This is a post about Eithne‘s magic.
But first a story.
When we first did the cover for THE RENEGADE’S HEART, Eithne and I spent a ton of time looking at stock photos. I’ll tell you right here and now that this is the greatest time sink known to mankind. There is so little good stock out there for historical romance covers, and if you’re picky (like yours truly) there’s even less. I like guys alone on the covers of my historicals, and I like them to be sexy beasts. They don’t need to be nekkid, because my historicals aren’t erotic. In fact, I like period costume, if possible – like armor that looks authentic. A tremendous amount of the stock of guys alone seems to be of very young guys (boys, really) who tend to be pretty. I’m looking for a knight, not a guy who makes a mean risotto. Add all this to Eithne’s ideas of what she wants technically in a shot, and well, we spend a lot of time searching.
Here’s the first version of the cover for TRH:
This is actually an amalgamation of shots, courtesy of Eithne and her magic. I picked the image of the guy with his sword, and suggested to her that the sword run up the front edge of the spine of the book. Graphically, this is very cool and I love how the composition works. This is only the front cover, but the image wraps around the spine, so that if you laid the printed book flat, you’d see the whole guy. Eithne put an enchanted forest behind him, a Fae castle and some Faerie dust, then the type and the logo for the series. I think I probably drive her crazy about type, because I’m picky about that too, but this makes eight covers and she still answers my email. She must be getting used to me.
There’s a lot that I like about this cover, but over time – and writing – I realized that this guy did not look like Murdoch. I had expected Murdoch to be angry and bitter and to be driven by a desire for vengeance. Instead, he developed a mischievous side in the writing of the book. (I guess that’s why the Elphine Queen wants to keep him forever.) He blows kisses. He has a lot of dash and derring do. He can fight – but he can dance, too. He leaps out of windows and takes chances – and is so completely unlike practical Isabella that she’s fascinated by him from first glimpse. (Alexander is not quite so enamored of Murdoch.)
I began to worry about Murdoch on the cover vs. Murdoch in the book. So, I asked Eithne on a whim whether she could give the cover model a head transplant. She told me to call her Ms. Frankenstein.
And so, more searching through stock, this time for a head. More magic by the amazing Eithne and…
Yes, yes, yes, this IS Murdoch:
What do you think?