Friday, November 10, 2017

~ Wine Heck of a Book Cover! ~ From Wine Labels to Cover Crafting ~

Please welcome Mary E. Thompson to FOR THE COVER CONSCIOUS! I love her unique and eye-catching covers, but it took some work to get them just the way she wanted. Follow along as Mary tells us all about...

Crafting The Right Cover

Creating a cover is almost as hard as creating a new story. Like the blurb, that cover has to tell the story. It has to give readers a glimpse into what the story is all about without giving it all away.

When I look at covers, so many times I feel like they all look alike. I know there are trends, but I’ve never been a particularly trendy person. I like different. I like something that stands out. I like to make people do a double take.

Since I write contemporary romances, it’s tough to stand out in the sea of bare chested men and half-clothed people in an embrace. I never felt like my books were edgy enough for that look. Mine are very emotional books. They center around family and friends and romance and, my Raise A Glass series, wine. I wanted something that said all that, and I didn’t think a half-naked man would. It just wouldn’t fit my stories, and the cover definitely has to match the book.

My husband, who’s a self-taught artist, suggested the covers looked like a label on a bottle of wine. I love to play and create my own covers so I got started.

Here was the first attempt.

I’m guessing your reaction is the same as my team’s was. What is it? It’s very busy. I don’t love it. 

This was the alternative I came up with at the same time. They liked this a little more, but it was still too busy. 

Next was this one. It was closer. Very close. 

But there was one last suggestion. 

That was it. They loved it. I’ve since changed it a little, but kept the cover mostly the same. This shows all the covers I have out there right now. I kinda love them. What do you think? 

Blurb ~

He could be just what she needs…

Alyssa Wright has one goal before she leaves for college. She refuses to go carrying her v-card. She just has to find someone to give it to in the next six weeks.

When she runs into Jake Monroe, almost literally, she knows he’s different. She thinks about him constantly, and not in the way she’s thought about any other guy.

She might be what he’s looking for…

Between his new job and helping his best friend’s widow, Jake doesn’t have time for romance. But there’s something about Alyssa he can’t resist. He’s torn between the light Alyssa brings to his world and the promise he made to his best friend.

Is it enough to keep them together… forever?

What they want doesn’t matter. There’s a ticking clock, counting down the days until Alyssa leaves. Maybe for good.

Excerpt ~

Clean sheets went on the bed with practiced ease. She pulled the comforter in place and smoothed the wrinkles. Pillows were stuffed into pillowcases and placed precisely on the bed. She went into the attached bathroom and wiped down all the surfaces quickly to make sure the room had that fresh, clean scent.

When she went back into the room, there was a man walking toward her. Alyssa dropped the cleaning bin she was holding and screamed. “Ah! Holy shit! What are you doing in here?”

He held up his hands and immediately backed up. “Whoa! Sorry! They said this was my room, ma’am. I’m sorry. There’s been some kind of a mistake. Just calm down.”

Alyssa’s hands went to her hips as her attitude snuck back in. She raised an eyebrow at him. “Did you just call me ‘ma’am?’ How old do you think I am?”

Her response clearly threw him. His dark eyebrows knitted together. Alyssa took a second to appraise the man in front of her as he tried to form a response. He was big, at least six inches taller than her own 5’7”. His dark t-shirt stretched tight across his wide chest and his shorts let her see the strength in his legs. His dark hair was cut short, giving him a dangerous edge. His face was covered in stubble just long enough that it would scrape her skin if she kissed him.

Which she was suddenly desperate to do.

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Author Bio ~

Mary E. Thompson grew up loving to read, like a good little girl. Many nights she would fall asleep with the flashlight still turned on as she hid under the covers trying to finish the last few pages of a book. As an adult, the light from her ereader means she doesn't need a flashlight, but she still stays up way too late to finish a book.

When Mary's not reading, she's playing with her two kids or living out her own real life romance novel with her hubby. She has a weakness for chocolate, especially when it's paired with peanut butter, and has been known to have a bad day just because there's no chocolate in the house. Unless there’s wine. Then everything is okay.

Mary grew up in Buffalo, New York and swears she's the only local to never ski or snowboard. Soccer was always her sport, with a couple adventures white water rafting and skydiving to keep things interesting. Mary moved to South Carolina for college but missed Buffalo every day. Yeah, she thinks she's crazy, too. She somehow convinced her South Carolina born and bred hubby to return to Buffalo to raise their kids and live out their lives. He’s still not sure what he was thinking.

Links ~

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Meet My Fantastic Cover Artist ~ Francessca Wingfield!

Welcome back to FOR THE COVER CONSCIOUS. Today I have the pleasure of hosting my outstanding cover artist, Francessca Wingfield! Let's hear from her...

Okay, first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Married? Single? Kids? Pets?

Hi there Mary, well I live in Leicester which is the UK. I have worked in mental health for 10 years but in the recent months have left to follow my dream and I am now my own boss in Cover Design. I also recently got married to my childhood sweetheart of 13 years, you could say I’ve got my happily ever after. I have two children both boys of 8 years and 3 years, hard work but I wouldn’t have them any other way, we also have a puppy called Skye shes a black Labrador and she costs us more than the kids already with the destruction of wires, plasterboard and SHOES!

2) Before you became a full time cover artist, what did you do for a living? Did you enjoy it?

I have worked in forensic mental health for 10 years until recently. I was a senior healthcare support worker and although I initially loved it, it was very demanding and took a strain on my family life, as well as my own mental health. I have decided in recent months to give that up and work solely on my business, which is ultimately where my passion lies.

3) How did you get into making covers?

It actually started with reading and reviewing for authors. I would make teasers to go with my reviews to enhance the experience on my website. It then developed into cover design when Kelsey Burns, author come great friend, spotted my work and encouraged me to design covers. I started by working with Erotic Dreams Publishing and the business just grew from there really.

4) Besides creating covers, I know you also design logos and run promotions for authors. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Design is the main branch of my business, however, we also work on branding for authors, so logo designs, banner designs, roller banners, for authors to work with the continuity across all their work. I have been running promotions for authors for some time. I initially began doing these informally as a way to assist authors in reaching a wider market. We now have well over 600 blogs on our mailing list. The idea with any promotion is to try and get the best possible reach, so we not only send the materials to the blogs, but we also work hard to tag each author in each individual post, as many of you know, the more interaction on a post the better visuals it will get through Facebook. We run different promotions, including different price ranges in order to help ever author. We run a £5 option which is literally a small email and request the blogs post on behalf of the author, we then do a mini reveal or release and this is £15 which would mean we create HTML and FB post and request the blogs post on a set date. There is then the main release which is £25 and this includes all of the above plus review options and dealing with ARC’s on behalf of the author and setting up a sign up form for the bloggers. We also run week long tours, events and parties. 

5) What part of your job do you enjoy most? What is difficult?

What I enjoy most is working hand in hand with the authors to create exactly what they imagine for their book. At the end of the day, this is their “baby” as such, and I want to do their creation justice, so I tend to work side by side every step of the way. That way if they're uncertain of anything, or something isn’t working on the cover, we can work together to make it PERFECT. Hmmmmm … most difficult is knowing my own limitations. I still class myself as a relatively new designer and am always having to research new techniques in order to make sure every cover is unique. Something else which is difficult is hours of trawling through stock images to find what works, but also what hasn’t been used 100’s of times on other covers, although I have to admit I love the challenge of making an image 100% unique even though it has been used before.

6) I know you were recently married and used your design skills in preparing for that. Can you share what you did with us? (If you had pictures to send, that would be great. Someone may want to hire you to do their wedding.)

Of course I made my own seating plan, invitations, save the dates, table cards, confetti cones, menus, etc. Let me show you an example of some of them here, I haven’t got the professional images as yet :

Just lovely!
How do you balance the demands of everyday life and your design 

With great difficulty. It was much, much harder when I worked too, as I would be doing a 12 hour shift then the next day I’d have my three year old running around. Trying to concentrate I would end up working late into the night to get things done and ready. It is now much easier. My son is in childcare (I don’t know where I would be without the best childminder, Mel Mel. She’s more like family) four days a week now, so I get most of it done then. Although my house looks like a bombs site ha ha ha!

Do you have any hobbies you’d like to share?

I love my reading, always have. It's one of my great ways to escape reality! The majority of any time I have left I spend with my boys or hubby, just watching them grow and learn. I’m not sure that’s a hobby, but it should be because I get so much enjoyment out of watching them find themselves. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also majorly challenging at times!

Now, just for fun, choose a couple of these to answer:

If you could be any animal, what animal would you choose, and why?

Bird – I could fly wherever I wanted.

When trick-or-treating as a kid, was there any kind of candy that you didn’t like to get? 

Those licorice, all sorts. YUK!

What was one of the best Christmas presents you ever received? 

When I was younger it was a KAREOKE machine, although I’m sure my neighbors didn’t think so!

If you owned a CB radio what would your "handle" be? 

Frantic Frans Fun and Frolics

What CD is in your CD player right now? Or what was the last song you listened to in your digital library? 

I was going to say I actually don’t own a CD player. EEEEK! But digital wise, it would have been my wedding song on repeat, Ed Sheeran "Perfect". 

Love Ed Sheeran!

Name your favorite children's story. 

Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime 

What was your nickname growing up or now? 

Everybody just shortens my name to Fran, although my Husband HATES it! Growing up it used to be Ginge. Then I was a true ginger. The image below is what my hen do did for me so I wouldn’t feel left out!

Who was your hero when you were a child, and what did you do to be like them? 

OMG! I am not proud of this one, but it was the Spice Girls! Me and my friends tried to have a band like them! Very embarrassing!

What is your concept of a fruitful day? 

One laugh, one smile from my family makes every day that more special. Now if I had completed my to do list too, I'M ON TO A WINNER!

What is your biggest pet peeve? 


What one thing (modern convenience) could you not live without? 

My phone, but only if it had wifi or 3g.

What is your favorite smell? 

The smell of pine. It always reminds me of Christmas!

That is a wonderful smell! Thank you for joining us today and for being an awesome cover artist!

Contact Francessca if you're interested in her work. She's easy to work with, inexpensive, and talented.

Website –

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Monday, October 2, 2017

~ Time to Update Covers, Part 2 ~

Here are a few more new covers. I liked both of my old covers, just felt I needed a fresh look.




Any thoughts?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

~ Time To Update Covers! ~

Recently I realized that some of my covers are over five-years-old now. Some close to ten! While I loved the covers I had, I needed something fresh. Working with cover designer Francessca Weber on a group project (box set) I was really impressed by her talent. Check out what she did to these covers!





What do you think about the transformations? Do you have a favorite?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

~ Three's A Charm! At Least In Steven Novak's Case! ~

Howdy! Today I wanted to chat about the making of the cover for the third book in my ROMANTIC KNIGHTS TRILOGY. When I first started thinking about covers for these books, I had an idea. Three books, three main characters, seemed like a no brainer. I asked Steven Novak, my cover artist, ( if he could put half of their faces on the blade of a sword, either like a reflection or an etching, and then make it look like a laser sword. 

Book One, LEAP INTO THE KNIGHT, was the story of Darius and Maggie's love affair and had Darius on the cover. The very first cover Steven sent me was perfect! I couldn't believe that he had gotten it so close to the way I visualized it in my head. The only change I asked for was to bring the color up a little. 

Book Two, LADY OF THE KNIGHT, has all three characters, of course, but it revolves around Maggie and some tough choices she has to face. This time the cover creation was harder. The images I chose just weren't working well and the red background color we started with made her look angry. But, after some work, I was pleased with the final product. (The full story is in an earlier blog post.


Book Three would be Orion's story. He is both looking to clear Darius' good name, and make amends with Maggie. Here's a blurb~

Maggie’s grief is nearly crippling.

She’s afraid she may never find happiness again, especially when someone seems to be targeting her loved ones.

For Orion, no other woman is like her.

So to take his mind off Maggie, he continues to investigate The Eleven. Will he find evidence to confirm his suspicion that all is not as it seems on the Grand Council?

Can Orion, Maggie and The Forgotten Ones take on The Eleven and win?

The Eleven members of the Grand Council hold all the power. Can the ragtag group Orion gathered help him to restore his Master’s good name? Or will taking the risk mean losing the people he loves? One thing’s for certain, it’s bound to be a Knight to remember.

So, Orion in a sword, right? Not that difficult. Here is what Steven sent me:

Good start! He's keeping the branding consistent with the way the text is set up, and the general sword image. But this is the character's right eye, where the other two were the left. Also, the hilt is reddish, not like in the others. 

Okay, now we're more in line with the other covers, but I'm starting to wonder about the red. The book is about fighting the forces of evil, so it works in that sense. But it is also the last in the series and ends on a note of peace, as all is resolved. Red doesn't seem to fit that. I ask Steven if he can do it in green.

I'm liking it, showing it around to a couple of people, getting them to vote on what color they like better. Of course the vote is split somewhat down the middle. I'm thinking that someday I may want to do a boxed set of the trilogy, so I decide to put them together, to see if that clears up the green/red issue.

Now, this is a matter of taste, of course, but I feel like the green, purple, blue are all kind of soothing colors and the red just doesn't match the mood. I asked Steven for one more thing. Could he make the green darker. Here's the cover.

And voila, the final product! But poor Steven is not off the hook yet. I need a teaser. I send him some images and quotes to choose from, and he came up with this...

Love this, but, you know, I'm me, so...I ask Steven to make the right side more black than green and then backlight the book. I also want the print larger, even if he has to make the book smaller. Here's the final. 

So, a lot goes into making teasers and covers, especially if you're picky, like me. But the reward is having something you are satisfied with, or even thrilled with. I will forever be grateful that I found, and chose to work with Steven. He's got a great eye, fabulous imagination, and, above all, is patient. 

So what are your thoughts? Would you have chosen differently? I did see one thing that I would still change, if I hadn't already paid Steven months ago and had the book up everywhere. There are two question marks after the tagline. 

Here's a little teaser I did for the whole trilogy.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

~ Winding Up With a Good Book Cover Can Be Like Getting THE INHERITANCE of Our Dreams! ~

Well Hello Again!

The last couple of times we visited, I shared with you the evolution of my Tempered series covers as well as the creation of those for The Visionary. I also provided a link to Pelican Book Group where you could see the beautiful covers they’ve created for my novel and short stories that are published through them.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve always envisioned something different than what’s typical for a romance cover for my novels. That’s also true for The Inheritance. When first contracted for the White Rose line at The Wild Rose Press, I sent in my idea…a large Victorian style home (since the heroine inherits one in the wine country of New York.)

URL for Cover:

As you can see, I was not disappointed. The Inheritance made the transition from White Rose line to White Rose Publishing to White Rose imprint of Pelican Book Group without a hitch.

But imagine my surprised delight when my editor informed me the novel is being edited for rerelease, complete with a new cover!

Having a better understanding of what makes a great romantic cover, I can tell you my heart nearly burst with excitement to see this new one Nicola Martinez created for the revised version of The Inheritance…..

Hopefully the minor edits will make the story stronger and the new cover will have more appeal to readers who weren’t impressed with the original one.

I know I am certainly thrilled with it.

The revised, rereleased version will be published next year, but if you can’t wait for it, The Inheritance is still available at Amazon for Kindle, and in Ebook & Print from Pelican Book Group.

Blurb ~

The Inheritance is about the chance we all long for…the chance to start over. Widowed at age thirty-nine and suffering from empty nest syndrome, Rebecca Sinclair is overshadowed by grief and loneliness. Her husband has been deceased for a year, her oldest child has moved to New York in pursuit of an acting career and her youngest child is attending college in France. Having spent over half of her life as a wife and mother, she has no idea what God has in store for her now. Will an unexpected inheritance in the wine country of New York bring meaning and purpose to her life and give her the courage to love again?

US Postal worker Raymond Jacobey has been in love with the little widow since he first set eyes on her. A wanderer searching for the ever-illusive soul mate, Ray has never stayed in one place too long. Raised by self-centered, high-power executives, he’s longed for the idyllic life of residing in a cozy house in a small town with the love of his life. Will he gain the heart of the lovely widow or will he lose her to the wine country of New York?

Excerpt ~

Rebecca’s heart fluttered at the charming, boyish grin he bestowed on her. She knew he’d spoken more than mere words; he’d spoken his heart. Tears filled her eyes and clogged her throat when she thought about what the future might hold. Standing on the threshold of that great unknown, she had never been more acutely aware of anything than she was of this moment, this man. 

He was looking at her intently. His thumbs caressed the back of her hands, chasing the chill from her blood. Lethargic warmth stole over her. As though in a fog she watched him lift her hands to his mouth and press his lips to her palm in a caress so tender it sent shivers down her spine.

She lowered her gaze, and he lifted her chin with his finger and waited until she looked at him again. “I want to kiss you, Becca, here in the midst of Paradise,” he whispered, his lips covering hers with devastating tenderness.

Rebecca heard his primitive grunt of satisfaction when he let go of her hands and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer. An answering purr escaped her as tiny pinpoints of pleasure bathed her senses with light and color. Never in her life had she felt so alive, so consumed with sensations.

Whether a moment or an eternity, she had no idea how long they stood there, his mouth in sweet possession of hers. All she knew was that when the kiss was over she was plastered against his hard body, her breathing was sharp almost painful and her fists were clenched in his thick, sandy-colored hair. Appalled at her wanton response and the needy way in which she clung, Rebecca flung away with a startled cry of distress, and began to run.

Author Bio ~

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux

is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”


Website address:


Face Book:

Twitter: @psthib


Friday, September 4, 2015

~ Sometimes You Have To Call On THE VISIONARY To Get A Beautiful Book Cover ~

I welcome back author Pamela Thibodeaux who is sharing with us the evolution of her novel THE VISIONARY!

In my previous post, I showed/talked about the evolution of covers for my Tempered series and spin-off story, Lori’s Redemption. In 2010 my novel, The Visionary was contracted by Five Star Expressions. Prior to this, I’d had absolutely wonderful results in dealing with covers for my Pelican Book Group titles (you can see those HERE.)

When The Visionary was contracted, I sent my idea for a cover to the editor who, in turn, sent it to the cover department. Here’s what I described…. The eyes of a woman looking back, an old house and if possible a plantation house inset somewhere. After numerous attempts to no avail, I sent them this graphic….

As I mentioned before, I’m an author not artist but this was as close to what I envisioned that I could come up with. You have no idea how many options we went through! But the absolute worst was this… 

Now I ask you, how on earth does anyone even think this is appropriate? About the only thing I liked on this one was the old dilapidated floor and walls.

They also sent me this one…. 

... which had the same floor but the wallpaper looked too modern and pretty. The home on this property was over 100 yrs. old so that just wouldn’t work, but I loved the woman looking back over her shoulder.

So I asked them to put this woman in place of the head popping out of the floor. This is what we came up with….and The Visionary debuted November 2011 in hardcover.

When I decided to self publish the ebook and soft cover edition, I once again called upon my friend, Delia Latham (Heaven’s Touch Designs) and here’s what she came up with…

Delia managed to have the elements I wanted in cover that’s softer and more colorful.

As you can tell, getting a cover can sometimes be time consuming and frustrating, but when someone catches your vision, the end result can be stunning!

Author Bio ~

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” 


Website address:


Face Book:

Twitter: @psthib


Blurb ~

A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?

Excerpt ~

Taylor thrashed about and fought the fear clamoring in her throat. Panic stole her breath. The monster held her while Trevor grappled with a gun. She struggled and kicked, but the monster held her fast. She had to get away. She had to stop him! She begged and pleaded, but the monster just laughed. His gnarled, horrid sound sent shivers of terror through her soul. A blast of gunshot, a flash of lightning, and the scream tore free from her throat and echoed through the room. The door burst open and strong arms encircled her. Gentle hands stroked and soothed, a soft voice caressed, tender words flowed over her. Taylor buried her face in Alex’s shoulder while he cradled her against his chest and rocked.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you,” she murmured. A pulse hammered against her skin, a tremble shimmered down her spine. She pushed herself closer, found safety and comfort in his embrace. Alex tightened his arms around her, smoothed her hair.

“It’s okay. That’s why I’m here and exactly why I didn’t want to leave you alone tonight.”

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