Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Undercover Confessions

A small clay sculpture
from the Old Babylonian Period (1900-1700 B.C.)
found at Ur in Sumer (Iraq),
British Museum.

There you have it.

Leg-over romance covers have a long history.

You must know the ones: She's falling out of a gorgeous dress, her head's thrown back, her long hair blowing in wild defiance to the prevailing winds. He's half-naked, his broad chest rippling with muscles and man-titty as he bends her over his knee, with one hand on her bare thigh.

Sadly, my skirts are never so accommodating in a clinch.

But I have to confess.

I like that tawdry, vivid artwork.

I don't care for the two-dimensional, stick-figure covers.They're prissy. Pallid. Without passion.

Give me the lush, impossible, cover-story fantasy.

Besides, they're fun to make fun of.

Though our beloved Snarkling Clean has put their acerbic pen in storage, every Monday, StarvingWriteNow sharpens one of her own.

Yesterday evening, Francis, our jolly-giant parcel-postman, braved the storm to deliver a box of books into my surprised and eager hands.

It wasn't the ice on our doorstep that made me fall and clutch at his feet.

I have indulged in a form of fetishism ever since, fondling the spines and covers of Weirdly: A Collection of Strange Stories(Tales).

I would like to hold a contest with a copy of the collection as the prize.

As yet I have no idea what kind of contest -- whether I should take a page out of Jason's book and have a writing contest of some sort, or just take the lazy route and do a simple draw of names.

Which kind of contest do you prefer?


StarvingWriteNow said...

Wow! I sure didn't expect to see myself on your blog this morning! How kind you are, Bernita. And what a lift! Thanks!

How exciting for you to actually hold your book in your hand--I hope to be able to do the same for my own work someday. What a thrill that must be! As far as contests go... (shrugs) I don't know. Trivia? Writing? Haikus about ghosts that go woooo? Whatever you decide, I'm up for it!

Bernita said...

Not at all, Starving!
I enjoy your blog, and come by every day and not just for the delightful cover snark.

Jaye Wells said...

The man-titty covers are far preferable to the CGI cadaver covers on some e-books. Lord, they're scary.

Yay on the box o' books!

Bernita said...

Agreed, Jaye. Yuck! Yuck!

Ric said...

Man titty - bare thighs - Is it Friday already?

I most like contests that I actually win - less effort the better.

I agree with the two-dimensional stick figure covers - I walk right by assuming (probably wrongly) that they contain juvenile words to match the artwork on the cover.

James Goodman-Horror Writer said...

Very cool about the book, Bernita. Congrats!!!!

I think you should make us work for it, a writing contest of some sort.

Bernita said...

I'm not a "once a week" girl, Ric, she said slyly.

Thank you, James!

December/Stacia said...

You know I love those tawdry clinch covers too, Bernita. They always look so exciting, like you're really going for a ride with that book. Passion! Adventure! Love! Wheee!

I used to have contests where people had to make something up to enter--a funny movie pitch, or whatever--but nobody entered them. You have a more creative group of possible entrants than I did at that time, though, so go for it.

December/Stacia said...

I'm not a "once a week" girl, Ric, she said slyly.


Church Lady said...

Congratulations on the books! That must be such a wonderful feeling.

Oooo, I'd love a writing contest. But something short since it's so close to the holidays...Like Starving's idea of a haiku. I vote for that one.

Bernita said...

Hee, December!
Even though one's mind says "Er...take it inside, folks!"

Thank you, Chris.
You mean, writers actually stop for Christmas?

raine said...

One of the first comments I've always made on cover art forms from e-publishers...
"No poser figures! Please, for the love of God! No poser figures!"

And congrats on the 'delivery'!
I cried the first time I received one of mine, and held it to my heart.

As for the contest...already plan to buy the book, but would love to read whatever you come up with. :)

Robyn said...

YAY on your books! And I agree, make us work for it- come up with a title and blurb for one of your paintings you show us everyday, perhaps.

Billy said...

Congrats, Bernita! And ditto on what you and others said about the civers.

Billy said...

"covers," that is. I'll learn to type yet :)

Dave F. said...

Years ago when the magazine "Heavy Metal" first came out, I had a subscription. The magazine is devoted to graphic novels and stories most of which are quite good.

However, regardless of the story, they used to post the typical half-naked, boobs-a-busting, booty-of-steel-a-peeking, nubile young lady warrior on the cover. Regardless of the themes of the stories inside they had a cover worthy of TSTL Amazonian goddess.

A few of their readers pestered them with letters as to why they never used other image on the cover and GUESS what?

They answered sex sells.

So now when I see some half-naked lady on the cover of a book, I know that the marketing people won the cover art competition.

Carla said...

Congratulations on the box of books!

Bernita said...

It makes it finally real, Raine - no fears it will suddenly "poof" into some cyber abyss.

I'm leaning towards something like that, Robyn.

Thank you, Billy.
shush I do it all the time...

"half-naked, boobs-a-busting, booty-of-steel-a-peeking, nubile young lady warrior on the cover."
I love that description, Dave.
And , gawdhelpme, I love those covers. 'Course, I also love the manly warrior Conan types w/sword and boots too!

Josephine Damian said...

Bernita, how exciting for you!

What about a "guess-what-movie-this-line-is-from" contest? Or a "guess-a-line-from-a-book" contest? But not something you can find by googling it.

Bernita said...

And now the judicious pleasure of disseminating copies begins, Carla.
My last remaining, and sweet little old, auntie will get one.
I would like to see her face.

Vesper said...

What a feeling this must be, Bernita! Congratulations! I'm very glad for you!
Lovely clay sculpture...

Bernita said...

Thank you, Josephine.
Everyone here knows more about movies than I do!

Scott from Oregon said...

I have to confess it took me almost ten years to figure out that the correlation between the size and exposure of breasts on video rental covers was inversely proportional to the quality of the movie.

I automatically assume it is the same in literature, perhaps even more so.

"man-titties"? bernita!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Vesper!

Bernita said...

Oddly enough, Scott, it doesn't always follow for fiction.
Can be some damn fine writing under those boobs.

Of course, man titties.
Some are so musculated, they need a bigger bra than the heroine.
Not my expression, sadly, I stole it.

Demon Hunter said...

"man-titty" ROFLMAO!!! Too funny! :*) As far as the contest goes, I say give it to the poor. I am a poor state worker who cannot buy anymore books, anytime soon!:*(

Bernita said...

Books make great Xmas gifts, my Demon.
I do plan to donate one to the local library.

writtenwyrdd said...

Since we're on the topic of covers, why not have people submit cover art (or links thereto). And no peeking at Judge A Book By Its Cover, either, lol.

E book covers truly are bad. Looks like the original Sims game characters on some of them. Eck. Or Max Headroom's ugly cousins.

Hope you weathered the weather as well as we did. Lost power about an hour, that's the worst of it.

Jeff said...

I'm smiling right along with you, Bernita. I see this as the first of many future publications from you. Congratulations!

Bernita said...

I dislike those that look like they're off a computer game, Written, but not all e-book covers are bad.
I've seen some lovely ones.

We had a few flickers, but no loss.

Bernita said...

Aw, Jeff, thank you.
I know it's just a short story - but it's a start.

Sam said...

It is a wonderful feeling to hold one's book and flutter the pages. I admit, I put my first book under my pillow. LOL
Clinch covers are fun - and I have ansolutely no problems reading books with clinch covers on them in public.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, the worst covers are not Romance heroines with over-bendable necks in various states of undress, but chicks in chainmal on SF books - the German translations of MZB's Darkover books suffered from those covers and failed to attract readers who now, with a new and more neutral editions avaliable, say they enjoy the books. The old covers evoked the wrong expectations about the content.

Bernita said...

Neither do I, Sam.
I take the "damn your eyes" attitude.

Different covers for different countries make an interesting study, Gabriele.

Bailey Stewart said...

Congratulations Bernita!

I don't like the covers where they cut off the people's heads.

The Anti-Wife said...

Wow, a box of your books. It's like an early Christmas present. Cool!

Charles Gramlich said...

Being the lazy sort myself, I prefer lazy contests.

I admit to liking that over the top cover stuff myself. Always liked those great old SF/Fantasy covers.

Ello said...

Make it a contest! And have everyone vote on it! I love contests - but the prize has to be well earned! And your book is a perfect prize for anyone who hasn't read it yet!

writtenwyrdd said...

You know the covers I really love to hate? The ones that grace L.E. Modsett's books (Order Mage, etc.). That particular artist's work is horrible for book covers.

Bernita said...

Those seldom work for me either, Bailey.

Exactly what it felt like, AW!

Me too, Charles. You knew you were getting Adventure! Action! Creatures!Danger!Plot!

My first contest, Ello!

The covers I have for those Modesitt's, Written, resemble those used for Jordan's Wheel of Time.
I liked them ( she said in a small voice) because they represent actual scenes in the books.
The one's of Modesitt's work I don't like are the covers on my copies of the Ecolitan series.

SzélsőFa said...

I'd second Ch. L. 's idea of something short. I have ots of work now to do.
But that's just me, and the host is you, Bernita.
I will surely enjoy it, whether participating or not.
Provided I have the time :)

writtenwyrdd said...

It's not the composition I don't like, bernita, it is the actual execution. Bleh for my taste. No issue with you liking them! (honestly!)

Wayne said...

Good on ya. Great cover too.

Bernita said...

I hope you will have the time, Szelsofa.

I don't have an artist's eye like you, Written.

Thank you, Wayne!