Two by Two: Into the White (FREE Excerpt)

Two by Two: Into the White (FREE Excerpt)

posted in: Entertainment, Our Work, Poetry | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Alternating between eager optimism and somber reclusion, Two by Two: Into the White examines morality and neuroses, agony and peace. The couplets transport readers from the sunny arroyos of the Sonoran Desert to the darkest, dampest corners of the human mind.

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Please enjoy this free excerpt from my book: Two by Two: Into the White.

into the white

gray paws sink deep into
the blanket of powder snow

gaze flickers between brother, sister
mother, father, patrolling their positions

all of their honey-gold eyes fixed on the
immense bison, he does not cower

dignified to his last, outweighing
the wolves combined

together they leap
a mass of growling gray fur

soaring at the neck
of the regal beast

he remains standing
as they wrestle and rip

his thick molasses fur
an insufficient defense

a groan escapes it before
snapping jaws succeed

the bison falls, surrendering
to the white snow

eerie howling reverberates
into the night
 

Thoughts on “Into the White”

Many poems in the collection feature a desert setting; this couplet is just the opposite. I wanted to capture the intense power of nature, of the wild, that is so captivating to human beings. We often feel cut off from nature, living in our cities and shopping at our grocery stores.

Then we visit nature, either through television or by visiting a national park, and some primal awareness clicks on in our brains from an earlier time. An ancient memory, perhaps from when we were hunters and gatherers, is triggered and the result is an inexplicable sense of déjà vu.

 

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Evolution of an eBook Cover: Part 2

Evolution of an eBook Cover: Part 2

posted in: Indie Publishing, Our Work | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Welcome to Part 2 of Evolution of an eBook Cover! If you missed Evolution of an eBook Cover Part 1, check it out here.

We left Part 1 with an ugly shade of brown. In Part 2, we will address color, subtitles, and thumbnail blurriness. Read on!

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cover design - 5
Version 5

cover design - 6
Version 6

cover design - 7
Version 7

Layout

Here’s what worked: 1) Cat photo at the top. 2) Author name at the bottom. The only issue was the subtitle which makes up a whopping 1/3 of the cover. No big deal. Let’s do this.

Version 5: Subtitle was too generic, but the diagonal was visually appealing. (Dynamic Diagonals! Do you remember that from composition in art/art history class?)

Version 6: I felt this version was too busy. Subtitle looked good, but didn’t really capture the essence of my poetry collection.

Version 7: I went back to the dynamic diagonal as seen in Version 5. For the subtitle, I used the name of one of the poems in the collection: Into the White.

I also did away with the feathering that appeared in Versions 2-4 and instead covered the border with a white line. I think that this gave the cover a much cleaner look.

Color

Poetry is inherently romantic and so red seemed like the most logical choice for my poems. I was very pleased with the red, so much so that I uploaded the cover to kdp and published it.

When it went live, I was happy… for about 30 seconds. Then I noticed that the thumbnail was blurry! (You can see the blurriness I’m talking about in the above images of Versions 5-7.)

ACK!

I spent some time searching for remedies on forums and blogs. No dice.

I looked at other covers on Amazon and noticed some blurriness, but not as bad as on my cover. I tried to ignore it.

Then I realized that I was in DENIAL! I had to fix it. I had to!

So the next day when I was scrolling through covers on Amazon, I noticed that covers with plain backgrounds were more blurry than covers with photo backgrounds.

I also discovered through some more Googling that the cause of the blurriness is known as Compression Artifacts, which you can read more about at about.com. It seemed to me that artifacts (or blurriness) are worse when using a plain background.

To avoid blurriness, you need a background that has lots of different colored pixels. That way, when the image is compressed, the blurriness blends in.

I found a photo of footprints and paw prints in the snow from a winter trip in Virginia a few years ago. I had to adjust the position of the text a bit, but I was pleased with the new image and uploaded the cover. It took about 3 days for the blurry cover to leave and the pretty cover to appear.

It was well worth it!

final cover

 

The Final Version!

 

Now, some of you might be asking “Could uploading my file as a TIFF format rather than JPEG format help?” And the answer is no.  Book covers are posted as JPEGs, not as TIFFs. Therefore, it is my firm belief that: It is better to have a photo than a plain color as a background for your book cover.

I hope you have found these posts educational.

Here is a list of Key Takeaways for eBook Cover Design:

1. Size your cover at 4500 px high x 2813 px wide at 350 pixels per inch

2. Use Google Fonts for FREE fonts, so you don’t have to worry about license/copyright issues.

3. Use what colors YOU like. Your cover is an expression of you and the book you have poured your heart into.

4. Use a photo rather than a plain color as a background for your book cover to avoid blurriness.

5. Experiment until different fonts, colors, and photos until you love your cover! How many books have you picked up, just because of a well designed cover? It’s well worth the time and energy to create a beautiful one.

 

Need a Cover? Hire me!

For a free quote, send me an email at zydoyle.com.

Check out my other services under my Hire Me! page.

 

Get my Poetry Collection: Two by Two TODAY!

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Evolution of an eBook Cover: Part 1

Evolution of an eBook Cover: Part 1

posted in: Indie Publishing, Our Work | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Designing a book cover is one of the most exciting parts of self-publishing. This is especially true since traditionally published authors are not typically allowed much input about their book covers.

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Consequently, at the beginning of designing your book cover, you may feel quite powerful.

Yes! I get to design my own book cover! I’m going to nail this! Yes, I realize I have just used three exclamation points. Here, have another!

Well, maybe you didn’t think that exactly, but anyways…

As Spider-Man fans know, With great power comes great responsibility. As I designed my first cover, I felt the full weight of that statement.

In the following post and its sequel (Evolution of an eBook Cover: Part 2), I will reveal my process for creating the cover of my poetry collection, Two by Two: Into the White. If you enjoy this post or if you love quality poetry, please consider getting the eBook!

The first thing I did was crack open a new document in Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and set the size as 1563 px x 2500 px at 72 pixels/inch per the recommendation at kdp.amazon.com.

However, some say 2820 px x 4500 px would be better. In the end, I recommend your cover to be 4500 px high x 2813 wide at 350 ppi for best image quality.

cover design - 1

Version 1

Font

The font is Montserrat, which I downloaded from Google Fonts. In case you haven’t heard of Google Fonts, here is a quote from their “About” page to explain:

“All [Google] fonts are Open Source. This means that you are free to share your favorites with friends and colleagues… And you can use them in every way you want, privately or commercially — in print, on your computer, or in your websites.”

By using Google Fonts, you can rest assured that it’s completely FREE; no strings attached. Awesome, right?

Color

My poems are simple and I wanted my cover to reflect that, so I kept it just black and white.

As we proceed, you will notice that the title of my book changed as I designed the cover. This is another great aspect of the flexibility and power that comes with self-publishing.

As pleased as I was with the cover, I thought it needed something else. So I added a photo of my cat.

cover design - 2
Version 2

cover design - 3
Version 3

cover design - 4
Version 4

For Versions 2, 3 and 4, I experimented with different titles, placements and colors.

Layout

  • I experimented with another font, Baskerville, in the subtitle of Versions 2 and 3. However, I had not yet thought of the copyright/license issue. I discovered a replacement Google Font later: Libre Baskerville.
  • I moved my name to the top in Version 4 to see how it looked. I was not a fan, so I moved it back to the bottom.
  • With the image of my cat, I used the cookie cutter tool in photoshop to add a 10 px feather. This got rid of the hard edge of the photo.

 

Color

  • These covers all sport a brown/tan palette. The reason I chose those colors was simple. Many tutorials on book cover design say to choose colors from the photo you are using. That gives the cover a very harmonious appearance.
  • I used the eye dropper tool in photoshop to pick out the exact hex code for the colors from the cabinet my cat is standing on. In case you are curious, the light brown is #ffcc99 and the dark brown is #663300. The gray font in Version 3 is #333333, which I found in my cat’s fur. You can experiment with hex codes at http://www.color-hex.com/.
  • I tried desperately to appreciate the brown, but I just couldn’t. Brown is one of my least favorite colors. So I ended up changing it.
  • Main message: You DON’T have to use colors from the photo you are using! Use what colors YOU like.

 
To see what color I changed the brown to, read Evolution of an eBook Cover: Part 2!
 

Get my Poetry Collection: Two by Two TODAY!

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Happy National Poetry Month, Plus New Book Release!

Happy National Poetry Month, Plus New Book Release!

posted in: Entertainment, Our Work, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? The Academy of American Poets started National Poetry Month twenty years ago. It is a wonderful time to spend a few hours writing some lines or reading some of your favorite poetry.

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I have loved poetry since I was a little girl. My first two favorite poets were Mary O’Neill, especially Hailstones and Hailbut Bones, and Shel Silverstein, especially The Giving Tree.

Poets.org offers 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month on their website, and here at zydoyle.com, we have one more way for you to celebrate National Poetry Month:

Read my new poetry collection!

 

Two by Two: Into the White: A Poetry Collection

The book is a collection of 50 couplets on the subjects of youth, love, judgment, solitude, nature, and existence. You can read more about the book on my Two by Two: Into the White page or on Amazon. I will be posting a few free excerpts in the following days.

If you own a Kindle, you can check out the book via the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read the book for free. You can also join Amazon Kindle Unlimited with a 30-Day Free Trial by clicking on the preceding link or on the image below.

Currently, Two by Two is available as a Kindle Edition, but a Print Edition will be out shortly. I’d love to hear what you think of the poems. Let me know!

How are you celebrating National Poetry Month?

Happy Friday everyone!


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Haiku: Rust Red

Haiku: Rust Red

posted in: Entertainment, Photography, Poetry, Travel | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

past the rust red arch

 

road curves through the evergreen

 

azure sky abounds

 

The poem was inspired by our visit to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah in 2015. Specifically it was inspired by this photo:

bryce canyon, utah, nature, arch
 
 

Enjoy Rust Red? Get Two by Two today!

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Paper Airplanes

Paper Airplanes

posted in: DIY & Crafts, Entertainment, Home and Garden, Photography, Poetry | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The Enchanted Paper

 

Fifteen more minutes until the bell,

What shall we do after show and tell?

 

In a folder, lies an old worksheet,

Maybe we can fold and pleat

 

To make the paper into something more:

An agile airplane that will soar.

 

Like the birds that fly above

Like an eagle or a dove

 

To take us off the ground in flight

A nine year old becomes a Brother, Wright.

 

-Z.Y. Doyle

 

 

This poem was inspired by:

Swallow Paper Airplane

Swallow

Favorite plane that really looks like a bird.

Instructions HERE.

 

Nakamura Lock

Nakamura Lock

Made this after reading about it in Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger.

Instructions HERE.

Take special note of Step 3. When folding wings, the edge of wing must be even with bottom of the plane.

 

A Word on Paper Plane Technique

Successful flight depends on a gentle release!

Throw it like you are launching a baby bird into flight. Throw firmly, but tenderly.

 

What is your favorite type of paper airplane? Do you have any fun paper airplane stories? Please post any comments or questions below.

 

Enjoy “Enchanted Paper”?

Get Two by Two today!

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Ever-changing

Ever-changing

posted in: Entertainment, Poetry | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

 

Life is not an exact science

To be analyzed, poked, and prodded

It will laugh as your best-laid plan

Comes unknotted

 

Life rollicks and frolics

Dazes and amazes

Watching you go

Through all of your phases

 

Straining and aging

Waxing and waning

Then one day, we vanish

Simple matter, ever-changing

-Z.Y. Doyle

 
 
 

Enjoy “Ever-changing”?

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