I have to admit to a weakness for bodice rippers–you know, the old historical romance covers where one member of the couple is ripping the other’s clothing off. The idea being that they’re too excited to wait to undo buttons and hooks but have to get to each other’s bodies NOW! After I learned that it’s almost impossible to rip the front of a dress but that the back would have a seam that might give way, I decided to have my hero do that with my heroine in my first ever published historical romance. Voila! Waitangi Nights.
Dorchester Publishing did a wonderful job with that cover by filling it full of orchids. The heroine was an orchid nurserywoman working for a rich and handsome man who lived in New Zealand. By the middle they’d become lovers. By the end, they’d become husband and wife.
In the olden days, publishers would hire two models and a photographer to do a photo shoot. Then, they’d send the pictures to an artist who’d create an acrylic painting. Publishers used to brag they paid more for the cover than they paid the author for the book. I don’t know why they thought we’d appreciate that.
These days, photographers do the shoots with models and put the images up for authors and publishers to buy the right to use on covers. Most people don’t pay to buy the image outright so the hero and heroine can appear on multiple covers. That honestly doesn’t bother me that much because we all hire wonderful graphic artists to make our covers unique and beautiful.
Here’s one I truly love. This was for Captain and Countess, my Kindle Scout winner. I adore the intense color and how the man’s hand caresses the woman’s shoulder blade. I also like the way she has one hand over her breast and the other tickling the back of his neck and his ear. It suggests a bit of modesty but also a desire to touch him. This is a Jenn LeBlanc image done up by my graphic artist, Talina Perkins of Bookin’ It Designs.
And here’s another one by Jenn and Talina.
You may not be able to see the lovely flowers in the background. I told Talina the couple is in Italy, and I wanted a garden setting. Again, I think the cover suggests a combination of innocence and carnality. I only learned later that my friend, Isobel Carr, who’s a perfect stickler for historical accuracy, sewed the garment the woman is wearing.
Here’s another but this time from a contemporary romance. It’s still rather exotic in that the hero is a prince from a small Eastern European country.
I bought the right to use the hero and heroine, and Talina put in the background. I love it because it suggests a palace, which is the setting of much of the book.
So, how about you? What makes a cover make you sit up and take notice. I’d love to have your opinion, either here or at my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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