Today I am so pleased to welcome Chris Scully to Joyfully Jay. Chris has come to talk to us about her latest release, Back to You. She has also brought along a great giveaway! Please join me in giving Chris a big welcome!

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The Art of Book Covers

We all know the importance of making a good first impression, which is why a good book cover is so critical. I know it’s traditional in the romance genre to have couples, scantily clad or not, on the cover, but even that is changing. It used to be that simply having Fabio on your cover (I’m dating myself here) sold books. Now the challenge is to stand out. My own opinion as a reader is that not only should a book’s cover catch the attention of potential readers, but it should convey something about the book itself without ever saying a word.

I’m fortunate in that I get some input into cover design, and I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to convey. I’m a visual person but lack to the talent to turn my thoughts into reality. Most of the time the results are pretty close to what I imagine, and I am particularly thrilled by the cover LC Chase produced for Back to You—it’s exactly as I envisioned.

On the surface you see a man alone on a highway, surrounded by mountains and wilderness. But there are other clues there as well if you know how to interpret them.

The fact that the man is alone indicates that there is a sole narrator and that he is the focal point of the story. I used a similar approach in Nights Like These. When a book focuses more on the relationship or has multiple points of view, I’ll try to have both characters on the cover, but Back to You is a plot-driven romantic suspense in which the relationship is almost secondary. You’ll rarely see full faces on my covers—this is because I like readers to be able to “wear” the characters and not get hug up on their appearances. Although there are a couple of love scenes, this is not a sexy story, which is one reason why he is fully clothed. The other is that in the book it’s early November in British Columbia. Brrr!!

The highway is symbolic not only of Alex’s journey home, but it is a literal representation of Highway 16 which runs through the interior of British Columbia and plays a prominent role in the book. The highway has a somewhat infamous reputation as a strip of road where people, mostly women, go missing—like Misty Morning, the sister of Alex’s best friend, Benji. The highway’s ominous presence is enhanced by the dark clouds and slightly menacing shading of the cover. Even the transparency on Alex’s sweatshirt, through which you can see the surrounding landscape, is meant to convey how much a part of him the setting is.

While Alex’s surroundings represent the setting, a small town in the wilds of British Columbia, they are also enforcing a feeling of isolation, which when combined with the cool color palette, indicate a suspenseful element.

A good cover speaks to the reader. Sometimes they stay with us long after the book is read. The next time you do see a cover that catches your attention, take a minute to think about what it’s trying to say to you.


Back to YouJournalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.

Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.

As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.


Chris Scully lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.

Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she found a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.

Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.

Connect with Chris:


To celebrate the release of Back to You, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 17, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post