Monday, January 16, 2017

Word of the Week - Under the Weather



Okay, more of a phrase of the week--and this one by special request (happy to report no one's under the weather in my house! Though we had a brief stint of it last Tuesday...)

Anyway. So.

Everyone knows that under the weather means to feel sick. The question is where it came from.

As it turns out, this is in fact a phrase with nautical origins. A lot of seasickness is caused by bad weather--and the solution is to go below deck and lie down, where you're not only out of the weather, but where the swaying of the ship isn't so pronounced. When you did this, you were said to go/be, quite literally, under the weather. Some sources site the original phrase as being under the weather bow--which was the side of the ship getting hit by all the wind and waves etc.

So there we have it, and here's hoping no one in your house has to claim it this week!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Covers, Covers, and More Covers!

I'm up to my eyeballs in galleys for A Name Unknown right now, so I can't spend much time on the ol' blog this week. But I did want to check in real quick. So I thought I'd do a quick share of the covers I created last week.

WhiteFire just acquired some of Melody Carlson's backlist contemporary titles--all previously published, but we're giving them a fresh new look. I've had fun repackaging these MC classics, and since the first batch of them are processing and will be available today/tomorrow (I'll update with links later), I figured it would be cool to share!

I tackled them in an, ahem, amazingly brilliant order. Alphabetical. ;-) So here they are in that same order.

First up is actually the most recent of the books, Armando's Treasure

Dora Chase is an eighty-year-old widow whose family finds her frustratingly independent. Her son no longer trusts her judgment and constantly pressures her to sell her rural home and rundown farm to a huge computer firm.

When a young stranger shows up, Dora is suspicious, but before long Armando Garcia wins her trust. And Armando supports Dora’s independence, causing the conflict within her bickering family to escalate. Dora's son abhors Armando's interference and is determined to send him away. He suspects the charming young man is running from something or someone. And he's not far from wrong.

The unlikely friendship that grows between the elderly widow and the young man with a past leads them both on a journey toward hope, healing and forgiveness.


Going on that description and the previous covers, both of which had a classic Chevy truck in blue and some sunflowers...



 I came up with this. 


Melody approved, so it was on to the next, Built with Love, which had been originally published as Wise Man's House.



For a young widow, the stone mansion she once dreamed of owning, offers the promise of a new beginning.

After the death of her husband, Kestra returns to her hometown of Port Star. With the purchase of her childhood dream house—a stone mansion along the rocky Oregon coast—it appears she has found a way to rebuild her life.

Kestra begins to transform the old house into an elegant, yet charming restaurant. But as the renovations begin, a mysterious stranger moves into her caretaker’s cottage—and eventually into her heart.

Suddenly life is full of promise and new opportunities, until a contractor’s jealousy threatens Kestra’s new romance.

The opening of this one had some nice mood to it that I wanted to capture. So again, armed with the blurb, my glance at the first pages, and these previous covers...


I came up with this.


My original had a larger house--I apparently think in East Coast terms, LOL--but after some minor tweaking anyway... ;-)

Next up is Heartland Skies.


Jayne Morgan has a lot to learn about love. Harris McAllister has a lot to learn about tolerance. When they meet they have lots to teach each other.

Jayne feels betrayed when her fiancĂ© suddenly dumps her for his high school sweetheart just weeks before the wedding. She’d love to leave Paradise, Oregon, but she’s signed a teaching contract and the kids in her classroom need her.

This one was Xoe's favorite--because HORSES. ;-)  I had the saddle wrong in my first attempt, not realizing she rode English instead of Western, but after a bit of tweaking, we went from these...


to this:

The next one is a bit different. Looking for Cassandra Jane is a coming-of-age story set in the 60s and 70s. So I wanted it to have a different sort of look to capture that young feel, and also the era. 


Cassanda Maxwell has had a life filled with pain. Her mother died too young, her father is an abusive alcoholic, and she’s a misfit everywhere she goes.



After being shuttled between various foster homes, Cass struggles to find her identity and finds herself caught up with Scott Jones (aka “Sky”) and his group of friends who start a Jesus commune in California. But before long, the group is more interested in pot and sex than they are spiritual growth.


Once again, Cass finds herself trapped in unhappinessand she longs for escape.

Will Cass find the life and love she craves on a California communewith the charismatic Sky and his followers? Or can she fulfill her dreamsand find her real future—with her childhood friend Joey?

I quite liked the original cover--the distressed feel of it and the girl hanging her head. 


I didn't imitate it exactly by any means, but that's what I kept in mind as I hunted up photos. I was afraid Melody and her agent wouldn't get my vision with the big script font, LOL, but they both loved this.


Then we had Shades of Light. I read a few chapters of this one as I prepared myself to design it and was quite enjoying the theme of light--physical and metaphorical. 


First there are shades of sorrow, then shades of hope. Will Gwen find shades of light?

When her only child leaves home for college, widowed Gwen Sullivan discovers just how lonely an “empty nest” can be. How will she adjust and fill her empty days? 

At the urging of friends, Gwen takes a job with an interior designer—whom she soon discovers to be domineering and jealous of Gwen’s creativity. Suddenly she’s stuck doing menial tasks. When a sleazy client starts to harass her, Gwen begins to wonder if she’s cut out for the working world. 

She eventually meets Oliver Black, who gives her an opportunity to use her decorating skills, and suddenly Gwen sees herself in a more confident light. But Oliver is a man of many secrets, and Gwen wonders if she can trust her heart to him.


Light is crucial to the main character, so I wanted a cover where she's bathed in it. I found a model of the right age at a window, inserted a Pacific Northwest background (very faintly), and voila.


Melody loved the expression on her face here, so we had a winner!

And finally, the one with the absolute best setting. ;-)  Previously titled Awakening Heart, we retitled this one with Melody's original working title, Thursday's Child.


Emma has always been “the practical one” in the family. But that is about to change as she embarks on the adventure of her life.

Emma Davis wants a new life now that she no longer needs to care for her grandmother. A spur-of-the-moment visit to a travel agency sets her on a journey far from her Iowa home.

Emma takes a cruise to the far islands of the Pacific, but it isn’t until she arrives in Papua, New Guinea, that she begins to realize her true calling. Emma regains her sense of purpose by caring for three motherless children and befriending their father, Josh Daniels.

Josh’s troubled pass and the loss of his wife have left him vulnerable, but can the love Emma has discovered in her own heart, awaken his heart to all Emma has to offer?
Previous covers...


But I wanted to capture that gorgeous setting!

 So there we have it! I still have four more covers to design for a series from Melody that we'll be re-releasing, but that will have to wait until after galleys. Speaking of which . . . BYE!