Judging A Book By Its Cover

This week I didn’t get much revision done – I was working on designing book covers instead! I made one red one and one green one – designed around the MacLean hunting and dress tartans.

This is how they turned out…



Just so you know, they are not real covers – they are just for fun, and also so I have something to represent my WIP on my website.

I’m still fairly inexperienced with photoshop but I’m really happy with the results. It’s hard to choose which one I like best, although I am leaning towards the red one – I think the colour makes it look a little more sinister…

I used Photoshop CS2 (it’s old, I know – but it’s still good) with the help of a few tutorials (aren’t photoshop tutorials just the best invention ever?):

I found my model on Getty Images (as soon as I saw her, I was like “she is soooooo Boudica MacLean!”). The cursive writing is Jefferson font.

The gorgeous background image is Snowy Branches and a Fence by seabug who most graciously allowed me to use her photograph. As soon as I saw the photo I knew it was perfect – it’s exactly how I see Croakers Alley (a setting in my WIP) in my mind’s eye!

This morning I had the (very exciting) pleasure of uploading them to my website (in 3D book format, might I add):

But now that it’s all done, I have to get back to my revision…

Gotta get the bloody thing finished – there’s no point having covers if I don’t have a book to put between them!


Excerpt from WIP – A Frightening Vision

I stand as still as stone, ears pricked towards the trees. Mist curls around their trunks, swirls in the darkness in between.  Water laps at my hooves.

I snort, my nose twitching.

I’m sure I heard something. A stick breaking, leaves crunching underfoot. All I can hear now is the burble of the stream and the panicked beating of my heart. Far off in the distance a plover keens.

I blink.

Long blades of light slice through the canopy above, impaling the shadows. Little golden motes hang in the air, hover in front of my eyes. I stare past them into the gloom, searching for something – anything – out of place. A shadow. Movement. Eyes looking back at me.

My nostrils flare, my breath whuffs in my nose. The stink of pine and decaying leaves rushes my senses.

I flick my tail.

Noise bursts from the trees, shattering the quiet. I jerk my neck to see a bird lunge into the air, its wings thrashing, grasping for flight. Leaves shower down from the branches, an explosion of colour. Tree frog green, sunlight yellow, chestnut brown.

My heart jolts. Relief shoots through my veins. That must have been what I heard, a damn bird.

I snort again, stamp my feet. My hooves click on the wet rocks. Resting my ears flat against my head, I stretch my neck down to the water and drink. The liquid is cool on my tongue. With every mouthful I swallow, my thirst ebbs. All I know is peace and calm and satiation.

Until a heavy weight pommels me, knocking my legs out from under me.

Teeth tear into my flesh, rip at my throat. I scramble to regain my footing but plummet to the ground. My hooves kick uselessly at the air.

The weight presses down on me. I cannot move. My breath whuffs, wet and sticky, where my throat used to be. I stare up at the trees. Blood leaks out of me, soaks into the earth. The sky, blue and endless, winks at me through the leaves.

And then I see a face. Green eyes mocking me. A wide mouth grinning, smeared red with blood. I scream but no sound comes out.

It’s Aiden.

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A tip for the day, or maybe a whole book full…

I was going through some of my writing resources today and I stumbled across an old writing guide I downloaded from the Internet a few years ago – Richard Harland’s Writing Tips. It was back when I was just starting out and looking for anything and everything I could find on the topic of writing.

At the time, it was my favourite how-to guide. I pretty much carried it with me everywhere – I even remember reading it while I walked to work (yes, I know, walking and reading is pretty daredevil for a blonde like me).

Well, guess what? I checked online, and it’s still available! And, even better, it’s still free!

You can download it (or read it online) here. I’ve also added the link to my new Resources page. Richard has since updated the guide and now offers three versions: US, UK and Australia.

Richard Harland’s Writing Tips is well-written and easy to follow, and covers a wide range of topics from action and dialogue, to POV, pacing and style. It even broaches the ancillary (but equally important) subjects of writing habits and getting published.

I definitely recommend the guide for anyone who is just starting out, or simply interested in writing in general.

You can follow Richard on Facebook, or check out his blog on WordPress. He also has his own site at RichardHarland.net