Sharpen your pencils and boot up Photoshop - my Arabian Nights romantic adventure novel Heart of Flame is approaching publication as an e-book and I need YOU to create me a cover.
Yes, CatScratch Press have launched a competition to find cover art for my book - and I get to choose the winner! And if that's you, then you'll be paid $175 for use of your work. Honestly, I'm more excited than a whole carload of Labrador Retrievers on their way to the beach.
The competition rules (format, legal etc) are over at the CatScratch blog, but I'm taking the opportunity here to give you some ideas for inspiration. A cover is a vital part of a book - fairly or unfairly, sales are made on the strength of it, so it needs to be intriguing and attractive and to reflect the contents. Whether abstract or iconic or a detailed painting, this cover must say Arabian Nights to the reader.
Here's the plot summary:
Taqla, a young sorceress disguised as a man, has been hired to assist handsome Rafiq on a dangerous quest. Ahleme, known as "the most beautiful woman in the world", has been kidnapped by Yazid, a rebellious djinn, who plans to coerce her into becoming the mother of his child. Taqla and Rafiq must find Ahleme before this child - this abomination - can be conceived.
As the unlikely pair race across the desert, a dangerous encounter with ghouls strips Taqla's magical disguise away, leaving both her face and her emotions bare to Rafiq's scrutiny. Burdened by this unwelcome revelation, the two struggle to continue their quest, though their relationship grows more strained with each passing hour. It is only when Taqla is nearly killed that Rafiq begins to view her as something more than just a means to an end. Yet Taqla's past experiences and fear of being diminished by marriage cause her to remain aloof.
Will Taqla's fierce independence soften enough for her to see Rafiq through eyes less jaded? Or will their approaching battle with the djinn kill them both, rendering the argument moot?
The cover doesn't have to be complicated, just effective. This sort of thing works really well for a certain author.
Feeling ambitious and want to have a go at depicting the characters? Here are some of the pictures I used as inspiration when writing (although of course you may not manipulate these photos directly as they belong to other people), which may help you too. Click to enlarge.
More ideas needed? The two main protagonists visit medieval Baghdad, the ghoul-haunted ruins of Ctesiphon, Bukhara, a huge swamp, several deserts (one of which is pale green) and the snow-covered mountains of Kashmir, and they ride a metallic silver horse across the surface of the sea. There's no magic carpet though!
I am happy to answer any questions here in the comments section about the novel's contents and details. But to enter you need to go to the catScratch blog where you will find formatting details and the address to send your art - don't send it direct to me.
So go on - Please! - Make me a cover! And if graphic art is not your thing, please pass the news on to friends who might be interested.