Just in time for my birthday, I received an early present: the first official copy of the new Protectors hardcover.

I’d never designed a hardcover book before, so holding that book was a bit of a miracle. You see, we use Createspace for our paperbacks, but they don’t do hardcovers. That’s one of the reasons we’ve never done a hardcover before. So, this was my first foray into the world of Ingram Spark and Lightning Source, and the process is quite different.

For example, they don’t send physical proofs. So, you review it electronically, and then hope you don’t find any mistakes in the physical product. That’s all well and good for the interior, but you can’t really review the cover properly that way. Those of you who know me know I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so that concept scared the hell out of me.

Designing dust jackets are quite different from designing paperback covers—that wrap around the cover for the flaps, for example, is tricky. And because of the way the proof process worked, I knew I only had one shot to get it right.

So, when the first copy arrived (yes, I ordered one early…I needed to know), it was like a little miracle. It was a real book. As in a book you’d pull off the shelf at Powell’s. But I made it. That took a while for my brain to process.

And yes, I know that’s ridiculous. I’ve created hundreds of books. But for some reason, that hardcover was like winning a gold medal in the Olympics for me.

And then, I prepped for my next event: designing my first limited edition hardcover.

And tomorrow, you can buy them both.

Protectors, if you haven’t read about it yet, is Edgar and Shamus award-nominated author Kris Nelscott’s latest novel. It launches a new series telling the stories of three strong and very diverse women. Protectors features all three and is an origin story of sorts.

Here’s the synopsis:


A former combat nurse, a former legal secretary, and the owner of one of the first women-only gyms form an unlikely alliance in this fast-paced and riveting new work by the acclaimed historical mystery novelist Kris Nelscott.

The novel opens on the day of the Moon landing, July 20, 1969, two years after the Summer of Love changed Berkeley forever, and left lots of broken teenagers in its wake.

One of the first (if not the first) women-only gyms in the nation and the start of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement bring June “Eagle” Eagleton, Valentina “Val” Wilson, and Pamela “Pammy” Griffin together.

They never intended to face the kidnappings and murders of college students. But no one else paid attention.

An amazing trip into the experiences and lives of 1969 Berkeley told with riveting attention to detail. A read that will keep you turning pages into the late night and shock you at the same time.


You might recognize Val from the Smokey Dalton novel Stone Cribs. And you might remember Eagle from the Fiction River: Hidden in Crime story “Combat Medic.” Plus, you can read more about Pammy in “Blaming the Arsonist,” which is available on Kris’s website this week as her free fiction offering.

Protectors, which releases Tuesday, Oct. 17, continues those background stories and sets the stage for a new start for all of them. The novel is available in ebook, trade paperback, hardcover and limited-edition hardcover. You can find more information about all of those editions and buy links here.

And now that I have two hardcovers under my belt, you can expect more from WMG. Maybe in time for Christmas…

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.