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….

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Look Out! Curves Ahead!

Look Out!  Curves Ahead!

As some of you may be aware, I’m in the process of self-publishing my debut novel.  However, I must admit I haven’t completely given up on the hope of breaking into traditional publishing at some point.  In truth, I’d really like to settle into a hybridized career, doing both.  In the midst of this very laborious (and sometimes surprisingly fun) path towards publication, I have found that just when I think I’ve figured out my course, I’m suddenly facing a hairpin curve on the side of the mountain…my poor little novel-train desperately clinging to the tracks to keep from falling off the edge to its doom.

So far, they’ve been curves I can negotiate fairly simply by doing my homework and researching options or asking some of my growing network of author friends for advise and suggestions.  The biggest curve I’ve had so far, I think, has been the issue of cover art.  I’m on a budget, so naturally my initial instinct was to gravitate towards stock photography.  It’s certainly being used, and used successfully be a number of indie authors.  I selected a few shots that I just fell in love with.  They fit the mood of my story.  The models were remarkably similar to my main characters in physical appearance.  I scrolled through pages and pages of romance novels on Amazon, checking the cover art for any similar shots.  I wasn’t finding the shot I really wanted to use.  Paydirt!  I had my cover art.  About every two weeks since then, I had continued to monitor new releases on Amazon to make sure no one was using my photo.  Several months went by (during which I was editing and doing beta reads on the story), and my photo was still in the clear.  I’d become secure in what was going to be the cover to “my precious”.  (I totally turn into a slightly more attractive Gollum when it comes to my novel. It is “my precious”.)  I could see the title…what type of font and color I was going to use…oh, it was beautiful.  Then—disaster.

One of my FB author friends shared a post of someone’s new release.  There it was in all its horrifying glory.  My cover photo.  Or at least, a zoomed in portion of my cover photo.  My heart completely sank to the depths of my stomach.  I know some books have either similar cover shots or the same exact shot from stock photography, but I didn’t want to do that.  I didn’t want to use the same shot someone else already had.  Back to the drawing board for me, and I didn’t know what to do.  Because my novel is contemporary, I really wanted to use photography rather than drawn art for the cover.  Here goes the novel-train, barreling around the side of the mountain, and I can’t see the other side of the curve.

Here’s where networking everywhere you can is absolutely vital to moving forward towards becoming a professional writer (or anything else, really).  Through our local NaNoWriMo group, I remembered that the brother of one of our members is a photographer.  I had seen his work before and went back and checked his sites.  If this guy could work with my budget, he could my ticket back to getting a cover and finally setting a release date.  He had the contacts that I didn’t—makeup artist, costume designer, models.  After a very enthusiastic meeting, we decided to give this thing a go.  I’m about mid-way around the curve now, but at least I know that my novel-train will get to the other side of it.

He’s about to start shooting for my cover, and I’m excited to see what he comes up with.  When we get to the other side of this curve, I’ll give you all a sneak peek!!!

**Photo credit: https://southwestdesertlover.wordpress.com