Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Celebration with Shannon Delany

Today we have the wonderful Shannon Delany author of the 13 to Life series. Take it away Shannon!

Yesterday the book cover for the 5th novel in my debut series, 13 to Life, was quietly made public. Well, if “quietly” includes placement in a newsletter that goes to 10,000 readers...

The cover to "Rivals and Retributions" makes me very happy (and I know that, in itself, makes me a very lucky author—there are many horror stories about cover trouble—just check out “Long Drive Home” and “Mockingbird”—oops!). But, like anything in a creative industry, it took the efforts of several people to come together in the end.

All of my book covers are designed by the same awesome designer: Ervin Serrano. I had the pleasure of meeting Ervin once as a group of us discussed the second novel’s cover.

See, I have a cover clause in my contract which means I get to put my two cents in when it comes to my books covers. I love this fact.

My debut novel, "13 to Life," was lovely from the get-go except that the girl on the cover (who we presume is protagonist and narrator Jessie Gillmansen) was absolutely flat-chested and there was a crazy branch coming through that lovely eye that gave it an Egyptian feel. Ervin endowed Jess and trimmed the tree.

The second novel’s cover was vastly different than it is now. The color was different, the girl was different, the setting was nearly beach-like... It didn’t go with what I imagined for "Secrets and Shadows." And Ervin tweaked it out to be beautiful.

The cover to "Bargains and Betrayals" made my cheeks hurt because I grinned over it a bunch. It was nearly perfect when I saw it. And there was a wolf on my cover—something I’d been told I couldn’t have. It was dramatic and suspenseful. Ervin had again done an amazing job!

I had fallen behind in my writing when the cover for "Destiny and Deception" (releasing 1/31/12) arrived in my email. I sent it to a couple betas (mine sign NDAs) and asked, “What do you think this cover means?” One returned with, “Well, the girl must be of primary importance. And that’s not Jess.” He was right. Someone else said, “There are too many wolves unless someone else has somehow turned.” Also right. So I revised, hard. I loved the drama and heat of Ervin’s cover so much I adjusted things to work with it. I think the story’s stronger because of it.

The cover for "Rivals and Retributions" (the final novel in the 13 to Life series, due out in August 2012) had some little things to fix. Like, the season. When I’d proposed it, I’d thought we’d get to spring with the Rusakovas. But as I wrote it I realized we were going to be stuck in deep winter. And although there were beautiful wolves on it, they were all very friendly-looking. I called my brother who is amazing in art and I got dramatic with him. He totally got what i was going for and tweaked the cover a little to better illustrate what I hoped to see. Ervin did an awesome job making the final book beautiful and brand-savvy. It wraps the series gorgeously and I’m very happy to get to share it with you all.

Cover art, like everything else in this industry, requires great teamwork. And I’m very fortunate to have people like Michael Homler (my editor), Ervin Serrano (my cover designer) and Richard Curtis (my literary agent) on my team. They make the entire game of being an author much friendlier.
Wow! Thank you Shannon for sharing this with us! You are very lucky not everyone has a say in their covers and I love them.

If you haven't checked out the 13 To Life series I would really suggest on doing so!

Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing.  Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town.  It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…
 Nothing's simple when you run with werewolves. Jess Gillmansen thinks she's seen it all but her eyes are about to be opened to even more danger and a reality far more paranormal than she's suspected. With Jess's realization that the Rusakovas' mother is still alive and imprisoned, the group's choices become harder and trust more important. Lines are drawn and relationships change as the broken Rusakova family struggles to reunite long enough to free their mother and people who Jess always just took to be normal people show themselves to be much, much more.
 Locked away at Pecan Place, Jessie finds her situation to be even more dangerous than she feared. While she struggles to maintain her sanity and discover answers about the group that seems less and less like any legitimate government agency, Pietr fights to keep their relationship alive. But very aware that his mother’s time is running out, Pietr makes a deal he doesn’t dare tell Jessie about. Because the deal Pietr’s made could mean the death of far more than his tenuous relationship with the girl he loves.
 The sensational fourth novel in the 13 to Life series sees Jessica and the Rusakuvas fighting to overcome one of their biggest challenges yet--the possibility of a cure for lycanthropy.   With the threat of the mafia seemingly gone and the company's headquarters in Junction destroyed, Pietr Rusakova is adjusting to being a normal teen and Jess is realizing normalcy may not be what she wanted after all. But both Jess and Cat know the truth--that normal can't be taken for granted. Their precious cure isn't permanent--and when a new danger stalks into their small town, Alexi decides he must overcome his issues with the mother who abandoned him to be raised by wolves and make a brand new deal to save his adopted family.
 Marlaena’s pack puts more pressure on the Rusakova family with the kidnapping of Jessie and the surprise that comes from triggering the wolf side of Pietr once again. Alexi realizes the impact of Pietr’s change sooner than either Jessie or Pietr and rushes to find a permanent cure for the life sentence lycanthropy brings in hopes it will squelch an unexpected side-effect. But Gabriel is still not satisfied with his role in the pack and is determined that getting rid of Pietr permanently in his new and weakened state is the best way he can grab power in the pack. Meanwhile at Junction High, the company’s meddling with the school food may have stopped but it doesn’t mean all of the kids the food triggered are suddenly without powers. With the enrollment of the rest of the pack’s pups, Counselor Harnek, Sophie and Jessie decide to try training the pups alongside the other powerful misfits. But Dmitri’s influence is far-reaching and even pacifist Gareth must make a dark decision or risk the destruction of everything he holds dear.


  1. Love the post! Lots of information and really liked the book synopsis'. Thanks for being part of the Celebration!
    -Dawn aka dawnmomoffour

  2. Great post! That's awesome that you get so much say in your covers. I absolutely love the cover for R&R what a great way to finish out the series.

  3. Love the Rivals and Retribution cover! Can't wait!