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August 22, 2007


Bill Crider

Love the cover. Is this a standalone?

Steve Hockensmith

Thanks, Bill! This is quite a departure from the colorful covers for HOLMES ON THE RANGE and ON THE WRONG TRACK, but I like it, too.

THE BLACK DOVE's the third Big Red/Old Red novel, by the way -- that's the guys in San Francisco on the cover. (Big Red's the one in the bowler. He's trying to "citify" his look, you see.) Interesting that there's no "An Old Red Amlingmeyer Mystery" or somesuch on there, ain't it? We'll see how that plays.

The cover for the WRONG TRACK paperback should be finished soon, and it's going to be in keeping with the look for DOVE -- stark'n'dark. The feeling at Minotaur was that the first two covers were "too YA." I really liked those covers, but I can see the point. Maybe there is such a thing as *too* splashy....


John Schramm

Way cool, Steve!

I don't get the "too YA" thing, but then, I'm not paid to come up with covers. For my taste, I liked the covers for 1 and 2. If that makes me more YA, maybe that's good.

I like this cover, too, though.

Anyhow, WAY COOL!

Matthew Szewczyk

Hmmm... not at all what I expected. Does the cover really represent the tone and story of the book? Guess we will find out...

Steve Hockensmith

Good questions, Matthew. In terms of the story, yup -- this hits it pretty well. Since the book's set in San Francisco, the fish-out-of-water thing plays a big role. What you probably couldn't guess from the cover, though, is that 90 percent of the story takes place in Chinatown. I think that element will get much bigger play on the back cover.

As for the tone, I think this is probably a better fit than the blazing colors of the first two covers. The book's darker than either HOLMES or TRACK (Though it's still funny! Trust me!), and the boys get an eye-opening (and at times stomach-turning) tour of the San Francisco underworld.

Having said all that, I recognize that there is a risk with such a big tone shift for the packaging. Whether it pays off...well, that's something *I'll* be waiting to find out....



Well speaking as a new fan of Old and big Red I like the cover and I have the date circled on my calendar so I can't wait for February to come.

Steve Hockensmith

Thanks for the feedback, Melody. And welcome aboard! The good ship Amlingmeyer can use all the paseengers it can get!


Steve Hockensmith

FYI, the cover image I posted is from a couple months back. Today I got my first bound galley for the book, and the cover's exactly the same -- except for the phrase "A HOLMES ON THE RANGE MYSTERY," which had been slipped in beneath my name.

So there you go! Now we don't have to worry about anyone thinking I've put out a standalone. It's gonna be a few years before I can finally get around to *that*....


Jennifer McKenzie

I can think of AT LEAST three people who may enjoy this.
Of course, my six year old leans towards "On The Wrong Track" but that's only because he is obsessed with Thomas The Tank Engine.
Bookmarking your blog.

Kent Schlawin

Just so the folks at Minotaur know, the only reason my head whipped around and I did a double-take at "Holmes on the Range" was soley because of the cover..."too YA" or not. And even though I'd never herd (get it...heard?...herd?) of Old Red, Big Red or Steve Hockensmith before, I dropped that small stack of Louis L'Amour and took a chance on the unknown. Thought I should pass that along so the hard-working graphic designer who gave it his/her best knows he/she did a good job. Great book inside the covers, by the way. I'll be looking for the next ones--no matter what the covers looks like.

Steve Hockensmith

Welcome aboard, Jennifer and Kent! And Jennifer's unnamed 6-year-old! Now I'm imagining ON THE WRONG TRACK if it *was* an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine. Ooooooo. There'd be a lot of traumatized kids out there.

And your comments on the original HOLMES cover are well taken, Kent. I think the splashy approach worked well for an unknown like me. Love it or hate it, it was hard to ignore!


Matthew Szewczyk

It's nice to see the Holmes on the Range reference, the name is a real eye catcher. At the end of the day, if the cover sells enough books to continue the series then I am alright with it. Looking forward to February!


It must be mine....

And, of course, our book club will have to read it!

Steve Hockensmith

I agree with you, Matthew -- better to have the HOLMES reference on the cover than not. And I'm thrilled to hear you'll be twisting more arms to make the new novel another book club pick, Lee! I don't see how they could say no, actually. After my phone chat with everyone, I feel like I'm practically a member of the club!


Jennifer McKenzie

*psssssst* I bought the first two. For my birthday.
I'm a baaaaaaaaad girl.
I'm trying not to think of the Dr. Suess and Thomas Videos I could have bought instead.

Steve Hockensmith

You bought the first two books? No, no, Jennifer -- you're not a baaaaaaaaad girl. You're a goooooooood consumer. Keep it up!

And don't worry about the kids. You can just regift them with HOLMES ON THE RANGE and ON THE WRONG TRACK when they outgrow Thomas in a few years.


Jennifer McKenzie

I don't think the "good consumer" argument is going to fly with the redneck husband. But I'll give a try.

Brett Battles

Love it! Definitely different, but I love the feel...though it does seem a little more hard edged and less humorous...still, I'm on board and CANNOT WAIT for Feb. 19th!!!

Steve Hockensmith

Thanks, Brett! For those of you who don't know, Brett's debut thriller THE CLEANER featured a kick-ass cover all its own. Check it out:


The book's already in its second priting after being out all of two months. Which is a testament to both a cool cover and, of course (and, as a writer, I like to think *more importantly*), a cool story.


Ann Parker

Love the cover, Steve! I'm looking forward to the boys' next big adventure.... I have to wait until February??? -- sigh -- I'll be counting the days...
-- Ann

Andrea Frost

I LOVE the cover of The Black Dove. I think it looks fantastic. I do wish it was coming out 5 days earlier - would make a great anniversary gift.

And just ordered Brett's book based on your recommendation.

Steve Hockensmith

Thanks for the thumbs up, Andrea! I think we can now officially proclaim that The People Have Spoken: The cover works. Let's just hope it *sells*!


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