Necessary Evil is free on Amazon Kindle for a limited time only, so be sure to check that out!
Here's the teaser line: "Maddie Warwick is about to lose everything and the only man that can help her is the last man she can trust. But losing her heart was never part of the bargain..."
Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness will be showing in Exeter NH on September 22nd: stayed tuned for more details. I am so, so proud of this particular movie - the cast, crew, and energy are just so spot on. Be sure to check it out and check out the book page on this site and on IMDb while you're at it!
I've always been a bit of a DYI person. Not that I'm the type that makes my own cheese (though it's on my to-do list) or swaps out transmissions or anything intense like that. But when it comes to publishing and writing, I generally find myself trying to do everything. Sometimes I have great results. Sometimes it's more of a 'Lesson Learned' thing.
Making my own cover for Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness was one of the latter. Don't get me wrong - I love this cover (the colors! the rose! the intrigue! Isn't it pretty?)! But over the course of the months, going to different live events, I got some feedback that made me realize that I have many things to learn about graphic design. Here are a few, which I now gladly share with you!
1: SIZING THE TYPE
Intention: The Season of Darkness is intended as the start of a small series, so I made the main character's name big, as it's the title of the series.
Result: Almost everyone has assumed that Michael Lawrence is the author. It's only when they squint that they see my name. Unlike Laura Holt's attempt to drum up business, putting a man's name on my book hasn't helped sales, alas!
Conclusion: Make sure the author's name is large enough to see to deflect confusion. Also, when I re-do this cover, I'll probably be listing it as 'The Season of Darkness: a Michael Lawrence mystery'.
2. THE ROSE
Intention: In the language of flowers, the white rose stands for marriage (among other things) and I thought this rose, threatened by encroaching darkness and shadow, represented Michael's marriage problems pretty well. #deepermeaning, am I right?
Result: Turns out, when most people see a rose, they think 'romance' - regardless of color (several would-be readers thought fantasy romance when they saw my rose). In contrast, the movie tie-in cover, with the two leads looking like British detectives having a stressful day, was instantly recognizable as what it was: an American murder mystery.
Conclusion: Don't try to be too clever with your imagery. If the book looks like a romance novel or a gothic adventure, mystery enthusiasts will not bite. (Alas, my poor, misunderstood rose!)
3: THE TAG-LINE
Intention: "Murder Will Out' is an idiom meaning 'murder cannot remain undetected'. I'd heard this phrase used over and over again in the mysteries I read and watched and it's the perfect tag for this particular case for reasons that I can't get into without spoilers. Plus, I knew it was English, which, as I was going for the feel of a British murder mystery, only added to its appeal.
Result: Turns out, whatever books or movies I was enjoying aren't commonly known. This phrase, which is of unknown origin but sometimes attributed to Chaucer, made more people question me than the numbers 1 and 2 combined. No one knew what it meant. As a result, no one was intrigued by it.
Conclusion: Run your tag line by a few people before you commit to them. It'll save you a lot of explanations in the long run.
In Summary, creating your own cover is a ton of fun and well-worth the time and effort. But do yourself a favor: show it to a few of your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or innocent passersby before you commit. You may be saving yourself a lot of explanations in the future!
This week leading up to the June 23rd premiere of Michael Lawrence: The Season of Darkness, we're highlighting characters from the movie. Try to guess who-dunnit!
Name: Dr. Klugman
Played By: Robb Buckland
(Excerpt from the book)
The coroner was sitting on one of the five chairs that lined the wall, a clipboard in hand.
“Lawrence!” he called, when Lawrence lifted his head from his examination. “You look like something the cat dragged in.”
Dr. Klugman had worked in the state coroner’s office almost as long as Lawrence had been a cop and his signature caustic wit was legendary among his peers. He was a big man, with a shelf full of awards achieved through various martial arts competitions. He was thorough, competent, and unflappable, though his humor was not always in the best of taste. Lawrence often thought that his tactless front was Klugman’s way of keeping sane in what had to be an emotionally trying job.
Lawrence nodded wearily and rose to his feet. “I feel like it, too.” He gestured. “What have we got?”
“A dead woman.”
“I can see that.”
Klugman grinned, then turned to the victim, placing his hands on his widespread knees. “It’s impossible to determine what she died of here, but whatever it was, it wasn’t a pleasant way to go. You can see here, where her back is arched and the distension of the jaw line. Horrendous agony.” He grinned when Lawrence shuddered. “We are feeling skittish today..”
Robb Buckland is an actor, stuntman, martial artist, and Army Veteran. He's a veteran of over 40 years in martial arts, holds master level in multiple styles, has been awarded the title Kyoshi (teacher of teachers), and his expertise has lead to numerous film, TV, and magazine appearances. He founded Fearless Family Martial Arts and directs a stunt team for area film makers. He has also appeared in Narrow Street Films' Not That Guy and The Man Who Wasn't Tex Magru.
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