Well, the day is here! The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin is live on Kindle and CreateSpace and will be available soon wherever books are sold. To celebrate, this week my posts will give you an inside look at the creation of the book and the story elements. First up, the cover!

The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin debuted at #8 in Christian Allegory on Amazon!

The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin debuted at #8 in Christian Allegory on Amazon!

I debated for awhile about which aspect of the book to highlight. After all, here’s the description:

What happens when a vampire gets baptized?

After 125 years of vampirism, Jeffrey Lapin wants to end his life of torment. A failed suicide attempt puts him in touch with Maddy, an Orthodox Christian police officer whose helping hand burns Jeffrey’s skin. Her touch shows him the solution to his problem: he will convert to Orthodoxy and say goodbye to the world when he gets baptized. But Jeffrey’s so focused on dying that he overlooks the first part of baptism: the exorcism. Parted forever from the demon that tormented him, Jeffrey has to learn to live as a Christian, free from the demon but not his own tendencies to mess up.

With compassion and coffee, confession and cake, Jeff’s new Orthodox family teaches him to accept the grace given him to live into true eternal life. Strengthened by new habits of faith, Jeffrey finds a new direction, purpose, and maybe even love.

Fans of The Screwtape Letters and The Sayings of the Desert Fathers will resonate with this story of redemption and love rooted in ancient Christian teachings.

And the description doesn’t even tell you that Mr. Lapin actually breeds rare rabbits! Should I highlight baptism and bunnies?

An early DRAFT of the cover. No one knew what they were seeing.

An early DRAFT of the cover. No one knew what they were seeing.

Um, NO! The cover did not make sense to anyone. Even though I knew that the background image behind the praying bunny was a baptismal font, I had to admit that it didn’t look like much of anything out of context. I briefly debated featuring Cake and Coffee, but that gave the impression of a recipe book and gave no hints as to what the story was about. Next, I tried referencing Jeffrey’s patron saint, St. Martin of Tours:

Is this a history book? What's going on with the rabbit?

Is this a history book? What’s going on with the rabbit?

Again, NO! There was no indication whatsoever that my main character has a super dark past — He’s been a vampire for 125 years! — and most people wouldn’t be familiar enough with saint’s lives to understand that the panel of engravings (see the pin on my Jeff and Maddy Pinterest Board for the source) was showing St. Martin’s progression in salvation. I was at a loss. I needed something dramatic that referenced spiritual warfare. So I asked my author friends for help. If you think writing is a solitary venture, you are partly correct. We do spend hours upon hours writing alone. But it’s impossible to underestimate the help and great advice one receives from fellow authors! After chatting with a wonderful Christian romance author, I realized that the perfect image was right in my own home!

Archangel Michael icon.

This icon of Archangel Michael was written by my husband in May 2012.

I grabbed the candle burning in front of our iconostasis (prayer station) and snapped a few photos of Archangel Michael by candlelight. Perfect! Archangel Michael is often depicted slaying the devil. He is the chief warrior of the heavenly hosts. Plus, even though my book is not gory, there is something gothic about any vampire story. The rich, deep colors of this handwritten icon conveyed the perfect air of mystery, spiritual power, and menace that I needed to give readers a “feel” for the story on the cover. Bonus: with my husband’s writing (painting) on the cover, this book was truly a family venture!

I hope you enjoyed this inside look at the making of The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin. Join me tomorrow for the inside story on Holy Cake!

 

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