Friday, October 23, 2009


This was done not long ago for a book called In The Warrior's Bed, by Mary Wine, Kensington Books. It's a Medieval/Scottish genre book, which I haven't read.I have been getting a lot of compliments on this cover, though, and I am working on its sequel, Bedding With The Enemy.
It's nice to work in the Medieval era for a change from Regencies. Does anyone know why there are so many Regencies these days? They used to be the tamest books out there, but now, the shirts & gowns are flying off! I this cover, I chose a period pattern as a background. I knew the art director wanted to keep the design simple and I love working with patterns. This one reminds me a bit of Fortuny, the great Italian designer from the early 20th century. I was very impressed with his studio in Venice and loved the way he resurrected Rennaisance and Medieval patterns, often printing them in gold or silver on velvet. Let me know what you think!

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Saturday, October 03, 2009


Kismet, a new book by Monica Burns, is published by Berkley Books. The book has an exotic flavor that I wanted to get across, something about Asia, opium and subterfuge, with a lavish overlay of sexual desire. I chose colors that are reminiscent of India, hot, dusty, beautiful, and contrasted the light blue gauzy dress the woman is almost wearing, to be a cool diagonal flow across the hot palette. What do you think? Does it work?

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Thursday, July 09, 2009


This one is for a book by Alexandra Hawkins, titled, All Night With A Rogue, (St. Martins Press).
I was given just the sketchiest of directions and was therefore pretty free to play with the model's pose and the lighting. Christine Donlon and Harmon Walsh, both actors as well as models, did a great job. I started with Christine on the floor, with a low camera angle and then had Harmon come in behind and beside her. There are several trends in evidence here, the tendency to "crop off their heads!" as you can see in the actual cover and also in the pose, which has the guy behind and more shadowy. I was thinking about these things while directing, but also about the beautiful classic lines of her face and the tender, but sexy interaction between them.
Costummes by Sharon Spiak, Photography by Shirley Green.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009


This is one of my favorite recent covers, done for the book, Devilish Duke In My Bed, by Sophie Jordan, Avon Books. There is a very hot inside cover, too. The model was Suzanne Fogarty, one of the best models, who manages with grace and style to embody whatever sexy pose I ask for.
In this case I requested an auto-erotic feeling, as if she was getting turned on just from the thought of her lover. I did a lot of painting in this one to further that concept, turning up the heat and emphasizing her body writhing under the satin sheets. Her skin was made very pale and hair, very light blonde to contrast with the rich colors of the sheet and patterned background. I notice in my work of late, that I care less and less whether the background or setting makes sense in a literal way, but works in an artistic way to further the feeling of the piece. My thanks to Suzanne and Shirley Green, my photographer. Thanks also to Veronica Bennet, who keeps me on my toes and posting more regularly! Please visit her website for a treat, at :

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Cover Cafe article!

I've chosen an real classic from my collection of book covers past, in honor of the recent article posted in  This was for the book by Jennifer Blake, called Midnight Waltz that was published in 1984. It's interesting to notice what has changed and what has stayed the same about romance book covers in the intervening years. When I painted this, I was trying to bring back a fine art look to the cover image and I wanted to convey a mood that fit with the intense feeling of romance in the book. Amidst the bubble gum covers at the time, all screaming at the reader with huge, gigantic flowers and saturated colors, I thought this classical approach would really stand out. And it did! I understand this sold very well and was soon to garner a bunch of imitators. I still do these moody covers from time to time, when the subject seems to warrant it, but for the most part, publishers shy away from greys, browns, and dark purples. Yet I think this holds together because of its close color harmonies. It is saved from total gloom by the patch of orange sky, looming over the victorian hotel. There is a feeling danger and urgency, indicated by the blowing dark cloud, whipping palms and crashing waves. 
Another thing that was popular then, but has just begun to come back, is the image wrapping around to the back cover. At the time I did this, most artists treated the back cover differently from the front, often having a vignette showing another scene from the story. I felt it would be much better to sweep right across, continuing the panorama in one image. I'm sure the typesetters hated this, because their blocks of copy were harder to read, but I think the customers liked it. I also had an ulterior motive, with an eye toward the future, to create a painting that would make sense in a frame as a work of art. Some of these painting are in frames in private collections and they do work that way. The rest are in storage bins awaiting the day when they might be rediscovered like Pulp Fiction illustrations were a while back. At one time those cover paintings were hard to even give away, but after a good amount of time had passed  they became campy and interesting again. Their prices at auction have been rising ever since. 
I did many covers for Jennifer Blake books through the 80s and early 90s for Ballantine books. I'll haul one out and post it from time to time. Meanwhile, visit CoverCafe.  

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This is the front cover illustration I did for Eloisa James' When The Duke Returns, Avon Books. The model was Ewa Da Cruz, costume by Sharon Spiak and Photography by Shirley Green. I was looking for a way to get across the title's celebratory feel, but also an intimate romantic sense and hit upon the idea of using fireworks in the distance. It is smoky out there and our heroine is smiling coyly at the off stage Duke. The mask helps convey the thought of a vaguely naughty party.  On the stepback image, which you see when you open the front cover, she now has her man in her arms. I liked this pose very much and it was a happy accident, made by trying different positions. To me, he looked so heroic, but also so fragile and she seemed both hungry  and protective in her touch. The party keeps going on out there somewhere... but she has her duke!

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