I designed this cover quite a while ago, but hey. Why not do the step-by-step for my own book, right? =)
I'd had the idea for A Soft Breath of Wind for years. As in, years. Even before I rewrote and re-released A Stray Drop of Blood. The idea for the story came to me all at once, in an idea-swirling two days that saw it go from germ to full-fledged in my mind. I frantically wrote it all down in a few pages of notes, knowing it wasn't the time to write it yet back then in 2007. But as I sat in a class at my very first writers conference, the teacher asked, "If you could only write one more book--if you knew you only had one more year to live--what book would it be?" My answer: this one.
Still, six years passed. Many other books came to me and were written down. This one was always there, waiting, but the time wasn't right yet. After a Skype chat with a bookclub in July of 2013, though, I knew that time had come. So to inspire myself, I opened up Photoshop and got to work on the visuals.
My inspiration was a photo I had discovered some months earlier in my various searches through iStock and Shutterstock. I always save compelling images to a lightbox, either the one called "Random" or the one called "Historical." =)
Well, yes, probably. But this is a book cover. If you're going to err any direction, err toward too-pretty, right?
There are quite a few images in this photographic series, but I chose this one because of the wind. I knew I wanted the wind to represent the Holy Spirit in this book, so having it on the cover would be awesome. But I didn't want her bare leg showing. I got to work with my copy and paste and clone stamp tool to cover that up.
And while the hair blowing in the wind looks great, it's also really tricky to get right when I'm taking out the background. I spent hours with a teensy-tiny eraser, going in between each strand to make it look right.
I didn't save this image separately, so have to show you the layer from the final version, which also has lighting effects put in. You can't actually see the super-dark part on the final cover, but the shadowing as she goes down is just what I was looking for.
But I still had to work on her pretty factor. See, Zipporah is scarred. The first scar she receives in the very first chapter. It runs from her left temple down to her chin, along the side of her face. She could easily cover it with her hair, but more often than not she doesn't. And as I looked at this model's oh-so-lovely face, I realized that it works perfectly with the way she's squinting into the sun, doesn't it?
But I also wanted to show a scar she gets in the course of the book. This one is cross-shaped and on the opposite side of her face. So I took the same scar image, duplicated and moved the two parts around into a cross, and left it at 100% opacity so it's bright and new.
I searched iStock for Roman countryside or Roman villa or something like that and came up with this one. It's of the Italian countryside, and I really liked the hazy look. Plus, the buildings in the back have an old-world feel. Perfect.
Now, this is a sequel, so I wanted it to have the same elements as the cover of A Stray Drop of Blood. That includes a texture layer over the entire cover and flourishes sprouting out behind the cover model. I stared at Stray Drop's cover REALLY closely to dissect the fun elements Tekeme put in. He used a distressed leather texture and a nice subtle flourish.
The Wind of the Spirit. Okay, but not quite what I was wanting. Especially because I'd seen other books with the same title, LOL, and I like to be original. For a while I liked The Whisper in the Whirlwind. But I had Whispers from the Shadows coming out, and two Whisper titles in different series seemed like a bad idea. So I decided to keep the same rhythm as A Stray Drop of Blood. And my mind settled on A Soft Breath of Wind. So I went with it. =)
www.all-free-downloads.com and came up with this.
And there we have it! My full cover for A Soft Breath of Wind, which I'm hoping to finish up in the next couple weeks. I'm getting excited!