Hindsight and fresh ‘enchilada’ wrappers open the door to effective paranormal book cover design.
If a writer’s journey begins with an idea and a few words, it concludes with multiple themes stacked like warm blankets atop a winter bed, bound together with colorful character threads. The entire package, encompassing thousands of hours and hundreds and pages is wrapped by a thin layer of decorated cover stock that is supposed to, pictorially, represent the whole ‘enchilada.’
Haylee’s story officially began in the 1980’s with vampire myth research at CSU, Sacramento. It concluded in early spring of 2018 with romance, relationship resolutions, and futuristic environmental concerns.
Looking back, it is interesting to see how Haylee’s ‘enchilada’ wrapping evolved over time.
As the series end approached, considerable attention had to go toward cohesiveness that would communicate the mood, color pallet, tone, and genre reader expectations for both books. This called for a clearing-out of all previous cover art ideas, current market trend research, and starting over with blank screen.
The Traveler’s Stone e-book novella series was a marketing failure. It did not perform as anticipated; what it did do was create reviewer confusion!
Once both Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone and Haylee and the Last Traveler were finished, it was easy to delete those confusing titles from Amazon.
Mood, colors, and fonts specific to the genre should take precedence over too much detail in a cover design. An effective design will appeal to readers, entice them to hit the ‘buy’ button, and accurately represent the contents that the ‘enchilada’ wrapper contains.
A Care-Full Mother’s Memoir Lights a Path of Enlightened Parenting.
If we are open to the intricate, and sometimes surprising, facets of love, and strive for healthy relationships, we make can make contributions toward elevating our village, one family, and one child at a time.
When I was a step-kid, I first became conscious of the words Betsy talks about in her memoir. ‘We,’ ‘us,’ ‘ours’ is positive and binding. While, ‘me,’ mine,’ and, ‘you’re not my real ____,’ painfully divide.
As a young woman, coming into a family with teens, I shared Betsy’s anxiety and musings about belonging while co-parenting.
From Fasbinder’s special crafting of her name (and her second son’s name) to her sensitive handling of changes and losses experienced by her oldest son, Betsy shows how love and mindfulness have the power to heal.
Later, when I was widow and mother of a toddler, I experienced the incredible blessing of a wonderful step-in parent joining our family.
Betsy is right again; grief and loss are the flipsideof the coin that also holds joy and gratitude.
I like thinking that Max’s first mom has always been a huge fan of Betsy’s. What greater gift could there be than knowing a loving someone picked up where you left off?
With a thoughtful approach to the vulnerability of parent-child relationships and a strong commitment to unraveling a legacy of domestic violence and adverse stepfamily stigmas, Betsy Graziani Fasbinder wears her own shoes while showing others how to walk a path of enlightened parenting.
For me, beginning a lengthy writing project takes determination and vision. Not a ‘vision’ synonymous with a goal, but a picture, a face, and a setting. It is the first step in getting acquainted with a character I’ll be living with for a long time.
John William Waterhouse, an English oil painter – dead over one-hundred years – served up the face of Martina, a Chilean prostitute, a character in Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone.
“Mr. Waterhouse adds to his designs a certain mystic suggestion—a touch of that sad wonderment which troubles the deep thinker.” (The Art Journal, 1896)
That beguiling, haunting face along with Waterhouse’s rich clothing textures, set among nature, lovers, and water provides the tone and feeling that I wanted to convey with the Haylee stories.
His model, with the face that appears a significant number of the 200 paintings he produced during his life, must have been someone close, a next door neighbor or a niece?
“Waterhouse’s paintings are famous for the feminine beauty depicted in them. His genre of female beauty became known as ‘The Waterhouse Girl’. The identity of Waterhouse’s models range from family members and friends, to professional artists’ models. Some of the young female models would later become famous in their own right as renowned stage actresses and movie stars.” – www.johnwilliamwaterhouse.com
“John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917) was an English painter. He was enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art.” – Wikipedia.org
“Most of Waterhouse’s work is based in Ancient or Medieval myth and legend. Such stories feature the strong female beauties and tragic love stories which Waterhouse was seemingly fascinated by.” – Artable.com
The character, Martina, developed from the Waterhouse face turned out to be a strong and determined young woman. She experienced tragedy, but she also knew love. Her struggle to protect her lover and right her wrongs echo the story arch of the main character, Haylee.
Surviving a freak accident— that was how Phineas Gage became famous. If given a choice, he’d probably prefer to be remembered as someone who rose above challenges, lived in a foreign country, and was considered the ‘fun uncle’ by his nieces and nephews.
Regardless of its moral value, Gage’s traumatic brain injury, recorded and publicized by his treating physician (Dr. Harlow), made Phineas a touchstone for the fields of brain science, neurology, and psychology.
“In the 19th century, Gage’s survival seemed miraculous. Fascination with his plight encouraged scientific research into the brain, and the continuing research into Gage’s condition is proof that this same curiosity is still alive today.” — case study, BigPictureEducation.com
Gage frequently appears in contemporary media.
Hell on Wheels (AMC, 2014)producers tipped a hat to Phineas when Doctor Major Augustus Bendix (Leon Ingulsrud), mentions him while reading a phrenology book (skull bumps relating to character traits).
Setting the tone for Elam’s (Common) backstory (Bear Man episode). The railroad worker is ‘not himself’ after a bear attack that punctures his skull.
In the Pollywog episode of Stranger Things2 (Netflix, 2016), science teacher Mr. Clarke (Randy Havens) lectures his middle school class about the American crowbar case. “Phineas, miraculously, survived….but his injury resulted in a complete change to his personality.”
Later, the audience learns that Will Byers, (Noah Schnapp) returned from the Upside Down, is no longer the sweet boy he was before his mysterious mishap.
In the January 2018 issue of National Geographic,The Science of Good and Evil analyzes a connection between violence and empathy. In the article, a full page photo of Phineas, holding his tamping iron, is captioned with, “When he recovered, he was no longer friendly and respectful; he was uncaring and indifferent.”
In pop culture, Phineas Gage symbolizes traumatic brain injury, emotional disturbance, and personality disorders.
Although Dr. Harlow included personality changes in his notes immediately following the accident, he lost contact with Gage, never performing follow-up examinations.
While it is probably true that Phineas was altered after his accident, the traits with which he is associated may not be accurate.
In his award-winning book, An Odd Kind of Fame, author Malcolm Macmillian, the world’s Gage authority, subscribes to a social recovery hypothesis. He believes that Phineas’s work as a Concord coach driver demonstrates adaptations and coping skills that he developed.
For almost twelve years after the accident, Phineas managed to make his way in the word. We may never have a clear picture of how he lived his life during that time.
What we do know is that Phineas’s place in history, as an icon for brain injury and behavior change, is fixed.
For more interesting brain/behavior stories, check out NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast with Shankar Vedantam.
Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.
The Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture (SSPC) is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary organization devoted to furthering research, clinical care and education in cultural aspects of mental health and illness.