Behind The Scenes ~ Book Cover Creations with Gene Mollica

Vengeance Born

Penguin Group, USA
Cover Illustration: Gene Mollica
First Place ~ 2012 Alternate Reality


Gene Mollica is one of my favorite illustrators. His illustration for Vengeance Born finished in first place in Cover Cafe’s 2012 Alternate Reality category.  Yesterday on Pinterest, I discovered two You Tube videos with a  behind the scenes look at two of Gene’s cover shoots .  Enjoy!



I love the attention to detail right down to costumes, props, and the all important facial expressions. They are the critical components that separate good covers from fantastic covers.   My hats are off to publishers who take the time to create unique covers without relying on popular stock images.   The expense involved is worth it!  You can find more of Gene’s illustrations on his site.


Poll Central ~ Holiday Favorites Cover Showdown

Holiday Favorites -1st Place - 2010-2013

Holiday Favorites -1st Place – 2010-2013

Click on the individual poll images for larger size.

I’m torn between the 2 muff covers and the contemporary Main Street scene.  The only cover eliminated easily was Jane’s Gift.  However,  I love couples on my holiday covers so Mischief of the Mistletoe can be eliminated, too.   My final decision is choosing either the historical muff couple with that wonderful carriage or the contemporary Main Street couple.  Both covers are romantic and feature wonderful holiday themes.  Choosing between It Happened One Christmas and Christmas on 4th Street  is an impossible choice for me…decisions, decisions.   Which 1st Place cover is your favorite cover?

(You can see the previous Holiday Favorites contest results here:

“Too Close For Comfort” Book Covers ~ Doppelganger Award

Doppelganger Award

Doppelgangers are duplicates or two people that could be each other’s double.  However,  I’ve adopted the term for book cover duplicates because of  stock images.  I haven’t issued a Doppelganger Award since early 2013 because we discover most duplicates through our nominations and none surfaced in 2013.   This year,  I missed one right under my nose until I read about it in a comment written on a romance blog.    One of our In The Spotlight covers is an unfortunate “too close for comfort” cover.   We have a Doppelganger Award winner for 2014.

Brenda Janowitz’s romance,  Jack with a Twist  was first published in 2008 by Red Dress Ink and featured a clever cover that fit the title.  I really like this cover with the lemon rind, the ring, and poor Jack under glass.

Jack With A Twist

Red Dress Ink ~ 2008

In 2013,  JWAT was issued via another publisher using a stock image with a great pair of shoes, a favorite on contemporary romance book covers.  The new cover didn’t  capture the title as well as the Red Dress Ink cover and nothing was done to the original stock image except for adding the unique font used for the title.

Jack With A Twist

Polis Books – May, 2013

Then it was was issued again in 2014 with a few font and lighting changes but using the same stock image.  I really like the deep pink font used for the title because it makes the title pop even in thumbnail size.  It was a great improvement but again nothing was done to the stock image.

Jack With A Twist

Polis Books ~ March, 2014

In May 2014, another author’s release featured the same stock image and was featured in Cover Cafe’s,  In The Spotlight.   I  love the shoes and the stock image fits the title perfectly but it is almost identical to the earlier Polis Books covers.  The fonts are different and there was a border added to It Happened One Wedding but the stock image was not changed.  We now have a Doppelganger situation that cover designers, authors, and publishers hate to experience.  They all want their covers to stand out from the crowd and no one wants their cover to lose sales because buyers mistake it for another release they have already read or purchased.

It Happened One Wedding

Jove ~ May, 2014

If you use stock images that are not exclusive,  please design a layout that incorporates the image along with other components. Make the cover special and a one of a kind cover.   Below are a two covers using the same female stock image but with cover designs that sets them apart.  No one would ever confuse the two covers or label them a Doppelganger.

Thorndike Press - November, 2013

Thorndike Press ~ November, 2013

Slip the Skin

Self-Published ~ February, 2014

My final piece of advice for cover designers is about the stock image used in the cover below.   This cover is nominated in this year’s contest but I’ve seen its Doppelganger in a very similar pre-made cover option.   It is a great photo and made me smile when I first saw it online.  Be careful if you use it and be creative with your layout.

Flirting With Magick

Book Trope ~ August, 2014