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.

Against the Odds. She’s Gone Indie!

DV_Goodbye Tootsie

Goodbye, Tootsie. Putting it Together: Part One
Going Indie…

It’s been quiet around here, and there’s a reason for that. I’ve been working hard, wearing a lot of hats—author, editorial director, copy writer, proofreader, art director—and that’s because…

Yep. I’ve gone indie.

Deciding to go indie with a sequel to It Had to Be You was a no-brainer in some respects and difficult in others.

Backstory alert…

1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mystery

A Trixie Frank – Sean Costigan 1920s Romantic Mystery

When I started  It Had to Be You, I’d been away from fiction writing for over ten years. That’s one serious case of writer’s block, even if it was self-imposed due to Life Stuff.

When you neglect something so fragile and creative for that long, you wonder if you still have “it.” You certainly doubt that you deserve to have it. You wonder–when you skim back over your old books–how in the world you ever did that unquantifiable, Mount Everest-climbing thing in the first place.

So, after over a decade, I stared at that brand new, empty white computer screen with its frighteningly patient, forever-blinking cursor and wondered… What am I doing? And Where do I start? And Am I crazy?

I’d had similar doubts when I was thirty and started to write A Touch of Camelot. The edge I had back then that I didn’t have this time around was a big one. Blissful ignorance. I didn’t know the odds against getting published, and I knew even less about the craft of fiction writing. So, I just wrote.

The result of that blissful ignorance was a marvelous fluke—a contest win, an agent, a publisher, and four historical romances published within three years. It ended pretty fast too—that’s a whole other story—but, wow, it was still very cool. As my dad always says, “They can’t take that away from you.”

Ten years flew by fast. Kids, work, remarriage, graduations…

So, there I was again. More wrinkled but game. Fingers  poised on the keys, staring at that intimidating white screen. I’m not going to lie. It was harder this time. The writing was bad. Every sentence oozed like mud. No emotion. No spark. No voice.

And I knew this…how?

Because I knew about good writing and bad. I’d found my voice once before, and I now recognized it by its absence.

Still… I had an idea for a heroine I loved and a setting that fired up my imagination. But no plot. I wasn’t even sure what genre this would be.

And I knew this was a pathetic way to start a book… why?

Because I knew a book needed to be labeled for the market in order to sell it. And what’s the point of writing a thing if you can’t sell it?

Yeah, I was a cynic. I’d lost my writing virginity, and there was no getting it back. I did the sensible thing. I put the manuscript away. For about a year.

Then I got it back out.

Well… it might be a mystery, I thought. Or a romance. Or, worst of all…a Mysterious Romance.  But, heck, why should that worry me? It was set in a time period everyone knew would never sell. In a way, that double whammy freed me to do the not-so-sensible thing. Write it.

Was it easy? No. Fast? No. Fun? Yes!! But the best thing was, I got my voice back.

Which has exactly what to do with going indie?

Going against the odds.

I could have left Trixie and Sean at the end of It Had to Be You and simply moved on to something more marketable to pitch to a digital publisher. Time-wise and market-wise, that would have been the sensible thing. But…

It was Trixie who’d helped me find my voice again. How could I leave her back in 1924 when I knew her love story with Sean wasn’t done? Her next murder mystery case was drafted. All it needed was to be polished, edited and readied for market.

So, once again, I’m doing the not-so-sensible thing.  I’m going indie.

Want to tag along? 🙂

 Have you ever taken a leap of faith and done the “not so sensible” thing?

How did that go? Regrets? Or are you glad you leapt?

 Cover reveal and launch date coming soon.

In the meantime, here’s the blurb!!

GGoodbye, TootsieOODBYE, TOOTSIE

It’s after midnight on New Year’s Day, 1925, and the richest girl in America has just fallen to her death from the top floor of the posh Cleveland Hotel in Manhattan.

When Detective Sean Costigan arrives at the scene, he learns it’s the day after Abigail Welles’s twenty-first birthday— the day she inherited a family fortune. It’s not the kind of coincidence that warms a detective’s heart. Neither is the fact that she wasn’t alone when she fell. Her new husband, Long Island party boy Nick Welles, lies incoherent in the master bedroom.

Sean’s girl, tabloid reporter Trixie Frank, is the first newshound on the scene. It’s a bigger scoop than she dreamed. The young heiress’s death will make national headlines. More importantly, this story hits close to home. And heart. The victim’s husband is Trixie’s ex-fiancé.

When Sean focuses on Nick as his prime suspect, Trixie is certain he’s dead wrong. But will saving her first love from the hot seat prove fatal to her new romance?


Photo credits:

Goodbye, Tootsie title graphic by Fiona Jayde Media

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.