Throw Back Thursday

From time to time I like to feature some book covers that I created previously. Like looking back through a photo album or visiting old friends, it gives me joy to see them. Today I’m going to share two covers that I have shared before.

Irish Encounter - FCFrom 2015, Irish Encounter was one of my first covers without a person on it. The main character in this contemporary romance is a “mature” woman as opposed to the sexy sirens that sometimes grace covers in this genre. Finding a suitable image for this character became impossible – too old, too young, too grey, too bland, too grandmotherly, and the list went on. When I finally gave up the idea of finding the character, I started moving toward what made this romance come together. It centered around a trip to Ireland and a few conversations in a tea shop. So began this wonderful blending of the two images that became one of my favorite covers.

Irish Encounter by Hope Tyler Dougherty is available on Amazon. You can see an earlier blog post here as well. Hope will be release a new book this fall with Mantle Rock Publishing titled Rescued Hearts. Be sure to look for more information concerning that book very soon!


Finally Friday!

Do you ever have those weeks where you can’t wait to get the week over with? I’ve had one of those weeks and I’m glad to get to the end of it. Our church family lost a young mother in a car wreck on Monday, there has been news of cancer devastating another friend’s family, and the regular who’s who’s list of sick and hurting family and friends. It’s been a week of prayer and trusting in One greater than me.

So, as I made my to-do list for the weekend, it’s looking pretty busy too! Each year I construct neckercheifs for a special Eagle banquet for all the young men in middle Tennessee who attained that rank in the previous year. This year I’m cranking out 200 said items, and as always, I’m behind. My deadline is looming and my sewing machine is humming. And since all this work transpires in my bonus room, it brings new meaning to the phrase “sweat shop” since our A/C unit barely cools that room and as we learned in school, heat rises.

The book design projects are mounting up too! I’m putting the finishing touches on two covers and formatting 2 books and ebooks. Regina Merrick’s book, Carolina Dream release in a few days from Mantle Rock Publishing. I’m so excited for Regina. She is one of the authors that I have met face to face and she’s a lovely person, inside and out! This is her first published novel, I think, and she has endured the process like a seasoned pro.

March came in like a lamb in Tennessee weather-wise. However, it has been roaring like a lion these last few weeks. Storms have blown through twice this week, luckily without any damage to us. But as this troubling week ends, I’m mindful of those that lost property in the tornadoes and harsh winds. I’m hoping their days are blessed with friends and happiness to help them on their journey. And, I wish the same for you too!


Rewind, Reset, Revive!

It’s Friday! Friday is my day off and I look forward to it as my time to rewind, reset and revive. Usually that involves laundry and housecleaning, but not today. Today I have 2 college kiddos lazing around searching for coffee and pancakes while piling up in pjs and doing the last of their spring break homework. It’s a wonderful change of pace that I must admit the empty-nesting mom in me relishes beyond belief. Add to all this wonderfulness, the pitter patter of rain on my skylight and I’m most content today.

Rewinding brings me to a book launch. A couple of months ago I released the book cover for Don’t Ask Me to Leave by Micki Clark. Micki’s book hit Amazon this week and is now officially on the open sales market. Here’s a little snippet about her story. Hope you’ll look into it on Amazon.

dont-ask-3dNewlywed Rachel Miller has everything she could want from life—the perfect husband, her dream job, and a cute little house in the country—but the daydream is shattered when her husband is killed in a tragic accident. Her mother-in-law, Nadine, takes her in as she tries to pick up the pieces, and their handsome neighbor Beau is willing to help…if Rachel will let him. Does she dare open her heart for a second chance at love?

Don’t Ask Me to Leave is a modern-day adaptation of the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi.

Reset brings me to artwork. I’m working up some new projects to share with my watercolor class which start next week. I’m exploring YouTube videos and testing out techniques. I’ve almost settled on one for the first class but I want to make a sample painting this weekend. I’m looking forward to letting it all come together with a little paint and paper. I’ve also been mulling over a new Bible Journaling project. I’ve had several scriptures on my heart this week and one of them might make it into my journaling Bible.

Revive! Spring and allergies usher in the revival of all growing things. I’m thankful for the rain today because it will wash away some of the pollen that has been plaguing our family. I know that it only makes way for new pollen tomorrow. But today, I will enjoy the rain.




Crossing over to Digital

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Crossing

For some time the publishing world has been caught in between printed books and ebooks. I have a love-hate relationship it seems with both sides of this dilema. I have friends who love the smell of opening a book, whether it’s the musty smell of on old book or the crisp fan of the pages of a new book’s ink. I have other friends who have totally embraced the ebook revolution and stand firm behind their choice. So, where do I fall? Being a self-proclaimed techie, I fall more toward the ebook side, even though I love holding a print book with one of my covers on it. So, what makes an ebook worthy of crossing over to instead of picking up that print book? Here are some points to ponder.

  • Availability. The last time I went into a brick and mortar book store looking for a book was to fulfill my daughters school reading assignment. Her school would work out an agreement with the local bookstore to carry the books they would require for outside reading. So we would make our annual trek to the store and purchase the necessary books. Other than that one time a year, I rarely darkened the door of the bookstore, unless it was to purchase a specific magazine. Normally, I would let my fingers do the shopping online. The joy of online shopping is, as everyone knows, you can do it from the comfort of your home in your pjs at any time of the night or day.
  • Selection. My online bookstore offers the book in many formats including paperback, hard cover, and ebook. I can also get new or used books.
  • Time. With most online stores offering expedited shipping for free, a short wait for a book is worth the trip to the bookstore, especially if it’s a “hard to locate” book. If speed is of the essence, then an ebook offers instant gratification because I can download it immediately.
  • Readability. As the boomer generation ages, so do their eyes. Large print books are more expensive and harder to come by. Ebooks meet this need by allowing readers to select their font size without having to pay additional costs. Readers are only limited by the size of their devices, whether it’s a phone, tablet or desktop computer.
  • Practicality. As the millennial generation grows so does their desire to streamline their lives. A multi-function reading device appeals to them more than shelves of books cluttering their lives. A phone in their pocket affords them a library of books and takes no extra space to obtain them.

As I work with clients, their dream is to walk into a bookstore and see their book sitting on a shelf. And there is nothing wrong with that dream, except, it is slowly fading from our day to day reality. With digital subscriptions to entire libraries on Amazon, even downloaded ebooks may become a less frequented avenue for reading books. It’s an ever evolving world we live in, and thank goodness it is or we’d all be standing in caves reading the latest hieroglyphics on the wall.

Crooning at 90

via Daily Prompt: Enthusiasm

Tuesday night our family gathered around the good ole HD television set to watch the Tony Bennett 90th Birthday Party. Savannah and I watched the Michael Buble opener, but Ron was running a little late and didn’t arrive until the main show started. The music was awesome! I can only hope that at 90 I can walk across a stage since I will never be able to croon like Tony.


However, during one of the little interview snippets that were sprinkled throughout the show, he said something that caught my eye…I mean, ear. He said that he intentionally chose songs that were timeless, classic and would not go “out of style.” That’s my paraphrase of his words, but it really made me think about his songs for a minute and they really do live up to that benchmark. Wow…what a legacy.

Which also made me think, wow…what if every artist used that standard? Wow, how impressive would music be if everyone sang lyrics that uplifted and radiated the joy of life. How unusual would it be? I’ve told the story several times to friends that when my daughter was around 3, I permanently switched my car radio to the local Christian radio station. It was almost all we listened to in the car until she was in high school and it’s still my favorite place to land when I’m searching for tunes. My reason 17 years ago was she asked me to explain why some of the off color jokes of the radio announcers on a local country station were funny. Since I didn’t want to explain the birds and the bees to my baby girl just yet, it was an easy switch to make. The motto of the Christian station was “music that the whole family can enjoy” and that really resonated with me. The awkward jokes were replaced with “Love on Your Family” call ins. It was a choice that I have never regretted. We started out singing “The Cartoon Song” – yabba dabba luyah – and carried right on through to “Mighty to Save.” Classic, timeless, uplifting music…

What choices do we make and do we make them for classic reasons or because we are in the moment and it’s the popular thing to do? Isn’t that the difference between “Pop” music and classical music? “Ave Maria” has stood the test of time. “The Circle of Life” resonates with our very core being. “The Best is Yet to Come” is what we all hope for.

As I start looking toward 2017, I am going to try to be more intentional in my choices by opting for things that are timeless, wholesome, and will make me proud of my life when I turn 90.

Have a Tony Bennett kinda day today! Be Awesome!



Fa La La La La

blog-christmas2I was perusing some “Blog Prompts” recently and the word FOLLY caught my eye. I like the word FOLLY although I rarely use it in regular everyday language. And for some reason, when I see it, I hear the joyful strains of “Deck the Halls” rise to the forefront of my mind. At first I thought with all the rhyming words, folly had to be in the lyrics somewhere, but alas, it is not. Maybe it’s just the repetition of “fa la la la la” that evokes the association. In fact, the only association to folly in the song is the image I paint in my mind of Dickens-era men and women dancing around the house as they festoon it with boughs of holly and light warm glowing fireplace logs.

The song takes me back to times where we sat in my grandmother’s living room with all the cousins singing Christmas carols. She kept an assortment of Christmas songbooks in a drawer in her coffee table. We would pull them out and leaf through the songs, finding our favorite and singing like there was no tomorrow. After opening our presents, the carols drifted off humming lips as we cleaned up wrapping paper or settled into a corner with our new favorite toy.

It sums up the holidays for me…

Family together around the tree.

Opening presents and watching the joy radiate from faces.

Listening to stories about Christmases past.

Leaving only crumbs on the cookie plate.

Yearning for the season to never end.

Hope your Christmas is filled with folly too!

Fall Colors

color-palette-2595Can you smell the fall in the air? Do you get warm fuzzy feelings when you see that golden leaf fall to the ground? I do! Fall is MY season. I love everything about it. From the fog-drenched mornings to the crackle of fallen leaves under my feet, I just like to soak up all the little things about autumn that make it so different from the other seasons. I love the fall color palette of gold, rust and burgundy with a little brown mixed in. I went shopping yesterday with my sweet girl and I was in love with all the burgundy clothing – sweaters, shirts, pants, skirts – all awash in the vibrant colors of the season.

Now, just need to move the fire-pit home (that’s another story) and gather round with a bag a marshmallows and a roasting stick. Maybe a cup of hot cocoa and a few good friends. Sounds like the start of a wonderful season to me. Hope you have a wonderful autumn day today. Tell me what you like best about this season. I’d love to hear from you!

Who Am I?

I think everyone should know at least a little bit about who they are working with, especially when it comes to something as personal as your writing and my artwork. So, here’s a little about me and my family.

I’m Diane and I’ve been married to my professional Boy Scout, Ron for 30 years. Ron brought a wonderful daughter to our marriage and she has blessed us with 3 grandchildren. Then we have our daughter, Savannah, who is studying music education at Lipscomb University. To say the least, we have been blessed.

Shortly after Ron and I married, I started a temporary job with the Boy Scouts. It was there that I received my first taste of publishing. They had an old A.B. Dick 350 printing press that I learned to use. From there, I moved on to several other jobs both in and out of the printing industry. Now, my day job is working for our church, where in between children’s ministry and book keeping I still dabble in printing.

Running along side my professional career has always been my love of arts and crafts. I started painting in high school and after marriage, took several design classes as the University of Tennessee. Ultimately, it was a printing job in Arkansas that introduced me to Photoshop and the world of digital artwork. Creating with Photoshop became a passion and it has blessed me well. I’ve created presentation backgrounds for worship services, t-shirt designs for Boy Scout events and even published several digital scrapbooking layouts in magazines in both the US and Australia.

Then we come back around the circle of life to my mom. She has always been my “partner in crime” when it comes to crafting. In fact, she taught me to sew and knit long before computers were invented. We shared a wood crafting business which included Dollywood as a client. So, it wasn’t long after she started her publishing company that she came to me looking for a book cover designer. So, here I am…designing book covers and loving the creative outlet it provides.

Moving my Website

Guess what? Over the next week or so I will be migrating my website from Weebly (which has been a great host) to WordPress. I’m looking to spread my wings a bit and add a few features that will give a little more function to the site.

So….if it seems like I’m posting a lot of odd, old or weird posts…I am. But then you have come to expect that from me, haven’t you!

We are also migrating the site over at Mantle Rock Publishing which has been a bigger endeavor. Things are still a little ragged over there but it is finally coming together.

Be blessed and have a wonderful day!