Sunday, June 29, 2014

Making of a Book Cover: Viking Mine

The Killion Group orginalI'm so excited about my latest book. It's totally different than what I usually write, meaning no magic or supernatural creatures mucking about. It's a straight historical, well, as far as what history can piece together on Vikings at any rate. And it was such a joy to write also. I love these characters. Anyway, more on them later. This post is about how I made the cover.

I wanted to go with that classic historical romance style. You know the ones with a couple in a clench in front of some type of historical scene, usually a castle. I just wanted readers to know exactly what it is at a glance.

So the first thing was to find the right couple. Not so easy when I'm using stock photo. First, there aren't that many blond guys. I have no idea why, but they are few and far between. I also wanted the heroine to have dark hair.  And not completely nekkid either. I couldn't find any at my usual stock photo haunt so I went over to The Killion Group and finally found the perfect couple. The leather pants definitely need to be cropped out though. Eew.
Viking ships saturated
Viking Ships original

Next up is the historical landscape behind them. Viking book. Definitely need a Viking Dragon Ship. Dreamstime had just what I needed.

Saturated it a bit to bring out more color and lighten.

Next I put them together. It took a while to get the right placement of the ships. I ended up using the 3rd ship on the right because it fit the best beneath Rovena's the heroine's hair. I also erased some of her gown. It just flared too much. Actually the dress isn't exactly authentic for the time period but with stock photos I have to pick and choose what I can live with. Notice how I cropped out those awful leather pants? And please don't tell me they are really pleather. Gag. As you can see I started playing around with title and author name placement. I thought it looked pretty good until I decided I really wanted to go with the classic historical romance look and make it look like a drawing.
Cover pulled together
 Finding an illustration program took a little bit of work until I found one in Smart Photo Editor and ran it through. It first came out like this, which I actually love, except it made the fonts less readable. It also made their hair color almost the same. What I really liked about this couple was that her dark hair opposed to his light hair.
Well, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. I played around with the light balance, even tried to slip her old non illustrated hair over this hair, until it dawned on  me to use the clone stamp tool and clone darker spots of her hair over the lighter spots. It worked pretty well although I may have gotten a little carried away. Except Rovena's hair in the book is pitch black and fascinates all the lighter haired Vikings so I wanted it as dark as I could get it.

Dragon Ships cover

Now that's some nice dark hair on her. I'd rather he was lighter but I didn't want to mess with him too much. The lightening I did made his moles stand out on his neck. You can really see them when they are enlarged. I almost went in with the clone stamp and got rid of them, but decided I could use them and go in and write a few sentences where Rovena is noticing the mole at the side of his neck and wanting to press a kiss there or some such.  The next step was getting the words to show up. With the ships, water and her dress there is a lot going on, which I didn't want to smear out just to see the words so I decided to enlarge the title and go with white for most of it. My name still gets a little lost in her dress but I can live with that, especially since Viking is the main theme I want to get across as well as this is a historical romance. I think the classic style of this cover will convey that fairly well.  So here it is! Tell me what you think.



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