If you’re reading this blog post, you’ve likely read a book or two that I’ve written. You may recall my occasionally mentioning some variation of the “starburst, swords and anchor” insignia of Siobhan Dunmoore and Zack Decker’s Commonwealth Armed Services. I finally got around to designing it as a further branding of my military science fiction series. The Navy insignia worn by Dunmoore, Hera Talyn (when she’s in uniform) and other naval personnel is the “starburst, swords and anchor” insignia, minus the swords. Army and Marine Corps personnel wear regimental insignia, of course, until they become general officers and wear the “starburst, swords and anchor” insignia, minus the anchor. As a first design effort, I’m rather pleased by it. Once I’m sure I like the insignia, you might find it included in future book cover designs.
Incidentally, the starburst with anchor and no swords or motto scroll forms the basis of Navy chief petty officer rank insignia, while the starburst with swords and no anchor or motto scroll forms the basis of Marine Corps and Army sergeant major rank insignia. By the way, if you’re not fluent in Latin, the Fleet’s motto is “Through boldness to the stars”
And since I’m on a roll, I also came up with the Commonwealth Constabulary insignia. Its motto is “Let justice be done.”
And in other news, all of my novels are now available in hardcover format.
Today was a holiday in Canada, the kind where nothing is open and because it rained around here, it reminded me of the dreary Sundays of my childhood. After two days of reno work, I couldn’t motivate myself to do more, nor could I plunge back into the fifth Decker’s War adventure, so I decided to noodle around with Photoshop. After learning a great deal about graphic design from my friend A. Lee Ripley (but still nowhere near as talented as she is, I hasten to add), I decided to spread my wings and try some more difficult compositions. I downloaded a few templates from Covervault and played away for most of the afternoon and evening. The ones I liked best are now on my author website and my Facebook feed. Take a look!
Tomorrow it’s back to Decker’s War #5, which now sits at 30% completed. Give it another month or two, and its cover will join the others in the graphic above!
My good friend, fellow author and graphic artist, A. Lee Ripley, a very talented lady, updated the Siobhan Dunmoore covers for me recently, as you may have read in the blog post A Matter of Talent. She did exceptional work then – the paperback versions with new spines and backs are a joy to behold – and now, she’s done the same with my Decker’s War covers. You can see the results on my Books by Eric Thomson page. Though that page displays only the front cover, used by the ebook version, the paperback editions have the same type of wonderful spines and backs as the Dunmoore books, as this rendering shows:
I can’t thank her enough for the stunning results.
A good friend of mine and fellow author, A. Lee Ripley, with whom I worked for several years (and with whom I frequently cut a swath of rationality through our often irrational corner of the IT world) is a very talented graphic artist with a design eye that a klutz like me just cannot match. She is also a Photoshop wizard, another talent that eclipses my poor abilities.
Recently, she offered to give my Siobhan Dunmoore book covers a significant refresh, which brought tremendous changes to the paperback edition appearance, replacing the standard spine and back with beautiful custom designs, as well as significantly updating the front cover, which carries over onto the ebook editions. You can see the results in the banner at the head of this page and of course on the book page. The base pictures remain the same, but what she did with them, and with all the text on both front and back, left me in awe.
This is the kind of thing where I can clearly see the difference between mere technical ability and real talent. Sure, I can put text on a picture and manipulate images – which photographer can’t? But I clearly do not have what it takes to do so in a manner that creates something much better than the sum of its parts. A. Lee Ripley is one of those rare people who have the talent to do so.
I don’t know what you think, but to my eyes, she did a tremendous job in improving the look and feel of the entire Siobhan Dunmoore series. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that what she did for the paperback edition spine and back cover is simply magic – or you can order a copy from Amazon once the new versions are available in a day or two.
You can read about how she did it at her blog My SciFi Life.
In the meantime, Howling Stars (Decker’s War Book 4) passed the 80% completion mark, so another week and then, the first round of revision. If you haven’t yet picked up your copy of Like Stars in Heaven (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 3) check out the reviews on Amazon.com.