Indie Cover Art Reveal: Coming late 2017/early 2018


Love it when I get the chance to feature indie published novels, so here are some of current releases along with soon-to-be-released novels from some very talented writers!

You can’t go past the Christmas novellas of Amy Matayo, Melissa Tagg, and Erynn Mangum (and that’s coming from someone who is not a big fan of Christmas novels!). Bear in mind Amy’s super entertaining story is written as a clean read so has some extra spice that won’t suit every one. I loved it! I adore the cover – so effective with such a simple approach. Likewise Erynn’s cover is eye-catching yet without fuss. Melissa’s novella and collection of her three Christmas novellas, have a more traditional Christmas look but are so festive. If that isn’t enough Christmassy book joy for you, get your hands on the Making Spirits Bright collection. I’m yet to read any of the authors but collaborations like this one is a great way to discover new writers at little cost.

I love Heather’s cover! Themed with her mystery series, this one really grabs my attention. The lighthouse on Christy’s is stunning, but I’m less certain about the pose of the heroine. That said it communicates mystery and suspense, trademarks of Christy’s wonderful novels, and it is the start of a new series for readers to enjoy.

Sarah blends a contemporary look with Middle Eastern flair to reflect her story. While I’m not a huge fan of the cover, I’m in the middle of reading The Esther Paradigm and am completely intrigued by the tale! Julie’s is not my favourite cover of hers, but a new historical series has fans very excited!

Would love to hear your thoughts on these covers and stories, and hope you are as delighted as I am with the quality indie novels now available. I encourage you to give these authors a go, if you haven’t already. They are well worth it!

Christmas at Gate 18 - High Resolution-2

Christmas at Gate 18 by Amy Matayo

Supermodel Rory Gray just wants to go home. After wrapping up a three-day high-fashion photo shoot overseas, she’s exhausted and ready for the holiday. A holiday that involves Hollywood parties, air-kissing the industry elite, and a whole lot of fakeness…but whatever. Once she gets through that torture, she’ll head to her beloved Seattle and the life of anonymity she misses so much. In less than twenty-four hours, she’ll be there.

Colt Ross has spent the past six months detaching himself from the Hollywood world he grew up in, and home is the last place he wants to be. But he’s been called back by his overbearing father for reasons he can only imagine. Likely reasons that involve taking over the family corporation or fund raising among Hollywood elite—something Colt has no interest in being part of. Not that he has a choice; when you’re the son of an industry executive, rubbing elbows comes with the territory. In less than twenty-four hours he’ll be home. After all this time away, home no longer appeals to him. Especially not at Christmas. Leave it to his father to ruin a holiday.

But when a late-season hurricane grounds both of their flights in the Dominican Republic, Rory and Colt find themselves stuck at the airport far longer than anticipated. As weather conditions worsen, they both begin to realize that this Christmas will be spent with strangers packed inside a single airport terminal—specifically at gate 18.

Rory and Colt are faced with a choice: band together in their misery or make this Christmas one they will never forget. For two people who aren’t real fond of the holiday, this Christmas might turn out to be the best they’ve ever had.

Available now ~ **Clean read**


The Esther Paradigm

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?

Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance.

Available now


Making Spirits Bright

Making Spirits Bright: Christmas Lights Collection 2017 by Chautona Havig, April Hayman, Toni Shiloh, & Cathe Swanson

The Christmas Lights Collection returns with four new, never-before-released novellas in Making Spirits Bright! From romance to cozy mystery, this collection features contemporary novellas sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Merri’s Christmas Mission by Chautona Havig

Merri Zeiger is on a mission–create a fabulous Christmas for her three children on a dime. Well, that is if she can spare one. After six months of unemployment, her benefits have run out and so has her Christmas fund.

But when she meets her rival in a giveaway for a pool table, things start to look a bit brighter.

“Barney” Barnett isn’t supposed to have to do fundraising for The Mission, but until they replace the last guy, he’s stuck on a daily trek to enter a giveaway for a pool table. Meeting Merri and hearing her story gives him a solution to both of their problems. Merri’s Christmas Mission–one woman’s quest to conquer Christmas.

Lead a Merry Dance by April Hayman

FBI Agent Trip Devereaux’ s time has run out: take his new wife, Libby, on a honeymoon (finally) or find out what it’s like to live in the dog house. His solution? A Christmas Carribean cruise! But when a jewelry thief strikes and Libby is – literally – left holding the bag, Trip’s vacation is put on hold so he can prove his wife’s innocence. Can he find the real thief in time? Or will their first shore excursion be a one-way trip to jail for Libby?

A Sidelined Christmas by Toni Shiloh

Sidelined with a career-ending injury, wide receiver Jahleel Walker is forced to return to his hometown of Peachwood Bay, Georgia to heal. Nothing shocks him more than running into his high-school sweetheart, Lucille “Bebe” Gordon.

Bebe Gordon returned to Peachwood Bay three years ago with a divorce certificate and her daughter, Hope. When Jahleel returns, all the memories of the past come rushing back. She can’t decide if he’s changed or if her heart is holding onto past hurts.

Will Jahleel and Bebe take a chance on love or let life sideline them at Christmas?

Hope for the Holidays by Cathe Swanson

Newly arrived from her home in the Congo and armed with a brand-new degree in nonprofit management, Carrie Strough is eager to organize and improve the Unity Plenkiss Community Center. Unfortunately, no one wants to be organized, and only Micah Neresen, the charming and handsome pastor of the local church, is interested in her plans. Or is he just interested in Carrie?
With a cast of lively and eccentric characters including a homeless vet with PTSD, a con man, an elderly couple with an over-the-top Christmas display, a feisty committeewoman with a past of her own, and a police investigation, Micah and Carrie wonder if there is any hope for the holidays this year!

Available now


O Christmas Bree

O Christmas Bree by Erynn Mangum

Bree Sanderson is the third generation owner of a Christmas Tree Farm and she could not love it more. With sales soaring and the Farm’s fame spreading, the Sandersons’ are already stretched tight for employees. When Bree’s dad gets sick right in the middle of the busy season, Bree is forced to hire a new Santa, who turns out to be a very nice, very cute, very single guy.

Is God finally bringing someone to the Farm that could potentially meet Bree under the mistletoe? Or is this Christmas going to bring something even more unexpected?

November 2017



One Enchanted Noel by Melissa Tagg

Enchanted Christmas #3

Secrets, Sparks and Second Chances…a Heartwarming Holiday Romance

Seb Pierce isn’t exactly a cowboy, but after fifteen years on a ranch in Texas, he might as well be. And he’d do just about anything to keep the rancher who took him in so many years ago from losing his land…including returning to the wealthy roots he’s long since abandoned. Seb agrees to work for his stern grandfather for one year in return for an early draw on his inheritance. But he never expected the agreement to land him in a quirky small town in Iowa at Christmas-time, renovating a dilapidated theater…and running into a woman he never thought he’d see again. She might not remember him, but he remembers her.

After too many years away from her hometown—and too many failures to count—Leigh Renwycke is finally back in Maple Valley and living the stable life she used to wish for. If only she could shake the old restlessness that used to get her into trouble. When Seb Pierce waltzes into her world and begs for her help planning the theater’s holiday reopening, it could be the solution to her discontent. If she pulls it off, it might be enough to jumpstart a new career…and to prove once and for all that the new-and-improved Leigh is here to stay.

But between old secrets and new sparks, restoring a town treasure in time for Christmas may not be as easy as it seems…especially once Leigh learns the truth about Seb.

November 2017



Enchanted: A Christmas Collection by Melissa Tagg

A Collection of Heartwarming, Small-Town Holiday Romances

One Enchanted Christmas

Last December, author Maren Grant went on a magical date with her book’s cover model–Colin Renwycke. Fast forward one year. With a looming deadline, Maren is desperate to recapture her creative spark. Then she remembers Colin’s invitation to visit his family’s Iowa farm…

Drew Renwycke never planned to move home and take over the farm. But he’s spent too many years watching his siblings unravel–including Colin. When Maren lands on his doorstep, he realizes she may be the key to coaxing his brother home.

(originally published as a standalone in 2015)

One Enchanted Eve

As a Denver Culinary Institute student, Colin Renwyke is out to embark on a new career as a pastry chef. But despite his skills in the kitchen, he’s a mess in the classroom and his ongoing disasters are proving too much for his prickly instructor. If he loses his spot at the school, he’s out of backup plans.

Culinary school instructor Rylan Jefferson has the chance to reclaim her dream of running her own bakery. But she only has until Christmas Eve to come up with the perfect recipe to impress an eccentric investor. She has no time for holiday parties or family plans . . . and especially not for her unruliest student baker.

But Colin has the one ingredient Rylan needs most–talent. Lots of it. And when he makes a proposal that just might solve both their problems, Rylan can’t say no.

(originally published as a standalone in 2016)

One Enchanted Noel

When Seb Pierce agreed to work for his wealthy grandfather for one year–in return for an early draw on his inheritance–he never expected the agreement to land him in a quirky small town in Iowa at Christmas-time, renovating a dilapidated theater…and running into a woman he never thought he’d see again.

Although she’s finally settled in her hometown, Leigh Renwycke can’t shake the familiar restlessness that used to get her into trouble. When Seb Pierce waltzes into her world and begs for her help planning the theater’s holiday reopening, it might be enough to jumpstart a new career…and to prove once and for all that the new-and-improved Leigh is here to stay. Until old secrets and new sparks get in the way…

November 2017


For Love of Liberty

For Love of Liberty by Julie Lessman

Silver Lining Ranch Prequel

A Match Made in Heaven?
Or Someplace a Whole Lot Warmer?

She’s stubborn, educated, and looking to give women the vote.

He’s bullheaded, successful, and looking to give her a piece of his mind.

But when things heat up, they just may give each other a piece of their hearts.

November 2017


Guilt by Association

Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert

Book 3 in the Award-Winning Murder in the Mountains series

Tess Spencer hadn’t planned on returning to her hometown, but when her ex-prisoner mom puts in a special request, Tess overcomes her hesitance to help her turn over a new leaf.

Pearletta Vee’s drug-dealing past is resurrected when the body of an overdosed teen shows up—right next to her trailer. Tess decides to stick around and investigate, yet the evidence is stacked against Pearletta. Tess suspects a setup—but why?

Never one to back down from a challenge, Tess takes on a wayward teen, an abusive grandma, and more than one drug dealer in her quest for the truth. But it’s going to take a miracle to keep her from becoming a casualty in her own personal war on drugs.

Plunging into the shadowy reality of the drug epidemic in West Virginia, Guilt by Association is the third book in the award-winning Murder in the Mountains mystery series.

December 2017


Hidden Currents

Hidden Currents by Christy Barritt

Lantern Beach Mysteries #1

A notorious gang puts a bounty on Detective Piper Livingston’s head after she takes down their leader, leaving her no choice but to hide until she can testify and put the man away for good. But going all the way across the country to the secluded Lantern Beach, NC isn’t as peaceful as she initially thinks. Piper finds it hard to put her investigative skills behind her, especially when a body washes ashore. When local law enforcement bungle the investigation, she can’t help but step in. The problem is that Piper is supposed to be keeping a low profile. One wrong move and her enemies might not only find her, but end her.

Will her body be the next one washing ashore?

February 2018


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36 Responses to Indie Cover Art Reveal: Coming late 2017/early 2018

  1. Honestly – Melissa Tagg’s covers are my favourites. They’re just super cute and festive. I like Erynn Mangum’s too 😉 They make me feel sentimental: they look similar the covers of the Christmas books I used to make as a kid with my class (we had an awesome teacher, hahah).

    Otherwise, I’m not really awed by these covers – which is a little bit disappointing (though The Esther Paradigm IS SO GOOD! Finished it a couple days ago).

    • Bee » So love hearing your thoughts, Bee – thank you for taking the time to share. I agree with your on Sarah’s novel, now if only I can find the time to read the rest of it!

  2. REL!!!

    Thank you SOOO much for including For Love of Liberty in your indie cover reveal — MUCH appreciated, my sweet friend!

    Want to let your readers know that it releases on November 24th and is on pre-order sale at 25% off until then, so now’s the time to check it out if they plan to. Here’s the link:


    LOVE the list of books you included. SOOOO many good books, soooooo little time!!

    Hugs and more hugs!

    • Hey Julie,
      I have to ask. Are there going to be traditional paperback versions of this series available too? I am so excited you are writing more historicals!

      • AARON!!! How the heck are you, my friend? Haven’t seen you for years!!

        Trust me, I’m excited to write more historicals, too, although I had such a great time writing my contemporary Isle of Hope series that I want to write a sweet secular soon as well. :) But I do plan to pitch an O’Connor cousins series during WWII beginning with Gabe, Henry, and Hope, on down through the family, one trilogy per O’Connor couple, so we shall see. :)

        In answer to your question, YES, I will have paperback copies of the actual series, books 1,2, & 3, but I never do them for prequel novellas, which Love of Liberty was originally supposed to be. But I got carried away (uh, what’s new for a gal who writes 520-page novels???), so now it’s a 250-page novel, which let’s face it — is like a novella for me! 😉 And if Liberty does well in e-book, I may bring it out in paperback also. :)

        Aaron, thanks SO much for reading my books — that is truly a compliment coming from a highly respected peer!


        • So good to hear from you, and yes it has been a long time, too long! I have become more and more involved in my work at Belhaven University, which I am loving, which leaves little time for other things right now. Well just an idea: try packaging some of your novellas in one volume. Revell might even package the three together that go with the O’Connor and San Francisco series. If not, you might want to do it as a Christmas collection yourself and then do a paperback of the collection. You could package your other Western novella with this title and make a book, too. Just suggestions, but while I do enjoy an e-read from time to time, I still love having titles from my favorite authors sitting on shelves in my library!

        • Oh, and it would be FANTASTIC to have more O’Connor stories!

    • Julie Lessman » Always delighted to include your stories on my blog, Julie. Love the way you have transitioned from traditional to indie and I’m thrilled to see your success :)

  3. Thank you for including The Esther Paradigm…and for taking a chance on the story inside. :)

  4. Thanks for including Making Spirits Bright in this collection of excellent books! There are some of my favorite authors here!
    Cathe Swanson

  5. Thanks so much for including Guilt by Association, Rel! And I think the book blurbs for Making Spirits Bright are so intriguing! I also love the blurb/cover for Sarah Monzon’s book and I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. A winning group! :)

  6. I have been a fan of Heather Gilbert’s since her first book andI have been eagerly awaiting this next novel in her series. And Melissa Tagg is a favorite as well. I love her covers, all of them. These Christmas ones are so cozy.

  7. Love Melissa Tagg and Heather Day Gilbert’s covers! Melissa’s are just gorgeous and magical. And I love how Guilt by Association matches up with the previous two covers in the series.

  8. Hey Rel,
    There are several of these I absolutely love! I am sure you guessed my favorite: it is definitely Julie’s! I am so over the moon for this cover! I love everything about it, especially the touch of the flag in the sky associated with “Liberty.” I also love the wooden buildings for the Western town, including the church. I think they look very authentic. Great job, Julie! And yeah, more historicals! I agree with you about the position of the model, but I love Christy Barritt’s new cover! It reminds me of a Nancy Drew book cover. Melissa Tagg’s Christmas covers are beautiful! The individual title fits so well with the blue and white look of the others in the series, and I love the effect of the lights on the snow on the compilation cover! Amy Matayo’s cover is fantastic, too! The simplicity does work so well, as do the cut-out of the tree, which looks like a Christmas card, and the fonts. I like Erynn Mangum’s ok. The overall effect is wonderful, and I love the touch of the heart on top of the tree. However, I do not like the font for “Bree” and the author’s name. I had to look at the typed title below the cover to make sure what the word “Bree” was. I like the look for the Christmas set, but since it is call “Christmas Lights” I would have added a touch of some lights. Overall, I like the look of “The Esther Paradigm” very much. It reminds me of a picture you get from a studio in a cardboard “frame.” I will say that the colors and the bride do not really portray the serious subject matter outlined in the synopsis. I really like the cover of Heather Gilbert’s newest mystery. The colors are so pretty and the rain effect is good. However, it looks so much like a women’s fiction novel dealing with loss of some sort to me, not a murder mystery. But I do like it as a cover. Thanks so much for sharing these, Rel. So many indie books are really “hitting it out of the park” when it comes to covers now!

    • Hi Aaron, I find it interesting that you thought Guilt by Association looked like women’s fiction because this series has strong women’s fiction elements (married protagonist, lots of family and in-law relationships, etc). So I always DO think of it as a traditional mystery (like Louise Penny’s) with women’s fiction elements. Thanks for your thoughts on the covers and you actually nailed what I was going for with this series! :)

    • Aw, Aaron, THANK YOU for your kind comment, especially since I basically designed the cover, telling the artist what I wanted. She did a really wonderful job, though, nailing it to the wall of what I was thinking. :) It actually is a 4th of July of story, so the “Liberty” theme fits in more ways than one, including spiritually. :)

      Hugs and more hugs,

    • Aaron McCarver » Many, many Aaron thoughts, as usual! I knew Julie’s was right in your wheelhouse :)

  9. Wow these all look great. There goes my TBR pile! Especially looking forward to…oh, I can’t decide so all of them. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Awww yay, thanks for including my Christmas covers, Rel. I am IN LOVE with both of them. I can’t help but give a shout-out to the artists: One Enchanted Noel was designed by Matt Jones at Jones House Creative and the Enchanted collection cover was designed by Hillary Lodge at Hillary Manton Lodge Design. In both cases, the artists took my jumble of rambling hopes for the covers and turned them into beautiful pieces of artwork that perfectly capture the stories inside. That is the amazing thing to me about graphic artists…how they can take someone else’s half-formed vision and turn it into something beautiful! I’m so grateful to both of them!

    So many other wonderful books to look forward to, too. I just need more reading time!

  11. Thanks so much for including Making Spirits Bright. I’ve read Sarah’s and adore the book as well as the cover. I’ll have to check out everyone else’s.

  12. I love the muted raindrops on Heather Gilbert’s cover; they hint of mystery and danger. I want to instantly pick up the book and dive into its secrets. Making Spirits Bright makes me happy just looking at the boxed set. The Esther Paradigm—I like the border, but feel that Esther could have been attired in a more interesting gown. The models on the covers of Julie Lesson’s and Christy Barritt’s books overpowered the backgrounds, which are so eye-catching, esp the lighthouse.

  13. What a beautiful selection of good reads for this coming winter, and the covers are fabulous! They’re so inviting it’ll be difficult which books to pick up and read. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Love the covers! I absolutely LOVE Melissa Tagg’s book covers and Heather Day Gilbert’s book cover for their vibrant colors and simple/great lines. I love the model on Julie Lessman’s cover! Can’t wait for these books!

  15. I’ve already pre-ordered several of these, and am interested in the others. I love the book covers! Looking forward to reading these.

  16. Melissa Tagg’s covers are MAGICAL! I adore Julie Lessman’s cover!

    REL, thank you for sharing these amazing authors!

  17. I love the look of Melissa’s! Both the novella and the collection – I like how she kept a similar vibe on the collection but lightened it up overall to distinguish it a bit.

    I’m also love the beautiful simplicity of Heather’s. I like that all of the covers match thematically but have different colors and floral focus.

    Sarah’s catches my eye, too – I love the colors and the pretty border.

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