A few months ago, I listed my projects for the next two years. As normally occurs, a wrench was thrown in the works and I spent the next month in a haze, unable to think clearly, let alone write. But that has passed, time moves on, and I am approaching my first deadline (rather adjusted deadline) much faster than I would like.
On August 1, 2019, Mrs. Collins’ Lover will be released. Between now and then, there is a lot of clean up and promotion and … oh, the list goes on and on. But before any of that can happen, we must have a cover. I would love to tell you this is a cover reveal, but I am still waiting for proofs from my photographer. I can tell you that on a blustery April evening, my best friend and her daughter (my unofficial goddaughter), my friend/photographer and her husband/photographer, and I were traipsing around the Virginia battlefields looking for wildflowers and trees. Cara was the lucky one, dressed in her clothing under my newly finished Regency daydress and spencer with a shawl over top. Her mom and I shivered to the side as the wind whipped her hair into a frenzy.
Why? Because of a single passage. The minute I wrote it, I knew it had to be the cover.
Light had barely touched the sky the next morning when Darcy began down the overgrown path. He could see where his headlong dash from the day before had broken branches and disturbed the vegetation. Today he kept a more regulated stride, hoping to arrive before his quarry and to be more prepared for the encounter. His mind raced over what he would say and how he would draw information from her. This was not his forte. Fitzwilliam had been in his room late the previous night, rehearsing what might be said and the best way to respond. Even now, Darcy replayed the conversations, hoping his mind would not fail him when he was before her. As he approached the end of the path, he could see the sun peeking through the branches. He stepped into the meadow and instantly forgot everything outside his line of vision.
The sun had just risen over the trees marking the far side of the meadow, and its light, breaking through a few thin clouds, spread out like fine silken threads touching everything in its path. The soft morning light caused the riotous colours of the wildflowers to bleed together making them look more like a painting than reality. But, standing in the middle of the field, was the most beautiful sight Darcy could ever imagine, putting all of nature to shame.
Elizabeth’s hair was once again uncovered, and her tresses tumbled down her back. The sun highlighted the many shades of brown and the random red or gold which fed the sumptuousness of her locks. The shawl she had wrapped about herself to keep out the chill, now hung from her wrists as her arms were outspread; as though she tried to absorb the warmth and vibrancy of the sun to be stored for later when she would need it. Or perhaps it was refilling what had been taken from her the day before.
Darcy was uncertain what to do. Should he step back inside the path and allow her this moment of privacy? Or, God forbid, speak and ruin the spell? As he stood, lost in the beauty of her, she began to turn in a circle. Her eyes slowly drifted open during her second rotation and she saw him. The look of horror which flashed across her face was quickly replaced by shame and the shawl was drawn up about her as she turned from him. In an instant he was at her side, his hands reaching out for her.
“Please, do not stop.” His voice was hoarse with desire.
She flinched away from his touch and he allowed his hands to fall useless to his sides.
“I did not mean to interrupt,” he pressed. “I was captured by your beauty and could not turn away. Please, say you forgive me for trespassing upon you in such a vulnerable state.” If she asked it of him, he would fall at her feet and beg. He could not bear to think of how he must have disturbed her.
Almost reluctantly, she turned to face him; though her eyes remained glued to the ground. “As I told you yesterday, Mr. Darcy, I never anticipate seeing anyone here this early.”
Could you picture it as well as I did? Were my meager attempts acceptable? Yes, I know it says sunrise and, as I mentioned before, we were taking pictures during the evening, but the sun is still at the tops of the trees, no matter which direction it is going. Oh, and fields of wildflowers are not easily found in Virginia, at least not in our area, so red clover will have to suffice. But my photographer is a genius with Photoshop, and I cannot wait to see what she sends me. In the meanwhile, I will leave you with a very poor taste of our endeavors. It is nothing compared to what she will do.
Oh, before I forget, the shawl – it is one I ordered from Chisholm’s Kiltmakers in Inverness – my family’s ancient hunting tartan.
What do you look for in a book cover? What draws your attention?