So here's my cover solutions for now - I'm on with the next romance and for now I think it's more important to edit them and get them up on Kindle than it is to mess with covers - although I do think covers are important.
This week I've been thinking about lexical sets (a collection of words on the same subject) - when I teach I go on (and on, probably) about how there's ALWAYS a lexical set to be found in a poem or a piece of text. I encourage the students to find them and say what effect the lexical sets have on the piece they are analysing, how it affects mood and tone, how it builds a picture. So why then, has it taken me so long to appreciate the effect of lexical sets on a romantic novel? One of the things that copywriters do to my novels is change and possibly negative words to something with nicer connotations. I used to smile at bit at first. In one book a character I saw as comic pointed with a finger that 'had clearly been gardening.' This was changed to pointing with a 'beautifully manicured' finger. My couple found a dark corner in a restaurant. No, not nice enough. They were seated in a discreet corner. And so it goes, I honestly thought they were being over sensitive and fussy - until I wrote down each word. Over the course of about a quarter of a book: the words dark, oily, dirty, greasy, grubby, old and oily again were taken out. They look totally revolting piled up next to one another in a good old lexical set. Well for goodness sake! Who do I think I am, Salaman Rushdie? (Or any of those writers who like to pile on dirty filth in the name of realism - if you don't believe me, take a highlighter to one page and mark every negative word.) No way to I want to emulate that style, yet somehow I've been infected. I seem to think that in order to make a scene 'real' I have to use the kind of vocabulary favoured by 'real' writers. Well, no more. So far as I am concerned, a tree full of beautiful apple blossom is as real as a burnt-out car. No more negative descriptions for me! It's going to be cherry trees all the way.