The Cover of My Upcoming Book...for Adults

For the last three years, I've been creating full-time--publishing books for kids, curating high art & producing documentaries and a web series. I oftentimes post ideas that I want to bring into reality on my personal Facebook page. Until now, I've only published literature meant for young readers via The English Schoolhouse. In the winter of 2016, I posted an idea that I had to write and publish a collection of short stories about humor that can be found in the most devastating circumstances. I'd tentatively titled the project, "Rubbing Gravy on Emotional Wounds and Other Stories."

Here's a couple of examples I pulled from my FB page of the types of stories that will be found in the book:

From early December 2016--

so earlier today i had an unexpected authentic chat with a friend who's experienced great loss in her life recently.
loss is something i unfortunately know a lot about.
dad passed away in a car accident when i was 13.
my only sibling (and life pattern-maker) moved on to the next thing a little over a couple of years ago.
this conversation i was fortunate enough to be a part of reminded me of a project i want to move on soon--tentatively titled "Rubbing Gravy on Emotional Wounds and Other Stories"--it would/will be a collection of essays about loss and wisdom and humor.
talking to this friend today reminded me of a funny exchange that happened while my mom and i completed the daunting task of picking out my sister Nefeterius' headstone.
now, mind you, i'm not the superstitious type--but the whole idea that bad things come in threes is very applicable to that time of my life. in a flash my sister died, i decided to leave my ex-husband and subsequently found myself in an unexpected custody a foreign country.
but here's just a little exchange that i shared with my grieving (and growing) friend today. i'm sharing it here because i've learned to follow instinct, and think maybe it could help someone going through a rough patch to find the humor and whimsy in it all...
so my mom and i were at the funeral home in texas with whom i suppose is the assistant director or something...
Him: Ms. McPherson (my mom), so you'd picked out the plot next to your husband for yourself, so I was thinking perhaps we could put your daughter there instead.
My mom: (nods solemnly)
Me: (to my mom) Well then where are you gonna go? Not that you're ever going. No one else is allowed to die, dammit. No one else better freaking die...
My mom: Oh honey I'm not going anywhere...
Him: Well you know we can dig the plot deeper for your husband, where he's already at rest, and place you on top.
Me: ...
My mom: Oh really?
Him: Sure, yes, we can do it for the other plot as well, where your daughter will now be.
My mom: Oh that won't be necessary...who would go there?
Me: ME!
My mom: Really?
Me: Are you kidding me?! See this is what I MEAN! You always think about Nappy! Never about me!
My mom: Oh Tammy, I just, you're married.
Her: ...
Me: ...
we both burst out laughing
Me: Dig the plot, just in case. You're not gonna have my soul roaming around plotless. No sir. But nobody else is freaking dying. Nobody else is allowed to die.

From late December 2016

Musings from the backseat...
So my mom told me a story a couple of days ago that's PERFECT for the book on the hilarity of grief I'm writing tentatively titled Rubbing Gravy on Emotional Wounds and other Sad Stories.
She recently contacted a friend of hers who's in his 80s and recently lost his wife of over fifty years. She rang and he didn't answer so his answering machine (to his home phone) picked up and played his voice delivering the most magnificent and efficient PSA:
"This is __________. I've made some changes in my life. Please leave your name, your number, and I'll do my best to call you back. If I don't call you back, that means you are one of the changes."
Y'all. I can't tell you how much I love that.
I ain't even waiting til 2017 to prune and weed my garden so that what needs to bloom and grow and multiply can do so easily.
No apologies ever need to be made for setting healthy boundaries.

Sometimes I get asked what my secret to completing so many different creative projects is, and I answer, you just have to start. For me, once the cover of a book is complete, I feel a real sense of accomplishment and there's no telling me that I'm not well on my way to making magic.

This project is no different.

Yesterday I reached out to one of the three illustrators with whom I work regularly, Federico Fabiani, to see if he could work on the cover for this book for me. The thing is, I really like quick turn around. I know they say good things take time, and I agree with that theoretically-- but I really like a badabing badaboom effect when it comes to collaborating on creative projects.

Federico did not disappoint. This morning this arrived in my inbox--

My first thought was, "Damn! I don't know what kinda font this is but it's incredible!"

Federico joked via text that his kitchen smelled weird, and then it all started coming together for me. Did this guy actually, like, use GRAVY?!

I asked for clarity.

He sent pics--

This man whipped up some vegetarian gravy, then stuck a syringe in it

And wrote out the title

I adore the splatter
He rewrote the title to make it look a bit more polished

And here we have it--
An incredibly creative and fun
and whimsical
and wonderful
and effective
cover for my first book
for adults.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

So now we're on the way
Because this is more than a great start
to what I'm hoping and praying
will be a bestseller
in the self-help section
or wherever they put the books
that are meant to make you
connect, reflect & laugh.

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