How I Made My Cover for Death in a Mudflat

If you have been reading this blog, you know I posted previously on how the covers were made for my first three books in the Rh Brewster Mystery Series. Mostly, it involved my husband doing the photography, my daughter being the body, foot or arm, and I doing the direction, according to my vision for the cover.

The idea for Death in a Mudflat came from a wedding Hubs and I had attended on Cape Cod. We were on a beachside pavilion where wine and dancing preceded dinner. We gradually became aware of a crowd of people out on the deck, watching a car trapped in a mudflat off the beach. This became the basis of the first chapter of my book – no, there wasn’t an arm in the mud – but I promise all y’all a sample of that first chapter soon.

For Death in a Mudflat, we had to do something different to create the cover image. First of all, my daughter, bless her soul, refused to get into a mudflat just to have her arm emerge from the mud. Logistically, she was right. What would I do? Give her a snorkel for breathing under the mud? Provide a heated mudflat? The water in Maine is cold. I know because I’ve swum in it.

So I ordered a rubber arm from a theatrical prop company. It was delivered here in Chapel Hill, but upon further thought, realized TSA might prevent a woman with an extra, realistic arm from getting on a plane to Boston. To get around this, I sent it to a high school friend of mine, with the idea that we would spend a morning in her backyard painting the arm  to look decayed.

Here are some pictures of that adventure. I must admit we were not completely successful, although we had a lot of fun. 

The next adventure was to photograph the arm in an actual mudflat. We were very lucky because the condo we rented in Maine that summer had its own mudflat out front twice a day.  We walked out into the mud, which sucked my swim shoes off in three of four steps. Then the shards of shell hidden in the mud cut my feet. Hubs, being very smart, figured out if you put seaweed down, you would not sink so much. He kept his shoes on.

I rammed the arm down into the mud and Hubs shot a bunch of pictures. He didn’t like the light, so we got out and he waited for the sun to set, then waded out again, shot more pictures and struggled back to shore with the arm, but not before having some ghoulish fun. That’s my hand.

This is what you look like after an encounter with a mudflat.

Now the only thing was how to get the arm home, TSA still being on the alert. We drove around Boothbay Harbor until we located the partially hidden FedEX office, then had to explain to the clerk WHY we were mailing an arm.

In the end, to complete my vision for the cover, I had to employ the services of a talented artist at 99 Designs. There was simply no way I could include water and a distant gazebo with wedding guests. Maybe I could, but I might still be driving up and down the Maine coast searching for the right scene, then have to hire a wedding party.

I think in the end it worked out. At least the comments you left me seemed to indicate the image in my head made it successfully to the cover!



52 thoughts on “How I Made My Cover for Death in a Mudflat”

  1. Pingback: How I Made My Cover for Death in a Mudflat – Noelle Granger | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  2. That’s so clever and funny. Your fake arm would have been a hoot going through the xray machine at the airport. 🙂 I hope you save the partially decayed arm as a conversation starter in your back garden. 🙂

  3. So happy I discovered your writing ! I’m going to be checking out your archives ! As a publisher I’m always consumed with reading . I saw that someone I know shared your post. Then I ended up on your page for a hot minute! Thank you !

    1. Hi Shareen! Thanks so much for stopping by! I have a very eclectic blog – observations, posts from my cat, historical pieces (I am trying my hand at a historical novel about a Pilgrim since I grew up in Plymouth and worked as a tour guide there). There’s another post about how I did my first three covers in my archives somewhere…Hope you find some more of my writing to enjoy!

      1. I’m really excited! I love the idea about your book! You are a tour guide??? That has to be the best job! Meghan Our Lead Humorist on OTV tells ghost stories in New York! What will you tell? True history or creative?

    1. I’m off this fall to see if I can get the shot of the Augusta Armory for the cover of the next book. I will be going back to sell books at the Pumpkin Festival in Damariscotta. I’m also sorting out ideas for the book after that, but first, the historical novel. Thanks, Olga!

  4. What a fun cover story – I like that you have developed your own style for your covers. Congratulations!

  5. Rebecca Douglass

    That’s a great story in itself! But I’m thinking I’ll go on paying Dani to draw my covers… not that I’ve anything against getting up close and personal with a tidal flat!

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