Monthly Archives: February 2016

Cover Designing Secrets — Mary C. Findley

queen by force

I have been called the queen of free when it comes to cover designing. That means I try to produce an eye-catching product with free images and elements. I was reading for inspiration an interview with another cover designer, and he mentioned that he created a crest for a fantasy cover using a program that costs over $700. And that was just one element of that admittedly stunning cover.

Well, I want to design stunning covers too, but I can’t afford that much for just one designing tool right now, however cool it may be. So I tried some things I have on hand, and I’m going to show you how I created this cover, which I think is pretty cool.


scary man small

I started with this man, a free image from Pixabay. My first do-it-yourself tip is make sure you find the highest quality and resolution images you can. Well-trained and well-equipped designers often hire models, create costumes, and shoot their own pictures for covers because they have control of the quality, resolution, and lighting,  critical elements of a knock-your-socks-off cover. But this image’s resolution and lighting are perfect for the effect I wanted, and it’s free.

I didn’t want such a clean-cut scary guy, however. so I grabbed some of his own hair, trimmed and faded edges, twisted and turned it in different directions, created different lengths and shapes, and gave him a case of bed-head that changed him forever.

Next I changed the color of his eyes. Neither one of them stayed its original shade. From blue-grey they went to one ice-blue to match his jeweled crown, and one gold. I wanted the gold eye to match the background, which is also free on Pixabay. I loved the gritty but glowing variety it made.

I decided he ought ought to be a king, so I gave him a crown. These raised shapes, in the crown, the corner ornaments, and the “O” in Force, came with my design program. They have many metallic and colored finishes, and even leathers, furs, fabrics, and plant textures, that I can apply. I have more options I can add, too, from free sites like Webtreats. I just had to tweak the shades and metallic and jewel finishes and add shadows.

So the images were finished, but next I needed a catchy title. Technically I want to sell this as a premade, so I don’t get to decide the final title. But I really hope it’s something with an “o” in it so I can use the Queen’s crown I made as a design element. I love it when the text is a design in itself and incorporates a story element. This font is freebooter, and the author name font is called Hayden.

If there’s someone out there writing a fantasy or even historical fiction story about a forced marriage, or just a creepy old king, let me know if I can help you. My creepy old king needs a home.

Anyone who has questions about cover design, or feedback or suggestions on what kinds of tutorials I could share in the future, please let me know!

If you would like to contact me about any of my covers or designing, here are my links:


Fiverr: (I have two gigs — cover design and editing/proofreading/formatting)


Or just post a comment here! Thanks!  — post by Mary C. Findley






Filed under Publishing

Got You Covered with editing and design services



Our poor old truck, pictured above when it was new to us, and now unlikely worth as much as $20,000, needed $18,000 worth of work just to get back on the road. With nearly a million miles on the truck, it just didn’t seem worth the gamble that nothing else would go wrong. Also seemed unwise to be tapped out financially, or to take on a 5 year loan for a new truck.

Some folks may know that a couple of weeks ago our tractor trailer, our rolling home for 8 plus years, blew its engine. This was the end of an epic journey but the beginning of a time of recuperation (living in a truck is killer on your health) and redirection (time to explore new income possibilities). We are currently living in the Tulsa OK area with our daughter and trying to get work. My goal (Lord willing) is to help us avoid going back on the road. To that end, I am trying to become a better bookseller and also offering other services to our friends in cyberspace.

Proofreading, copy and line editing are my passion and my lifelong work. Since graduating college with a major in English, I have worked for a textbook publisher, an advertising/promotional company, and many individual authors, fiction and nonfiction, making their manuscripts cleaner, sharper and better. You can contact me here or on fiverr for proofreading and copy or line editing.

got you covered ad 50


As you can see from the graphic above, I am also an experienced cover designer and formatter for ebooks and print. I can provide references from satisfied customers of all my services. Give me a shout if I can help you polish up your masterpiece.

design in your mind logo

Below are some of my formatting layouts and sample covers. You can see more here on our blog,

Or on Pinterest. These include finished covers for our books or other authors and premades available for purchase. I am happy to create custom designs anytime.


sample print formats

Here’s my Fiverr gig. Please stop by!


Filed under Uncategorized

The Great Thirst Now Available in Boxed Set

boxed set and all covers great thirst

All seven parts of the Great Thirst serial archaeological mystery are now available in one volume as a preorder for only 99 cents! Here’s what readers have been saying about this serial:

“I liked this story. I really liked the characters and the small town feel of the story. Plus, Mary had me turning pages trying to figure out where the story was going and what was going to happen.”

great thirst 1

“I just LOVE how Keith and Talia interact/square off against the trouble making parents. The writing is clean and you can let your child read this without having to be concerned over the content! There is a lot of history incorporated and kids will be gripped.”

great thirst 2

“This is one easy read and very entertaining. It is structured for young adult and I can see them enjoying this, including the young adult that still resides in me! I feel this is one very promising series and I am very much looking forward to the complete package.”

great thirst 3

“I loved it! Findley expertly weaves valid Bible teachings and plot together in a wonderful harmony that is sure to please fans of the Bible. I walked away from this one feeling that I’d learned many valid truths, and her scriptural knowledge was quite profound.”

gondrani bury talia

“Love the archaeological dimension. Extremely interesting. Challenged me to remember to live my life so that Christ’s love can be seen through me.”

david sharon GT 4

The complete serial, over 700 pages, is available for preorder at only 99 cents! Grab yours today.

Amazon worldlinks:
All other ebook sites:

eva sanchez olmec


Filed under Excerpts from our Fiction Books, Uncategorized