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Monday, June 25, 2012

Mistress of the Stone, Cover Reveal

Since the cover is on the web site, I guess it's safe to show it to everyone now. How does it look?

At first, I was very disappointed. It wasn't at all what I hoped for. Some of you know I design a little on the side and have 30+ years of graphic design experience to boot. So you can imagine the conversations that revolved around this cover. 

In my mind, Mistress of the Stone is a paranormal historical, so I wanted to see beautiful early 17th century costumes. I wanted something very romantic and grand, heralding back to an era of bigger than life characters.

The cover model wears too much makeup, making her look older than the nineteen-year-old heroine inside the book (imo). At least she looks Portuguese/Spanish, so that works in her favor.

I will give the art staff credit though. Whether they did it consciously or not, they're following a trend for cooler colors according to this study tracking movie poster colors. 

Also, I noticed when the thumbnail cover art is up next to the thumbnail of Fifty Shades of Grey, it looks remarkably similar in movement and tonal value. I wonder if that was deliberate--and more importantly, if it will sell books.

It is what it is, and while it's not what I would've designed, it works. I just hope it attracts the right audience. The official release date is August 28. Not long now.

What do you think? Do you think the cooler colors help it?


I am FINALLY going to have a contest to welcome my other blog, Getting Back to Basics. If you're not following Back to Basics or its sister site, The Frugal Way Facebook page, do it now. It'll earn you five extra points if you follow or Like the page before the contest begins June 27.

This contest will run one solid month until July 27th. The winners (yes, multiple winners) will be announced on Tuesday, July 31st.

Details will air on Back to Basics tomorrow, Tuesday, 6-26-2012.

On June 27th, I will also welcome my first guest blogger to Back to Basics. Cheryl Alldredge will be giving you the scoop on farmers' markets. You won't want to miss it!


Darke Conteur said...

It's nice, I guess. I don't know. Sorry, I'm not a good judge of these things. Sorry, but the model reminds me of Mila Kunis. :D

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: Holy cow. You're right. It does look like Mila Kunis. Weird.

Cate Masters said...

The cooler colors certainly add mystique. I wonder if it's a deliberate color scheme to match 50 Shades too. Hmmm.
But congrats on getting closer to publication!

Angelina Rain said...

I like the cover. To me, the cooler colors suggest that it's a book with lots of internal character conflict.

I sure hope cooler colors help sell books because my July 27th release is also on the cool side. It's all black, grey, and white with a hint of blue. I had asked the cover artist to make it like that though because I cried while writing the book and my editor cried while editing it, so I figured cool colors are more fitting for a sad book.

R. Mac Wheeler said...


I like crisp

I like reach out and slap you color.

I'd love to see what you would have used.

Southpaw said...

When I saw the cover in my reader (without your post) I liked it right off.

The cooler blues suggest paranormal to me. So does the glowing stone. The makeup does make her look older but I think it's okay.

The nice thing is that even a small cover (like for ebooks) will still stand out.

Mike Keyton said...

I like it

Clarissa Draper said...

It's different from your others but I do like the colors and the ship.

Marguerite Butler said...

Maria, I agree about the make-up. I really dislike heavy, modern make-up on a historical heroine. I do, however, think the cover has a fresh, modern feel. It's very "current" with the amount of skin and the cool tones. I'll be curious to see how how readers react.

Raelyn Barclay said...

I like it but I agree about the clothing. The make-up doesn't bother me as much as it gives her a bit of an exotic look, IMO. I see Mila Kunis too :)

Congrats Maria! Can't wait to pick this one up.

Looking forward to your guest post on farmer's markets...I know I don't take full advantage of the couple we have here.

Krista D. Ball said...

So as someone who can often identify a European dress within a decade of creation, I know I'm way too picky about outfits ;)

However, it's nearly impossible to find proper, accurate stock images of anything resembling historical outfits. Oftentimes, people are colouring wedding dresses in images. So, I do cut folks a lot of slack because of it.

But, yeah, that makeup is so not working for me. But, like I said, I cut historical covers a lot of slack :)

Dru said...

I like the cover. It would make me pick up to read the blurb.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I actually really like it! I mean, yes, it does look different than your other books (which i also love, btw), but i love that she doesn't look caucasian and i very much like the ship.
I'm with you, though, that the model's wearing a bit too much makeup, so it seems like she's in her early 20s instead of 19

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Did my comment go through? I couldn't tell. If it didn't, I like the cover and hope you sell lots.

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: It's just a theory of mine. It could be entirely coincidental.

Angelina: I think the cooler colors make it more melancholy. Does she get her man or doesn't she.

R Mac: I had some ideas ready to roll, but I didn't think Samhain would allow me to design my own so I didn't want to go through all the work for nothing.

--and hey, be careful down there in Florida. Stay away from Debby's wrath.

Maria Zannini said...

Holly: Well that certainly makes me feel better. Thanks for giving me your gut reaction!

Mike: Aw, you're just saying that cuz you know how it ends. LOL. Thanks, Mike!

Clarissa: I had asked for a tall ship, so I'm glad they included one.

Maria Zannini said...

Marguerite: That was it! The makeup seemed too modern for me. I couldn't put into words what it was about the makeup that made me wince, but you hit it on the head.

Raelyn: I was looking for ethnic, but I'll settle for exotic.

Ref: farmers' markets
I feel like a better human being when I buy stuff at a farmers' market. It's like punching Monsanto in the nose.

Krista: Well part of the fun of a novel about pirates is that pirates are apt to 'liberate' fashions from all over the world, which would've been fun to explore. Alas, not this book.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: That makes me feel better. Thanks, Dru.

Sarah: It was important to me that she look Hispanic so I'm glad for that. When we enter the story she's barely 19 (and full of the devil).

Barbara: Thanks! At least one comment went through. I'll check the spam filter in case anything else got stuck.

Charlee said...

I like it for curb appeal, though I can see why you might be concerned about what it is conveying to readers. To me is says paranormal, the historical takes hard work to spot.

Melissa McClone said...

The colors do set a mood/tone! Nice! The ship tells me it's a historical, but it took me a bit to see. My focus went straight to her eye makeup!

LD Masterson said...

I think it works. Maybe not as good as your own designs, but it works. I like the cool colors.

Jenny Schwartz said...

I think it's going to grab attention. Lots of drama with the face and if the cool colours are in fashion (who knew???) then maybe that'll be a subliminal "buy me" for readers.

Maria Zannini said...

Charlee: See, that's what I think too. I wanted the historical imagery to pop first and then the paranormal.

Melissa: I may have to start calling her the "tart". LOL.

Linda: They showed me an alternate version in red and I really hated that one. It had a crinkle finish and it made the cover model look like a hag.

Jenny: Time will tell if the 'buy me' message is in there.

Renee Miller said...

Wow. I do agree on the makeup, but it's the only part that seems "off" to me, and I don't know that I'd have been able to pick that out if you hadn't mentioned it. Normally I go for rich color when I pick up books based on the cover, but there is something about this one that draws me in. I'm not sure what it is, but I do like it. I'm curious to know the story, which is good, right?

Marking August 28 on my calendar. My real one, not this one I never look at on my computer. Oh wait, my phone gives alerts. Let's just figure out how to do that....

Angela Brown said...

This cover, I must admit, is a bit different than what I grew accustomed to when you designed your own covers for the Second Chance series. The last one, especially, caught my eye.

This cover reminds me of the ongoing trend of the girl doing the over-the-shoulder move. I'll have to look at it a few more times. I'm sure it will grow on me.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: I just got a new phone. I can't find ANYTHING on it right now. LOL.

PS That heavy makeup bugs me. It looks so out of place in a historical.

Angela: I've learned to divorce myself from my work the moment I sign a contract. Once it goes to the publisher, all you can do is "suggest" edits or art. The final decision rests with them. C'est la vie.

Jackie Burris said...

Maria to be honest the cover does not "pop" but as a person who buys a book from the synopsis not cover it makes no difference to me. If they would have gone with brilliant colors and historical clothing it still would make little difference to me but I am not a cover "whore" like the younger reading generation seems to be.
Congratulations on release date upcoming and am looking forward to reading your latest story someday.
Looking forward to Charlie's guest post too!

Anna Soliveres said...

Hi Maria, I love the ship they put the at the bottom. I wasn't so sure of the woman at first, considering her makeup was a bit heavy to me, but after reading the excerpt (and I especially loved the Product Warning ;) I think it's great! As Darke mentioned, the model looks a lot like Mila Kunis who is HOT right now! ;)


Shelley Munro said...

It's nice but it doesn't scream paranormal to me. I didn't notice the ship straightaway. I do like the cooler colors though.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I love beautiful covers. But you're right. What ultimately gets me to buy is the blurb.

Anna: LOL. I love making up those product warnings. This one was actually a conglomeration between the editor and me.

Shelley: I guess we'll see how it sells. :crossing fingers:

Shirley Wells said...

I think the makeup is too modern but, other than that, I love it. I adore the cool colours.

I hope it sells millions! :)

Maria Zannini said...

Shirley: I could of Photoshopped some of that makeup off if they'd let me. LOL.

Nadja Notariani said...

I like it! The extra touches in the title font are great! And I like the dark vibe it gives off. Your cover model's eyes are beautiful.

Maria Zannini said...

Nadja: I just hope it sells books. :)

Margaret M. Fisk said...

Well, a couple things...that dark khol (sp?) eye lining was pretty popular in historical times, and I love the ship below her. Having read an early draft, I'd say the mood does match the book in a lot of ways, so yeah, this could be a winner :).

Maria Zannini said...

Margaret: Ancient Egypt maybe, but the late 1600s in Europe? Probably not. It just looks too fabricated for the times.

It is what it is. There's no changing it now.

Margaret M. Fisk said...

Sigh, you may be right, but Cap'n Jack got away with it, so she should be fine :).

Maria Zannini said...

Margaret: "Jack" can wear anything. LOL.