Making of a Book Cover: Highland Sorcery Christmas

I really enjoy playing around with Photoshop. I'm not an artist by any means and I seriously just know enough to cause myself trouble, but I think I have a half-way decent eye at finding the stock photos that will work. I mostly go for the model's expression on whether they capture the feeling I hope my book evokes.

This Christmas book is a first for me as it has no cover model. I wanted something that said "Christmas" with just a glance, but also "monsters" because for the life of me I cannot write a fluffy happy everything's harmonious and joyful story to save my life. I wanted a book where all the main characters from the first four Highland Sorcery novels got together to celebrate just being family all in one place...and as it happens, one time too, since they have all been traveling back and forth through time.

Well, I got them all together. *Clearing throat and ducking*. But it wasn't easy and they had one heck of a fight on their hands to get there. It basically goes: Toren and Charity's son is in danger (in two time lines), they kill the monsters, so yeah, let's have Christmas now.

Best freakin plot ever, right? Brings all sorts of Holiday cheer. In case you're wondering, that squishy sound is my eyes rolling.

Back to the cover:

I started out searching for something Christmasy: Loved this picture because the ornaments have a kind of Scottish pattern on them. (Note: I play around with the pictures and make mock-ups before buying them so this still has a watermark. My favorite place to purchase stock photos is

Then I went searching for the perfect monster breaking into their happy little Christmas. The monsters actually come through rifts in time so this one breaking through the wall seemed perfect.
 I also found this broken ornament that symbolized a disrupted Christmas nicely. Well, I think so at any rate.
Next I layered the three photos on top of each other to see if they would work together. Using the eraser tool, I erased the bits I didn't want like the glob of red ornaments and the gray wall the monster was coming out of. I also used the clone tool to blacken over the top of the monsters snout and teeth so I would just have a clawed hand, since my monsters' faces don't look like that at all.

With a little placement, here's the mock-up I came up with at first. (Again, notice the watermarks since I haven't purchased all the pictures yet since I may not use them. That's what I like about Dreamstime. They allow you to play around with their images first.)

As much as I like how this turned out, it also seems a little busy, especially when you take into consideration that it will mostly be viewed as a much smaller thumbnail on most of the distributor sites.
So I played around some more, got rid of the Scottish ornaments (glad I didn't buy it yet--maybe next Christmas?) and moved and angled the monster's hand a little bit. Then I went back to Dreamstime and purchased the two pictures so I can legally and honestly use them, and started over again, darkened the font color, and here's the final version.

It will be officially released on November 2nd, because when else would a Christmas with monsters be released except on Dia de los Muerte I ask you?

But it is also listed for preordering at Smashwords and hopefully soon at Barnes and Noble as well for the whopping price of $1.99. 

Also out now is the boxed set of the first four books in the Highland Sorcery novels. Four books for the price of two.