Sunday, May 31, 2020

A British Heiress in America Cover Debut!

I don't know about you, but one of my pet peeves when it comes to covers is when the hero and heroine on the cover in no way resemble the hero and heroine in the book. And any author out there who fills out a cover art info sheet for a publisher or who is responsible for putting together their own cover, knows how hard it is to get the image you've been living with in your head for months or years to translate onto the cover.

For the cover of the first book in my new Revolutionary War series, I am lucky enough to work with a publisher who allows me to have a say in what pictures I want to consider. I have spent hours on the various images for sale sites, culling through thousands of pictures to find just the right one. I found a picture that I really liked, but the heroine is a blonde. She plays well against the dark and brooding hero, but my heroine had dark hair. I asked the cover artist to change the hair color. The only problem was the hair style on the lady was so complex and there were so many wisps going in every direction that it became impossible to change. So we decided to do the obvious and change her hair color in the book from dark to light. A simple Find and Replace did the trick and voila! My heroine is now a blonde. The book will be released on June 25. Here's the cover, for your viewing pleasure:

And, here's an excerpt:

Off the Coast of England, 1775

The minute the ship began to move out of the docks, Pippa’s courage faltered, as if it took a swan dive over the railing and began dog paddling toward the pilings. The shores of her home country faded in the distance, along with her ability to change her course. She desperately wanted a cheroot but couldn’t light up and give herself away even if she had one. Instead, she curled up between the water barrels and closed her eyes, hoping her stomach would settle if she didn’t witness the rocking of the ship. She let the up and down motion lull her into a stupor.
“Blimey! What ‘ave we here?” One of the crew of the Gladys Maria jostled a barrel away, exposing Pippa’s hiding place. She fell backward, hitting her head on the deck, the sun blinding her. She winced, at both the crack to her head, and at the harsh sunlight. One hand shielded her eyes, the other cradled the back of her head, leaving her body exposed.
A swift kick in Pippa’s ribs made her yelp in pain. She curled into a ball, but meaty hands grabbed at her and forced her to her feet. She doubled over and grabbed her midsection, retching.
“Well, iffen it ain’t a little stowaway.” The deckhand laughed as he grabbed the back of Pippa’s shirt and tugged her upright. “Cap’n will not be pleased to see the likes of you.”
Pippa swallowed her bile and struggled as the man grabbed her trousers as well as the nape of her shirt and half-carried her below deck. “I can walk by meself, guv’ner.” She intentionally lowered her voice, but still it sounded more like a socialite than a boy to her ears. Could she pull this off? Her limbs were shaking so badly she wasn’t at all certain she could walk by herself.
He dropped her to the floor once they got below deck but still kept a hand at the nape of her shirt, bunching the fabric in his large hand. “So, walk then, laddie.” He shoved her forward, and she stumbled, but kept her balance.
He’d called her a lad. She blew out a breath. At least one man bought her disguise.
“Where to?” As if she had a say in the matter.
He grabbed her arm and hurried their pace. “To the captain’s quarters. That’s where we take all the stowaways.”
She trembled but wrenched her arm away from his grasp. “How many of us are there?”
“Yer the first one I’ve come across this trip, but there’ve been others.” She glanced at the deckhand. His grizzly face was bearded, his sneer revealed a shiny gold tooth, and his matted hair fell to his shoulders. He made her insides quake. Definitely, he was the most fearful person she’d ever come into contact with. “’Tis a pity we’re so far out to sea already. We coulda just tossed you back into the harbor a couple hours ago.”
Pippa couldn’t stop the full body tremor that pulsed through her. She didn’t know how to swim. Young ladies of the Ton didn’t partake in such foolishness. She took a deep breath and faced forward. Not being able to swim was the least of her concerns right now. She had an appointment with the captain, and her fate awaited.
The gnarly deckhand stopped in front of a door and knocked once.
He opened the door and shoved Pippa inside before he followed.
“I was just about to crack open one of them water barrels when I found this mongrel, hiding in the middle.” He clutched her arm again.
As if she could have escaped this small room, with the deckhand standing in front of the door and the captain staring at her as if she were a bug he wished to squash. She held her breath.
“Nice work, Ben. Leave the boy here. I’ll decide what to do with him.” The captain rounded his desk and continued to stare at her. She stared back. English society had thus far limited her to dancing in ballrooms and charming various titled gentlemen, and she was ill-equipped to deal with the likes of the rugged-looking captain. His face was tanned, his body muscled, and altogether, he was the most handsome man she’d ever met. His jawline could slice paper, his blue eyes matched the sea.
Pippa expelled a breath, feeling the walls of the cabin close in. She’d never been alone in a room with a man before. Of course, her first experience would have to be with the most handsome man ever, and she in disguise as a boy. A disguise she needed to keep up for the duration of the voyage. In the ballroom, members of the Ton applauded her using her feminine wiles on a man, but in this case, those tools would not work. She couldn’t charm her way out of her situation.

Pippa is one of my favorite heroines of all time. She steals cheroots wherever she can, and is a bit of an impetuous person. I like to think I'd have done the same, had I been living during those days. I hope this excerpt has intrigued you, and that you'll order your copy when it is released. 

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