We’re so pleased to welcome author Elizabeth Noble and the official cover reveal of her upcoming Dreamspun Desires novel, High Test. Be sure to check out the exclusive excerpt and the giveaway too, folks!
Creating A Stand-Out Cover
Hello, I’m Elizabeth Noble. Thank you for stopping by today! My new novel, High Test has recently gone up for preorder at the Dreamspinner Press website. That means I can finally show off this wonderful cover art!
I love the cover for High Test. It was created by Bree Archer, and she did a wonderful job! There were a few things that were important to me and I wanted to make sure they were included on the cover. Bree brought all those elements together and then some.
During the cover art process for the Dreamspun Desires books I was asked to decide which of the two main characters I’d like to see represented. The covers all follow a set style. Part of that style is one main character on the cover. Since I wanted my cover to stand out—what author doesn’t—I decided on the less common character in my novel, Neal.
Neal is a mature character, he’s forty-five, has an Asian-Indian heritage and the heir to an international tea company. Bree sent me two dozen, well twenty-three, different images to pick from. This man jumped out right away. He was perfect for the character of Neal. I think it was his smirk that sold me on him.
Next came the background. Part of the plot of High Test involves high performance cars, so my first choice for the background image was a car. Because of the way the covers are stylized and the way photographs are licensed getting a car on the cover wasn’t possible. Bree was able to come up with some alternate designs based on other elements of the story. Hayden, Neal’s love interest is a barista in a coffee shop, so tea and coffee have a bit of a part in the plot.
I was super surprised and thrilled when Bree came up with a background that perfectly represented one of the themes of the book. Tea and coffee! From the swirl in the design, to the cup of hot beverage in the corner to the hot guy who is front and center, this cover will stand out in a crowd.
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a free eBook off my backlist. The contest will be open October 17-24, 2017. Prizes will be made available through the Dreamspinner Press webstore.
Hayden Owens is just your typical graduate student working his way through school as a barista for the Owens Coffee Company—no relation. But he keeps the “no relation” part to himself when he meets dashing, older Neal Kirchner, a successful architect from an old-money family. Hayden doesn’t exactly lie, but he figures it can’t hurt for Neal to believe he’s a rich kid. After all, Hayden doesn’t want Neal thinking he’s a gold digger.
The closer they become, the harder it gets for Hayden to come clean. Something always seems to get in the way. When a company bankruptcy and a jilted, vindictive woman threaten to expose his charade, Hayden thinks it’s all gone down the drain. Luckily Neal is ready with some innocent trickery of his own.
Hayden inched toward the end of the case, intending to get behind the counter. He caught a glimpse of Steffie shooing him back onto the floor. Feeling like the proverbial deer in headlights, Hayden froze in his tracks.
Neal glanced around the coffeehouse. “Pretty dead tonight, huh? I like this—just us.”
“Yeah, most of our customers come in during business hours.” Hayden shrugged. He heard Steffie hit the bean grinder. The noise made Hayden jump. “They need those caffeine shots to work a long day.”
“All that stimulation?”
Hayden gulped and nodded. He turned back to the case. “So, you never said. Decaf or… not?”
“I like high test.”
Steffie appeared with two mugs in hand. “There were just enough beans left for two cups. It seemed silly to leave them until morning, and I wanted to clean the canister.” She plunked the mugs onto the table and nodded at Neal. “It’s one of Hayden’s favorites. I hope you like it.” Turning to Hayden, she put her hands on her hips and smiled far too sweetly at him. “I believe it’s your break time.”
Neal touched Hayden’s arm and dipped his head to the table. “This smells wonderful. Join me?”
Was Steffie in some conspiracy with his apparently newfound friend? Hayden threw caution to the wind, swallowed his shyness and apprehension, and sat down. If Neal was simply on the hunt for a one-night stand, at least Hayden would probably get a nice dinner from him. While they sat together, Hayden scrambled around in his head to find a way to say he wasn’t who Neal thought he was without blowing this whole thing.
Neal sipped his coffee, sat back, and smiled. “Very nice. Hint of chocolate, I think.”
Hayden nodded and took a taste to confirm which one it was. “Chocolate and caramel. It’s a popular brew here. I like it while I’m working.”
“Putting in such long hours. How well I can sympathize with those!” Neal laughed a bit, shifted in his seat, and gently brushed his fingertips over the back of Hayden’s hand where it rested on the tabletop. “What’s your connection to the university?”
“The high-performance engine design program,” Hayden said. He fiddled with his glasses for a second. Another sip of his coffee and Hayden tried to hide how mortified he was by his responses. “Car engines.”
“Really? That sounds fascinating. I’d love to know more.”
“I… um….” Hayden took a deep breath. “Most people think it’s geeky and boring. Too much math and not enough cool cars.” He realized right away there’d been no questions about the coffeehouse franchise and why Hayden would have a career outside of what Neal must think was Hayden’s family’s business.
Neal laughed. It was smooth and pleasant. “I’m an architect, so sort of a related field, remember?” He drained his coffee mug and reached for Hayden’s. “Finished?”
“Um… yeah. You don’t….”
“Nonsense.” Neal stood up and took both mugs back to the counter, handing them over to Steffie. “Thank you. That was very tasty.” He took out a few bills, but Steffie waved him off.
“Our secret,” she said and took the mugs.
Neal returned to the table. He rested one hand on Hayden’s shoulder for a few seconds. “I’ll see you soon. I look forward to our second date.”
Before Hayden could process what Neal had said, let alone respond, Neal was out the door. Second date? Had he just had a first date and not even realized it?
About the Author
Mystery, action, chills, and thrills spiced with romance and desire. ELIZABETH NOBLE started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.
Elizabeth has three grown children, two grandchildren, and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed-breed canine princess and her sidekick tabby cat. Elizabeth lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening and winter and summer sports (go Tribe and Cavs!) and stargazing all year long. When she’s not writing, she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.
Elizabeth received a number of amateur writing awards. Since being published, several of her novels have received Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Jewel Cave was a runner-up in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Ringed Love was a winner in the Gay Fantasy Romance category of the 2016 Rainbow Awards.
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