Cover for first Alaska story, etc.

Chameleon in a Mirror is coming along nicely, despite all the cooking and harvesting around here at the moment (see my last post). It’s presently at 71,000 words. I’m consistently getting about 1,000 words a day done on the new version, pretty good for this time of year, with a fairly typical August tomato glut. What isn’t as typical is all the chili peppers we have this year. I already made jalapeno jelly, and it’s a big hit.

Jalapeno jelly and BBQ sauce

Next I will have to try pickled jalapenos. I did that last year; the whole chilis were strangely bitter and had to be tossed, but the sliced chilis turned out great.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time recently working on covers with my daughter, since I have several things scheduled for publication in the next month or so. And now I’m finally ready to share the first cover in the series “Tales From Far Beyond North,” set in fictional Rolynka, Alaska. My Alaska stories are magic realist, contemporary fantasy style stories, where the magic tends to be very subtle. So although the setting is contemporary, the series is very far removed from paranormal. 🙂

In the Middle of Nowhere With Company

What do you guys think? Our idea is that the top and bottom frames will stay the same through all the stories, just with varying colors, picking up on one of the colors in the cover image.

I’m tackling this series with a certain amount of trepidation, since the short stories are exactly that — short stories according to the literary definition of the term, none of them much longer than about twenty pages. I intend to only charge 99 cents per short story, and once I have several out, start bundling them, but readers of ebooks are notoriously unforgiving of works that are not novel length (as I recently experienced with Never Ever After.)

Speaking of which, my short collection of short stories, regularly only 99 cents, is FREE tomorrow and Tuesday. Do me a favor, and get yourself a copy. If you’re so inclined, please pass the word along!

17 thoughts on “Cover for first Alaska story, etc.”

  1. Ruth, before I can comment on the cover, I need to have an idea of the intended age-range and type of book this is. Is it SF? Is it a coming-of-age? I really can’t tell. (Have I missed something in your post?) Let us know and I’ll give you my opinion. Thanks.

    1. Good point, Christine! My Alaska stories are magic realist, contemporary fantasy style stories, where the magic tends to be very subtle. While some of the stories have younger protagonists and thus might have a YA feel, the series as a whole is not YA. I’ll edit the post accordingly.

      1. Okay, I’m going to try to get all of my points across here, although I’m afraid I may forget one or two. (If I do, I’ll re-reply.) For your genre, your cover does not work for me at all, and I find it very confusing. Mixed-metaphors, so to speak. I do agree with your desire to have the top and bottom frames staying the same throughout the series (with varying colors). I’m 100% with that. I’m not an expert on fonts, but it looks to me like your name is a slight variation in font from the title (and that’s fine), but both of those fonts (especially the title font) is too comical. There was a 2004 Gene Hackman, Ray Romano movie called “Welcome to Mooseport”. It was a comedy. The font in your title looks (to me) like it should go with that movie. Ditto the moose drawings on each side. The font for your name is not so-much-so and could work if you change the title font. (Your name font has more of a “That World Beyond” feel, if I’ve got the title of that 50’sTV show right. And that’s good.) I also don’t like the sage green. Being light in value (if I’m using the right color term) it also implies a slightly lighter feel to the story. (Again, it could work with Welcome to Mooseport.) Personally, I would try a charcoal gray or a murky blue similar to her jeans. I think “murky” is an effect that would work here. Not light sage. After all, there is a murkiness to the feel of the photo. I think you want to co-ordinate with that. I wouldn’t get into hunter green or forest green because those colors are a bit trite for moose country. Stay more with mystery. If I have any more thoughts, I’ll let you know. I hope this helps, Ruth!

  2. I just realized that I wrote “is too comical” instead of “are too comical.” I really do know better. LOL

    1. Actually, the stories are supposed to be on the light-hearted side, even when they deal with serious subjects, and some of them are definitely on the comical side. Magic realist fiction isn’t necessarily dark. There’s definitely no mystery involved. It’s not really murky either. 🙂

      1. I didn’t know those things about magic realist fiction. Thanks for filling me in. BTW, when I spoke of “mystery,” I didn’t mean it as in “detective stories,” etc. I meant it in a different sense. All the best.

  3. My first impression of the cover, which may have a lot to do with the way I scrolled down the page of your blog post, was that you didn’t need the top line–tales from far beyond north, although I do like the moose drawings. I think I’m saying that because of the white line that separates that panel from the next panel. Also, because you have the entering Alaska sign, which I like a great deal. My thinking is we know it is in the far north because of the Alaska sign. I do recognize that tales from far beyond north is the name of the series. What does it look like without the white line?

    I also read through Christine’s comments and your response. As there is no sense of murkiness, then I am fine with the rest of the cover. I’m not sure I understand the sense of “tales from far beyond north.” I want to read it as “tales from beyond the far north” or “tales beyond the far north” but that may just be an American idiosyncrasy of mine with “the.” I am not questioning the grammar for there is no error. I suspect it’s just regionalism.

    Gosh, I really enjoy these posts on all of your gardening and canning. Thank you so much for that post on tomato consommé; I shared it with friends who are known to have a tomato glut.


    1. Thanks for the feedback, Karen! I do want to keep the series title, but maybe I’ll try it without the white line, as you suggested. The title of the series isn’t etched in stone either. I still want to post the cover to Facebook and Codex, and then I can distill the essence of the comments. *g*

      Glad you like harvesting posts! Hope your friends enjoy the tomato consomme if they make it. 🙂

  4. Hello, Ruth. I so much appreciate your comments on my cover-in-progress and have visited before to study your covers as well! For this new one, I’m noticing that lovely sign, ENTERING ALASKA, and wishing it were pulled a little more forward and to the center (to make a kind of circle between road, birds, girl and sign). Right now, my eye is pulled sharply to the left. Interesting that your name is much larger than the title. I know you’re introducing a series but I’m remembering that advice given to technical writers (which may or may not apply to cover designers!): Every time your reader must adjust to a new graphic element, the connection between reader and content is broken. Simplify! So, I’m wondering if the cover overall is too fragmented. Perhaps the moose (as cute as they are) could be dropped and the series title could appear on the same background as the title. As you say — you are the author and will decide. I’ve already learned if I show my draft covers to 10 people, I’ll get 10 reactions! But all are helpful. Best, Beth

    1. Thanks very much for the feedback, Beth! I think the first thing that will go will be the white line, since a number of people seem to see it as an interruption.

      As you say, comments go all over the place. Once I’ve uploaded various places, I will just have to make some choices. 🙂

  5. In my opinion the title “IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE WITH COMPANY” needs some manual kerning, and generally a little bit more space between the letters. Maybe you would like to move the H under the T — you’d need to move the T a little bit upwards). The combination PA also doesn’t look well. Sophisticated kerning tables are an attribute of high-quality (and expensive) fonts.
    I found a video showing kerning the old-fashioned way (in German):
    Had you a special reason for aligning the title to the right, and centering the other text?
    I second Beth’s opinion to remove the moose. Maybe you could use it as an ornamental divider instead of an asterisk (if needed).

    1. Thanks very much on the feedback, Andrea! I’m thinking of switching the more cartoony font to the title of the title of the series rather than the title of the story, which should help with the legibility.

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