December 18, 2022 · 9:38 am
So, a few months back, I took a field trip to the nearby Barnes and Noble just to do a bit of window shopping, so to speak. I was aimlessly wandering around the space, considering buying something to drink, when a display table with Rachel Harrison’s Cackle caught my eye. (And yes, I understand the irony of pointing you to the Amazon site as a reference.)
The cover was enough to pull me in; I didn’t bother looking at reviews. I simply bought it.
As it sat on the side table next to my reading chair, I thought: Hm. Could I replicate that cover?
Mind you, this is a deliberate exercise. I would never use this as an actual book cover. It’s far too close to the original. Which is why it has a fake title and fake author name. I even changed the fake author name I normally use for cover exercises—Callie Robb—to Callie Roberts. Apparently, Callie wanted to be shelved even closer to La Nora.
And yes, creating fake covers for fake authors who somehow have preferences is weird.
But it was fun. It was great to revisit Photoshop and discover I hadn’t completely forgotten how to use it. The central image is not mine, but one I found on Depositphotos (artist: liudmyla.mammamia). I felt it was striking enough that it didn’t need all the embellishments of the original cover.
And I’m hoping in 2023, I’ll create even more covers for Callie (and maybe a few for me).
October 25, 2020 · 12:08 pm
Van Gogh Snow
So, it went from cold to the middle of winter. On Monday, we ended up with +6 inches of snow. Thursday, we had that odd Minnesota concoction of snow showers with thunder. Then the sky was all orange for a bit.
This week, I was busy with the 2020 project. I have all but two stories scheduled, so I think it’s safe to say I’m in the home stretch. As of right now, the full compilation has 101,000 words. (That’s a lot of words.)
I also had a little fun with a one-off project (more about that on Monday).
In time-sink news, Photoshop has released neural filters and sky replacement. I give you the backyard, Van Gogh style.
I predict many hours wasted.
March 29, 2020 · 10:25 am
So I took my own advice from last week and shut down all my social media/distracting websites (there’s always that one site …) and took a deep dive into Photoshop.
I worked through two tutorials. The first was to create an illustrated cover using stock illustrations.
For this cover, I reused the butterfly image I had (see Friday’s free fiction) and the background. The only new element is the illustration of the girl’s face.
I put my name on this one, even though I have no story idea whatsoever. Maybe someday I will, and then hey, look! I have a cover!
Also, I often misspell butterfly as butteryfly. Pretty sure I didn’t do that here.
Then yesterday, I worked through another tutorial. The objective of this one was to create a sweet romance cover.
It’s definitely a romance, and a sweet one at that. How do you tell? They’re smiling, and they have all their clothes on.
This probably has more of a romantic comedy vibe, but I think it meets the requirements. (It’s not like I’m being graded or anything, so …)
You’ll notice it’s also penned by Callie Robb. Callie is my imaginary author friend for whom I design book covers. She’s way more prolific than I am. I’d be jealous, except none of us here believe she has a rich inner life.
January 19, 2020 · 11:54 am
So, I’m already peering into February because I have stories to post.
I spent some time in Photoshop this week, creating the images for each story, and I’ll get those posts scheduled ASAP. I like being able to set and forget, at least as far as having the stories magically appear on the blog. (And it’s not magic; we all know it’s not magic. It still feels that way.)
And February’s stories will truly be all about love, because … why not? We’ll have romantic love, star-crossed love, a bit of unrequited love. You name it, we’ll have it next month.
In actual writing this week, I did some writing on a time travel story and got a notion for a pirate adventure. So. There’s that as well.
International Talk Like a Pirate Day is in September. (Did you know that? I did not.) So maybe I can post the pirate adventure then.
October 13, 2019 · 10:13 am
More low stakes practice this week. This tutorial was on thriller covers (I think that’s fairly obvious, but just in case …).
This isn’t a real book. Callie Robb isn’t a real author (that I know of–Callie, if you’re out there and would like these covers, let me know). A Cressview Thriller isn’t a thing (again, that I know of). But it’s more fun than going with author name and fake series name.
In writing news, I worked on an exercise and a bit on the Coffee and Ghosts story. And … that’s it for this week.
September 29, 2019 · 9:28 am
Not a lot of writing this week. I’m playing around with an idea for Coffee and Ghosts. Not so much a sequel, but a look at what happens near the end of the series from Malcolm’s point of view (which is about all I can say without spoilers). I wouldn’t publish this but instead, offer it up as a newsletter bonus.
I am also thinking seriously about Coffee and Dragons, or as seriously as someone can think about Coffee and Dragons. The idea is starting to grow on me. I’m not sure how I’d pull it off, but I am considering the challenge.
I did take some time to have some fun with covers. If these were real covers, I’d spend a lot more time refining the edges around the masks on the cover models, maybe reconsider my font choices, and so on.
This effort was a practice go since I don’t write contemporary romance. Low stakes, just for fun.
Knight here is very Broody McBroody. Or maybe he’s mourning his unfortunate choice in footwear.
Mr. Prince here does look worried about being the prodigal son, no? Or maybe the oven timer’s gone off, and he’s concerned the crust on his par-baked pizza is going to burn.
This guy? This guy is what’s known in Romancelandia as an alpha-hole. You can just tell. Either that, or he really doesn’t like the new engineered hardwood floors.
And that’s it for this last full week of September.
September 9, 2018 · 12:17 pm
Oreo, volunteer editor
I am diligently trying to keep myself out of the Photoshop black hole. Fortunately (or, perhaps, unfortunately), I don’t have a title for the first book or the series it’s supposed to be in, so there’s only so much cover designing I can do.
Yeah. I need a title, especially since I’d like to publish this year.
In other news, not only did I complete the outline for the novella, but I started the draft. I finished up revising/editing two short stories that I plan to send off this week as well.
All in all, it was a good writing week.
September 2, 2018 · 2:26 pm
Jasper and Poppy … maybe?
Checking in late today. I fell into a Photoshop black hole, and I’m just now crawling out of it.
I splurged on a couple of Photoshop actions, and let me tell you… that’s hours of fun right there. Worth every cent.
I’m still looking for the right stock photos for my covers. The models don’t need to look exactly how I see the characters in my mind, but it helps if the attitude is right.
Then you need a supply of poses, preferably on an isolated background (or one that’s fairly neutral), and, and, and … you get the idea.
In actual writing news, I finished the short story I was working on. I’m now letting it rest a bit before I revise and send it off.
I also started outlining the companion novella. The main challenge here is to keep it at novella length. I hope to start writing it soon, possibly as early as this coming week.
December 17, 2017 · 10:35 am
Even more dancing this week. There’s one more meet on Tuesday, and then that’s it until January. Whew!
I did get some writing in, +5,000 words or so. And my story, Steadfast, in Flash Fiction Online, got the most amazing review here.
And now I need to go figure out Christmas, or at least wrap some presents before the tower of Amazon boxes in the front hall tips over and crushes someone.
- Series work (structure, brainstorming, research)
- Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors Course
- Writing ~5,000 words
December 10, 2017 · 9:58 am
It’s been a busy week, what with some snow, a dance meet and an invitational, some ads classes, some writing, and some extra-long commuting thanks to the snow mentioned earlier.
And hey, it’s snowing on WordPress, too!
This is what I worked up in Photoshop this week, a quick cover for two of my short stories. The rights have reverted back to me, and I can do anything I like with them. So. What I would like to do with them is send them along as a free read to my mail list.
In this bundle:
- Knight at the Royal Arms (published this summer in Pulp Literature)
About a modern-day damsel in distress
- Simon the Cold (published in Frozen Fairy Tales)
About a woman who meets the mysterious Simon and must help him save the world
(And you can sign up for my mail list by clicking the Mail List tab at the top of the page if you like.)
- Series work (structure, brainstorming, research)
- Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors Course
- Graphic Design/Photoshop tutorials
- Writing ~3,000 words