Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Lure of Shapinsay

What’s in a Cover?

It’s a no brainer that a book’s cover is equally as important as what’s on the inside of a book.  To illustrate my point, a few months ago, my nine-year-old was addicted to Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books.  She couldn’t get enough.  While shuffling through some of my old books, I scrounged up a hard cover of Ramona the Brave printed in 1975.  It had a bright orange cover and an outdated image of Ramona swinging on the cover.  You guessed it—my nine-year-old wanted no part, convinced that the content was an inferior knock off of her other pretty new books.

So how to make a cover that will “lure” the reader in.  I’m not a promotions expert and really don’t have a clue, but I’ll share how my cover came to be.  I wanted to set my book apart from the thousands of other paranormal romance books on the market.  I figured there was two ways of doing this.  First, put a dude on the cover.  With an exception to the beefcakes in the erotica market, the vast majority of books targeted to females have girls featured on the cover.  Usually she has long hair and she’s rocking some sort of dress.  One lone guy—check.

The second thing I figured that would make my book stand out is the selkie himself.  Selkies are lesser known mythical creatures, and the few selkie books on the market don’t actually illustrate what a selkie is—a seal man (or woman).  In case they are new to the reader, the male selkies have the power to lure women to their deaths beneath the sea.  One dangerous selkie—check.

I wanted to hint at my selkie’s mystery with a stormy sky and the sea as a backdrop.  Reese Dante, my cover artist, went one step further with making the cover nighttime.  The most difficult part of this whole process was finding Eamon, the drop dead gorgeous selkie who stars in my book.  Here’s my dilemma: he must be young, feral, dangerous, and be insanely good looking.  This last part terrified me because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Reese and I must have looked through thousands of pictures of gorgeous half naked male models.  I must say it was really a sacrifice.  After a few days, I narrowed my search down to two men and then as requested, sent my top choices to Reese.  That night I dreamt about my two cover models, my wavy haired Eamon, and a slightly older model.  In my dream, I chose my Eamon and then was nearly panicked that Reese would prefer the other model.  I woke up with my stomach in knots and then anxiously waited with bated breath to hear back from her.  There are a lot of artistic factors to consider when designing a cover.  It was with the greatest relief that Reese preferred my Eamon.  I knew I had made the right choice when I got three thumbs up from my daughters.  Beauty is still in the eye of the beholder, but at least my stomach isn’t clenching anymore.  Now the question is, are you the reader lured?      

The Lure of Shapinsay BLURB

Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant. 

Kait is woken unexpectedly by a beautiful, naked selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure. 

She obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?


The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle is an interesting story and nothing like I’ve ever read before. Luckily I had some knowledge of selkie myth, so I was easily able to follow some of the selkie traditions in Ms. Holle’s story. I liked that she wrote the myths into the book. If you’re unfamiliar with selkie folklore, a little bit of research might help you understand Eamon’s obsession with his skin and how he takes it on and off. Here’s the Wikipedia page on selkies:

There are way too many adverb words used. The over-usage would make my editor cringe. However, even with the overdose of adverbs, I enjoyed the story. At times the story felt repetitive with Eamon accusing Kait of wanting his skin. But his obsession with his skin was explained, so his anxiety is understandable even though it is tedious. Just makes you realize how tired she is of being accused of wanting his skin. The language was difficult for me at times because it’s different than our own. “Wan” is “one” and on one occasion I had no idea what the author meant by a statement (I should've wrote it down, but was too engrossed with the book to stop long enough...SORRY). I looked up the reference on the internet, but couldn’t find an explanation either. A little more detail and explanation would’ve been nice.

The story read as if someone was narrating it in my head. It has an easy cadence and flowed smoothly from one scene to the next. It is a fresh and unique tale, definitely not the same story you’ve seen written a million times with a different twist. The Lure of Shapinsay is different, and well worth the read. I had a difficult time putting the book down. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next...would they stay together? But how could they? The odds were against them. I'm still mixed on the ending, but I won't give that away. 

For those who enjoy reading a unique, not ordinary, fresh tale, I would recommend this read. You're not going to be blown away and left gasping with intrigue and excitement, but it's not that type of story. It's a sweet, enduring and epic kind of romance that I think you'll enjoy. If you want something dark or erotic, this is not your story.

Character Interview with Kait Swanney

Krista:  Kait Swanney is here with me today.  She is one of the main characters in my newly released novel, The Lure of Shapinsay. She’s twenty-years-old and lives with her twin brother Blair on the remote island of Shapinsay.  Kait, I would like to thank you in advance for agreeing to this interview.  I’d like to start by asking you about your family.  It’s just you and your brother, right?

Kait:  Aye, Blair and I were orphaned seven years ago when our Ma and Da come down with the rattle.  It’s just been just the two of us ever since.  He’s a nit, but he’s all I’ve got in the world.

Krista:  Is there anything you are really passionate about?

Kait:  Aye, I’d be loving the sea ever since I was a wee lassie.  Blair’s scared of drownin’ but not me.  I love to swim.  My Da was a fisherman and never afraid.  He made certain I wouldn’t sink before he died.   There may be another swimmer on the island, but I’ve yet to have the pleasure o’ meeting him.

Krista:  The currents around Shapinsay are treacherous, but what most villagers fear is what’s under the currents.  Does your love of the water have anything to do with the selkies, maybe one in particular? 

Kait:  Are ye trying to trick me into talking about Eamon?  I’m not ashamed o’ what he is.  Did ye think I dinnae notice his eyes, too dark to be human and that pearly white skin?  It matters not a mite that he is not human.  He has ten fingers and toes—that is human enough fer me.

Krista:  You’re courage regarding Eamon is impressive, but your encounter was just a brief passing in the night.  For hundreds of years, the male selkies have been luring unsuspecting women to their deaths beneath the sea.  Aren’t you scared that Eamon will come back and kill you?

Kait:  (Kait nervously twists her fingers)  I’ve nae choice but to hope he will come back.  Odin willing, I’ll live to tell the tale once more and not wash up on Stronsay a bloated corpse like my friend Astrid.   The gods forgive me fer speakin’ her name.

Krista:  Have you ever had a serious relationship with a man?  I understand the men on the island outnumber the women three to one.

Kait:  I try to avoid the hairy numptys looking fer a wife.  They only wish for someone to scale and bone their slimy fish.  But ever since Eamon crept into our home uninvited, Blair’s been pressuring me into marrying the very old Magnum Muir.  Ha, I have no intention of falling into that musty old net.  Magnum’s more ancient than the cliffs of Hoy. 

Krista:  One last question.  For hundreds of years, fishermen have been stealing skins so they can land a selkie bride.  Would you consider stealing Eamon’s skin if the opportunity presented itself? 

Kait:  I haven’t been thinking straight since Eamon tried to strangle me.  Always I gaze across the water looking for a small glimpse of his tail or even his whisker.  Have ye seen his skin?  I’d really like to know where he hides it.

Krista:  Selkies guard their skins very closely, but I wish you the best in finding it and pinning down your selkie man.

Giveaway is open to everyone, including international. One winner will be chosen to receive the above T-shirt and and one book from author Krista Holley. In order to be eligible to win this giveaway, you must do ALL of the following:

1) Leave a comment WITH your email address.
2) Promote this blog post somewhere on the internet. Please provide a link in the comment section where you posted it so that it can be verified. For ease of convenience, below are Facebook and Twitter posts you can just copy and paste:
     Twitter: The Lure of Shapinsay is a click away...join author Krista Holle for an exciting GIVEAWAY!! #author #giveaway #writer
     Facebook: The Lure of Shapinsay is a click away...join author Krista Holle for an exciting GIVEAWAY--open to international residents as well!!
3) Winner will be drawn on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at noon CST.

Note: Giveaway items are provided by author Krista Holle, not me. 

Buy Links
Barnes & Noble


***FTC Disclaimer: This book was provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a conveince, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.


Brittany C. said...

Thank you for taking the time to do this review/interview/giveaway :)

brittanyrose40 AT yahoo DOT com

I posted it on
1. twitter (!/thecoverbybritt/status/161831106709164032)
2. my facebook wall (
3. my facebook review page
4. Myspace
5. and Google+

mommy0306 said...

Thank you for the giveaway. :)

Terri M!/okmommy0306/status/161849635831418880

Carla said...

Great Review and Interview! I'd really like to check out this book.

I posted to:

my personal FB page -!/profile.php?id=100000197822707

My Blog FB Page -

Twitter -!/BookMonsterRevi

Carla Gallway
Book Monster Reviews

Joella said...

Book sounds very interesting. I will definitely have to add to my TBR list!!

I shared on twitter:!/JoellaElbert/status/161856702478688256

Mindy fangedmom said...

I love a new lore to read! Great interview and review!! Does the shirt come in a 2XX by chance???

Here are my details:



kvsgrimes said...

Thanks for the giveaway... The book sounds awesome and I love hearing how you chose the cover...

kvsgrimes said...

Forgot my links:



Kristina's Books & More said...

This book sounds fantastic! I have never read anything with Selkies in it! Great interview and cute shirt! :)

Shared on Facebook:

Facebook book page:


Kristina's Books & More

Amanda R. Browning said...

Thank you for hosting this contest. I am a big fan of reading unique stories, especially ones that explore a lesser known creature.

I posted the link here:

and this is my email.

BellaBunnell said...

I love selkies! Mysterious, powerful, alluring. Obviously I'd love to read this book!

I shared on twitter @screennamesbite
I'm rarely able to get my status links on the mobile, so I hope this suffices.

Thank you for the fun interview(I loved Kait's accent! ) and giveaway!


Delphina said...

This is totally going to sound made up, but I was just telling someone that I want to read a Selkie story. Too odd! I did share it on my homepage, but I do not know how people get all those links. It is there, for real and true. My email is (how cool is it that I have this new email?) delphinareadstoomuch at

Darling Nikki said...

I really need to read this book. I like the fact that it's not an overly written subject. Anyway, great character interview. I would love to win =)
Email -

I tweeted!/trubloodjunkie/status/162024184459960320

And pasted on my FB!/nlauerpeterson/posts/239764596098282

Krista Holle said...

Gracen, thanks for the opportunity to post on your fabulous site! In answer to one of the above questions, yes, the tee-shirt also comes in 2XL, but those shirts are black with white lettering.

Filia Oktarina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Filia Oktarina said...

I love a new lore to read! Great interview and review! This book sounds fantastic and i can't wait to read it!!
Thanks for giveaway.


Shared on Facebook:

Gracen Miller said...

Here is Jenny Bynum's official entry and since I saw where she posted this contest, I'm accept it since she cannot get her comment to post to blogger. Here is the message she sent me:

"It [Blogger] wont let me put a comment...I type it and shows and I go back and its not there! So here is my comment:

Thank you so much for the awesome giveaway! I am very interested in reading this book!

I posted on:
tweeted @bynumjenny"


Gracen Miller said...

Krista, it has been a pleasure having you join me! I enjoyed your book and look forward to reading your future books.

Good luck to all the entrants! I'm about to draw the winner...*drum rolls as I go pick a random winner*


Gracen Miller said...

The winner--as picked by

Kristina's Books & More

Congrats! I'll contact you by email Kristina!