Tag Archives: book covers

The Smarter I Think I Am…

One of the blessings/curses of being a fiction writer is that I spend a lot of time surfing the internet for my research.  (Other people waste time on the internet, but I’m doing research.  Honest.)

I’ve gone down all sorts of rabbit holes, but it really messed with my mind the day I discovered illusory superiority and the Dunning-Kruger Effect.  Dunning and Kruger’s tests showed that the less competent a person is in any given field, the more likely they are to think they’re an expert.

Yep, the dumber we are, the smarter we think we are.  (Which explains why 90% of drivers think they’re better than average.  You math majors, stop giggling.)

When I first read about that study, I had an ‘Aha!’ moment:  At last I understand why there are so many idiots out there who think they know everything.  It’s immensely annoying to those of us who do.

Oops…

Seriously, though, I know I’m not good at everything.  In fact, I know I suck resoundingly at a lot of things. But in the things I think I do well…

What if I’m just too stupid to know the difference?

Thanks for nothing, Dunning and Kruger. You’ve made me second-guess everything I once thought I knew.  And seeking constructive criticism won’t help:  Apparently there’s another cognitive bias that lets people believe only the parts of criticism that they want to hear, while disregarding the uncomfortable bits (i.e. the information that could actually help them improve).

So now that my brain has been twisted into a particularly unattractive macrame project, I’m really glad I live out in the country so I can wander around mumbling to myself without anybody calling the nut-catchers. (Fortunately Hubby is used to me mumbling to myself, so I’ve got a free pass there.)

Anyhow…

I have no illusions of superiority in the field of graphic design.  So I’m hoping that all you brilliant readers will help me: I’m thinking of updating the covers for the Never Say Spy series.

I still like the current covers, but the latest trends lean toward lots of colour and bold fonts. Also, the current covers don’t hint that there’s a sense of humour in the stories, and I’m wondering whether a different design might draw in readers who aren’t necessarily looking for a hardcore shoot-’em-up thriller.

Here are the original and proposed covers side by side — what do you think?

Please click on the poll below to vote.  The first five questions are for everyone, and the last question is only for people who have actually read the series.  And if you have any other comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them — please drop them in the comments section of this post.

Thank you so much for your help!  🙂

 

 

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Filed under Humour, Life

Automotive Heaven Can Wait

Last week I was in automotive heaven… and it turned out to be more of a pain in the butt than I’d anticipated.

Rick and Sandy (of Hand Crafted Images) and I were doing the photographs for Book 2’s updated cover.  Car buffs may recall that Aydan drooled over an Audi R8 in THE SPY IS CAST, and wonder of wonders, I got up-close-and-personal with a real R8 this week thanks to the generosity of Doug S. and the staff at Glenmore Audi.

As with most undertakings that involve me, there was inappropriate laughter.

The dealership is a pristine building featuring bright white ceilings and sleek grey floors.  Other cars were scattered throughout the showroom, but two Quattros crouched protectively beside the R8, their feral headlight configurations watching us like predatory beasts.

Yes, I was slightly intimidated.

At first we trod reverently around the R8, not approaching it too closely so our heated and unsteady breathing wouldn’t fog its gleaming paint.

We were completely freaked out at the thought of being close enough to damage an automobile that costs more than twice what I paid for my first house.  We checked and re-checked the tripods that held the backdrop, cringing at visions of the metal poles toppling onto the car.

At last we had the backdrops in place and the moment of truth arrived:  It was time to unlock the car.

Then I would strip down to my ignominious outfit of stiletto heels and gym shorts (because I didn’t want to wear a skirt and accidentally emulate the Basic Instinct leg-crossing scene) and… yes… I would actually sit in the driver’s seat.

That’s where the giggles started.  In the first place, a woman wearing makeup, gym shorts, and stiletto heels just looks ridiculous.

Also, this woman wearing stiletto heels looks slightly ridiculous anyway.  The R8 tops out at four feet.  In heels, I’m 6’-2”.  I towered over the car (and everybody else in the dealership).

The next issue was that the stilettos give me a 38” inseam.  Try stuffing those long legs into a car while holding your breath in case a lethal heel scratches something that costs more than your entire car.  But I managed.

In short order, the next issue surfaced.  The R8’s seats are set in quite far from the exterior body panels.  If I sat in the driver’s seat, my legs barely made it out of the car.  To get the shot we wanted, I’d have to perch on the rocker panel.

For the record, the R8’s rocker panels are not designed to comfortably accommodate a human ass.  (Nor a human posterior, for that matter.)

It got worse.  On the original cover, the model’s lips are parted.  It looks as though she’s pronouncing the letter ‘D’, and it’s supposed to look pouty or sensuous or something.

My pout looked more like ‘Duh’.  I stared vacantly into space, slack-lipped and clutching a cardboard cutout of a Glock.  I only managed a few minutes of that before dissolving into helpless laughter.  Thank you, Sandy and Rick, for your infinite patience!

But at last we packed up the equipment and vacated the premises with relief, leaving the fabulous car unscathed.  (Which was more than I could say for my aching ass.)

It was only afterward I realized that my butt was the only part of me that ever touched the car.  I never even put my hands on the steering wheel.

I guess I’m just not cut out for automotive heaven.

* * *

P.S.  Unedited proofs are always good for a chuckle.  Note my alter-ego in the reflection beside me:

My inner werewolf sneaks out when I least expect it…

My inner werewolf sneaks out when I least expect it…

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Filed under Humour, Life, Writing

MWF Seeking Woman With Gun

This week I’m working on the cover art for the sixth book of my series, and I’m wading through images that range from OMG to WTF and everything in between.

As you may have noticed, the visual theme for the Never Say Spy series is “woman with gun”.  Try searching that phrase on a stock photo site.  You won’t believe the range of results.  Apparently there’s an enormous need for stock photos of women from all walks of life holding firearms.

Brides, women in schoolgirl uniforms, soldiers, police officers, business women, rednecks, slutty cops in lingerie, bikini models in sky-high heels, punks, cowgirls, pregnant women, pioneers, spies, pirates, Cossacks, construction workers, Muslim women, duck hunters, and female SWAT personnel are just a few of the variations I’ve found.

Wardrobe choices range from leather, lace, fur, camo, denim, and spandex to more unusual garb like plastic wrap, tartan micro-minis, hard hats, headscarves, men’s pajama tops, parkas, sailor suits, a Napoleon uniform, metallic gold body paint, and nothing but a hat.

Clearly most of these women have never actually fired a gun, though it would be fun to watch them try using those grip positions.  And maybe I’m just a strait-laced old lady, but I’ve never felt the urge to shoot in the nude (or even wearing a nice conservative string bikini).  I prefer to keep my tender parts covered when there are hot brass cartridges flying around.  I guess I’m just a wimp.

Weapon choices vary wildly.  There are the usual assault rifles, semi-auto pistols, shotguns, revolvers, and air rifles, but bananas seem to be an extremely popular choice of weapon, too.  I wonder if the gun control advocates realize that these deadly weapons are readily available in every supermarket, stored within easy reach of children.  It’s shocking, I tell you.

If you’re looking for more unusual weapons, there are dangerous-looking women brandishing paintball guns, water pistols, fingers, hair dryers, tattoo guns, drills, cannons, gasoline nozzles, muskets, flintlocks, nerf guns, cameras, caulking guns, or a heavy-duty perforator.  If I ever write a thriller about construction workers, I’m gonna use the photo of the blonde with the hard hat and perforator.  That chick’s got muscles.

And… in all the thousands of photos retrieved by searching “woman with gun”, there was one picture of a cowed-looking young guy in a shirt and tie, holding a little-bitty gun and looking apologetic.  I’m not sure whether the photo was tagged wrong or whether they popped that one in there just for fun, but I got a good laugh out of it.

Which was nice, because I figured they owed me after making me look at a naked woman posing with a bleeding, severed pig’s head.  No matter what you need, there’s a stock photo out there for you.  Though if you need that one, please don’t tell me.  I’d rather sleep tonight.

But I really can’t complain.  There are worse ways to spend a day than looking at pictures on the internet while blasting my favourite tunes.

I’m off to work now…

What are you up to today?  Brandishing your banana?  Decapitating pigs?  Do tell.

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Filed under Commentary, Humour, Writing