Holding Out For a Hero, A Superhero Anthology with stories from Christine Bell and Ella Dane, Tamara Morgan, Nico Rosso, and Adrien-Luc Sanders
by Christine Bell and Ella Dane
After five years in training, it’s finally time for Scarlett Fever and her fellow superheroes to leave the United Superhero Academy and test their powers out in the real world. There’s only one problem. She’s been assigned to partner with arrogant, by the book, and irritatingly hot, Blade of Justice.
Blade’s whole life has gone according to plan, and he’s more than ready to move on to the big time, protecting a metropolis of his own. But his perfectly ordered life is derailed when he’s teamed up with the fiery maverick, Scarlett Fever.
Sparks fly the moment they arrive in Plunketville, Oklahoma, as they each set out to force the other to request a transfer. They soon discover there’s more going on in this single stop-sign town than blowing up mailboxes and cow tipping. If Scarlett can get Blade to listen to his gut, and he can teach her to use her head, they just might have a fighting chance.
by Nico Rosso
Vince might be hard as steel, but he’s not invincible. Not when iron touches him, especially in the hands of an evil minion. Not when Kara ran away after a whirlwind affair, just when he thought he might be falling in love. And definitely not when she returns, looking for his help.
The archvillain TechHead is coming for Kara and her superhero teammates, and he’s determined to use their combined power to create the ultimate weapon. But Kara can’t fight him alone. She needs Vince’s brutal skill, though being with him means she risks losing her beloved secret identity, leaving her nowhere else to hide.
When TechHead makes a play to capture Kara, Vince has more to lose than just his heart. But he will do anything for the woman he loves, even if it means putting his heart on the line again.
Playing With Fire
by Tamara Morgan
Fiona Nelson has always been one hot ticket—even before she took the conversion serum that gave her superhu¬man abilities. Fiona’s powers come at a price: lack of human contact, or she won’t be the only thing burning. When she loses control of her emotions, her fire powers run rampant… and she’s hurt enough people already. Including herself.
But when the man behind her conversion returns to black¬mail her into helping him gain power, the only person she can turn to is Ian Jones, the man who broke her teenage heart. The man determined to expose the criminal known as Fireball, whose explosive escapades are just a little too close to Fiona’s M.O.
Ian is convinced Fiona’s dangerous, convinced she’s Fire¬ball, and convinced he’ll damn himself if he doesn’t resist a heat that’s always drawn him to Fiona like a moth to a flame—but Ian has his own secrets.
And he’ll learn far too soon what happens when you play with fire.
From the Ashes
by Adrien-Luc Sanders
Sociopath. Killer. Deviant. Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called that and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded count¬less crimes to build his father’s inhuman empire.
Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford–antisocial graduate research¬er, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.
One kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges ev¬erything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. But when his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of hu¬mans and aberrants alike in Tobias’s hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile deeper, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean–or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?
(via the page on Amazon.com)
So this here was my first cover for Entangled Publishing. I suppose you could say it was my trial by fire? *rimshot*
My requirements for this: fire and dude without a shirt. It’s a superhero anthology, so it had to reflect something about the genre.
Setting aside the obvious part of having to search through hundreds upon hundred of shirtless dude photos, finding an appropriate background for this presented its own challenges. Clearly the generic satin fabric type background a lot of Romance novels use was not going to work for this one. Due to the sci-fi/fantasy themes in these stories it needed something else. For ideas I went back to the book blurbs. Apart from all having at least one guy in them, the thing that connected these stories was fire. All of the heroes are facing the possibility of the world literally burning down around them, so when I came across an artist’s rendering of a destroyed city burning/disintegrating, I couldn’t think of anything more fitting.
Now, this choice has had some… interesting results. It was pointed out to me by the authors/editor that the tall building behind Shirtless Dude is rather, um, phallic. Fitting, maybe, given the genre, but it wasn’t done with intention. Perhaps that makes it all the funnier to see that those concerned have since dubbed it #firepeen on Twitter. Oh, how I rolled when I saw that. Absolutely hilarious. I’m so glad the authors like the image. I’ve never covered an anthology before so I’m pretty pleased with the results. I even got to chat with some of them as a result of the whole #firepeen thing. What a great bunch of ladies! Now go buy their book. ;P
The composition itself is filled with lots of masking and blending modes and color tweaks to get consistent tone and such throughout the image, but nothing groundbreaking or overly challenging. I did look up some tutorials on how to make a guy look like he’s walking through flames or shooting flames from his hands, but ultimately I found an existing image to use on Shirtless Dude that was much less work that ended in the exact results I was looking for. Still, just reading through the tutorials put that much more Photoshop knowledge in my noggin so I still count it as a win.