Hunting Down Houses

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  It’s been rather crazy in the normal, everyday madness of life that seems to suck all the time in your days without leaving you anything to really show for it.  Am I alone here…. I don’t think so…

At any rate, I actually am working on several projects right now.  I’ve started working on The Captain’s Folly Series, a spin-off trilogy from Seeking Solace.  Those are set to release in early 2016.  For the immediate term, I’m wrapping up the revisions to the first in a new, paranormal series titled Spirit of the South.  Each of the books in that series include some historical fiction, some ghosts and haunted houses, and characters in the here and now dealing with all that.  The first in the series, Revolution, has a preliminary release date of October 1st.

For the Spirit of the South series, I want those covers to reflect the mood and atmosphere of the stories, and as houses are a prominent feature, I want the covers to include some great old homes that are reminiscent to the ones in the stories.  The kicker is that my photographer (and I) are trying to stay within the county for budget purposes.  If this were happening 10 years ago, I could’ve found as many grand, old, slightly dilapidated houses as I wanted.  Now, after hours of driving on back roads, new roads, dirt roads, and non-roads, I have found practically zilch!  And this is eastern North Carolina!  Did aliens beam up all the old houses for research?  Did fairies spirit them away?  Did hobos burn them all for firewood?  I don’t want to use stock photography because EVERYONE uses those and, inevitably, dozens of covers all look the same.

There was one grand old homestead we wanted to use; however, the old bitty that owns it was rather a pill about the whole thing.  So that was out.  We have a backup for now.  I’m just hoping it’ll work.  It’s so frustrating when you know in your head what you want, and the world around you is just not cooperating.  Does anyone else go through this when prepping your books/art/what-have-you?  How do you make it happen?  What do you do when it doesn’t?  I don’t yet have the answer to that last question.  Gonna have to brainstorm with my wonderful photographer guru about alternatives, you know, just in case…

old house

See!  Google Images has tons of cool old houses.  Why can’t I find any around here?  Le sigh….

Cover Art Victory!!

Do you remember my blog post from late October?  The one where my cover art plans disintegrated into dust.  Yeah, well that little disaster actually was a prime opportunity in disguise.  I knew I wanted to use a photo for my cover art, given that Seeking Solace is a contemporary romance.  However, the cover was going to require someone with a lot of contacts—models, stylists, etc.  I live in the middle of nowhere in Eastern North Carolina (Yes, we capitalize Eastern here; it’s a thing.), where in heck was I going to find that?  And on top of that, how was I going to find someone local who wouldn’t completely hatchet my miniscule budget.  (Key point to self-pubbing—budget, if you have one, is a prime commodity.)

So, after a week of wringing hands and muttering to myself about “What about I going to do?”, I made a contact through my local writing group.  I was able to meet with the owner of Siberius Photography.  He had the team, he had models, he had equipment, he had ideas.  This guy was the complete book cover package.  On top of that, he was EXCITED TO DO IT!  Bonus!  I mean, let’s face it…if other people can get excited about your own pet project, then the work they do for you is going to be even better than you anticipate.

There we are, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, setting up shop to shoot the picture that would become my book cover!  I hardly slept the night before.  Honestly, I felt like I was waiting for Santa to come!  We had managed to get a local pub to agree to let us shoot there, which was perfect since the majority of my novel takes place in a small pub.  Rich, the photographer, was there setting up lights and tripods and different equipment.  Elizabeth, the stylist, was bringing in wardrobe options and bags of makeup and hairstyling supplies.  Me?  What I was doing?  I was standing in the corner by a fake suit of armor, grinning like an idiot and trying not to get in the way.  (I was petrified of becoming “the annoying observer” and someone finally just yelling “Out!  You, just OUT!”  But they didn’t and were absolutely gracious about me being there and often asked for my input.)

Then, our models came in.  Elizabeth had already gotten them styled and prepped for the most part, and I wanted to jump up and down and squeal in delight.  I restrained myself…barely.  Kate and Kris absolutely looked just like my characters, Sarah and Bret.  One year earlier, when I was typing away at my keyboard—sleep-deprived, anxious, addicted to the story, and trying to finish my blasted novel in thirty days (which is INSANITY, people, glorious insanity)—and picturing these two characters, they were what I had been seeing in my head.   It was kind of surreal, watching them during the shoot.  They had a sweet chemistry (they’re married, which was just perfect to me given the novel’s story), and Kris would do or say something that would Kate laugh, or they’d have this expression as they looked at each other.  I was watching my story come to life in front of me.

I was nervous and awed at the same time.  It was just so right that I was afraid it was really just a dream, and I’d wake up still wondering what I was going to do for a cover photo.  But it wasn’t a dream, and I’m sharing with you a first look at what came out of that shoot.  This is NOT the cover for my book.  This is NOT even one of my teasers, but rather a little prequel of what is to come over the next month.

 

Leaning on Bar

 

You can check out Siberius Photography on Facebook at Siberius Photography and on the web at www.siberiusphotography.com .  Check them out.  They’re good!