Behind the cover: It’s Hard Out Here For a Duke

One of the frequently asked questions of any romance author is, “Do you have a say in your covers?” To which one often answers NO. Or “yes, I have the option to agree with my publisher!” As you can see from my books page, I have been #blessed with many beautiful historical romance covers in which not one person can manage to stay fully attired.

But in a dramatic turn of events, I did have very much input in the cover of It’s Hard Out Here For a Duke!

First, I was given the option to choose my model! It is a good day when one’s editor sends you an assortment of headshots of very handsome men and says “pick which one strikes your fancy and you shall have him.” This was a challenging task, but not an unpleasant one.



Next, I got to choose the pose. This involved looking at many pictures of my chosen model as he struck various poses with his shirt hanging open and with sexy smoldering expressions. My job is not the worst.


More #HardChoices. The struggle is real.


And then, the conflict!


“I like to lean against things.”

I had selected a pose in which my hero is leaning seductively because he is inspired by Dr. Derek Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy who, in the words of Dr. Miranda Bailey, is “tall, handsome and likes to lean against things and ponder the difficulties of dating beautiful women.” Now I had imagined that this horse-mad duke would be leaning against a stall in a barn (a fancy stall in a fancy barn) but when I suggested this my editor said (and I paraphrase): “absolutely not oh no he is leaning against bed. This is not open for discussion. You can thank me later.”

Next I gently inquired about the possibility of including a rearing stallion in the background, in a manner which harkened back to the “old skool” romances of yore. This was also rebuffed.

BUT! My devoted husband has decided to wield his photoshop skills for my benefit and so he has created a version of the cover in which a stallion rears seductively and subtly in the background. Because romance.

And so, BEHOLD, this unofficial, handcrafted romance novel cover, in which a handsome, scantily clad man stands oblivious to the stallion in his midst and says, with his eyes “Hey Girl, help me finish taking my shirt off.”



Valerie Bowman

OMG. This is hysterical! Love it and am rubbing my hands together eagerly awaiting this on my front door step.

Maya Rodale

Yay!!!! Hope you love it!!!

Landra Graf

I’d pay extra for a copy of the book with the stallion on the cover. This is fantastic!!!

Maya Rodale

My husband will be glad to hear that! I should see about getting some printed… 😉

Janette C Gryniewicz

Yay! Can’t wait for my copy to get here!


Lol! This is fantastic, you should have a caption this contest on Facebook !


I love how “based in real girl life” you are — I think that’s what makes your books so appealing & HILARIOUS.


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