It all started innocently enough. I needed to create a cover for SOUL SIGN, the third book in the Zackie Stories of Supernatural Suspense. But when Photoshop madness set in, it irrevocably changed my world and I may never be the same again.
I never intended for it to go this far. I think everyone says that. First, there were the free online tools and it was fun playing with their functions and special effects. I was just a casual user. I thought I could use this stuff and then walk away. I didn’t know it at the time, but these were the gateway apps to harder stuff.
I joined Facebook groups to learn about covers. These groups were swarming with pushers and enablers. They told me to add sparkles and to hire costly professional designers. It was all so tempting. I could almost taste the glitzy, eye-catching, gold-encrusted, glowing covers that would shoot my book straight to number one. I wouldn’t even have to write a story. All I needed was the cover.
It was easier than I thought to get photo editing software. You just hand the guy your money and he gives it to you. I became drunk on power. Now easily able to isolate images willy-nilly, I could make things glow with a supernatural aura. I was a young god, creating glowy worlds with the click of my mouse.
Late one night while my husband slept, I made a sparkle brush. He still doesn’t know I have one. I told myself I’d use it sparingly and tastefully, but the more I used it, the more I wanted to use it. I couldn’t get enough. If my husband saw what I’ve done with this brush, I’m sure he’d stage an intervention.
The pushers on Facebook told me about the Internet’s seedy underbelly, where authors could get fonts for cheap. You just needed to earn your street cred, be able to speak the lingo. Before I could stop myself, I learned to casually roll off that of course Cinzel font is used for fantasy covers and to send the right vibe for a romance book cover, foolproof font choices had to be Twilight and Lavenda. All the while, I was jonesing for that sparkle brush.
I know it looks bad, but I can quit anytime I want. I’m just going to finish this one cover and then I’ll get clean. I swear.
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Original image by lisa runnels from Pixabay I encourage you to look at the original picture before bitterness and sarcasm had its way. I decided to conceal the face of the lovely model so as to cause her no embarrassment.
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