Continuing a Series

Next Tuesday, the second book in Alina K. Field’s Sons of the Spy Lord series will be out and available for your reading pleasure.

The Viscount’s Seduction centers on an Irish lady and the spy lord’s heir, Viscount Bakeley.

Lady Sirena has a history of fey abilities, so I added a little other-worldly feel to the background with some green and purple highlights. And of course, there are a few sparkles sprinkled around. The gold color of the titles was drawn from the gold in her gown. I enhanced the red of the gown.

To make the I removed some modern-day grommets from his shirt and the bodice of her gown, which is a little pre-Regency. It’s such a beautiful dress, we had to use it.

So what makes this cover part of a series? Mostly, it comes down to font choice and placement. The fonts are harmonious with the previous book, and the author name is the same font and in the same place as it is on the previous book. There’s also text identifying it as Book Two, of course. On to the next!



Red Letter Dress

I’m having so much fun creating covers for Alina K. Field. She asked me to create a new cover for a novella called Liliana’s Letter, and gave me a photo of a woman in a red dress from Deposit Photos. It’s an eye-catching jewel toned satin-looking red. Very beautiful, but very modern feeling. Twentieth century, at the very least.

So I went back to Period Images for a more historical couple.

This one had everything we needed, except the dress wasn’t red, his hair was dark instead of light, and her hair was light instead of dark. Easy fix.

I went to work with and soon we had a lovely match to the red, but with a much more Regency feel. After a few more tweaks, I put our couple in a dark garden outside a ballroom and found a handwriting-style font for her name in the title.

I swear, this cover design stuff is really fun.

Blue for a Bastard

Alina K. Field‘s next book arrives on May 5th, and I had so much fun designing the cover!

The book is called The Bastard’s Iberian Bride. That title demands a great dress, so I looked for an image that would feel a little exotic and passionate. As usual, Period Images delivered what we needed.

But we wanted a dress of a different color. I toyed with some pastels, since she was a bride…

But it wasn’t drawing the eye like it needed to, and it wasn’t doing anything to highlight the dress. So we decided that only a deep blue dress would do.

It was time to roll up my sleeves and get to Photoshopping.

Several layers later, her dress was transformed into a heavily embroidered cerulean blue. This cover was a pleasure to make.


Too Much of Too Many Things

If I’ve learned one thing these past few months, it’s that there is, in fact, a limit to my time…and I’ve reached it. I’m over-committed, over-extended, over-booked, and I’m just over-it. So I’ve been doing a little soul searching about what, really, is important to me when it comes to this business.

As much as I enjoy creating websites, they are incredibly time-consuming. Not to mention stressful. My dad once told me that when you’re doing any project on a house, even when it seems clean cut and simple, something will come up. You might have to adjust something to make it fit, or redo it completely, or go to the hardware store to get additional tools or supplies. Building a website is kind of like that. Things come up. Usually technical things. And sometimes no matter what you do, it’s not going to turn out exactly how you hoped.

And then there’s the unknown. I once asked my hosting service for help with something technical and I was told “you need to consult a web developer” — not helpful! My clients think I can do anything. The truth is that I am largely self-taught and just really good at understanding how computers work. Sometimes my best friends are Google and Youtube.

So long story short, I’m changing the focus of my business toward book covers. I may still take on the occasional author website, but for the most part I will devote my time and energy to what brings me the most joy.

Can’t wait to add the cover I’m doing right now to my portfolio–it’s my favorite!

Vote in the JABBIC!

Have you heard of the JABBIC contest? JABBIC stands for Judge A Book By Its Cover, and the contest is hosted by the Houston Bay Area Romance Writers of America.

This year, Alina K. Field entered the cover I did for her recently in the Historical section. I’m very excited, this is a first for me!

If you love book covers (who doesn’t?) please take a few minutes to judge some books by their covers! Alina’s cover can be found near the bottom of page 3…

Where have I been??

I’m working on a little thing called California Dreamin’ (writer’s conference in March) and another little thing called California Readin’ (event for readers in March) and between them and my other commitments, there has been no time or thought for blogging!

I’ll resume regular posts in April, and until then I invite you to check out the two events that are occupying the bulk of my time!
This Brea, California conference was the brain child of the four Southern California chapters of RWA back in 2013. This is the third conference, and it’s jam-packed with quality speakers, along with keynotes Robyn Carr and Sarah MacLean. Registration ends February 28th.
Romance readers are always looking for their next book. This year California Readin’ is here to help readers do exactly that by bringing them together with their favorite authors as well as authors who are new to them. We’ve gathered together 60 best-selling and award-winning authors, ready to meet new readers. Tickets are available now.


Text Effects

Background Image above (c) Can Stock Photo / rach27

This week I played with a few text effects techniques. Book covers and graphics need readable text, and sometimes the image doesn’t help at all, so I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to emphasize text.

The first effect I worked with is a little complicated. Using a thick text, make a clipping mask to the text layer using a duplicate of the background image. Then adjust the opacity levels as needed to make the text readable. I like this effect because it allows the viewer to see the entire image and read the text too:

The second effect I practiced is a pretty standard technique: lighten the background image so the text stands out. Here’s the before. It’s hard to read the text!

By adding a layer of white below the background image and then decreasing the background layer’s opacity, the text becomes much more readable:






A Regency Book Cover for Alina

When I was approached by Alina K. Field to do a cover for her upcoming Christmas novella, I got giddy. I grew up reading Regency romance novels, and now I could create a cover for one? I was in!

My first draft was definitely a first draft. I wanted the Regency feeling to continue all the way to the back cover, and along with guidance from Alina, I researched Regency wallpaper styles (called paper hangings), Christmas traditions (no tree), and toys for children (rocking horses would work). She had given me the heat level, so I knew the models would keep their clothes on. With the basic elements chosen, I did a very rough draft for her to review. I present it here in all its gory glory:

There was still a lot of work to do. We did away with the framing and I went back to the drawing board on fonts. The wallpaper needed to be completely redone and diminished so the back cover text would be easy to read.

We purchased the cover images and I basically did a lot of Photoshop. After receiving the final page count and other elements required to finalize a full cover flat, I completed this one with a lot of personal satisfaction. This cover was a pleasure to do.

To complete the package, I added a title page image to match the cover. And the finished product looks awesome in print, too! (printed book photo by Alina K. Field)



Paper Collage Effect

I’m always trying to improve my design skills, so I frequently find myself taking new Photoshop for Lunch classes on Skillshare from the awesome Helen Bradley. Recently, I took one called Layered Paper Collage Effect because I think this effect could lend itself nicely to a future book cover.

I didn’t have something specific in mind, so I made a flower on a gradient background. My gardening skills are very limited, so I have no idea what type of flower this might be in the real world. I had a lot of fun with this one. The effect is pretty cool, and I’m excited to try it out again in the future.