My local Romance Writers of America chapter just celebrated the 37th anniversary of its formation with its annual birthday bash. It is the day we announce the winners of our Orange Rose Award for emerging writers and the winner of the Charlotte for published books.
Part of the celebration now includes a cover contest. The entries are beautifully and professionally printed on poster sized foam board, lined up on display tables, and voted on by the attendees. It is very tempting to enter the pretend covers I made for each of my manuscripts, but I have held back since the final covers are likely to be very different from my "inspiration" covers.
I was fortunate that the cover for my contemporary book ( published by Kensington Publishing in1996) beautifully illustrated my vision. Of course I had mailed in photos of faces that fit (the hero was a model from a cosmetics catalogue and the heroine was a drawing that I had refined from the original). I knew that didn't always work, but I will admit that when I saw the cover for Silent Song I "cried for happy."
Still, I really love the cover I made for Scandalizing the Duke and decided I want to share it. It is a composite of several components. I am including the original sources here. The background landscape is a photo I took in York during my research trip to England and Scotland last year. I used royalty free images I purchased from depositephotos.com for the dog (put together with two photos), the heroine's face (with nose lengthened and hair altered, and a public domain image of a painting from the internet. I changed the direction, the color of the dress, raised the neckline, added sleeves, gloves and drew the bonnet using photoshop.
You might recognize the heroine of Scandalizing the Duke, Charlotte, from the banner at the top of the site, the other ladies in the banner are Julia from Chasing Scandal and Elizabeth from still incomplete Scandal's Choice-- or at least the way I see them in my mind.