Artist (and author) Julie D'Arcy just sent me the finished cover for my upcoming sci-fi war novella, Godiva in the Firing Line. This was one of the most interesting collaborations I've had with an artist. We had such different initial takes on what the image should look like, and I think we both got a little frustrated with that incompatibility. For my part, I was perhaps too specific in what I asked for; it didn't give Julie much leeway in finding suitable digital elements. One has to remember our graphic artists can only use images already available to them, and the more specific you are, the tougher it becomes for them to exactly reproduce your idea.
On the other hand, there has to be good communication throughout the process in case those ideas aren't reproducable. With Godiva, I asked for a blonde, beautiful female soldier dressed a certain way. Poor Julie spent ages trying to find the right girl, without luck. Instead, she went in a new direction and chose a sci-fi woman that, while blonde and sexy, didn't, for me, fit the story I'd written. Better communication at both ends might have saved her a lot of time and effort. We'll both be wiser next time.
In the end, we chanced upon a nice middle ground that more or less fulfilled all the criteria of my initial suggestions, while also being practical enough for Julie to work her magic. We're both very pleased with the finished cover. In fact, it's one of my new faves. I *love* the alien landscape. And that girl is definitely Godiva.
Godiva in the Firing Line is due for release on December 1st at Damnation Books. Here's an unofficial blurb and excerpt:
The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack! Join Godiva Randall, the beautiful daughter of a powerful politician, as she puts her paratrooper unit’s motto to the test. A delicate truce on Hoarfrost’s icy moon is about to explode, and blood will be spilled.
This is the moment Lupine Corps has trained for—combat against a nightmarish alien foe, light-years from home. But Godiva and her best friend, Dash Collingwood, are secretly in love. All mixed-gender combat units must take Celiba-C—a pill that suppresses sexuality—under threat of court-martial. Its performance record is amazing. The military swears by it. But it’s a lonely war so far from home. What if they skipped a dose, just this once? One night for themselves. What’s the worst that could happen?
So this was it.
There was an un-showy yet deliberate mobilisation, half-dressed figures she recognised trying their best to appear aloof while making their beds. No way were they so composed inside. Her abdominals tightened and she repeatedly unclenched her fists while straightening her sports bra, buttoning up her beige jacket, clipping her panties to the waist of her trousers and fastening the tungsten belt, tucking the trouser legs into her latex stockings, winding herself into the supple but impenetrable, thigh-length performance boots, and finally, combing her hair with damaged fingernails.
So this is it…
She closed her eyes.
No place to hide now.
Boys had always been wary of Godiva Randall. The beautiful daughter of a powerful politician, she was the gemstone lying in the middle of the pavement that every pedestrian would covet but think twice about picking up, fearful of the catch. But in Godiva there was no catch, no deviousness, no treachery, and that no boy had ever lasted longer than four dates was, it was rumoured, the thing that had ultimately driven her to a platonic career in the world of men—a paratrooper par excellence. It might have been the one place where, if you were brave enough to put your life on the line, politics had no dominion.
She was five-seven, golden blonde, with a very pale complexion and a lithe, athletic physique. Men in her various squads quite rightly nicknamed her Lady Godiva. It had become the object of contentious betting that she would one day agree to pose naked for the Lupine Corps’ female calendar and that if she did, she would outshine all those gone before. Sooner or later, everyone knew who she was—rich, super-educated, the daughter of presidential candidate Rupert Randall. Corporals and colonels alike had taken on the conquest, until she’d dropped Daddy’s name and seen that same gulp of the eyes, that silent “Oh, shit! Where the hell are my car keys?” glance.
But now, no one else seemed to notice her, and she liked that nervous throb of anonymity.