Bitter Ends: Making of a Book Cover

In an earlier post I wrote about how I designed my own book covers for my previous books using my own photographs. In this post I focus on the book cover for Bitter Ends my forthcoming collection of short stories.

Part of the thrill for me in creating a book cover is digging into my files and discovering that one photograph that expresses what’s in the pages in between and expressing it in a way folks who see the cover will be interested enough to take a peek inside and maybe even buy the book.

Like my previous book of short stories, Devious TalesBitter Ends is a collection of tales filled with murder, revenge, greed, and other mayhem along with a couple of slightly less deadly yarns. That said, the cover needed an ominous look informing the potential reader what they are getting.

In digging through my files I first focused on a few images taken in New Mexico back in 2013. One in particular was of a deserted highway with its colorful mountains in the background. I felt it reflected a feeling of vast emptiness and a bit of dread. I saw bodies potentially buried everywhere.

Below is the original image followed by a series early versions of the book cover.

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We were on our way to visit Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch located in Abiquiú, New Mexico,when I pulled over and took the above shot that was my first choice for the cover.  Cropping it was the first step followed by the lettering. I tried various fonts  and colors before settling on the image on the right.

I spent some time reviewing the image, asking myself was this what I wanted. Did it visually express the stories and entice potential readers. The more I looked at it, the more I wasn’t satisfied that it did.  I went back to digging into my photographic archive.

I next found a photograph taken just two months earlier in Yellowstone National Park. We were on a photo tour and came across this area  in the park that had burnt. We stopped and took a series of photos, one of which is the first photo below.  Looking at it, I thought it projected a dark, eerily, end of life feeling.

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Some cropping followed and then some software experimenting resulting in the two early versions below.

I still wasn’t completely satisfied and kept working at it. Finally, I came up with what I envisioned visually expressed what I wrote. Below is the final cover.

Bitter Ends will be available in January from Amazon and Barnes and Noble as a  paperback and ebook.

 

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Sunrise Photographs From Blackwater NWR

We were fortunate enough to get a great sunrise (November 30th) at The Blackwater NWR is located in Cambridge, Maryland.

Check out my photography website.

https://1-john-greco.pixels.com/index.html?logout=true

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Blackwater NWR Sunrise No.3 - CQ-0752

 

Blackwater NWR Sunrise No.4 - CW-0750

 

Blackwater NWR -No. 2 Sunrise CW-0731

Shelburne Museum: The General Store

If you are ever in Burlington Vermont, drive over to the nearby town of Shelburne where you will find the Shelburne Museum. It’s not your typical museum. Located on 45 acres of land there are 39 exhibition buildings consisting of a wide variety of art, prints, folk art, and plenty of Americana.

The General Store dates back to 1840 and was a fascinating look back.

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Haugee’s Cod Liver Oil, Renne’s Oil Compound, and Hanford’s  Balsam of Myrrth were some of the health aids available back in the 1800’s, but the best or at least all-purpose was DeWitt’s Stomach Bitters, an all-everything concoction for improving your appetite, invigorating the system, regulating the bowels, Liver and Kidneys, curing Dyspepsia,  heartburn and a sour stomach.

The label goes on to say, it’s an invaluable aid to persons in delicate and feeble health. Restoring strenght (that’s the way it is spelled on the label) and vigor to wornout constitutions.

Directions: a wineglass full before or after each meal.

A  wineglass is most appropriate because most of these types of “medications” contained quite a bit of alcohol.

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One of the brands on the above shelf are still in business..Durkee’s.

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I have no idea what or how these pills were meant to help. The  web revealed nothing when I typed in the name other than lot’s of hits on Harvey Weinstein and pills that will enhance your sex life. I doubt this Harvey had much to do with either.

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Men and Women’s hats of the day.

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Some of the products sold in these bottles include Citric Acid, Gylcerin, Sodium Bicarbonate, and Antimuniun Crud. The last word most likely should be read as Crudum.  The bottle’s label is worn after the “Crud” so likely it was spelled correctly as Crudum.

Reflections

One of my favorite subjects to photograph are reflections.  Reflections are all abstract versions of life. Using water, mirrors, windows or any reflective surface can transform an image into something richer,  unique, and even artistic.

Tennessee Near Smoky Mountains

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New Hampshire

Autumn Reflection -CW-6360

Macy’s NYC Easter Window – 2008

NYC Macy's (1 of 1)

Skyscraper Reflection

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Sandhill Cranes Sunset

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Grand Tetons

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Ghost Ranch – New Mexico

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Dorothy

Dorothy Reflection Final-

Untitled

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Water Reflection #1

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Water Reflection #2

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San Juan Islands – Whales

The San Juan Islands consist of a string of islands (over 100) located in the northwest corner  between the mainland U.S. and Vancouver, B.C.  We stayed in the town of Friday Harbor, the big tourist spot on the island of San Juan. From there for three days we went out on the nearby waters, including the Strait of Georgia, to photograph Orcas and Humpback Whales, Seals,  Porpoises and Eagles. We also spent a few hours at the San Juan Island National Historic Park where we photographed Foxes.

This is the first in a series of photographs I will be posting. Enjoy.

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Orcas-

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Mt Baker Adj-4982

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Visions of Maine – Part 3

Part 3 is the final post in the series of photos from my recent trip to Maine. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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Main Street,  Bar Harbor

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View from Inside Ellsworth, Maine Library

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Flowers with Schooner

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Belfast, Maine 

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Opera House – Belfast, Maine

You can read a bit of history at this link.

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Bar Harbor Inn

Bar Habor Inn Flowers-4442