Literary Lagniappe

Bloopers, bonus features, and behind the scenes views from all your favorite romances

Getting a Makeover by Valerie J. Clarizio


I’m so excited to be here and I’m taking this opportunity to reveal the new makeover for my first published novella, Cookies for Santa, which was the fourth book I started, third one finished, and the first one published.  Wow – that was a mouthfulJ

I was an aspiring author willing to do almost anything to get noticed by a publisher or agent.  I had already completed two full-length novels and was in the process of querying the daylights out of them when I stumbled upon a submission call for Christmas stories for an anthology.  That said, I thought I’d give short stories a shot. I started writing what I thought would be a story in the neighborhood of 20,000 words, but when I reached that word count there was still more to tell.  Additionally, I fell in love with my hero, Nick Spinelli, and couldn’t stop writing about him.  YES, I developed a fictional character crush.  I dreamt about him, I fantasized about him, I even considered renaming my cat Nick Spinelli.

Though the story was too long for the anthology, the publisher contracted for it as a stand-alone.  Woo Hoo!  But it didn’t stop there, that darn Nick Spinelli kept popping up in my mind.  Evidently, he had another story to tell and he was relentless about it until my fingers hit the keyboard.  Three months later, novella two in the series was completed and contracted for by the same publisher.


Now for the makeover news:  After I submitted the second book in the Nick Spinelli mystery series, my publisher suggested a cover makeover and title change for the first book to more appropriately brand the series.  So here it is…this is my first blog post, not only revealing the new book cover and title for the first novella in the Nick Spinelli mystery series, but also the second book cover and title as well!

I’d love for you to meet Nick Spinelli, my rough, tough, detective hero, and Shannon O’Hara, the Social Worker who gives him a run for his money.

Novella 1:  Cookies for Santa has been renamed Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery and will be available September 1.

Push Page PhotoBlurb:

Detective Spinelli’s life is tossed sideways when he is reassigned from the Homicide division to assist in the Child Services division of the Social Services Department for the holiday season. From the beginning, Spinelli and Caseworker Shannon O’Hara generate their own kind of fireworks, causing more than the normal workplace stress. They both have their own philosophies for dealing with the clientele. However, the forces of nature have their own plan for Spinelli and Shannon.

Shannon moonlights as Santa Claus’ little helper at the mall, and when Santa and an elf turn up dead Shannon appears to be next on the killer’s list. Spinelli is placed back on homicide and goes undercover as Santa to help capture the killer. He catches a great deal of grief along the way but will he capture the heart of his little Santa’s helper as well?


Sneak Peek at Novella 2:  Craving Vengeance, A Nick Spinelli Mystery is scheduled for release in October.


Nick Spinelli’s normal life as a homicide detective has been catapulted into a whirlwind of chaotic holiday adventures ever since he met the beautiful Shannon O’Hara.

Nick had hoped to spend his first Valentine’s Day with Shannon in a traditional manner, starting with a nice dinner out on the town and then perhaps a long warm adventurous night in her arms. His plans quickly change when cupid is found murdered in a back alley. The investigation becomes more and more inconceivable, as he discovers that Shannon is linked to the victim. After a second cupid Shannon knows is murdered, Spinelli is motivated to go undercover as a singing valentine dressed as Cupid, complete with wings and a quiver of arrows, in order to keep a close watch on her. The stress ignited by the day’s events causes sparks to fly between Spinelli and Shannon as he struggles to piece it all together and stop the string of slayings.


GIVEAWAY:  If I were casting the role of Nick Spinelli I would cast Anson Mount.  Comment below and tell me about your favorite TV/Movie hero and you’ll be entered for a chance to win an ebook (PDF) of Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery.  Contest ends September 1, 2013 at 11:59 PM EDT.





Twitter:  @VClarizio

COOKIES FOR SANTA is available from Amazon and Melange Books.


Author: emilycale

Erotic romance writer. Runs on caffeine and wine. Don't feed after midnight.

8 thoughts on “Getting a Makeover by Valerie J. Clarizio

  1. Congratulations!! These are gorgeous covers! And much better suited to sexy, gritty Spinelli. I loved Cookies for Santa so you don’t need to enter me in the giveaway.

    • Mary,

      Thank you so much for the kind words about the covers and the story. I am totally thrilled with what my publisher did with the cover art change, and the cover for the second book in the series.


  2. Val, the new covers are awesome! Yay, and wishing you many sales!

  3. Congratulations! Your series sounds fantastic. Thanks so much for hanging out with us!

  4. I think your publisher was right – the new covers are much more in line with the book! Who is my favorite TV hero? Oh, I’d have to say Richard Castle from “Castle” – cute actor, self-deprecating character, etc…

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