Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free For All Friday: Get Intimate with Hot Damn Designs!

Today's your lucky day because I'm playing "roving reporter" and interviewing my friend, the talented Kim Killion of HOT DAMN DESIGNS. Follow me…
JENN: {knocks on the door} Kim? Are you here? {Pushes open door}
KIM: I’m in the studio, Jenn. Come on in.
JENN: *Gasps* Um, is now a bad time?  {Not that I'm complaining; Kim is rubbing down a half-naked man with baby oil.}
KIM: No, no. We'll talk while I work. We’ve got a dozen models on the schedule and I have zero time for a break. Come over here and give me a hand.
JENN: *My pleasure!* {I work my way passed a kitchen table full of food toward Kim and reach for the baby oil - instead Kim hands me a cowboy hat and a lint brush.}
KIM: Can you clean that up for me while I tell you how this whole thing got started?
JENN:  Sure. *grumble, grumble* But you missed a spot. {I point at a particularly delicate spot needing more oil.}
KIM: Oh. Got it. Thanks.
JENN: So, how did you land such an . . . interesting job?
KIM: Well, if you want to know the truth, you were the one who instigated this whole soiree. Remember when we went to the Ozarks for a writer’s weekend? I was complaining about the lack of imagery out there for the book covers I was designing, and you mentioned a friend of yours who should be a model.
JENN: *sigh* Ah, yes, Adam! {I look around. After all, as a friend, I should offer to oil him down for his shoot.} Is he here?
KIM: Yea. He's on set right now.
JENN: {I pause for a moment to take in all the madness around me. There are tables full of props: huge swords, whips, masks, hats galore. There are three women curling hair and one putting make-up on a model. Then I see Adam standing beneath a giant light clutching this girl in the burgundy dress I loaned Kim for the shoot. My heart did a little pitter-patter.}
ANGIE (the photographer): Fierce up! Tighten your muscles! *Click. Click. Click.* Kim, quit feeling up Brooks and get over here.
KIM: {Rushes to center stage and studies the models on set.} Get closer to her, Adam. Her lips. Tighten your abs. Close your eyes. Grab her thigh. That's it. You're a freakin' rock star!
*Click. Click. Click.*
JENN: {I peek at the computer screen where at the pics are popping up.} OMG! These are amazing! But why do they all have a gray background? It seems boring.
KIM: They gray is the easiest to cut out and nine times out of ten, the background will stripped and a landscape of some sort will get put in, like I did on Katy Madison’s, The Wedding Duel or Shari Anton's, Emily's Captain.
ANGIE: Excellent! Great job guys. NEXT!
JENN: {Things were too busy for me to get to Adam. As soon as he got off the set, I saw Wendy Drew, owner of Rose’s Bookhouse and fellow MORWA member, grab him and start undressing him.} *Humph.* {I want that job.} Things are moving very quickly here.
KIM: We shoot two models every half-hour, which sounds easy enough, but it’s not. The lights have to be readjusted for each set. If there’s a sword, we have to try to light the sword. It takes time to pull in a couch or a chair or drape silk over the floor. Right now Angie and her two assistants are changing the background paper in preparation for the snakes.
JENN: Snakes?!! What has that got to do with romance novels?
KIM: Hell, I don’t know. It’s just cool as hell. I think the shots with the snakes could have paranormal potential. Plus, the models are totally psyched about poses for the "Creature Feature."
JENN: *Shiver* Creature Feature? Who came up with that? 
KIM: My "work" husband, Jeff, was the mastermind behind the exotic shots. Oh, there he is now. 
JENN: {I turn around and spots two men carrying in huge coolers.}
KIM: I’m actually hoping to target the reptile market with some of the images we’ll take of the snakes and the tarantula. {Kim shifts her eyes toward a gorgeous brunette in a robe walking toward the set.} You ready, Ashley?
ASHLEY: Hell, yeah!
JENN: What’s she getting ready for? {The model drops her robe. She’s naked! I’m startled for just a second, but no one else seems surprised.}
KIM: Look out! Here’s comes Julius Squeezer.
JENN: Julius who? {A man walks passed me carrying an 8’ albino Burmese python.} Holy S**t! {While Ashley rolls around with the snake, Kim and I finally get a chance to step back and talk without interruption.} So, what are your hopes for
KIM: I hope I can provide imagery for covers, websites, and various marketing materials for myself and others working in the creative end of this industry. The models have all signed a contract releasing the pictures that will sell online royalty-free at our sister site
JENN: How much will they cost?
KIM: The high-res images sell for $30 and the low-res images sell for $20. As you can see, you don’t just grab a couple hotties off the street and stuff them in a gown and waistcoat and then tell them to go at. There’s an immense amount of work that goes into casting the models, lining up the stylists and make-up artist and getting the costumes in order.
JENN: Where did you get all these costumes?
KIM: From friends mostly, but we also rented costumes for the St. Louis Repertory Theatre.
JENN: Where do you get most of your clients?
KIM: A lot of our clients are authors, both new and seasoned. The new authors need websites and marketing material like bookmarks, business cards and ebanners for promotion. We're also acquiring a lot of work from authors who are getting their rights back and putting up their backlist in eformat. They are looking for a means to attract readers and need quality commercial covers. {A commotion in the back of the studio distracts Kim. Her eyes shift to the corner.} Brooks, I think Ed needs some help.
JENN: Who’s Brooks? Who's Ed? What's going on?
KIM: Brooks is a model. Ed brought the snakes and I don't know what's going on. Ed, you all right?
ED: *Groan* Cleopatra sunk her teeth in me! I don’t know what’s wrong with her. I fed her two rats and a rabbit yesterday.
KIM: Ah, bludiy s**t!
JENN: I’m guessing Cleopatra isn’t one of the models?
KIM: Nope. She’s Julius’s 10’ foot mate. {My heart crawls up my throat - along with my breakfast - as I watch them pry Cleopatra’s mouth open so Ed can get his hand free. He’s bleeding all over Hell and half of Georgia. I had to step back until things calmed down and wait while Kim directed a few shots during the tarantula set. Then she introduces me to Ed. He’s got three green tree frogs on his arm. One jumps off him and lands right between Kim’s breasts.}
KIM: *Screams!*
JENN: What kind of picture can you sell with frogs? {I wrinkle my nose with distaste.}
WENDY: Fairy tale ménage a quatre?
JENN: *Whoa!* I don't know if my heart could take that. {Fans self.}
KIM: Oh come on. Stick around. We’re shooting erotic next!
JENN: Well, maybe I could stay a little longer........................

While we're still here at the studio, what questions do you all have for Kim? 

And I have a surprise for you! Tomorrow is my birthday so I decided to give one of YOU a gift - 1 of Kim's fantastic stock photos!!!! Your choice :) All you have to do is leave a question or comment to be entered in the drawing, then check back here Sat. morning to see if you're the winner.
Good luck! 
And a BIG thanks to Kim for being my guest :)


  1. Kim and Jenn, great interview. This a great snapshot of what goes on behind the scenes to make those gorgeous covers. Keep up the great work.

  2. Gorgeous covers! Something an author would be proud to have on their book. Great work.

  3. I have to agree that the artwork is excellent. I have photographer friends and friends who are actors so I know how much work goes into a photo shoot to produce that sexy image. Kimberly - great job!
    Kimberly - you said that your clients are authors new and seasoned. Are the images you provide just for promotion materials or are they for covers? If it's for a cover is a self-published book or just for the eformat as you say? I'm overhauling my site so I will definitely check out your site. It was nice to meet you!

  4. Oh - and one more question - got any gymnast pictures on there?

  5. What an adorable interview. Thanks for turning us on to Kim, Jennifer. I'm particularly interested in the stock photos. Great job!

  6. GReat interview Jennifer! Kim love what you've done, you're work's spectacular!
    Maggie Mae Gallagher

  7. Thanks everyone for stopping by and for all the compliments!
    Kellie, for the most part the covers I design are for authors putting up their backlist. I do some self-published and am working on doing a POD series now. But I"m certainly not limited to book covers. I do it all, baby! *wink* I'm doing bookmarks, and websites, and bus name it, if you can print it or put in online, I can most likely get er done.
    As for gynmast pics...hmmm...I know my photographer is shooting some little girls soon, but I"m guessing that's not what you're after. LOL

  8. Very entertaining interview, ladies!
    Loved the whole snake thing. Ya, I'm weird. Question for Kim: After checking out the link Jenn sent to, I didn't see anything that really fit what I write. How often do you anticipate changing your photos? Also, what's the cost of taking one of your stock pics and changing it into something like Shari Anton's book cover?
    This is definitely a million dollar idea IMO. Way to be an entrepreneur!

  9. Undressing the guys was really hard...errr...difficult...errr...time consuming. *laughs* Kidding. ;-) But seriously, everyone was ubber professional. What a joy to be a part of such an amazing experience with such talented professionals. I think the quality of product speaks for itself. Congratulations, Kim! You deserve it!

  10. What a great interview! Entertaining, yeah, but very well done, too, Jen. Geez! And the pix are super. I have nothing but admiration for your energy and pizzaz, Kim. Very best of luck. I'll be calling you "When" I publish :)

  11. It's great to see how these turned out. So cool and with your imagination turning them into beautiful covers, color me impressed.

    BTW if you ever need cute kid cover models (you know for family type romances) I've got a couple I can lend you :)

  12. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous! The HotDamn covers really have raised the bar on Kindle/Self-Pub artwork and I've gotten so many compliments on the website!

    How much of a waiting list do you have for covers and/or websites?

  13. *Holy smokes and hot damn...that was the best thing ever!* {Fans self.} And you are the best "roving reporter" of all time, Jenn!

    I'll be checking the HotDamn site often and sending a wish list to Santa. The photos are gorgeous and the prices a cheap, cheap, cheap for the quality provided. A question for Kim… What happens if I’ve picked a favorite but the only thing I’m not 100% keen on is the model’s hair color? Is there a Photoshop fix you can do for that? Or am I out of luck? Sorry to be so picky!

    Happy birthday for tomorrow, Jenn! I'm sending you a big birthday hug from across the internet.

  14. Lynda,
    I charge a $100 for a book cover. The majority of the shots cannot be used alone which is why we have the grey background so the people can be striped out. If you're interested in learning more, just shot me an email at
    And thanks for stopping by!

  15. Thanks Wendy & Barb! I'm very pleased with how things are going. We still aren't slowing down much, but I get bored easily. :)

    And don't let Wendy fool ya. She enjoyed her job A LOT! *wink*

  16. Thanks for the kid offer, Amanda. I would consider it, but I've got a couple brats, um, kids at home, too. LOL

  17. Hi Jeannie!!!
    I'm glad you like what I"m doing with the stock and that you are getting kudos on your page! Yay!
    How far behind am I, you ask? Well, just when I think I've got my head above water I get another cover or website. I'm going to have to get some help if I'm ever going to write again. LOL But seriously, what I"m running into is that I'm not getting 1 cover from an author, I'm getting 6. Which is great! A year ago I was basically unemployed, so I'm not complaining, plus I really love designing the covers and the stock just makes life so much easier. :)

  18. Thanks, Jacqui for the b-day hug! :)
    This interview was SO much fun! I'm glad all of you stopped by!
    Keep the questions coming -- I'm sure Kim will drop back by to answer -- as soon as she pulls herself away from oiling Brooks, er, I mean her work. *wink, wink* Tough job.

  19. Jacqui, I can change hair color! In fact I just did that last night for a cover I was working on. With having access to so much stock, it's now a walk in the park to take someone's eyes, or hair or even boobs and put them on someone else. :) And, yes, I've already done that. In fact, if you jump over to my facebook and look at my profile pic, the girl on that cover was naked. I had to steal the gypsy skirt off another model and dress her. So, yes, it can be done. :)

  20. Great interview! It's so nice to see how things went behind the scenes!

  21. Happy Birthday, Jenn.

    I really enjoyed the interview it was alot of fun.

    Kim those photos look amazing. I bookmarked hotdamndesigns for future reference.

  22. Happy Birthday, Jenn! Somehow I missed that. boo for me...
    Kim - thanks for replying, and NO I wasn't thinking of kids when I asked about gymnasts. I'll email you and let you know what I'm looking for. Great interview, and isn't it wonderful to tap into so many of your talents? Way to go!

  23. *big grin* Yes, I LOVED my job. Except for my boss. She wasn't much fun. (Kidding, Kim! Love ya!)