When I looked out my kitchen window on Dec. 23, 2010, I was stunned by what I saw. The sun was coming up and the sparse clouds had a rose-tinged golden glow. I stared for way too long before it sunk in that I was looking at a perfectly recognizable cross.
It took even longer for my brain to kick in with “Get a photo of it. Now!”
I got several shots before the cross drifted off toward Galva, leaving me overjoyed with my good luck. I had some amazing images of something I’d never seen before. When I checked online, I found my photos held up remarkably well to those taken by other people.
My first thought…I have to use this in my book.
Easy enough. I worked it into some early action. It fit perfectly.
Second thought…which came somewhat later…I have to use this for the cover.
Major problem…when cover design time came, it’s obvious the photo was taken in December—there’s snow on the ground—my novel takes place the end of May through early June—college graduation time—there shouldn’t be any snow.
After sending my cloudy cross photo to the cover designer, Ken Small, I get a couple of samples to look at. It’s obvious—there’s snow. Not good.
I spent the weekend with the problem on the back burner, while my husband and I walked the Bix7.
The easy, best solution presented itself as I sat around the house recovering: crop the photo. Simplify the whole thing.
That’s where it stands: blue morning sky, cloudy cross that’s mostly there, and the title for my mystery—Clouds Over Bishop Hill.
Everything still fitting together very nicely.