UPDATE: My YA Gothic Suspense/Gothic Romance is now published under my original title, The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove. I've always liked this title, but my publisher's marketing department replaced it with Dark Companion

My young adult gothic novel, Dark Companion, has a new cover by designer Dar Albert of Wicked Smart Designs! I thought the cover by Tor/Macmillan was beautiful, but I wasn't happy that my multiracial protagonist was "whitewashed." The American Library Association's YALSA had an article back in 2012 discussing whitewashing on YA book covers.

Is it a big or little thing? It was a big thing for me, because one of my recurring themes is being Other in society. My publisher had purchased a beautiful photo for the cover art, but the girl didn't look like my brown-skinned character Jane Williams. And I thought this contributed to the perception that my character was not a person of color, even though this is clearly stated in the novel.

But being multiracial is only one aspect of Jane's outsider status. She's also poor and without a family. We all need our families.

Which reminds me, my favorite brother informed me recently that there is no such word as "reoccurring." Seriously? I wish someone had corrected me before because I use that word all the dang time, and I'm sure my pals are cracking up afterward. I will have to interrogate them and find out.

I love Dar's design with the small cottage among the trees, the sense of danger, the red petals, and the girl who is looking straight out at the reader. Because Jane Williams is direct and serious.

Dar also designed the fun new covers for my Casa Dracula series.