by Kristin Holt
Note: This blog post includes a drawing for two FREE kindle-edition book give-aways! (Read on!)
I had the privilege of contributing two novels (category-length, both roughly 40K words) to the American Mail-Order Brides Series. As one of 45 authors of 50 books, I used the series' cover template, created by a talented artist regularly patronized by our group's leaders. But when it came down to the model or stock photos, that part was up to me.
This series is new. Book #1 (out of 50) released on November 19th, 2015, one each and every day through January 7th, 2016. Reviewers have been kind, expressing appreciation and admiration of the series and the wide variety of contributing authors and types of stories. While all books are about a different state (or territory) within the United States in the year 1890, all are about a mail-order bride. Readers have expressed delight with how very different all 50 books are, and yet they all begin with the same prequel that ties them all together. You'll find this brief prequel FREE on Amazon and on the series' website.
I knew my two books, Lessie: Bride of Utah (book #45) and Josie: Bride of New Mexico (book #47) would be identical twin sisters, hence the need to either use the same model for a custom photo shoot or use stock images of the same model for both covers--or find a set of identical twins to suit my purposes.
A few readers asked if I'd used twin models or whether I'd used one model for both images. One woman who raised the question has a son-in-law who is an identical twin and she can't tell him apart from his brother. Answer: I used one model to represent both twins.
I elected to do a custom photo shoot as to avoid duplication of models used within this fifty-book series (completely unprecedented within publishing--until we did it!). Authors of western historical romance often bemoan the lack of images available within the stock image market.
|Costume used for images to be perhaps used with another project|
|Model in front of "green screen" in costume made especially for Lessie: Bride of Utah.|
I had the pleasure of sewing the costumes for both covers. I'm pleased the photographer and her skilled use of lighting was able to make the different fabric textures (while all black) show up with exquisite detail on the finished cover. Look at the difference between my snapshot with my phone (above) and the official cover, below--and the visibility of the silk blouse against the velvet cape and the grosgrain ribbon of the bonnet strings.
I enjoy sewing and doing so allows me a creative outlet to compliment my writing and come up with a suit of clothes that are truly era-appropriate. I've sewn many of the costumes used on my various books. I've purchased others, rented some from theater companies, and am continually collecting costume pieces to use for upcoming projects.
|This pattern was used for Lessie: Bride of Utah's costume. See it made up in dark red and black, in the photo shoot image and on the book's cover image.|
The background images needed to ideally represent the part of Utah and section of New Mexico in my stories...and reflect the late autumn and early wintertime setting. I purchased the background images from a stock photo company, based upon my intimate knowledge of northern Utah and my many travel experiences through New Mexico.
These companion novels stand alone and one may be read and enjoyed without the other. While designed to be read in either order, many readers have commented in reviews they recommend reading Lessie first, followed by Josie. Both are available as Kindle editions on Amazon (exclusively) and both are a FREE Read with kindleunlimited. Paperback versions of both are coming soon.
Find the whole series on Amazon
Note: While all 50 books began as exclusive to Amazon and thus offered as a free read to subscribers of the kindleunlimited program, some authors have begun to diversify. It's possible some titles are available now for Nook, on Kobo, etc.
DRAWING is for one gift copy of Lessie: Bride of Utah (book #45) and one gift copy of Josie: Bride of New Mexico (book #47). Drawing is open for ONE 24-hour period, beginning the moment this post is live (12 AM on Friday, March 4th, 2016) and closes at midnight the same day (11:59 PM on Friday night, March 4th, 2016).
To Enter: Reply to this blog post in the comment section provided. In your response, answer the question: What is your personal opinion about familiar stock images appearing on more than one book cover? Please explain your answer.
Note: As this is an opinion poll, there is no right and no wrong answer. Your answer (either way) will in no way effect your probability of winning. Two winners will be announced by 10 AM (PST) on Saturday morning, March 5th, 2016, in the comment section of this post. One winner will receive the kindle edition of Lessie: Bride of Utah and one winner will receive the kindle edition of Josie: Bride of New Mexico, via email directly from Amazon. Because of this delivery method, the winners must be willing to provide their email address, privately, to Kristin Holt. Upon announcement of winners, the two who've won will be asked to email me directly [Kristin (at) KristinHolt (dot) com] or through my website's contact page. I respect your privacy--your email address will be used only for the award of your prize.
Hi! I'm Kristin Holt.
I write frequent articles (or view recent posts easily on my Home Page, scroll down to mid to lower) about the nineteenth century American west–every subject of possible interest to readers, amateur historians, authors…as all of these tidbits surfaced while researching for my books. I also blog monthly at Sweet Americana Sweethearts (first Friday of each month) and Romancing the Genres (third Tuesday of each Month).
P.S. I'm more than a little obsessed with mail order brides. I've written a 12-part series of articles (blog posts) about genuine history's mail-order bride scams in the 19th century Victorian-era United States. Fact is often a great basis to begin a book on...and fact is often so much stranger and (perhaps) more entertaining than fiction. You'll find the first blog post in the 12-part series here--with easy links to follow through and read as many of them as might strike your fancy.
Copyright © 2016 Kristin Holt, LC