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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Guest Post - The reason behind the book cover from author of Dog-Ma the Zen of Slobber, Barbara Boswell Brunner


Guest Post - Cover Inspiration
by author of Dog-Ma, the zen of slobber, Barbara Boswell Brunner 

I am frequently asked what inspired my choice for the cover of Dog-Ma - a elegantly posed Doberman in what appears to be a contemplative silhouette; looking out over an ocean sunset. I imagine it is a question authors are asked often. Most may say it is the cover my publisher chose or it is the design my graphic artist recommended.

In my case it is neither. I did not have a graphic artist select a photo for me or conduct a photo shoot to get “just the right shot”. Being self-published, I did not have to struggle with a publisher who had a different vision, perhaps, than I did for the cover. I knew I needed to use this photo for many years, even before I started writing the book.

Our first dog as a couple was Kashi, a Doberman who was as much a child to us as our own human daughter. We adopted her when she was just a few weeks old. She travelled everywhere with us and was a true member of our family. We even managed to take her to Disneyland!

She lived a very active life and even as she aged, she still looked like an adolescent dog, not an oldster. She never had a grey hair on her muzzle and always stayed clear-eyed, thin and toned. Dobermans generally live between ten and twelve years and as Kashi aged, we felt blessed to still have her at the age of fifteen.

Then, seemingly overnight, Kashi started to slow down. She was having trouble getting around, she slept a lot and we knew her life was probably coming to an end. A routine visit to the vet uncovered lung cancer as the cause for her sudden decline.  We were devastated and knew we needed to do something special for her if she had only a short time to live – two weeks was the prognosis handed to us.

Kashi had always loved the beach and we had not been in many years, since moving inland to Nashville, TN. We packed her up in the car and drove all day, arriving on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in the early evening. Though she was unable to easily walk from her bed to her bowl, she sniffed the salty air, leapt out of the car and raced toward the sound of the crashing waves. She was home.

The cover shot for the book was taken the following afternoon, after a long day of jumping and biting waves, bodysurfing and chasing birds. Exhausted, Kashi sat at the water’s edge, looking out at the breaking waves, seemingly trying to soak in every last little bit of the beach. It was as though she knew this would be her last moment in the sand. In the split second that the camera shutter snapped, I knew it was the photo of her that would be our most treasured.

When I got to the point of developing a book cover, I knew I needed to incorporate this shot. I worked with a graphic artist whose own love of animals made it easy for him to understand my attachment to this photo. Where many authors will make the title of the book or their own name large and central, I wanted this photo to be the star. I think it has had the exact effect I desired.

When readers first see the book, they comment on the photo, usually with a “great shot” or “I love dogs” comment. Then they read the title and laugh hysterically at the possibility that anyone could think that slobber has any Zen-like qualities. When I hear that, I know I have accomplished my mission.

What do you think of a book cover where the title or author’s name is not large and the main focus? I would love to hear your comments.  

You can join my Twitter feed @barbarabrunner or my Facebook Author Fan Page

About Barbara Boswell Brunner 
barbaraboswellbrunnerBarbara grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her parents, sister and always a dog, or two or three. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from a small women's college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Meeting her husband in Washington, DC, they continued together on a journey as self-proclaimed dog addicts. In the ensuing years, she founded three successful businesses in the Pacific Northwest and is a prolific fundraiser for breast cancer research. She and her husband are retired and now reside in Southwest Florida with two dogs and copious amounts of dog fur. She is currently working on indulging her well known flip flop addiction.  
Author on Facebook          Author's Website          Author on Twitter 

About the Book 
For dog lovers everywhere.......Barbara's vivid and dramatic stories, told with a wicked sense of humor, will make you laugh out loud. She definitely gets what living with rescued dogs (nine of them!) is all about. This book will inspire you with the couple's unstinting love, devotion, and respect for dogs as family members. You'll be glad to include it in your treasured collection of great dog books.

When Barbara meets her future husband, Ray, it is love-and dog-at first sight. Over the course of thirty-two years, seventeen relocations and nine dogs, their mutual love of dogs guides them on their unconventional path. The love that Barbara and Ray get in return is literally lifesaving, with one dog attacking a lethal intruder and another discovering Barbara’s cancer. Her own survival story underscores the story of how her dogs become survivors themselves. 

Each new dog adds its own dynamic to the family, sometimes upending it. From Turbo (whose Spock-like ears may have provided super powers), Barbara learns about the will to live; Lexington demonstrates incredible patience and an inexplicable love of golf; Madison teaches that laughter is truly the best medicine and that the whole “nine lives thing” is not reserved just for cats; Morgan should be sainted for tolerating Izzy, who is as cute as she is bad. Barbara is certain that somewhere in doggie heaven there is a poster that says “If you are sick, injured or in need of really expensive medical care, FIND THESE HUMANS!” 

Buy the book from ....
Author's Website
Barnes and Noble


printed version           ebook version 

Sharon x

Photobucket   Photobucket


  1. I personally prefer a big blog title and a small author name at the bottom. That's the way I was taught when I was in school. For some reason, my brain is wired to read it that way too!

  2. I would love to read about Kashi. Sounds like a really good book.


  3. As a self-published author who also designs their own covers I agree it's satisfying to be in full creative control. This is a touching post, though you don't express your sorrow at Kashi's loss, or even the loss itself, it is tangible within the writing. She clearly lives on in your memories, and is immortalized on your cover.


Always lovely to hear your comments xx

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