Upgrading my book cover

As I get closer to the end of my second novel, I am looking for ways to tie it to my first.

The characters are not the same, but both books place young adults in natural disaster situations, to see how they fare. Character development ensues.

I have some ideas about how I want the book covers to fit together, but right now I’m just toying with the creative process. (I don’t even have a release date yet for Book Dos [or, clearly, a title], so this idea is infantile.)

Below are several book covers I enjoy, and some that invoke the same feeling I’d like to inspire with my own.

Disclosure: Not all of these books are some I’d recommend. Some I haven’t even read. These are solely for visual pleasure.

Both of these are simplistic, yet convey powerful images:

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Twilight (Twilight, #1)

These are part of the same series, and I love how they tie into each other:

Fallen (Fallen, #1)Torment (Fallen, #2)

Here’s another example of two books in a series playing off each other. I love the black and white, and the striking use of color to contrast:

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, #1)The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine, #2)

I also enjoy the similarity of these:

So, I’m looking for simplicity and drama.  In a branding format.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

 

 

 

Camping in the wake of a Wildfire

The wildfires that raged across central Texas in 2011 were a core plot theme in my 2012 novel Wildfire.

Recently, we camped with friends in Bastrop State Park, where the lingering effects of the devastation are still hauntingly apparent, even three years later.

Fallen trees are scattered about the landscape, and the remaining survivors reach upward, their spindly, charred bodies a thin, bare skeleton of their former selves.

It was a sad and beautiful hike, as vegetation persists, pushing up around the remains of the fallen victims.

A sign at the front of the campground warned us to “Beware of Falling Trees.” And we did witness one falling, right across the riverbed from our campsite. It was a miserable cracking sound, followed by a crash to the water below.

I love the sky in this one (no filter, I’m not that fancy):

Nature is busy repairing itself here. And small slices have been taken from some of the trees, which I assume is the Forest Service’s method of determining which trees live on against the ruin and which are beyond salvation.

In the pic below, you can see a tree on the right, where foliage springs out at the very top, a desperate attempt to live on, despite the scorched trunk below.

My oldest son’s best buddy came with us, and he mused there must be an evil wizard who lives in this forest. And it does appear to be the kind of forest an evil wizard would choose to live in.

Just two dudes, talkin’ ’bout wizards:

At one point on the trail, it seemed as if someone had set up an obstacle course (runoff deterrent?) (evil wizard?):

Among the fun, s’mores and campfire stories, this trip was a reminder of the lasting effects of the wildfire. And a comforting assurance that nature does endure.

Tris AND Hazel; Caleb AND Augustus

Buzzfeed.com recently released an article touting the 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theatres This Year.

I’m a little ashamed to say the only two I’ve read on this list are Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars.

And I’d like to point out something interesting about the casting of those two.

Shailene Woodley is playing Tris in Divergent. I’ve only ever seen Woodley in commercials for that TV show about pregnant teenagers, so I can’t judge her ability to make this very strong character work. However, what is troubling is this: she’s also playing Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars. So not only does she have to win our hearts as Tris, she also has to take on Hazel, a very different, but equally strong character.  No pressure, Shailene.

Additionally, the guy who plays Tris’ brother Caleb in Divergent (Ansel Elgort) is also playing Hazel’s boyfriend Augustus in TFiOS.

Whaaaaat? Is there a shortage of young adults in Hollywood these days?

I think this casting decision is odd, given the scads of devoted YA fans who are looking forward to both of these films with heightened anticipation.

And, in my humble opinion, TFiOS is one of the best YA novels written in a long time.  And Augustus is the finest character I’ve seen in a while. He truly is unique and beloved.

No pressure, Ansel.