Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Miracle of the Concrete Jesus

Warning: blatant book plug (with cats exploited for advertising purposes)

I have a new e-book available for Kindle—only $1.99. Miracle of the Concrete Jesus and Other Stories is a collection of nine short stories, six of which are recycled from my print book, The Girl Who Raced Mules & Other Stories. Two of the others have been published elsewhere. One hasn't been published before—but it won a contest. Anyhow, once the e-book was on my iPad, Chloe checked out the cover.

It took awhile to get the cover just the way I wanted, so this blog post is really about the evolution of the e-book's cover.

Here's the book's description: One woman’s surprise gift to her church produces an unexpected result, another woman gets advance warning of an ice storm, another gets down and dirty at the grocery store, another finds a mystery in library books. Add a mule, a kiddie beauty pageant, a dressed-up pig, a bootlegger, an escaped convict, a wannabe best-selling author, and a jar of ashes, and you have Miracle of the Concrete Jesus and Other Stories. These prize-winning humorous down-home stories feature resolute women as main characters: “Miracle of the Concrete Jesus,” “Angel on Ice,” “Down and Dirty,” “The Mystery of Emmaline Carter,” “Insult to Injury,” “Fixing the Blame,” “Eye of the Beholder,” “Query Letter From Helen,” and “Phoenix Rising.”

I spent several weeks getting the text reformatted properly for Kindle. I uploaded the book three times before I got it to where I was pleased with the result. Meanwhile, my cover designer—Eduardo Mitchell—and I conferred back and forth via email about how the cover should look. I sent him a photo I'd taken; he removed a lot of extraneous stuff—tree branches, part of a building, etc. The he worked on selecting a suitable font and arranging the title on the picture. Here are two of the early attempts:

On the cover (left), the red is too serious and over-powering; plus my name is obscured by the statue, and it's hard to read the "and other stories" part. On the right, the font has a cleaner look and the pink color looks better. But will pink work for the title?

Yes! The pink suggests it's a woman's book. Indeed, all the main characters are female. Putting my name in a different font gives the cover a bit more depth. But the cover still needs something—something to suggest that it's not serious. When I showed the above cover to my writers group, they thought flowers would be a good addition—especially a rose in the statue's hand.

In the title story, the protagonist buys a slightly defective Jesus statue for her church and thinks she can disguise some missing toes by planting flowers. So—let's add flowers that show the short stories are light-hearted and humorous. 

Uh-oh. That red viney thing in the left picture is too much. In the picture on the right, the flowers are too high. The blue flower is ugly and the red one seems to dominate. One more try . . .

 . . . and now the flowers look good—just enough to give the cover a whimsical feel, but not overpowering. The colors coordinate nicely with each other and with the text color.

I'm pleased with the final result, even though certain cats (like Tanner) aren't impressed.

Now, Gentle Blog Readers, if you'll just pop over to Amazon and buy the book. . . .

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Blogger CountryDew said...

It looks good! I like the cover. Congratulations on this, I think it is a wonderful thing to do.

4:12 PM  

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