Category Archives: Cover Reveal

COVER REVEAL: The Clearing

It’s cover reveal day for The Clearing by Cassandra J. Kelly. The Clearing takes place in rural Ohio, and it was super important to us that the cover communicated that setting well. We bounced around A LOT of ideas for this cover, ranging from abstract to photo-based, but nothing felt quite like Ohio. (We work with authors from all over, but since our home base IS Ohio, we had to get it right.)

When we first began the cover design process, Cassandra sent us a collection of aesthetic references that reflect the vibe of The Clearing. One of those references was a painting by Ohio artist Michael Miller. As we worked on cover mockups, we kept coming back to this painting. There’s a small white house, non-descript but recognizable by anyone who has spent time in rural Ohio. It sits in a clearing, a farm field or meadow opening up behind it, deep green trees framing the house. You’d think it was a photograph if you didn’t know any better, the faintest blush of pink on the roof hinting at a sunrise or a sunset–an ending or a beginning–frozen in time.

On a whim, we reached out to Michael and asked if he might consider licensing the image for a book cover, and to our delight, he agreed.

Find out more about Ohio artist Michael Miller here.

We’re so pleased with how this cover turned out, not only because it’s beautiful, and not only because it suits The Clearing so well, but because we–as an Ohio publisher–get to use the work of an Ohio artist, on a book that’s set in Ohio, by an Ohio author.

The Clearing releases worldwide 3/26/24.

About The Clearing

Set in rural Ohio, The Clearing tells the story of twelve-year-old Sadie Watkins, whose world is being uprooted by her mother’s disease: a severe form of multiple sclerosis.

As Sadie faces the impending grief of losing her mother, she also feels the fading of her childhood and longs for her imagination to return. She seeks solace in the woods behind her house, where she processes her overwhelming home life through traditional Appalachian herbology, pressing and cataloging flowers and plants like a budding scientist.

When Sadie meets Cali, a barefoot wild child who seems to come from nowhere, the two become instant friends. Cali re-introduces Sadie to the wonders of the forest and gives her the courage she needs to face the future—the one without her mom.

This novel intertwines grief, love, nature, and wonder. It also acts as a time capsule of the Healthcare Crisis in the early 2000s, and the many American families like Sadie’s who had to make great sacrifices when illness struck.

About Cassandra J. Kelly

Cassandra J. Kelly holds degrees in journalism and environmental science from Ohio University. She continues to call Ohio home and loves spending time in nature with her Australian Shepherds, Bonnie and Eva. The Clearing is her debut novel. Learn more about her and her most recent work at


It’s cover reveal day for Call Me Sonny by Steve Lazarus. We LOVE how this cover nails the dark crime fiction vibe of this Bryce Chandler mystery, and we can’t wait for the release of Call Me Sonny in the fall!


Shortly after a corrupt attorney pays a visit to an inmate serving a life sentence in a federal supermax prison, people from the inmate’s past start to die. Bryce Chandler, a retired FBI Agent eking out a living as a private investigator in the Florida Keys, ties the string of killings to a shadowy murder-for-hire organization operating on the Dark Web, and in the process he discovers the final name on the list is his own.  At the same time, a simple divorce case turns out to be much more than meets the eye, as Bryce’s investigation of the defendant leads him down a path of international drug smuggling, money laundering, and violent henchmen bent on keeping him silent. The two storylines run parallel to one another until they eventually converge in a final bloody outcome.

About the author

Steve Lazarus is a first-time author, retired FBI Special Agent, and United States Air Force veteran. He served twenty-two years in the FBI, spending the first half of his career investigating drug trafficking organizations and violent street gangs. Later, he became a full-time bomb technician, an assignment which led him to Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan as part of the Global War on Terror.  After retiring from the Bureau, he spent several years as a national security instructor in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Steve lives outside Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with his partner Susan and their amazing wonder dog, Aspen.

Follow our blog and social media to keep up with release developments for Call Me Sonny!

COVER REVEAL: The Beast Keepers

It’s cover reveal day for The Beast Keepers by Julie Fudge Smith. We love how this intricate cover turned out, and we can’t wait for the release of The Beastkeepers on August 1, 2023!

The Beast Keepers is the story of Jonathan F. St. Roche, a young veterinarian who takes a job in the rural Ohio town of Carrollton. He soon discovers it is a safe haven for a menagerie of mythical creatures (including a pregnant pegasus, a flying monkey with a sprained wing, a centaur with Cushing’s disease, and a unicorn with a sweet tooth) who rely on him for their medical care and shelter from the outside world. When a deadly basilisk threatens the town, Jonathan, along with his new friends wrestle with balancing the dangerous creature’s needs against the risk to the community.

Julie Smith is a writer and an extensively credentialed Certified Professional Dog Trainer living in Granville, Ohio. The idea for The Beast Keepers was born from a visit to the vet:

Several years ago while my flat-coated retriever, Mr. Bingley, and I waited at the holistic vet for a chiropractic adjustment, I studied the poster showing the acupuncture points for dogs. I wondered if animals such as turtles, frogs, snakes, porcupines, etc., had acupuncture points as well.

While the vet worked on Bingley, I asked him whether he learned acupuncture for animals besides dogs, cats, horses, etc. He replied that there were classes for “other” animals. Although I think he probably meant animals such as goats or sheep, there was something about the way he said “other” that caused me to think:

“You meant griffins? Centaurs? Fauns?” Showing a modicum of restraint, I did not ask that aloud. I did, however, spend the remainder of the day contemplating how you would treat medical issues in mythological animals. If a griffin had a lung infection, would you be treating bird lungs or mammalian lungs? Can centaurs get gout, and if so, how would it manifest? Can unicorns get laminitis?

Thus was born the idea of The Beast Keepers, an adult literary novel with a twist.

Learn more about Julie Smith on her website here.

Follow our blog and social media to keep up with release developments for The Beast Keepers, including the announce of a pre-order period!

COVER REVEAL: Let Your Heart Be Broken by Tina Davidson

It’s cover reveal day for Tina Davidson’s stunning memoir, Let Your Heart Be Broken: Life and Music from a Classical Composer.

Hardback cover. Preorder here!
Paperback/e-book cover. Preorder here!

Tina Davidson is three-and-a-half when she is adopted from her foster home in Sweden by a visiting American professor. Soon she is the oldest of five children, living with her mother and stepfather in Turkey, Germany, and Israel. She studies music and becomes a prolific pianist and composer. But something about her birth remains unnamed and hidden. When she returns to Sweden, she contacts the Swedish adoption agency. “Come,” says the voice on the phone, “I have information for you.”

In Let Your Heart Be Broken, Tina Davidson juxtaposes memories, journal entries, and insight into the life of an artist and a mother-at work. Along the way, Davidson meets Ernest Hemingway and Carl Sandburg, survives an attack by nomads in Turkey, and learns her birth father is a world-famous scientist. And throughout, there is the thread of music, an ebb and a crescendo of a journey out of the past and into the present, through darkness and into the light.

Let Your Heart Be Broken will be released to all markets on March 14, 2023. Preorder it here.

TINA DAVIDSON, a highly regarded American composer, creates music that stands out for its emotional depth and lyrical dignity.  Lauded for her authentic voice, the New York Times praised her “vivid ear for harmony and colors.”  Philadelphia Inquirer writes that she composes “real music, with structure, mood, novelty and harmonic sophistication – with haunting melodies that grow out of complex, repetitive rhythms.”

Over her forty-five-year career, she has been commissioned and performed by well-known ensembles such as National Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, OperaDelaware, VocalEssence, Kronos Quartet, Cassatt Quartet and Grammy award winner, Hilary Hahn. 

Long-term residencies play a major role in Davidson’s career. She was composer-in-residence as part of the innovative Meet The Composer “New Residencies” and with the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia.  Championing composing in public schools, she created the city-wide Young Composers program to children how to write music through instrument building, improvisation, and graphic notation.

Tina Davidson was born in Stockholm, Sweden and grew up in Oneonta, NY and Pittsburgh, PA.  She currently resides in Lancaster PA.

Praise for Let Your Heart Be Broken

“Rarely does a composer tie together life events and inner creative propulsion in a narrative that speaks directly to their audience. Ms. Davidson’s music is lyrical and vulnerable, as is her voice in words. Her book will allow listeners and musicians alike to build their own connections to Ms. Davidson’s work in all of its forms.” –Hilary Hahn, violinist and Grammy winner

“Let Your Heart Be Broken is a poignant telling of a life inextricably entwined in the art of making music. It is a rare peek into the inner workings of the mind and its desires, joys, and fears, and how that affects the process of wrestling notes onto a page; a memoir filled with the twists and turns of the soul, it is a rewarding read.”  –Jennifer Higdon, Pulitzer Prize composer

“Whether she is writing about the hauntings of childhood or the day-to-day practical work of a leading American composer, Tina Davidson writes with precision and poetry, bringing us into her remarkable life.”  –Tim Page, author and  former New York Times music critic

Listen to an exclusive Spotify playlist with music from the book here!


Cover reveal! In Herschel’s Wake by Michael Wohl will be released worldwide on 10/04/22.

Like father like son… Like it or not!

HERSCHEL WOHL WAS MANY THINGS: twice-divorced astrologer, pharmacology professor, failed novelist, on-the-lam drug-runner, manual typewriter thief, Aikido white belt, possible communist, and temporary resident of the little-known island of Statia. He was also a father.

When Herschel dies unexpectedly just before his 71st birthday, his adult son Michael has to travel four thousand miles and overcome four decades of filial resentment to pick up Herschel’s pieces. Along the way Michael must reconnect with a forgotten half-brother, reconcile with an overeducated, underachieving sister, and reckon with his ambivalence about religion.

With no modern funerary services available on the tiny island, the three estranged siblings are left to bury their enigmatic patriarch by themselves, and by hand. As one day stretches into three and they wonder if they’ll ever get the bastard in the ground, they are forced to confront their complicated relationships, not only with their charismatic but irresponsible father, but also—and perhaps more importantly—with each other.

In Herschel’s Wake is a darkly funny examination of faith, funerals, family, and f*cked up fathers, but most of all, it’s about forgiveness.

Cover Reveal: STOP THE ROAD

COVER REVEAL! Stop the Road: Stories from the Trenches of Baltimore’s Road Wars will be released worldwide on 10/01/22.

Stop the Road is a microcosm of a clash over values and ideas about cities and the transportation systems that provide the lifeblood of the urban economy. That Baltimore avoided committing “urbanicide” (a term coined by Baltimore Sun news columnist James Dilts) was a testament to the astonishing victory of a ragtag band of community activists, environmentalists, and preservationists that turned the tables on the economic and political establishment. They won three major expressway battles, eliminating two highways and rerouting a third, thereby saving the waterfront that later became the bedrock of Baltimore’s late-1900s revival. However, the lasting impact of the highways that were built through the city’s African American communities (including Baltimore’s infamous “Highway to Nowhere”) tells quite a different story. Here we see highway plans that reflected racial inequities and discriminatory practices deeply embedded in Baltimore’s history. This is a storyline that still resonates today, as the country faces up to a long-overdue reckoning over racial issues.

Enlivened by the up-close-and-personal stories of the Road Warriors (much of it gained from 53 interviews of those involved), Stop the Road charts a course that is engaging on a human-interest level. This is a story of Baltimore at its best and at its worst all at the same time; a story of the mob retaking “Mobtown”; a story of monumental struggle for the “Monumental City.”

“Paull’s surgical dissection of the 40-year battle produces a book that is essential for understanding today’s Baltimore—and the many other American cities which experienced similar highway wars.”
Antero Pietila, author of Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City.

Stop the Road is an engrossing saga of Baltimore, not just because the events depicted are so significant for our city, but also because the history is enlivened by in person storytelling. You will marvel how this combination of community protectors, civil rights activists, preservationists, 1960’s idealists, and environmental advocates gained the upper hand over the road building establishment.”
M. J. (“Jay”) Brodie, former Baltimore Housing Commissioner and President of Baltimore Development Corporation.

“If you think about the things that have really changed the face of Baltimore as we know it today, to me there is nothing more important than the road wars.”
C. William Struever, Baltimore developer and urban strategist

Evans Paull is a retired city planner, living in northwest Baltimore with his wife, Rosemarie. He has three children and one grandchild. Paull’s career started in the Baltimore City Department of Planning where he worked with quite a few of the interviewees featured in this book (but he had no direct involvement in either transportation planning or the Road Wars). In mid-career he shifted from generalist planner to specializing in the redevelopment of brownfields (vacant former industrial or commercial properties, the reuse of which is complicated by contamination).  He started and managed Baltimore’s Brownfields Initiative; then went on to work on these same issues at a national level, working first for Northeast-Midwest Institute, later acting as Director of the National Brownfields Coalition, later still starting and running his consulting business, Redevelopment Economics. You can find previously published articles and papers on the Redevelopment Economics website. Paull has won a number of awards, including: Brownfields Leadership Award; Phoenix Award (for brownfields redevelopment); Governor’s Smart Growth Award; and Professional Achievement in Economic Development Award, Maryland Chapter American Planning Association.

Cover Reveal: For the Minds and Wills of Men

COVER REVEAL! For the Minds and Wills of Men by Jeff Lanier will be released worldwide this spring.

Manhattan, 1953. Fear of communist subversion and espionage are tearing America apart. In the art world, the growing popularity of abstract expressionism is poised to catapult gritty New York to a cultural epicenter of the world. While recovering a stolen Jackson Pollock for a wealthy client, art insurer Will Oxley falls for the client’s daughter, Liz. This relationship leads Will deep into the rebellious, seductive world of abstract expressionist painters, their Village bar haunts and East Hampton binges. But when Will learns the painting⁠—and Liz⁠—may be hiding communist secrets, he finds himself caught between exposing the girl he loves or risking his life to trust her.

Cover Reveal: LIES IN BONE

We are so incredibly excited to reveal the cover for LIES IN BONE by Natalie Symons, to be released in the fall of this year.

On Halloween 1963, eleven-year-old Chuck Coolidge and his brother Danny are lost in a toxic smog covering the steel town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania. When the smog lifts, half the town is sick and twenty people are dead. And Danny is missing.

Now, over twenty years later, Chuck’s teenage daughter Frank plots escape from this “busted and disgusted” town. When a murdered child is found in the river, investigators link the crime to the disappearance of Danny in ’63, and Frank’s life is turned upside down. In the face of her worst fears, she must uncover her family’s dark past if she wants to keep her sister Boots from the hands of The State. Led to discover the unimaginable truth about Danny’s disappearance, LIES IN BONE culminates in a shocking eleventh-hour reveal and an emotionally charged finale. 

Told by a sharp-tongued young woman with a love of Bruce Springsteen, LIES IN BONE is at once a mystery and coming-of-age tale fueled by dark secrets involving love, murder, and truths worth lying for. 


A deadly smog washes over the rust belt town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania in the opening scene of Natalie Symons’ compelling debut novel, Lies in Bone. True to the title, the 1963 disaster lingers in the marrow of the survivors, like Chuck Coolidge, and in their descendants, including Chuck’s teen-age daughter, Frank, who refuses to surrender to the evanescence descending on her family and her father’s hometown. Dickensian in the best sense of the word, Lies in Bone is a novel that grabs the reader and does not let go.

—Paul Wilborn, author of Cigar City, 2019 Florida Book Awards fiction gold medal winner

The melancholic force of Lies in Bone will hold you hostage. The humor in this gritty, coming-of age mystery is driven by a whip smart young heroine like none other. Your appetite for answers will be satiated, but not before you’re tortured deliciously by author Natalie Symons.

—Hannah Benitez, author of GringoLandia and Dike

A taut, intense psychological investigation of trauma, loss and redemption, Lies in Bone draws the reader into a dense web of past sins and unresolved mysteries. Natalie Symons’ command of language allows this layered story to flow seamlessly around complex characters, actors in a drama seeking to reconcile the flotsam of very broken lives. With this book, Symons emerges as a serious new novelist whose work cannot be ignored.

—Greg Fields, author of Through the Waters and the Wild

Finally, a heroine of substance growing into her own magnificence, bearing witness to the unspeakable with bravery outpacing her years. A tale told with unapologetic realism and voice crafted with skill and humanity.

—Lori D. Shannon, author of Superwoman Died Tonight

Natalie Symons’ Lies in Bone vibrates within the reader. Following the intriguing, eerie first chapter, the story turns from its Stephen King-worthy opening into its own heart. As with her plays, Lark Eden and Naming True, Ms. Symons’ great strength as a writer lies in her achingly real characters. Lies in Bone resonates with a strong cast of characters, led by a young girl who fights to find her way out of the toxic fog of her past and answer the questions that have haunted her family and her town for decades. You will want to read Lies in Bone all in one sitting—but don’t cheat yourself out of moving fully through the evolution of the story in its own time. An extraordinarily satisfying work.

—Roxanne Fay, playwright, Thrice To Mine and Upon This Rock: The Magdalene Speaks.


Natalie Symons is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been developed and produced at theatres around the country. Most recently, The People Downstairs received the Broadway World Regional Award for Original Script of the Decade and was the 2019 official selection of American Stage’s 21st Century Voices New Play Festival. Naming True was included in Ashland New Play Festival’s inaugural Play4Keeps podcast and was a finalist for the 2016 Bridge Initiative Women in Theatre Playwright of the Year Award. Among other honors, Natalie was the recipient of the 2018 Creative Pinellas Professional Artist Grant, the 2018 Playwright-in-Residence at American Stage, and three-time choice for Best Playwright by Creative Loafing. Her work has been featured in Smith & Kraus’ Best of 2019 and Smith & Kraus’ 30th Anniversary Edition Best of 2020. Originally from Buffalo, New York, she now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her husband Jim and their rescue dog Chloe. Lies in Bone is her first novel.

Cover Reveal: A Beautiful Land

We’re so excited to reveal the cover for A Beautiful Land by Susan Beth Miller.

A Beautiful Land is a story of menace, the maternal imagination, and the forest primeval. 

Raissa, middle daughter of three, watches her family flee their violence-torn homeland. But she stays behind, bound to her birthplace by memories of a sweet young man.

Driven by danger and grief, Raissa struggles toward a mysterious forest and imagines solace through the unexpected allure of a child. 

Raissa joins others who have fled their beautiful land. Each speaks in turn as they parse their tangled stories and consider whether they dare return to what once was home.

Every genocide is unique, and yet the suffering and endurance of the survivors of each such outbreak of madness transcends both time and place. In A Beautiful Land, Susan Miller has rendered with exquisite compassion the struggles of those who have been exiled from their homes by the unspeakable violence of their former neighbors. Detail by detail, she follows their journeys as they attempt to carry on, to continue breathing, to continue loving, to comprehend what they have been through, to find a new home and perhaps even return to the old one. These characters and their stories are unforgettable.

–Eileen Pollack, author of The Professor of Immortality and Breaking and Entering

Throughout, Miller’s prose is crisp and powerful, with evocative imagery and metaphors that are often stunning. As she develops her expertly crafted characters, she beautifully and compellingly considers pressing human questions regarding evil, motherhood, and the possibility of redemption. A striking, searing work that will linger long in readers’ memories.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review), Best Indie Fiction List

Cover Reveal: Halfway Thru My 20s

We are excited to release the cover art for Chris Sumlin’s latest book: Halfway Thru My 20s!

Chris Sumlin thrived in college, and now he’s back to inspire even more young adults with his authentic brand of storytelling.

In his highly anticipated third book, Chris shares highs, lows, lessons and triumphs as he navigates his early twenties. From Morehouse College to working in the entertainment industry, Chris uses the lens of his experiences (and some Beyoncé and Oprah wisdom) to educate, inspire, and guide fellow young people. 

Within these pages you’ll learn:

  • How to deal with peer pressure, haters, and the anxiety that comes with them
  • Actionable advice to help you make connections and get closer to the job you want
  • Stories of finding your purpose, living in faith, and chasing your dreams, even when the stakes get high

Chris Sumlin is a writer, speaker, occasional viral Twitter star, celebrity magnet, and inspirational creative force. He graduated from the historic Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies. Chris earned his third college degree, a Masters of Science in Television, from Boston University.  

Halfway Thru my 20s will be available for purchase on Wednesday, April 14! Find your copy at a major retailer or order it from your local bookstore.

Interested in becoming a published author? We’ve developed a five-step plan that will guide you through the process. For a limited time, download a free copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook here.