Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Friend Nancy Jardine

It is our pleasure to welcome the super-talented Nancy Jardine to Heroines with Hearts! Today she's sharing a fabulous post about cover art.


Before I answer the questions myself I’d like to transport you back some decades -specifically to the end of the 1950s. At that time my reading skills were limited to that of a very good reader, at age 8. I owned a good pile of books, but back then my reading was more likely to have been books borrowed from the local public library. On Thursday evenings I’d trudge along the mile and a half it took to walk to the library with my father-rain, hail or shine. The walk wasn’t always pleasant, but getting a fresh bunch of books was FANTASTIC.
We’d check in the books just read, I’d go off to the junior section and my dad would disappear into the much more extensive area for adults. The library wasn’t big by any means, but growing old enough to borrow from the adults section became my goal. The grass is greener on the other side kind of thing. This became even more important years later when I’d devoured almost everything in the junior selection.
My dad and I often sat reading at the fireside together after we returned, and for nights after. I’d have raced through my two books (I’m sure that was all I was allowed to borrow) and though I tended to choose the biggest fattest books on the shelf, I always seemed to finish them very quickly. The last page would have been read and I’d ask dad what he was reading. I couldn’t tell because his books almost always tended to have a plain simple cover- typical of those being a dark reddish leather bound volume.
Laid down on the table I wouldn’t have a clue what his book was about. It might have been anything, but there was nothing there to spark my imagination. Dad would then give me a resume of what he was reading. He was very partial to novels like H. G. Wells-Time Machine; or Hemingway’s –The Old Man and the Boat; H. Rider Haggard’s-King Solomon’s Mines. Something with a bit of adventure. From his descriptions I was so desperate to get up to the ‘big’ library to read those books.
I’d ask him how he knew the book was going to be good, since it had no picture on the cover. He’d just smile and tell me that was often the greatest challenge of the week. Would he pick well or not? In those days there were no reviews around to guide the reader- or none that I knew of.
My books usually had a dust jacket cover with an image for me to imagine what would be inside. That image was like a talisman. If the book lived up to its cover I was one delighted child come the following Thursday. If not I avoided that author!
Judgemental? Definitely! At the time I had no concept that the author probably had little say in what went on the cover-as is sometimes the case, presently. I’m not sure I have really shaken off that need for a cover design to match the content.
Over the decades the dust jackets, or paperback cover designs, became works of art. Print paperbacks still fall into this category, but do they live up to my expectations? I have to be honest and say –in general not always.
If there is a gist of what the contents of the book are in the cover design then I’m a happy reader, but I confess to being a very disappointed reader if what is portrayed on the outside bears little relevance to what’s inside.
It may seem a minor matter when a hero has a blonde crew- cut on the cover and jet black flowing locks on the inside, but that irritates me a LOT.


Some cover artists get over that sort of niggle by using clever techniques. In my MONOGAMY TWIST cover design the hero and heroine are there at the top but, since they are featureless it leaves it to the reader’s imagination as to what he/she looks like till they are described in the novel. And readers of romances know that doesn’t generally take long! What else can one discern from MONOGAMY TWIST’S cover? Is the house significant, and if so what is the premise of the book? If you, as the reader, are asking those questions then the cover artist has done a great job. Even if the house doesn’t quite match the description in the book the idea is there that it is probably a larger than average house. Can you tell what country the book might be set in?

I hope that my cover design for TAKE ME NOW (due 3rd Aug 2012) says a little bit more to a potential reader. Again the fine details of the couple are vague but there’s just a hint there of what my heroine, Aela, looks like. What might the floatplane tell you, though? The buildings have to be significant as well. What impression do they give you? I wonder if the setting will give you any clue as to where in the world it refers to.

Both of my above novels will be available in both print and ebook formats from The Wild Rose Press. The same cover design will be used for both print and ebook and I have to say I’m DELIGHTED with them. The economic necessity, for a small publisher, to keep the costs for cover art down as much as possible, without losing any impact, is paramount though and an exact match isn’t nearly as possible as the cover designs of some of the major romance publishers of even a decade ago. Employing an artist to paint a ‘made to measure’ cover, I believe, are long gone-though to me they often seemed truer to the contents.
Ebook only publishers, and some authors self-publishing, want to pare costs to the bare minimum. I think a new skill in cover art has now dawned. The 1970s/80s fantastic futuristic covers of science fiction authors are now replaced with just as effective, often computer generated artwork.
Yet some ebook covers are now veering back to the most simple of designs-giving only a hint of what the book might be about. Back to the plain covers of the books my father borrowed from the library? And the leather bound copies of the books he owned that decorated our book shelves? I believe so.

My historical novel THE BELTANE CHOICE will be available in ebook formats from the 31st Aug 2012 from Crooked{Cat}Publishing. I was involved in the choice of cover design and am, again, DELIGHTED with it. I hope there’s just a hint of what it might be about. What do you think it is about?

I’d really love your answers to some of my questions.

Thanks for inviting me along today Debra, and to all the readers…Happy reading and ENJOY those covers!

TAKE ME NOW by Nancy Jardine
Nairn Malcolm’s looking for the impossible. He needs a highly skilled, enterprising aide who’ll be at his beck and call 24/7. No ordinary Jane Doe will do. He doesn’t expect the only candidate who drops in at his Scottish castle for an interview to be so competent…or so stunning.
Aela Cameron’s got exactly the right mix of talents to satisfy all Nairn Malcolm’s needs, and more. She loves the jobs he needs done, adores his castle, and finds his frenetic lifestyle energising. But she’s only looking for temporary: not to fall in love with the man.
Can Nairn convince Aela she’s tailor-made for him in every way…and not a passing fancy?
Unadulterated vigor oozed from every last bit of him—overall a dangerous concoction. Something stirred way-down-low inside Aela again. He was a real honey, and the bee in her wanted to be very sticky.
Her mind whirred. The man bore a vague resemblance to the ruggedly handsome thirty-two year old Nairn Malcolm of the internet photograph, but would the blonde limpet in the recent celebrity snapshot want to curl herself around this forbidding wreck of a man? Aela thought not. She wondered, though, if his blank expression was caused by current circumstances, or if this was his normal demeanor, since he hadn’t been smiling in the photograph either.
With the high granite wall as his backdrop she could easily imagine this man lording over the castle, ruthlessly challenging any invaders to his domain. Taking any woman he wanted? Now there was a thought she was happy to entertain. A tiny smile broke free. Tamping down her crazed imagination she re-assessed him.
What had the guy been doing to get himself in such a state?
Who was he?

Bio and links-Nancy Jardine
Having taught 11-12 year olds for many years, Nancy Jardine finally gave up the chalk in the autumn of 2011. During the last few years she has written a historical novel, three contemporary novels- two of which are what she calls her history/mysteries. She’s also written the first of a time-travel series of novels for children aged 9-12years, and a family saga is her current work in progress.

Nancy lives in the picturesque castle country of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband who now does all the cooking…the menu far more exciting and tasty than it used to be! Ancestry research-if you hadn’t already guessed-is one of her hobbies, as is participating in exciting events with her family which drag her away from the keyboard. Working in her large garden, she tends real flowers and now grows spectacular weeds which she’s becoming very fond of!




MONOGAMY TWIST is available from:
The Wild Rose Press :
Barnes and Noble:

Link to YouTube Book Trailer for Monogamy Twist is:

Coming Soon:
TAKE ME NOW will be available in print and ebook from The Wild Rose Press 3rd August 2012.

THE BELTANE CHOICE will be available in ebook formats from Crooked{Cat}Publishing 31st August 2012.


  1. Hi, Debra. Thank you for having me feature with you today! I wish all your readers a fine day-though it's reiany and misty with me at the moment. I'll just go check out some book covers....

  2. Hi Nancy, good to have you with us today at HWH. Your description of your visits to the library as a child reminded me so much of my own, except in my case, it was a library bus which came round once a week!
    I agree with everything you've said about covers. Any cover with rippling abs is an immediate turn-off for me, I prefer a more subtle 'introduction' to the story.

    In answer to your questions, the house in Monogamy Twist looks very English to me; the castle on Take Me Now must be Scottish, but not sure about the seaplane - his or hers?

  3. Congrats on your retirement and being able to do what you love--and obviously are good at, Nancy!

    The Beltaine cover is great because "Beltaine" is loaded with significance. It would draw me in.

    Covers are so important, but so, to me, is the blurb. I agree that a misleading blurb, or inaccurate cover image, turns me off.

  4. Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for joining us today. Here in the States, at least in the Midwest, it's sunny. We had a bit of misty rain yesterday. Although I haven't given up the chalk yet, it is summer break right now!

    Your post is terrific. I think covers are so important. Wild Rose tends to get them spot on, at least in my experience. Yours evoke a very romantic feel.

    I also like the cover for "The Beltane Choice". It actually reminds me of a mystery novel cover...something along the lines of Dan Brown.

  5. Hey, Nancy, my fellow rose,

    Yes, a cover matters. It gives a hit to the genre.

    I LOVE your covers!

  6. Hi, Paula. Good answers. I'll leave you to find out about the floatpane owner after Take Me Now is released.

  7. Great comments, too, Ana. I read the blurb in conjunction with looking at the cover design.
    Thanks for the 'likes' of the covers, Debra and Toni Lynn. My THE BELTANE CHOICE cover does have that ring of mystery although it is more of an adventure historical.

  8. Interesting post--I've had some interesting adventures with my covers--for Lost in His Arms I couldn't find anything that worked for the hero & finally simply had a shadow--since he was CIA I thought it rather clever! I've found it's very important to give LOTS of detail to the artists so they have a better idea of the story. M. S. Spencer

  9. Hi MS Spencer, I agree it's good to give lots of datails to the cover artists, so long as you don't set your expectations too hig-and accept what they've strived to make for you.

  10. I love looking at covers and imagining what a book could hold inside. If they don't match, like you, I get irritated fast. I've never put a book down for the discrepancies, but I will find myself flipping back and forth, comparing the image with what is actually written. That practice interrupts my enjoyment of the book. I'm glad you are pleased, delighted, with your book covers, Nancy. You should be. They fit and are beautiful to boot. :)

  11. Hi Nancy, so nice to have you join us today. I love the covers of your books and to me, the more mysterious, the better. It drives me crazy when covers tell everything, or when they're inaccurate (like a blond on the cover and a brunette inside). As long as they're appealing, I want just a hint and then to be allowed to use my imagination.

    And I'm going to guess that your third cover has something to do with ancient runes.

  12. I've read the blurbs and excerpts for both Monogamy Twist and Take me now, but if I hadn't I would see that they're each set in a foreign country, UK. I would guess that the building on each is important to the story. I would be intrigued. As for The Beltane Choice, I feel as though the ancient carved stone covers a very old secret. That's only a guess.

  13. Thanks for popping in, Calisa. Like you i still read the book, even if the cover lacks something but it's all about total enjoyment!

  14. Not quite ancient runes, Jennifer. but ancient is close. Nice to meet you!

  15. Aha! Very nice comments, Sandy, thank you. Re Teh Beltane Choice there's a lot to be uncovered!

  16. Definitely a Celtic design, though, Nancy? I have some earrings similar to the design above the title (bought them in Ireland).

  17. You're right about the Celtic connection, Paula, and I'll go so far as to guess you'll be very pleased about the location as it is what we'd call almost your neck of the woods, or one you've blogged about not so long ago! (more clues soon) :-)))

  18. Thank you so much for allowing me to vist today, Heroines with Hearts. It's been a lovely visit. It's now gone midnight (for me) and this Cinderella needs to take off the ball gown, and the tight shoes, and dream....
    I'll check in again tomorrow!

  19. Walk through any bookstore and look at the covers for romance. Many, too many, have a naked man's chest with six-pack abs air brushed on. They're so plentiful, it's comical. One of the many things I love about TWRP is their distinctful covers. Great post.

  20. I love book covers! If I'm browsing for a new book to read, I go for the book covers that catch my attention.

    Like you, it bothers me when the hero and heroine in the book don't match the cover.

    Nancy, your covers are lovely. They give me the impression there's a bit of romance and adventure waiting for me. The countryside estate, I would guess is England and the castle is in Scotland. :)

    I enjoyed your post.
    Good luck with your new release!

  21. Hi Vonnie, I agree about the bookstores and what confronts you, though I have to say where I live there are pitifully few bookstores left! You're right about the TWRP covers. It's only since I started blogging that I realised the differences. Thanks for popping in!

  22. Hi Karen, you've got the English estate and the Scottish castle right...The Beltane Choice will remain a mystery...but not for too long since I'm about to sneak in some promotion for it soon! Look out for more of it in July!(maybe even sooner?)

  23. Hi Nancy,
    So true about the importance of covers; I love yours. UK for the first, a remote Scottish castle with a loch, for the second - hence the need for the seaplane. The Beltane Choice looks Celtic. I would guess Wales, Druids, possibly witchcraft.
    Well done on such an entertaining post - and, on getting your husband to do all the cooking!

  24. Thanks Emily! You got tow out of three pretty well nailed. The Beltane Choice a hint of what you say is correct...

  25. Hi, Nancy!
    I have to say I've been very pleased with all the covers for my books at The Wild Rose Press. Their artists are at the top in my opinion.

  26. Fabulous covers, Nancy. Great idea to have everyone guessing. ;-) I would definitely say England and Scotland for your TWRP releases.

    TWRP know how to create high quality covers (I LOVE my Highland Arms cover; it's just what I wanted.), and them using the authors' ideas makes it more personal. You know your story, you know how to visualise it. Then their cover designers get to work. That comes across in both TWRP and CCP covers - a more personal touch.

    I must say, a poorly designed or silly cover tends to put me off. The blurb must in that case be amazing for me to delve further, or if I know the author.

    Fab post! :-)

  27. Nancy, it's amazing how covers attract a reader's attention. A high quality, well done cover is certainly a plus and I like the work they do at Desert Breeze. I also find a cover with Jimmy Thomas on it attracts one to investigate the story. I think the big thing though, is without an intriguing cover, you can't intice one to explore deeper.

    My favorite cover in the post: Take me Now. I love the landscape, the airplane and the couple. It's a nice blend that intrigues.


  28. I like your cover for the Beltane Choice very much. It's subtle and stylish. To me instantly attractive. I don't want the faces of hero and heroine on the cover of a book, because this interferes with my imaginative response. More importantly, if the models chosen for the cover image don't appeal to me then I won't pick up the book at all.
    But more than anything, I HATE bare chested hunks with ravishing beauties draped over them! This kind of cover rings all sorts of warning bells that it will not be my kind of book.