Friday, September 30, 2011


Okay,  we were supposed to discuss the Romance covers that grace our shelves in the 21st Century next but something caught our eye and just couldn't let it pass. We'll discuss the 21st Century covers later.  Right now there's a more pressing issue - has anyone else noticed that occasionally the male models on the covers look somewhat like celebrities?

Two stand out in particular but then maybe it's just wishful thinking.
You can decide.

On Cathy Maxwell's cover, do you see any resemblance to a younger Jon Bon Jovi?


On Pamela Palmer's cover, do you see any resemblance to a younger Andy Garcia?

So what do you think? See any resemblances?

Have you noticed any resemblances on other juicy covers?  If you have, share ... please.

Happy Reading and don't worry, still more juicy stuff to come. 


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unwrapping: Romance Covers

Do we really judge a book by its cover? Do we worry that others judge the book we are reading by its cover? Do we really care? Some of us might but we shouldn't.

Let's take a little trip through time and look at how covers have changed through the years since Avon, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishing began publishing modern romance as we know it today. Just as Romance novels have changed through time so have their covers.

Modern Romance came into its own with a beautiful novel by the Queen of Romance, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER, published in April of 1972. Yes, folks that's almost 40 years ago. Although Ms. Woodiwiss is no longer with us her extraordinary works still are, thank goodness.

I wish I could share the original cover with you but my copy is far too ravaged by time and handling to display well but I do have an original cover of SHANNA to show you.

          Soon after Ms. Woodiwiss began delighting us with her wonderful novels, another young writer came along to astound the readers with her talent, Johanna Lindsey.  In 1977, her first novel CAPTIVE BRIDE was published by Avon. Ms. Lindsey is no longer with Avon but we still love her work.  Would it surprise you to see the original cover is mild in comparison to today's covers just as Ms. Woodiwiss' cover was?

Mind you, these were probably considered racy in the 70's!

   As the years passed and critics began to call Romance Novels such things as 'bodice rippers' - something even my dear hubby likes to call them - in addition to denegrating name calling, they proclaimed them formulaic and predictable. None of this mattered to those in the know, the readers. The books may have been read in secret, only at home or on vacation where  no one knew the reader from Joe Schmo but they were being read -  by the millions!
By 1986, the covers were beginning to show the stress put on the industry and the covers became even tamer. Tamer! - you might be asking if they could they be any tamer.
An example of just how tame the covers became is Johanna Lindsey's

      How about that for tame? Mind you, it's a beautiful cover but we don't really buy the book for the cover, now do we? Or do we?  That has yet to be decided. The prose inside are what matter and this cover was much more respectable. Right? Well, hold on to your socks. A few years later, a model came on the scene who really shook things up when he became the model most desired to grace the next generation of Romance Novels.  Fabio!

     Now that's a cover! Johanna Lindsey's GENTLE ROGUE, the first of the Malory Series, published in 1990 featured Fabio and Romance covers had come into their own. Or so we thought. Although, Fabio graced many a cover depicting men of all type, within one short year, those tanned pecs and that long hair had been relegated to hiding beneath a flap that showed a demure cover. It's not that we mind but what's the difference really? [rolling eyes]  An example is Johanna Lindsey's PRISONER OF MY DESIRE published in 1991. It has a beautiful cover but the real eye candy is beneath the cover.

                                                              Turn the cover and ....

      Now tell me, please - what was wrong with this being on the cover for all to see?  [sigh]

      Over the years, covers have changed and evolved according to societal expectations, I suppose.  One has to wonder if the amazing covers featuring handsome desirable men had become distasteful or was it because the reader was embarrassed to be seen reading something with an incredibly handsome, usually bare-chested, man on the cover? 
      Covers today vary from subdued to downright sexy. I'm curious -  if you're passing a stand containing a collection of Romance Novels and you see one copy of GENTLE ROGUE bearing the cover shown above with Fabio gracing it and one copy of the same wonderful book bearing the cover shown here:

Which would you purchase?

Next time, we'll take a look at what kind of covers grace our shelves in the 21st Century.
Talk about needing a wrapping ...  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Unwrapping: Get Ready to Unwrap

Get Ready to Unwrap some new Romances. I'll be openly reading my selections in paperback as I'm not quite ready to switch to an e-reader but with the creation of e-readers, there's no excuse anymore not to indulge openly in your love of Romance Novels. For the rest of you who still hide it behind a magazine or other more respectable book ... come on ... read proudly.

Which of these new releases do you have your eye on and will you proudly read it unwrapped?
Avon Release Day!!

                                       SEXIEST VAMPIRE ALIVE by Kerrelyn Sparks 

                            IN PURSUIT OF ELIZA CYNSTER by Stephanie Laurens

                                           WHAT A DUKE WANTS by Lavinia Kent

                                                HELL TO PAY by Wendy Corsi Staub


Gayle Callen


DESERT RAIN by Elizabeth Lowell
BLACK LYON by Jude Devereaux

Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Unwrapping: Display That Fabulous Cover Proudly

In a world filled with stress, despair and sadness there is a great need for a diversion that will lift the spirit and bring a smile. That diversion can be found within the pages of ROMANCE NOVELS. As a literary genre, romance novels have been greatly maligned by critics who call them formulaic, predictable and in some cases, poorly written. Have any of the critics asked the 29 million readers who read at least one romance novel in 2008 what they think? I doubt it.

Romance novels are escapism. The perfect read for that long commute back and forth from work, for that rainy afternoon or that much deserved vacation getaway sitting quietly on the beach indulging in pages of love, romance and faraway places.

Since the recession set in, unemployment reaching double digits and increases in home foreclosures have become part of the everyday news, the romance novel has became an even greater refuge. In 2008, when other industries were suffering and asking for bailouts, the romance industry stayed strong. Women, and men, continued to indulge those few dollars to escape into the pages of stories that may be to some formulaic and predictable but for those few dollars, the reader is guaranteed just that. The reader knows there will be a love story, conflict, romance and a happy ending. The reader can choose from well-researched historical and regency romance, contemporary romance and even the imaginative paranormal sub-genre which features creatures of the darkness and fantasy.

Film has long been considered an artistic diversion for the mind and soul. It is acceptable to sit in a dark movie theater or on a couch in front of the television and escape into any number of film types including those delightful romantic comedies and action-packed adventures. Romance novels go one level further, they allow the reader the freedom of imagination to place themselves in the story, to imagine themselves as the heroine or hero, privately indulging in a romance filled fantasy and ultimately, providing themselves the greatest stress relief that a few dollars can purchase.

So when that long day is over, when things are going not as well as you would like, or it is just one of those days when you need to smile, go ahead, pick up a romance novel and escape. Travel through time, to distant places or into the future. Indulge your imagination and relax your soul knowing that when you finish reading, you will with a smile and sigh for at least someone's story ended in with a happily ever after.

Of course, if you're still not secure enough to display that sexy cover to family, friends and to the public, you can always use an e-reader or continue to hide your book inside a magazine or a so called respectable title.  Remember, you're always welcome here where you can express your love, your addiction, your respect for the fabulous writers who bring you such delicious escapism from the hard cruel world we must travel in reality.

Happy Reading Everyone!