When Kimber Li contacted me about reviewing Newblood & the Ice Princess I didn’t know whether I should say yes because I’m drowning in books right now, but seeing the cover & finding out the protagonist has diabetes sold the book to me. You’ll have to wait a little while for my review, but for now Kimber Li has written a piece about her cover choice (& why she picked a snow dog), as well as the process of picking a cover, when you have the chance to.
Ophelia longs to be free, free of Diabetes, free to attend the college of her choice, free of her monstrous ex-boyfriend.
Gaining that freedom comes at a terrible cost, for Alaska isn’t called ‘the last great place to hide’ for nothing. Other than human renegades, an array of creatures hide among the blinding white snow. Bear-shifters. Vampires.
Elves of the Borean Realm.
Adrian’s the new guy in school. He faked his identity to get close to Ophelia, knowing the same monsters who took his sister would try to take her too. He knows better than to get too close, but he has no idea her exceptional senses make that effort futile.
Or that only she possesses the power needed to defeat the Newbloods and save her species from extinction.
“Thank you, Lucy-May, for having me over!
I have a visual imagination. I see my stories in full-length, full-color movies with freakin’ awesome special effects and smells and shivers and everything. The challenge for me is transmitting that to a reader because, well, goshdarnit, readers aren’t telepathic! Who knew, right?
The book cover is the one place I can be visual with the reader. Back when ‘Newblood & the Ice Princess’ was ePublished under a different title and pen name, there was a cover artist to do that for me. I filled out a form of my thoughts and preferences and sent it to the publisher. I was pleased with the results. It was thrilling to see my characters right in front of my face with my eyes wide open!
I got my rights back in 2013 and began to look forward to the day when I could Indie Pub a revision of that story. The time finally came when my real life settled down (all four of my children were in school) and I could start the process.
I was very excited about the cover art. I knew I couldn’t create it all by myself. Besides my lack of artistic ability, the fact is I didn’t have the money to invest in models or professional artists. So I went looking for royalty-free images to buy.
I examined thousands of images. Thousands. I finally settled on Dreamstime.com because of their selection and payment options. Then, I needed to choose the images. Naturally, I had lots of favorites. Oh, pretty! Shiny! Wow!
Stumbling on the images I bought was nothing short of a miracle. They’re perfect. They couldn’t be more perfect if I’d hired the model and photographer myself!
Beautiful elf-like girl, long red hair, long red dress representing her sweet blood, snow, ice, trees, and…for crying out loud!
There’s even a dog!
Kiska’s not a supernatural creature in the story, but Ophelia’s boyfriend has an extra special empathic connection with animals. This makes Kiska’s role even more pivotal throughout the course of the story. The word ‘kiska’ means ‘pure.’
So I bought three of the images from that collection, as many as I could afford at the time. I was experienced enough in the business (I’ve been a blogging book reviewer for about 15 years too) that I know it’s important to have similar covers in a series, same model, same theme, that kind of thing. There’s a danger the images could be taken down and no longer for sale before I finished writing the series.
This fear goes back to the fact that my first publisher didn’t want to publish the second book in the series and then my second publisher went out of business before the third book could be published. That lack of continuity can make it difficult to hold on to readers!
Anyway, I heard about Canva.com where I could go and create my own book cover and promo banners. It was hard at first, ‘cause, let’s face it, I married a techno-geek so I wouldn’t need to be one. (Psst, he married me because I have enough imagination for both of us!)
Side-Note: Any knight can slay a dragon, but it takes a real hero to make a lady’s computer work for her.
As I was saying…
So I fiddled around at Canva until I finally came up with something that worked. The templet I used was for Wattpad book covers. If you’re not already there, I heartily recommend Wattpad.com for swapping great stories with great readers and writers.
Bottom Line: You don’t need to be artistic, a techno-geek, or rich to create your own book covers and promotional imagery. You just gotta be patient and persistent.“
Excerpt “Dad & If the Dog Likes You”
“I went to see some eagles Adrian helped rehabilitate and release back into the wild.” Ophelia hoped the emphasis on Adrian’s selfless care of animals would ease the situation.
A loud barking preceded Kiska’s launch out the kitchen door.
“Hold the dog!” Ophelia moved to block access to Adrian.
But their husky stopped as soon as he saw her new boyfriend, sniffed the air, and started wagging his tail.
“Good boy.” Adrian went down on one knee and received doggy kisses. “Good boy.” He ruffled the dog’s fur with both hands. “Yeah, you’re a good boy protecting your family.”
Kiska made puppy sounds and rolled over to bare his belly for the new Alpha Male. It was clear why he’d never sounded the alarm when Adrian had tucked little gifts for her in his collar. They were old buddies.
Ophelia eyed her dad. “Kiska just about ripped out Martin’s throat night before last.”
“Dogs know the real thing when they see it.” Dad grumbled under his breath, still sizing Adrian up.
Ophelia wanted to ask him what he meant. “Dad, this is Adrian Grayer. Adrian, this is my dad, Robert Dawson. He teaches 6th grade.”
Dad offered a hand. “Well, if the dog likes you.”
That was guy-talk for ‘Fine, you can date my daughter and I’ll refrain from killing you.’
Adrian stood to shake hands. “Huskies are great dogs.” And that meant, ‘Thanks, I prefer to live.’
About the Author
Kimber Li bandaged her fingers and pounded out her first novel on a manual typewriter when she was eleven years old. In the years which followed, she decided she wanted a large family of her own. When the time came, she moved to Alaska to find someone tough enough for the job of building it with her. Pregnancy hormones kicked her imagination into overdrive and she began to pursue publication. Although she achieved ePublication years ago with three Young Adult stories and one Sweet Romance, she discovered Indie Pub was a lot more fun for her and never looked back. She now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of multiple decades, four children who are now taller than her and want a puppy, two spoiled rotten cats, and a bunch of chickens who are nothing but freeloading slackers.