. No, two. Hmm. Does it count if one character is actually two—one human, and one not so much?

Cover of Kiss That Frog

Actually, that’s pretty much my heroine’s question. Poor Sofia. She’s a cynical LA artist who must reluctantly pet-sit for her young niece’s frog—and then discovers magic in the terrarium.

See, there’s that magic again. Because there I was, hastily trying to write things down so I could get back to Soul, when Sofia’s story merged with that of a Regency-prince-turned-cursed-frog, Alexander, to become the novella Kiss That Frog: A Modern Fairy Tale. (You can nab Frog today at Amazon, ARe, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, and soon at Apple.)

That’s when I learned not to stand in the way when a story is eager to get out. There are plenty of times when writing is hard, and I almost made NaNo harder by getting obstinate and trying to stick to My Original Plan. I’m a perfectionist and I want things to be Just So. And I want to be in charge of my muse. Or I at least want her to listen to me.

But you know what? When a story comes to you without a struggle, let it. Climb aboard and ride the creative process for all it’s worth. Because then getting to The End is sheer joy. And what writer doesn’t love that?

It’s a funny thing, but it almost feels like the Universe is celebrating the magic with me. It’s been a fun month, with The Romance Reviews giving a great review and a Top Pick award to The Source of Magic, plus brand new covers for all three books in my Alaia Chronicles fantasy romance series. Oh, and I joined Pinterest! (Come follow me. 🙂 )

Speaking of covers, here’s a before-and-after. Let me make it clear that I loved the original covers of Kismet’s Kiss and The Source of Magic. I was particularly proud of Source because I did it myself, and I would have loved to keep both covers. The problem was that they just didn’t look like part of the same series. With the related short story Swords and Scimitars, I did my best to make the cover resemble Source, but then Kiss became the odd one out. See for yourself:

Original Cover of Kismet's Kiss Original cover of The Source of Magic 2nd cover of Swords and Scimitars

 And now the new covers:

New cover for Kismet's Kiss New cover for The Source of Magic New cover for Swords and Scimitars

To me, the unique flavor of each book got toned down a bit (waaaah), yet now the series is visually branded, even at the tiny thumbnail size Amazon uses in its “also bought” lists. Plus I was able to include the series name on each cover. I look forward to finding out whether the cover changes help. (And if they don’t, the beauty is that I’m an indie—I can always switch back or shift to something else. 🙂 )

So that’s been my magical month. Your turn: what’s your favorite memory of story magic? I’m giving away two e-copies of Kiss That Frog to non-Ruby commenters, so let us know!

19 responses to “Ruby Release: Kiss That Frog (+ why I changed my cover art…)”

  1. Kate Parker says:

    Too bad I’m a ruby commenter. I can’t wait to read Kiss That Frog. It sounds like a fun summer read, and I’m in that mood. Another 90 degree day in the back of beyond.

    Story magic? That’s any time I find a new mystery author who engages my brain and my heart while not frightening me. I like action, not terror, and it’s hard to find. It’s magic for me every time I find someone who can do that, and get published. fortunately, and you can attest to this, Cate, indie publishing ups the odds for readers finding what they want.


  2. Cate Rowan says:

    Thanks, Kate. Yep, we’re even going to hit 90 degrees today, up here at 7800 feet. Crazy! I’m looking forward to fall and more reasonable temps.

    Indie does up the odds because of the variety of story types that can now find an audience. I write and read genre-blending books, and they’ve been harder to find from the bigger publishers. Here’s to options for writers and readers! *clink*


  3. Kelly Fitzpatrick says:

    Love the new covers!


  4. Congrats on the new release! It sounds like a must buy, again. I love your voice.

    Your story sounds like what I’m going through right now. Should be working on my next romantic-suspense but this idea for a fun contemporary will not let me go. The characters are so fun.

    Great new covers BTW!!


  5. Story magic? What’s that? 😉 It seems I’m always pulling teeth in my writing no matter what I’m writing, but I still love it, so I guess that’s magic to me. Or neuroses. I haven’t quite figured out which. LOL.

    I recently went through the ‘re-branding’ of my own covers because they did not say SERIES. They’re much better now and I saw an immediate uptick in sales, so I know it was the right move. Your new covers are great and scream series at a glance!

    Can’t wait to read Kiss That Frog! I love a good fairytale twist!


    • Cate Rowan says:

      Magic/neurosis, same difference. 🙂

      Thanks, and I’m so glad your refreshed covers helped you! I hope that’s good news for me, too.


  6. Shoshana Brown says:

    I’m with Cynthia–I haven’t ever had a story that magically poured out of me. They always *seem* like they’re going to when I’m trying to write something else. But once I turn to the new story full time, it knows, and all my brilliant ideas run and hide somewhere deep in my subconscious. Kinda like that guy who only wants the girl when she’s playing hard to get. I hate those guys.

    Congrats on your latest release, Cate. Can’t wait to read it.


    • Cate Rowan says:

      What you’re describing is usually how things go for me, too. This novella is shorter than my usual fare, though, so maybe that’s one reason it popped out without a lot of whistling in the dark. Although another story I’m working on that’s about the same length has NOT been so kind to me, so maybe not.

      Anyway, thanks for the congrats!


  7. Cate I love the new look. You have a definite consistency going that brands them nicely.

    It’s weird. I posted earlier (I was the first one) but apparently the site didn’t post my comment. I wonder if that’s why our visitors are down.


    • Cate Rowan says:

      Yep, could be, Laurie. Also, many of our usual commenters are probably prepping & heading off for RWA National. (Not, me, this time. Alas.)

      Glad you love the new covers, though. 🙂 I have my fingers crossed for sales benefits.


  8. Gwyn says:

    Congrats, Kate. Magic is a wonderful thing and all around, if we just look for it.

    Love the new covers! Frog is a cute story. Hope it takes off for you!


  9. Phyllis says:

    I love the new covers (though I loved the old ones, too). And it’s great when a story just flows 🙂

    I don’t need a copy of Kiss That Frog because I bought it on release day 😉 Though I could find someone else to share it with, I bet!


  10. Michele says:

    What beautiful covers!

    Story magic saves me at deadline time. Funny how magic can appear when your back is against the wall…when I’m pushed past my comfort zone, when I don’t have time to question my story, my reasons for existence, or anything else, is when the story can take over.

    I’m still learning how to get out of the story’s way. When I can do that, the story can unfold the way it wants to, not how my maniacal brain thinks it should.

    Congrats on the new book!


  11. Cate Rowan says:

    Congratulations to Phyllis & Michele for winning Kiss That Frog! I’ll be in touch, ladies, and thank you for stopping by. 😀


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