A Memoir by Lisa Vaughn

Lisa was conservatively raised in a Catholic family in no-where middle America, where excitement is scarce and dreams are for sleeping. Little did she know, at age thirteen, she would suddenly find herself on a totally different path.

Through an unlikely chance meeting of a fellow classmate, she's surprisingly mesmerized, almost consumed, to befriend a girl who is obviously from the other side of the tracks...the cool side. Lisa does whatever she has to just to be accepted into this small club of coolness. Little did she realize, she was signing up for a lot more than social status. The two best friends find themselves innocently taking their relationship to a foreign level neither had experienced or saw coming.

A rollercoaster ride littered with choices and challenges Lisa never fathomed facing, especially in no-where middle America. She will find out what she is made of as she faces the consequences and struggles that come along with going against the grain.

Throughout their six year relationship, you will witness a touching story of human nature at its best...and at its worst. Showing just how far the human spirit can be challenged and pushed to a point where your “fight or flight” instincts naturally kick in. Struggling just to survive in a world where you are not like everyone else, but at the same time you really are. The daily struggles - both internal and external - are exhausting, yet necessary in their quest for one simple human need....love.

Finally breaking through all constraints that hold them back, reaching levels of one-ness that few actually obtain in a lifetime with their partner...only to find once they've reached that special place, it's not quite the right fit...for one of them, at least.

This contemporary story, told in the voice of the teen that lived it, will lead the reader through highs and lows, giving insight to the everyday challenges of the socially unaccepted, which will no doubt leave them rooting for the underdog. A true story of human resilience and the power of love...plain and simple.

*Please be advised, this memoir is real, honest, and raw. If you're looking for your typical 'sterilized' read, I'm not your girl - but if you're looking for a read that is written from the heart, certain to impact you on a human level, follow me! Have I got a story for you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Covers...DO We Judge?

'Don't judge a book by its cover'.  We've all heard the quip - we know we shouldn't, but do we abide? 

The answer is, how could we not? Yes, it might be unfair...but if you think about it, choosing a book is a lot like dating. That first impression speaks volumes. Much like picking out a future 'mate', book covers are our first attraction - the eye candy. It catches our eye (or doesn't) and intrigues us to find out more - what's inside? 

As an artist, I find it fascinating what people are attracted to in this category of 'book art', and as an author I was initially surprised at what I personally picked as my own cover.  Normally I go all out - my eclectic taste craves bold color, bold lines - the crazier the better.  But when it comes to books, the subtle and simple seem to catch my attention. As they say, sometimes less IS truly more, and I see that now. 

I recall one of my favorite covers - James Frey's 'Million Little Pieces'. Now I know he took a lot of flack for that book, and perhaps I will write about that one day too, but for now I say he (or his publisher) did an excellent job on picking out that cover. If you'll remember, its a single hand reaching out with hundreds of candy parcels stuck to the fingers with a light blue background.  That's it.  But I have to tell you, when I first saw it, I was mesmerized. I thought, how brilliant!  This simple cover has everything I need for an instant attraction. It had color, texture, intrigue, and CANDY! How could I NOT love this book? So simple, yet spoke volumes to me. I knew the book was about addiction, and pictured each of those candies as puzzle pieces of his troubled life - the 'million things' that led him to his addiction.  From the cover alone, I knew I had to read that book, and in between chapters I would find myself staring at those colorful candies, soaking in the deep meaning he was transmitting to me through art alone.  

So what do you look for in cover art? Do you want the cover to tell you the whole story or just a teasing glimpse of what could be inside?  Is sex always a grabber in this medium? Is color important to you? Would a bad cover be enough for you to dismiss the book totally, even though you heard it could be a good read? I've heard the saying that a good cover can sell a bad book, but also, a bad cover can sink a good book as well. Are we that judgmental? Or is it just human nature to be geared towards something that naturally attracts our eye? 

Like I said before, as an artist I was surprised by my final decision for my own cover art regarding my memoir, The Gifted Ones. As I wrote draft after draft, I would find myself daydreaming of my unborn cover. What crazy splashes of color would I use? How profound could I make it? I pictured purple - tons of purple! And silhouettes! Mysterious black outlines of the main characters - Selina and I. It had to transmit love, as that is what my main message is all about - love and acceptance. In between editing and going crazy, I'd scan the internet for clip art that fit this image in my mind. Then one day I came across THE perfect pic - I was elated, it told the story without saying a word. I copied, pasted, and saved...excited for the day I would put that image to work. Well the day came to design the cover and guess what? That perfect image did not work out - pixel problems or some technical 'non-art' related reasonings.  Discouraged, I hurriedly scanned through hundreds of 'acceptable' alternatives, convinced I'd never find a suitable replacement. And then I saw 'it'. That simple bold chain...with a broken link. I knew in an instant - that  was my new cover!  It told the whole story in one simple shot - on multiple levels, I might add. No color, no pizzaz, no candies! It was bold, simple, and dark...just like my story at times. It was love at first sight, and the rest is history!  Now, what to do with that equally striking runner-up pic? I loved it so much I knew I had to use it in something! Well, it is now my twitter avatar...the one that brought you here more than likely.  The one I periodically get complimented on from tweeters.  The color, they say, makes them happy when they see me in their timeline.  It has the power to grab, just as I had suspected...damn pixels! 

So YES, I say covers CAN make or break a book, unfair as it seems. But in this world of physical beauty, it only makes sense we'd pick an attractive looking book over one that didn't tantalize our eyes, our senses. So, the lesson? Authors, I know how hard we work on what is in between those two covers, so please, do not blow it by settling on bad covers!  Take your time and find the one that speaks volumes without saying a word...your hard work deserves that, and so do the readers that might pass by your book  based (unfairly) on what's on the outside.  Yes, true beauty IS always on the inside, but we have to get them there first...much like you hooked your mate.  ;)          

*Thank you for stopping by! Comments are always welcome and appreciated! And by all means, please take a gander at my cover - what does it say to you? 


  1. The cover should somehow convey what's inside. I bought your book yesterday. It's on my Nook. :)

  2. Brilliant article!



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