Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Under the Covers

Cover artists, that is. 🙂

Today, I’m talking to Debbie Taylor, owner of DCA Graphics and creator of the fabulous cover that will grace my upcoming book, Make Me Howl!


Debbie is a sweet, easy to like woman with a big, big talent. Naturally, my alter ego, Terminally Curious, had to ask some questions. 🙂

Can you tell us how you got started creating book covers?  

I started doing covers because I didn’t like the covers being done for my books.  I had no say, so one day I took my graphic background and designed the cover for my book.  That way I got exactly what I saw for my own work.

How long have you been creating them?

I started in 2006 for a year then when the publisher disbanded I quit covers for awhile.  I restarted doing covers for The Wild Rose Press Inc. a year and a half ago and opened my own design company.  I love seeing the book come alive on a cover.  I now do covers for clients as well as for Rae Monet Inc. and Desert Breeze Publishing Inc.   My work has won awards and each new cover is a discovery.  I am always learning.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I am a published author of 8 novels.  As an author yourself you can understand that inspiration comes from everything.  I personally love to take photos and look through stock photos.  Most of the time a picture will hit me and I see the whole story behind the photo.  I am driven to build the story so others can see what I see.  I love my work!!!

Do you use real people or make them up?

I am always looking for models that I can take photos of but for the most part I use stock photos of people that are beautiful or yummy handsome.  They have to fit in the cover I am doing or they don’t get my attention.

How long have you been doing this work?

I think in all total I have been doing covers for over three years.  My background in doing design for TV commercials and menus have helped. I am always learning.

Do you have favorite book genres you like to design covers for?

No favorite.  I love doing every genre.  I love the challenge.  I have done covers for ever genre so far.  I like the dark covers to the romantic ones.

How did you get started working with WRP?

I was friends with an editor who worked for The Wild Rose Press Inc. and she told me I should talk to the owner.  I did and showed off some of my work.  It is a wonderful place to work and I plan on staying.  I have been very lucky to work for some awesome people.  They stuck with me so I will stick with them.:)

Do you work at designing book covers full time or do you have a DDJ?

I design book covers full time.  My business has taken off so I no longer need a second job.  I am very blessed to be doing what I want and enjoying it as well.

Do you draw the pictures by hand or do you use a computer program?

I draw pictures by hand using my wicom tablet and pen. It is hooked to my computer so it makes a electronic drawing.  The programs I use are Photoshop and Illustrator.

Is there anything fun or interesting you can share with us about creating book covers?  

I had an author recently want a man with a big fat nose on her cover.  She wanted it so big that a bird could sit on it.  LOL  So I took this very handsome man can made his nose huge.  I personally will never show that cover but the author was soooo very happy.  All in all that is what counts.  I try to make each cover amazing but its most important that the author gets just what she or he wants to the best of my ability.

Thank you Susan for taking the time ask me questions and letting me express myself as an artist.   The cover to any book is very important.  Its what make the reader pick it up and look at it so the authors work can be read and shared.   If the author works so hard on the inside then its very important to pick the right artist to do the cover.

Debbie’s book, The Dragon Laird,  by Deborah Y Lynne, is available from The Wild Rose Press.

Terminally Curious and I thank you very much, Debbie, for answering all our questions. 🙂 You’re a doll!


Make Me Howl

In case you’re one of the three people in the free world I haven’t shown this to, here’s my new book cover!

MakeMeHowl_w7696_750-(4)Isn’t it gorgeous? The cover artist, Debbie Taylor of DCA Graphics, is so talented! Makes me wonder how in the world she does it. Does she start with a photograph? Is this a painting?

Terminally Curious wants to know! 🙂 Maybe I can get an interview with her for next week.

Since I’ve been asked several times, here’s what I have to do with the cover–nearly nothing. LOL.


I fill out a questionnaire called an Art Facts Sheet that tells about my story and I look at covers on my publisher’s website and tell them which ones are close to what I’m hoping for.

BTW: My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, has been chosen Best Book Publisher for the 5th year in a row! (WOOHOO!)

That’s it. I don’t see the cover beforehand. When it’s ready, they check with me to make sure my name and the title of my book are spelled right.

Debbie Taylor gets 100% of the kudos for this cover.


Oh, wait. Jazzy wants to say hi. Here she is–

Good grief. I thought Susan would never shut up. That woman can talk, can’t she? It’s nice to meet you. My name is Jazzy Cannis. I’m a successful wardrobe designer and personal shopper.

Lucky me, I was born with a killer sense of style, biting sense of humor and an active Lycan gene. And I had life figured out, too. All I had to do was stay in control all the time. I couldn’t get too angry, too wild or too excited or I’d wolf out. No prob.

Enter Chase Holliday, a vet at the drive through zoo, and a serious hunk. The trouble is, Mr. Always-In-Total-Control is an animal geneticist, and he’s out to eradicate every werewolf on the planet. He believes safety lies in making werewolves only the stuff of fairytales. To reach that goal, he works every spare moment isolating the Lycan gene.

Then he met me. The man in the iron will, who’d spent his life exercising it, thought he could handle this wild woman.


Well, that’s Jazzy, the quintessential wild woman. I’ll let you know when she’s ready to pounce on the world. 🙂