Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thereafter Cover Art: Guest blog and Giveaway with Terri Bruce

Thanks for hosting me today Wenona! I’m thrilled to be here today to talk about the cover of Thereafter and how the artist and I came up with the cover design.

I first found Shelby Robinson, the cover artist who is doing all the covers of my Afterlife series, via a random Google search that led me to her Flickr account. Among the beautiful artwork there was a piece called “Maiden Voyage,” and as soon as I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for the cover of Thereafter. In fact, I knew what the cover of the second and third books would look like before I knew what the cover of the first book would look like. 

In Thereafter, Irene discovers that she hasn’t brought a coin with her to pay the ferryman (to take her across the river). Irene ends up following the river, looking for another way to cross.

She had followed the river, not ready to give up the idea that the ferryman might show up or that she might find something of interest. Occasionally, she would catch sight of sails in the far distance. The first time, her heart had leapt as she thought the ferry was coming for her. However, the sails had soon disappeared, never coming within hailing distance of the shore. 
It occurred to Irene that these ships couldn’t possibly be the ferry. The dead were supposed to be rowed across the river, so one could safely assume the ferry was a small boat. The ships in the distance were huge, full-sailed galleons. 

They must be dead ships—crossed over with a dead person. It had never occurred to her that ships would cross to the afterlife, too, but of course they could—if cars and buildings could cross over, why not ships? 

Now that Irene thought about it, she realized there were probably a lot of boats here in the land of the dead. The bodies of people who went down with vessels lost in deep water were rarely recovered. Irene imagined the Titanic, World War II submarines, and pirate galleons all sailing together in an armada and shook her head. This place really was insane.

The boat Shelby used was perfect for my idea of the type of ships Irene might be seeing in the distance. Before Irene reaches the shore of the river she has to cross a ghostly forest, filled with black trees, and the tree that Irene is leaning against in the picture is perfect. Finally, Irene’s body language conveys longing as she gazes out at the ship—passing her by without stopping. All together, the cover perfectly conveys the longing, loneliness, sadness and despair Irene feels in Thereafter.

Because we were using an already developed concept and already had the model and location, the cover for Thereafter came together much faster than the cover for Hereafter; in fact, Shelby and cover model Chelsea Howard completed the photo shoot for the Thereafter cover at the same time as the Hereafter cover. Cover layout artist Jennifer Stoltzer came up with the color for the spine and the image of the coin. The hardest part of this cover, actually, was deciding whether to picture Irene or the boat at the top of the spine. There were good arguments either way, but ultimately, I decided I wanted each spine to give a clue to the key elements of the story so we went with the boat (FYI: the leaf on the spine of Hereafter is reminiscent of a palm branch—a traditional symbol of death and everlasting life/the afterlife as well as an item traditionally carried at funerals in ancient Egypt). 

What will the cover of Book #3 contain? Well, all I can tell you is…Tarot Cards (and Jonah!). 

Book 2
Terri Bruce

Genre: Contemporary fantasy/paranormal

Publisher: Mictlan Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9913036-2-5 (print) /
ISBN: 978-0-9913036-3-2 (ebook)

Number of pages: 318
Word Count: 99,000

Cover Artist: Artwork by Shelby Robinson;
cover layout by Jennifer Stolzer

Book Description:

When recently-deceased Irene Dunphy decided to “follow the light,” she thought she’d end up in Heaven or Hell and her journey would be over.

Boy, was she wrong.

She soon finds that “the other side” isn’t a final destination but a kind of purgatory where billions of spirits are stuck, with no way to move forward or back. Even worse, deranged phantoms known as “Hungry Ghosts” stalk the dead, intent on destroying them. The only way out is for Irene to forget her life on earth—including the boy who risked everything to help her cross over—which she’s not about to do.

As Irene desperately searches for an alternative, help unexpectedly comes in the unlikeliest of forms: a twelfth-century Spanish knight and a nineteenth-century American cowboy. Even more surprising, one offers a chance for redemption; the other, love. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to have either if she can’t find a way to escape the hellish limbo where they’re all trapped.


Her hand touched a rock, one of the flat beach stones she’d seen on graves. She picked it up, laying it flat in her palm. She didn’t remember picking this up. In fact, she had been careful not to take any. It had seemed disrespectful and too much like stealing to remove them, and while she’d seen a few here—both loose and piled in cairns—she hadn’t picked any of them up. There had been no point. What would she do with a rock?
No wonder her bag was so heavy.
She tossed the rock over her shoulder and heard it hit the ground with a satisfying thud some distance away. It felt good to be rid of something, to make a decision and be sure it was the right one.
She surveyed the pile again and then grabbed a small handful of paper animals. She picked one up between a finger and thumb. It was a horse. Irene had been in Chinatown during Chinese Ghost Festival, a holiday in which the living left offerings for the dead. These offerings included paper replicas of things people thought the dead would need in the afterlife—money, clothes, television sets, and even animals. Irene had admired the precise and delicate folds of the Origami figures and had picked some up to admire them more closely. Without thinking, she had dropped them into her bag and apparently been carrying them ever since.
Well, even Jonah couldn’t argue with her on this—there was no way she was going to need a paper horse on her journey through the afterlife. Plus, these didn’t hold any sentimental value. She cast the horse onto a nearby fire and watched as the paper curled and blackened in the low-burning flames.
The fire leapt and seemed to glow blue for a moment. Irene tensed—what was happening?
Thick black smoke began to rise slowly from the flames, spiraling upward in a thickening column. The smoke grew denser and then elongated sideways. Irene leapt to her feet and backed away, her heart pounding. Something was forming in the fire.
The smoke was taking shape now; there was purpose and design in its movements. She could see a long, horizontal back, four legs, a neck, and finally a head and a tail. The smoke swirled with a final flourish and then shuddered into the solidity of a smoke-colored horse. The animal blinked passively. Then it violently shook its head, blew out a breath, and delicately picked its way forward out of the fire. It immediately put its head down and began to lip the ground, looking for food.
Irene stared stupidly at it. “Are you shitting me?”

About the Author:

Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats.

Amazon Author Page:

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