A rose by any other color

This post was intended to be about naming things, but while I was working on my assignment for the Cover Design workshop I’m taking, I realized that my current challenge involves color and visual elements at least as much as names.

A few weeks ago we adopted a two year old dog from the Nebraska Border Collie Rescue. (Thanks to my super awesome friend Kristin for going with me on the long and windy drive – eight hours each way!) We agreed to change his name, unaware that we were going to spend over a week on the selection process. It was a challenge the whole way. By the end of our hike last Saturday we had decided his name was definitely not Jasper…then when we got home he looked exactly like a Jasper. I decreed that he couldn’t have both an inside name and an outside name, so I finally made the decision – and now, of course, he’s undoubtedly a Jasper.

Unrelated to names, here’s a photo of Jasper (black & white) and Maisie. They are getting along fantastically well, and she even thought about playing with him in the snow. She didn’t, but she has only ever really played with her BFFs Lucy and Chrisse, so for her to even consider playing with him was very cool. Maisie wasn’t the same after we lost Lucy, and it’s been great to see her perk back up with Jasper around.

Jasper and Maisie
Jasper and Maisie

Sometimes the right name just shows up. The novel I’m releasing soon, With Perfect Clarity, has had that name since very early on. I can’t even remember it not having a title. And then sometimes it takes a while.

The homework for this week of the Cover Design class was to design a full book cover for one of our own books – the front, back, and spine. I already have a cover for my upcoming book, so I decided to go with book #2. I’ve been using The Selkie and the Sidhe as the working title, but it’s become clear that it needs a new title, partly because I’m getting tired of explaining to my friends and family what a Sidhe is. The other reason is that this title doesn’t say anything interesting about the story. It’s set right around Midsummer, so I’m playing with things along that theme. The current leader is At the Height of Midsummer. I briefly wondered if that was a bad idea – do I really want to be known as the author whose book titles all begin with prepositions? But really, there are worse things to be known for…so I’m waiting to see if this title sticks.

Since I’m still on the title fence, I decided to go with the working version for my assignment. My original thought was to use a photo of the Oregon coast for the art, since part of the story takes place along the Oregon coast (which was where I was at when I started writing it…maybe all that rain is inspiring after all…).


(I’m not posting the whole thing since I don’t own the image…sorry! pretend there’s a big, black rock sticking out of the ocean underneath the title.)

It’s not a bad cover – at least not unless Dean and Allyson’s assessment of it is, so we’ll see what they say about my homework. 🙂 I really like the colors and the background image. But it doesn’t imply the energy that the story contains. It’s a mellow, relaxed cover. It would work well for a book on meditation, not one about a selkie whose seal skin has been stolen, and a fairy who is being hunted by other fairies.

To contrast, here’s the top of the cover for my soon-to-be-released novel:


It’s the same font (Bodoni), but it has a totally different feel – and it does fit the story very well. There’s much more energy even in just this portion of the cover. And the images we chose – which you can’t see here, since I’m focusing on the title – tie in several major elements from the novel.

I have no idea what the cover for book #2 will look like, but this assignment was a great way to learn about cover design – as well as title choice. Putting together a cover that really does look pretty good, but which is drastically wrong for my book, drilled some concepts into my head in a way that reading about them never would have.

Two more weeks of Cover Design and Interior Book Design to go, and I start the Openings workshop on the 7th! Bring on the knowledge!

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