I recently signed a contract with Splashdown Books to re-release my previously self-published novels in the Ascendancy Trilogy, The Duke's Handmaid and its sequel, Nor Iron Bars a Cage. The new cover for book one appears above.
The twin suns picture was part of the package I paid for when I self-published with Xulon Press, so you will see that on all the old covers. But we wanted something that made the new cover standout as different as well as a way to tie-in the first book with the second. (If you go to my website, you can see the older versions, which will probably continue to be available until the new ones come out.) So Grace framed the suns-set picture with a burlap background [which will also frame something in the sequel] and then we discussed adding an extra item of visual interest which would capture a plot element.
The plot of the first book includes a magical key (as well as a character named "Kee") so we settled on adding a key. But deciding we wanted a key and finding one that would look like it belonged in my fantasy world of Byntar was a much more daunting task than we had ever imagined. After both of us scoured the internet to no avail, Grace decided to appeal to the Lost Genre Guild for a lead on an artist to create something suitable. Kat Heckenbach stepped up to the plate and drew us the key of our dreams.
So the new cover features Kat's key and I couldn't be happier with it. Look for second edition (newly edited and revised!) of The Duke's Handmaid sometime this summer. Watch this blog for news on the exact release date.