Thursday, October 30, 2014

Renee Zellweger Has Lost Her Face

Renee Zellweger looks different than she did ten years ago. For one thing she's older and gravity does nasty things to a face. I know. For another, she may have had plastic surgery. Also she's not smiling the wide squinty-eyed grin that's made her famous. These days, she's closing her mouth and pursing it in that sour patch look that's also famous. I bet if she smiled, we'd recognize her again.

The reason we are all aghast at these new photos of America's darling is that it does not look like her. We stare at the photos and can see some similarities, like an impersonator, but there's not enough of Renee Zellweger there to help us make a positive identification. No. Sorry. It might be her, but we're just not sure. She'd need to say something like "You had me at hello," for us to be able to stop staring.

Russell Brand has a viral video making the rounds to tell us to stop obsessing on this and in theory that idea sounds about right. Except we want to know why we can't recognize an actress we were previously very familiar with. Why? What is it?
What Russell doesn't understand ( and maybe it's because he's a man, or mannish) is that we aren't abhorred because she looks awful. The woman in the picture is very pretty. Glamorous even. We are staring because we can't put our finger on exactly what is different, except maybe that he hair is swept to the side.
I, myself, took every facial feature and compared them. The nose is the same, the chin the same, the mouth, similar, even the eyes are almost the same. Maybe she had work done but would that make a person look almost unrecognizable? I guess. One account says she had some nip tuck action to get more/better movie roles. She hasn't had a big hit since Bridget Jones' Diary. And now she's dating this dude who has those numbers after his name like Bob Jones III, as if he's more important than the original Bob. I don't know. See how this has me riled up? What happened to Renee's darling face?

Of course she's older and no one knows better than me how that takes its toll on a face but even Kim Novak in her plasticized face on the Oscars last year looked like Kim Novak. The last time I saw someone look totally unlike themselves was Ivana Trump and still, she was recognizable.

Frances McDormand is speaking out these days about embracing her new old face with all it's wrinkles and character but then her new role is that of curmudgeonly Olive Kitteridge the Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Note: Frances and I are the same age and I'm going to try to embrace my new old face too. Really, I'm going to try.

So Russell Brand, forgive us but I'm sure there's some anthropological reason why we need to know what's different about Renee and why we care so much. Maybe in caveman days if someone returned from the hunt with a different looking face, it was a warning that they were going to bludgeon us to death in our sleeps and we all have that warning built in. I don't know.
And Renee is just not looking like Renee Zellweger at all. Just like this pic of her on the movie set this week in a brown wig. It's freaky how non-Renee Zellweger she looks. I bet even Kenny Chesney doesn't recognize her even though he was only married to the actress for about a week. What is it?

Anyone want to weigh in?

Kim Hornsby is an Amazon Bestselling Author of Suspense Novels and when she isn't writing seriously, she's narcissistically blogging.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Confessions of a Cover Snob

Can you judge a book by its cover?
You can and you should. A terrible cover could be a reflection on the writing or the story line. A great cover means the writer took the time and money to insure the cover was professional looking and the book probably had that kind of attention to detail too. Here's two examples of cover makeovers.

I see a great cover and think immediately that the author is probably award-winning, uses an editor, invested some money into making the book the best version it can be. Or that the writer has an agent and contract with a major publisher and they paid for an awesome cover, thereby telling me that the writer is 'good enough' to have an agent. I know, I know, times have changed with Indie Authors but I'm still living in the stone age in my sub-conscious and I can't make those thoughts go away.

That's not to say that there aren't some wonderful books out there with strange/bad covers. I have read some and written 5 star reviews. Those books that I'm thinking of now have new covers. Better covers. One that comes to mind that has a weird title and had a terrible cover is The Girl From Long Guyland. This is the new cover (which isn't much different or better than the first one) but in my estimation it doesn't do justice to the book.
 It was a great book especially if you grew up in the 60's and 70's and experienced the hippy days.

Another book that I loved but wasn't sure about the cover was The Dream Student by J.J. DiBenedetto.
He has new covers now that suit the storyline better. I'm wondering if sales are better than when he used cartoonish drawings on his covers. In my opinion the new cover is not only more like the wonderful story but more commercially popular.

I've changed covers many times. Just this morning I received the new, improved, souped up cover changes for my novel The Dream Jumper's Secret. I had my wizard cover artist Jen Henning add more suspense to the photo, make my name bigger, establish a full-time font for my name to be used always, change the tag line, and add some praise/small print. I love it!

For my first cover in this series, The Dream Jumper's Promise, I asked her to add some words too. The New York/Big Five Published look has lots of fine print usually and that's what I'm going for. I did this because I'm a Cover Snob and totally judge a book by it's cover. I look for little print so I can zoom in to see who endorsed their book, what awards were won, what's being said.

Here's an example of a terrific first cover that I think was provocative and unique with a single female on the front. She eventually went with Hachette for this series and after they re-released her indie series she got the standard couple in a state of foreplay for the new cover.

Font is important, placement of the name, the title, how much stuff is junking up the page, or how uncomfortably simple the cover looks.You want the cover to promise the reader something whether it's a crime, a romance, an adventure or even if it's just why is there a rose and a screwdriver on the cover of this book.
The cover models don't have to look exactly like the characters they represent but it shouldn't be a totally misleading promise. The hero in my suspense Necessary Detour has longish hair and looks similar to Sawyer on Lost. You can see that they went with a photo that didn't match the description except for hair color. But then if you sign a book over to a publisher, you don't get final say on the cover. Not really. If you have control over your cover, don't put Harvey Stables on the cover if your hero is slightly lean with blonde hair and glasses. Just saying. Or don't have a provocative cover of a bloody rose and knife if your story is an HEA romance, not crime.

I highly recommend using a cover artist and save yourself about 4 months of obsession with iStock photos, Dreamstime Photos, Hot Damn Photos and every other stock photo site in the world. You will drive yourself crazy if you don't have a very specific idea of what you're looking for and then stick to it. And that's time you could be writing, which is probably what you do well in the first place. Not cover design. Most designers will work with you and your vision anyhow. You can give them a thumbs up or down on anything they suggest. I fear I drive Jen Henning crazy but her emails always make her sound like Mary Poppins. Poor thing.

Covers matter greatly. As the Killion Group said recently in a workshop about covers, it's like the first date your reader has with your book. Show your game face. Put the contact lenses in, brush your hair, present yourself in the best light possible to insure your date doesn't stop at the door when they suddenly remember their grandmother is having surgery and they have to leave.

Kim Hornsby is the author of several full length novels on Amazon and other venues. Her latest series The Dream Jumper will release a third book in February or sooner. Her Christmas romance, Christmas in Whistler will launch December 1st.
Visit Kim at

Monday, October 20, 2014

Harvey Stables at ECWC in Bellevue on the Weekend!

If you read yesterday's post you know that I was plucked from obscurity at the ECWC -- the Romance Writers' of America Pacific Northwest Conference in Bellevue last weekend--to participate in a mock Romance Book photo shoot with the infamous Harvey Stables. Harvey of romance book cover fame.
 I was totally unprepared and aflutter. When Jen Jakes of The Killion Group curled her finger to beckon me to stand, I knew nothing good would come of it. Everyone knows Harvey in romance writer circles. I did not, but now I do. I want to liken him to Fabio for anyone out there who is unfamiliar with romance book covers but he's more beautiful than Fabio and way more interesting.
When Jen asked me to stand up to be her patsy, I was the much envied gal in the audience who got to participate in the photo shoot. You could cut the envy in the room with a knife as I walked trance-like to Jen and stepped into my dowdy brown poor village girl costume and donned the ever stylish puff-ball hat.
In an effort to save my dignity I took my glasses off but then couldn't find Harvey and had to put them on again.
I can't say that I wasn't embarrassed to be so close to Harvey Stables because I was very embarrassed. Not embarrassed at being up in front of the group. Just close to his beautifulness. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to be the center of attention. But, what made this funny was our difference in ages, and our different looks. He's got black hair and I have blonde. (kidding.) He is 6' 4" and I'm pretty much came up to his belly button. He's an entrancingly beautiful man and I just scarfed down a big lunch and then forgot to brush my hair or reapply lipstick.
I was in a fog of fan girl idolatry up there in front of the group, with Harvey. He is just plain beautiful to look at and up close, he's even better. Harvey Stables is a protoplasmic work of art. I realize he works hard to keep that body fit but his presence just plain commands attention. He's big, very big, with a dark and brooding look like he could sweep you up on his horse and ride away with you. Think Old Spice Commercial. There is a presence that takes your breath away. Understand, I've met George Harrison, performed with Jamie Foxx and sold shoes to Gene Hackman but this was so very different.
In a show of good sportsmanship, we posed, stripped off clothes, coats, ascots and let our hair hang out, literally. I have to add here that this man's hair is freakishly silky and healthy.
There's a shot of me with my hands in his hair and at that moment I'm actually thinking of the female pattern baldness in our family and how my grandmother and mother would have loved to run their fingers through Harvey Stable's hair. Truth. We are a family of thin hair and appreciate a good mop. That's what I remember the most about when he took his shirt off and I ran my hands through his hair.
Putting our foreheads together, lips parted and holding that pose for minutes was difficult, especially because I held my breath.
Someone in the audience had just run up to give me a breath mint which I consumed at a furious rate, but still. All I could think about was how over the hill I am now. Had we done this 10 years earlier, I might have leaned into him a bit more. I was still a contender back then. Now, that puff ball hat kind of suits me. Dove Moment over here please.
In jest, Harvey and I pretended to escape to a storeroom and came back in all breathless and exhausted like we'd had time to do anything but turn around and come back out. It was a funny schtick and when I turned to the group to say I felt like I was in a dream and soon I was going to wake up, I really meant it. You know those people on game shows that win the jackpot and can't think of what to say? That was kind of me. I got a little floaty. I felt a little dreamy.

The funniest thing is this:
I never understood this fangirl thing about big muscular men at the Romance conferences. I used to be an actress. I once made my rent money singing, acting and doing almost this same thing. I've won acting awards, opened shows for The Pointer Sisters, Bob Hope, Jay Leno. I'd get paid to dress like Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, whoever, and roam conventions getting my photo taken with men. Or women. Usually men. I was what they call 'atmosphere' and although I never became Harvey Stables famous, I made money and loved this work. This is why I'm usually on the hospitality committee at conventions. I'm friendly. I guess I think I'm getting a pay check at the end of the conference. I used to get paid to get people mingling and be entertaining.
When I moved from Maui to Whistler Canada, I produced convention shows as well as acting and singing in them. I hired people like Harvey to be atmosphere. Not exactly like Harvey because he's totally unique and quite famous from what I can gather. I hired starving actors.
This was my life in both Maui and Whistler for twenty years. Last weekend, before my photo shoot I'd watched Harvey work the crowd graciously, as The Killion Group took photos of him with all the women who lined up. He gave just enough of himself to make each woman feel special, but not too much to be unprofessional. I was intrigued. From an anthropological standpoint, you understand.
At The Killion Group workshop, I almost didn't sit in the front row because Harvey was already sitting there, but I have a thing about committing to being present and not lurking near the back like I might sneak out. I sat in the front row, a few seats down from Harvey and I have to admit, he has a physical presence that is formidable. He's a big guy. 6'4". Loads of pounds of muscle and hair but his face is so classically handsome, you can't help but stare. Apparently he was a skinny kid and more so when he graduated high school. This makes him more interesting. Especially because I graduated as a hefty girl.

If you've ever Googled Harvey Stables, and I did after having a great conversation with him, you'd see that he thought he'd go into police work, went to college, played football professionally for Montreal and the B.C. Lions, was a firefighter and is now a full time trainer/entrepreneur. He teaches people to keep fit and stay trim. He works closely with charities to raise money and has a soft spot in his heart for the Breast Cancer cause. I hope I'm not bursting anyone's bubble by saying he's married to an accomplished photographer and they have two young boys who play football. Guess what? He's a real person.
After the workshop when I was selling books at the Bookfair, Harvey was still on the clock but walking around in jeans, T-shirt and a ball cap that had the sticker SLUT on it, most likely given to him by one of the SLUT women walking around the conference. Pretty sure it was an acronym. I waved to him shyly and he wandered over. You know that feeling when you see the guy you like and your heart jumps? It was kind of like that but more like "oh there's the gorgeous man who had to pretend to do a romantic scene with me." Turns out Harvey and I have more in common than posing for The Killion Group's mock photo shoot. I asked if he was Canadian. Yes, he is. I said I'm from Belleville, Ontario. He said "Me too."
Now, if you've ever been to Belleville, and I'm sure you haven't, it's rare to meet anyone else who knows where that is. Belleville is a small town of 35,000 on Lake Ontario, 100 miles east of Toronto, tucked into a picturesque bay, full of Victorian houses and friendly people. So you might understand when I say I laughed and said "Yea, right." Turns out Harvey went to Quinte High School, I went to rival, Moira Secondary School. We both went to the Quinte mall, Zwick's Island, Reid's Dairy. We talked Belleville for a while, both of us stopping to periodically say "Wow! Belleville!"
I'm older and I could have babysat him but still, Belleville! I never meet anyone from my small hometown. And, we both have spouses who are cancer survivors.
After promising to be Facebook friends, it was time to move on for the infamous Harvey Stables so I pressed my book in his extremely large hands and bid him goodbye.

Harvey, if you are reading this post I want you to know that you did a fine job at the conference on Saturday and you have convinced at least one writer to consider having a gorgeous man cover for her book. Someone who never would have thought to do that. Never. Knowing you did a San Diego beach photo shoot recently, I'm thinking I need to write a story about a hero who battles bad guys in the surf who are trying to steal a woman's puff ball hat.

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Kim Hornsby is the Award Winning Author of THE DREAM JUMPER'S PROMISE as well as an Amazon Bestselling Author and Conference Speaker on Self Confidence.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I'm a Romance Cover Model Now

Hello Readers! Just a quick check in to report that I'm back from the ECWC conference and tomorrow I hope to blog on what I learned from all the workshops I attended.
But in the meantime, here's me working hard at The Killion Group's workshop on Book Covers. Of course I got hauled up out of the audience to be the guinea pig. I had to dress like a dowdy village girl, swept off her feet by a soldier in the revolution. In the photo to the left Harvey had taken off his jacket and I'd removed my puffball hat in quivering anticipation. The audience was laughing so hard, people from other workshops were leaving to come see what was happening. Afterwards I felt like I had PTSD and hardly remember the 15 minute shoot at all.
This might have been the highlight of my whole weekend and not for the obvious reason but wait until you hear what I have in common with the gorgeous romance cover model, Harvey Stables. Tomorrow I'll blog about how Harvey and I are actually very closely connected. I'll also share some extra pics of Harvey.

#maydecemberromance #HarveyisaGoodSport #bucketlist

Feel free to leave a comment as long as it isn't "Poor Harvey!"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Emerald City Writers' Conference

Tomorrow I leave for the Emerald City Writers' Conference. (Notice the apostrophe after the s in writers? Only writers know that kind of stuff, right?)
The gathering of romance writers usually involves lots of books, business cards, middle aged women (hello), chocolate, networking, workshops, AV problems, camaraderie, and wine. I've been to this GSRWA conference probably six or seven times and can attest to all those things. The only one I hope to be left out of this year is the AV problems but when you're dealing with a woman who did not even have computers in her school and learned everything she knows about devices from her children, it might be me who has the problems. I know I had them two years ago at my workshop titled How to be Rockstar Confident.
My 12 year old helped me with my power point presentation -- How to Survive Your Virgin Year of Being Published. Apparently, she learned power point in third grade and I had to remind her that I know how to do a French Braid and she doesn't.
At this point, I've laid out my outfits and jewelry which is almost as important as learning things in workshops, have my bookfair books ready to go with QR codes as well, can't find my banner stating
I'm an Amazon Bestselling Author which is just as well because it's kinda braggy, colored my hair, my nails, charged my camera, wrapped my gift basket and have cleaned out the car for the airport pickup of the literary agent, Kathleen Rushall. I'm 24 hours away from leaving the house. It's only a 12-15 minute drive over to the Westin in Bellevue so I'll be sleeping at home this weekend but I've told hubby and kids that I'm not available, incommunicado, and if they see me just walk on by with no questions or complaints about laundry.

I caught the shortest cold in history on Monday and am now almost completely well again but the lingering headache might be just enough to keep me from overdrinking and making an ass out of myself by being too friendly. Yes, this is actually a worry of mine, with or without wine. I'm a too friendly person, assuming familiarity as soon as someone smiles at me. This year, I'll try to hold back a little, remain a tiny bit aloof. Oh except when I am on the Hospitality Desk from 3-5 tomorrow with Rhonda Beardsley who I hope is a hugger.

This is my gift basket called Where's The Beach and includes my books, candy martini mixings, mac nuts, Katy Perry Eyelashes, Gorgeous Necklace and earrings, a packable Riviera sunhat, shot glass, keychain and more.

See you at the conference and if you happen to notice me at the Bookfair selling books and giving away sleep masks, please come say hi. I promise to not hug you.

Kim Hornsby
Amazon Bestselling Author
The Dream Jumper's Promise
The Dream Jumper's Secret
Necessary Detour

Friday, October 10, 2014

Winner of Chanticleer Books Paranormal Mystery/Thriller!

Free Today Until Midnight on October 17th!

The Dream Jumper's Secret

Book 2 in The Dream Jumper Series

Here's some info on the first book:


1.    226 Reviews, Most are 4 and 5 Stars, and that says something.

2.    Surprise Ending, Twists that most people don't see coming

3.    Set on Maui!

4.     Publishers Weekly Review

"Hornsby has written a fascinating and engaging paranormal romance, skillfully presenting both Tina's mourning and a vivid picture of Hawaiian culture. The relationship between Jamey and Tina and Tina's love for Hank are believable and richly portrayed."
- Publisher's Weekly
5. Winner of Chanticleer Books and Reviews 2013 Paranormal Mystery/Thriller
6. Nominated for Best Indie First Book by Indie Rom/Con
7. FREE! No investment but time.

8. Sharks 
You won't like this story if:
1. You only read gory thrillers (no blood to speak of)
2. You are looking for erotic (Steamy romance but not erotic)
3. You don't normally like Suspense/Mystery
4. You can't handle a little paranormal (this book includes paranormal aspects like sharing dreams)
If you just decided you won't like my book, maybe you could still click "buy" for free and help out a struggling author. :)