Lies of the Magpie Ch 26 & 27

Woman in grass reading book

Ep. 77 Enjoy these FREE sample chapters from the audio version of Lies of the Magpie.

In Chapter 26, Maleah discovers a computer file where Aaron has learned photo-editing by practicing on a picture of her. She compares the woman in the before and after photos and believes she is seeing how Aaron wishes he change her flaws. 

The tension builds and in Chapter 27, Maleah feels that her chest is going to explode. She needs help, but fears the ER will pump her full of psychotropic drugs, lock her in the psych ward, and take away her children. In a desperate cry for help, she knocks on an old friend’s door at midnight. 

Lies of the Magpie Ch 24 & 25

Amazon #1 New Release Lies of the Magpie

Ep. 76 Today I’m sharing FREE audio sample chapter 24 & 25 from my best-selling memoir, Lies of the Magpie.

In Ch. 24, Maleah finally schedules her 6-week postpartum checkup. Aaron wants her to ask Dr. Woods about postpartum depression. Maleah is unsure of what to ask.

In Ch. 25, Maleah flashes back to memories of “episodes” that happened after Kate’s birth since she is experiencing similar things now. She questions whether she has postpartum depression and questions whether medication will help or make things worse.

BONUS AUDIO: Lies of the Magpie Ch 22 & 23

Lies of the Magpie Readers

Listen to sample chapters from Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release, Lies of the Magpie, a memoir and discover the book readers are calling “riveting.” 

Things begins to unravel for Maleah as she juggles running a business and caring for newborn Jack while Kate starts kindergarten and Tanner resists giving up his crib to his new brother. 

Homesewn Panties

Maleah Day Warner Homesewn Panties

Ep. 73 Join author Maleah Day Warner for sample selections from her next book, Homesewn Panties. Maleah is coming of age and finding her place between Mormonism and Feminism all while wearing homesewn clothes.

BONUS AUDIO: Lies of the Magpie Ch 18 & 19

Lies of the Magpie Book Cover

Ep. 72 Today’s episode is a FREE bonus audio selection from Maleah’s memoir, Lies of the Magpie featuring Chapters 18 -19.

In these chapters, baby Jack has joined the family in a hectic way and life for the Warners is spinning like a merry-go-round. These chapters pull readers into the heart and mind of a woman who has just given birth and is struggling to manage the needs of a newborn along with family life and obligations that were already in full motion before baby Jack joined the picture. 

In Ch. 18 a near drowning at a resort pool causes Maleah to come apart at the seams. And Ch. 19 introduces us to that dubious character, Mr Why? who Maleah must entertain while struggling to remember, “What is that one important thing I needed to do today?”

Stay tuned for exciting announcements about the paperback release of Lies of the Magpie.

Claim Your Dream: How I Started My Author Journey

Claim Your Author Dream

Ep. 71 Do you have a dream buried inside you? Listen to hear Maleah answer a reader question about how she started her writing journey and became a published author of the memoir, Lies of the Magpie. Learn 4 Power Perspectives to help you claim your dream, break through the fear barrier, and take the next best step toward your heart-felt desire.

Planting Seeds: What If I Don’t See Results

Planting Seeds What If You Don't See Results

Ep. 70. Do you ever feel that you are working and working, but not seeing results? In the meantime, it seems that everything your neighbor touches turns to gold. So why bother? Why keep trying?

Listen today to learn three important truths about work and results. The goal for this podcast is to help you feel satisfied with your efforts and motivated to keep sowing seeds. Thanks for tuning in.

Planting Seeds: The Truth about Work and Results

I.  Not Everything You Plant Will Grow

I have planted so many things that haven’t grown.

In Arizona, our yard was desert landscaped which means a lot of rocks, but I wanted to grow something. Figuring that zucchini will grow anywhere, in any climate and any type of soils, I cleared away a patch of rocks, worked the soil, and planted zucchini. It never really produced. Later, I learned that homes built in Arizona are treated with a termite barrier, and if you dig around the house’ foundation, you violate the barrier. Oops. I hope the people living there now don’t have termite issues.

Every year since moving to Utah, I have attempted to grow peas. When I pull out the pea seeds, my husband asks why I bother planting peas when I can buy a 5 pound bag already shelled from Costco for $5 (and 5 lbs is more than I’ve ever successfully produced from my garden). It’s a legitimate question. For me there are a lot of reasons. For one, peas do well in cooler temperatures and so they’re some of the first vegetables you can plant in the season. By March I am done with winter and hankering to get out a shovel, turn some dirt and get something planted in the earth. And there is something magical about picking a pod off of a plant and not knowing how many peas will be inside when you crack it open. Maybe there will be two but maybe, this pod will have 8 or 9 or 10 peas. My tongue and tummy feel so bounteous when I slide my teeth down the open pod, delivering those fresh, sweet, green garden buttons to my mouth. But more than that, there is something powerful about activating the law of harvest in my life.

But it can be so frustrating when I’ve tilled and toiled and watered and weeded and there are only a few curly sprigs of growth to show for my labors, particularly when I look over the fence into the neighbor’s yard and see that their crops are thriving.

It can be easy to think that people have a green thumb and everything they touch shoots up like Jack’s beanstalk. But this isn’t true.

Last year, my cub scouts came over and helped me plant two rows of carrot seed. We planned to eat healthy, sweet, crunchy carrot sticks for den meetings in August. But not ONE carrot grew!

It can be easy to think that people have a green thumb and everything they touch shoots up like Jack’s beanstalk. But this isn’t true. Gardening is a gamble. Not everything you plant will grow. Not everything you cultivate will result in a bumper crop.

The Story of The White House Garden

from the book Becoming by Michelle Obama

II. The Harvest Takes Time

Story of Katherine Heigel becoming an actress.

III.  The Glory Days of the Harvest are Brief

The best example that ties all three principles together is my peach tree. Some years, my peach tree yields bushels and bushels of sweet, delicious fruit. Other years, due to late frost or insects, we have no peaches. But even during a year of bumper crop, all those peaches are ready at the same time. We only have a period of two to three weeks to eat all those peaches fresh before they are gone. I always wish I could change this and spread the harvest out so we could eat fresh peaches all summer, but this is the way of the harvest. And as soon as the peaches are gone, it’s time to fertilize the tree, mulch the soil, and begin preparing for the next harvest. We work 11 months to care for the tree for 1 month of fruit. Sounds about right.

Conclusion

When I get frustrated and ready to give up, I’ve learned my frustration is usually because I’m focussing too much on results, especially if I’m comparing my results to the results of others. What works best is for me to focus on my efforts and leave the results to God. There are so many factors outside of my control, but I can control my effort. I know that if I keep sowing, keep working, eventually something will grow.

Lies of the Magpie Cover Reveal

Lies of the Magpie Cover Reveal

Lies of the Magpie Cover Reveal!

It’s time to reveal the FINAL COVER for Lies of the Magpie.

The final decision came down to one surprising element. (Read the end to learn the deciding factor.)

Thanks to everyone who has followed, made observations, and given feedback through this process.

There is a LOT of thought, calculation, and psychology that goes into designing a cover. If you are interested in the behind-the-scenes process of choosing the final cover, below I will walk you through the concept and evolution of each cover, the audience response, the pros & cons, and ultimately why the cover was or was not chosen.

If you just want to see the FINAL COVER, skip to the end. 

Commissioned Artwork

Cover Reveal Lies of the Magpie a memoir by Maleah Day Warner

The first cover was illustrated and painted by artist Bethany Baker three years ago. Check out her work at Midsummer Studios. She will create a custom whimsical portrait of your child, family, or fiancee.

Concept: “The Carnival of Life” Watercolor. Illustrates a mother’s role escorting her child on the rides of life.

Pros: I love the symbolism injected in custom artwork. The red balloon represents the woman’s hopes and dreams. The weight of the magpie is holding down the ballon, preventing it from rising to the height of its potential. Bethany designed the image to wrap around the book’s front and back cover and included space for the title and author.

Cons: I commissioned Bethany to create this cover in 2017 when I was considering self-publishing. Since then, I’ve learned the importance of matching the cover mood and style to the book’s genre. This painted image conveys a children’s picture book more than an adult memoir.

Commercial Artwork

In March I began working with my publisher’s cover designer. I gave her a synopsis of my book as well as the genre and overall tone and said I’d like a magpie and possibly a necklace. The following are the concepts she created. 

Woman’s Profile in Silhouette

Cover Reveal Lies of the Magpie a memoir by Maleah Day Warner

Concept: Vector image. This was the first design I previewed from the designer and it took my breath away. Seeing this made my story come alive.

Audience Response: Facebook Favorite. Marketing Specialist’s Favorite. This was the clear winner of all the vector images. 

Melanie: “To me it signifies there is something in all of us. From the outline of the women and the bird within.”

Colleen: “Creative flow and I love the color”

Kerry: “The theme Lies of the Magpie and it whispering in your ear fits.”

Shanda:  “It needs the silhouette of the girl for the human touch effect.”

Jill: “It draws me in. My kids who love to write voted this one as well.

Pros: The woman’s profile in silhouette hints she has a personal struggle. Something is stopping her from facing life straight on, and you get the hint the magpie plays a big role. Clear and easy to read.

Cons: Hard to find a con other than the weight of the image is heavy on the left and the mood is a bit depressing.

Woman at the Window

Concept: Live photography magpie at window. This was one of my early favorites.

Audience Response: Facebook Winner

Kylene:  “By far my favorite.”

Clarissa: “Caught my eye quick.

Tasha: “Intriguing.”

Lisa: “My least favorite. I find it a little confusing.”

Pros:  The image evokes curiosity and lets you know this will be an emotional story. Lovely use of black & white with hints of color.

Cons: Ultimately the cover is too confusing to understand at first glance. There is a lot going on. The title gets lost in the image. 

Magpie on a Tree Branch

Lies of the Magpie by Maleah Warner Book Cover

Concept: Live Photography of Magpie

Audience Response:

Larita: “Both Lies and Magpie are distinct and pop out. Neither words are mixed into the photo. So clear and grab at you.”

Laurel: “I like the emptiness and use of the negative space.”

Ryan: “Nice and simple. No images conflicting with the title.

Pros: People like this cover for its clarity and use of white space. 

Cons: Gives the impression of being a nonfiction nature book rather than literary memoir.

Magpie in Flight

Lies of the Magpie by Maleah Warner Book Cover

Concept: Thieving magpie flies away with the story.

Audience response: Editor’s Favorite.

Brooke: “Like the colors and letter font. Love the bird in flight

Ashley: “The blue one!”

Pros: The color and unique font. Reminds people of the book Wonder.

Cons: While the font is awesome, it’s also difficult to read. And it’s hard to tell if this book is for teens or adults. 

Magpie with Woman in Cage

Lies of the Magpie by Maleah Warner Book Cover

Concept: Woman in Cage. In an unintentional effort to confuse my cover designer and complicate the process, I found this image of a woman in a cage which I LOVED. My designer created a dozen variations of this concept including the magpie holding the cage by a chain in its talons. This is the cover I’ve had the hardest time letting go of.

Audience Response: Publisher’s Favorite. Author’s favorite (except for the final cover).

Kris Stena “It intrigues all of us in my family, makes us want to know why she’s in there.”

Sashleigha: “Girl in the cage for sure.

Tessy: “Shows there is a story within the book.”

Jean: “This is the most intriguing to me… it’s like… hmmmm. what’s this book all about???”

Roberti: “This one  feels very depressing and  personally, I would not pick it up.”

Pros: I love the idea of a woman trapped in the cage while the bird is outside calling the shots. A lot of power and metaphor in the image. Also conveys there is an intricate story within the pages.

Cons: Some readers were turned off by the oppressive tone of this cover image. Some confused it for a story about domestic violence.

Final Cut: While intriguing, this cover could trigger too much negative emotion and might mislead readers to thinking it’s a story of abuse.

Magpie Whispers in Woman’s Ear

Cover Reveal Lies of the Magpie a memoir by Maleah Day Warner

Concept: Live Photography with whispering magpie.

Audience Response: Mr. Warner’s Favorite. A Facebook Favorite, this cover tied in votes with the Magpie at the Window.

Brooke: “It looks like the magpie is whispering lies.

Emily: “This is my favourite – it’s alluring, intense, emotive.”

Janine: “I like this one best. I was intrigued and wanted to know what the magpie was whispering in her ear….”

Lori: “The visuals are mentally stimulating and curiosity evoking.”

Pros: This cover showcases what a rockstar the designer is. Look at the lighting on the woman’s hair! So much emotion. Title is clear and easy to read. 

Cons: My daughter thought this looked like the cover of a romance instead of memoir. Cover reveals too much of the story.

Final Cut: This cover almost needs a warning that says “Spoiler Alert.” It gives away too much too soon.

And the Final Book Cover Is . . .

Magpie with Necklace

Lies of the Magpie by Maleah Day Warner Book Cover

Concept: Simple illustration of magpie with locket in its beak.

Audience Response: Gotcha! I didn’t show this image on the Facebook or Instagram polls because I wanted it to be a surprise!

Abigail: “Love this. Looks very clean and professional.”

Cons: Interestingly, when shown to fellow authors from my publishers group, NOT ONE person voted for this cover. And yet this is the cover. WHY? There is a lot of calculation and psychology that goes into cover selection.

Pros:

  1. Title stands out: One strength of this book is an amazing title, and this cover lets the title do the talking.
  2. Clear: Many readers select a book based on a thumbnail image on Kindle, Overdrive, or Barnes & Noble online. These small images need to be clear and readable.
  3. Simple: If a cover is too complicated or confusing, a reader might assume the book will be too confusing and will pass it by.
  4. Tone: This book might be about postpartum depression, but the story is NOT depressing. This cover conveys a book filled with humor, colorful metaphor, propelling symbolism, and  narrative that is almost cartoon-like in its perspective on the struggle of family life.
  5. Curiosity: You can’t deny that this little magpie perks your curiosity. What is it doing with that necklace in its beak? This cover hints at mystery and surprise within the pages of the book. The reader anticipates being taken on a fascinating journey of discovery.

Final Cut: Ultimately, one factor finalized the decision to go with this book cover.

MEN!

Yes. You men were the deciding vote!

One might think a book that recounts pregnancy and childbirth in explicit detail might be just for women. However, the beta readers who finished fastest and had the most to say have all been men. A majority of my first endorsements were from men.

Perhaps this is because men have always wondered what goes on in a woman’s head and this book gives them a front row seat to one woman’s psyche. 

Ultimately, the final selling point was choosing a cover that wouldn’t be a barrier to men reading this powerful story. In addition to all the above factors, this is a cover a man could hold in an airport or have on his office desk or nightstand without appearing to be reading women’s romance.

What do you think?  Were you surprised?

I’d love to hear your comments. Thanks for following this cover journey.

3 Common Mental Health Mistakes Pt 2

Maleah Warner Power Podcast image Mental Health Solutions

Today’s episode continues the discussion about common mistakes we make when responding to mental health issues. Join us to learn how fear is fertilizer for mental health issues and how forcing the “get well” can also exacerbate problems. 

#2 FEAR

Fear is fertilizer when it comes to mental health issues.

Why is our first instinct to be afraid of mental health?

Because, mental health has been horribly stigmatized in movies and in society. The problems is lumping everyday mental health issues under the same umbrella as insanity or psychosis. It’s time to end the belief that a mental health disorder equates to being crazy. Additionally, it’s time to end the assumption that a mental health disorder is a character weakness or bad behavior.

#3 Forcing the Get Well

Our human tendency is to fix anything that’s broken. On the surface, this sounds like a noble effort. But what about when broken is beautiful? What about if broken is just right.

Our instinct to rush in to repair anything that’s broken may send a message that our loved ones aren’t enough as they are. We have human bodies and human brains, and often our to-do lists far exceed our human ability. When we fall short, we feel frustrated with ourselves for not being able to perform at a higher level. What if life isn’t about productivity? What if life is about presence? What if you have a period of time when you can only function at 50% of normal? That’s okay! What if you feel yucky? That’s okay. You can feel yucky and still be a good mom. You may not be a Pinterest mom. That’s okay! You’re children don’t want a the Pinterest version of you, they want the real YOU.

SHOW NOTES:

Ep. 68 3 Common Mental Health Mistakes Part 1:

Brain on Fire by Susan Cahalan: Book or Film

Misdiagnosed Mental Illness Ep. 18: https://maleahwarner.com/leaning-into-discomfort/

Film: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Untamed by Glennon Doyle: Book