Just got a peek at my new cover for my upcoming debut novel, DARK LIGHT OF DAY, which is being released by Penguin/Ace on September 25, 2012. I love it!

I imagine the first time any new author sees his or her first cover, it’s a pretty neat experience. It’s fascinating seeing your character’s face — professionally rendered — for the first time. What a fantastic job the art department at Penguin did! I’m truly thankful to Lesley Worrell, the art director who shepherded this project, and David Palumbo, the artist (whose other work can be viewed here), for bringing Noon Onyx visually to life.

Although I wasn’t involved in designing this cover every step of the way, I was grateful for the involvement I had and found the whole process incredibly interesting. Awhile back, my editor and I traded several e-mails discussing ideas: clothing, location, how Noon’s magic might be represented, etc. As a novelist, I tend to think of characters as slowly unfolding, thousands of words at a time, over the course of chapters, or even over the course of several books in a series. But book covers are their own little piece of creative work — related, but separate from the novel. The best covers convey enormous amounts of information in one glance. They have a single second to make an impression. To convey genre, mood, and tone. I think the folks in charge of this artistic endeavor hit the note perfectly.

I love Noon’s expression. Standing in front of a fiery sky, holding a fireball in her bare palm, she looks slightly defiant, but also calm and somewhat calculating. Here’s a young woman who is carefully considering something (probably where to put that fireball! :-D) The books and St. Luck’s in the background nicely convey the academic setting. And other more subtle cover elements (the blackened vine design on the iron gate, the drape of Noon’s cloak) will be even better appreciated by readers after they’ve finished reading.

What’s Next for Noon? She’s Going to Comic-Con!

The first three chapters of DARK LIGHT OF DAY are going to be included in a sampler that Ace/Roc will be handing out at Comic-Con. I’ve heard I’ll get some author copies to share (which will also include samples of work by several other wonderful Ace/Roc authors) so stay tuned for details on a summer giveaway!

Readers, what do you think of my new cover? What sort of things do you look for in a cover? What catches your eye? Have any all-time favorites you’d like to share? Writers, what was it like for you when you saw your first cover? How about the cover for your most recent release? Have any ‘cover stories’ you’d like to share?