I’ve always gotten a kick out of the expression (idiom? proverb?) about how you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear (I even get to use it in Going to Beautiful). And, as providing my publisher with an author photograph to be used on the book’s jacket and various promotional material as we groom it for next May’s release became the next thing on the list, I couldn’t help but wonder if that was what I was asking of my photographer.

I’ve always thought it important to update my author photo on a regular basis. There must be nothing quite so jarring for readers than meeting their favourite author for the first time in person and finding out that the picture they’d come to know was taken a decade or more ago. I suppose the possibility is not entirely eradicated by using new photos on new books. For instance, what if someone picked up a copy of my first book, Amuse Bouche, published in 2003, then meets me at a reading or conference thinking I’m going to look like this wee baby? I can hear the shrieks already!

Over the years I’ve tried different things, particularly when it comes to location: in studio, a canola field, an abandoned train yard, a gritty back alley. Some were more successful than others. I definitely have my favourites and ones that make me cringe a little inside (I won’t tell you which ones).

One of my favourites (by Kevin Hogarth Photography) was chosen by Saskatoon bookseller, McNally Robinson, to be part of their Saskatchewan author portrait gallery in Prairie Ink Restaurant. I like it because I think it was a pretty honest picture and if anything made me look older than I was at the time. Interestingly, although it is one of my favourites, that opinion is not shared by all (my mother-in-law did NOT like it one bit).

I selected Raina Luczka of R2 Imagery (r2.luczka@live.ca) as my photographer for Going to Beautiful. The book has been described as a “love letter to life on the prairies”, and from a quick look at Raina’s work it’s easy to guess that she’s someone who loves the prairies too. Sounded like a perfect fit to me.

We decided to wait until spring, in the hopes the temperature would cooperate and we could do an outdoor photo shoot on our acreage. I found out, the hard way, that temperature is very important when shooting outdoors. Several years ago, during the photoshoot for When The Saints Go Marching In, it was a beautiful sunny day, but cold as a penguin’s beak. And my beak…AKA nose…immediately turned bright red and no amount of powder could turn it back to its original colour. That poor photographer, he must have spent a kajillion hours fixing ‘rudolph’ in editing.

Turns out the day we chose for the Going to Beautiful shoot was warm enough, sunny enough, but windy. Argh! My least favourite kind of weather. What’s the point of wind? Does nothing good that I can tell. Fortunately, we had twelve acres to play with and did our best to find sheltered areas. The problem was my darn hair. I had too much of it. Which usually isn’t a problem, except in…you guessed it: the WIND. But we prevailed and out of about 2,372 shots (poor Raina!) we did manage to get a few to choose from where I didn’t look like Phyllis Diller (look it up, you youngsters) or a sow’s ear.

The successful photo made its debut on Thursday, June 3, 2021, the official announcement by Stonehouse Publishing that Going to Beautiful will be one of only four upcoming Spring 2022 titles! Yahoo!

Perhaps I buried the lead…perhaps I did it on purpose (how naughty)…but….drumroll…in addition to the announcement, we are revealing the book jacket description of what Going to Beautiful is all about. Which I’m very glad of as I’m sure many of you have probably been thinking – Finally! All this talk about a new book but what the heck is it about????

I hope it whets your appetite!

If you are new to this blog and/or ‘The Beautiful Bunch; (a group of wise and wonderful readers who are on Going to Beautiful’s journey from my noggin to bookstore), we would LOVE to have you join us by sending me your name and where you are from in a message by clicking here.