Most of my stories wind up with a mock or temporary cover as I write them, it helps me think about the theme of the story and the plot. Often, I’ll think up whole scenes whilst fluffing about with covers.
When it came to An Unexpected Gift’s cover, I wanted simple. I see the novella as a fluff piece, a snippet of the characters’ lives after the main story of In Pain and Blood. Things aren’t so hectic, they’ve settled, it’s a little cute, they’re a little dorky and just celebrating being in love. Oh, and birthdays! It’s Dylan’s thirtieth. He gets pancakes, there’s veil-dancing and later he’ll be tied to the bed…
As cute as I see it, it’s also a rather saucy. It’s a story that could be said to have fully ventured into erotic romance. The theme for most of those covers are mostly-naked torsos of men and women. I don’t actually like that trend.
I prefer the more symbolic covers there, so I went that route, skipping across multiple failed attempts… The first was a base and something to toy with in terms of font, but it’s pretty bland on its own.
Next came the addition of a smoking heart (which was symbolic of the gift in the title). I still quite like this, but inquiring of how it spoke to people had me leave it behind. Too much romance, not saucy enough to be erotica. Which, yeah, I see.
I whipped this one up somewhere between 2:00am and 2:30am, so I wasn’t totally serious about it. But I had a grand time doing it. Quite like the way I managed to get the hands to look like they’re holding the “GIFT”. And how the bow wraps around his wrists. It’s still a little too cute, though. Even if that does sort of reflect the story in a way… Erotic fluff, that’s what it is!
Went a little further into the theme with silhouettes. I saw quite a number of these on my perusal through torso-land erotica and thought I give it a try. However, I wasn’t 100% happy with either of these particular versions. The tongue on #1 was amusing (and totally something Tracker would do), but it worked better as a concept when there wasn’t a blindfold. It was so darn hard to erase, too. (By the way, all of these were done with stock photos taken from Dreamstime). The spacing of both the title and the people on #2 seemed a little too distant as well…
Finally, we’re the most recent version. As you can probably tell, I tweaked the #2 from the last set. I like it. For the moment, at least. Realistically, the top outline would be nothing but coils of hair, but we’ll pretend there’s enough to tie back.