Tomorrow is a special day. Tomorrow is the day when I do my very first re-release of one of my novels, with a brand new cover and title.
Tomorrow is the day when Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland officially goes back into the world as A Heart’s Revolution.
When Guideposts returned the rights to me, they only had two stipulations–I had to change the title, and I had to change the cover. Well, for a cover designer, that’s kinda like saying, “You have to have fun and play around with cool images.”
Shucks. 😄
Of course, I wanted the title nailed down before I started playing with a design, so I came up with a handful of options and ran them by my best friend/critique partner, Stephanie, and my assistant, Rachel. The one we all loved was A Heart’s Revolution. This title perfectly captured the theme of the book–my heroine, Lark, taking a stand for her own destiny–and also hits a sweet spot in the romance genre, what with “heart.” (I used to avoid Love and Heart in my titles like the plague, but I’ve given up, LOL. Here we have A Heart’s Revolution, and the first book in my next series will be The Number of Love.)
So, that established, I turned to the design.
In Shutterstock, I keep a collection called “Historical,” in which I’ll save every single photo I come across in all my searches that have solid historical costuming. In it are possible biblical or Roman styles, medieval, colonial, Victorian, Edwardian, 1920s, 1940s…you name it. If I think it might come in handy someday, I add it to the collection. So I already had several options saved, and I did a few new searches too.

Honestly, I had a hard time choosing between some of these! I tried out several before I decided to start from this one.

I like the movement we can see in this–the fact that she’s holding her dress up a bit and not just standing straight, and the dress itself looked accurate and not costume-y.

So I selected the model from her background and made her fill part of my canvas.

In this version, I just deleted the head, which I knew wouldn’t be the one I used. Lark wouldn’t have worn a boat in her hair like Marie Antoinette, LOL, and this lady, though lovely, doesn’t look like my heroine. But I also wasn’t sure I wanted to keep the dress exactly how it was. I wanted a little more color. So decided to make it blue.

I thought that would add some richness to the cover. So next I turned to the head. After searching for a while, I came across this model…

She fit my idea of Lark, so I searched through all the images of her and just fell in love with the sweet expression on her face in this one.

I put this head on my previous body and was relieved to find that worked well together, LOL. It’s still just roughed in here, but you get the idea.

But the hair wasn’t right. I needed more accurate to the times hair, so I decided to work from this one.

Of course, this model is blond, and I needed dark hair, but after some adjusting, I ended up with this.

Content with that much of Lark for the moment, I turned my attention to backgrounds. And oh my gracious, this was giving me a hard time! I couldn’t decide what I wanted behind her. I kinda liked the idea of keeping the Annapolis State House there, but the photos I was finding just didn’t seem right. For starters, the story takes place during the worst winter in the history of the east coast (up to that point, anyway), and I couldn’t find anything snowy.
So first I tried some regular ol’ snowy scenes.

But none of these were “it.” What that lowest one (actually a street in Paris) showed me, though, was that I loved a street behind her. It provided a good perspective. So after fiddling with a few more street options, I eventually decided to go with an actual Annapolis street, and worry with the snow aspect later.
I loved this perspective! I knew I was on the right track at this point, so then it was just a matter of getting the lighting right, and the snow.
I knew I could fuss with this forever, but I really didn’t want to. So instead I looked up Snow Photoshop Actions, and I found this awesome one from Pretty Photoshop Actions for $39. I can’t tell you how often I’ve needed something like this, so I decided to make the investment, and I am SO glad I did! Playing with all the amazing options included in that action set, I could adjust lighting, make it look frosty, “kill the grass,” change the sky, and add snow!

I then ran a couple different actions, Nashville and Hefe, to alter the lighting a bit more. Nashville is over everything, Hefe just over the background to add some depth.

At this point, I was beginning to shiver in empathy for poor Lark, out in the snow without any kind of wrap! Terrible! LOL. So I went in search of cloaks she could wear and found this one that fit her body position well.

(Though I didn’t remember at the time, Lark’s cloak is even blue in the story! Perfect!) So putting that on her…

Ah, that’s better. And I was done the image! Now it was just a matter of adding the text. I chose the font Monstera, with a pretty ligature for the H, and thought it would be fun to place “A” in the curl of that H.

Of course, it would be nice to actually be able to read that title, so I added some haze behind it to make it stand out.

Much better. And of course, my name (in Requiem font).

And one final touch–a flourish in the title–and we were finished!

So what do you think of the old and new versions? Do you have a preference? (I loved the original cover, but I do love how this new version turned out too!)

If you haven’t read this early book of mine yet, here’s a bit about it, and the pre-order link. It’ll be live tomorrow!

In 1783 peace has been declared, but war still rages in the
heart of Lark Benton.
Never did Lark think she’d want to escape Emerson Fielding,
the man she’s loved all her life. But when he betrays her, she flees
Williamsburg for Annapolis, taking refuge in the nation’s temporary capital.
There lark throws herself into a new circle of friends who force her to examine
all she believes.
Emerson follows, determined to reclaim his betrothed.
Surprised when she refuses to return with him, he realizes that in this new
nation he has come to call his own, duty is no longer enough. He must learn to
open his heart and soul to something greater—before he loses all he should have
been fighting to hold.

And be sure to stop by tomorrow, when in celebration of the official re-launch, we’ll be having a super fun contest (18th-century hair!!!) and a giveaway! 


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