Trying my best to tell a book by it’s cover

My wonderful final cover

My new book Zamira Saliev is out on the 1st of December. It’s the first in a series of Dept 6 Operations which will cover the work of a covert Government agency rescuing women in distress from around the world. The full details are at the top, but the story involves Flick Colonna as the government operative who is ex Special Forces going to Tarinor to rescue Zamira Saliev from kidnappers. Part of the story includes survival in harsh terrain.

High plains of somewhere like Tarinor

The creation of the cover for the book has its own story. Nicci Robinson at Global Wordsmiths had a good idea of what I was looking for and presented me with a couple of possible covers that were immediately in the right ballpark. But what we needed was a picture of a female soldier with short dark hair and with no country showing on her uniform and we didn’t want her firing a gun. She needed to be incognito as that was her role in the book.

I must have looked at thousands of photos from all the well-known and even the lesser-known stocks of photographs. Nicci did the same thing. I was so disillusioned at the end of the first few hours that I was almost considering re-writing my story so that my main character Flick had long hair and a big gun! Many of the women photographed did not look professional, they held weapons that were futuristic, often too big for the women to have even managed to shoot. Sometimes their helmets/hats were either enormous and they wore them crooked, or they were wearing them at a jaunty angle. They were often not fully clothed.

Hot ….but not for my story

Many of the women would not have looked out of place on the inside of a heterosexual males gym locker, and they certainly didn’t do anything for me…let alone readers of my book. Don’t get me wrong I admire the female body as much as the next lesbian, but many of the photos were models dressed for the male gaze. False eyelashes, hot red lipstick and shirts that barely closed (when they actually had one on). Several appeared to have been mud-wrestling me innocent but is that a man thing too?

As ex-military myself (although Navy) I’m very aware of what a professional female soldier looks like…. And this wasn’t it. I wanted a professional soldier for my book… Flick Colonna was a professional. I even looked in my old stack of photos…

Professional looking…but with gun and uniform

Luckily for me the joint work of Global Wordsmiths and KC Lylark produced the cover I wanted, needed, and loved. Perhaps in the future someone will start a sapphic photo stock website and give us good images we can use on our books?

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