Mini-Contest #5

While we’re on Pink Carnation fun facts, here’s one of my favorites: Pink began life with a completely different sort of cover.

When the book was in the production stage, chick lit was all the rage. So the first version of the cover, the one that went out to reviewers, looked like this:

It was a lovely cover, but, it was agreed, a little misleading, given that the bulk of the story is historical. So the amazing people at the art department at Dutton raced back to the drawing board and produced this new cover in the space of about two days:

And the books have looked like that ever since!

So here’s my question for you: if you had to design a cover for Pink, what would it look like?

Five people will be chosen at random to receive an advance excerpt of The Mischief of the Mistletoe.


  1. Diya on February 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Hmmm. I really love the current covers but if I got to design one I would have a standard vase n a table and fill it with whatever flower dubuts in the books, like pink carnations, blood lilys, jasmine, red roses, black tulips (wether they exist or not) not sure what I’d do for the Deception though.=)

  2. Erica D on February 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    All of the covers are focused on the herioine of the tale. However, in some of the books, the male counterparts have played an equally substantative part and sometimes have just as much narrative time as the heroines. I like the theme of the historical pictorial better than a more modern one like the first cover. However, I would like to see the male lead of the story present in some capacity as well. Or, have a picture of the heroine on front as is standard, and have a picture of the male lead on the back cover.

  3. Meredith on February 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I like Erica’s idea of focusing on the male protagonist. However, if we’re still showing the heroine, it would be cool to see them actually in the act of espionage or doing something she loves (rather than just posing and being gorgeous). For example, Penelope horseback riding, or Charlotte on her favourite rooftop.

  4. Sheila on February 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I think the covers are beautiful, although the dresses don’t always seem to be of the correct era. I would love to see a vignette, perhaps a silhouette, of the hero and heroine in one of their swashbuckling episodes. Another idea would be a vignette of Colin and Eloise to feature the modern romance that is also taking place.

  5. Katelin on February 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I love the current covers but it would be really cool to see the hero and heroine on the cover; and perhaps he could be presenting her a bouquet of the flower that each book is named after.

  6. Molly on February 6, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I’ve actually thought about this before a little bit, so I was pleasantly surprised when this was a contest! =)

    Well part of what I love about the Pink books is that it is a give and take between the historical and the modern. There’s a definite relationship between Eloise and the characters she’s researching. So, I was thinking it might be interesting to have the cover split down the middle. One side showing the historical character in some position somewhat similar to what they are now, and Eloise in a similar position. I know that sounds kind of busy but I was thinking the focal point would be the heroines, and the only clear detail in the frames should be their mode of dress (to distinguish the modern from the historical) and whatever flower happens to be in prominence.

    I was bored in class one day and actually started to sketch it out, haha.

  7. Molly on February 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Also, I’m glad you/they didn’t choose the first cover. She seems way too polished to be Eloise. Eloise feels a lot more rough around the edges (in a fun, scholarly way) than this woman. This woman reminds me too much of the metro-west Boston country club ladies.

  8. J on February 6, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I like the current covers for setting the expectation for mostly historical time period. If I were to make a change, it would probably be to add something that hinted more at the secret agent emphasis in the plots.

  9. Georgia on February 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I like the historical covers better than the Chick Lit look. The only thing missing is a picture of the hero.

  10. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on February 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Hmmm… maybe some historical paitings of the locations, seeing as they play an important role. Like an 18th view of Paris? But then I’d duotone it so there’s a pink cast to it.

  11. Abigail on February 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I think the current covers are lovely—I always prefer paintings to photography for historicals (even tho’ we’ve got Eloise, too). But what about something with old diaries and letters, maybe with the little carnation pendant that Jane wears laying on top?….

  12. Susan on February 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Since most of the historical part of the story takes place in Paris, I would have some type of picture/art of Paris. Somewhere in the picture there would be a carnation, or carnation petals, strewn very subtle. And perhaps a shadow or almost hidden masked spy.
    The same could be done for the other books of the different cities.

  13. P on February 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I actually really like the current pictures but if you had to change…maybe a shadowed picture of the city where the book takes place. Like for Blood Lily, a silhouette of a Taj Mahal scene with the background the color of a Blood Lily.

    I also like the shift in the current covers from the seal on the side to the borders with the flowers.

  14. AngelB on February 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I definitely like the 1st three covers, though, I wish the clothes were closer to 1803 fashion. Also maybe just a backdrop/picture from a location in a scene from the book or reference to the male supporting role.

    ie – unicorns, serpents, abbeys, etc.

  15. Michelle on February 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Definitely a historical cover, because I’d read it no matter what. Also, since I like to picture the characters in my head, I wouldn’t want their faces to be on the cover. I must say though, I think all the covers have been perfect!

  16. Jennie on February 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I would keep to historical covers, this mainly because when i look for new books to buy historical covers always draw my eye. I know,i know, not the best way to choose a book, but thats the way my mind works! As for the rest of the cover, i think i would like the male figures to be on the cover too…. The stories wouldn’t be the same without the heroes!

  17. Morgan on February 6, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I love the covers the way they are – I think they are lovely. I think that having the male on the cover (either by himself or with the female) makes it look more like a harlequin romance than what it really is.

  18. Veronica on February 6, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I love that the covers prominently feature a female… that illusion of femininity and flowers on the cover actually takes on a much deeper meaning within the pages. The historical covers and gowns really draw my eye and I wouldn’t change anything about them! But I do like the idea mentioned of a backdrop of a scene/ setting referencing the male heroes in the book.

  19. Tami on February 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I love the covers as they are (Tulip remains my favourite), but if I were to design a cover, I would have the main historical character in each book, looking into a mirror of some sort (with their backs to the reader, perhaps a slight (very slight) profile), holding the flower in the title, with Eloise looking back at them/us, also with the flower (perhaps in her hair, or holding it)- OR – Eloise passing by a shop (as she seems to do at least once in each book :-D) with one of the characters in the shop, perhaps either with her back to us/Eloise, or in slight profile.

  20. Jeannie Luntz on February 6, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I have to join the consensus in loving the historical covers. Of course they are taken from artistic works of the past or are painted to closely resemble them rather than being of the actual heroines of the books. But, if the covers had to change, I would like to go with the simplicity found in the Twilight series and suggest that each book feature the wax seal of the featured flower spy in the title on that volume’s cover, sealing the fold over of some secret document, letter, etc.

  21. Amy on February 6, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I’ve often wondered about the hard-cover copy of the Black Tulip. It’s cover is a bit different from the rest of the series. Any reason for that? BTW, it was that cover that drew me to the series in the first place when I was browsing at my library.

  22. Teje on February 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    I really like the covers for the first 3 books. I agree that if they were to be changed, the hero should be on the cover with the flower in some manner. Perhaps he is more vague than the heroine, in shadow perhaps.

  23. Debra on February 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I think background scenery would be a nice inclusion.

  24. anna on February 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I’d have put an action scene on the front, a posey of flowers representing spies on the spine, and a wee bit of Eloise and Colin on the back.
    So Pink could be same style painting as current, but of 2 young women listening at the keyhole of a locked door. Spine would have pink carnations and purple gentians. El and Col could be represented on back cover, beneath blurb, as 2 empty mugs of hot cocoa. Masque would be of Hen, Pen, and Lottie at that ball (poor lottie). And so on.

  25. Rebecca W. on February 7, 2010 at 12:50 am

    For the cover of “Pink Carnation,” the first image that came to mind was of a woman in period clothes (whether a real woman or a picture of one, presumably Jane) holding a Pink Carnation behind her back. You don’t see her face, and it’s more close up (I guess focusing from the neck to about the waist). I think the titles the way they are now could fit within this cover, so I would keep them as is. But it’s that image in my head that somehow seems to fit with the book — at least in my head.

    Hope this made sense. I find it hard to describe in writing! 😀

  26. Carolyn on February 7, 2010 at 1:24 am

    I think all the novels should have split covers between Eloise/Colin and the main historical couple, and that the backdrop should either be the flower or the main city that it takes place in.

  27. Stephanie Ball on February 7, 2010 at 1:49 am

    I love the covers. Although i would have preferred something more like the first few rather than the blood lilly But it makes sense with where they were and Penelope’s personality. I would love to see more of the same. but maybe the last book have Eloise be the cover. Her own spy book maybe. Also maybe a male protagonist on the cover, i would have loved to have seen miles on the cover.

  28. Meg on February 7, 2010 at 3:28 am

    I always thought it would be fun to have a cover in black and white, showing the dramatic shadows that many a spy novel cover sports. Maybe a silhouette of the heroine/hero/villian leaving their particular calling card?

    (I do love the covers as they are now though-)

  29. Alexa J. on February 7, 2010 at 8:30 am

    The current covers are fantastic, but I would try a collage-style cover, with a blooming flower draped over a hand-written letter.

  30. Jessica on February 7, 2010 at 11:45 am

    White cover with a single specimen of the title flower/object filling the cover vertically.

  31. Chelsea on February 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I was given a publishers copy of pink 1 from the lady who owns my local bookstore.( My family called her my drug dealer for years. She often called the house to recommend books to me. ) obviously her plan worked as I have bought every subsequent pink carnation book. But since my original book did not have the same style cover as the second, I was thrown for a minute. I don’t really care which cover they have, so long as I get to read them!

  32. Nikki M on February 7, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I honestly love the covers as they are. I wouldn’t change them.
    But just for the sake of it… lol
    Maybe just one simple colour for each book and then each flower/emerald ring in the middle, but a painted picture to keep it a little vintage.

  33. Ashley on February 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Is there any particular reason that the Pink covers have changed after the Emerald Ring? I noticed the first 3 are distinctly similar and then the last 3 have a new look.

  34. Lisa Maddox on February 8, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I really like the idea of showing the female characters in a portrait of something that they love, a little piece of their personality. Though, Pink’s cover should have sheep on it.

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