Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Word Witch Wednesday - the final Totem covers!

We're here! Thank you so much for joining me on this mad journey. I've gotten excellent feedback on this series of blog posts. I hope I've given some of you the courage to experiment with graphics yourself.

Make sure you've caught up on all the parts of the mad science of book covers to see my bare elements before I hacked them to pieces and glued them together!

Part 1 - knowing the book cover elements of your genre.
Part 2 - the basic elements.
Part 3 - image shopping and backgrounds.
Part 4 - cover models.
Part 5 - fonts and the remaining elements.

Remember back at the beginning when I said not to form a definite picture in your mind of what you wanted as your cover? When you see my covers, you'll understand why. I had to make several last minute changes, but wow, they worked out so well. It makes me giddy just looking at them!

I'm also going to include covers that did not make the cut. This way you can see why I wasn't around much last week. I had to tap into that creative madness.


Dark Dawning with our lovely protagonist, Ametta Dorn. I was lucky to find this cover model. She is Ametta to a tee! And thankfully, she fit well with the background.

Troubles: I had a golden eagle in the background. It's an important part of this story, but it didn't stand out. It also took away from the overall mysterious effect. After I had some other eyes on the cover who agreed, I removed the bird. In fact, I removed all the totem animals from the covers. It made them cleaner and allows your eyes to focus on the people. The biggest decision I had to make was the color of the background. If you remember the original image, it was gold. And I loved the gold. I still do. Blue or gold, blue or gold. When I saw all three covers together, I knew it had to be blue.

Watch out behind you, Ametta! There's a bad hunter silhouette! I think he has a gun. I'm not sure. He could be roasting marshmallows.


The middle sister with her geeky tendencies, Kinley Dorn. I had several poses of this one model, and I'd been set on using another one. But when I got frustrated with it, I tried this pose and wowed myself. It's kind of ethereal, and it suits her so much.

Troubles: the model, oh yes. I wanted to use the image of her standing there with her arms crossed in a black tank top. But it wouldn't work with the background. The lighting on the model was yellow, and no matter how I played with it, it wasn't working. I originally avoided the above image because of the hair. It's difficult to trim around fine strands of hair, but when I darkened the background, it matched the color of the model image's background. I didn't have to trim!

Secret fix: Remember when I told you to buy model images that had three-fourths or their entire bodies in the pictures? That one isn't a full body shot. In fact, she was cut off above the eyebrows. I added in the top of her head. Can you tell?

Months ago, I thought a snowy swirl at the bottom of the cover would look neat. What the heck was I thinking?


Don't tick Saskia off! I think the glare says as much. It's not the original model I wanted, but she has all the attitude I needed.

Troubles: Another last minute model change. None of the images of the model I chose for Saskia worked with the background. This time, they were just too bright. I was tempted to go buy another one, but I went through my image file and spotted this woman. Not quite what I imagined Saskia to look like, but she has the power and strength. Plus, the black jacket! I had to add on the top of her head too.

Oh man. That snowy swirl is hideous! And the middle model... a little stunned looking. Plus, I tried putting a tattoo on her. Ha! Thankfully with the model on the final cover, her hair covers her neck and chest, so I didn't have to worry about tattoos. Does the fox look like it's flying?

Whew. We made it. And nothing blew up! Well, maybe I did a few times, but I'm getting pretty good at putting tops of heads back on.

What do you think of the covers? Also, are you interested in seeing similar posts when I put together the covers for the remaining six Totem books? Yes, there are nine books in total! The next three will feature the heroes. The final three will have... uh, the couples or their animals. Maybe? I don't know! I need to write them first.


  1. You did really well if you had to add the top of her head.
    Working around fine details like hair can be really difficult.

  2. You are amazing at this! And although I don't think I will ever attempt this myself, I enjoyed reading this series of posts. :)

  3. Alex, thanks! Hair is difficult. Not something I want to have to do again!

    Madeline, thank you. :)

  4. I love these covers! You've done such an excellent job not only representing the Dorn sisters and their story, but also tying all three covers together!

    Excellent! :D

  5. Interesting to see the versions. I'd hate to make those kinds of decisions myself. I have great ideas in my mind, but I know I could never make them so!

  6. That was neat. I liked seeing your process and what the covers looked like as you worked on them. I definitely love the final products. They look excellent!

  7. Great job! These are so cool!


    Best of luck!

  8. I don't have the Photoshop skills for something like this! But the covers look great!

  9. They look great! I like the model change for Kinley.

  10. All three look fantastic! I can't wait to see what you'll do with the other covers in the series!

  11. Clare, thanks so much!

    Annalisa, I lost a lot of sleep over it!

    Chrys and Heather, thank you!

    M, you can use free programs online. My version of Photoshop is an old one.

    Patricia, thanks! I love it too.

    Cherie, thank you. I hope I can do the next ones justice. At least I know where I'm going with them... mostly!

  12. I so love seeing your different versions, and your final products are downright breathtaking!

  13. So neat to see the different versions! The blue is by far my fav too.

  14. Very cool:) I agree that knowing the genre and audience are key to developing the right cover:)

  15. I'm going to hire you. :) You did fantastic.

  16. Hi Christine - it's been a great series ... and one I'm sure I'll come back to check out how you went about the process ... thanks for updating us - amazing what can be done ... clever lady! Cheers and good luck to the writing of the rest of the series ... Hilary

  17. Lovely covers! I'm especially drawn to the one for Silent Whispers. You clearly put a lot of time and effort into these, and the end results are fab. As someone who really enjoyed seeing your process for this, I know I'd love to read more posts like this for your future covers!

  18. Hard to believe you added the top of her head. I congratulate you on your Photoshop prowess. Your posts are very informative, but all the effort you put into them is making me a little scared. And I thought writing the story was the hard part.

  19. It was fun seeing this series. I know I have trouble with using people on my covers. I ended up taking pictures of a friend in order to get the look I wanted. And your comments about the snowy swirl make me giggle. :)


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