Behind the Scenes – The French Couple

A cover for Melange Books. For this one, they already had the main art they wanted on the cover, but they wanted the title redone and a few adjustments made in regards to the overall effects. For this one, I mostly played with adding color to the dark halo around the model’s head, and played with the placement and color of the text so that it felt like part of the cover. This is the result:

SBibb - The French Couple - Book Cover

The publisher provided the image to be used on the cover.

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Behind the Scenes – Howling Blue Mountains

This is a cover for Barking Rain Press.

For this cover, the third in the Crime Fighting Bluesmen series, we decided to model it after a Blues poster. For that, I stuck with more illustrated effects and textures, and stuck with a limited color scale, rather than the photo-realism I typically go for. I also played with juxtaposition, placing the monkey on top of the harmonica. In order to get the illustrated effect (which came from photos), I masked out the unnecessary portions of the photos, then used the threshold adjustment tool in Photoshop CS6, linked by a clipping mask to the photo, to make it black and white, then copied those layers and deleted out the extra color. I used the magic wand, without contiguous selected so I could make sure I could get all the excess black “paint” out.

This is the result:

SBibb - Howling Mountain Blues - Book Cover

SBibb - Howling Mountain Blues - Wrap-around Cover

Stock images from Shutterstock:

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-143096134/stock-photo-man-sitting-on-stool-in-dark-room-playing-guitar.html?src=YXC4bJk9QY4AHuec3KmbMw-1-45

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-105812573/stock-photo-m-carbine-isolated-on-a-white-background.html?src=1XhlIKJOIrcMv9LG0tUqiA-1-57

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-128205749/stock-photo-harmonica-isolated-on-white-background.html?src=FkpC4FBCUaA1D1HeIEzIAg-1-1

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-150340748/stock-photo-black-howler-monkey.html?src=FeKPz55ibOJQ8jx5X6aLmg-1-32

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-41437732/stock-photo-the-painted-jungle.html?src=id&ws=1

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-99005135/stock-vector-vector-of-ancient-american-ornaments-on-white.html?src=id&ws=1

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-125309489/stock-photo-yellow-plastic-guitar-plectrum-isolated-on-white.html?src=DJCaLEQMiXkeNAk2HzB1nw-1-26&ws=1

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Author Interview – Jordan Mierek (Treasure Darkly)

Today we have an author interview with Jordan Elizabeth, the author of the upcoming book, Treasure Darkly. :-D

***

Beware a Treasure Darkly…

 

(The stunning cover art is thanks to Amalia Chitulescu– find her here)

Treasure Darkly - Book Cover

Seventeen-year-old Clark Treasure assumes the drink he stole off the captain is absinthe… until the chemicals in the liquid give him the ability to awaken the dead. A great invention for creating perfect soldiers, yes, but Clark wants to live as a miner, not a slave to the army—or the deceased. On the run, Clark turns to his estranged tycoon father for help. The Treasures welcome Clark with open arms, so he jumps at the chance to help them protect their ranch against Senator Horan, a man who hates anyone more powerful than he.

And he is not alone. His new found sister, Amethyst, thinks that’s rather dashing, until Horan kidnaps her, and all she gets is a bullet through her heart. When Clark brings her back to life, she realizes he’s more than just street-smart – and he’s not really a Treasure. Amethyst’s boring summer at home has turned into an adventure on the run, chock full of intrigue, danger, love, and a mysterious boy named Clark.

Treasure Darkly Full Cover Preview

TREASURE DARKLY, Book 1 of the Treasure Chronicles

The young adult novel is a dark mix of steampunk, the paranormal and romance in a “Wild West” setting.

Below is an excerpt from TREASURE DARKLY. You can read more on the Curiosity Quills Press website.

“Looks like he did drink it up.” The general client spoke from the right. “Must’ve interacted with all that bloody hertum. Look at ‘im, he’s bleeding already.”

“What’s it gonna do to him?” the guard from the morning asked.

“Lots of stuff.” The general laughed. “When he touches the dead, he’ll be able to bring them back, and exchange that life for another. Perfect soldier, huh? We only have one vial ready and I was going to give it to a lucky fellow. Guess it will be this boy.”

“Whatcha gonna do with him?” The guard snickered.

“Have to be a test subject,” the general said. “Sure thought it was that Judy who stole my bottle. Pity I killed her. She sure knew how to make my pecker sing.”
Judy.

Clark’s mother.

Clark bolted off the ground and ran. He could hide in the hole under the shed behind the brothel. Mable never found him under there. He might be cursed with raising the dead—he’d already done that to the poor mine worker—but it didn’t mean he’d let them take him for tests.

###

And now for the interview with Jordan Elizabeth:

Tell us about your latest book:
Right now I’m working on Book 4 in the Treasure Chronicles, for those who want more of Clark and Amethyst!

How did you get your start writing?
I wrote my first novel back in high school. When I looked into how to get published, I saw that I needed credentials for agents to even look at my work. I started submitting short stories anywhere I could.

What publishing credits do you have under your belt?
I was published in numerous online journals before signing with Curiosity Quills Press. I like to embark upon writing exercises by working on short stories; you can find them in anthologies published by Horrified Press and in the anthology 13 HAUNTING TALES.

What is your writing process?
I take an idea and run with it. I only make notes as I write, so I can keep track of names, locations, appearances…

What has been your most rewarding writing experience?
That has to do with my story TABITHA’S DEATH (you can find the first three chapters on WATTPAD). One of my critique partners contacted me a year after reading it to say it still gives her nightmares! Now, I don’t want to give people nightmares (insert malicious laugh), but I was delighted that something I wrote stuck with someone for so long.

What writing projects are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on Book 4 in the Treasure Chronicles, for those who want more of Clark and Amethyst!

What is your favorite thing about writing?
Creating worlds. All day I think about characters, settings, and adventures, so it is a great release to get home from work and be able to write.

What was your favorite thing about writing this book?
One of the main characters, Amethyst. She’s so selfish and flighty – I had a blast writing about her!

Was there anything you found particularly difficult about writing this book?
Pleasing my critique partners. I don’t always have this problem, but for this book, my critique partners each wanted something different. I love my critique partners, and I hope they’re happy with the final product. Their excitement for different characters is what inspired me to create books 2, 3, and now 4 in the series.

What was the process like for writing, editing, then finally publishing the book?
The process for this book was the quickest! I wrote it, and along the way I shared snipets with my critique partners. Curiosity Quills Press accepted it, it was edited, and now it is published. TREASURE DARKLY really flew…like the airship I’m including in book 4.

Who’s your favorite character in the book? Why?
Although I loved writing about Amethyst, Clark is my favorite. He’s a handsome rogue, who knows how to be bada** while still being a gentleman. Plus he’s sexy as all brass glass.

Since every author wonders… how did you find the publisher for your book?
I’m honored to be critique partners with Eliza Tilton, who is published through Curiosity Quills Press. I compiled GEARS OF BRASS and Eliza contributed to it. She showed it to the publisher, they accepted it, and I was able to show them more of my work.

What’s the cover creation process like?
I explained to the cover artist what the characters looked like and an idea of the story. She came up with the rest.

Anything else you want to tell us?
The sequel, BORN OF TREASURE, comes out September 21, 2015. You will get to see more of the Steampunk Wild West world and there will be plenty of ghosts. The romance will be even hotter.

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You can read more about Amethyst Treasure in GEARS OF BRASS, a steampunk anthology from Curiosity Quills Press available now from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, is the author of ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, available from Curiosity Quills Press. Check out Jordan’s website, JordanElizabethMierek.com, for contests and book signing locales. Jordan is represented by Belcastro Agency and she is president of the Utica Writers Club.

Gears of Brass - Book Cover

No blog tour is complete without a giveaway. Enter here for a chance to win a paperback copy of GEARS OF BRASS.

***

Thanks so much for the interview, Jordan, and good luck with your book! :-D

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Behind the Scenes – Fairy Christmas, Darling

For this cover (Melange Books), I started with a similar concept to the final image here, but different models. To create the characters described on the art form, I originally did quite a bit of piecing various stock images together. But since the publisher wanted to try to stick with stock images they’d already purchased, I took a look through the available options. Turned out we had one that worked quite well, and only used one stock piece instead of… five? I think? There were several.

Sometimes it’s better to go simple.

For the rest of the cover, I worked on blending everything to have a wintery romance feel, and used Christmas textures to add to the feel of the cover and enhance the title. I kept the back and front covers to a similar color scheme, but I changed the position  of the texture images to create the back cover.

This is the result:

SBibb - Fairy Christmas Darling Book Cover

SBibb - Fairy Christmas Darling Book Cover

 

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-red-barn-farm-yard-wind-mill-other-buildings-image33905325

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-little-cute-girl-butterfly-wings-adorable-girls-under-blossoming-apple-tree-image40844285

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-magic-wand-image23000346

2380782 – No longer on Dreamstime?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-gallic-rooster-5-years-old-image14539620

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-simple-rustic-christmas-trees-snow-two-cut-out-wood-standing-front-wooden-wall-falling-snowflakes-festive-image34089609

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-red-christmas-lights-abstract-background-made-material-image32919894

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Behind the Scenes – For the Love of Ruthie

This is a cover for Melange Books.

For this cover, I wanted to portray a happy, light-hearted tone, so I used bright, vivid colors. I also used a font with a swirly influence to give the title and author name a fun, romantic feel. The pig is Ruthie, so I gave it a prominent place on the cover. The text I wrapped around the couple in the scene so that the faces remained clear. The author requested that there also be a cat and tri-colored basset hound pup on the cover, so I included them near the couple’s feet.

Once the concept was approved, I blended the full-sized stock images together (using multiple layers and masking, and retouching the background between layers).

This is the result:

SBibb - For The Love Of Ruthie - Book Cover
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-young-couple-standing-over-white-background-image37973502

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-cute-basset-puppy-image23115808

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-pink-pot-bellied-pig-image29172888

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-abandoned-wooden-farm-house-image23179806

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-cat-yawning-image19233539

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Behind the Scenes – Tangled Roots

This is a cover for Rebekkah Ford. I’ve created the cover for her Beyond the Eyes trilogy, and this is a New Adult companion novel. Unlike the previous covers, this one uses primarily stock images. We tinkered a lot with finding the right font for the book. I also played a lot with creating the right mood for the cover. I ended up finding a decent tutorial on how to turn a day shot into night (see the end of the post for a link).  I also used a bit of digital illustration to get everything blended right and to add the roots around the girl on the cover.

Tangled Roots - Book Cover

 

SBibb - Tangled Roots - Wrap-Around Cover

And this is a promo piece (a rack card) I did for this book:

SBibb - Tangled Roots - Rack CardSBibb - Tangled Roots - Rack Card

 

You can buy the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Tangled-Roots-Rebekkah-Ford-ebook/dp/B00NH84NNW/ref=la_B00896OMB0_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414362849&sr=1-1

 

Stock images from iStock:

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-3484986-sad.php?st=bf175e0

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-24247276-south-carolina-lowcountry-angel-oak-tree-charleston-sc-nature-scenic.php?st=3795837

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-36846782-full-moon.php?st=4df0d5b

Useful tutorial for making a day image look like night: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/how-to-turn-your-day-shot-into-night-with-photoshop-14852

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Behind the Scenes – The Doors

This is a cover for Melange Books.

For this one, I used texture overlay (the mosaic around the edge), as well as scene creation to create the desired stormy atmosphere and remove some of the birds from the original haunted house stock photo. I added in the girl, then at the author’s request, gave her longer hair. There are benefits to finding pictures where the hair is similar in color and goes roughly the desired direction you want it to go.

My original proof for this cover was too dark and gray, looking more like a horror novel than paranormal, so I lightened it a bit with the various blue and green tones to give it the sea/ocean-side feel, while still keeping the stormy atmosphere.

For this blog post, I’ve also included what I did for the back of the book. I usually keep these fairly simple, and in this case, I took part of the stock image that wasn’t used on the front cover to complete the back. That way the atmosphere remained consistent, while offering something a little different to look at. I used the same texture overlays and adjustment modes to keep the covers consistent, and included the publisher’s logo and barcode information on the back. I also include a separate layer with the author name and book title, that way the publisher can adjust for the spine as needed. I also flipped the back cover image so the white clouds act as a line, leading the eye back to the spine, and so that the dark blue mosaic would act as a frame.

SBibb - The Doors - Book Cover  SBibb - The Doors - Back of Book Cover
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-man-walking-field-towards-haunted-house-scary-dark-atmosphere-image35050105

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-dark-storm-clouds-image2046209

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-calgary-beach-mull-scotland-bay-located-north-west-framed-low-hills-broad-area-machair-grassy-meadow-image42890362

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-beautiful-teenage-girl-outdoors-portrait-jeans-wear-looking-away-image36670484

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-broken-green-wall-tiles-image19929346

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-sad-girl-image22656428

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