Dying for a Daiquiri – Uncovered

Congratulations to contest winner Jaci Muzamel.

Who knew choosing the cover for a book titled Dying for a Daiquiri would be more controversial than the debate over the location of the Kings’ basketball team? After reading the blog and Facebook comments regarding my four diverse cover selections, I have far more sympathy for Congress. And that’s as political as this blog will get.

Dying for a Daiquiri by Cindy Sample – Option #4
I am extremely grateful that over 350 people took the time, not only to select their favorite cover, but also to analyze all of them. I loved the diversity of the comments. Oddly enough (or not), the only consistent trend was that 48 out of 50 men voted for option four – the cover my designer and I titled “Legs.”  Go figure.

A number of authors commented that the use of chalk body outlines or crime scene tape was somewhat cliché. Yet readers in this informal survey frequently suggested I add one or the other to covers one and three, so they would know the book was a mystery.

Dying for a Daiquiri by Cindy Sample – Option #1  Dying for a Daiquiri by Cindy Sample – Option #3

One thing is certain. Whether it’s in paper or e-book form, people do care about cover art. The cover is not just the lure that draws them to research a book further, but it needs to represent the author’s work.

All of these comments helped me recognize what I offer to my readers, which is what one reviewer referred to as “feel-good humor.” After someone reads one of the books in this series, my hope is that she or he will be smiling for the rest of the day. I’m even happy with comments such as this: “It’s Cindy Sample’s fault I feel like crap because I couldn’t stop reading Dying for a Dance until I finished at 3 AM!”

It is now time for the big reveal. Although cover # 1 was not my initial favorite, it was the winner, and I realized it best demonstrates what I wish to convey to readers. Thanks to specific suggestions from Linda Townsin, Ingrid Lundquist, Jan Hudson, Vinnie Hansen, Sue Trowbridge, Robin Burcell and Caitlin Alexander, cover artist Karen Phillips has tilted, torqued and tweaked this cover to death. We can now reveal the latest Laurel McKay mystery, Dying  for a Daiquiri.

Dying for a Daiquiri – Final Cover

Thanks to the hundreds of people, too numerous to mention, who suggested we change the glass featured in cover one. My lengthy research (big loopy smile here) determined that daiquiris are served in every type of glass you can name. But the deadliest daiquiri should definitely be the most delicious looking. Wouldn’t you agree?

Contest Alert!

Leave a comment by midnight June 6th (we’re still accepting suggestions) and you’ll be entered in a drawing to get a free copy of DYING FOR A DAIQURI when it’s released in September.

Mahalo to one and all.


  1. I love the cover Cindy and am anxiously awaiting the release of your latest book! Hope you are having a good time in HI! Hugs to you – B

  2. Margaret says:

    That’s a great cover, Cindy! I can’t wait to read the next book. So glad Debbie introduced me to your writing:):)

    • Hi Margaret. Coincidentally, if all goes well and I have sufficient chocolate in my pantry, I should finally type “the end” today. Then it’s time to plan the luau launch!

  3. Suzy McMinn says:

    Cindy, after meeting you when you spoke at Gold Country Writers, I bought your book, ‘Dying For A Date,” at the Bookery in Placerville. Oh, how I enjoyed your writing. Like the rest of the reviews, once started – impossible to put down. Please enter me for a chance to win Dying for a Dacquiri. I love the cover chosen although they were all great!

  4. I like it! And I can’t wait to read it. Laurel is always up to something silly that gets her in trouble.

    Way to go!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  5. I love it, Cindy. The spilled daiquiri is the perfect touch. It grabs me. Congrats to you and Karen!

  6. Michael Mendershausen says:

    Have you tried the Hawaiian Host Maui Caramacs? If not, you must. About the gravity-defying liquid in the glass…

  7. Spilling the Daquiri made all the difference. Great cover, Cindy!

  8. Love it!

  9. Michele Drier says:

    Wow, Cindy, you, Karen Phillips and 350 readers did well! This was my favorite. Good luck with “The End”….

  10. LOVE IT!

    Great job, Cindy and company! The colors really pop and the “spilled” glass really shouts mystery.

    I love coming up with covers. Part of the joys of Indie publishing!

    Can’t wait to read the book,

  11. Absolutely wonderful! Good job, Cindy. Best of luck with it.

  12. Cindy:
    You (the readers) chose well. I do like this cover. When will it be available? By the way Michael, my musician friend, is back in Sacramento he loved Hawaii!

  13. Love the cover!
    good luck with all.

  14. The cover’s not the one I picked but it’s still a good cover! The book should be fun to read! Good luck with your Indie adventure, too!

  15. Deirdre says:

    WTG Cindy – the cover rocks and I can’t wait for the book! Aloha and hoist a daquiri for me!

  16. Betty Ackley says:

    I’m looking forward to the latest in your series of books. September won’t arrive soon enough for me!

  17. I think having the spill flow around and under your name would not only give the cover “movement” but also draw attention to the author – and make it a bit more interesting versus so compartmentalized .

  18. The first book was good. The second was even better. The latest entry in the series is bound to be dynamite.

  19. Cindy, this was such fun! I absolutely love the final choice–coloful, appealing, just the right blend of everything.

    However, as a basketball fan, I’m not sure I agree that it was a bigger deal than the Kings!

  20. CIndy, I LOVE the new cover! I want the book AND I want a daqueri. But one that hasn’t been knocked over by a dead hand. Just sayin…

  21. Sue Trowbridge says:

    Since i made the suggestion about switching the font, I’m glad to see that it worked so well! Kudos to your designer, and to all of the armchair cover designers out there who contributed… it looks fantastic!

    • There were three of you out of 350 who suggested the switch. A lot of people liked the elegant font on the original cover, but when I suggested we try it your way, we knew it was definitely the way to go. Thanks so much!

  22. I wasn’t a big fan of this on the initial survey, but I love the final result. The title works and the image with the turned over glass works! it’s obviously a mystery and feels somewhat exotic.

    • It is amazing how it worked out, isn’t it? I don’t think Karen and I would ever have come up with these changes on our own. I love the democratic approach to cover design:-)

  23. Cindy, absolutely love it. Congratulations on another great book, I’m sure, even tho I haven’t read it yet! Your past work speaks for itself!

    • I’m in final edit mode before “Daiquiri” goes to my editor and I’m still chuckling at my lines. I hope that’s a good thing and not just a sign of author overload. I think you will love it!

  24. Good luck Cindy. The cover is great and does convey the message of the book. Drop my name in the pot for a free book please. Have a great day.

  25. It wasn’t the cover I chose, but I like this one, too. Good luck !
    Bette & J. J.

  26. Jaci Muzamel says:

    Love the new cover Cindy. Good luck! So, what’s next, Dying for a Donut and she’ll get involved with a cop??? HAHAHAH!

    • Ha ha. I took care of DYING FOR A DONUT with my short story in the Capitol Crimes Anthology – The Case of the Caramelized Corpse. I’m thinking DYING FOR A DUDE is next on the agenda:-)

  27. Good job. Love it! I’m also at the stage of choosing the cover design and sent it to 30 people for voting. So far Option #2 is winning by two votes! How fun is this!

    Linda, From Tears to Triumph, (Memoir)

    • This cover contest really was a blast and I learned a ton from everyone’s remarks. Good luck with your own contest. I can’t wait to read your memoir.

  28. It’s perfect, Cindy. Love the spilling glass. I’ve been trying to think of what the Dying letters remind me of and it finally came to me: those multiflavor popsicles, cherry, lemon and orange. Sounds good about now….
    Kathy Asay, Flint House

  29. I absolutely, positively adore it! Ans I would love to feature it in a review ASAP (hint, hint!). And whenever Laurel isn’t too busy getting herself into trouble, I’d like to interview her…Miss you, Cindy!

    • Well you are my favorite reviewer. Once the editors are done, I might be able to come up with an edition just for you. Would you like me to send a daiquiri to go?

  30. Matthias says:

    Terrific choice Cindy. I thought the leggy one, taken on the whole, was a little dark. ish. Yours was my second choice…..only because of the colors. I like bright colors. They counter my own dimness. I just cannot wait to read it!!!!! Matt

    • See how astute you are. I loved “legs” but it was darker than what I write and I didn’t want a bunch of disappointed readers who were waiting for a steamy sex scene. Oh wait, you may get that anyway:-)

  31. Adrian Monk says:

    The cover reveals that the victim was a female, probably Caucasian. Notice the perspective. The hand is too small for the glass suggesting that the victim’s hand was not holding the glass when it was tossed on the beach. The base of the glass is too small and would not likely be found in a store. The lack of spillage on the beach indicates that the daiquiri was frozen and had been prepared only minutes earlier, possibly in a house adjacent to the murder scene. If you unscramble the letters making up the title and author’s name, you can deduce the name of the killer. Case closed.

  32. Hey, Cindy–Excellent choice on the cover. May it sell a kazillion. Recommended your “Dying” series to my book club friends who were ready for something lighter after reading Gone Girl. One of them has already gotten back to me asking when book three will be out. Can’t wait.

    • Thanks, Linda, for the book club recommendation. I love visiting book clubs although 3,000 miles is a wee bit far. Maybe I should think of a Daiquiri road show!

  33. Way to go, Cindy! The cover looks fantastic!

  34. Ron Chicaferro says:

    Who could refuse a woman with a coctail and a gun in her hand! Mahalo!!

  35. Ah, your title reminds me of the good old days when froen daiquiris reinged supreme in the summertime.

    Sounds like a fun book. Good luck.

    • We must be of the same generation, Joan, because that’s what we always served our guests in the summer a few decades ago. Maybe I’ll start up the trend again!

  36. Robin Ylitalo says:

    Cindy; very good to see you recently and I’m very anxious to get started on this next reading adventure. The cover is great and your choice of “glass” is perfect. I think its the “most popular” daiquiri glass. From my own personal experience of course ! 🙂

  37. I just LOVE this new cover, Cindy! Congratulations for coming up with a real winner. If people buy books based on the cover (I often do!) this will sell like hot cakes (or potent daiquiris)! Karen is an amazing cover designer, and apparently a saint too!

  38. Yay! You picked my favorite and I can’t wait to read it. Hope to see at a meeting soon!

    • It was a close race with “Legs” about 25 votes behind. And that was my original favorite. So everyone’s input was extremely valuable in designing this final cover. Hope to see you soon too!

  39. Lavonne says:

    I think it’s terrific! Great change to the glass! Can’t wait for Sept!

  40. Good job! Now it’s a terrific makeover of my favorite. Hope it sells well.

  41. Maureen Rumsey says:

    Oooooooo! Cindy, I love it. Somehow I missed the “Pick the Cover Contest.” You made a good choice. Have to say, “Legs” probably would be my second choice. I know it would be my husband’s.

    Can’t wait to read #3.


    • I’m sorry you missed the contest but we couldn’t have come up with the final cover without it. Legs was my initial pick but they were all great covers. Thanks for your support.

  42. Lisa Ford says:

    I love the cover. The contest and the “tweaking” really helped make this the perfect cover for the book. I am anxiously awaiting the all terrain vehicle scene to see if that research paid off.
    So excited for you and all of us (your avid readers 🙂 )

  43. Christine Hyde says:

    Love the cover and can’t wait to read about Laurel’s next murderous adventure!

  44. Can’t wait to get my hands on Dying for a Daiquiri. Congrats on number three!

    • Thanks, Sara. It’s nice to be closing in on the finish line. A definite cause for celebration. Hope you can drive out here for the luau launch on October 13th!

  45. sara hyman says:

    Love the final cover and congrats on hitting “The End”. Celebrate carefully and try to relax at some time between now and publication.

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