Cover Sketch for THE BETRAYAL

Betrayal Cover Sketch
Illustration by Wes Lowe

The other day my illustrator, Wes Lowe, sent me the sketch for the cover illustration forThe Betrayal. Part of the story takes place at a southern Arizona winery. Believe it or not, we really do have wineries in Arizona. We may not be Napa Valley, as they are all mom & pops, but they do make some very nice wines.

McPherson Vineyards, where this portion of the story is set, is a fictional winery. It’s named after the Scottish clan I’m descended from, and it’s loosely modeled after a real-life southern Arizona winery in the tiny town of Elgin, in the Santa Rita Mountains. This is one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of the state. It’s still off the beaten path and I hope it stays that way. I love the unspoiled beauty, and taking an occasional Sunday off and driving to the winery that was the inspiration is a real treat.
I’m hoping to have the finished cover illustration soon, then it’s off to the publisher. Look for The Betrayal to be released later on this summer.

The Journey Cover Illustration

Journey Cover KindleKudos to Wes Lowe. Once again he’s created a beautiful cover illustration for my next novel, The Journey.

Wes and I go way back. He started doing my cover illustrations back in 2007, when I was writing my Luke and Jenny novels,  (under the name Gayle Martin.) I found Wes by happenstance when I was working on the second book in the series. The illustrator who did the first book cover was not available. My publisher had hired him, but this time around she didn’t have anyone else to refer me to, so I was left scrambling. Granted, I have a degree in fine art, but it had been years since I’d picked up a paintbrush. At least I knew what to look for and I could speak the lingo, so I began my search. The first illustrator I contacted wasn’t available either, but I soon found Wes. Not only was he available, I liked the tone of his emails. He was warm and he had a positive attitude. The illustration he created for me didn’t just meet my expectations; it exceeded them. Wes turned out to be a much better artist than the gentleman who did my first cover. Thus began a beautiful friendship. Our next project would be creating a new cover illustration for the first book.

 Wes also did the cover illustrations for The Reunion and The Deception. Okay, I’ll admit it. I dropped the ball on the earlier Reunion cover. I had this idea of using a photo of two red carnations. Red carnations were a theme throughout the book, so I thought they could be a metaphor for the two leading characters. Unfortunately, as every artist knows, sometimes things that look great in our minds don’t always look so hot once they’re on paper. And even though a number of readers had complemented me on the cover, in my mind it simply didn’t work the way I’d envisioned. I went back to Wes, and once again, he nailed it.

This latest illustration has an interesting twist. The other night I posted it on Facebook, and a number of people began commenting that the young lady looked a lot like me. They all thought it was really cool. Oddly enough, Wes and I have never met in person, although he’s probably seen my head shots on my websites. I just assumed he had used one of them as a model, but it turns out he didn’t. Must be one of those interesting coincidences. Or maybe it’s just the Universe reaffirming that I’ve found the right illustrator.

MM

Is THE DECEPTION Cover Too Sexy?

Kindle CoverI’ve had some interesting feedback on the cover art for The Deception. It’s sexy all right, and it’s apparently made a few readers uncomfortable. Some of you may even be wondering why I chose it.

Part of it is the genre. Romance readers expect, well, romance. And, as I’ve explained in my post, Sweet, Sensual or Erotic Romance? Why I Write Sensual, I include some, shall we say, adult content in my novels. Today’s readers want to see the characters consummating their relationship, and sex is a part of life.

My main reason, however, for doing this cover has to do with the plot line. The Deception is the story of Carrie Daniels, a likeable woman with a girl next door quality about her. Carrie has fallen on hard times. Through no fault of her own, she’s been left homeless and destitute. She’s camping out in the back room of her photography studio, and it’s only a matter of time before her landlord finds out. If that happens, she’ll be out on the streets. Carrie’s mentor, Louise Dickenson, soon hears of her plight. Louise has just picked up a private commission from a client who wants a series of photos of a female nude. She offers to “help” Carrie by asking her to model for the photos, assuring her they will only be seen by private art collectors. Carrie, being desperate, has no choice but to accept Louise’s offer. Later on she’ll have to face the unintended consequences when the photos end up in the wrong hands and her entire world turns upside down.

I wanted the cover to depict one of Louise’s photos. Sexy, yet tasteful, like something one might see in a print advertisement for soap or perfume. We know the model is nude, but all we can see is her back.

The illustration was done by Wes Lowe, the same artist who did the cover illustration for The Reunion. He will also be illustrating the cover for my forthcoming novel, The Journey. To see more of his portfolio, please visit his website at weslowe.com.

MM