Christina’s New Cover

gilded-fan_frontToday I’m very pleased to be able to share with you the cover for my next Choc Lit novel, The Gilded Fan – I’m really thrilled with this one and love the Oriental feel of it, which was exactly what I wanted!

Seeing a new cover for the first time is very exciting and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of that part of the publishing process. I love watching it take shape, from the original ideas, through several draft concepts, to the final polished result.

The Gilded Fan is the sequel to The Scarlet Kimono, and I think it’s especially important to get the cover right when a novel belongs together with another book (or books). They need to be different, but still similar, and in this case, I think the cover artist has succeeded in doing that superbly. Hope you agree!

Here is the blurb:-

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

thescarletkimono_frontsmallerThe Gilded Fan – coming February 2013

Wonderful Wednesday: Sarah’s official cover…Choc Lit’s ‘Twilight’

On this rather Wonderful Wednesday, I can share with you the official cover for No such thing as…immortality. Needless to say, I love it!

No such thing as...immortality. Choc Lit's 'Twilight'

No such thing as...immortality. Choc Lit's 'Twilight'

You may note a ‘Twilight-esque’ feel to the design. That’s for good reason. No such thing as…immortality is to be promoted as Choc Lit’s Twilight.

  • As told entirely from the hero’s perspective ― this is vampire, Nathaniel Gray’s story
  • British
  • For grown women

Controversial? Quite possibly, but these days, any powerful first person love story featuring a vampire is likely to attract comparisons with Twilight, no matter the plot or the characters. We therefore decided to embrace such comparisions, particularly as the white rose on the cover couldn’t be more perfect for Nate’s story.

So Choc Lit, the home of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s, 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year and best New Comer awards (well done again Jane and Evonne!) will now be home to a grown-up and very British, Twilight.

Thank you Choc Lit for having the faith in me and the book to market it this way. And thank you Berni Stevens for the perfect cover. How excited and squealy am I?  And look! That’s my name on there…*squeeeeeeel*

Sarah reveals her unofficial covers



Visual 1. Arun age 8

I thought I would share with you my visuals for No Such Thing…as immortality? Okay, they are unofficial. The official one is currently in the pipeline which is very exciting.

But these are the visuals I currently use (at home) ― produced by my two children. Up until a couple of days ago they would argue constantly, normally on the school-run amidst their constant bickering of who was speaking first, who was interrupting who, who punched who first etc ― about which of them would produce the cover for my book. So I thought, let’s give them a shot at this.

Of course, when it came to coming up with the goods, they weren’t quite so keen. It was so much more preferable to simply argue about it.

The brief didn’t particularly help:

  • A love story (Eurghhh) They are boys
  • With vampires (Yay! ‘But I can’t draw vampires’ my 8yr old advised and then insisted on a £5 fee for his services)
  • Humans (shrugs)
  • And possibly faeries (eurghggh, spit, fingers down throats, raspberries you name it and probably lots you couldn’t). Faeries can be bad, I said cunningly (‘Nah, still not a chance,’ from he who is 8. ‘Can they have horns, mummy?’ from my 5 yr old)
  • There’s a pretty cool scene on a boat ― me at my most persuasive (thoughtful pause from my 5 yr old followed by, ‘Are there sharks in your book, mummy?’ A dismissive shrug said it all from he who is 8 ― you’ve paid for a vampire and not a boat.

Visual 2. Max age 5

Visual 2. Max age 5


Visual number 1. From Arun who is 8 (and a half).arun-master-2

A vampire. He has thrown in a full moon, a couple of bats and eight stars for free, which impressed me. I have to say, I actually think he has drawn a VERY cool vampire. I didn’t give Arun a physical description, feeling Will’s finer points would not be suitably appreciated. But he got the tall and dark right…

Visual number 2. From Max who is 5.

We have vampires, faeries, a boat and bats (one hanging upside down, just as they do). To the left are three vampires. To the right are two faeries…with horns. He advises me they are demon faeries which I must say is providing me with food for thought. They are all above the safety railings on a boat. Max it would appear has gone for a cruise liner style of boat rather than a yacht (my fault, I said boat in the brief!). The boat is complete with potholes. In fact they are portholes (in yellow) but as he was drawing them he confused me for a while by referring to them as potholes. The faerie with the red all over its face has been attacked by a vampire and apparently there are two dead faeries that have gone into the sea out of the picture.

These covers might not be quite right. But I would say, I love them to bits. In fact, I fully intend to put them behind glass alongside my actual cover!

In a post sometime soon, I  hope to reveal the ‘official’ cover of No Such Thing…as immortality?

Thank you for humouring me 🙂

Kate Johnson on judging a book by its cover

I’m looking through cover concepts this week for my next book, Run Rabbit Run. This is exciting, but also makes me nervous. What if the cover isn’t right for the book? What if it hinders, rather than helps sales? It’s a minefield.

I adored my cover for The Untied Kingdom, which I felt captured perfectly the darkness in the book, the sepia-toned landscape and tattered Union flag telling you about the background to the story and the silhouetted couple reminding you it’s also a romance. I really liked the silhouette, in fact, because it doesn’t force an image of the characters on you.

But what of Run Rabbit Run? It’s a hard one to find the cover for, because it doesn’t sit easily in any one genre. On the one hand, it’s a story about a girl accused of murder, on the run from MI5 and the CIA. On the other hand, it’s also about a dizzy blonde who misses her boyfriend. So the cover could go two ways: a dark, gritty thriller or a pink fluffy chick lit.

What do you think? Would you be more drawn to a pink girlie cover, or a dark thriller cover? Or are you, unlike me, able to not judge a book by its cover?

Kate Johnson’s incredibly exciting Christmas present

Up until now, my most exciting ever present was a pair of kittens (to clarify, they didn’t come in a box; I got a card saying We Owe You One Cat from my parents. I bargained them up to two). Now, no disrespect to said kittens, but I think they might have a challenger.

I’ve just been sent the cover for The Untied Kingdom. Behold!

The Untied Kingdom cover

It’s absolutely perfect, from the tattered flag to the bleak landscape. I love the light and dark, and the detailing around the title. And I really love that the couple are shown in silhouette, so you’re not coloured by anyone else’s vision of how they look before you read the book.

And because it’s Christmas, I’ll share a picture of my other best ever present (I didn’t mean it, cats, I love you just as much as the new book cover!).

Sugar & Spike making first contact

What’s the best present you’ve ever received?

Christina Courtenay’s Brand New Cover

thescarletkimono2We all know that covers are really important when it comes to selling our books. It’s the first thing the reader sees and it has to appeal to them so that they’re tempted to pick up the book and read the blurb. It needs to be what they’re subconsciously looking for. It also has to indicate what sort of novel is inside the cover while still standing out from the crowd. That’s a pretty tall order!

But when you feel the cover artist has got it just right for your book, it’s wonderful.

The last couple of weeks have been very exciting for me as the Choc Lit designer worked on the cover for my second novel The Scarlet Kimono. Watching it grow from a brief, through several concepts in different colours and then tweaked until it’s absolutely right is a fascinating process. It’s truly amazing how just a very small change in detail can make a huge difference.

So here (with an imaginary drum roll) I’m very pleased to be able to show you the chosen design – I have to say I absolutely love it and I think it’s just perfect! I hope everyone else will too.

The Scarlet Kimono will be published on 1st March 2011.