So Long, 2016 & Cover Reveal

Hey, 2016, don’t let the door hit you on the way out…

pop_champagneI suspect I’m not alone in feeling like 2016 was quite the mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Too many celebrity deaths, for one thing—or at least, it seemed so, especially with the recent tragic loss of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Some celebrity deaths hit harder than others. Carrie Fisher and her legendary mom were like that for me.

Then, of course, there was the dismaying vitriol of the U.S. presidential campaign, the hacking, the leaks, the incivility and fake news…  Yuck.

Thankfully, on a personal level, I had plenty to be grateful for. Our family remained in good health and doing well with jobs and school. My youngest son got married to a wonderful girl, and a dear friend battling cancer continued to make amazing, positive strides.

Less important but notable for my sanity (or insanity) was that it was a dismal year for my personal creativity. Good writing days were few and far between.

In April, we unexpectedly lost our beloved ten-year old Chihuahua-poodle Kacee. For empty nesters like my husband and me, losing our pup was rough. On the upside, we adopted a new member of the family, Lexi, a lovable Cockapoo who has livened up our household considerably.

So, there it is, the mixed bag that was 2016. It’s true of every year–the good, the bad, and the ugly. There’s always more to be grateful for than to complain about, but I’m ready for this one to turn.

How about you?

So long, 2016!

Creation of an Ebook Cover

When I decided to release two more books in my 1920s romantic series as an indie author, I faced the challenge of creating cover art that would harmonize with the first book’s truly awesome cover (created by Carina Press).

1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mysteryEasier said than done.

My biggest hurdle? I didn’t have access to the same cover model or cover artist. In addition, there was one concept I wanted to handle differently. Namely, I wanted both my lead characters on the cover, not just the heroine.

Thus began hours of searching through stock photography at romance cover art sites.  There were plenty of model couples to choose from in time period costume that ranged from Medieval Europe to the Old West, but almost none in my time period—the Roaring 20s.  The few that did fit either failed to match the physical descriptions of Sean Costigan and Trixie Frank or they featured couples in a “clinch” pose that didn’t suit the light romantic tone of the series. (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot - Behind The Scenes - Jimmy Thomas & Inessa - DL Royer Custom Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes – Jimmy Thomas & Inessa

I was about to give up when I arrived at, a site owned by cover model Jimmy Thomas. What that site offered that the others didn’t were custom shots that featured either Jimmy Thomas alone or paired with a female model chosen from a list of available models by the client.


Did going this route rather than using stock photography cost more? Sure, but maybe it wasn’t so much when you consider how much time and effort go into writing and editing a novel.

As a writer, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing my characters come to life through cover art. Thanks to, New York City homicide detective Sean Costigan finally came off the written page.

And as for my perky tabloid reporter Trixie Frank?  She was reborn. 🙂

The Darrin Syndrome


Dick York

Anybody remember this?

In the 1960s, the popular Bewitched TV series made a clunky mid-series switcheroo that has gone down in TV history as the “Darrin Syndrome.” With no warning or explanation, they replaced lead actor Dick York, who played Elizabeth Montgomery’s long-suffering husband Darrin, with actor Dick Sargent.


Dick Sargent

In the end, the two Dicks were not interchangeable, and the new Darrin was never quite as popular as the original.

Thinking about that, I braced myself for…  the Trixie Syndrome.

What do you think of the Trixie switch from Cover 1 to Cover 2?

111-trixie-syndromeTo be honest, I was happily surprised by the resemblance between the two models, but, more important, both are a great fit for my leading lady, Beatrix “Trixie” Frank.

Putting it Together

The final step was to take those custom shots of Sean and Trixie to a cover artist to work some magic. I chose Fiona Jayde of Fiona Jayde Media.

Along with my custom shots and my back cover blurb, below are some keywords Fiona and I worked with to create the mood and tone for the cover of Good Night, Angela.

  1. 1920s
  2. Mystery
  3. Romance
  4. Detective
  5. Reporter/Newspapers
  6. Black & White/Sepia
  7. Art Deco
  8. Golden Age Cinema

Now, can you picture it?

Maybe not. I couldn’t. That’s what cover artists are for. They pull all the pieces together.

And here’s the result!

Good Night, AngelaGOOD NIGHT, ANGELA

A Trixie Frank – Sean Costigan 1920s Romantic Mystery

New York City, Spring, 1925.

When the wife of a popular Midwestern radio evangelist is kidnapped for ransom only hours after they preach to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, Detective Sean Costigan and tabloid reporter Trixie Frank suspect there’s more to the case than meets the eye.


Let me know what you think.

Check out the blurb and an excerpt of Good Night, Angela’s on its new book page here!

Photo Credits:

Champagne bottle clipart  is from WPClipArt

 It Had to Be You – Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Dick York – By McDermott Company (public relations) (, front of photo, back of photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dick Sargent – By American Broadcasting Company (, front of photo, back of photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Goodbye, Tootsie and Good Night, Angela cover art design by Fiona Jayde Media. Learn more About Fiona here. Custom Photo Shoot and Cover Model Images from

Holiday Procrastination

My Holiday To-Do List


From left to right – Snoozing Lucy Cat, Tardy Christmas Tree, Lexi the Dog

It’s useless to deny it any longer. The holiday season has begun.

The final two months of the year are crazy-busy at my day job, which means I’m stressed and cranky. Every holiday season for the past 15 years of so, my coping mechanism has been to live in a state of denial that the holidays are looming until at least the weekend following Thanksgiving. (That’s when I’ve always put up our Christmas tree.)

This year, the denial must have run deeper than usual because the weekend after Thanksgiving… I forgot to put up our tree. (Say, what?) Yes. For. Got.

I think the election and my resolution to become better informed (i.e. catatonia followed by voracious political reading) may have had something to do with my distraction.

Regardless of the reason for this serious setback, the result is the same. I’m alarmingly behind on my annual holiday procrastination to-do list.

Below is a peek at this week’s list…

  1. Photography by Ryan McGuire – Gratisography

    Go to work. (No crying.) (Okay, no audible crying.) Do this: Daily.

  2. Pick up mini-pancakes and syrup to make smile faces out of same in order to cheer self up at breakfast.
  3. Fall prey to Facebook click bait. Do this: Minimum two hours/daily.
  4. Amazon-surf for awe-inspiring gift ideas. Find many (for me). Do this: Minimum two hours/daily.
  5. Organize plastic containers and lids in cabinet under sink.
  6. Furminate cat. Do this: Daily.
  7. 1_Temp Correct - Copy

    Furminate me.

    Research parallel universe theories. (Where do missing Ziploc® lids go after only three uses? What about missing socks? Keys? Earrings?)

  8. Rewatch The Princess Bride

And those are just the high priority items.

Normally, by this time—in a non-screwed-up election year—I would have had all those things done and I’d be over halfway through not sending out my Christmas cards.

Any other holiday procrastinators out there? Please share. Not only will it waste some precious time that you could otherwise be spending productively, it helps me to know I’m not alone.

 Holiday Buy Links

1920s Fiction -It Had to Be You

Mystery and Romance in 1920s Manhattan

Looking for more ways to procrastinate during the holidays? Why not indulge in a fun, seasonal romantic e-mystery? Check out It Had to Be You, which opens on Thanksgiving Day, 1924. It’s priced to sell at 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and other ebook outlets

And don’t forget… You can gift ebooks virtually to fellow ebook readers on your gift list via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Coming later this week… Good Night, Angela Cover Reveal!

Until then… make your lists and have a great week!


 Photo Credits:

Tardy Christmas Tree and Pets – Delynn Royer

Lucy the Cat – Delynn Royer

Pancake Smiley Plate – By Ryan McGuire, Bells Design, from Gratisography

 It Had to Be You – Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.


Top 5 Golden Age Movie Picks for Your Holiday Week

James Stewart and Donna Reed 1946

James Stewart and Donna Reed 1946

“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.”

From It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946, Liberty Films

Top 5 Golden Age Movies for Your Holiday Week

It’s been a fact of my life for over a decade that my day job heats up at this time of year, offering no extra time off. My stress levels climb and Christmas spirit plummets. It’s been particularly bad this year.

First, our Thanksgiving dinner got pushed back, which in turn delayed putting up the Christmas tree. (Because I refused to have our Thanksgiving meal in the glow of Christmas tree lights. My standards may not be high, but they’re firm.) Add to this, freakishly warm December weather here in the northeast U.S., and I’ve been plunged into a serious state of ….

Scrooge Emergency!!


Yep. I need me one big huge honkin’ shot of Holiday Spirit to get me off the launch pad. To that end, I’ve been streaming mega-amounts of no-holds-barred, heavy-duty, pile-on-the-schmaltz holiday classic movies, and—

Oh… wait a minute…

I think it’s working… Wait…

I… almost… smiled?

Quick! Pass the egg nog! 🙂

CLASSIC MOVIEWhich movies or TV shows get you revved for the holidays?

Classic Movie Junkie’s
Holiday Movie Schmaltz Rating Guide

  • 1 Hanky =  Heartwarming
  • 2 Hankies – Misty Eyes
  • 3 Hankies – Oh, man…!
  • 4 Hankies – Don’t schedule anything for the rest of the day.



Barbara Stanwyck in Christmas in Connecticut

# 5     Christmas in Connecticut (1945)  Holiday Screwball Comedy/ Romance.  A popular columnist for a national homemaking magazine (who isn’t married and can’t cook) must fake a Martha Stewart-worthy Connecticut family holiday for a war hero. Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet.

Why?  Stanwyck Lite. This enjoyable bit of mindless holiday fluff is just the ticket for an afternoon of gift wrapping and sipping egg nog. No hankies necessary. It’s just, well, nice.  Holiday Schmaltz Rating  = 0 hankies


1_It happened on

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)

#4      It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)  Holiday Screwball Comedy/Romance.  A philosophical hobo moves into a NY mansion while its millionaire owner winters in the south. The house soon fills with returning G.I.’s, their families, and the millionaire’s rebellious daughter. Don DeFore, Gale Storm, Charles Ruggles.

Why?  All heart and sweet, sweet, sweet. This screwball comedy romance is set in New York City against the housing shortage that followed World War II.

Don Defore and Alan Hale in It Happened on 5th Avenue

Don Defore and Alan Hale in It Happened on 5th Avenue

The ensemble cast is full of faces that would soon become instantly recognizable to TV audiences—Don DeFore (Hazel), Gale Storm (My Little Margie), Alan Hale (Gilligan’s Island), and Charles Ruggles, who appeared in over 100 movies before playing recurring roles in shows like Beverly Hillbillies and Bewitched.  Holiday Schmaltz Rating  = 1 hanky


Ingrid Bergman in The Bells of St. Mary's 1945

Ingrid Bergman in The Bells of St. Mary’s 1945

 #3     The Bells of Saint Mary’s (1945)  Drama/Comedy. Despite their differences, a priest and a nun work together to save their city school from being closed. Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman

Why? Crosby does his second turn as the glib Father O’Malley in this heartwarming classic that also stars Bergman as the proper but feisty Sister Superior Mary Benedict.

Best scene? Bergman in full nun’s habit teaching one of her youthful male students to box. An exceedingly pleasant distraction for a quiet afternoon.  Highly recommended.

Currently free to stream on Amazon Prime

Holiday Schmaltz Rating  = 2 hankies



Natalie Wood & Maureen O’Hara in Miracle on 34th Street

#2     Miracle on 34th Street (1947)  Holiday Fantasy/ Drama/ Comedy.  When a department store Santa claims to be the real thing, a skeptical little girl asks him for her seemingly impossible heart’s desire. Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood.

Why? The inimitable Maureen O’Hara plays Doris Walker, a divorced head-over-heart career woman who’s lost her faith in love.

Natalie Wood was just eight when she won her career-making role of O’Hara’s precocious daughter. Edmund Gwenn’s iconic performance won him an Academy Award and a special place in movie-goers’ hearts as the “real” Kris Kringle.

A particularly poignant film this year after screen legend Maureen O’Hara’s recent passing.  Holiday Schmaltz Rating = 3 hankies



It’s a Wonderful Life

#1     It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)  Holiday Fantasy/Drama.  A small town banker contemplating suicide is saved by a guardian angel-in-training. Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers.

Why?  Is there anyone on the planet who hasn’t seen this? It’s the granddaddy of all classic holiday films for good reason.

Jimmy Stewart is so pitch perfect as Everyman George Bailey, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. Donna Reed plays beautiful counterpoint, Barrymore preens as the quintessential villain, and Henry Travers wins hearts as Angel 2nd Class Clarence Odbody. It just ain’t Christmas without it.  Holiday Schmaltz Rating = 4 hankies

Trivia Question: What film title appears on the Bijou theater marquee when George Bailey runs through the streets of Bedford Falls near the end of the movie?

  • Christmas in Connecticut
  • The Bells of Saint Mary’s
  • A Christmas Carol

Have a wonderful holiday!

 Photo credits:

It’s a Wonderful Life  – Screen Shots [Public domain]

Seymour Hicks – Scrooge 1935 – Screen Shot – [Public Domain]

Ingrid Bergman – By Trailer screenshot (The Bells of St. Mary’s trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It Happened on 5th Avenue and Miracle on 34th Street  – Screen Shots for Critical Commentary

By Trailer screenshot (Christmas in Connecticut trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What Day is It? (Or… End of Summer Roundup & 99 Cent Book Sale)

Where my Feet Take Me: A scene in It Had to Be You takes place at night on this rocky beach in Montauk, Long Island.

“’What day is it?’

‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet

‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.”

From Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926, A.A. Milne


What Day is it?

Did you ever wake up in a panic before the alarm clock went off and wonder what day it was? Is it Monday? Saturday? Wednesday? Holy cow! Am I late for work?  (And, no, in that instant, the word on my mind is not “cow.”)

I woke the other day wondering for a split second not only what day it was but what month it was.  It couldn’t be the end of August already… could it? Nah! Wasn’t it July, like… a week ago?

With a non-writing job that expects me to show up regularly, a family that expects me to talk to them regularly, a house that expects me to keep it presentable regularly, and friends who expect me to have fun regularly, it’s an inevitable fact that the one thing that’s only mine—the writing—too easily drops off the radar. That fact is never more true than in the summer when family and social gatherings and vacation get tossed into the schedule.

Yes, time for writing was in short supply this summer, which is why my blogging has been more non-existent than usual, but the summer is indeed coming to a close.

Does that mean I’ll be visiting my own blog more often? Well… 🙂

Are you as productive in the summer as you are at other times of the year? If not, what gets sacrificed?

The WIPs

WIP is an acronym for Work(s) in Progress. I haven’t been a complete washout with the writing. I took a break in August from editing the third book in my 1920s romantic mystery series, Goodnight, Angela, to try my hand at writing a short story.

Authors… do you write both long and short fiction? If so, how do you do it? Are you better at one than the other?

Here’s why I ask.

This has been an interesting experiment since I’ve never completed a piece of fiction shorter than 85,000 words. The suggested word count for an anthology I’d like to participate in is a flexible 7,000 to 10,000 words.  I’m at 14,000 and counting. (That’s… seven tons of words, right?)

Yeah. And I’m not even sure I like how the story is going.

Its working title is “Heart of the Dragon.” It’s about a big city, smart ass private eye and his overly optimistic small town secretary. It’s set in the Bowery and Chinatown in 1926 New York City.

Will this little darling ever see the light of day? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve got more than a few stories living on the Island of Unfinished WIPs.

Authors… do you have any WIPs keeping mine company on the Island of Unfinished WIPs? Any favorites you secretly hope to rescue?

I’ve got one sentimental favorite I plan to finish one day, an untitled reunion historical romance that’s been percolating for–I kid you not–two decades.

In fact, I worked on that one a bit this summer, too. Anything but work on the project I’m supposed to be finishing, right? There’s a word for that…


I think–if you’re a writer–you should be able to count procrastination as work.

  • Surfing the Net = Research
  • Napping = Plotting
  • Tweeting = Promotion

Ahem… One pastime I can’t fool myself into classifying as work is Pinterest. Any pinners out there? That’s just too fun to call work, isn’t it?

Hey… maybe I’ll start a new board called PROCRASTINATION.

What would you pin on your Procrastination Board?

I did start a new board this summer. It’s called “Where my Feet Take Me,” and it was inspired by one of my new wellness resolutions—to take a solitary 30-minute walk every day when the weather is decent. (I reserve the right to define “decent.”)

Can taking a walk be procrastination? Sure! But I prefer to call it “Refilling the Well.”

This nifty graphic is an example of procrastinating on Canva to illustrate procrastinating on Pinterest.

This nifty graphic is a prime example of double procrastinating. It’s procrastinating on Canva to illustrate procrastinating on Pinterest. (Don’t try this at home unless you’re at least a brown-belt level procrastinator.)

The Pinterest board has expanded to include photos taken not only on my walks but on vacations and research trips. I’ll be adding to it as the spirit moves me.

If you feel like procrastinating now, check out my new board here. 🙂

What do you do to Refill your Creative/Spiritual Well?

And in Other News…

I guest posted on some blogs this summer!

“The Yin and Yang of Fictional Sleuthing” (about the built-in conflict in “he and she” detective teams) at Book Babe.

  • Book Babe is a unique book review site, specializing in books (often historical) that feature strong, smart heroines. Do visit!

“The Duck’s Quack… 20s Speak” (about 1920s slang) at Cats, Roses and Books!

  • Cats, Roses and Books is where best-selling mystery and romance author Karen Rose Smith blogs on cats, gardening, cooking, and writing. Stop by!
1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mystery

A 1920s Romantic Mystery

Beck Valley Books hosted a successful book review tour in July for It Had to Be You. If you’d like to take a peek, find the links here. 

Goodbye, Tootsie is featured  now in the Choosy Bookworms Read & Review program.

MyBookIsFeaturedOnChoosy (1)What’s Read & Review?  A program for  indie authors to get their books into the hands of interested readers willing to write an honest review. (Publishers have their own ways of distributing free copies to readers and reviewers. This gives indies a chance to do the same.)

If you’re a reader of historical mystery and romance and think you may be interested in Read & Review, check out the FAQs here and Goodbye, Tootsie‘s page here. (Limited time only.)

A 1920s Romantic Mystery

A 1920s Romantic Mystery

The Choosy Bookworm also offers a Daily Deal e-newsletter that lists indie books for free and bargain prices. The newsletters are brief and fun. Give them a try.

Goodbye, Tootsie is on sale for just $.99 at Amazon!

Sale price is good through Labor Day  (Perhaps longer if I procrastinate on making the price change. 🙂  That’s the beauty of indie publishing.)  Give as a gift or keep for yourself. Buy it Here!

Have a great week!


Photo Credits:

Where My Feet Take Me – Photography copyright © 2015 by Delynn Royer.

It Had to Be You – Copyright © 2014 cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Goodbye, Tootsie Cover Art by Fiona Jayde Media

In Search of Sean Costigan…

qpq_TootTOOTSIEGoodbye (2)


Goodbye, Tootsie. Putting it Together: Part Two
In Search of Sean Costigan.

In my last post, I talked about my decision to go indie with the sequel to It Had to Be You. One of the most important things an indie author needs to think about is cover art.

I wasn’t in a position to duplicate the first cover—not with the same artist, model or imagery—but I wanted to preserve some elements. Namely, a classic cinema and vintage feel.  That meant black and white.

1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mysteryAlso, beautiful as that first cover is, I wanted to depart in some ways. Mainly, I wanted both my lead characters to appear. For that to happen, I needed to find the right leading man.

Thus began my internet search for Detective Sean Costigan.

Who is Sean Costigan?

Sean is a second generation Irish New York City cop. He’s thirty-three years old, smart, driven, and, yes, a bit jaded from years on the job. His smiles are rare. They have to be earned, and he has a dry sense of humor.

What’s he look like?

Sean is 6’1” with raven-colored hair, dusky blue eyes, and a lean, muscular build. As for “type,” I confess to imagining Alex O’Loughlin in the role even though his hair isn’t quite dark enough.

So, I spent hours on the internet searching stock images. There are some sites that cater to romance authors that offer no shortage of beautiful men. (I had a tough job, right?) But believe it or not, my search actually grew tedious.

I had three problems.

  • Type

While several male models fit Sean’s physical description, few were paired with females who fit my leading lady’s type. (Think Amy Adams .)

  •   Pose

Clinch poses were plentiful, but Goodbye, Tootsie is a romantic mystery, not a full-fledged romance. There’s a difference.

Think about the TV series Castle. How often do you see Beckett and Castle crawling all over each other in their publicity stills? Not often, if ever. That’s because the romantic content of the show—while indispensable to the chemistry—is warm, not hot. It bows to the show’s murder mystery plot in each episode.

  • Time Period/Costume

I adore the 1920s, but it isn’t the wildest selling time period for historical romance. The scant selection of stock available with Roaring 20s costume reflected that.

And so, how close was I to throwing in the towel?

I was ready to surrender and settle for a cover with a feather boa and a hip flask when I decided to give it one more go. I returned to the leading romance sites, starting with RNC—Romance Novel Covers—owned and operated by cover model Jimmy Thomas.

Avid romance readers recognize Mr. Thomas. His image graces the covers of countless novels.  He also happens to fit Sean’s physical description. Too bad there were no 1920s period photos that fit my criteria among the wide selection of stock offered on his site. But Mr. Thomas did offer one thing I hadn’t seen elsewhere— exclusive custom cover shots.

By then, I was ready to consider going the extra mile, but, as an indie author, it’s my dollars and cents being invested to put out a quality product as well as my time.

So, I asked myself two questions. How long had I spent writing this book? And how much more time would I spend not only scouring the internet for cover images but editing, formatting and otherwise promoting it?

This made my decision easy. My time is worth a lot—at least, it is to me. So, I signed up.

 Next time …  working with Jimmy Thomas at RNC to get the perfect shots.

Until then… here’s a behind the scenes peek taken during the custom shoot for the cover for Goodbye, Tootsie. Meet Mr. Thomas and cover model Inessa, who is now my Trixie. (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot - Behind The Scenes - Jimmy Thomas & Inessa - Delynn Royer (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes – Jimmy Thomas & Inessa – Delynn Royer

What do you think? Could these two play homicide detective Sean Costigan and perky girl reporter Trixie Frank in the movie? 🙂

 Indie authors… Have you ever had trouble finding just the right image or models to grace your covers?

GoodbyeTootsieTitleGOODBYE, TOOTSIE
January, 1925
Homicide detective Sean Costigan and tabloid reporter Trixie Frank are on the road to romance but at cross-purposes at work when they investigate the New Year’s Eve murder of “Poor Little Rich Girl” Abigail Welles after she comes into control of a family fortune.

COMING SOON in Summer of 2015!

Cover art design by Fiona Jayde. Learn more About Fiona here.

 Photo Credits

Goodbye, Tootsie title design copyright © 2015 fiona jayde media

 Custom Shoot for Goodbye, Tootsie – Copyright © 2014

It Had to Be You – Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.