Monday, June 3, 2013

Cover Reveal for My Debut Novel!!!

The day is finally here!! So much to cover (pardon the pun!), so please bear with me as I ramble and gush! I've got the story behind the cover, a scene from Bleeding Heart, the lowdown on a new blog specifically for the book, a fun themed giveaway, links to blogs participating in the cover reveal, and the reason I'm "dancing like I'm 22!" (If you don't have a ton of time to spare, I recommend just scrolling down to the section(s) you're most interested in. This is going to be a long post! *wink*) Are you ready for this??

A Cover Story

Here's how the cover came about...

The process involved lots of chatting. There was a little bit of time between when Lena Goldfinch - dear friend, talented author, and cover-designer extraordinaire - agreed to be my cover designer and when we really focused on getting it done, so in the meantime I told her about the book and we ran ideas by each other. Lena introduced me to some stock photo sites when we were brainstorming my client Sandra Leesmith's cover and - later - mine, so we e-mailed each other links for a while. 

And then Lena brought me over to the dark side: I joined Pinterest. ;) She created a secret board that only the two of us could see, and that's when ideas really started flying! We pinned stock photos, covers we liked that were in the same genre, pictures we had taken or found that helped us grasp the vision, etc. We ended up with 79 pins total!

To give you an idea of what this board looks like and how our vision changed... Towards the bottom you would find train images and various models in fancy dresses and/or various blondes. Scrolling up, you'd start to see some example covers (among them Courting Morrow Little, Wind Over Marshdale, and Love in the Balance). Then some mock covers with trains in the background, followed by images I found or uploaded to help set the scene and give Lena a better idea of the story. 

The pivotal switch in concept came when I pinned the cover of Thorns in Eden and the Everlasting Mountains by Rita Gerlach. Despite my love of trains on book covers (which the lovely Rel can attest to!), things just weren't coming together, and Lena asked if I might consider going with a sunset-type background like on Rita's cover. Commence pins of sunrises and sunsets (although I still threw in a few trains, LOL.)

But we still had a big problem: none of the models were working quite right with my idea of the heroine and the tone of the book. The board is full of plenty of beautiful models with all sorts of expressions, but nothing really clicked until Lena pinned this photo:

My first comment on the pin: "Aaaaah! Lena - I like, a lot!! It's so perfect!! Oh, do you think we could use this one??"

After that, the rest came together splendidly. (Not to say that everything was easy after that, though, as Lena still had a ton of work left to do on the details for the background, the flowers on the model's dress, the font, etc.) The picture cost $29, which is really not that bad for finding the right model!

While I debated between two California sunset pictures - a hillside scene and an ocean scene (thank you to Twitter friends for the feedback, by the way!) - we ended up going with the hillside. There was something about the mood of the image, with the fog and the trees in the background, that fit the main setting of the story better, and the angle and spaciousness of it fit well with the model's picture. Plus, I figured I could wait to use an ocean background for a possible future story it would work better with, you know?

I won't go into all the details about the finalizing process, but suffice it to say Lena was a joy to work with, and she gave me a beautiful cover that fit my story and included even the little things I wanted. Want to see it? (Finally, right??)

What I Love: The model's expression, caught halfway between flirty and pleading, with something almost "hard" in her eyes. Her posture, which seems both defiant and defeated. Her hair and her figure, which fit Sally so well. The inclusion of some sprigs of bleeding hearts, as the flower is mentioned in the story and the name of the flower plays a strong thematic role. The fog and the distant hills/trees, which fit the darker tone of the story and also match part of the main setting. The hillside, which is similar to the setting of at least one particular scene (I'm still editing, so I might be adding scenes...). The strong lines of the branches she's holding in conjunction with the dividing line between the title and my name. The title font, which is beautiful and matches the genre, along with the simple but lovely dress. The title colors, where "bleeding" is a darker shade. And the whole concept, where the eye is drawn straight to the model's arresting gaze, and then slowly led down to the title "hidden" (but still plainly visible) among the flowers of her dress. 

Meet The Heroine

Want to see why I think the model and her expression fit my heroine so well? Here's a scene from the first chapter of Bleeding Heart:

~ Excerpt from Bleeding Heart ~

Virginia City, Nevada ~ Summer 1886
There was no way on God’s brown desert dirt that Sally Clay was going to marry Rufus O’Daniel.
As she hurried through town to the train station, Sally thought about how she was now in the same predicament she had been in three years ago, back when her whole world had broken into pieces as numerous as the sagebrush bushes on the hillsides. It didn’t matter that Rufus was one of the wealthiest men in the whole state of Nevada – a silver baron who knew when to stop mining, while others squandered their wealth away trying to make the earth give up more riches than it contained. She was through with men’s tricks. This time, she was going to be the one to leave.
As much as she hated Jacob Lawson for selling his business and leaving her jobless, she recognized a glimpse of freedom when she saw it – and perhaps a foretaste of sweet, sweet revenge. The details were still undetermined, but the man had it coming to him, and soon.
Over two weeks had passed since she had been booted from her room on D Street, in “Sporting Row.” She had spent most of her money, as well as some feminine persuasion toward the right man, staying at the hotel for that time. The quiet and the independence were far more of a luxury than the fancy furnishings and the modern conveniences. But Rufus wasn’t taking “no” the way she intended him to, and the desire to bolt had been building up inside of her for a long time. Now she was finally going to give in to the urge.
Spotting a familiar face in the line at the ticket counter once she arrived at the station, she rushed to his side. “Joe?” She touched his arm and put on her best desperate look. It wasn’t too much of a challenge at this moment.
Recognition was quickly followed by disgust in his dirt-brown eyes as he looked down on her. “Whaddya want, Sally?”
She countered his question with one of her own, leaning in ever so slightly as she had been taught. “Where ya headed?”
“I don’t see how that’s any of yer business.”
Peering around his tall frame, she saw another familiar face. For the first time since the day she found herself begging Jacob for a job, shame burned through her. It was a rare day when she blushed with embarrassment anymore.
The red-headed, rail-thin Cornish miner didn’t say a word, but she saw suppressed anger, and perhaps a hint of pity, glaring back at her. She nodded in acknowledgement, and turned her pleading gaze back to Joe.
“I know you don’t owe me any favors, but you and Jacob were friends for a long time. And with Jacob leavin’ and all… Well, I’m out of a job.” She swallowed, longing for some water and a moment to plan the rest of her speech.
She flinched. It shouldn’t cut her anymore, these rejections. But they did. Tears welled up in her eyes – real ones, if anyone here at the train station could believe that. “Please – I’m bein’ pursued by a cruel man and I need some help getting out of this two-bit town. Just a little bit of money and some company for as far as yer headed.”
She knew the word “company” was a mistake as soon as it slipped past her lips. Joe’s eyes turned rock-hard and he shook his head vehemently.
Grasping his arm tighter, she let the tears flow down her cheeks, not caring at the scene she was making. It hadn’t taken long to get over the desire to please society. They had rejected her, and so she rejected them by refusing to follow their unspoken rules.
“I don’t mean it that way, Joe. Please! I won’t be any trouble.”
Then he had the nerve to laugh.
Pushing him away, she spun on her heel and marched out of the station. She still had some pride.
But as she forced her way through the crowd and out the door, her heart sank. Rufus O’Daniel was across the street, staring right at her with eyes that promised retribution and enslavement – a frightening look that had haunted her dreams for far too long.

~ End of Excerpt ~ 

What are your first impressions regarding the heroine? Would love to hear your thoughts!

A Novel Home

If you'd like to know more about the book, I'm happy to report that Bleeding Heart has its own home in the blogosphere! For book extras, news, and more visit the Bleeding Heart blog. I hope you find it an interesting and inspiring place to check in on now and again. =)

Huge thanks to Anne Elisabeth Stengl, who not only encouraged me to put together a giveaway for the cover reveal (below), but whose novel blogs served as inspiration and templates for me as I worked on putting together my own novel blog. I so admire Anne's creativity!

A Bleeding Heart Giveaway

To build up excitement (and I think today is a great day for presents!), I've got a themed giveaway for you all! Want to see what you can win?

 Bleeding Heart Note Cards (4-pack) by Cindy Lindgren

Pink and Clear Teardrop Earrings by Belle on a Budget

Just use the form below to enter! Please note that this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about how to use the form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  Cover Reveal Participants

I'm so blessed to have made such dear friends through blogging! To have their support and help in spreading the word at this time is a precious gift, and I'm so grateful to each of them for their time and encouragement! Here's a list of the blogs taking part in the cover reveal:
You might just find the prequel (from another character's POV), some info about me and Lena, and maybe some of the bloggers' thoughts on the cover and whatnot - so I do hope you'll visit them if/when you can!


I have so many reasons to celebrate today! The main reason has already been explained thoroughly throughout this post, LOL. I love book covers, and I'm so happy for my own sweet piece of cover candy! (*Great big hugs to Lena!*)

But the other reason is that I'm turning 22 today!! So enter the giveaway for presents, grab a piece of virtual cake (chocolate, of course!), and feel free to join me in singing along/dancing to Taylor's Swift's "22" from her latest CD, Red:

Have a delightful Monday, and do please share your thoughts on the cover or whatever is on your mind - I love chatting with you all!


Abbi Hart said...

And even though I've already said this I can't stop! I LOVE this cover!!!! Every time I I look at it I think I fall a little more in love! And argh the excerpt just makes me even more impatient for this book!

Rel said...

Happy Birthday, gorgeous girl! So thrilled you get to celebrate your special day with the reveal of your lovely cover and story :)

And what a privilege to be a part of the reveal - it was such a joy to put together my post for you.

Love and hugs, dear Amber xo xo

J. L. Mbewe said...

beautiful cover. I love bleeding hearts!

Ganise said...

Alright! What a very nice cover, indeed!

Hope you have a good celebration. :) What a thrilling season this must be for you.


writingsofrosie said...

I love it!! And after reading the first few paragraphs, man, you're right! That model IS a perfect fit. Congratulations! :D

"I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22!" <3 that song!

Hutt-Write Voice said...

Happy Birthday! And congrats on the cover, it's beautiful!

Julie said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Sweet Amber! What a fun way to celebrate! Loving visiting all of the blogs for the cover reveal of BLEEDING HEART. Your reputation is coming through in all of the posts for sure! Your sweet spirit is appreciated by many :)

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...


Exciting on so. many. levels...

Congratulations on 22!!! (Adorable song and video by the way.)

Not many can celebrate with a BOOK COVER. Gracious, girl! You've done so much in a short time.

We're all excited to see what's next! Can't wait to read Bleeding Heart!!

May sends her best sniffs and greetings too. Perhaps a crunchy carrot for May, but pass the chocolate cake for me! PAWSOME way to celebrate!

Go Amber GO!!!

Unknown said...

Happy birthday!!

And oh my goodness, your cover is GORGEOUS. Can't wait to read it. Happy cover reveal day!!

Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday! How wonderful to celebrate your birthday AND your cover reveal of your upcoming novel.

I so enjoyed getting a glimpse of the cover-making process & of course the gorgeous end result. SO happy for you--it captures the heroine to a "T" & I cannot wait to pick up a copy of Bleeding Heart just as soon as it's available! The excerpt was phenomenal, oh my word...honestly this is why I love historical fiction so much.

Blessings as you edit & celebrate your birthday!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

Congrats Amber!
It's lovely and luv that it's what makes your <3 HapPy !

Have a wonderful B'Day today as well!

Cathy said...

Happy '22' birthday Amber!!! Love the Taylor Swift song. Oh to be 22 again! : )

Congrats on your new book! I'm excited to be part of your cover reveal. It's really beautiful!

Grace said...

Happy Birthday, Amber!

The cover is so lovely, I can see how you are pleased with it. Congrats on your book too :-D


Audrey said...

Congratulations, Amber! And happy birthday!

Moriah said...

I heard about this from Inspiring Daring so I headed over to check it out. Your book looks really neat and the cover is perfect. This post was fun to read and I'm really excited for you! Happy Birthday!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Well it looks awesome and I'm very proud of you darling! I look forward to reading it.

Diane Estrella said...

Happy Birthday and really happy for you and your debut book.

Love the cover!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Love, love, love the cover Amber. You and Lena ROCK!

Happy birthday too.

Have fun on your tour.

Carissa said...

I love the cover and can't wait to read Bleeding Heart.

Melanie said...

Happy Birthday, Amber! Love the cover and Bleeding Heart sounds really good! Looking forward to the release. :)

Lena Goldfinch said...

Amber!! A Great Big Happy Birthday!!! I hope you have an AMAZING day! :-)

Congrats on the upcoming book release. Working with you on the cover was such a delightful and fun experience. :-)

Michelle said...

Happy Birthday, Amber!! What a fun day! So glad to be a part of your cover reveal, and your writing journey! Congratulations!

I'm headed out to take the little man to swim lessons, but I'll be back. :D

Ariel Wilson said...

Amber! It really is gorgeous! Thank you so so much for giving me a chance to be part of the reveal, and I'm so excited for the tour! Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! So fun to have your reveal on your birthday! :)

Amanda Stanley said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR AMBER!!! Praying you're day is beautiful and extra sweet, just like you!!! :)

CONGRATULATIONS, on Bleeding Heart's BEAUTIFUL cover!! Candy, indeed!! ;) So looking forward to ready BH!!! I'm so happy that the Lord has blessed my dear friend the way He has, opening so many doors to realize your dreams!! May He continue to do so!! :)

Enjoy your day, girl, and Happy 22!! Taylor Swift is a Rhode Islander now, so if I see her I'll tell her you said hi, lol ;)


Bluerose said...

Oh, I am so thrilled for you! That cover is GORGEOUS! I got mixed up on the dates and rushed over here yesterday anxiously awaiting the cover reveal.

I can't wait to read more!! I'm so proud of you!! :)


Rissi said...

What an insightful, great post, Amber! I see no signs of that worry you had on Twitter. ;) Loved it! This cover is lovely and I've a feeling it will match the story perfectly. It looks so suited to it. Nicely done to you and Lena!

Aw! How neat, you are 22 today!? That is pretty rocking - and what a perfect song! My cousin just tuned 22 also so I've kind of had that song stuck in my head. Love it - no matter what, it puts a smile on our face. :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, lovely Amber! I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate it for you - this is well deserved. Enjoy it.

Michelle said...

Happy Birthday, Amber!!! I hope you're having a great day!

Sharing the cover of Bleeding Hart is such a wonderful way to celebrate. Such a beautiful cover.

Sherida Stewart said...

A birthday and a cover reveal---great day for an author! Enjoy your celebration for many reasons! The story about how your cover came together is very interesting. And I LOVE the cover of Bleeding Heart! Please pass the chocolate cake! :)

Anonymous said...

Love the cover. The heroine wants to seem self-confident, but she looks like a scared young woman. Thank you for entering me in your giveaway.
Barbara Thompson

Happy Birthday and Congratulations!!

Unknown said...

Happy, happy birthday Amber!!! So proud of you! The cover is so lovely. Can't wait to read the book! :):):)

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday and congratulations on that gorgeous cover, Amber! I am SO sorry I never responded to your email regarding your tour (it just slipped through the cracks)...but please know that I am SO happy for you!

Sara said...

This is so exciting! I've been away from my blog reading and commenting for a bit, so I had no idea this was in work. Congratulations! The book sounds great and the cover is beautiful. What a great way to spend a birthday! :0

Jill Stengl said...

What a lovely way to celebrate your birthday! You have accomplished amazing things by 22, I should say. :-)Thank you for inviting me to celebrate with you. Such a pretty cover--judging by the excerpt, that model suits your heroine beautifully. And I adore bleeding hearts--just clipped a bouquet of them from my garden yesterday!

Audra Harders said...

Gorgeous cover, Amber. So much thought and fun went into it. Thanks for sharing the journey!

Happy Birthday! What a way to kick off this awesome event AND prepare for a great year to come!

Amber Holcomb said...

Hello, everyone!

So overwhelmed by your outpouring of support and kindness!! I apologize for not responding to your comments yet - I ended up focusing on the comments on the other blogs participating in the cover reveal, so I let these comments pile up. I feel blessed to realize that they have piled up, though!! You all are so sweet and wonderful, and I'm grateful for your friendship! I hope to respond to your comments very soon. :)

I had an absolutely wonderful birthday - thank you all for playing a part in that! :D


ASC Book Reviews said...

I think the cover is beautiful! I love the flowers the girl is holds in a the scenery is lovely! :)

Amada (pronounced:

Wendy Newcomb said...

This cover is beautiful! ! !


Marissa said...

Congrats on the cover and story!!!

I really like the cover; the colors are really pretty.

Amber Holcomb said...

Abbi: Thank you so much!! I absolutely love that - and I agree! I fall in love more and more, and I love looking at it, too. You can totally talk about it all you want, 'cause I'm right there with you! ;) And I'm touched you're eager to read the story!

Rel: It is a joy to have your support and friendship through all of this!! *Hugs*

Jennette: Thank you! They're such unique flowers, aren't they? :)

Ganise: This has been a fabulous celebration, and my birthday was awesome - thank you! Should we have Lena take a bow for designing that lovely cover? ;)

Rosie: Thank you for taking the time to read the excerpt! I'm so glad you agree that the model fits the character! Hope you agree even more so after reading the whole story. :) And isn't that song so fun?? ;)

Linda: Thank you!! Appreciate your friendship! <3

Julie: I'm so blessed by that comment - and by your friendship! I've been absolutely blown away by everyone's sweet posts and comments and support!! It's been fun visiting all of the participating blogs - glad you've had fun, too! :)


Amber Holcomb said...

KC: You've always been such a a supportive cheerleader and encouraging friend - thank you!! I appreciate you (and sweet May!) so much! Please, feel free to pass the virtual carrot sticks to May, and do help me eat that cake! ;)

Melissa: Awww, I appreciate the kind words! I'm so excited about being featured on your blog in July, and I hope you enjoy the story! :)

Meghan: I love your comment!! Thank you for all the encouraging words! :) And I'm so glad you agree about the model - I agree that she fits Sally to a "T"! Also, thank you for reading the excerpt and for being interested in reading the whole story. <3 I love historical fiction, as well (especially with some romance, LOL)!

Faith Hope Cherrytea: Awww, I appreciate that! Thank you! :)

Cathy: Thank you! I'm really loving the Red CD - Taylor Swift has some fun songs! And I will try my best to appreciate this time in my life when I get to be 22. :) Thanks for being part of the cover reveal, as well!

Grace: Thank you!!

Audrey: Thank you, my friend! :)


Amber Holcomb said...

Moriah: That is really sweet - thank you so much for visiting! I'm glad you found the post fun to read, and I'm grateful for your encouragement! :)

Juju: Awww, thank you, big sis! (Really hope you don't mind calling you that! I was just so touched by that e-mail. :))

Diane: Thank you so much!

Sandra: You and I both know how awesome Lena is! I think she did a fabulous job on both of our covers. :) This cover reveal "tour" has been a blast - so appreciate your support in all of this!

Carissa: I'm so glad! Thank you! :)

Melanie: Appreciate you! :)

Lena: I did indeed have an amazing day - and you know you played a huge part in that!! Thank you for this beautiful cover that fits my story so well. <3 You are awesome, my friend, and I'm so glad the cover design process was fun for you, too! Can't wait to help you promote Songstone!!


Amber Holcomb said...

Michelle: So glad to have you along on my writing journey!! Thank you for all you do, my friend! :)

Ariel: Awww, it's truly my pleasure to have you on the cover reveal and blog tour team! Thank you!!

Amanda: And happy almost birthday to you!!! So fun to be birthday buddies!! I really appreciate your thoughtfulness, and your friendship. :) God has been so good to me, and I'm so grateful for all of the dear friends He has allowed to share this journey with me! I'm deeply grateful for your encouragement along this journey. <3 And yes, do tell Taylor Swift I said hello, hehe! ;)

Bluerose: Aw, I'm sorry you had to wait a little longer than you thought for this post! I'm so very grateful for your encouragement over the years - you believed in me way back when, and it meant a lot to me! I hope you love the story. :)

Rissi: I've been so overwhelmed and blessed by all your comments and tweets and that sweet blog post you wrote!! You have encouraged me tremendously, my friend. <3 And "22" is a fun song to get stuck in your head, right? ;)

Michelle: I had a truly wonderful day - thank you!! So glad you like the cover. :)

Sherida: A great day, indeed! Glad you found the post interesting. :) And yes, do help yourself to some cake! Thanks for the lemonade on your blog. :)

Barbara: That is a great interpretation of the cover, and one that fits very well! Thank you for the kind words, and good luck in the giveaway. :)


Amber Holcomb said...

Miranda: Awww, I'm so grateful for all of your encouragement and support! Thank you!!

Ruth: Thank you! And no worries at all - it's really hard to keep track of all the e-mails you receive each day! I appreciate your encouragement and friendship. :)

Sarah: It was a fabulous way to spend a birthday! Thank you so much for sharing my excitement! Good to see you here again! :)

Jill: Honored and humbled by your words, especially considering how much you and your daughter have done! Thank you so much for joining me, and for reading the excerpt. :) And how neat that you just clipped a bouquet of bleeding hearts! Perhaps I need to plant some myself, sometime. :)

Audrea: It's my pleasure - thank you for taking the time to read about my journey so far! I really appreciate your support. :) Excited for the year to come!!

Amada: Thank you so much! I think the images we ended up using are quite lovely, and I'm glad you like how the cover turned out. :)

Wendy: Thank you!! Lena did a wonderful job!

Marissa: Thank you so much! :)


Krissi Dallas said...

Loved reading through this! Especially how you came to choose your own cover. I say you did VERY well!! Blessings to you and this book release!!

Amber Holcomb said...

Krissi: Awww, I'm honored you would take the time to read through it all! And thank you so much for the compliment about the cover! :) Blessings to you, as well, and your upcoming release later this year! ♥


Kara said...

Just realized I never commented here either! :( But I do love your cover Amber. And really enjoyed the story of how it all came together! I imagined that it was an involved process and it was fun to get a behind the scenes look at it.

CANNOT wait to read it!!!!! :D

Amber Holcomb said...

Kara: Aw, it's totally fine - I mean, hey, you put together your own blog post about it! ;) That was super sweet of you to come back here and leave a comment, though, and it's never too late to do so! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about the cover design process. :) It was a lot of fun!

And thank you so, so much for your enthusiasm! That means a lot to me. :) I hope the book lives up to your expectations!