Friday, September 30, 2016

Meet the Artists!

Thank you again to everyone who participated in the latest cover art contest -- whether taking the time to vote or actually making the creative effort to submit something.

I love cover art and I secretly wish I could do my own covers, but I did not get that gift, which means I'm  genuinely impressed by those talented people who can take a cool photo and a confusing array of fonts and make something beautiful. Something so visually striking that it actually conveys a sense of what a story might be--can even tempt someone who's never read your work to buy a copy.

The submissions this year were so imaginative and so original, that I wanted to give each of the artists a little extra attention. I'll leave it up the the artists if they'd like to share a link or info about themselves or their work in the comment section below, but I wanted to show the versatility of each artist before we get into who "won" which contest.

Sorry for the weird layout. Blogger was having a hard time with this many photos.

Dovie Cross

Johanna Ollila

Karan K. 

Mabel Chiltern

Teekah Doyle 

Kora J

Catherine Dair 

Honestly, there were so many wonderful covers to choose from, it's a pity I can't use multiple covers for a single book.

Below we have the winners of each cover. 

Cover Contest Winner: BITE CLUB

I thought submissions  #1 and #4 did the best job of capturing the feel and look of the previous cover in the series, but honestly I loved every single one of these, so it was easy to just go with the reader favorite which turned out to be #4 by Kora J. (by a landslide).

Congratulations to Kora J!!

(I love the way he's clutching his collar, like he fears he's about to be bitten! :-) )

Kora, be sure to send me your Paypal address and the Shutterstock # so we can get the final version of this baby done. :-)

Cover Contest Winner: FOOLS RUSH IN

Wow. These. Were. Great. Every one of them was wonderful. I love how Chiltern went totally off the reservation and played with that noir vibe (you got the SO's vote, Ms. Chiltern), but I also loved how Karan perfectly captured the feel of Snowball in Hell and yet made her version completely unique.

Of course the People's Choice Favorite here was Johanna Ollila with #2, and I can't argue that.  #2 is gorgeous.  So...

Cover Contest Winner: GREEN GLASS BEADS

Personally, I thought every single one of these was magical. And holy moly the variety and imagination!

Honestly, I knew as these came in that I would be content to accept the will of the people, and so I am delighted to announce that #2 by Karan Kapszukiewicz is our winner! (Can I just say that face totally looks like Archer to me.)

Karan, let me know your Paypal address and the Shutterstock #s and away we shall go. :-)

Cover Contest Winner: THE MONET MURDERS

This was a tougher one because I wasn't quite sure what I wanted -- so there was the challenge of trying to match the existing cover of The Mermaid Murders OR take on the challenge of trying to redesign both books in the series.

So Dovie Cross and Mabel Chiltern both get extra credit for tackling the redesign of the series -- and I think they both did a really great job.

What ended up happening though -- and this is possibly on me for not figuring out ahead of time what I was asking for -- is the two-unit covers were competing against the single unit covers -- so I don't know if that was quite fair or not?

I do know that the single covers were all very clever and very well done. I love how the art elements were used in each entry.

This one was really close between the pairing of #2 and #4, with #4's Johanna Ollila edging to that win (and no argument here -- the combo of chiseled abs and a Monet T-shirt is going to sell books IMHO).

Cover Contest Winner: SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS


Now right off the bat, the covers are ALL adorable. We had a sexy Santa and Catherine Dair's wonderful illustration and all of Karan's efforts which would be absolutely perfect for any cozy mystery holiday entry. Probably my personal favorite was Dovie's cover -- love, love, love that photo and the red border!

But here is where I turn into the Grinch at the party because I actually think the cover that most fulfilled my criteria -- the challenge of matching an already existing five-book series while making it look festive and Christmassy was #4 by Johanna Ollila.  She even used the cover model we've used throughout the series (yes, I know we're all sick of him, but still!). :-D  It's got CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON THE BORDER!!!

The reader choice here was Karan K. with #2 -- and it is such a cute cover and it does basically everything I asked -- but but but...I'm going with my gut instinct and (as warned ahead of time) overruling the electoral college and choosing #4.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Wow!! So many wonderful covers to choose from.

Because I want this to be about the art and only the art, I'm going to list the photos without the name of the artist this time through.

When we announce the winners, we'll match the cover to the artist's name -- and maybe we can even permit them to share links to their portfolios or website or social media, if anyone would like to do that!

Vote in the comment section for the number of the cover you like best. Just vote once, if you don't mind. :-)

There are five contests in total -- you'll find them below this post on the blog.

Ignore the watermarks and so forth on some of the covers. Just look at the overall design, whatever the particular challenge might be (is it supposed to match existing style of cover, for example?)  and consider whether that cover would make you want to open the book.

You're looking for a cover that looks good large AND small.

In the meantime thank you to the following artists: Dovie Cross, Johanna Ollila, Karan Kapszukiewicz, Mabel Chiltern, Kora J, Teekah Doyle and, last but never least, Catherine Dair. You guys are all so talented and so generous to share that talent with the rest of us! Thank you so much!


Cover Contest Finals: BITE CLUB (the XOXO Files)

The project is Bite Club, book 2 in the XOXO Files series. The challenge was matching the feel of Mummy Dearest, which was the first book.





Cover Contest Finals: FOOLS RUSH IN

The project is the sequel to Snowball in Hell. This was a really tough one because not only did the new cover have to work with the cover of Snowball, this is historical fiction. 1943, in fact, and if you've ever tried to hunt for decent historical photos, you know what a challenge that is.

I think the artists who tried for this one get an extra round of applause!





Cover Contest Finals: GREEN GLASS BEADS (AUDIO)

The project is the audio book for "Green Glass Beads," which was the story I contributed to the IRREGULARS anthology. Here there were no limits, nothing to match, and the results are uniformly gorgeous. Good luck picking just one!