So you’ve all heard me talk about my good friend and blogging brother, Craig Boyack, before. Craig is an awesome writer, and when he named his blog “Entertaining Stories,” I wonder if he knew just how right on the money that name would be.
Well, Craig and I have been sharing a secret that I’ve been dying to let out of the bag! Now if your mind is in the gutter, get it out. It’s not that kind of secret! This secret has to do with an edge-of-your-seat story that Craig wrote called Will O’ the Wisp.
A few months ago, Craig graciously allowed me to beta read for him. At the time, I really didn’t know that a will o’ the wisp was an actual thing, but rather, I thought it was a term he made up himself. Knowing how much I love working with Photoshop, around the same time he sent me the book to read, he also asked if I wanted to design the cover. He didn’t have to ask me twice!
So he told me he wanted a dark forest with a shallow creek, a will o’ the wisp, and certain hardwood trees with autumn leaves. He also wanted a simple font that could be read easily as a thumbnail. Being as I’m a professional photographer, I was planning to alter a photograph to make this cover. The only problem was that we don’t get autumn colors here in Florida. I immediately put in some calls to all my photographer friends to the north of me, but sadly, they all reported back that their leaves had already fallen, and their trees were bare.
My next problem was that I really didn’t know what feel the image should have until I read the story. So late that evening, I started reading. I actually don’t think I ever made it to sleep that night because the book was that good! Seriously, once I got started, it sucked me in right away, and I couldn’t have put it down if I’d wanted to.
The story is written in first person which I don’t usually care for, but in this case, it really worked, and I loved it. In fact, once you read the story, I think you’ll agree that Craig made the best choice in this, his first time venture in writing first person. It’s set in 1975, and features a teenage girl named Patty and her best friends, Laura and Pete, who help her solve a family mystery. There’s a lot of action and adventure, as well as goosebump moments that leave you on the edge of your seat. I don’t know how much Craig will allow me to share with you here, but let’s just say The Wonder Years meets The Exorcist, and it leaves you wanting more. Seriously, the only complaint I had with Craig over this book is that he hasn’t already written a sequel!
So by the next day, after a good long nap and a shower, I clearly envisioned the cover I knew Craig wanted. I scoured the internet and found the perfect photo which was taken by another blogger (who we didn’t know) who is a fisherman and actually took this on one of his fishing expeditions. Craig contacted him, and he was happy to allow us to use his photo for the book. The only problem was, the photo had no autumn leaves, it was the wrong size and shape, and it was taken during the daytime. But for me, that challenge was the fun part.
What I did to the original daytime photo was as follows: I flipped it to make the stream go in the other direction; I made it vertical instead of horizontal without cropping any important elements; I removed some stones from the creek bed; I burned the edges and darkened the sky to make it look more like nighttime; I added fog to make it look eerie; I took moss off of some of the stones; I removed some boulders from the ground; I changed the green leaves to have some autumn colors; I added some autumn leaves to the ground to cover the dead, brown leaves that were there previously; of course I added a will o’ the wisp and the title and author name; and I added a subtle “cracked” overlay to the words to add to the feel of spookiness.
Anyway, while I don’t know if I did the story justice, I sure had fun helping Craig with this project. I do happen to know that Will O’ the Wisp will be published and on sale very soon. So please hop on over to Craig’s Blog and ask him how you can pick up a copy. (And if you need a cover for your book and would like my help, feel free to contact me.)
“Will O’ the Wisp” by C.S. Boyack