Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Film-Night :: Cake

This week Pink Heart Society editor Ally Blake brings you a film she'd never heard of until it landed in her hot little hands. Now she hopes you'll all go out and see...

CAKE

This was a wonderful little discovery. My hubby came home from the video store with five DVDs for $5. Four of them were for him. Think action adventure, monsters and boy stuff. And one, was for me.

CAKE. I looked from the cover to him and raised both eyebrows. ‘What’s this?’

‘I thought you’d like it. It looks girly.’

I had a day off, and any excuse to sit on the couch for two hours will get me there... And you now what? My clever hubby found me a gem. A romance novel on film. Seriously.

It stars the underrated Heather Graham, and Ian Grey, better known as Rory’s dad from the Gilmore Girls, and the nice guy who the heroine ends up with at the end of Under the Tuscan Sky.

THE HEROINE

Phillipa McGee. Pippa. Travel writer and self-confessed Bride-a-Phobe and, well she says it, slut. She’s a good time girl. Messy blonde curls, colourful language, even mre colourful and fabulous friends, such as the gorgeous Sandra Oh from Grey’s Anatomy, and again, Under the Tusca Sun fame.

THE HERO

Ian Grey. Pippa’s dad’s right hand man. A suit. With not much respect for our Pippa after they met at the beginning of the film at a mutual friends wedding. Pippa was drunk, touchy feely, braless, jet-lagged, and in her very best anti-wedding mode.

But Ian is instantly appealing. Cute as a button. A little bit edgy. Full of hidden secrets. And suuuuch a cute smile!

THE STORY

Pippa’s dad falls ill. He’s the head a huge publishing conglomerate under threat of a takeover bid. And to help out she agrees to stay in town and run the one magazine whse editor has up and left. WEDDING BELLES. And Ian is called in to keep an eye on her.

Not a silly idea, considering on her first day she tells the staff of Wedding Belles she believes, “Marriage is a kind of prison. A place where freedom and choice and sensuality go to die.”

Her take on wedding magazines is hilarious. “Till Death Do Us Part” is her first cover story with a heroine chic bride passed out. Bad news, bad reviews.

All fun.


Her friends are fabulous. Hilarious. You want to know them.

The dialogue is real, snappy, energetic.

The feel of the film is natural, real, fun, colourful, with just enough fantasy thrown I to give you lots of aaaahhh moments.


Just for fun, Ian has and ex-wife still somewhat in his life, Pippa falls for a hot photographer, but the whole way through the tension is lively enough between our hero and heroine we just know the sparks will finally set them alight. He likes her, and she knows it, and pushes him away.

But the film is also hugely touching. Wedding Belles was her late mother’s magazine. She has a not so good relationship with her dad who she always blamed for making her mother a housewife who had othing more in her life. She travels constantly, changes men as often as she changes countries so as not to be controlled by anyone, and tells herself she has a great life and isn’t lonely.

Her journey makes sense. The gradual revelations show her truly gorwing up before our eyes. The relationships in the film are moving and evolving.

And the first kiss scene, the moment where Pippa truly drops her guard for the first time in front of Ian made my heart swell. It’s truly truly moving.


So if you are after a sweet, sassy, Saturday afternoon romance, go to your local DVD store and get yourself a piece of CAKE.



Warm and fuzzy rating: 8



Ally’s next Harlequin Romance, BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP, is out now in the UK and hits North American bookshelves any day now!!! It was also a Top Ten Mothers Day read on eHarlequin.

So head on out to your nearest bookstore and pick up a freshly minted, super-scented, fairy dust sprinkled hot off the presses copy today!

Check out an excerpt here...

Thursday Talk Time with Kate Hardy

This week the wonderful Kate Hardy joins us to continue our Pink Heart Society series on Favourite Category Romances ......


Forcing me to choose just one is hideously mean. How can I choose just ONE category romance? I have different favourites for different moods.

But when I think about it – yes, there is one.

One I really, really wish I’d written: Liz Fielding’s ‘Gentlemen Prefer…Brunettes.’ From back in the days when the Romance line was still called Enchanted – and frankly that’s exactly what this book is. Enchanting. The kind of book that you read on a grey day and it makes you think the sun is shining. The kind of book you need when you’ve had a day where everything’s going wrong and you want the book equivalent of a hug – warm and sparkling and cheering you up. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that this book is the equivalent of chocolate. Even better, it’s calorie-free.

What’s so special about it?

Firstly, the hero, Nick Jefferson. When we first meet him, we see him through the heroine’s eyes: ‘The man was sex on a pair of very long legs, with a smile that fanned around a pair of dark eyes that she could tell, even from this distance, would make any woman feel beautiful, desired.’ [If I wasn’t married… Nick would be all mine.] And the more you see of him, the better he gets.

Secondly the heroine, Cassandra Cornwell. (‘…she was at least six inches short of his gold standard…her figure leaned towards cuddly rather than super-model slender’, in the hero’s eyes.) That woke me up to the idea that not all heroines had to be willowy and long-haired and blonde, with legs that went on for ever. Cassie isn’t any of these and she’s LOVELY. And she’s funny and she’s warm and she’s clever and she’s a fantastic cook and she’s brave and she eats chocolates to cheer herself up and she doesn’t suffer from staircase wit. (I want to be her when I grow up.)

Thirdly, the dialogue. This is vintage Liz Fielding. Snappy one-liners that really are funny instead of feeling forced or snarky. Let me give you an example: right at the beginning of the book, Nick kisses Cassie and tells her that her mouth tastes of strawberries. She tries to put him down (‘What variety of strawberries?’) and his response is so damn sexy it had me weak at the knees. (You’ll have to go and get your own copy if you want to know what he says.)

Fourthly, the food in the book. I have a habit of sneaking in recipes into all of my books and the food alone made me drool. (Sussex Pond Pudding. Chicken with sour cream and rosemary. Flummery.) (We don’t talk about calories. I’m not a member of the PHS diet club for a Very Good Reason!)

Fifthly, the plot. The man who can’t cook and wants to impress a cool, sophisticated blonde – so he buys a book from a warm, approachable, brilliant TV chef. Asks her advice when they bump into each other in the supermarket. Puts her stuff away in the wrong place (causing her major problems she won’t admit to). Rescues her. (They end up in a little bit of hot water with the police…) Does a deal with her: if she cooks the meal and pretends he’s done it, he’ll help her take her nieces and nephews camping. (Did I mention he’s very sporty? Unlike our Cassie.) And so she cooks him this fab meal (while being as jealous as hell). Except… No, I’m not going to spoil this for you. But it’s the most superb comedy. And just when you’re laughing the most, Liz slips in some little sucker-punches and a black moment that had me biting my nails and desperate for things to turn out OK.

As I said.

Romantic – and bittersweet – comedy at its finest. It’d be fantastic as a film. (I think Richard Armitage as the hero. With streaked hair. Or maybe Simon Shepherd. from the earlier series of Peak Practice.)

It’s ten years old, next year, and I think it should have a birthday party. Because it’s still as fresh as it was the first time I read it (I’m not going to admit how many times I’ve re-read it) and it still has the magic that made me love it so much in the first place. When I thought I’d fallen out of love with romance, earlier this year, this was the book I picked up – and it made me fall back in love with romance. Made my world a brighter place.

Thank you, Liz Fielding, for writing the perfect book. And may you write many more of them.

Kate Hardy writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon Medicals and Modern Extra. 'Breakfast at Giovanni’s' – a July 2007 release – is her 25th title and, to celebrate, she’s throwing a blog party with guests and giveaways. Click here to come and play.

Kate's twentieth 'medical', 'The Consultant's New-Found Family' is out in NA right now! Click here for an excerpt.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Writers Wednesday with Jennie Lucas


This week's newbie is true fresh meat ;). Her first book hasn't even come out yet!!! The Pink Heart Society proudly presents new Harlequin Presents author Jennie Lucas!!!

About Jennie:

Jennie lives with her husband and two small children in the American Northwest. She spends her time playing with her babies, writing about romance in exotic lands, doing as little housework as possible, and sporadically counting points on Weight Watchers.

The Call:

In most Call stories you may have read, the thrilled new author screams with joy, right? She hears that she’s going to be a published author, and every detail of that moment is forever emblazoned into her memory. It is the best, most memorable phone call of her life.

For me, finding out last October that I’d gotten a two-book contract with Presents was wonderful, mind-blowing, thrilling. But it wasn’t my best phone call ever.

It was my fourth-best.

I was always a dreamer—the chunky girl sitting in the library window, eating Caramello bars and reading romance novels. At fifteen, my world got a lot bigger when I begged my parents to let me go to a posh East Coast boarding school on scholarship. I had very romantic ideas about what it would be like. Instead, it was a shock to my Western, suburban, middle-class background to be suddenly living at a school filled with gorgeous, clever, slightly decadent trust-fund kids. But I survived, and afterwards I traveled, fell in love, and got married. My husband knew I dreamed of being a writer, so a few months after I finished college he suggested I quit my job to stay at home and write.

So for three solid years, I wrote and wrote. I started with an attempt at a Silhouette Romance that was rejected. I then wrote a bunch of really long historical novels that I didn’t submit to publishers. On my fourth manuscript, I had an epiphany about storytelling: Leave out the boring stuff and don’t pull punches. Yeah, you’d think that would be obvious, right? Not to me. Even though I’d been an English major, learning the art of storytelling—such a different skill than, say, grammar—was a long, grueling apprenticeship. For my fourth manuscript, a 100,000-word Medieval romance, I wrote as hard and mean as I could. I sent the manuscript out to a contest, knowing I’d get what I’d always gotten…silence.

Instead, I got my number one best call of all time. Tanya Michaels (http://www.tanyamichaels.com/) called to tell me that I’d finaled in the Maggie contest.

I screamed into the receiver, making her laugh. Then I remember my whole body shaking as I sank slowly to the floor. After I hung up the phone, I started to cry. Not just a sniff or two either. I bawled. Most women trying to break into this business also have something else to hold onto – they also hold a career, or they’re stay-at-home moms. But for me, I had nothing. For years, my husband had been blindly supporting me through rejection after rejection. I’d started to hate my stupid dream. The call from Tanya was my first encouragement.

My second favorite call came the following year, when I found out the same manuscript was a 2003 Golden Heart finalist. All the finalists from that year formed a gang called the Wet Noodle Posse (http://www.wetnoodleposse.com/), and that’s how I met the gorgeous Trish Morey (http://www.trishmorey.com/). But I came home from the New York conference to find out that after 30 years of marriage, my parents were abruptly divorcing. I stopped writing historicals and started writing contemporaries—hungry, I think, for reassurance that happy endings could really happen in modern life.

I wrote two tender romances, one of which won the Golden Heart in 2005. Trish, in an act of generosity that still floors me, offered to read a chapter of my third attempt at a category novel. I had just had my first baby, and my emotions were so strong that I wanted to try something new—to blend the drama and passion of my old historicals with a contemporary setting. Trish told me I had a Presents voice, but I knew I was wasting my time. Presents never buy American authors! But I loved writing the story so much I finished it anyway, then pitched The Greek Billionaire’s Baby Revenge to my dream agent in Atlanta in 2006.

Six weeks later, I got my third best call ever (via email)—she wanted to represent me!

I was six months pregnant with my second child, but I lumbered up from my computer and screamed. My husband was out of town, so I phoned him and screamed some more. Then I danced around the kitchen with my toddler, making her laugh as only an eighteen-month-old can. I must have read that email fifty times, wondering if I’d read it wrong. I hadn’t!

A month later, my agent called me. It was a busy time, since I was not only heavily pregnant (*very* heavily, since I was eating a tub of ice cream every night), but traveling every weekend for three weeks straight. My agent and I chatted for a few minutes, and then she said casually, “Oh, and I have some good news. Harlequin Mills & Boon would like to offer a two-book contract for Harlequin Presents!”

I don’t remember much about that day. I remember my husband hugging me and saying he was proud of me. I remember tangoing down the hallways with my toddler. For the next couple of days I blurted out things like a victim of Tourette’s Syndrome: “twobookcontract!” The next morning, I flew to California for a family wedding, and as I was lying on my aunt’s couch staring up at the ceiling in the middle of the night, I still couldn’t believe it. After seven years and eight full manuscripts, I was finally going to be a published author.

Jennie misses those tubs of ice cream, but she’s happy to have finally lost 54 pounds to reach her (non-skinny) pre-baby weight. Her first book, The Greek Billionaire’s Baby Revenge, comes out this August in the U.K. and December in the U.S. It will be shortly followed by The Spaniard’s Defiant Virgin and Caretti’s Forced Bride. She’d love to have you pop by for a visit at her website-in-progress at http://www.jennielucas.com/.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Temptation Tuesday - Biorythms


This Tuesday at The Pink Heart Society our very own Natasha Oakley introduces us to a brand new way to waste time on the internet.

If you need a break from YouTube I've found another fun site. I freely confess I'm not a devotee of the biorythm theory but it hasn't stopped me spending far too long discovering, among other things, that Johnny Depp just will not be completely happy without me in his life. I'd long suspected that but it's nice to have it confirmed.

The theory goes that there are three fixed cycles which start at your moment of birth - a 23-day physical cycle, a 28-day emotional cycle and a 33-day mental cycle. By knowing someone's birthday you can work out the highs and lows of their life. And, by clicking here you can find your perfect match.

Isn't that useful!

Naturally I turned my attention to my fellow Pink Heart Society editors. Nicola has a difficult choice to make. She matches with Shaggy and Dwayne Johnson, both scoring 100%. And then she has Rob Lowe as a third choice with a very respectable 98% compatability.

Jenna was perfectly happy with her 99% 'match' Ethan Embry but if she's prepared to drop a percentage she gets the choice of Matt Stone and Matt Damon.

Ally had a nice selection to choose from - Karl Urban and Michael Varten at 98% and Orlando Bloom at 97%. I've decided to award her Michael Varten because he speaks French and she's such a Francophile.

Trish was more of a problem. She matched with Dougray Scott and she's just not keen.

Since she's a very good friend I sacrificially worked through her list of Male on Mondays and it was all rather depressing. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was a pathetic 23%. Nathan Fillion fared better with 70%. Intellectually they're absolutely perfect for one another but physically and emotionally it just isn't so good. Colin Farell is a 73% match but their score was badly let down on their intellectual compatability. Physically it's a completely different story - 99% - which if half of what's written about him is true that's not so surprising. It just wasn't good enough.

Persistance in the face of depressing odds is a characteristic of all authors so I naturally broadened my search and set about working down the list of all Male on Mondays.

Beginning to understand why Trish is still single I discovered Colin Firth is a 54% match, George Clooney only a little better at 55%, Alan Rickman worse with 51% ....

Then I stepped up a gear with Richard Armitage. A 75% match. I almost stopped there but I couldn't resist checking him out for me and at 80% I think he'd better be mine.

Finally I hit the jackpot - Trish has a 92% biorythm compatability with Jeremy Northam. No one can complain about him, can they??? Also I did the obligatory check and I'm a percentage behind so I'll content myself with Johnny and Richard. Ally, who claimed him in the first place, only scored 48% so she'll have to relinquish him.

Mentioning British actor Richard Armitage on this blog seems to hit a mass of google alerts so if you've stumbled over to the Pink Heart Society via that route I thought I'd put in something special for you!

Match yourself with Richard Armitage

You've got 80% to beat, ladies ..

With love
Natasha


This July sees the start of a brand-new series - The Royal House of Niroli.

These 8 wonderful titles are written by some of your favourite Modern™ and Romance authors, including Penny Jordan and Natasha Oakley.

The Mediterranean island of Niroli has prospered for centuries under the Fierezza men. But now, as the King’s health declines, and his 2 sons have been tragically killed, the crown is in jeopardy. Who will rule?

Natasha's book, 'The Tycoon's Princess Bride' will be in the shops in October but if you don't want to wait it's possible to buy the entire set right now by clicking here.







Monday, June 25, 2007

Male on Monday - Soap Hunks Part Uno

This week at The Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke invites us to induct a few soap stars into our Male On Monday Hall of Fame... so step up and add your favourites and maybe we'll find one who deserves a slot all to himself...

For me, Male on Monday is about man candy...and what better illustrates that than soap hunks?

I always wondered why my great-grandmother continued to watch soap operas long after she lost her hearing. She didn't put on the closed captioning like she did for other shows, she just made up her own story and glues herself to the screen.
I didn't think much about it until recently. On one hand because I literally broke my wrist, and on the other because of my new favorite author, Sarah Mayberry. She has a whole series of Blaze's set around a soap opera.

So...I did some reading...and some watching in the name of research for this blog post...and I realized why Grandma Jewel didn't bother with the sound. The man candy was plenty.

Next time you are in need of someone easy on the eyes...check out the soaps! Need some convincing? Good, because I wanted to post some pictures.


All My Children's
Justin Bruening is worth watching. He's a doctor...or an intern...either way he is changing his shirt. Lots. Like romance heroes, being on a soap requires a fit physique. Unfortunately, fidelity doesn't seem to be 'done' on soaps the way it is in romance novels.


Just a scene or two past Justin is Cameron Mathison, a millionaire with a penchant for working out. Shirtless. Lots. See why Grandma watched this show? Again we have some romance similarities - in control and protective, but I think there is some non-romance like baby drama going on here.


The next scene had Jacob Young, who left his shirt on. Probably because their is a limit to how many muscles can be shown per minute. Otherwise, he'd be a contender. His eyes are so blue! He plays a ruthless character with more baby drama than he knows what to do with. I think. Never did turn the sound on.

I've decided soaps are like candy...too much of them isn't a good thing. but in small doses, they can be quite pleasing. To the eye. For a romance addict, the Daytime Diva series is a better bet, but it's Blaze...though in chatting about this blog I found out All my Children pushes the envelope in their bedroom scenes, so maybe it wouldn't be too much for anyone!

So do you have a favourite soap star we could add to our Male On Monday slot? Come on out and share! He could just be a hero in the making...


Jenna is hard at work on her next title for Mills & Boon Modern Extra. In the meantime, check out her website, blog, or reading group, We Call It Research.


Sunday Spotlight on Elizabeth Lane


This week The Pink Heart Society spotlights Harlequin Historicals Elizabeth Lane who has penned more than twenty titles for the line!

About Elizabeth:


I’m a westerner by birth and upbringing. My grandparents lived like pioneers and my great-grandparents were pioneers. I grew up in a small town, in a family of people who loved the outdoors. Maybe that’s why writing Western romance comes so naturally to me. But I can and do write other things. My earliest books were historical sagas. Then the market changed and I found a new home at Harlequin Historicals. Counting a couple of ghost writing projects, I’m coming up on 30 books in about 25 years of publishing.

I love adventure. Over the years I’ve lived in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and Germany and traveled to such exotic spots as China, Nepal and Tanzania. I’ve chased whales in a rubber boat, rafted the grand canyon and taken a flying lesson. After 23 years working as an educational software designer, I finally get to write full time. I like to think my writing career is just getting started!

Spotlight On Elizabeth:

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

Everywhere. Snippets of conversation, stories on the news, country western songs, historical events. Often I’ll think about something I’ve seen or heard and ask myself, “What if.....?”

What makes you mad?

Bureaucracy, arrogance, intolerance, prejudice, disregard for the earth and
its inhabitants.

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

Being swept off my feet by a friend I’d had a longtime crush on. Alas, it didn’t work out, but oh, that chemistry...

What in a hero makes you drool?

Inner qualities—integrity, humor, compassion, vulnerability. All my heroes are good-looking but for me that’s incidental.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

I have a degree in biology and I always wanted to go out in the wild and study animals. Marriage and a family made that kind of career impractical, and eventually I turned to writing. But I still get my biology fix by volunteering as a zoo docent.

What do you do to relax and wind down?

Sitting at a desk is hard for me because I have a lot of nervous energy. When I’m not at the computer I like to be moving—walking, hiking, gardening, dancing, dancing, dancing. I’m a longtime belly dancer—not professional but I perform with my class and do little solos at festivals, etc. You should see my costume collection!

How do you get out of a writing rut?

Not all ruts are bad—look at the Grand Canyon. Sometimes a rut is where I need to be. But when I’m feeling stale, I try to “fill the well” with new experiences—travel or a mini-adventure close to home. Sometimes all it takes is seeing a good film or reading a really great book.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I’m content here in Utah where I have roots, family, friends, a cozy little house and spectacular mountain scenery. I love to travel and have seen many parts of the world but it’s always good to come home.


Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

Nikos Kazantzakis (author of Zorba the Greek) whose books came into my life years ago, at a time when I needed them. I still read them for their depth and beauty.

What music do you listen to when writing?

It depends on what I’m writing. I love Ennio Morricone’s movie soundtracks. Classical music works too—something simple and soothing like solo guitar. And Native American flute is nice when I’m writing that kind of story.

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you

I have a tattoo—a butterfly on my lower back. It was done by my younger daughter, an amazing tattoo artist who’s also making a name for herself as a painter. Some people hang their children’s art on the fridge. I wear mine.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Sorry, I can’t think of anything spectacular or amusing—just a lot of dumb little mistakes that still make me want to kick myself.

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

Finishing two Historicals. Going to Africa with my sister. Having one of my little books nominated for the prestigious Holt Medallion. Staying healthy and happy.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

Facing me on the wall is a beautiful abstract painting by Australian Aboriginal artist Kathleen Purvis—looking at it is like gazing into space. Often I’ll have an object that reminds me of my current book—like a model of an early airplane. And a cup to hold my pens, made by my older daughter as a 4th grade art project. My cats, Walter and Sadie, are usually within petting distance. Sometimes they hellllll’ me on thhhd keybooaroooooooooo.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (yes, I know he isn’t real, but I’d have settled for Gregory Peck in the movie).

What are you working on now?

I just mailed my next Harlequin Historical, a novel about men and women who fell in love with flying in the early 1900s. My working title, which may or may not change, is Wings on the Morning. Watch for it sometime next year. My current project is a still-unsold Western time travel. My friends love it. My agent loves it. I love it. Just hoping some publisher loves it, too.
Elizabeth's latest release for Harlequin Historicals is The Stranger and is on the shelves in July. You can order it right now from both eharlequin and Amazon.
And for more information you can visit Elizabeth's Webpage
Thanks Elizabeth!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saturday Surprise - More Reasons Why Not To Judge A Book By It's Cover



This Saturday at The Pink Heart Society we look at some more of the reasons why we shouldn't always judge a book by it's cover with our very own Trish Wylie...

We all do it - come on tell the truth - if we're stuck for time when we're buying our books then the cover can make the difference between buying a book and leaving it the heck alone... And moaning or cheering about covers isn't just done by us as readers - it's an author topic too - cos we all cheer when we get a great cover and bemoan a bad one. So in order to make us feel better I thought I'd look at what have been considered over the years as some of the worst...

And I'll even be brave enough to show you one of my own worst moments. Yes - cos it would just be my first book - not that it's that bad when you compare it to some of the ones I'm ABOUT to show you... But The Bridal Bet had what I thought was a rather yummy hero... and it wasn't until the US Version came out two years later that I got to see Ryan pictured the way I'd pictured him in my head... In the UK the artwork had gone by the title (which any of you who have read the book will know was a bit of a stretch to begin with) - so I got a wedding picture (which never happened in the book btw) with a *bride* and *groom* and the *Ryan* on the cover had a RECEDING HAIRLINE. My lovely US cover had it right - Ryan was scrummy and Molly had the LEGS that drove him crazy from page one - BLISS!

Still - having gone searching for this blog I can tell you ALL IS FORGIVEN.... Let's start with the three handed heroine shall we???

Now I couldn't actually find the cover in it's original form (had I been sans deadline I'd have considered it a mission to find it as you all well know) but let's just count those hands together shall we??? One on the end of one arm - one on the end of the other...ooohhh and the one the hero is holding!!!

Hmmm... anyone who can come up with an alternate scenario for this please let us know...I'm also fascinated enough to now believe that the hero would also appear to have extra fingers too... Strange.

But is it the worst cover??? Let's not be too hasty gals.

Every year at All About Romance they have a best/worst covers of the year contest (which has recently moved to the Cover Cafe) and in 2004 this one took the prize for worst cover... which is a bit of a shame - cos from the waist up this guy held a certain amount of promise doncha think? However - from the waist down - what's going on there then??? And it was this that the judges had the most questions about...

Now you gotta say that the author probably knew what they were aiming for - I know any time I've had a dodgy cover (which thankfully hasn't happened since the Art Department got so gosh darned good with the launch of the new Romance line and the new Modx lines) I've had a fair idea of why I've got what I've got, even if I've initially cringed. And there's no doubting that an authors name will sell a book if it's a big enough/well enough known name regardless of any cover art faux pas... but you kinda gotta feel for those of us not famous or we readers who know no better, right?

But hey - we category romance authors/readers don't get off scot-free (and apologies to any of the authors whose covers I use as examples...really... I *feel* your pain.)

This one wasn't a worst cover winner at AAR but even so you can see why it was nominated and the pic along with the titling led to many's a raucous comment at the time of judging... But you can't say that it's gonna be a reflection of the story inside and you also gotta wonder what was going on inside the photographer and models minds as this pose was struck! Mind you - if I was the heroine's model I'd be equally as concerned with the lack of interest on the hero models face myself...

And did you know that a great many of the cover models are NOT professional models but folks that come in *off the street* so to speak? I once had one of mine's mother email me to tell me about her son and it really was lovely to hear about him and to send thanks for his depiction of my hero... How would I have felt if his mother had emailed about this one I ask you???

Winner of the AAR Worst Cover in 2004 came from the fantabulous Blaze line - where I have to say I've been tempted again and again and again over the years by the sexy hero's on the covers - and I've found some of my favourite authors as a result!

So this pic itself probably wouldn't have put me off that much - BUT - it would have made me think for a little itty bitty second before I figured it out... And it wouldn't be a cover you could leave lying around the house for very young eyes to see and ask the kind of question that would start with 'Mummy/Auntie/Granny... what are they...?'

Might that element have put some folks off? Knowing the author's work it wouldn't have for me - but that brings us back to the whole name recognition thing again doesn't it?
Oh and just in case we think the three handed heroine was something from the dark ages a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away - we have a more recent cover where there is another anatomically challenged heroine... anyone spot the problem here??? No? Okay - if I said the word FEET would you get it??? But then - would you have noticed if I hadn't given you a clue???

I guess what I'm trying to ask in my usual very long winded manner is can a *bad* cover influence us equally as much as a good cover? You see, way back at the start of The Pink Heart Society Blogazine we asked about the things that make us pick up a book - was it the name, was it the line, was it the back-blurb, was it the cover? See - it's all falling together beautifully now. Cos I confessed that I'm a cover gal - well I'm a cover followed by back-blurb followed by excerpt inside the front cover gal. As a reader would I even have picked up one with a bad cover? To be honest - if it was a writer I knew and loved then yes, I would still pick it up - if it wasn't...hmmm... I'll confess I might take a little longer to even look. And as a writer - that confession is scary to contemplate from the point of view of ever selling a book with a dodgy cover.

So what about you - would you be put off by a *bad* cover? Readers - do you have a worst one you particularly remember? Authors - do you want to confess to your worst cover and maybe leave us a link to it on your own Blog or site??? Be brave and we can all suffer together! And just out of interest - AAR and the Cover Cafe are now taking nominations for the worst and best covers of 2007 if you want to add one or vote when the short list is in... Just remember though - behind every *worst* nomination is an author who somewhere is weeping...LOUDLY.

It all goes to prove that old adage I feel... Altogether now... You can't judge a book...

H's & K's - Trish

Trish hits us with double releases in July - The Return Of The Rebel (which is a follow up to Breathless!) in Modern Extra - and Bride Of The Emerald Isle (the book she'll be signing at the RWA Nationals) in Romance...

The Return Of The Rebel is available from Amazon UK next month or from Mills & Boon right now! And Bride Of The Emerald Isle is available from Eharlequin or Amazon in the USA & Canada and Mills & Boon or Amazon UK in the UK. AND you can also buy it as an E-Book here!!! For more info visit her Website or her Blog.
(And she'll let you be the judge of these covers for yourself...)