Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cover Design ~ Love in Three Quarter Time

Time for another peek behind the cover design process! This time, I'm featuring one that won't be all that involved. As designs go, it was pretty simple. Which is why I'm featuring it today, as I'm short on time. ;-)

Rachel McMillan is best known for her historicals, but she occasionally puts on a contemporary novella, and I'm always thrilled when she comes to me for the cover. =) Last year I designed a cover for a Christmas novella duo in which she and Allison Pittman each wrote a story.

This year, Rachel has Love in Three Quarter Time releasing on Valentine's Day.

Her wants were pretty simple. The heroine, face not visible, and Vienna in the background. She gave me some great photos for inspiration and even the name of a few buildings she'd like to see on the cover. And as a comparable cover, she recommended this (and other covers for Carla Laureano):

 Armed with nice, decisive information like this, I hit Shutterstock with confidence. It's always so much easier to design a cover when the author knows exactly what they want!

My first hunt was for a model that fit the description of Rachel's main character. Rachel described her as having shoulder length dark hair, cut in a curly bob. She tends to wear turtleneck sweaters, knee high boots, tweed, cardigans..."classic librarian." I went searching for such lovely ladies with their faces averted and happened pretty quickly upon this one.

 Not bad! Happy with that as a starting place for Evelyn, I next turned to images of Vienna. Anything from historical Vienna would do, but I began by looking for images of the Staatsoper (opera house), upon Rachel's recommendation. And there were some GORGEOUS photos of this building at sunset. This is the one that caught my eye.

Putting the two together was pretty simple. The only real tweaks I had to make were to delete a few flyaway hairs and add some lighting to the model, which gave me this.

I wanted to punch the lighting up a little bit though, so I added the Hudson filter...

Satisfied that this was a good base, I added some faded color layers to give me a good place for the words...

And then added the title and author. Now, I'd just purchased this super-gorgeous font called Monstera that I was dying to use...especially since I'd FINALLY figured out how to access all the pretty alternates (I'm embarrassed by how long it took me to actually read the how-to included with all these fonts I've downloaded. For reference, on a PC, hit the Start button and type "Character Map." Click on that, and up will pop a screen like this...
Just click on the version of the letter you like, click Select, and then Copy, and paste directly into where you want to use it--in my case, the text layer in Photoshop. Ridiculously simple.)

So as you can see in the image above, I played around with the various forms of each letter until I landed on this.

This was almost, almost there. But I wanted a little something more. A flourish. Something to pull the music theme of the title (Vienna is where the waltz originated) into the cover. So I found this pretty little musical flourish...

I put my choice of this set behind the title, and it added just the touch I was looking for! I showed it to Rachel, and she declared it exactly what she was looking for. Yay! So here's the final:

So here's some more about the story.

A romantic waltz through a city filled with music, passion and coffee.

Evelyn Watt fell in love with Austrian marketing director Rudy Moser the moment he stepped into their Boston firm. With his ice blue eyes and chocolate-melting accent, he is as refined as she imagines his home country to be. When Evelyn finds herself unexpectedly unemployed right before Christmas, she is left with an unknown future until Rudy steps in with a job appraising, assessing and cataloging heirlooms, lending her American vernacular to the translated descriptions to give each item international appeal. Evelyn will live in Vienna for the months leading up to a grand auction at a party held in conjunction with the Opera Ball—on Valentine’s Day.

Vienna is a magical blend of waltzing, antiques, and bottomless cups of Einspanner coffee at the Café Mozart. When a secret from Rudy's family's past blows in with the winter chill, Evelyn is forced to confront how well she knows the object of her affection. Her café tablemate, the gruff and enigmatic Klaus Bauner might be the only person who holds the key to Rudy’s past. But could that key also unlock her future? In the days leading up to the Opera Ball, Evelyn finds herself in the middle of the greatest romance of her life…as long as she doesn’t trip over her two left feet.

You can pre-order this from Amazon now, and it'll download to your Kindle on 2/14!

What do you think of the cover? Do you like the feel? The setting, the face-averted heroine?


  1. Well that was so much fun. And it’s perfect! I like th3 way the swirls match up!

  2. What a perfect cover! I love the building in the back ground. I love the architecture of those old buildings. (There are some in Armenia from the 800's!

  3. So neat! Thanks for sharing. The book sounds fascinating and I always love seeing your covers.

  4. Gorgeous cover! I enjoy seeing behind the scenes of cover design!

  5. I think this is my favourite of the covers you've designed ... at least that I remember. I especially like the finishing touch of the musical flourish! Elizabeth

  6. Very cool! I just saw your An Hour Unspent cover and love how the blue of her dress matches her eyes and the mystery implied by her look and the clock behind her. :)