A tale of three books

by DaniGirl on April 26, 2014 · 7 comments

in Books, Photography

Once upon a time, and for quite a long time, I harboured secret dreams of being a writer. When I was in school, I wanted to be a journalist and even applied to the journalism program at Carleton. Over the years, though, I discovered blogging, and developed a little bit more self-awareness, and fell in love with photography. The blog allowed me to write in fits and starts when the mood moved me without committing to the long form of a book (I always saw myself as more of a short story writer anyway) but still scratch the itch that was my need to tell stories. The self-awareness revealed that not only do I have the attention span of a flea, while I love the act of writing, I am not really a writer in my soul. The photography gave me an outlet even more powerful and more intoxicating than writing to tell the stories I wanted to tell.

I hold books to be sacred things. If I were to think of a single thing that has most influenced who I am, what I believe, how I dream and what I love it do, that thing would be books. While I am content with the idea that I will probably never actually write a book, I am deeply and madly honoured to have been associated with not one, not two, but THREE books in the last month or so. You’ll have to pardon the hyperbole. I’m so excited that I’ve even regressed to typing two spaces after my periods.

The first book I want to tell you about is a book of poetry. It’s being published by a small literary press in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the poet is a young New Englander named Brian Simoneau. The publisher found my photo of Watson’s Mill on Flickr and sent me a note asking if they could use it. It’s not represented by Getty, so I negotiated a fair price – including a vanity copy for me and one for the Mill! – and we had a deal. I haven’t seen the final layout yet, but this is the photo they will be using:

Foggy Mill

Neat, eh? The publisher has promised me a mock-up of the cover soon, and the book will be available in September. I’ll share when I have them.

The second book was written by the person who posted the very first ever comment on this blog. Dean Dad, recently linked to his alter-ego Matt Reed, has been blogging just a little bit longer than me but has engaged a huge audience over the years with his blog Confessions of a Community College Dean. We became friends and kept in touch over the years, bonded by a shared appreciation of the wonders of parenting and the absurdities of working in a bureaucratic environment. Or maybe it was the wonders of bureaucracy and the absurdity of parenting?

Regardless, I just found out recently that Matt wrote a book based on his experiences called Confessions of a Community College Administrator. I was delighted for him, and when I congratulated Matt on his accomplishment, he casually mentioned that he had thanked me by name in the acknowledgements. (!) How cool is THIS?

Thanks again Dean Dad – erm, I mean Matt. It’s been fun bumping along this bloggy road with you over the last decade. :)

And last but not least, of course, is the book I first told you about in January. When I found out that my photo of Lucas drawing a hopscotch on the driveway was being used as a book cover, I was so excited I did a little dance around the room. It’s something I have hoped to see for as long as I’ve been licensing my photos through Getty Images. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it might be used on a book that has been touted as one of the “most anticipated books of 2014” or a Publisher’s Weekly starred review.

What I really love about the story of this book, as opposed to the story IN the book, is how I have forged a connection to the author, Brando Skyhorse. As I mentioned back in January, I found the book cover using a Google Image search, and when I found it I tagged the book on Goodreads as ‘to read’ and commented ‘this is the book with my photo on the cover’.

To my surprise and delight, I received an e-mail a few days later from the author himself. He said,

Hi Dani –

I’m Brando Skyhorse, author of Take This Man. I just discovered today via Goodreads (which led me to your blog) your stunning picture graces the finished book jacket.

This book was an incredible challenge for me to write. Often times the only thing that kept me going was trying to visualize what the final jacket (and title) would be. I could never see it, though. When my editor emailed cover samples we had close to a dozen wonderful designs to choose from yet I kept returning to your image. Something about the child – whose name I now know is Lucas – drawing on pavement with chalk felt absolutely right. Maybe you’ll see what I mean if you read the book.

In short: THANK YOU. Your picture is an incredible gift that’s made my book complete.

Isn’t that wonderful? I swear I smile every time I read it. Not only is my book on a jacket cover, but the author is a REALLY NICE GUY. We’ve corresponded through the past few months, me telling him how honoured I am to have my photo on his book and him giving me status updates along the lines of ‘”Our” book got some great news this week!’

So my photo is on the cover, it sounds like it’s going to have a pretty impressive release later this spring, and the author is incredibly kind. What could be better? Oh yes, it’s an absolutely breath-taking book, one I promise you will never forget. I’ve gone a little rambly on this post (quelle surprise!) and I want to do the book justice with my review, so stand by and I’ll get that posted soon(ish) in a separate post.

But seriously, a photo on a book of poetry, name credit in the acknowledgements of another book, and Lucas on what sounds by all accounts to be a barn-burner of a best seller. Who needs to actually WRITE a book with all of that?!?


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  1. Another book cover! You might remember I was pretty excited earlier this year when I found out that one of my photos of Lucas was being used on the cover of a book by author Brando Skyhorse. That came about through Getty Images. Around the same time, I was contacted by a tiny...
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah McCormack April 26, 2014 at 9:30 am

so awesome. feeling very jealous :)

2 Life of K April 26, 2014 at 9:22 pm

That’s so cool! I’ll have to add that book to my list too. Exciting!

3 Lynn April 27, 2014 at 7:44 am

All three of these are amazing, and wonderful, and I am just SO happy for you. Seriously, cannot stop smiling. You absolutely deserve it!

4 Valerie April 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

very happy for you, Dani – all three are awesome!

5 smothermother April 28, 2014 at 7:18 am

This is so incredible. Congratulations doesn’t really cover it. Seriously, awesome sauce.

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