Writing: looking for covers can hurt your eyes

I’ve finished a lot of rewrites lately. My critique partners and I got off schedule and out of rhythm. Life happens. People get busy or sick or take vacations, but I now have two, new novellas ready to go. They’re going to complete a bundle with some of my older Christian/Brina stories. That means I need three, new covers–one for each new novella, one for the entire collection. No sweat. I usually find the images I want to use before I ever write the first word. I fly through the stock picture sites that don’t charge royalties and scroll through page after page until I find the image that sticks with me. Between that and the story’s title, I get the mood and tone that I want to paint with my words. Piece of cake. And it was…for my novellas.

I’ve changed my mind over and over again for Enoch’s new novel. I’m starting rewrites for that on Monday, and I finally found the image I want to use late, last week. I can’t tell you how many images I’ve looked at to find the one that felt right to me. I got desperate enough, I thought I’d just use an image that made me think of Enoch. Not so easy. I can picture Enoch in my mind. He’s tall, dark, intense, and gorgeous–but in a worldly, I’ve-seen-it-all type way. I went to my usual sites. I typed in tall, dark-haired man wearing a long coat, like he does on the cover of Fallen Angels. Only one image came up. Close, but not right on. Enoch’s face is all angles and rugged. I tried all kinds of other key words and was starting to get frustrated. I finally typed in tall, sexy man with dark hair. Oh, lordy! Rippling abs scrolled down my screen, page after page. I would have dehydrated if my husband hadn’t brought me a glass of wine to fortify myself. I found LOTS of hot, sexy men in various forms of undress, but none of them struck me as Enoch. Most were too young. Some looked too friendly or nice. Or they were blond with blue eyes or cute and cocky instead of dark and brooding. Michael (who does my covers) can work many miracles, but he has his limits. It’s not easy carrying a mental image of your protagonist in your head. It’s hard to find a match.

I found a model I thought made a perfect Christian, but he never wore a shirt in any of the pictures I could use. Of course, most models these days don’t wear medieval garb, silly them. I had to force myself to look at page after page of hunks until I finally settled on something that’s not perfect, but has the right feel, at least, for me. Who knows how readers envision my characters? Anyway, some research is harder than others. If you see me and I have bloodshot eyes, you’ll know it’s because I’ve been working so hard:) Hope you’ve been hard at work, too! Finding the right man is still a tough job!