Books, fiction, publishing, writing

Candles in the Dark Cover Reveal

All kinds of exciting things happening at StarDance Press this summer … new logo, new projects … new book covers! Today I get to reveal the cover for my mystery novella, Candles in the Dark.

Pauline Gray, journalist and secret novelist, discovers anonymous letters are being sent to a young widow, insinuating that her husband did not die by accident. Pauline’s compassion and journalistic instincts combine to help her to seek an answer to who is sending these letters, and why. Was Bob Ferris really murdered, and if so, by whom? Before long, Pauline is stirring up secrets some people would remain buried along with the dead. Despite the danger, Pauline won’t stop until she has shone a light into the hidden places of the past and seen justice done for the grieving widow and her son. Even if it costs her everything …

Candles in the Dark is not necessarily a cozy mystery–it doesn’t have a quirk or a particular theme to carry each book along. It is closer to a cozy mystery than most other mystery sub-genres, however: no emphasis on gore or grimness, no “adult situations,” no spending any time in the killer’s twisted mind. It is, like many cozies, set in a small town, with an amateur detective, and if this turns into a series rather than a one-off, I hope many of the characters will be recurring.

In coming up with a cover for it, I wanted something to reflect the nature of the detective (a writer), the feel of the mystery (not too creepy but not exactly chipper either), and the idea behind the title (shining light into dark places). THIS is the end result:


I’m so pleased with it! I’m using “Louise Bates” as the byline for this one to help distinguish it from my speculative fiction, which is always published under E.L. Bates.

I still don’t have an official release date–the end of June is the best I can do right now–but once I know for certain, I will put that information on the site as well. I’m so excited to share this new venture with all of you!


New Series Logo!

You might have noticed a change up on top of this website–thanks to my fantastic cover designer Amanda McCrina (side note: you should all go buy her book), I finally have a logo for the Whitney & Davies series!


I wanted something that conveyed both “1920s detective story” and “magic,” and I think this logo definitely does that.

The starburst, or lux fiat spell, if you’ve read Magic Most Deadly, is the first spell Maia masters:

“There is light even in the darkest night,” [Len] said with a laugh. “That sounds like a proverb, but I mean it literally. I felt where the strands of light were, and pulled a few together to make this–which is, by the way, a very useful sort of spell, as you can imagine.

“Imagine drawing bits of pieces of that light to yourself, wrapping it up into a small ball you can hold in your hand. When you are ready, focus everything you have on bringing that ball into existence while using the Latin phrase for ‘let there be light’.”

Maia did so. “Lux fiat!”

Lennox laughed in pure astonished joy, and she opened her eyes.

A silver ball larger than her head hovered above them, illuminating the entire grove with its gleam. Hanging like a miniature moon, it showed plainly the wonder and pride on Maia’s face.

Magic Most Deadly, pg 298-300

That scene is one of the most important in the entire book, and is remembered in an unusual way in the upcoming book-which-I-will-tell-you-more-about-soon … but I won’t tell you how the spell is remembered, I don’t want to spoil it for you! Without me necessarily intending it, the lux fiat spell has become a bit of a trademark of the stories, and so it seemed fitting it should become the symbol for the overall series.

The Whitney & Davies books have been hard to clarify from the start–are they fantasy with a mystery twist? Cozy mysteries with a magical twist? Straight-up Golden Age detective fiction against a backdrop of hidden magic? That last comes the closest to defining them, but boy is it a mouthful. I’ve finally started summarizing them as “Magic and mystery in 1920s England,” and I think this new logo does a wonderful job of conveying that information without me having to use words at all.

After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

So there it is, a new logo for a series which will continue with the next book soon … more information on that to come after Candles in the Dark is published!

Life Talk, seasons, writing

Farewell to May

After Carl’s graduation midway through May, the rest of the month was pretty low-key. We mostly spent the days recovering from all the graduation excitement and poking ever-so-slightly at the monster that is the logistics of our upcoming move.

Our biggest adventure after the graduation was Gracie’s eighth birthday. Eight! The kids are getting old enough to not want that much shared about them publicly (and I concur, frankly–the older they get the more fiercely I want to protect their privacy), so I won’t say too much about Gracie except that at eight, she loves art and animals, and when she grows up she wants to be an artist and own a zoo so that she can protect endangered animals and teach people how to respect them. She’s smart, funny, and an incredibly hard worker, and her favorite superhero is Supergirl.

To celebrate her birthday, we went to the zoo and saw, among other animals, the red pandas, her favorite animals (and found out that one of the pandas shares a name with her!).


The rest of the month was filled with little things: lots of rain, a friend sending books to Joy to help her manage her emotions about our upcoming move, swimming in the pond on one of our rare hot days, helping friends move out, celebrating births, trips to the library, and oh yes–I finally finished knitting Joy’s sweater I started a year and a half ago.


Writing-wise, May proved to be a good month for me, as I finally started writing down monthly goals and using that to keep track of what I was doing. Along with the mystery novella I’m planning to publish at the end of this month, I’ve managed to make progress on an upcoming short-story collection set in the Whitney & Davies world (two stories featuring brand-new characters, one story each for Maia and Len); I submitted a children’s book to several publishers, and I made (minimal) progress on editing the next W&D book.


Whew! On to June: ballet recital for the kids, visit from family, more writing, and more preparation for moving to Cambridge.