Books, covers

From Doodle to Delivery: A Book Cover’s Tale


Since my cover reveal, I got some feedback from fans, some of which encouraged just a minor change. And so this cover’s tale continues. Let me tell you about it.

If you will notice (in my original post below) in the early versions of the cover, the model I used faced backward, with her head turned over her shoulder.

Now, you have to understand. I had an attachment to that model. She was the first one I’d found way back before I’d even begun writing the book. Her face was on my Pinterest board of character profiles, and she was who I looked at whenever I tried to map out the mystery of Manda Rivers.

So I wanted to use her. But trying to mesh her with the dress I’d chosen (which also couldn’t change due to the theme of all four books) wasn’t working out without a lot of photoshop, and even then, the final image still brought some critiques from fans.

I killed my darling, y’all.

The new model is beautiful and brilliant and mysterious and everything she should be, and I’m happy with her, thoroughly happy. I’ll always hold a soft spot in my heart for the “Manda-who-wasn’t,” but I’m happy with the “Manda-who-is.”

What do you think?

From the “Manda-who-wasn’t…”




RR Final Final

I actually love this new cover! I hope you do, too! 🙂


It used to be that an author would type (or write!) their manuscript on reams of paper, package it up neatly, and send it off to their publisher. The book would go through the stages of printing, usually ending up with a drab leather binding to be shoved into a library somewhere amid a thousand other dusty tomes.

Then someone figured out that pictures on the front cover of a book was a splendid idea! Traditional publishing swiftly picked up the trend; fast-forward a surprisingly short amount of time before the independent (indie) publishing phenomenon began, and suddenly there was a much larger market for stock photos and websites that produced thousands of pictures to sell to the multitude of authors who hoped for attention-grabbing covers.

The same holds true here. Normally, for a cover reveal, I’ll throw the new cover up on my wall and sit back to let everyone enjoy it. But this time, I want you to wade with me through memory lane as we go through the iterations of this cover.

Back when River Running was just a baby draft, I drew a cover idea that incorporated several of the symbolic elements in the book: a magnolia, running water, a gothic gate, and the two leads:


From there, the cover morphed into a sample idea that looked like this (complete with sample images from Adobe Stock!):

rrmock2 (2) copy.jpg

Later, when it became obvious that the Indigo Elements series was going to have four books, I began to think about highlighting the magical elemental powers of the lead characters on the covers. In the case of River Running, that meant fire and water. It also turned out that finding satisfying, reasonably-priced images of historical romance heroes is a bit of a challenge, so Jackson was removed from the cover to feature the pretty heroine, Manda:


Sadly, Manda’s dress in this one was unavailable for use in a commercial work, so a new dress had to be found.

Ultimately, the choice came down to two options from about 10 different samples:


Can you guess which one prevailed?



The final cover for River Running is:


This cover won due to its brilliant, contrasting colors and Manda’s gorgeous, sumptuous gown, a visual theme that will be carried into the other three book covers in the Indigo Elements series. What do you think? Is this the fairest cover of them all?

Pre-order River Running now!


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