Book Cover Requests Your Feedback, my design firm, has delivered three great concepts for The Mark of the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle.

Three design treatments, three color schemes.

Which cover — because we ALL judge a book by its cover — would make you pick it up and read it? Let me know by Wednesday night, EDT, either by comment or email.

The candidates are Blue, Green, Red:

I’m having a hard time choosing so your input will count for a lot. A LOT.


Design Close, But No Cigar

HOTEL CONSTELLATION got an Honorable Mention (Gold Star) in the January e-Book Cover Design Awards at the Book Designer Web site.

Hotel Constellation - 3D

Here is the judge’s citation:

Everything on this is just right – the choice of font, the colours, and the grungy aspect, as well as the strategically-positioned censor stripes over some sections of the text. An excellent cover that entirely suits the book.★

If “everything … is just right,” it should have won, right?

Oh, well. At least we were a contender.


Memoir Cover: The Winner!

I approved the final ebook cover design for my Viet Nam memoir, HOTEL CONSTELLATION: Notes from America’s Secret War in Laos.

Damon Freeman and the designers at are now working on the print cover (with binder and back cover). I expect they will present something early next week.

The final ebook design is a variant of the Chopper concept.


I invited feedback, and about 20 readers responded. Most favored the Chopper concept with the Window idea a distant second. Almost no one (except me) liked the Bullet design.

I liked the bullet design because, with the three war photos, it said war, death and destruction to me. A larger number than I would have expected said it made the book look like a work of fiction. Live and learn.

On the Chopper design, I requested four changes: Different chopper and people photos, larger subtitle and bolder line drawing of the border. The first two were for authenticity; the other two were to increase legibility of the thumbnail version.

True to my inability to perform good design work, three of the changes actually detracted from the overall design, so I asked to go back to the original and made one final change – I got rid of the people with the conical hats.

Overall, I think the final version says “Viet Nam war”, “secrecy” and “Laos.” I can only hope the buying public will be intrigued.