Highway to Visualization

file2431291017257My fourth book is done and going through the final stage of polish and makeup. It’s getting a final edit and a glamorous cover so it shines. I’m super excited for you to read it in September. My characters in this one have really come to life.

In honor of my new title–Between Hope and the Highway–I thought I’d take you down the highway I take to visualize characters, scenes, and cover. This highway has lots of routes and learning curves, but I’ve found it so vital to writing believable scenes and characters.

Route 1 – Photo Finding

First, I looked through Shutterfly and other photo sites for picture ideas that might work for my cover. I also tried to find pictures of people that had some similarity to the characters I wanted to write about. Here are a few samples:

Route 2 – Pinterest Boards

After finding pictures that helped me visualize my main characters and settings, I made secret Pinterest boards to keep them organized. As I wrote each chapter from various viewpoints, I’d click over to my Pinterest boards to imagine my characters better and stay true to who I thought they were. It also helped with dropping in setting details to see actual pictures. I keep these boards secret until the book is close to release; then I clean them all up and leave only the images I want to make public. You can see some of my public boards from previous novels HERE.

Route 3 – Outside Photo Help

I had several good ideas from other photo sites, but nothing that fit my book exactly. So I enlisted outside help (in the form of my awesome sister who is a rockstar with her camera) to obtain some photos with details I wanted to use for my eventual cover. Here’s a few of those results.

Skelton Photography

Route 4 – Canva Exploration

At this point, my story was fleshed out and I began to think about cover ideas. I grabbed photos from my Pinterest boards and began playing with ideas that might hint to the truth of my story in a pleasing way. Canva is super fun to play around with; it’s also great for making visuals for social media when you need them. Here’s the LINK if you want to experiment with it. Here are samples of ideas I cooked up at Canva.

Route 5 – Cover Formation

At this point on the visualization highway, I get an expert to transform my ideas into a professional cover. I need a Kindle cover and a Print cover (which has the front, back and spine on it). My daughter is doing this part for me since she knows her way around Photoshop and is super creative. Here is her teaser cover that I can use to market the book before release. I’m UBER excited for it!

Between Hope and the Highway_TEASER

Route 6 – Marketing for Release

For the next couple months, I will work to market my book for release. Traveling along this part of the highway is difficult. I have to make sure the final version of the covers are ready and get to enough people so I eventually gather interested readers. This is the end…and the beginning.

There you have it. All six routes I take on the visualization highway. I’m not saying this works for every writer, but I’ve found it very helpful for me. Have a great weekend.

icecream

Heir of Brownlie Manor

The Heir Brownlie Manor BannerI read another great book this week. This one is set in 1808 in England. Thomas has just returned from serving in the Napoleonic wars and is haunted by what he has witnessed the last three years. As he is out in the garden, a rare blue butterfly (see the cover) lands close by and the gardeners tell him something good will come his way soon.

Days later, when his butler comes to him asking for help for his niece who is in a bad spot, Thomas decides to help. When he meets Ruth, she is not what he expects though, and he wonders Continue reading

Another Great Read

peelThis past week has been an adventure. I had surgery on my hip and so have had some down time. Here’s a great book I read while I was sitting back with my legs up. It’s by one of my favorite authors. I’ve loved all the Women of Merryton books that Jennifer Peel has written, but this one had some extra chemistry or magic mojo that made me really connect with the characters. I loved it.

Rachel Laine was a minor side character in the other books, but I could tell she was special and was excited when she became the heroine in this one. Rachel’s wild twin sister, Sydney, died in childbirth at age 21 and Rachel stepped in to raise her child as her own. For eight years, she has loved Drew with all her heart and been the best mother possible to him. She really is the cutest mother ever. Continue reading

Chasing Fireflies

Chasing Fireflies

I’m thrilled to FINALLY be able to brag about this book. I read it last November as a beta-reader and have been antsy ever since to shout its praises to the world. Today is its release day…so let the party begin. It just so happens to be July’s Matchmaker book for 2016.

Let’s start with the blurb, so you get a taste of what it’s about. Continue reading

Settling in

DSC03841I’ve been in Utah for three weeks now. Most of my boxes are unpacked and I’m settling into my new house and area. It’s now time to get back to blogging and connecting with friends again. I love my new house, especially the views from the windows and deck. I’m falling in love with sitting outside in the evenings and watching the sunset. It’s spectacular and fills me with joy. The neighbors seems super nice. My kids are all together again in one place (at least until the end of the summer), and that is probably the best thing about moving states. I’m close to family again.

One of my new house guests is Bentley. He’s my married daughter’s English Retriever, and is a big sweetie. When they got him last year as a puppy, he was this size (just a baby polar bear). Continue reading

The Bird and the Sword

41ifwvwc9fl-_sx331_bo1204203200_I hope everyone had an awesome Memorial Day weekend. I spent time in Park City, UT with a bunch of family for a reunion. Family and food. Two of my favorite things all bunched together…so I loved it. A couple weeks ago, I finished Amy Harmon’s newest book, The Bird and the Sword. This book was awesome, and even though I’m surrounded by boxes and cleaning supplies that are shouting my name right now because we move in exactly one week (YIKES!), I wanted to do justice to this spellbinding piece. It deserves praise…even if I feel like Cinderella right now (emphasis on the cinder part). Continue reading

May’s Matchmaker Book

51135fztndl-_sx331_bo1204203200_I had to throw in a quick review for May’s Matchmaker novel that I read last week. This series of 12 books (one each month) has been so fun to read. May’s romance really stuck with me. The unique, strong characters were amazing. I want to be a heart surgeon now. Think a hospital will hire me in 12 years when I’m…uh…oh, never mind? You don’t need to know how old I’ll be then. Close to retirement, I’m sure.

This contemporary romance tugged at my heartstrings…quite literally. The hero and heroine are both med students working their way to becoming heart surgeons. The love story starts out with a bang…or rather with spray paint. Here’s the blurb:

Every time Andra Stone crosses paths with Everett Covington, trouble follows. First she loses her scholarship, then she loses the apartment she’d wanted more than anything. But tragedy hits hardest when she loses her grandmother—the best friend Andra has ever known. She determines that Everett is a talisman of ill fortune. When Everett comes to work in her hospital and is applying for the same position she’d been working toward since residency, Andra believes him to be her personal poltergeist. The human heart has four chambers—four chances to get it right. Andra has only one chance left

Continue reading