I am so excited to share with you an EXCLUSIVE cover reveal for Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes! I'm so honored and thankful to have been chosen to be the first to share with you this gorgeous cover, as well as an excerpt and guest post from the author!
About Elly in Bloom:
What would you do if you had to design your lover's wedding?
Surrounded by lush flowers and neurotic brides, chubby 32-year old Elly Jordan has carved out a sweet little life for herself as the owner of Posies, a boutique wedding florist in St. Louis. It’s not bad for a woman who drove away from her entire life just two years ago when she found her husband entwined with a red-headed artist.
Sure, Elly has an embarrassingly beautiful best friend, a terribly behaved sheepdog and a sarcastic assistant who she simply calls “Snarky Teenager”, but overall her days are pleasantly uneventful. As a bonus, her new next door neighbor just happens to be an unnervingly handsome musician who has an eye for curvy Elly.
Just when she feels that she is finally moving on from her past, she discovers that an extravagant wedding contract, one that could change her financial future, is more than she bargained for.
With the help of her friends, staff and the occasional well-made sandwich, Elly bravely agrees to take on the event that threatens to merge her painful history with her bright new life, and finds herself blooming in a direction she never imagined.
Elly’s voice, both charming and hilarious, will appeal to those readers who have been looking for a new voice in chick-lit, and will give women of all sizes the realistic heroine they’ve been waiting for.
Elly donned her favorite outfit: big, comfy pajama pants with reindeer on them and a fitted tank top, sat down on her couch, opened a bottle of wine and settled Cadbury across her lap. She flicked the remote. On the television, a beautiful woman dressed in a teal satin dress offered roses to different gentlemen. Each one smiled at her and kissed her cheek. Elly snorted. There was nothing like the idea of perfect, candle-lit romance to piss her off. She waved the wine bottle at the TV.
“Eat it up, sweetheart. . .it all starts like this, and then it’s late nights at the studio and new paintings and then all of a sudden you’re the unstable one, waving a wine bottle at the television!”
She looked at Cadbury to see if he found the humor in this moment. He huffed at her.
“Yes, you’re right. I’m bitter, I get it”. The doorbell rang. “Chinese food!” she sang out and ruffled his ears.
She opened the door and gasped.
An insanely beautiful man stood at her door. She would have been disappointed if it had not been for his eyes. Those deep brown eyes, the color of chocolate cosmos, or of deliciously rich soil. Framed by long lashes – almost girlish in their length – his eyes were almond shaped. He looked to be perhaps half-Hawaiian. No, Vietnamese. No, Hispanic. No. Elly was really bad at guessing countries of origin. Well, wherever he was from, he was exquisitely handsome. Dark curly hair, skin the color of coffee mixed with cream.
”Um, hello?” he said softly.
Oh Lord, he has an accent, thought Elly, slay me now. Quickly, she rearranged herself, pushing her hair out of her eyes, sucking her tummy in and licking her lips.
“Hi. . .you aren’t my Chinese food.”
She immediately regretted mentioning food within the first thirty seconds of meeting a beautiful man – the first beautiful man in a long time. Fatty!
“No, I’m Isaac, Isaac Kamaka. I just moved in above the deli?”
“Oh, wow. That must smell delicious!” Elly mentally smacked herself. Food again!
“No, not really, it kind of smells like mustard.”
“So, are you just going around meeting all the neighbors?”
“Only the pretty ones.”
Swoon. She blushed. Noticeably.
On Why I Love My Cover:
When I first considered what should be on the cover for Elly in Bloom, the answer was so obvious: flowers. Lots of them.
Mountains and mountains of flowers.
After all, this is a book about a florist, and not just any florist, but a high-end wedding florist. Having been a high-end wedding florist, I can tell you that Elly would not just want any flowers on her cover. She’s picky, far more picky than any human has any right to be, a flower snob in its purest form.
For starters, there could be no carnations. No daisies, no mums, no bright gerbs, no weird (hideous) arrangement of roses and fever few. I’m sure my cover designer hated me because not only was she given other author-specific-but-horribly-worded-parameters (bright but not too bright, feminine but not girly, Southern but not too Southern), but I had a list of flowers that could be used (orchids, peonies, ranunculus – my favorite flower) and those that couldn’t. (I’m talking to you, baby’s breath.)
To say the least, I leapt with delight when I saw my cover for the first time. It’s so RIGHT for Elly and the book came alive in a way I could never have imagined.
- First, there are the flowers. Towers of ranunculus in creams and whites, lilac, a magnolia peeking its tiny head out, a white rose (THE wedding flower)and just a hint of lily of the valley, which is one of the most expensive flowers known to man. These are flowers a high-end wedding florist would love, not to mention, the arrangement is gorgeous!
- Next, there is the blue Mason jar against that hazy gold and green light. This is a perfect nod to Elly’s Georgia roots, such a part of who she is - a Southern girl at heart, even though she loves living in her beloved St. Louis. When I see that filtered light on the cover I think of a humid, Southern night with just the right amount of bad behavior.
- Lastly, there is that swirl of white font that turns into a heart. And while it is absolutely a heart, I see something else in the swirl. I see an ample bottom of a plus size woman, which is a major theme in my book. I wanted a book where a gorgeous plus size woman was desired for who she was, rather than the person she became when she went on a diet.
All together, these images make up a perfect representation of the book that is Elly in Bloom.
And that is why I love my cover.
Thank you for letting me reveal it here on Book Cover Justice. What an honor!
Colleen Oakes, Author Elly in Bloom and Queen of Hearts
Again, I want to say a HUGE thank you to Colleen Oakes and BookSparksPR for choosing Book Cover Justice for this exclusive reveal and also another giant thank you to Colleen for sharing with us her love for the Elly in Bloom cover!
Be sure to check back in a few weeks for my review of Elly in Bloom!