Sally’s Cover Reveal!

Writing (and finishing) a manuscript is a big deal. And so is finding a publisher to get it out into the world for others to read. But once you’ve secured that contract, the next big question is, What will my cover look like?

Because as we all know, people do in fact judge books by their covers. It’s the first thing that makes someone pick up a book in a bookstore (or click that link on Amazon—where the cover will be the size of a postage stamp). Yes, they will next scan the blurb and maybe even the first page of the book before deciding whether or not to buy or read it. But it’s the cover that draws the initial attention.

So covers are important. Really important.

But if you’re a traditionally published author, chances are you’ll have little say over what your cover will look like. I was therefore thrilled that Severn House, the publisher of my forthcoming Sally Solari mystery, asked for my input before having their in-house artist start designing the cover for The Fragrance of Death.

“I’d like it to have the look of a traditional/cozy mystery,” I said, “but with a women’s lit feel. And bright colors.” And for continuity, I wanted it to have colors that go with the first four books in the series, which were published under a different imprint and thus have a different look from what this new mystery will have. Here’s the cover of the last book in my series:

The story in this new book revolves around an artichoke farm up the coast from Santa Cruz, so I also suggested having some artichokes on the cover, which would clue folks into the fact that it’s a culinary mystery. And because a cleaver with a bright red handle is discovered next to the murder victim, my Severn House editor suggested having that as well. “Good idea!” I agreed.

So I had high hopes as I waited for the final result. But still, you never know….

And then about a month later I finally received an email from my editor saying the cover was attached. With trepidation I opened the attachment to find….this:

I can’t tell you how much I love it! I love the colors (which carry on the blue and yellow motif of the earlier books). I love the Chick lit (yes, that upper case is intentional—ha!) feel. I love the cleaver and the artichokes. And I love the simple, bold design, which stands out even at the size of a postage stamp.

So thank you, Severn House! And I can’t wait for the book’s release this coming August!


Restaurateur Sally Solari has a nose for trouble, but when her sense of smell goes missing, it’s not just her career on the line . . . it’s her life.

Restaurateur Sally Solari is a champion, both in the kitchen and on the case, but after getting mixed up in one too many murders, she’s noticed her nonna’s friends have now taken to crossing themselves when they see her in the street. Adding to her woes, a sinus infection has knocked out her sense of smell, making cooking on the hot line difficult, indeed. Nevertheless, Sally is determined to stay out of trouble and focus on her work.

But then her old acquaintance Neil Lerici is murdered at the annual Santa Cruz Artichoke Cook-Off, and her powers of investigation are called into action once more. Could Neil have been killed by the local restaurant owner who took his winning spot at the competition? Or maybe by one of his siblings, who were desperate to sell the family farm to a real estate developer?

Sally plunges headfirst into the case, risking alienating everyone she knows—including the dapper Detective Vargas, who finds her sleuthing both infuriating and endearing. And soon it’s not only her restaurant and tentative new relationship that are on the line—it’s her life . . .

Releases Aug. 2, 2022. Available for pre-order now—click here!

31 thoughts on “Sally’s Cover Reveal!

  1. Fabulous cover! I like how it’s comic book colors, and then the flowers pop because they are different. And the font for your name is so cool!
    Ordering it now, and will bring it to malice for the famous autograph.
    Do you have a cute bookmark to go with it like your others? I love the recipes on them!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It doesn’t release till Aug., so I’m afraid I won’t be able to sign it at this coming Malice. But yes, I’ve made bookmarks with a recipe again, which I will most definitely bring to both Left Coast Crime and Malice!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Leslie, this cover is simply amazing–it would absolutely catch my eye immediately. And then, of course, I would be dazzled by the first page (and all the rest of them). Well done, you and Severn!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The cover looks great. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten hooked on the game Abandon all Artichokes recently, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to read this book since they feature so prominently in the plot. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s brilliant! Thanks for providing the previous cover for comparison. The new one is much less cluttered but clues us into the two BIG pieces of info: cleaver & avocados. Plus the clever looks like it’s about to take a whack at your name! But here’s the real deal. If it were a plain brown bookcover like we used to make from paper bags to cover our school books, I still would have bought it. That’s the strength of your reputation. Can’t wait for August.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love uncluttered book covers like your newest one. The fonts are also striking. Is there really a Santa Cruz Artichoke Cook-Off? My husband, an artichoke freak, would fly across the country if he got to taste the dishes.


  6. Dear Leslie,

    Congratulations on your next Sally Solari book publication this year and, yes, the cover is clear, colorful and enticing. (I love they mention it includes recipes). I’m sure the book will be as wonderful as your past books and look forward to you having a long and successful collaboration with Severn.


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