Behind the Scenes – Finding Clara

This is a cover for Melange Books. In this case, the author wanted to show the main character looking into a mirror and seeing a different aspect of their life, other than what they felt. In order to portray both scenes, I looked for stock images where there were multiple images of the model to choose from, both from the back, and from the front. Though the clothing is different, I tried to choose a less obvious difference, as well as placement which would draw less attention to the outfit, and instead focus on the concept of the two different “lives.”

On a technical note, when I usually complete a near-final cover, I use auto-align to get the rough size and position for full-sized stock images based on the proof cover. Lots of layers are typically involved. Every once in a while, however, something doesn’t want to work quite right. In this case, I had a smart object (very useful for maintaining the original size of images and grouping clusters together) decide it didn’t want to be edited. No idea why the layer locked, but with a little bit of searching, I found this link: https://forums.adobe.com/message/1870944

The post of use for this situation suggested to right click the smart object layer that refuses to be edited, open up the resulting menu, then export contents. Save that as a separately named file, and when you reopen the file, it opens as the smart object you were trying to open. Quite handy, I thought.

This is the final result, including the back cover I created for it:

SBibb - Finding Clara - Book Cover

 

SBibb - Finding Clara - Back Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-beautiful-woman-smiling-image15889714
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-victorian-mirror-image12415487
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-man-leaning-country-gate-image21409557
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-beautiful-woman-necklace-looking-image17998425
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-drive-autumn-woods-thanksgiving-day-image46328634

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Behind the Scenes – Separate Lives

This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, the author requested that we create a template for the cover which could be used for future books in the series. After some tweaking, I settled on a frame to border the main image of the cover, along with placing the silhouette of the gavel and the text. It should be fairly easy to duplicate (especially since I keep notes on each layer about any blur effects and such), though we’ll need to purchase another licence for the gavel from Dreamstime for each cover.

Whenever I make proofs, I leave notes for myself in the layers, that way I can easily replicate any special effects I did for the proof on the final. For example, if I used a lens blur on a layer, I’ll make a note that looks something like “51-41-119 Lens Blur” for the name of the layer. Anything that I commonly change, I’ll make a note of. Sometimes the notes get long, and I’ll copy them into Word so I can read them, but the result is that it’s much easier to complete a final image, especially if there’s a month or so between creating a proof and receiving stock images (which happens when creating proofs in advance of a stock subscription purchase).

Anyway, this is the final cover for Separate Lives, by Rhonda Strehlow:

 

SBibb - Separate Lives - Book Cover

Also, an example of how the basic back cover might look (I set it so that color blur is optional, and they may change the signature to one of their imprints):

SBibb - Separate Lives - Book Cover Back

 

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-judge-gavel-image16964080
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-texture-creamy-white-rice-paper-torn-edges-isolated-white-background-image29821402
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-table-hotel-bedroom-image27784531
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-business-people-image11661512
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-brown-package-paper-torn-to-reveal-white-panel-ideal-copy-space-image34962594

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Behind the Scenes – Nairobi Bloodstar

This is a cover for Melange Books. In my first proof, I gave this more of a historical movie poster look, but upon learning the book had a bit more of an action-thriller bent, I put more of a focus on the train wreck explosion than the scenery and characters. Still, I added texturing to give the cover the historical feeling, and I played with the coloring (we wanted the red highlights for the ruby). After playing with positioning of the title and the hands with the ruby, this is the final result:

SBibb - Nairobi Bloodstar - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-old-stained-paper-texture-beige-image39122645

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-savanna-landscape-africa-amboseli-kenya-image29222114

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-black-hands-pills-two-african-holding-pain-image37001611

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-ruby-polished-slice-image9155467

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-giant-explosion-image11628125

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-train-crash-accident-image43972160

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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 Mountain Blues

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.

###

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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