Cover Background Survey Results

Inspirational photo taken on my son’s property in Africa

Thank you to all who contributed to this survey.

As those of you who responded know, I am

working on an inspirational book based on stories and images of Africa. At the same time, I discovered I had credits with a photo stock company that I had to use within two days. My Scots blood would not allow these to go to waste, so I had to jump ahead and buy something I would use in the future.Opinion Stage

I tried several software programs to run a survey. None of them suited my requirements until I came to  Opinion Stage. This turned out to be ideal, and it had excellent support.

I created five polls, then joined them into a set and asked you to vote on each poll.

Each poll consisted of a choice of three photographs which could have been used as a cover background for my upcoming book. However, I wasn’t committed to using one of the 15 photos. I wanted to find out, with your help, what TYPE of picture would tempt people to take the book off the shelves and read the back cover.



Each photo focused on one of three categories:

  • Scenic view
  • Animal scene
  • Sunset 

This was an extremely useful exercise, and I will definitely use the idea again. It showed my idea of what you would like and your idea of what you would like were polls apart. (Pun intended!)

Now, I do know there were not that many people participating (77) and hopefully next time I will be able to run one for a longer time. Nevertheless, the results were enough to show a clear trend, which is what I wanted.

Here is a reminder for you of the 5 polls you voted on:

Out of a total of 333 votes, the statistics read as follows:

  • Scenic view, which I anticipated being highest: 17.74% preferred this type of image.
  • Animal scene, which I expected to be a close runner-up, scored 21.12%
  • Sunset came in with a high 61.8%

Out of the entire option of 15 photographs, one came out as a clear leader. The ellie with the sun shining through the trees. What a magnificent photo!

So what inspirational photo did I choose?

As I live in South Africa and have taken a lot of sunset and animal photos myself, and I also have a couple of family members who take wonderful photos, I decided not to spend my credits on this picture, beautiful though it is. I’m sure, with the help of Photoshop, I can create a photo similar to the ellie photo if that’s what I decide to go with. And I can always go back and purchase it if I wish.

So I spent my credits on a photo that I can change in various ways and use, if not for this book, for another. I probably won’t use it exactly as it stands, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a lovely photograph—and it is certainly one I wouldn’t be able to create.

Thanks to 123rf for this photo. Hover over the image to get the attribution.

So thank you to all those of you participated. I was amused by the number of people who commented on the photo at the top, taken on my son’s property in Hoekwil, South Africa.

Over to you:

Whether or not you participated in the survey, won’t you tell me which, out of all the photos on this page, you would like to see on the cover of a devotional book? That includes the one on my son’s property, and the one I finally downloaded. Just describe which one you like best.

Of course, if you like C best, you will add something about the picture so I can identify it, right? Yes, I knew you would.  😆

Two Ambitious Prayers

This entry is part 3 of the series Story Behind the Book

In 2009, I sensed the Lord calling me to write a book of meditations for those in the cancer valley. I gave it the working title of Rise and Soar, based on Isaiah 40:31, Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as eagles.

A couple of months later, I was approached to take on the post of Night Sister (RN in charge) in a large Frail Care center.

I agreed to take on the work only after being certain that I would be able to continue with my writing when my patients were asleep. I needed the money, I loved nursing, and I enjoyed night duty. But . . . Rise and Soar was my priority.

Fortunately, it looked as if I could have both.

Some months before, I had started to pray that 

  • somehow the Lord would make it possible for me to attend another Christian Writers’ Conference in the USA. I couldn’t see any other way of making contact with an overseas publisher. Thanks to the world-wide economic crisis, any type of travel was out of the question on our budget. There was certainly no way I could pay for world travel.
  • I prayed the Lord would show me which conference I was to attend.
  • I prayed He would supply the means, not only for the conference itself, but also to cover the cost of getting there.
  • And I prayed He would provide in such a way there was no question the finances were for a conference.

In other words, I prayed for a series of miracles.

Now I added another prayer:

  • that I would be able to get the necessary leave to attend the conference when God opened the many doors. I knew He was going to get me to a conference. I just didn’t know how. And I didn’t know how my new employers would react if it was too soon.

A few nights later, before I had even signed the contract for my new job, I received a totally unexpected email.

I was about to go to bed, when I checked my email one more time. There was an email from Cec Murphey in the States, offering to finance a trip to attend one of two conferences. The one was way too soon. The other was the Florida Christian Writers’ Conference in Leesburg, Florida.

Wow! This was indeed a miracle beyond anything I could have imagined. But the conference was in February. I would only have been working for five months. Surely I wouldn’t be able to get leave so soon? I phoned the Matron of the Frail Care unit. She didn’t hesitate. Certainly, I could have the leave. She even agreed that I could have a week off before and after, so that I would be able to get over my night-duty hours before the conference—and over the jet-lag after the conference.

Nearly four weeks leave—on full pay—after only five months of work. Surely this had to be of the Lord?

With a sense of awe, I accepted Cec’s offer, and I signed the contract with the Frail Care.

Both prayers were answered within a few days of each other! From that moment, I knew that the Florida conference was part of God’s plan for Rise and Soar.

  • I expanded my prayers to include a request that the Lord would bring to the conference the representative of the publishing house He wanted to publish the book. Almost every day, I started to watch the conference website to see which publishers would be represented.

And I started night duty.


The Dream Gains Momentum

This entry is part 4 of the series Story Behind the Book

Eagle flyingsmDuring my rigorous months of chemotherapy, one of my favourite haunts was the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden not far from our home in Krugersdorp, South Africa. There we would sit and watch for the appearance of one or both of the Vereaux’s eagles that nested high on a cliff overlooking a rocky valley. Little did I know what those eagles would one day mean to me. read more

Dreams of a Book

This entry is part 2 of the series Story Behind the Book

Several years after my cancer treatment, I was riding on my exercise bicycle with a book on writing perched on the handlebars. The author asked a question that prompted me to think. It went something like this: “If you were only going to get one book published in your life, what would that be?” I stopped reading, and although I continued to pedal, I prayed. What one book would be the most important for me to write? read more