Thursday, January 20, 2022

My Next Story

Guess what happens next month.

There are a lot of things happening next month, most of which I know nothing about. But an important one for me is a new book release. Anyone paying attention knows this will be the third Romance Arts book, The Art of Communication. Anyone really paying attention has probably guessed who’s getting together in this one. I’m not going to talk about the story inside the book because, you know, spoilers. This is the story of making the cover. I’m going to describe how I decided the kooky part and if you want to find it yourself, I suggest you do that first. Otherwise… cover spoiler! Who knew that was a thing? (Hint: The link on the title should let you see the cover, and preorder the book while you're at it.)

The “paintings” on the covers for this series are supposed to be examples of Audra’s work. They are scenes from nature with a little tweak. My post last January contained some whining about how difficult it was to get a picture that wasn’t all gray in the winter. This time I planned ahead and snapped lots of pictures of flowers during the summer. I wanted flowers on book 3 and picked out the picture to use pretty quickly.

Deciding what to tweak was not as quick. My first thought was the color of one of the flowers. I made one a darker purple, or changed it from pink to purple, depending on who you ask. The result was aesthetically pleasing. However, it didn’t have that unnatural bent I wanted. I think flowers can be different colors. I don’t actually know about this type of flower or flowers on the same plant (which wasn’t obvious in the picture anyway). But it looked perfectly normal to me.

I thought perhaps I could add a sunburst to one of the yellow centers instead, make it look almost glowing. This was either a bad idea or a great idea I was not capable of pulling off. I couldn’t get it to look natural and unnatural at the same time. It’s supposed to take the viewer a moment to notice anything is off. My sunbursts were too subtle to locate. Then they were about as subtle as the sun. Middle ground was taunting me from somewhere out of reach.

At that point, I decided the picture was the problem. I gave up and went for a walk. It was already fall so the flowers in our neighborhood were somewhat uninspiring. But while looking around, I did get the idea that I didn’t need to change the flowers at all. I could change something next to the flowers. A bee. I snapped a picture of a tiny little bee and inserted him into my cover picture. Then I made him purple instead of the flower. That’s not something you see every day, nor is it something you see the moment you look at the cover.

While celebrating this victory, I mentioned to my husband that there didn’t seem to be as many bees hanging around our backyard as in the summer. He was surprisingly shocked that the picture wasn’t something I got off the internet. He should know by now that I use my own pictures. I want everyone to know I have way more dedication than to copy a bee picture. I stood in the backyard for five whole minutes to get it. Too bad that was the easy part.