There’s this writerly saying about “killing your darlings.” It sounds god-awful, but all it really means is that if there’s something in your book that you love, but seems out of place or slows the read, get rid of it.

And so it goes with other parts of the book. Like the cover.

I’ve always loved the design that internationally known CD cover designer Connie Gage conjured up for last year’s release of Fast Lane. I asked her for something light and airy and a little different from what you see on a lot of romance book covers. She nailed it. I like it so much that I have the framed copy Mary Jo gave me for Christmas hanging in my office.

But I’ve come to wonder if the “shoe and eyes” cover, lovely as it is, conveys “romance” as much as I need it to.

Kill your darlings.

Sigh.

This new cover, designed by Dale Robert Pease, says “romance,” and the crossed fingers say “somebody’s trying to fool someone.” Romance author Donna McDonald tells me that having people on the cover will help readers connect with the characters. Lesson of the day: If you don’t know what you’re doing, seek the advice of someone who does.

The new cover also says “Palm Springs Heat,” which might have you wondering how I could miss such a major typo. But it’s no mistake. It’s a new title that became necessary because Fast Lane is becoming a series. The Book Formerly Known as Fast Lane will be reborn as The Book Henceforth to Be Known as Palm Springs Heat: Fast Lane Romance #1.

I’d never thought of myself as a guy who would write a romance series. But then, three years ago, I’d never thought of myself as a guy who’d write any romance at all. Readers have told me they like Lara and Clay and want to find out what happens to them after their initial HEA ending. The next two books will explore that while devoting equal time to the stories of other main characters.

Malibu Bride: Fast Lane Romance #2 will get us up closer and more personal with Sushma, book #1’s heavy. Book #3—San Fernando Dreams—will follow Lara’s loopy assistant Tiffany as she bounces into womanhood.

The Palm Springs Heat cover will debut on Amazon within a couple of weeks. Nothing inside will change, so if you’ve read Fast Lane, I thank you and suggest you eagerly await the second book. And by “eagerly,” I mean lose sleep and catch yourself missing large swaths of time daydreaming about it when you should have been paying attention to American Pickers.

If you haven’t read Fast Lane yet, it’ll be there–behind its original cover for a few weeks, and then the new one. And, pretty soon it’ll be joined by two siblings, so if you’re the kind of reader who loves to plow through an entire series back to back to back, you’ll have something to look forward to.

In fact, that just might be another way of killing off your darlings that doesn’t sound god-awful at all.

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