Getting an image suitable for Warhead wasn't too difficult-- I was actually able to find a US Army photo of a Nike missile being launched from the very Nike site that I chose for the plot of the book. Little doubt about its being appropriate for the subject matter. The only problem, the Army image was in black and white and the covers of my books were in color. I had the cover designer do the missile picture in a light sepia tone to give it a hint of color, and the result was quite satisfactory.
One of the critical scenes involved a shoot-out, one of the characters armed with a modern precision rifle, the other with an antique Sharps buffalo gun. Having an example of each, I photographed them for the back cover. So far, I was reasonably successful in keeping the covers in tune with the content.
In the case of "Washtub Gold", gold was definitely a factor in the plot. In working up to the finale, specific firearms were described as used by the good and the bad guy. Being a gun person, I wanted to accurately picture these weapons, and to add a bit of atmosphere. I borrowed the appropriate arms from a friend and found a convenient moss covered rock in my front yard. A sprinkle of fired cartridge cases (the correct caliber, of course) implied action, and a small poke of gold dust hinted at the underlying cause of the struggle.
As part of the action takes place on a glacier, I included a shot of the face of a beautiful glacier on the back cover. Turning the images and my druthers over to the cover artist produced the cover which was used, and which certainly reflects the content of "Washtub Gold" more accurately than would a buxom blonde in a bikini. (Which is not to say, you understand, that the blonde might not appear somewhere amongst the chapters.)
I'll try to get the images (without graphics) on my next post. I'm still trying to learn how to use this darn blog thing.