Can you judge a book by its’ cover?

O M G, so surreal that it’s almost real. I have a cover for my debut full middle grade novel, ages 8-12, “The Craziest Fishing Tale on the Bayou.”

Yes, pre-orders count towards best-sellers ;  ) 

And many, many thanks to the talented Sarah Gramelspacher, when I asked her if she’d like to pitch a concept for the cover, this final didn’t change much at all. I see a mango margarita in our future very soon. Check her stuff out on instagram and twitter: @PishPosh_art  or

So what’s it about?

Eleven-year-old Hatcher Hampton is competing in his first fishing rodeo with hopes to win $500 and bragging rights over his older brother forever. But getting stuck in a horse-fly-infested swamp with Grampa Grump and no extra underwear isn’t what he has in mind. In the end, Hatch must face a two-footed bayou beast and a one-armed pesky neighbor to win the greatest award of all. “Here fishy, fishy, fishy!”

What compelled me to stay up a lot of nights and write this?

Growing up just outside of New Orleans, I spent many years on the bayou waters of Louisiana with my grandfather, grandmother and older brother. So naturally, this story practically wrote itself.

Over the years, my love for fishing with my grampa turned to fishing with my friends and now fishing with my daughter — catching nothing at all sure beats a day at the office.

So if you have a kid who likes fishing, or you have a kid who you’d like to like fishing, or you like fishing yourself, then this tall tale is for you.

You ready?

Can you judge a book by its’ cover?

As a kid, I was one of those reluctant readers every teacher feared. In fact, I don’t think I ever read a book that wasn’t assigned to me in school – EVER – at least none that weren’t shortie comics or comic books. So when I received a contract for this book, the first thing I thought of was: why would a kid pick up this book and open it?

That question led me to: let’s start with the cover. How can one image sum up all of this – a boy, a boat, a horse-fly-infested bayou, a lackluster go at fishing, a legendary beast and it also had to have a humorous tone.

Well, I majored in Graphic Design back at LSU before switching to my final life choice, Journalism/Advertising. But I knew that someone could do soooooooooo much better than anything I could come up with.

Luckily the talented Sarah Gramelspacher in my SCBWI LA/MS writer/illustrator’s group decided to help me with a pitch cover concept. Six months later working with our publisher, Pelican Publishing, and now we have a cover. Other than some humorous touches by Sarah, the final idea didn’t change much from her initial idea. Score one for the illustrator!!!

I guess the point is, never stop thinking about the end of the journey … those reluctant kid readers like me. A good story will keep them reading. But a thought-provoking, adorable cover might just fuel the conversation of, “Ma, can I have this?”

Will I be signing books in your area?

Post a comment below what city and state, and I’ll work on a “Here fishy, fishy, fishy Summer TOUR 2018”

Thank you for reading …