Paperback Publication Date: May 2, 2022
Series: The Guid’Antonio Vespucci Mysteries, Book 1
Genre: Historical Mystery/Fiction
Florence, 1480: Guid’Antonio Vespucci is back in town. One man. One clue. One last chance to save the Republic.
Florentine investigator Guid’Antonio Vespucci returns to Italy from a government mission to find his dreams of peace shattered. Marauding Turks have abducted a young girl and sold her into slavery. Equally disturbing, a revered painting of the Virgin Mary is weeping in Guid’Antonio’s family church. Are the tears manmade or a sign of God’s displeasure with Guid’Antonio himself?
In a finely wrought story for lovers of medieval and renaissance mysteries everywhere‚ Guid’Antonio follows a spellbinding trail of clues to uncover the thought-provoking truth about the missing girl and the weeping painting’s mystifying tears‚ all pursued as he comes face to face with his own personal demons.
“Color, intrigue, and elegant prose bring the 15th-century City of Flowers to life.” —Brenda Rickman Vantrease, Bestselling Author of The Illuminator and A Far Horizon.” -Historical Novels Review Editor’s Choice
Alana White is the author of the Guid’Antonio mystery series set in Renaissance Florence, Italy. The next title in the series, The Hearts of All on Fire, is coming soon. Like Guid’Antonio, Alana loves dogs. While he dwells in 15th-Century Florence with his brave cane corso Italiano, Alana currently lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, their cat, and two boisterous schnauzer boys.
For more information, please visit Alana White’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.
So I was inspired to write this post when I saw the creepiest of covers (above) on Laurel Rain Snow’s great blog. It was part of her Sunday Post about upcoming reads. I could not scroll by this picture fast enough. It got me to wondering if anyone else gets so creeped out by a cover that they don’t read the book. Decapitated doll heads? No thank you! And don’t even get me started on the Chucky movie series.
Another thing that scares me to no end and creeps into my dreams is the concept of the evil clown, though even a happy clown looks evil to me. Here’s a good example:
This clown makes my heart stop a little bit. I have never read this book. And I won’t because I can’t make it past this cover.
So would a happy clown face be less scary? Below is a coloring book for kids! I don’t think so.
Now to lighten things up a bit, here’s another cover that scares me to no end. It’s the dreaded “shirtless man” cover. I scroll past these as fast as I scrolled past that decapitated doll head. Because behind the cheesy cover is usually a cheesy novel filled with clichés. This cover might be scarier than the other three! To be fair, I haven’t read this author, but I couldn’t resist poking fun at the cover.
What about you? Are there any covers that turn you off of the book?
I’m so excited! I wanted a better logo for all my social media accounts, one that really reflects me and my personality, and here it is! I contacted artist Angela Fernot after I saw a book cover she had done for Wes Verde’s historical novel Jalopy. The amazing cover of Jalopy is below, along with some other images of unbelievably cool art by Angela Fernot. I couldn’t be more pleased with this logo.
I also wanted to get an artist’s perspective, so below I have a Q&A with Angela. This is my first interview with a professional artist.
I was given images of the full logo, the logo without the text, and the text without the logo.
Logo Without Text
I couldn’t be more pleased to have a logo that is eye-catching, versatile, meets all my social media needs, and reflects ME and my personality. Check out the interesting interview with Angela below!
Q&A WITH ANGELA
In addition to the questions, I inserted a few comments along the way in bold
Tell us a little bit about your journey as an artist. Has art always been your career?
I’ve always been involved with art one way or another. When I started working, I was 11 years old, and I babysat for family friends. After that, I was working in restaurants, but I would draw whenever I had a free moment. To be honest, I never knew for sure that it was art or nothing else. I considered joining the military at one point, because I had a very strong desire to help others and I love to travel. I was even encouraged to become a police officer, a nurse, and a teacher by different family members.
However, I could never fully walk away from art. I went to college and a trade school studying art, and when I graduated I actually worked for a small online art gallery for six years while teaching art classes part time on the side. At the gallery I learned so much about the art world and how much more there was to being in the industry…I got to do graphic design, marketing, sales, and project management. I visited a printing press, participated in curating gallery exhibits, and I even got some freelance work from myself.
After being with the company for six years, my fiance and I were given an opportunity to move to a new state, and I was able to become a freelance artist full time as of 2019! I have definitely questioned whether I was meant to be an artist, but I have never walked away from it. I can’t imagine my life any other way.
I first saw your art on the cover of Wes Verde’s book Jalopy, but the gallery on your website is wonderfully varied. You’ve done everything from comics to portraits. Have you done other book covers?
Thank you so much for looking! Technically, I’ve done comic book covers! I’d love to do more book illustrations, but it hasn’t happened quite yet. My artistic variety has acted as both a blessing and a curse. I am able to create in many different styles, but I have been told that my diversity keeps me from truly standing out. (Note from Bonnie: Your talent stands out, believe me!)
We have many self-published authors on this site, and one of the things they are responsible for is cover design. What is your opinion of the importance of the book cover? As an artist, when you are choosing a book to read, do you judge it by its cover?
Oh, I am so VERY guilty of choosing a book based on the cover! I particularly enjoy romance novels, and when I see the typical shirtless man with a helpless looking woman on the cover, I can’t help but roll my eyes. (Note from Bonnie: Me, too!). I am guilty of reading some of those books, but I have actually found my favorite novels tend to move away from that style of cover.
My favorite book covers incorporate strong design elements, and if they have a full image or scene (like the cover I created for Wes Verde). I prefer to see painted or drawn art over photographs, unless the photos are heavily edited to make them more artistic and less like a movie poster.
Overall, I am most easily drawn to graphically strong covers that have colorful imagery, strong graphics, or really wonderful fonts.
Can you give our self-published or new authors advice on choosing a designer/artist for their book cover? I think a lot of design comes down to the preference of the authors and their style. When Wes wanted me to paint a watercolor illustration for a book cover, I was surprised. I worried that it might seem dated. In actuality, it worked rather well with his story, because it complemented the time period and evoked the feeling he wanted readers to have while immersed in his world.
What is most important is to look at OTHER book covers you like, and identify WHY you like them before you choose an artist. Put together a folder or Pinterest board, take notes, and look at what you like and what you don’t like.
Review the work of the artist you want to choose. Do they offer graphic design? Illustration? Both? It is not actually common to have one artist who does it all and does it well. You may want to hire one artist for your art, and another for the graphic design (like your title, placement of text on the cover, and how the art and lettering works together).
When you approach your designer, be open to suggestions, but make sure they are able to deliver the vision you are looking for. A good designer will be able to interpret your ideas with you, and tell you if something you want just doesn’t work.
Don’t be afraid to save up a little and spend money for someone who can truly give you what you want. You and your book are worth it!
Also, approach more than one designer and be prepared to wait a while. Some artists have a waitlist, so it is good to have a clear timeline in mind. Don’t pay in full up front. Make a deposit when you know the terms are clear, and don’t be afraid to have a contract for the work.
Finally, please be kind to your artist! Sometimes, clients misunderstand how complex a job can be, and it always goes more smoothly when we can have patience and clear communication. Oh, and communication is key. Both the artist and author should definitely have a good, open line of communication. It just makes things run more efficiently. (Note from Bonnie: Angela was GREAT to work with and so patient!)
When you are working on a book cover, what information do you need from the author in order to create the best design for their book?
I love this question!! For me, that Pinterest board or ‘vision board’ is very important. I want to know what the author likes, and I need to understand how much they know about design so that I may gently coach my client in the right direction if I feel they may not understand exactly what they want.
I also need to know the basic plot of the book. I know it seems silly (Note from Bonnie: It’s not silly at all), but it helps me get a feel for the style of the art/design. Should it be dramatic? Dark? Creepy? Cozy? Elegant? Modern? It’s like dressing for an occasion. You want to dress your book up to be the best looking cover for the right kind of crowd. (Note from Bonnie: I LOVE THIS)
The dimensions of a book cover are also important, so wherever an author wants to publish or print, please check the guidelines. They’ll be listed somewhere.
Finally, I just need to know if the author can talk to me! I love to have phone or video meetings to get to know who I’m working with, but if that isn’t an option or preferred method, I like to be able to get clear feedback from my clients as we work through each stage of the job.
What has been your most rewarding job or project in your career?
Oh, this one is tough, because every project has rewards! I’d say right now I am actually most proud of the Tales of Cape Fear anthology comics I have been a part of. The books are a collaboration with Memory Lane Comics, our local comic shop in Wilmington, NC. I am the project manager, lead designer, editor, and art coach for the first two books, and we’ve worked with over 15 different artists so far!
My fiance and I are working on book three, and he helped with layouts on the last book. The sense of community in this project has been strong. It continues to grow and inspire me every step of the way! We even helped put together a launch event, and Memory Lane Comics hosted a beautiful indoor mini convention for the artists who worked on the second book.
This project fulfills so many of my needs! I get to create a story in each book, I always do one of the covers (but we also make a variant), and I create the graphic elements, design, and marketing materials for everything we’ve done. We also pair writers and artists, so I have had the pleasure of seeing a writer’s vision come to life in ways that surprise and thrill them! It is such an incredible experience!
Thanks so much, Angela, for answering my questions! You certainly made my vision for my online presence come to life in a way that was better than even expected!
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