Posted by Donna MacMeans Sep 23 2015, 12:05 am in booty prize offered, Charming the Professor, cover design, Donna MacMeans, Lyndsey Lewellen
If you’ve been following my blogs, you know I’ve been planning on releasing a really cool time-travel in the near future. The book is done and ready to publish but I didn’t have a cover. This is my fault, not the cover designer. I didn’t allow sufficient time for the design process. My agent had arranged for the cover for Bound By Moonlight, not me. So I figured designing a cover must be a snap. Not so.
Well, I have my cover. YAY! Designed by the talented Lyndsey Lewellen, daughter of the equally talented Suzanne Ferrell. But before I show you the final product, I thought I’d take you through the cover concepts that went before.
I sent Lyndsey the blurb of my story, Charming the Professor, which is this:
The Charm Gates have stood at The Court of Two Sisters for more than a century with no one guessing the secret they hold. Thanks to a jealous vindictive queen and a blackmailed alchemist, French “charm teacher” Madeline Charlebois’s essence is encased inside, until a grieving professor touches the gates during a storm and Madeline tumbles out, not in her own 19th century Spain, but in 21st century New Orleans.
Quantum physics Professor Grant Stewart has mourned his wife’s death for the last three years. But he must move on for his young daughter’s sake, the child who delights in terrorizing babysitters. Grant needs adequate childcare to pursue tenure at Tulane. What he doesn’t need is a French beauty believing nonsense like time-travel and voodoo, and whose very being is melting his heart.
Maddie may be without resources but she’s good at making new friends, even if they are on the quirky side. She believes Professor Stewart can return her home, but first she must earn his trust to win his cooperation. Babysitting his daughter gives her both proximity, and love for the child. Will Grant be the key to returning to her time? Or will she, in turn, unlock his frozen heart? All they need is time and maybe a little voodoo…
My concept was that a historically attired lady from 1853 would stand back-to-back with a modern professor with a little girl at their feet between them.
Lyndsey sent me two concepts. The first is the “cartoon” cover on the right – that I love! But everyone I showed it to said it didn’t suggest a romance. They thought the story was a children’s story about the little girl charming the professor. Rats! That’s not at all what the story is about.
The other concept, the one on the left, looks more like a romance. But I had a problem with the girl’s outfit. To me, she looked like she was wearing a Halloween costume, the adult version of a historical dress. The guy looked a bit dorky. His suit may have been appropriate in Victorian times – but not for today. He had to change.
I thought the background was too busy and suggested maybe a brick wall might be better. Meanwhile, Lyndsy found a new pair of models, plus she found a set of gates that looked a lot like the real Charm Gates. She sent this:
I love the new hero – now we’re talking! But the heroine just wasn’t working for me. Plus, I don’t think this conveys New Orleans the way I’d hoped. I wasn’t crazy about the dress (which is actually a blouse and skirt). Lyndsey changed up the colors and added some mardi gras masks which didn’t work at all. That it’s on the left. Please note that all of these images have the watermarks of unpurchased images. Those don’t disappear until the images are purchased and a cover finalized.
About now I’m getting frustrated. Lyndsey is probably frustrated with me as well. She found a different image with the same male model, but has a heroine that looks more Victorian, but I don’t know – doesn’t she look like she’s from a model of American Western Victorian attire? Nothing about the image says New Orleans to me. Lyndsey tried a different background, but still I get more of a feeling of San Antonio than New Orleans. She changed the background and added some verbage to indicate this was a time-travel, because you really can’t tell by the cover. That’s the improved cover on the left.
Better, but it’s still not what I wanted. I’m thinking I might have to use that cute cartoon cover. We decided to go back to the original concept, however, before Lyndsey worked on fixing that first cover, she found something new. And in my eyes, she found something wonderful.
This is my new cover for CHARMING THE PROFESSOR. Tell me what do you think?
Now for a prize, I’ll send someone, or a couple someones, leaving a comment a free copy of the prequel to Charming the Professor. It’s a short story that hasn’t a cover (but hopefully will shortly) called The Moor’s Tear. While it’s not necessary to read The Moor’s Tear first, it does make Charming the Professor that much richer. If you’re more in mind of winning a book, I have a huge overflowing TBR pile that I plan to give away a book a month to one of the subscribers to my newsletter list. If you haven’t already subscribed, click here: http://eepurl.com/mweWX\ or go to my website, wwwDonnaMacmeans.com and sign up. Now let’s talk!
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jan 2 2013, 12:01 am in Alison Welsh, art, comic art, ink on paper, Lyndsey Lewellen, modern art, my home, self-portrait, Suzanne Ferrell
Welcome to my home! As many of you know both my daughters are artists.Today I’d like to show you what my family and I get to enjoy on a daily basis. It means, lucky me, my home is filled with rather unique artwork.(Please excuse all flashes from my camera.)
The first thing I want to show you is the wonderful presents I got for Christmas. On the left is the framed poster of HUNTED’s cover and on the right is KIDNAPPED. Lyndsey made these for me. You can’t read them, but scattered over the covers are quotes from the reviews both books received on Amazon. In fact, right above HUNTED on the right side of the picture is one from someone you all know, our own HELEN! How cool is this. Both of these are going to hang in my office where I can see them every time I enter the room. Talk about inspiration. (The photos don’t do them justcie, they are HUGE.)
Next is the lovely picture my older daughter, Alison made me for Christmas. It’s a couple in a romantic pose, surrounded by my favorite flowers, tulips. This is going in my dining room along with some lovely black and white pictures of my two granddaughters as babies. Alison did both of these, too.
Here’s another wall in my dining room. The three collages you see here were done by Lyndsey. Each picture represents one of us connected by the colors and designs on the background. The one on the left is Lyndsey, represented by her favorite flower, the daisy. I’m in the middle represented by my tulips. And Alison is on the right. Her signature flower? The rose. These were another Christmas present and I adore them!
Now let’s move into the living room. Here is an African gazelle. Isn’t it striking? Know why I love this so much? No, I don’t have a thing for long-horned goat/deer creatures.
This particular piece of art was made entirely with dots. I made a close up so you could see. No lines, just dots, even the background. This piece has fascinated me for years. A school project, Lyndsey even coerced her brother and best friend into helping her fill in the background dots the night before this was due. I know for a fact that buried in the background of dots are my now son-in-law’s name and the name of a boy her best friend adored back then. Haven’t been able to find them…yet!
Also in the living room you will see this piece that Alison did. The native
American woman gives a nod to my dual heritage, (Cherokee on both sides from my parents who lived in Tennessee). I also thought the strength and determination in her pose quite moving. This piece sits on my mantel except at Christmas.
And hanging next to the mantle is this piece of cross stitch I did years ago. It’s the only kind of art work I can manage, but it reminds me of the lovely Grandmother’s Garden quilts my own grandmother had.
Next you can see what hangs in the guest bedroom. This picture on the left was another assignment for Lyndsey. She had to take an everyday object and use it in three different ways. This was a candle and the woman, who given Lyndsey’s love of comics is a superhero, is using it as a weapon. The comic art graphics of this appeals to me and I just had to hang it.
Next to it in the same room is this piece that Lyndsey did for an art show in downtown Dallas. Again, a woman with superpowers, you can see her forming a protective shield with her hand. Her daddy loved it so much he bought it. I keep trying to get her to make me another one to go with it…but she’s a little busy these days. 🙂
Back in my office, I thought I’d show you a couple of more pieces. This one is a poster we had Lyndsey make for a DARA function. We wanted to educate the people attending the seminar and the book signing about the important role Romances make in the publishing market place. With RWA’s permission we used facts and quotes on the poster…but in the lower left corner, that couple ALMOST touching? I use that to remind me of how sexual tension should feel. That’s from one of Lyndsey’s favorite comics, X-men. She drew her interpretation of two characters in a sensual stance…almost touching, almost kissing. Do you know which characters?
Hanging so I can see it from my desk chair is this picture. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s a self-portrait that Lyndsey did of herself when she was about 16 or 17. How you look into a mirror and draw yourself AND make it look exactly like you…amazes me. I have it up there to remind me, that if you concentrate long enough and hard enough you can achieve something masterful. That, and it’s just beautiful to look at!
Here are those two black ink drawings Alison did for me from when my granddaughters were babies. (I’m still waiting for the ones for my grandsons!) Now that I have that lovely couple in tulips picture to balance it out, I can get these up in my dining room. Aren’t they sweet?
And this isn’t going in my house, but was just too precious not to share. This is Alison’s daughter from a photo Lyndsey took of her coloring at my dining room table. Lyndsey drew it onto paper then with the suggestions from her own daughter added the imagination that comes from art. She even let her help color it. This was Lyndsey’s gift to her sister for Christmas. It rendered Alison speechless.
So, that’s the art gallery walk in my house. I still have a few rooms those two can fill with their collective work. I might even go through their old portfolio’s one day and find some more treasures to hang.
How about you? Got any special photos or art pieces you love? Tell me about them. Got any special wall hangings, quilts, cross stitch pieces? Are you an artist?
Posted by Joan Kayse Nov 30 2012, 12:53 am in historical romance, historicals, Joan Kayse, Lyndsey Lewellen, The Patrician
What is the title of your book?
The Patrician. First in the Roman series.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve always been a fan of period history especially the Roman time period. I think it started with lazy Sundays watching all the “classic” movies with my Dad…Ben Hur, The Robe. Also a fascination with the intricacies of an Empire. All powerful. All consuming. Corruption undermining lofty goals. Plus I like guys in tunics 😀
What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction specifically historical ROMANCE
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Gilles Marini would make a GREAT Jared. Sigh, love me some Gilles. As to Bryna? A combination of Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence. As for Cuini the cat? Cricket 😀
What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
Love conquers empires
Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
This week I went live with THE PATRICIAN via Kindle/Nook/Kobo/Smashwords and soon Createspace. I love sharing my stories with readers!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
THE PATRICIAN is the evolved version of my first manuscript. VERY first one? Probably 18 months. During that time though, I was learning and reading and networking all to make the story even better.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The decision to begin writing came during one of those moments when you reexamine your life and what you want to do with it. My mother had passed away and the loss of her light hit me hard. I am proud to be a nurse but I wanted to make a larger impact. I love the energy that comes from crafting a story.
What else about your book might interest the reader?
Number one would be the non-traditional time period. I love Regency, westerns but crave the vibrancy of other eras. Vikings, Colonial, Civil War, Ancient….all of them have stories to tell.
As part of the Next Big Blog, I’m to tag four other authors. This opportunity came a bit on the shorter notice side so other bloggsters were committed. But I’d love for you to check out these Bandits websites and their books! www.suzanneferrell.com , www.susansey.com, www.tawnyweber.com and www.jeanneadams.com
Do you have a Kindle? A Nook? What draws you to a new book?
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Aug 24 2012, 12:39 am in cover art, designing, Lyndsey Lewellen, self-published books, Steampunk, Suzanne Ferrell, YA author.
Today I get to introduce one of my favorite people in the whole world to you, our readers. The Bandits are very familiar with Lyndsey Lewellen, see, she not only is my daughter, but she is the artist who designed the banner for the Lair!!
Lyndsey has also become one of the best cover artists in the business.
People are always asking us who did your covers, or how do they come up with the designs for those covers? Lyndsey works with self-published authors and has agreed to show us, “How A Book Cover Is Born.”
Welcome, Lynds! Pull up a chair at the bar and Sven will keep us supplied in ice cold Diet Cokes while we talk!
Lyndsey: Diet Coke! All right! You know me so well!
Suz: Tell me, what’s the first thing that happens when an author contracts you to design her book cover?
Lyndsey: Well, that would depend on the client. Some authors will begin by telling me the genre, tone, or a detailed concept of their design. Whereas others may have a sample chapter or sample covers of authors who write similar stories to send me. I’m pretty open to whatever form of communication the author provides. However, there are a few essentials I’ll ask for before I can work up a cover. Title, author’s name (especially for pseudonyms), other text found on the book’s cover, and if it will be an e-Book only or a Print on Demand & e-Book design are vital pieces of information.
Suz: So if I told you say, “I have a new series I want to self-publish, the first book is about a single working mother of twin boys who comes to rely on the fill-in doctor when her ex-husband tries to get custody of one son for his own designs,” What kind of questions would you ask me or what would be the next step for you?
Lyndsey: I’d most likely ask what you envision your cover to look like. Do you want people on the cover or do you have a central focus? If you’ve also told me the genre or tone you want to convey, that helps quite a bit. Once I have an idea of what you want, I’d then create two low resolution concepts and send them to you in order to see if my designs are close to how you picture your cover.
Suz: Now you’ve sent me two designs based on my first conversation or e-mail with you. What if it isn’t quite what I want? What would be the next step for you?
Lyndsey: When a client requests a change, I may have to change a few things here and there, or completely rework the image. This can take one revision, or it may take several. There are some artists that have revision limitations and you will only be allowed a certain number of changes. If you choose an artist who has this policy, it’s important to state your adjustments clearly as you may be charged extra for future changes. I currently do not have this policy, but if you are on a short schedule keep in mind, revisions can take time.
Suz: What if I want part of one and part of another?
Lyndsey: I think this happens a lot, and it should. I have an unhealthy love of fonts. Actually, searching and downloading fonts is one of my favorite past times. Weird, I know. But this love can lead to a crazy amount of indecision on my part. If I can’t choose between two, I’ll put one font on one concept and one on the other. This way, the author can decide. These concepts aren’t set in stone. It’s good for authors to tell me what they like and dislike on the designs so we can come up with the best cover.
Suz: I remember how excited you were when you found “Pirate Font” for the word Bandits in our banner…hehehe
**Lyndsey has shown you from top to bottom how she developed my newest cover for my next self-published book. Close To Home will be out around November 1st.**
Suz: Can you tell us about branding?
Lyndsey: Sure, branding is when an author wants her audience to recognize her series of books by simply looking at the cover. It’s a marketing tool that helps bring cohesion to a series and makes it more appealing to the consumer. To achieve this, I try to keep certain elements of the cover similar in subsequent titles. Fonts, placement, tone, they’re all kept in harmony with the other novels. But the larger portion of the cover is changed to fit the new series and give the consumer something to get excited about.
Suz: Do you ever do actual drawings or is it all photo manipulations?
Lyndsey: The majority of my designs are done via photo manipulation. I truly enjoy this art form and I think it’s a great way to keep the cost down for my clients. However, I also provide hand drawn art upon request.
Suz: How can people get in contact with you if they’re interested in contracting you to design for them?
Lyndsey: They can send me an e-mail at email@example.com with any questions and design requests.
Suz: Do you have any other artistic interests?
Lyndsey: I love reading! I read almost everything I can get my hands on. Especially romance, fantasy, comics and manga. My love for art combined with wonderful writing probably has a big hand in my current career choice. I also enjoy writing and have written some young adult books.
Suz: What are your books about? (Ya, genre, steampunk…tell as much as you want!)
Lyndsey: They’re multicultural steampunk books about a teen girl who finds an ancient artifact hidden in her cuckoo clock which burns ancient words made of light on her arms. The light alerts an order of magical people ready to kill her. To remove the light, she must join forces with the only person who knows anything about the artifact–the handsome Japanese boy she got removed from school by impulsively slandering his name.
Here is the website for Lyndsey’s design studio: http://lyndseylewellen.wordpress.com/
Below are some of the covers Lyndsey has done for some of our Bandits:
Do you all have any questions for Lyndsey? Got any book concepts you’d want to throw her way?