Isn't Just for Zorro!

By Pam Hillman
The design team at Tyndale House put a lot of thought into the cover for my novel Claiming Mariah which released in January. With readers shopping online, covers need to stand out as thumbnails in online media…places like Amazon, B&N, CBD, Goodreads, facebook, blogs, and twitter. The goal is to seer that image into readers’ minds with a red hot poker, and Tyndale had the fire blazing when they worked this cover.

Using the Z theory that readers who learned to read left to right in a Z shaped pattern, the design team at Tyndale really branded Claiming Mariah as a western of the first order. The reader’s gaze is immediately drawn to the gorgeous model’s intriguing profile in the top left quadrant of the cover. Next, the eye automatically moves to the right to the threatening storm clouds, another visual that sets the stage for a stormy ride…just what the reader ordered!

The eye then zigs downward across the center of the cover to the bottom left. This natural path takes the viewer’s gaze across the stunning treatment of the words CLAIMING MARIAH splayed across the center in big bold brown letters. The rope and star accents are little touches that tie the cover together nice and neat. By this time, the reader is hooked, but of course their eyes have been trained to keep moving to the end of the Z, so they trip very happily across PAM HILLMAN to the silhouette of a cowboy on his horse in the bottom right hand corner, cementing very effectively that this is a western romance.

All of the above takes the viewer maybe thirty seconds and most don’t even realize the natural order of this inspection. After that initial look that happens as fast as Zorro’s sword cuts a Z, viewers stop and really look at the cover again. They see the well-balanced color combination, how the shades of tan, brown, and blue all work together to bring out the highlights in the heroine’s hair and shadowed profile, tying it all together with the colors of the majestic mountains and the hint of a brewing storm in the background. Even the light peeking over the mountains is symbolic of a bright future for Slade and Mariah.

And, last, viewers notice the icing on the proverbial cake: how the sweep of Mariah’s lashes against her cheeks and the angle of her profile pins her wistful gaze directly on Slade.

It goes without saying that I absolutely adore this cover. The minute I saw it, I fell in love and couldn't think of one thing that I would change. I’m hoping and praying for Claiming Mariah to make it into print someday, and nothing would make me happier than for this cover to be along for the ride.

Twitter: or @PamHillman

ABOUT AUTHOR: A multi-published author in short fiction and non-fiction, Pam Hillman continues to stretch her wings as a writer of inspirational fiction set in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Code of the West has always resonated with the internal fabric on which Pam was raised: that of hard work, honesty, and being a good neighbor to someone in need.

Born east of the Mississippi and a hundred years too late, Pam still boasts of wrangling calves, milking cows and putting up hay, first as a child growing up in Mississippi, and later with her own personal hero, Iran, on their family farm.

A voracious reader as a child, Pam especially enjoyed stories involving the great Westward expansion, and television shows such as Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Gunsmoke. The western writer, Louis L’Amour, kept Pam mesmerized with his tales of cowboys and Indians, outlaws, prim schoolteachers, hot dry deserts and boom towns.

Pam’s love of the old west and her personal knowledge of country life bring authenticity to her work and depth to her characters, something that has been recognized many times in the industry through writer’s awards.

Her work has placed in dozens of writer’s contests, including being a four-time finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart contest for unpublished novelists with Claiming Mariah, her second novel, winning the coveted Golden Heart. Her debut novel, Stealing Jake, is a 2013 Epic eBook Awards finalist.

Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,
Claiming Mariah

Claiming Mariah Links:

Claiming Mariah Amazon link:
            Claiming Mariah B&N link:
            Claiming Mariah CBD link:
Claiming Mariah Goodreads link:
Claiming Mariah 1st Chapter:

To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.
Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’
Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.

And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.

(3 Pewter Bookmarks from Deirdre’s Handmade Jewelry PLUS 40% off coupon at Deirdre’s online store. Click link to register and for coupon code)
March 7th: The Borrowed Book

Link to all Stops on Blog Tour Including Dates: Permalinks will be updated as soon as possible after posts go live.

The Prize Vault is open at Pam Hillman, Author Events. New prizes offered weekly (ebooks, books, gift cards, handcrafted gifts made in Mississippi, bookmarks, etc.) with a grand prize of a Kindle or Nook (winners choice) on March 31st.

Claiming Mariah Blurb:

In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Fredrick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.

CONGRATS PAM on your new book. THANKS for letting us know about ALL THE PRIZES and CELEBRATING GOING ON!! WOW!!

I do love this book cover and Blessings to you on your writing adventures. Thanks for including me on this one.

Nora St.Laurent


  1. What fun, Nora! Thanks for having me on your blog.

    Speaking of covers, there's a poll on Goodreads called That book cover is Beautiful! Claiming Mariah is currently #31 out of 168. Feel free to hop over and VOTE on the cover! :)

  2. GREAT NEWS Pam!! THRILLED that you could stop by and talk about your book and the book cover process. FUN!