First appeared in Phobos Magazine #3, 02/08/2015.

When I Am Eighty-Three
Amanda C. Davis

The autumn after I turn eighty-three,
If I am still sound of tooth and knee,
I shall move to a town where they don’t know me,
To the creepiest house, where the witch lives.

I will eat fish and onions and greasy meat
Cooked all day long, so it smells in the street,
And keep forty black cats on my porch and beneath
And teach them to glare into windows.

I will make my own clothing from vintage gowns
And have three dozen hats with tattered crowns.
I will take slow walks when the sun goes down
And mutter at children, and hiss.

I will stay until Halloween. The following dawn,
I’ll pack my car until the trunk space is gone
With hats and cats and footballs that fell on my lawn
And drive back to Florida, where my friends live.

There I will drink cocktails as much as I can
And stroll with my childhood friends in the sand
And find my cats good homes and get a dog and get tan
And live forever, a legend, a witch.


More witchy poems, here: Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Anthology

Craving something longer? The Lair of the Twelve Princesses is a 9000-word sword-and-sorcery novelette, available now at Smashwords or Amazon.


My excellent sister, Megan Engelhardt, sold an excellent short story to the excellent Rhonda Parrish, who today revealed the excellent cover that will go on top of it:

CORVIDAE-cover-resizedI love it, and I love her story specifically, about an odd couple of globetrotting monster-hunting ladies and their adventures with an expanding entourage of charming weirdos.

Watch for it on July 7.

My premade ebook covers are designed to get your novel out the door with a dynamic cover quickly and seamlessly. Each cover is unique and sold only once.* I’m initially focusing on romance, young adult contemporary, new adult, and women’s fiction, but check back often for new covers. (If you don’t see exactly what you want, I’m also available for custom coverscontact me for a quote.)

How It Works:

  1. Fill in the form below with the required information.
  2. I’ll add your information to the cover you chose and email you a low-res proof copy.
  3. After you approve the cover and send payment (PayPal or check accepted), I’ll email you the final 1400 x 2100 pixel version in the format of your choice.
  4. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask!

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34 roadrage
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35 secret
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36 kingdomcome
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19 tulip
#19 – $35
20 littlehouse
#20 – $35
21 couplekissing2
#21 – $35
22 poppies2
#22 – $35
23 scarytree
#23 – $50
24 suitman4
25 snowyroad
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26 purplecorn
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27 bluetrees2
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28 pinkclouds
– $40
29 yellowswamp
– $35
30 staircase
– $50
31 suitman3
– $40
32 bluesky
– $35

*I use stock photos**, so I can’t promise the image is exclusive to your book, but I won’t resell my designs. After they’re claimed, they’re gone!

**Right now all of my source photos come from CC0 sites like Gratisography, Skitterphoto, Unsplash, and the like. I’ll send you information about the specific images used on request at purchase. I suppose that means you could hunt down these photos and create your own versions, but my typography is ace, and you don’t want to miss out. ^_^

For this week’s weekend book cover, Rhonda Parrish asked me for a cover for a collection of her late mother’s poetry.


I liked the idea of snowy owl imagery. Unexpected difficulty: owl faces are hilarious. I couldn’t build a contemplative poetry cover out of this guy. To get around that, I went looking for an image of a snowy owl flying away. I thought that included some relevant symbolism as well.

Then: background. Turns out Rhonda (editor, author, doer of all the things) is also a great photographer. Her Flickr account gave me plenty to work with. I really liked this lonely mailbox, and I like the imagery, that this book would be stuffed with messages the author left behind for her loved ones.

snowy-owl-12893020 mailbox_sm

For the font, I wanted a script that was neither too flowery nor too grungy. One called “Chemist” seemed to fill the bill. I put a shadow behind it to help bring out the words. For the subtitle and author name, I’m just a perpetual sucker for Century Gothic and its variants.

I colorized the owl and mailbox, then eventually the post, then put a gradient behind the author name, then desaturated things a bit.


I like it! The author and her daughter didn’t love the owl element, so I made two variations: no owl, and extra owl.

lovesandra4 lovesandra5

They preferred the one with no owl, so that’s the final. Huzzah!


This one came together so smoothly, it was awesome. If I could change one thing, I’d put something across the top or in the top right corner. Maybe part of a representative poem?

What do you think? How’s the composition? Does the cover seem to match the contents of the book? What tweaks would you make?


  • Chemist
  • Century Gothic
  • Century Gothic Bold



  • All of two and a half hours including image searches and final tweaks.

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

This week’s entry in my weekend book cover experiment is a fantasy novel by Denice J.D. The book is still in concept form. She sent me a synopsis and several photographs.

beachpics info2

These are good vacation pics, but not useful cover images, especially for the story described. They may not scream “Atlantic City” but they don’t look much like the Mediterranean, either, which is largely surrounded by cliffs and richly blue-green. They don’t contain any information except “on the beach”. Alas, I can’t use them for this cover.

This is a problem, because: what CAN I use?

I ask about the “twin beasts of night and day”, which is the most intriguing part of the synopsis to me. I work up several concepts based on this. Since I cannot art, they are terrible.


I set it aside for weeks. Eventually I decide to make a very general “royalty-themed fantasy” cover. It’s better than nothing!

I use a parchment-ish background texture and find a free image of an amulet, because nothing says “royalty” like big crazy jewelry and a parchment will tilt the feel toward a medieval setting. (Thank goodness for that texture pack; it’s much better than the two attempts above.) I’ve been wanting to use this font for a while, so I grab the chance.


That’s not terrible. I start tweaking the font colors and sizes. I match the title to different colors within the amulet.

There’s not enough going on, so I decide to add two overlays: a seal, hopefully invoking things like trade, wealth, and official deals, and a seagull shadow, which I hope brings in something of the sea. Also free images of dragons are hard to find.



The bottom one wins out, but I still have to make a final version because I’ve been spelling her name wrong this entire time, because I am the absolute worst.


Man oh man this was difficult. The ability to create (or commission) original art would have come in extremely handy. But this synopsis was also difficult to pull specific imagery from. I’m guessing that a synopsis written after the book was done would have a lot more hooks for a designer to start with.

What do you think? Can you guess something of the book’s contents by the cover? Does it look professional? What tweaks would you make?


  • Colonna MT



  • Ugh, like eight hours fiddling with my original concept and maybe two to create and complete the final one

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

This week my weekend book cover experiment is a personal one: I made an alternate book cover for my collection of funny horror, Suddenly, Zombies. Below are the original cover and the jacket copy.

SuddenlyZombies300 Zombies in space! Giant zombie gorillas! When life gets weird, all you can do is stick by your friends and hang on to your brains. Amanda C. Davis dishes out two short stories (and a bonus drabble) from the lighter side of the zombocalypse.

Stories first appeared in Zombonauts (Library of the Living Dead Press), Zombie Kong (Books of the Dead Press), and Necrotic Tissue (Stygian Publications).


This is one of the first covers I made, and I wanted it to be clear that this was lighthearted horror. I also had far fewer tools and way less experience back then, so I drew the elements myself from the two main stories in the collection. Here’s my rough iterative process on this one.


I like it, but I wanted to try a cover that would look more at home in the horror section while still conveying that lighthearted element. I decide the image of a zombie hand poking out of the ground making a thumbs-up symbol covers a lot of the imagery I want, so I go ahead and mock up something.


This is terrible.

There’s a lot of value in making terrible things, though, because it prepares you for the trouble you’ll run across in making decent things. I scrap every element in this version and start looking for better ways to do what I have in mind.

I need a decent thumbs-up. This is surprisingly hard to find for free, especially held aloft like I want. I decide I’ll settle for an OK symbol. Wikimedia commons has one. The arm’s not long enough, so I extend it a bit. (Amanda C. Davis: Arm Extender.)

It’s also surprisingly hard to find a free image of the kind of graveyard I want. I’d go out and take my own photo if they all weren’t covered in snow at the moment. This one is nice and crowded. All the tombstones are in Hebrew, which I enjoy because some of the earliest recorded walking dead are Jewish.

I use a green grunge texture to zombie up the hand, put shadows around the graveyard, hide the wrist stub behind some moss, and use a stains brush to discolor the “Suddenly”. This is exciting. I use very few brushes normally.


I check up on alternate meanings for the OK symbol, and swap out the cemetery to avoid Unfortunate Implications. This changes my color palette to include orange, which is fine with me. My sister encourages me to make the word “Zombies” less stark white, which I do. And that’s my final version.


I’m not sure whether it meets its goal and I don’t have sales numbers yet to show how it’s doing, but the new cover is up on Smashwords and Amazon now–and it’s discounted at the moment.

Do you think this is a better cover than the previous? In what way? What would you change if you could?


  • Dosis Bold
  • Scratched Letters
  • Dosis Medium
  • Dosis Bold



  • 5 hours, give or take.

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

So I was updating my Amazon profile the other day with my recent releases, and it turns out there are kind of a lot of them! Here’s where I’ve appeared in the past month or so.

not_our_kind_tinyNot Our Kind: Tales of (Not) Belonging – January 25
My story: Good Neighbors [Check it out on Amazon]

When you talk about outsiders, it’s easy to think about that sense of isolation when you’re not one of the “popular kids” in high school, when you’re the new person on the job, when you stand out in a bad way.

But there’s more than that.

There’s the sense of wonder at a new, alien place. There’s seeing everything you know through a new, different point of view.

These stories defy expectations and easy genre boundaries.

But if you want that sense of wonder and amazement when you first encountered speculative fiction, that idea that there is something different, something more just around the corner, just out of sight, that sense of coming home to the unfamiliar, then this is the book you want to read.

faed_tinyFaed – January 31
My story: Away and Below [Check it out on Amazon]

The good neighbors, the folk under the hill, the fae. Spirits, ghosts, and outsiders, often thought to be gods. They step into the real world to play, not caring or knowing how humans live.

And like children playing with dolls, they have the power to completely change the story.

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination – February 1
My story: She Opened Her Arms [Read free]

Amber was hunched on the playground swing, watching Michael chalk meticulous, artless nonsense on the blacktop, when a woman came up to watch. Amber eyed her warily. Her brother couldn’t tell bad strangers from good ones, so it was up to her.

phobos_troublemake_tinyPhobos: Troublemake – February 8
My poem: When I Am Eighty-Three [Check it out on Amazon]

For our third issue of Phobos, “Troublemake,” we called for stories about biters of the hands that feed, timid folk acting out against their tormentors, unlikely disturbers of the status quo, hell-raisers both literal and figurative, and creatures who just plain don’t like being told what to do.

An incredible, international collection of writers responded with stories about the various hungers of a corrupt food critic, a clandestine embalmer on the run, suburban botanical troubles, a desperate politician in a haunted town, casual witchcraft gone wrong, casual witchcraft done right, a working dreamer and a dreaming worker, the obstacle course of a disintegrating family, and the clever, web-fingered, eponymous main attraction of our final piece.

thetimeithappened_tinyThe Time It Happened – March 1
My story: Xenofabulous [Check it out on Amazon]

Time. We feel it march by, seeming to gain momentum with each passing year. Some physicists argue that it might not actually exist. We have only our recollections to depend on, and sometimes those can fool us, becoming fogged, like overexposed film.

“The Time It Happened” from Third Flatiron Anthologies contains 15 short science fiction adventures and flash humor pieces that explore world-altering events, both real and imagined, ranging from alien invasion and space wars to fantastically unpredictable science experiments. Seemingly minor crises, such as missing your morning cup of coffee, or a network glitch, can ruin your whole day, but what about forever? Historical events, like Lincoln’s death, the Apollo 11 mission, or Sputnik, may not have happened quite like we remember. Yet surely the most important memories, like love, are permanently etched on the walls of time.

“The Time It Happened” proudly showcases an international group of new and established speculative fiction authors.

Mirror Dance – March 1
My poem: Crown of Bells [Read free]

If we had only known earlier–
We whisper on the linen, nose to cheek–
If we had guessed the witch for what she was,
If we had resigned before the mess began–

But a servant’s no advisor,
And a cook’s no fool.
Let the master handle his own witches.

xiii_tinyXIII: Stories of Transformation – March 16
My story: Why Ulu Left the Bladescliff [Check it out on Amazon]

The thirteenth Tarot card is Death, and he is a symbol not of the end, but of transformation and rebirth. This is the genesis and root of Thirteen: Stories of Transformation. The twenty-eight authors of this collection are voices—new and old—who are not afraid to explore what comes next. Whether it be a life after death, a life without love, a life filled with hunger, or the life shared by a ghost. These are stories of the weird, the mythic, the fantastic, the futuristic, the supernatural, and the horrific.

The ghosts of the past have been eaten by the children of the future: this endless cycle of birth, death, and renewal is the magic of thirteen.

Do not fear change. Embrace it. Let Thirteen be the handbook for the new you.