The covers that weren’t

A rough sketch of the book cover motifs for three of our four upcoming titles. Now that a third-party service will be designing all four covers, we can refer to these as covers that weren’t.

Design: C.E. Alexander
Photography: C.E. Alexander
Intellectual property research: C.E. Alexander
Legal inquiries: C.E. Alexander

Three Covers rotated

Book of Constants: a middle-aged widower and his son relocate to a small development in rural Wyoming. Within weeks of moving he is urged to lead a murder investigation, his first act as law enforcement. (July 20)

My Wounded Specular: a young man–suffering from apparent and severe amnesia–places himself in the care of a much older woman. She seems also to struggle with her memory, although she can cite future events with precise detail. (August 20)

The Shallow Cittern: our first horror story. In post-National Assembly Cuba, a new, mysterious, possibly artificial language has complicated the transition efforts. (September 20)

Bar Juchne: a grief-stricken woman leaves her husband for the physician who tended to her dying mother. Her idea of home security has unexpected results. (October 20)

For those ready to read, might we suggest C.E. Alexander’s fiction debut, The Music and the Spires?


Book of Constants: the covers that weren’t

C.E. Alexander’s forthcoming Book of Constants follows a middle-aged widower and his son to a small development in rural Wyoming. The city is named New Potomac, with tall concrete barrier walls inspired by recent architectural monuments in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Take the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, for one:


Or the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (find more representative pictures here or here):


Various characters in the story refer to New Potomac as a troy, using the word as a common noun and without further explanation. We would ultimately settle on the chalkboard theme, but first we explored the idea of fortifications, bunkers, walled-in cities and castles. The shot that really caught our breath was the one below. If it looks familiar, it’s because the top third of the image wound up in our masthead. The image dates back to the U.S. Civil War, and is riddled with those wonderful film blemishes and exposure issues you just can’t recreate with digital. (Yeah, we saw that AltHistory Wiki article, too. If it turns out that this 150-year-old photo is actually a 4-year-old hoax, we’re crawling under a rock. After, of course, we change our masthead back to that grainy picture of the birds.)

Here it is, our first Book of Constants cover that wasn’t. If we’ve just whet your appetite, might we suggest The Music and the Spires as amuse-bouche?


The covers that weren’t

Has it really been two weeks? We’ve been busy with all of the last last-minute preparations (the book cover is too small, the author bio wasn’t written and the author photo wasn’t taken, the website needs at least some kind of design). The last time we talked about our pitiful in-house attempts at the book cover, we mentioned turning the image horizontally by adding a second structure. Here was the next attempt. This one was so 8-bit, choppy and absurd that we sort of … considered it.


The covers that weren’t

Maybe we should slow down with these. It’s not like we have enough of them to last until the release date of December 31. (Shameless plug!)

As we mentioned before, this cover mock-up made us wish for a horizontal image. So we tried mirroring the structure horizontally. This led to all sorts of DIY horror, the first of which looked like this:

The covers that weren’t

Now that we’ve revealed our forthcoming book and its cover, we can start reviewing those alternate book covers that we took halfway seriously. From the book’s credits page:

Zidi Publishing gratefully acknowledges Zyvex Labs and the photographer, Irene Fernandez Cuesta of the National Center of Microelectronics (CNM-IMB, CSIC) for permission to use their copyrighted work. Find the unmodified version at, last accessed October 2012.

Of the creation of the image, Fernandez Cuesta writes: “The micro structure is the result of an unsuccessful nanofabrication process. The sample was intended to be a gold plasmonic guide, but after several imprinting and cleaning steps, all that was left was this micro-Sagrada Familia at one of the ends of the waveguides. The image was obtained with a scanning electron microscope.”

As we wrote in late August, The Music and the Spires — then only one possible title among several — led us to search the web for images of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. In a true cart-before-the-horse moment, Cuesta’s image so deftly captured the mood of the book that the title The Music and the Spires was cemented in place with our discovery of the photograph. Here it is:

The next several posts will follow our DIY attempts to convert this image into a book cover. Here was our first: