Thursday, June 27, 2013


An observant reader (thanks, Ali!) alerted me to the fact that the cover of Why Kings Confess is already up on Amazon. I queried my editor (it was news to her, too!) and so, without further ado, here's the new cover:

You can click on the picture to enlarge it, if you want to see it better.

I'm happy with it. The guy doesn't look like my image of Sebastian (he actually reminds me a lot of Sean Bean in the Sharpe series, whom I always found incredibly sexy), but I love his dynamism and energy and that edge of danger and purposefulness. And I think the cover itself is very striking. Perhaps those of you who don't like to think of Sebastian looking like this can simply decide it's a picture of some other random Regency guy!

And since Amazon also has the cover copy (can you tell I'm feeling a bit late to my own party?), I'll post that, too:

The gruesome murder of a young French physician draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his pregnant wife, Hero, into a dangerous, decades-old mystery as a wrenching piece of Sebastian’s past puts him to the ultimate test.

Regency England, January 1813: When a badly injured Frenchwoman is found beside the mutilated body of Dr. Damion Pelletan in one of London’s worst slums, Sebastian finds himself caught in a high-stakes tangle of murder and revenge. Although the woman, Alexi Sauvage, has no memory of the attack, Sebastian knows her all too well from an incident in his past—an act of wartime brutality and betrayal that nearly destroyed him.

As the search for the killer leads Sebastian into a treacherous web of duplicity, he discovers that Pelletan was part of a secret delegation sent by Napoleon to investigate the possibility of peace with Britain. Despite his powerful father-in-law’s warnings, Sebastian plunges deep into the mystery of the “Lost Dauphin,” the boy prince who disappeared in the darkest days of the French Revolution, and soon finds himself at lethal odds with the Dauphin’s sister—the imperious, ruthless daughter of Marie Antoinette—who is determined to retake the French crown at any cost.

With the murderer striking ever closer, Sebastian must battle new fears about Hero’s health and that of their soon-to-be born child. When he realizes the key to their survival may lie in the hands of an old enemy, he must finally face the truth about his own guilt in a past he has found too terrible to consider.... 

So what do y'all think of the cover? Love it? Hate it? Can live with it? The most important factor for me is, Will it attract new readers? And I think it will do that nicely. 

UPDATE: And did you notice my name is AT THE TOP? Finally!

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Blogger Carly Cole said...

I like it, except for the face, which really isn't how I picture Sebastian. Although now that I think about it, I don't have a really concrete picture of either Sebastian or Hero.

7:30 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

Carly, when they said they were putting him coming at the reader, I said, "Please have his head down so that his hat shadows his face..." Ironically, I think my editor was even more unhappy about that aspect of it than I was. This man simply doesn't have the fine-boned aristocratic features that I picture for Sebastian, but I do think he captures the dangerous attitude and dynamism.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Courtney said...

I love it! Sebastian looks so strong and sleek! And I can't wait to read the book from the blurb alone. Is it March yet?

8:51 PM  
Blogger Misti said...

I was thinking that he looks a bit like Collin Firth's Mr. Darcy and even though he's not how I picture Sebastian, I quite like the cover.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it. If I were a new reader I would definitely check it out. The storyline captured me too. Can't wait

11:15 PM  
Blogger Helena said...

It's always risky to show a face for an established character. However, as a cover it really works - the colours are excellent and draw you to it, and the air of mystery is very good too. And the clothes may even be quite accurate!!! (Almost unheard of, these days.)

I very much approve of the placement of your name and the title.

All in all, a great cover which will attract new readers - it will stand out and invite them to pick it up.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

c-i really like it! for most of the reasons you do. i find that my idea of a fictional character is rarely what others imagine.

but the vibe from this image is both dangerous and alluring at the same time. he's attractive and menacing. you get the feeling you dont want to tick him off. i always get that feeling from Sebastian - actually Hero too. so i think this is a success and i for one say - great! and after i read the book blurb!! - well let's just say i'm back to a March countdown!

8:24 AM  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

I like the cover. Definitely has some coolness factor going for it.

9:23 AM  
Blogger LOgalinOR said...

Thrilled to see that you love the cover, and with your name on top! I agree, along with the other readers, that the image of Sebastian is different than what most imagined. On this cover, it looks like a much younger and youthful Sebastian--when he was madly in love with Kat and before he went to war on the Peninsula.
The cover is definitely striking and would make a future reader pick it up and peruse the contents. I love the colors and the mood with a certain edge that it portrays. The mystery, danger,and suspense surrounding the central figure, along with the vibes of sexiness and energy.
You should be proud--well done! Hope your right hand is doing better (have you ever used a recorder and dictate?) and progress on the next book continues. Now the angst of waiting for Why Kings Confess begins....sigh. Loved the photo of Whiskies and the 'invading rose'--LOL

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

c-one of my nieces has been asking me for good books to read (she is 19). so i sent her the link to your blog, of course she asked is that you Aunt Ali? but after getting some other more important information from me - i think we may have a new reader. one convert at a time!

12:57 PM  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

I'm trying to learn to use my new feedly app since google reader is going by bye. this is gonna be slower it looks like to get to blogs to comment.

1:52 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

Courtney, that's good to hear! And March does seem so far away, doesn't it?

Misti, several other people have seen that, too. I hadn't thought of it until it went at looked at some of Firth's old photos, but he does--which is rather nice, I think.

Anon, Good!

Helena, yes, I think you nailed it; regular readers already have their own mental image of Sebastian. But as a cover I think it does work, and after the rumpled black trench coat on the first version (I am not kidding!), the clothes are a miracle.

Ali, yes, the vibe is all Sebastian, menacing and attractive at the same time.

Charles, it is cool, isn't it? I actually put it on my computer's desktop, which shows how much I like it.

3:22 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

LOgalinOR, yes, I think it does a really good job of telling new readers what type of character to expect, which is so important. And my hand is slowly improving, thanks, although still not better. I'm not sure I could dictate--I actually write my books by hand before typing them up, chapter by chapter as I go along.

Ali, thank you! Nothing is more important than word of mouth.

Charles, I did not know about that. Interesting.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - I go away for a few days and all sorts of things happen. I do like the cover. Agree with everyone, not quite the right face (heavier a little than I was imagining) but definitely the feel is there. I ask this every year, so this is that time again, "Can they release it early?" An autumn book would be so lovely. Hope your hand recovers fully and soon. Thanks for the Whiskies pic - will have to show my daughter. Sabena

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, one more question. What is that wrapped around his lower waist? Looks like a strap for a gun belt. Is that for a sword? Showing my ignorance.... Sabena

10:22 PM  
Anonymous lmhess said...

It will do...nicely. I'm never sure any book cover is perfect, Candy. There's certainly plenty of inaccurate ones out there. Or misleading, for that matter. This new one captures the substance of Sebastian - dapper but a little dangerous. And that aura of "foggy London Town". But, gee, it's such along time until publication...sigh..

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Essex said...

Hmmm. Once again, just not how I picture Sebastian but I do like the cover anyway. The story sounds great. March seems terribly far away- especially with this heat wave here in the north west. I find myself thinking of cloudy skies and rain. Go figure!
Hope your hand heals! Perhaps you could try voice recognition software- I use it for work, and when properly trained, it can be quite useful. You do have to proofread carefully- it does make the strangest substitutions.
Off to amazon to pre-order !

10:44 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

Sabena, yes, we all seem to agree that his FACE isn't Sebastian, but the attitude is definitely there! And the problem with moving up the pub date for this book is that I'm afraid there would then be a long wait for the next book; life has really been getting in the way of writing lately, and it's about to get worse as I'm going to be spending much of the next few months getting ready to put my mom's old house on the market.

As for the thing around the waist, it puzzled me too until I asked for a higher resolution file and blew it up to discover it's just a shadow across the front of his breeches.

Imhess, I suspect you're right and no author ever thinks their cover is quite right. But I am soooo pleased with this one, especially when I recall the original version!

Essex, I agree that March weather sounds wonderful at the moment. it was up to 98 here today. We had to bring the Pee Cats inside by ten this morning, something they really don't like since ten to twelve hours in the bathroom is understandably boring.

11:04 PM  
Blogger nana said...

I'm not really a fan of characters (where is the mystery?!!) on covers but this "Sebastian" is better than WDB's one. He looks a little like Tom Weston-Jones in the tv-show "Copper"
But as usual LOVE the coloring & the mood.
& Thanks for the Blurb, looks really interesting & captivating, can't wait for March.

10:59 AM  
Blogger LOgalinOR said...

In looking at the new cover again (and again-no hidden light bulbs or fixtures here---LOL), there is another (glowing) review from author, Lisa Gardner. Another congrats!

5:05 PM  
Blogger paz said...

Just saw this, and I can only say: YES!

Forget the face; the 'tude is totally Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes. A bit more street than Sebastian, but very cool ;-)

What really has me excited is the reference to Hero's health, and to Sebastian's war time story. With so much being made about Hero's mother's own troubles, I expected that there would be some drama there. Not that I want anything horrible to happen, but I was looking to clarify Hero's mothers story. And of course, of course, Sebastian's own memories of the war. He is the coolest sharp shooting/knife throwing/mixed martial arts practicing pacifist I have ever known.

I can easily have my sharpe loving tween do some cool mustache/eybrow art and voila! No more face.

7:37 PM  
Blogger paz said...

Last sentence didn't print :( With the eyebrows and mustache, its Sebastian in one of his disguises (wiggling eyebrows)

7:44 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

Nana, yes, I wish they had left his face in shadow. But I agree that otherwise the cover is stunning.

LOgalinOR, yes, I went over the high resolution file inch by inch looking for sneaky things that didn't belong! And the quote is actually just the other part of Lisa's quote. Authors frequently give a paragraph and let publishers choose what they like from it.

Paz, yes, this is the book where we find out what happened to Sebastian in the war that drove him to sell out and sent him on that downward spiral. Actually, that part sorta continues into book number ten, too.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I love the cover! Can't wait for the book. Sounds mysterious.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:20 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

Amy, as usual the blurb leaves out a lot. It's Gibson who finds the injured girl and the dead man at the beginning of the book, and his opium addiction is an important thread in the story.

11:24 PM  
Blogger hwueste said...

I find it strange that the author has no final say on her own book cover. Can think of no one who is better qualified to describe the character she has spent so much intimate time with. That just blows my mind. Like most others, I feel the cover depicts the essence of the time, but in my mind's eye, Sebastian is dark and rather moody liking.

6:38 PM  
Blogger hwueste said...

I find it strange that the author has no final say on her own book cover. Can think of no one who is better qualified to describe the character she has spent so much intimate time with. That just blows my mind. Like most others, I feel the cover depicts the essence of the time, but in my mind's eye, Sebastian is dark and rather moody liking.

6:39 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

hwueste, their thinking is that authors might know how to write, but they don't necessarily know anything about art design and marketing. In some cases this is true, but in my experience it's also frequently true that harried art departments are just as likely to be clueless about what images would best appeal to a book's target readers. I am lucky that my publisher does at least ask my opinion of their covers, and in this instance listened when I shrieked in horror at their first attempt.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Margaret said...

The cover is properly mysterious, which is all you can ask of a publisher (I know, I've published a few books myself) so it has me even more ramped up to read the next installment.
Question though: Is this to be the longest human pregnancy on record? I thought maybe the infant would make an appearance in the same year as the heir-to-the-throne!

12:56 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

Margaret, I think this probably does quality as the longest pregnancy ever. Poor Hero!

10:16 PM  
Anonymous vp said...

I love it! I don't think the face is defined enough to feel too strongly about and I love the energy in his stride.

I used to picture Sebastian looking like Richard Armitage, then I realized Armitage is a bit too old, so I've switched to Henry Cavill, who is the right age, although the wrong eye color.

And, yes, it appears I have put a lot of though into the appearance of a fictional character, but I'm OK with that. :)

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Carly. I don't picture Sebastian like that either! I pictured Sebastian with a more slender nose and a more softer, younger face.

3:42 PM  
Blogger cs harris said...

vp, I saw a picture of Cavill the other day and thought, hmmm....

Anon, yes, this man's face is "hard" in way that doesn't fit my image of Sebastian, either. The truth is, I suspect we all see Sebastian a bit differently. My editor was really unhappy with him, then admitted no real person would probably capture her image of Sebastian.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the cover==sort of that damaged look--like he is not eating enough or sleeping enough but he is strong enough to do what he needs to do

11:43 AM  
Blogger Judith said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

I think he does look like Richard Armitidge which is not a bad thing, but I think of Sebastian looking more like Orlando Bloom.

9:07 PM  
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