Behind-the-Scenes

Destination – New Orleans

Destination – New Orleans

New Orleans is a city steeped in mystery and rich culture. A place where signs such as this are the norm. So naturally, when I was looking for a setting for my novel about witches, New Orleans seemed a perfect choice. During the developmental phase, I scoured the internet for all I could find to get a feel for this beautiful city. But street view and Google images could only get me so far. Ultimately I decided I would get a much better feel for it if I actually went there. So, after completing my first draft of The Curse of the Bruel Coven, I set out on a research trip with two of best friends. In January of 2014, we landed at the New Orleans airport and the smell of the Louisiana Bayous quickly filled the cabin of the plane. We had arrived! We got in our rental car and crossed the Mississippi, heading for the French Quarter. The Cornstalk Hotel We stayed at the Cornstalk Hotel. Built in 1816, it’s listed on the National Historical Register. It gets its name for the cast iron fence in front of the building added in 1840 by the owner for his wife, an Iowa native who had become homesick. It is located on Royal Street, a street that certainly lives up to its name, lined with art and antique shops and is great for window shopping. The hotel is also known for being one of the most photographed hotels in the French Quarter and we soon became well aware of that during our many comings and goings. The inside of the hotel is exquisitely decorated with antique furnishings, similar to how I envision Grand’Meres house. The view from the balcony of the Cornstalk.

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Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Book Cover

Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Book Cover

We’ve all heard the phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover. But let’s face it, it’s something we’ve all done. Walking down the aisle of our favorite bookstore, we skim the shelves looking for that cover, the one that jumps out and beckons us to pull it from the shelf. A books cover is our first impression, and we all know how important first impressions can be. And as an indie author, deciding on the cover for my book was the single most important task. Aside from writing a good book of course. So today I want to take you behind the scenes on the making of a book cover. First, and foremost was finding a cover designer. But let me add a word of caution: As with all freelancers, please do yourself a favor, get references and samples of their work before hiring anyone. Lucky for me I already had one in mind. Jenny at Seedlings Design Studio came highly recommended by several of my author friends. Almost all of my production team has come to me via author recommendation. Which is why networking is so important. If your an author and you don’t have a tribe, don’t go it alone! Email me, and I’d be happy to plug you in with some people. After the legalities of deposits and contracts were complete, Jenny sent me a questioner to fill out to get information about my book. A few days later, Jenny, being the talented artist that she is, sent me several different design concepts. Since the Bruel Family Grimoire plays a huge role in the story, naturally, a grimoire was one of the design concepts. Jenny thought Lizette’s ring could tie in with this option as well. Another design concept was to use Tarot Cards as a design inspiration. Ultimately, it was the bold colors of this option won me over. After choosing a design concept, next on the list was to choose a font. Since the Tarot Card concept was to be heavily type-driven, choosing a font was was super important. Now that the font and concept choices were made, we needed to decide on specific Tarot Card elements to include. Since the moon was a key to one of the pivotal spells in the book and New Orleans is also known as The Crescent City, it was decided that the Moon Card would be the focus of the overall design concept for this book. With all the design elements in place, Jenny sent me a final image board to look over and approve before she began work on her designs. A few days after approving the overall concept, I got my composite covers. And boy did Jenny nail it! The choices were stunning. How the heck was I suppose to choose between them? Looking at them today, and I still find it difficult, if not impossible to make a decision. Being the indecisive person that I am, the sole person responsible for such a huge decision was a tad bit overwhelming, so I decided to poll people. I polled people in various writing groups online, but even they were a 50/50 split. So I decided to poll my cousins High School English students. Besides, who better to ask then my target audience? As you can see, the black option won with an overwhelming majority. Fun Fact: Originally the swirly crescent moon symbol wasn’t mentioned in the book, but I later added that since the symbology of the design tied in so well with the story. In the end, the process of designing a cover was a fun and exciting experience. And working with Jenny made it a true pleasure. From day one she was able to hone in on possible concepts for my book. I honestly don’t think I could have gone wrong with any of her suggested ideas. If you’re an author looking for a cover designer for your next book, Jenny is your girl! Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s behind the scenes look at The Making of a Book Cover. Be sure to come back next week, where I’ll be taking you on a little trip to New Orleans. Read More

When Inspiration Struck

When Inspiration Struck

With the writing anniversary of The Curse of the Bruel Coven approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to share a little about how the story came to be. Initially titled, Entwined, The Curse of the Bruel Coven came to me on a whim. After coming off a Twilight hangover, I’d been in search of other books to read. I devoured many during that time frame, but I still couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. Then on March 23, 2013, while driving my oldest daughter to a birthday party an idea struck me. I recall jotting the initial concept, which focused more on Lisette and Oliver onto a scrap piece of paper I found on the floor of my minivan while stopped at a red light. I spent much of that day absorbed into daydreaming about them and thinking about whether or not I should attempt to tell their story. Later that day, I called my best friend Katie (I run all my good ideas past her) to see if she’d read a story about x,y, z, to which she replied, “Yeah! What book is that?” I told her it was an idea I’d come up with for a book. She immediately got all excited and told me I should write it. I suppose if it weren’t for her encouragement that day, the story may never had gone any further than a few words scribbled on a scrap piece of paper. That very night when I opened up MS Word on my computer, I had no idea what I was doing. I had never written anything before. All I had was the idea for Lisette’s story, but the more and I thought about her and how her story would connect to the modern day, the story began to shift in a whole new direction. Being a bit of a panster, I went with it and I couldn’t stop. Night after night, I would put my kids to bed, fire up the laptop and I would lose myself into the story. Often times the characters seemed to insert themselves with little to no warning. So the process of writing felt a whole lot like reading a book for the first time. Before long I was creating a world of magic and characters I couldn’t wait to discover more about. In honor of where it all began, here’s a mock cover for Entwined. I had a photographer friend make it for me. I know now, it’s not very good. But cover design is a whole other blog post. To celebrate the writing anniversary, I will be choosing one lucky person from my Mailing List to win a signed copy of The Curse of the Bruel Coven and some book swag. Read More