What’s In A Cover?

As the release of Continuing Actions: A Warrior’s Guide to Coming Home draws near, I thought I’d share a little bit about the cover design that the team from Ascent created for it.

I might be able to write, but that is where my creative talents end–I am not a visual arts kind of guy.  For both of my books, I have outsourced the creation of the cover design with little-to-no guidance about what I wanted them to look like.  Usually my instructions to the design team went something along the lines of, “I don’t want this, or that.  I want something that kinda says this, but with a little of that thrown in for good measure. ”  In short, I’m pretty sure I’m a nightmare client for them.  But, once again, they’ve come through with flying colors.

Continuing Actions Cover

The reasons I like this design are simple:  it encapsulates the book’s message in a striking visual manner.  Here are the elements as I see them:

The two troopers moving forward with weapons raised, fading away:  This image shows the confidence born of solid preparation, teamwork, and years of training for the physical challenges of combat.  Millions of us have advanced into dangerous situations like these two are doing–confident in our skills, our training, and in the knowledge that our brothers and sisters will be there to cover our backs.

But that time of our lives is fading away, just like the two figures dissolving into the background.

On the right stands a man, hands in pockets, looking up in a posture of internal searching.  To me, he’s standing there thinking, “Well, fuck.  Now what?”  I know I’ve stood in that same posture and looked out over vistas from Virginia to Afghanistan with that exact thought running through my head.  This is the position many, if not most, veterans find themselves in when they come home.  The confidence we enjoyed when putting our hard-earned skills to the test in challenges we were well prepared for has become a distant memory.  In its place is self-doubt, distrust of our emotions and reactions, and an indistinct urge to constantly be doing something–but without any idea what, exactly, it is.

Continuing Actions is written for the figure on the right.  It is written to answer the question he seems to be asking himself, “Now what?”  Now that you’ve come home, now that you have left the battlefield, how do you move forward in your life?  This is the phase of our journey as warriors that we are least prepared for.  It is this lack of preparation that leaves us exposed to avoidable injuries and needless suffering.  The good news is that there is a lot that we, as individuals, can do to correct this gap in our training.

Whether you’ve been home for decades or are still on active duty, Continuing Actions contains information that can help you understand the full spectrum of the warrior’s journey.  It can help explain the normal responses and challenges warriors have always faced when coming home, identify ways that our modern training actually hampers our efforts to effectively deal with these challenges, and then provides pragmatic suggestions for how you can prepare yourself to face them when your time comes.

I am expecting the first physical copy of the new book to reach me today.  Once I’m certain that everything prints out the way I want it to, then it will be available on amazon.com.

It’s getting close, very close. . . .

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