by Mary Jo
Petals in the Storm
Last week I did a blog about the new release of my first full length historical romance, Dearly Beloved,and included the various covers the story has had over the years. there was interest in all the variations, I thought I'd do it again for Petals in the Storm, Fallen Angels #3, for which I've just done a new cover.
Before I get started with that, though, HAPPY CANADA DAY to Canadians everywhere, especially our Canadian Wench, Susanna Kearsley, and our Canadian readers! It's the 152nd anniversary of the Constitution Act, and this year you have Raptor Rapture to add to the celebration. <G>
To return to my cover tale, this book's story is even more complicated because it started out as a long Signet Regency called The Controversial Countess. The design is typical of Signet Regencies–okay but generic. They were always good about getting the hair colors right, though, which we authors appreciated.
Later as I was starting my Fallen Angels trilogy, I thought that Rafe, the hero of The Controversial Countess, would be a good fit with the other three fellows, and he had an archangel name, Rafael. Hmm….. I asked Signet if they'd like an expanded historical romance version of the Countess and presto! The trilogy became a quartet (and later a septet; what can I say? I kept finding these Guys to write about. <G>)
I did some editing and expansion on the Countess and Signet reissued the book as a historical romance under the title Petals in the Storm. But the plot and characters didn’t change, and this blurb is still accurate.
Love and Betrayal
A cool master of sensuality, Rafael Whitbourne, the Duke of Candover, earned his rakish reputation in the silken boudoirs of London’s highborn ladies, never giving away his hand or his heart.
Then a vital mission for his government takes Rafe to Paris to work with the Madga Janos, “the most beautiful spy in Europe.” He is appalled to discover that the smoky eyed temptress is no Hungarian countess, but the deceitful doxie who had betrayed him a dozen years earlier—the only woman he had ever loved, and the only one he’d ever despised.
Margot Ashton wants nothing more than to walk away from her turbulent past and the mesmerizing man who had ruined her life. But patriotism binds them together in a shadow land of intrigue where a diabolical plot may plunge a continent back into war—and a whirlwind of passion sweeps Margot and Rafe into a shattering passion that cannot be denied.
This was during the height of cover model mania. Signet came up with the idea creating a historical romance imprint called Topaz, and they hired their very own cover model to be the Topaz Man and pose for every single historical romance cover. The Topaz Man was Steve Sandalis, a nice fellow from the New York area who was of Italian and Greek heritage. He had great bones and the kind of physique that comes only with intense, focused work. He was also very patient!
Petals in the Storm had a front cover in pink, and a step back showing Steve and a blonde in a scene that never occurred in the book. I can't say that the overall look captured the flavor of the story, but it was effective and sold well.
Some years later the cover model craze had passed, so when Signet reissued my historical romances, they used simpler and much less expensive object covers. This one with the fan was one of my favorites. It suited the story, which took place in the social whirl of the post-Waterloo Paris Peace Conference and I liked that it had color.
Time moved on. My books went out of print and I asked for reversion of rights. I had no plans for what to do with them, but–MINE!
Then e-books exploded and I had the rights to all these backlist books. <G> Being a curious sort, I decided to give indie publishing a try and was one of the first to dive into the indie pool. Luckily I discovered the amazing Kim Killion who was just getting into the cover art business.
Some of those first Fallen Angels covers I loved and I'm still using them, but in a couple of cases, I wasn't able to find an image that I really liked. Such was the case with Petals. The cover we came up with wasn't bad, but she has a pointed, witchy chin. I didn't love it.
Now, however, an audiobook of Petals in the Storm is in production, so it seemed time to do a new cover. Luckily, there are many, many more images available than there used to be. Even so, I spent quite some time searching before I came up with one I loved. Here's the result:
To me, the guy has just the right look: a highly polished, arrogant duke who is badly in need of a lesson in humility! His coloring is dark, which fits because Rafe had an Italian grandmother. And to me, the emotion in the kiss is a kind of desperate tenderness. I love it.
I hope you've enjoyed this journey through the cover jungles. <G>