From dragons to warships, from fairies to androids – thanks to a talented artist.

In this post I’d like to thank the imaginative, talented, patient woman who designed the covers to my two novels, Michelle Rene Goodhew.

michelle renee 11

Photo credit: Michelle Rene Goodhew

I also love the covers Michelle Rene created for other books and am in love with this little fellow in particular –

Michelle rene dragon

Image credit: Michelle Rene Goodhew

It’s not easy explaining what you want on a cover when you’re not sure yourself, let alone to someone on the other side of the earth, via email and not over a cup of coffee with the advantage of waving your arms around to get your point across …

The founder of Smashwords, Mark Coker, suggested imagining your cover with all the words removed, then asking – is there a question in the cover image the reader wants an answer to? I thought that was really helpful advice (I’ve discovered anything Mark says is helpful! I’ve learnt a lot more about Microsoft Word formatting from his free Smashwords Style Guide).


Image credit: Michelle Rene Goodhew

The cover briefs were tricky to explain because I’m still not exactly sure which genre Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears and the sequel Arafura – Unfinished Business belong to. Romantic suspense/comedy/drama/action/?

Here is my description for the first book in the Arafura series:

Nobody said the build-up would be easy. No body …

Sensible schoolteacher Kat is planning to marry when her long-term fiancé finds the time. When the mysterious and damaged Adam arrives in town, Kat is jolted well out of her comfort zone. Despite her loyal intentions, a dead body and enough pre-monsoonal weather to strangle a Kat, she must wrestle with an instant attraction that is emotionally risky and absolutely, definitely fraught.

Arafura will appeal to female and male readers who enjoy quirky, witty suspense with dark edges.

My favourite cover is Michelle Rene’s bold design for the second novel in the Arafura series :

Arafura final

Image credit: Michelle Rene Goodhew

The storyline of Arafura – Unfinished Business just needs a bit of tweaking and will be published by the end of October this year (I keep changing the dates as other life admin sneaks up on me, but this is a deadline, and I’ll be taking a brief blogging hiatus to make target).

The tagline is – Love is patient. Love is kind. Sometimes love is explosive.

This is what Michelle Rene has to say about the process of her design for Arafura – Unfinished Business.

“Working on ‘Arafura: Unfinished Business’ has been full of rewards. The sunset was a new venture that I started with a wax base for texture. I’ve never constructed a painting this way and thought it was vibrant and captured the color I was looking for.

Susan responded with a request to give the clouds more definition and I’m so grateful she did. The final result is striking compared to my first draft. This is a great new style for me and I look forward to trying it again.

I guess I had a good vision of the ship from nearly the beginning. I had started with a side profile and then Susan recommended the front view of the ship hoping for a more ominous feeling. I ran with that and had a clear Idea of how I wanted the colors to play on the surface of the steel.

My intention from the beginning was to have a bit of an abstract feel in the final piece. I thought it would allow me to really bring those bold colors forward, and I think I managed that in the end.

Putting the lights on the ship was tedious but satisfying because each one just seemed to spring to life with a little glow. It was the first time I have ever attempted party lights and my technique proved successful. Joy!

I love the energy I have had while putting this together. Susan has been an amazing author to work with, she has a delightful personality with an edge of humor that really is a great combination to collaborate with.”

I encourage you to visit Michelle Rene’s blog Book Cover Designer to see for yourself what a talented, thoughtful and positive illustrator and writer she is. I’m really looking forward to her first graphic novel. And one day we’re going to have that coffee (or champagne) together. 🙂

If you’re interested, Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears can be purchased from Amazon here, or Smashwords here. It’s also available at Smashwords’ global network of on-line retailers, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Angus and Robertson, Collins, Kobo, FlipKart etc.

So, if you ever need an illustrator …

Michelle Rene curious

Image credit: Michelle Rene Goodhew



This entry was posted in Amazon, Arafura, Arafura Blood The Wet and Tears, Arafura Unfinished Business, Australian fiction, Book Cover Designer, Michelle Rene Goodhew, Romantic comedy, romantic suspense, Smashwords and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to From dragons to warships, from fairies to androids – thanks to a talented artist.

  1. Those covers were wonderful particularly the second.

  2. Well done Susan, how the hell did you find Michelle? Great stuff and best wishes for the books, MM 🍀

  3. Marigold says:

    The covers are beautiful, and I especially love the colours of the Arafura sequel 🙂 Looking forward to reading your second book Susan! I just read and reviewed the first Arafura and yeah, I was confused about what genre to put it in, but happily confused 🙂 It’s great to read books that don’t quite fit the mould. Thank goodness for indie writers!

    • Thanks again for the review, Marigold.:) I love Michelle Rene’s colours in the cover to Arafura – Unfinished Business too, wouldn’t have occurred to me! Thank goodness for people who read and review indie writers, I say!!!

      • Marigold says:

        I also put the review up on goodreads and smashwords (where I bought the book). It’s so nice to read books written by people I feel like I have a connection with 🙂 and it’s like I’ve discovered a little gem when I find an indie book I like. Something extra special comes with the knowledge that a person poured everything into this book, and it wasn’t just stuff cobbled together by crackpots working for a publisher (which I guiltily read too, so I need indie authors to clean my conscience!)

      • You’re the gem, Marigold. Seriously!!That’s how Indie books get noticed and I really appreciate your efforts. I know I should just write for the fun of it, and I do, but it makes my day when someone enjoyed reading Arafura. 🙂

      • Marigold says:

        Thanks Susan! Of course you’d start writing for the fun of it, but you’ll be able to write more when it’s the way you can make your living too! I wish you luck 🙂

      • What do they say, it’s the journey, not the destination? Thanks for your kind wishes, I feel very lucky that you shared your enjoyment of Arafura. 🙂

  4. I’ve just noticed it’s available on Kindle so as soon as Scotto gets home he can order it for me. I know I sound simple but he took the Amazon account thing off my laptop so I have to use his. I like that it’s about a teacher 🙂

    • Hi Pinky. We have PayPal account issues like that at our house. The wrong people have the purchasing power!
      There’s a bit of classroom kerfuffle in the first Arafura book.
      Have been a hermit trying to finish the second. Thanks for your interest. Have a great weekend. 🙂

      • Well I’m finally back! I read your book in one day when I was off work sick. I was riveted and can’t wait until the next one comes out. I could never do what you’ve done and you have my utmost respect Susan!

      • Glad you enjoyed it Michelle, but you COULD write a book, I believe that from your posts.
        My husband is doing last edit of sequel now, checking for right tone of blokey bits., ha ha. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    I admire people who design covers. I think it takes a special skill to visualize the nuance of a novel in one still image.

  6. Bravo and they are great covers!

  7. susielindau says:

    Love the covers! Congratulations!

  8. Pingback: Cover Reveals: Bold & Exciting | Book Cover Designer - Illustration - Fine Art

  9. Wow Susan! I love your cover reveal post!

    This was my most favorite illustration project to date. I am just ecstatic about the entire experience! You were so amazing to work with and your writing style caught my attention from the beginning. You are fantastic in your story delivery and it served as my inspiration for the second cover. I really feel I delivered something special here. I hope I am able to work with you again someday 🙂

    Good luck on your novels release, I will keep in touch. Hoping that one day we do get to hang out over coffee and have some laughs. I always wanted to go to Austrailia 🙂


    • Hi Michelle. I’m so glad you found me on Twitter through @beninoz, and I loved the look of your illustrations from the start. Funny how these things work. You and Ben are generous spririts. 🙂

  10. suzjones says:

    Congratulations Susan. They look wonderful. 🙂

  11. Reblogged this on Book Cover Designer – Illustration – Fine Art and commented:
    Thanks so much for all your kind words author Susan Lattwein 🙂

  12. These covers are fantastic – what wonderful vibrant colours! I’m about to get together with my cover designer to work on the cover of my new book, and Mark Coker’s advice is really helpful – thank you for quoting it.
    I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award:

    • Thanks Annabelle, I suspect Pearl instigated the nomination. She knows I’ve fallen in love with her ever since she peeked her head over the stone wall in your ‘Malamute Magnet’ post. 🙂

  13. Debbish says:

    Great covers! They really stand out and give you a sense of what you’re about to read!

  14. livelytwist says:

    “and not over a cup of coffee with the advantage of waving your arms around to get your point across …” Lol. I like both book covers, especially the cover for the sequel. Her other illustrations that you shared have a softness, which I find appealing. All the best with Arafura – Unfinished Business!

    • Thanks very much for your kind wishes, Timi. Did you eventually finish The Ocean at the End of the Lane? I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favourite Gaiman novel. Cheers 🙂

      • livelytwist says:

        I had to drop it when I landed to attend to other matters. I will finish it, but the fact that I could leave it and not feel compelled to pick it up, speaks volumes 😉

  15. Sometimes it takes a while to get into a book, and if that window is missed…:)

  16. jbw0123 says:

    You are lucky to have found someone who can bring what you imagine to life. Congratulations on the new book. Off to check out Michelle’s website.

  17. ChristineR says:

    Hello Susan, I hope your sequel is coming along fine. I can’t believe I didn’t leave a comment on this post when I was here last! I obviously went off to Smashwords after Michelle’s blog, and ran out of time after only a few pages – forgetting to come back here. Anyway, I just read a bit more of Arafura, enough to see it is worth popping on the laptop for a full read. These covers are brilliant! Love the colours and that ship is wonderfully dramatic. Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  18. Hello Christine. Sorry to be so long to reply, haven’t been on WP much lately, trying to focus on getting sequel up and running. You’re very kind to give Arafura a read, thanks VERY much, and glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂 🙂 Hope all’s well with you??

  19. Susan, I love the cover of Arafura – Unfinished Business. Having just finished working on a cover for my latest book, I know how important it is to work as a team.
    I also like Mike Coker’s advice to see your book cover without the title on it.
    Your tagline is very catchy and unexpected. Good luck in getting your book out. 🙂

  20. Thanks Carol. Good luck with yours!! It’s the writing journey that makes it so worthwhile, wouldn’t you agree?

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