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. Barb Beacham on May 30, 2013 at 6:33 am

    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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 7:34 am

      Thanks, Barb. Between playing in Hawaii and playing with this cover, how could I not have fun:-)

  2. Margaret on May 30, 2013 at 6:38 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 7:35 am

      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 on May 30, 2013 at 8:53 am

    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!

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Hi Suzy. Thanks for your motivating comment. It was just what I needed and I’m thrilled you enjoyed DYING FOR A DATE!

  4. Patricia on May 30, 2013 at 9:17 am

    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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 9:21 am

      The big island of Hawaii had so many places to put Laurel in peril and I took advantage of them:-) Thanks, Patricia.

  5. Nancy Tesler on May 30, 2013 at 9:23 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Karen did all the work. I just threw everyone’s comments at her. Thanks for your suggestions, Nancy.

  6. Michael Mendershausen on May 30, 2013 at 9:23 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Those are my favorites. How did you know? As for the drink, anything goes in Hawaii!

  7. Bobbye Terry on May 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Hi bobbye. We were worried the glass was less elegant this way, but it truly says mystery now. Thanks.

  8. Lisa on May 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Love it!

  9. Michele Drier on May 30, 2013 at 9:59 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 10:21 am

      It was certainly the most entertaining selection process I’ve ever been involved with. Thanks.

  10. Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy on May 30, 2013 at 10:28 am

    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,

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Since I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, it helps to have a wonderful cover designer. And a committee of 350 to make the final decision.

  11. susan furlong bolliger on May 30, 2013 at 10:49 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Thanks, Susan. You all helped make it work.

  12. pat canterbury on May 30, 2013 at 11:08 am

    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!

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

      If all goes according to plan (which has yet to happen) you’ll be able to read DYING FOR A DAIQUIRI in exactly 4 months!

  13. Judith on May 30, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Love the cover!
    good luck with all.

  14. Donna Del Oro on May 30, 2013 at 11:48 am

    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 on May 30, 2013 at 11:49 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Deidre, I hope to hoist one of those daiquiris on your coast someday!

  16. Betty Ackley on May 30, 2013 at 11:50 am

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

  17. Joey Cattone on May 30, 2013 at 11:54 am

    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 .

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Joey. I love getting feedback from artists. That is a very intriguing suggestion. Mahalo.

  18. Ken Umbach on May 30, 2013 at 11:59 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Thanks, Ken. One of the benefits of indie publishing is that the book doesn’t get released until it’s the best one yet!

  19. Terry Shames on May 30, 2013 at 11:59 am

    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!

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Perhaps I exaggerated a tad. But it certainly was controversial! I’m glad you like the final version.

  20. Dana on May 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    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…

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      I promise your daiquiri will be delivered by a live server. Dressed in a flowered loin cloth, perhaps?

  21. Sue Trowbridge on May 30, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    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!

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      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. sara on May 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    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.

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      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. Heather Haven on May 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    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!

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      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. Elaine Faber on May 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    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.

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      You’re in the growing pot, Elaine. Thanks for checking it out.

  25. Bette Golden Lamb on May 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      And it wasn’t the cover I chose either. Funny how it worked out though. Thanks, Bette.

  26. Jaci Muzamel on May 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      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. Linda on May 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    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)

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      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. Kathy Asay on May 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Kathy, that is the perfect analysis. I just knew the letters made me think tropical. Maybe I’ll be serving daiquiri popsicles:-)

  29. Mary Beth Magee on May 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    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!

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      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 on May 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    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

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      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 on May 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    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.

    • Cindy Sample on May 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Ha ha Adrian. We’ll just have to find out how close you are.

  32. Linda Lovely on May 31, 2013 at 4:11 am

    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.

    • Cindy Sample on May 31, 2013 at 8:16 am

      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. Suzanne Lilly on May 31, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Way to go, Cindy! The cover looks fantastic!

  34. Ron Chicaferro on May 31, 2013 at 8:03 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 31, 2013 at 8:17 am

      Mahalo to you. You’re going to love this one!

  35. Joan Reeves on May 31, 2013 at 8:49 am

    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.

    • Cindy Sample on May 31, 2013 at 8:56 am

      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 on May 31, 2013 at 9:19 am

    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 ! 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on May 31, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Mahalo, Robin. You are such a world-wide traveler that I’m glad you approved the final daiquiri version. Get ready for a luau launch in 4 months!

  37. Gemma Juliana on May 31, 2013 at 9:29 am

    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!

    • Cindy Sample on May 31, 2013 at 10:17 am

      I’m so glad you like it, Gemma. I really appreciated your input. And I am so lucky to have Saint Karen in my corner.

  38. Suzanne Vince on May 31, 2013 at 9:41 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 31, 2013 at 10:18 am

      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 on May 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm

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

  40. Jan Hudson on May 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm

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

    • Cindy Sample on May 31, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks, Jan. As you can see, we implemented almost all of your suggestions. They were terrific and I’m so pleased.

  41. Maureen Rumsey on June 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    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.


    • Cindy Sample on June 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      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 on June 1, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    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 🙂 )

    • Cindy Sample on June 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      It takes a village to choose my covers:-) I’m anxiously awaiting my editor’s approval of that ATV scene myself!

  43. Christine Hyde on June 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on June 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

      You’ll be ready to book a flight to the Big Island after you read it! (or perhaps not)

  44. Sara on August 3, 2013 at 11:37 am

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

    • Cindy Sample on August 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

      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 on August 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm

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

    • Cindy Sample on August 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks, Sara. I relax every night between 11 and midnight:-) I can’t wait to party with everyone!

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