The Cowboy’s Christmas Plan Cover

A few weeks ago I went to visit my family for my mom’s birthday and had a brief window of opportunity to spend a few minutes with my nephew and his lovely wife on their farm.

While I was there, I decided to take photos for my Grass Valley Cowboys book series.

While I planned to take the photos outside, a deluge of rain drove us inside an old shop. The boards inside are nearly as weathered as the boards outside and where the boards don’t meet the floor, water runs through like it was being diverted down a ditch.

Working quickly,  I set up my props for the photo, which resulted in this:


I hand-burned the parchment paper. It was easy enough to do, but doing it outside would have been a much better option than over the kitchen sink. At least I didn’t set off the smoke detectors. To burn the edges, I used a lighter and burned and inch or two section at a time. When it had burned as much as I wanted, I used a wet paper towel to put out the flame and scrub off the ash.

On the right side of the photo, you’ll see a fuzzy spot. That would be where I blurred out the rain water that caught up to the Santa hat before I was done taking photos.

Matt, my nephew, provided the spurs. When I spoke with him on the phone about doing this and asked about borrowing his spurs, I told him the dirtier the better. I think he thought I was nuts. And I am, but he humored me and I love the way these look in the photo.

After I took a photo I liked, the next step was to find a font I wanted to use for the title. I settled on Birmingham Titling Elongated. It looks like this:


Then I decided the cover needed a brand. Since the ranch in the story is called the Triple T, I made one up.

Next I needed some fancy artwork for the corners and I wanted it to have a Christmas feel.

This was exactly what I was looking for.

I put a brown gradient behind it then softened the edges.

I added a strip of color across the top of the design and put in a line of text to let everyone know this is the first in the Grass Valley Cowboy’s series.

Using the same color as that strip, I added my name in a traditional Times New Roman font.

The finished product looked like this:

I kind of like it!

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