Cover Award: July 2015, InD’tale Magazine names The Kaleidoscope the winning cover of its Creme de la Creme monthly contest. Recently I blogged the process, from conception to final product and how each element describes the story within. Here’s a link to their full review.
“Harold Donaldson is brilliant with computers and at a complete loss as to how to deal with people. Separated from his wife, he decides to prove to her that he is not the boring, unambitious man she thinks he is. In his attempt to be promoted at work, he starts interacting with those around him by following a step-by-step guide that somehow results in him becoming the custodian of a beautiful kaleidoscope. It changes his life in a way he never expected: the kaleidoscope is no ordinary toy. It can allow the user to catch a glimpse of their future, and soon Harold’s simple attempt at a promotion stirs up an old conspiracy involving his father and sends him on a journey of self-discovery that will change everything.
A rare combination of philosophical, mystery and thriller, with “The Kaleidoscope” author B.K. Nault has created some of the best character growth this reader has seen in a long time. Harold is disconnected from people, unable to understand them or be understood because of his family and his past tragedies, and yet by the end of the novel he goes from flat and boring to deep, friendly, loveable, and interesting. The mystery that unravels around the Kaleidoscope is well written and unravels in a way that leaves the reader both thinking and guessing. The bit of romance Harold finds as well, will make the reader smile and cheer at the end. “The Kaleidoscope” should be on every reader’s must-read list!”
Sarah E. Bradley
Update! The Kaleidoscope was just named the winner of InD’Tale Magazine’s Creme de la Creme cover contest!
Many of you have asked about the design of The Kaleidoscope‘s cover, which is getting a lot of attention because it’s so pretty. It actually came out better than I’d ever imagined. Here’s a fun step-by-step look at how award winning cover artist Diana Carlile of Wild Rose Press and I approached it. Here are some before and after pictures.
First, let’s look at the after and then I’ll break it down.
Description: The elements on the cover evoke the storylines that weave throughout this suspense thriller full of intrigue and mystery. The graphic of the Los Angeles skyline including Hollywood, downtown, and iconic palms reflect the setting. The tree of life represents a crucial spot where many of the story’s pivotal moments take place, including the turnover of the kaleidoscope to the hero who must discover what gives it power. The jewel-toned backdrop are the colors seen by anyone brave enough to look into the ‘scope. The title’s whimsical font hints at the light-hearted tone despite dark moments, and the teaser line entices the reader to step inside for a page turning suspenseful romance full of old fashioned good vs evil adventure.
The Tree of Life
We searched through tons of pictures of trees, and once you read the book you’ll know why the tree is SO important. Here’s the one we chose.
I wanted to suggest Los Angeles because most of the story takes place there. This graphic is not too overpowering and you have to really look, but once you do, you realize why it’s also important to the story…hint hint!
Finally, the background. This probably gave me more trouble than the other elements. Sometimes pictures are too “on the nose” and as the colors were important and the suggestion of what you’d see inside a ‘scope change, it wasn’t as important what shape they were in, because your mind can arrange them in your imagination. But it was important to suggest the colors and changeability. Is that a word?
We played around with putting the purple at the bottom, but the yellow gave the illusion of a sun rising behind the skyline so we settled on this orientation.
One more element completed the look. When you don’t have people on the cover, I believe it’s important it’s not dull, so we added a star burst effect using this graphic to draw the eye and add some energy.
And then Diana brought the yellow “bleed” from the stained glass image into the text. It’s subtle, but draws the eye down to the title. She chose the whimsical font, which at first seemed a little steampunk to me, but really grew on me. Since the tone of the story is a bit lighthearted, it really works and now I love it.
I hope you liked this look at how the sausage is made and I really hope you’ll take a look into The Kaleidoscope for yourself!
Click here to read a Sample of The Kaleidoscope
UPDATE: July, 2015 The Kaleidoscope‘s cover won the InD’Tale Magazine Creme de la Creme Cover contest!
I’m visiting with fellow author Nikki Andrewsover at Scrivener’s River, stop in and say hello! We’re talking about writing and what it’s like living in an RV full time. You know you want to look.
Here’s a sneak peek at a 5 Star Review soon to be made public over at Reader’s Favorite!
Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite (link will be provided when the review is made public)
The Kaleidoscope is a work of suspense and intrigue by author BK Nault. Mixing genres between speculative and science fiction, the plot centers on the kaleidoscope of the book’s title, a powerful device which is able to produce life-altering visions of the future when any human being looks through it. Whilst the device itself seems to be an exciting new form of enlightenment, it is inevitable that there will be certain parties in the world who’d like to use it to achieve their own sinister ends. This is where our anti-hero, the hermit-like Harold Donaldson, realises that in order to save the human race, he might actually have to truly become part of it for the first time in his life.
Multi-genre fiction has always been a favourite of mine to review, and BK Nault did not disappoint me with this excellent feat of storytelling. Social ineptness, wariness about the future, and the most basic of human fears underlie every delicately crafted element of The Kaleidoscope’s plot, turning what could have been a rather interesting sci-fi story into a richly human and character-driven novel. Nault’s prose is full of vivid description and delightful wordplay, and her formation of an unlikely hero in Harold Donaldson is witty, bittersweet, and thoroughly endearing. I feel that even readers who dislike speculative fiction will be hard-pressed not to enjoy the realism and credibility of this tale. Overall, I’d highly recommend The Kaleidoscope to readers who are looking for a unique and highly accomplished new read.
Here’s a scene featuring Walter:
One more piece of the puzzle, and the technology anticipated, even feared, would be born. If he’d calculated correctly, and Walter was meticulous about calculations, the day’s mail should contain the gem he’d saved and scraped for. Every tip, handout, or penny literally scraped from the gutter had gone into a jar, and last week he’d exchanged the sum for a cashier’s check and placed the order. If this final trial didn’t work, he’d lose everything he’d slaved over. His ideas were running out, his home was about to be razed, and what made the urgency even more crucial, he sensed “they” were about to discover his hiding place.
Flipping the wall calendar over his workbench, Walter circled a date two weeks hence. That would give him sufficient time to install the final part, to test, and make note of his achievement. Perhaps even enjoy it himself before he turned it over to the one who would carry it to the world, who could safely deliver the technology where it would do the most good. It was time to plan the handoff.
The sun’s rays pouring from a high window warmed and loosened Walter’s back muscles. The glint on the shaft of metal, as thick as a Cuban cigar, the length of a number two pencil, gave him more than a few moments of pride he’d not felt since the birth of his long-lost son.
He held the eyepiece up and sighted, spinning the dial. It caught and stuck in place. He wrapped it once again in the cloth, gently rested the device between the jaws of the vise and slowly cranked it shut, stopping at precisely the point where the Kaleidoscope would be held firmly in place, but not harmed by the firm grip. He filed and sprayed, working over the delicate prize until the dial spun like butter and the magnificent colors fell into place.
And…scene. What is he up to? Is he crazy? Genius? Dangerous?
Wild Rose Press/Crimson is pleased to announce the release of
Here’s a sneak peek:
Harold turned over the Kaleidoscope, inspecting the precision detailing and excellent workmanship. Whoever had crafted it had an eye for beauty, a talent for working with metal and glass. He sighted down the shaft, admiring the tessellations of hues that fell into place. Then when he turned a dial, new images appeared. Green, gold, blue, teal and purple. It was stunning.
…Could an object have magical powers? Harold had to believe otherwise. Every bone and sinew fought against any other possibility. But already the mysterious device he turned over, that now warmed in his palm, had begun to change his life. Where did this mysterious object come from, and what made it tick? What did it want from him?
Buy your copy in paperback or e-reader now from Wild Rose Press/Crimson or Amazon and remember to tell your friends, and leave a kind remark on your favorite review sites Word of mouth helps an author tremendously.
About the cover art: The tree, the Los Angeles skyline, and the colors evoke a few of the themes from the storyline and their layout creates energy and life. This visual created by Diana Carlisle is stunning, and I believe even the font choices and tagline are perfect for what lies within.
It is finished. And just beginning.
Because one of the most common questions I’m asked is about process, just about two years ago when I started a new novel project, I also started a blog topic thread; Kaleidoscope-growing a novel. I shared what it was like along the way, describing the actual backstage work that goes into plotting, writing, revising, editing, proofing, pitching to publishers, editing again, covering, waiting…and now launching, a book.
What if advances in artificial intelligence, combined with mystical elements found in the earth, could produce inexplicable images of the future? Harold Donaldson unwillingly becomes the custodian of a beautiful, handcrafted kaleidoscope that changes the viewer’s future and becomes the focus of evil operatives intent on capturing the kaleidoscope for nefarious purposes.
It’s been a fun, hard, challenging, tedious, rewarding, patience-building process to this point.
The inspiration ‘scope, which actually belongs to my sister, and is handmade (but not magical that I know of…unless you count being the inspiration for a novel.) The one in the book is small enough to fit in Harold’s pocket.
Now it’s time to sit back and relax. Not. Now I move into promotion, advertising, blog visiting, forum chats, tweeting, Pinteresting and pitching to readers. I wonder if there is a magical device for that?
Would I do it again? Yup. Already started on the next project.
What keeps me going? Seeing the final product is very rewarding.
But hearing from readers…that’s the ultimate. Here’s an early review:
“I love how the novel hits different chords; being at times inspirational, metaphysical and scientifically speculative even while following a thriller-like narrative. Beverly Nault managed to create an adventure with characters I actually cared for.
The most memorable parts of the novel are the ones which show how looking into the kaleidoscope changed the characters’ lives. Everyone has some secret fear that holds them back from fully enjoying all that life has to offer. As the characters faced their own fears during the course of their adventures, I found myself stymied that I was feeling hope and inspiration while reading an adventure/science fiction/thriller novel.
It takes a certain kind of talent to write a novel that contains different aspects from different genres while still maintaining a coherent narrative. Beverly Nault has skillfully created a journey that can suck in readers from various backgrounds and leave them pondering questions the book raises about life, meaning and relationships hours after they’ve finished reading the novel.”
~Eduardo Aduna, Readers’ Favorite
I hope you like Harold and following along on his journey. It’s been terrific fun getting him this far. Here are a few paragraphs for you to sample until it’s formally released:
Ruddy complexions were like skywriting, a girl in high school had told him once. The message may appear slowly, but everyone can see it for miles around and remember it for days. “I have to get back to work.” He gathered up his trash and headed for the can. When he turned around, Pepper was standing close, nose to his chin. “Tell Glenda hello.” Before he could go, she grabbed his arm.
“Harry, I really mean it. I am glad I saw…what I saw. Where did you get it again? Could I get one like it, or is that a one-of-a-kind thing?”
He told her about the encounter in the park with the homeless man. “It’s a mystery why he picked me.” He pictured the day of the handoff, the police hurrying the old guy away before he could explain himself. The police responding to his own complaint about the vagrants camping out. She was the first person he shared this with.
“You have been given much responsibility in many areas.” With that, she stood on tiptoe and pecked him on the cheek. “You have been given a gift. Thank you for sharing your magical looking-piece with me.”
“Um. You’re welcome. And thanks.” He demurred, dropping his hand from her grip. “But I don’t believe in magic.”
“A man of science and numbers, I get it.” She tipped her head sideways, considering him. “The mysteries of the universe reveal more than we see with our eyes or hear with our ears. If we slow down and really absorb what it’s trying to teach us, we might be surprised and delighted.” She poked a slender finger at his chest. “I choose to keep my mind open to the possibilities. What about you, Harry?”
Now the next stage of life begins for the book. Finding its place in readers’ hearts.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on The Kaleidoscope‘s progress, so here’s a quick update. My amazing, thorough, talented and patient editor at Wild Rose Press/Crimson Rose (Suspense) and I have been hard at work polishing and adding sparkle to the final manuscript, and we’re thrilled that it’s headed to galleys! (Notice the clever usage of publishing lingo.)
And now the housekeeping portion of the journey begins. Ad copy, back cover blurbs and tweetable quotes must be massaged and tweaked so the book’s represented in its very best light. (See what I did there?…light…kaleidoscope…)
I’ll soon begin working with an artist who will consider my ideas, we’ll discuss the image, graphic design and layout to make sure the cover is inviting and representative of the story inside.
Of course I’m enjoying these steps (and giving my noggin a rest because writing is hard, y’all), but I’m most excited for you to read the story of Harold Donaldson and his unusual journey of self discovery with a colorful and crazy group of friends brought together by the magical, beautifully hand-made kaleidoscope.
Here’s a short bit from the manuscript to give you a glimpse of what’s in store:“Rhashan paused, hand on the divider next to Harold’s desk. “Say, wot’s this?” Harold chided himself for setting the Kaleidoscope in full view as Rhashan picked it up. “Mind if I look?” Rhashan emitted a low whistle as he spun the dial and then froze, his breath rushing between the gap in his teeth. Slowly, he lowered the ’scope and laid it on the desk like a fragile vial of nitro. “Where you git such a t’ing?” He backed up into the mail cart, catching it as it tipped, spilling the contents. “It’s just something I’m keeping for a… friend.” Rhashan’s complexion swirled from espresso to latte, his focus on the drawer where Harold dropped the Kaleidoscope and closed it out of sight. “Are you all right? Here, sit.” Harold realized the man wasn’t going to allow him to maneuver him any closer because of whatever evil he perceived lurked in the drawer, so he rolled the chair behind him and pushed down on his shoulders. “Mr. Harold, I wouldn’t have figured you for someone who played wid other people’s mind.” Colorful beads strung along his dreads clicked together as his head shook side to side. “But whatever you’re trying to do wid that t’ing, you’re dabbling in something you shouldn’t.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Harold was getting a little impatient with all this talk of warnings and being careful. “It’s just a toy.” Perhaps Rhashan didn’t understand how the glass slid around to vary the images and so he removed it from the drawer and started to explain the mechanics. “Oh no, it’s more than dat.” Rhashan stood, banging the chair against the wall. “Tell me what you see inside.” To prove a point, Harold put it up to his eye. “I see colors and shapes that change when you—” “Oh, no mon!” Rhashan leaned away when Harold held it out to him. The metal had warmed, and something shivered from within. “What do you think you saw?” “I see myself.” Stay tuned for more updates including the cover art selection for The Kaleidoscope! Bev out.
About two years ago I began a journey with a manuscript I started calling “The Kaleidoscope.” I was visiting a friend, Karla Ramsey, in Texas, and as we drove the sprawling highways of Houston, I shared some of my early kernels with her. We brainstormed and what-if’d until we arrived home with character ideas for a wacky, self absorbed computer genius who finds a magical ‘scope that turns his world upside down.
When I started the actual writing, I decided to post the journey here because so often readers hear of a book’s birth and ask about the process of writing and rewriting, editing and pitching. In earlier posts, I shared my first ideas and thoughts about the plot, story and development. I wrote, rewrote, took samples to my critique group, sought first readers’ feedback, thanks Jesse!… and hired the accomplished and savvy T Greenwood to assist me preparing it for submission.
I read in the genre, studied craft books and revisited technique.
TK is a departure from the cozy women’s fiction I’ve written before, I challenged myself to stretch and grow, and all these people helped. It takes a village, y’all! Of course every author hopes to see their manuscript grow up to become a book…
So it gives me great pleasure to announce that The Kaleidoscope has found a home! I’ve just this week signed a contract with Wild Rose Press! TK will grow and bloom in their Crimson Rose, Mystery and Suspense division!
High concept with car chases, road trips to Yosemite, humor and some hankie moments, there’s something for everybody in “The Kaleidoscope.”
What’s next? MORE editing, this time with my WR/CR editor, as well as lots of pre-marketing, cover discussions, and details I don’t even know about yet, so we’ll learn together.
Still too early to predict a release date, here’s a quick summary of the story:
In the vein of National Treasure, “The Kaleidoscope” asks the question; what if advances in artificial intelligence, together with mystical properties found in the earth’s elements, produced unexplainable images of the viewer’s future?
Harold Donaldson, a know-it-all computer analyst, unwillingly becomes the guardian of a magical kaleidoscope that reveals glimpses into the viewers’ future. When Harold’s boss tells him his interpersonal skills need improving for consideration for a promotion, he stalks a homeless man to prove his philanthropy, and ends up the custodian of a beautiful, handcrafted kaleidoscope. The ‘scope immediately attracts a circle of colorful characters, including Rhashan, a Rastafarian who teaches Harold to look beyond stereotypes, to Pepper Eubanks, a free-spirited neighbor recovering from breast cancer who inspires Harold to face his troubled past and embrace the future. Then when Harold’s best friend, Morrie Guthrie, views a long-lost cousin’s image, Harold becomes the focus of a ring of corporate spies intent on capturing the kaleidoscope and using the remarkable technology for their evil purposes.
Stay tuned and I’ll continue to blog the process to publication!
Here’s a Pinterest board for TK for those of you who appreciate the visual.
And make note of its very own hashtag – #thekaleidoscope to follow the epic journey.