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In my family there are a lot of artists. My mother can draw, sculpt, paint, sew (She can make her own chair covers and curtains. And they’re beautiful. — Who does that??). My sister is amazing at crafts, scrapbooking, wood working, and landscaping. And of course, all the women in my immediate family are great at decorating. Me? I stink at anything that requires color coordination or working with your hands. When we bought our house I looked around at the blank walls, scratched my head, then called my mom and sister to tell me what to do. I was the kid in Girl Scouts who had trouble making the Popsicle stick puppets. Yeah I can knit, but nothing with complicated patterns. If you need a scarf I can make that happen but don’t come at me with sweater requests.

Thankfully I have one saving grace: Words. My favorite toys. If it’s got an alphabet, I’m your girl. I gobble them up in books and blogs in different places and different languages. I obsessively arrange them and rearrange them like pieces in a puzzle until they make the picture I see in my head. Thus, you can imagine my despair when I completed my first book and realized I’d have to come up with an idea for a book cover. While I have a great appreciation for art and those who make it, I find myself floundering when it comes to a succinct image that encapsulates a story.

My husband — sweet supporter that he is — came up with an idea for it (saved again, woo hoo!). His skill at drawing, while still superior to mine, is yet a bit rough so I still fretted. “You don’t need it to look good,” he told me. “You just need to give your cover artist something to work with. She’ll figure out how to make it pretty.” The hubs provides me with endearing practicality when I need it most.

Here was the first sketch we sent over to my cover artist Janette Ramos. Feel free to laugh at it. We did.


In case you need some interpretation of the stick figures above, it’s of my main character, Maleia, standing on a rocky ledge watching Syris, one of the immortal guardians of the world of Aeden, hold back a storm conjured by the Blight. What, you didn’t see that in there?;)

Janette was in fact very happy with this. Her initial sketch in reply was this:


How she managed to pull out this image from the original speaks to her artistic talent. We went back and forth on details and colors. Her next revision with preliminary placement of the title and author name was this:


More back and forth to tweak a few things, add a little more this, a little less that, and the final product resulted in this:

A Ransom of Flames - cover revised 2500

Janette actually flipped it around on her own, deciding it looked better at that angle. She emphasized colors, pumped up the visual of the title, defined the clothing and hair. So, from the (very) rough pencil drawing she turned it into an awesome book cover.

Need to see that comparison again?

From this:


To this:

Janette was amazing to work with, incredibly patient, and just an all around professional. I found her on Deviantart. For a look at more of her work and other book covers she’s done, check out her site here.

Once again I’m in awe and amazement of those talented individuals who can create art. They say this self-publishing thing is all about the team you assemble to finish the product. No truer words, folks, no truer words.