Back to my regularly scheduled being a writer thing . . .

alpharomeo_original

Whatever happens with Amazon/Hachette and the rest of the terrified and terrifying world of publishing as we know it, I’m still writing books and still being lucky enough to get’em published.  My brilliant and beguiling editor/publisher, Traci Markou of Purple Sword Publications, emailed me this morning to say my next book, a non-paranormal contemporary romance called Alpha Romeo, is being formatted today.  So I thought I’d share a nibble.

Just to set the scene, my heroine, Scarlett Cross, is the daughter of a big-time Hollywood movie star who’s just starting her own career as an actress.  She is the second girl lead in a teen slasher flick that’s about to come out.  Romeo Kidd is the guy she loves, her co-star in the movie.  Sebastian, the male lead in the movie, is her half-brother, and Loki, the female lead, is her nemesis, a big star in her own right who was Romeo’s girlfriend first.

* * * * * *

The studio held the wrap party for The Funhouse at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.  But it wasn’t so much a party for the people who’d finished filming as a publicity stunt to let the crowds and the paparazzi on Sunset Boulevard get their first gawp at the fresh meat in the cast.  Sebastian and I arrived together in the back of a chauffeured limousine, and even though there was no official red carpet, the sidewalk was lined with photographers.  Sebastian jumped out like an old pro, but I hung back.  I had walked carpets with my father dozens of times, but I had always been in the background.  Nobody had ever cared if they got my picture before.

“Come on, Sissy.”  Sebastian gave me his hand and helped me out of the car.  A pair of studio handlers came hurrying over to flank us like something between bodyguards and ladies in waiting.  They didn’t even speak to us, just started herding us down the aisle.

I had just caught sight of Romeo ahead of us when for the first time in my life a photographer shouted, “Scarlett!”  Romeo turned around, and our eyes met at the exact same second the flash went off.  Two seconds later, I was surrounded by flashing lights and the shouts of strangers calling my name and giving me directions.  “Look this way! Turn around! Come on, honey, smile!”

I tried to get a tighter hold on my brother, but he was moving back, giving me room to pose.  I felt panicked, turning in a jerky circle like a doll on a broken music box, trying to hear what they were saying. I turned and saw Romeo again, and he smiled.

I smiled back.  I consciously relaxed my shoulders and turned back toward the cameras.  “That’s it!” one of the photographers shouted, and I turned my smile on him.  I was still terrified, but I wasn’t paralyzed any more.  I did a silly little twirl to make the frilly skirt of my party dress swirl out, then stopped and laughed.  The flashes went off even faster.  Photographers from further down the line were moving in to focus on me, jostling for position.  I reached for Sebastian again, drawing him close to me and cuddling up to his side, laying my head on his shoulder.

“Scarlett!”  I heard Loki’s voice right behind me.  I barely had time to turn around before she had caught me up in a hug like I was her long lost sister.  “Look at you!”  She drew back and framed my face in her hands.  The photographers went wild.  “You look beautiful.”  She touched her forehead to mine, a lipstick-safe kiss.

“So do you.”  She took my hand and turned to the photographers with a dazzling smile of her own.  She did look beautiful; her black Alexander McQueen made my blue off the rack look like a little girl’s birthday party frock.  “You always do.”

“Romeo!” she called, letting go of me to run to him.  She hugged him the same way she had hugged me, and Sebastian nudged me from behind, urging me forward.  Romeo caught my eye over Loki’s shoulder and winked, making me laugh.

“Hey Scarlett!”  I heard my name again over the general roar, this time coming from the crowd of photographers.  “Scarlett!”  A tall, skinny man in a white dress shirt buttoned all the way up had pushed his way to the front of the pack.  He had a press badge sticking out of his pocket and a camera hanging around his neck.  He saw me see him and raised the camera.  “Do you remember your mom?”

“Yes.”  His flash went off.  “Of course I do.”

One of the studio handlers moved in front of me, blocking his shot.  The other one touched me on the elbow.  “Come on, Miss Cross,” she said into my ear.  “It’s time to go inside.”

“What?”  I felt a little faint.  “Who was that guy?”

“Never mind,” the handler said.  She was trying to nudge me along, but my feet were planted.

“Why did he ask about Stella?”  I wanted to see his face again–something about him was familiar.

“Hey sweetheart.”  Romeo took my hand, gracefully brushing the handler aside.  “You okay?”

“Yeah . . . no . . . I’m not sure.”  Clinging to his hand, I pushed the other handler out of the way to look for the weird photographer, but he was gone.  I looked up at Romeo.  “I guess I’m okay.”

He squeezed my hand.  “Let’s go inside.”

As we walked through the lobby, I saw Sebastian talking to a smiling older couple dressed in casual dinner clothes–tourists staying at the Roosevelt, no doubt.  I waved as we walked by, and he waved back.  Loki was doing an interview just outside the doors to the pool bar where they were holding the party.  The whole patio was crawling with reporters.  “I see more press than actors,” Romeo said.  “And there are barely any crew guys here at all.”

“I know, right?”  I was glad I still had a grip on his arm.  I had never been interviewed before and wasn’t keen on it now.  “Sebastian said in the car it would probably be like this.  They’re really pushing to sell the movie.”

“Yeah.”  He didn’t sound any more enthused than I felt, and he was keeping a pretty firm grip on my arm, too.  “I reckon we’re the product.”

“Just the commercial.”  I had been hearing about the reality of being a movie star since I was four years old; I had just never thought about it as something that applied to me.  “But all we have to do is be beautiful.”  I smiled up at him.  “Trust me, you’ve got it covered.”

“Hey, you.”  He turned and wrapped his arms around me, and I giggled, sliding my arms around his neck.  He pushed me behind a potted palm and kissed me.  I could hear cameras hissing and see lights flashing even with my eyes closed, but I couldn’t have cared less.

“Hey kids!”  Sebastian appeared out of nowhere, reaching past Romeo to pull me back out into the open.  Loki was right behind him.  “No fair lurking in the shadows.  We have to circulate and be charming.”  Cole’s voice suddenly rose over the noise of the crowd–he was ranting at someone on the other side of the patio.  “Or we could just go watch the train wreck,” Sebastian snickered.

“Oh god,” Loki moaned.

“Relax,” Romeo said.  He and Sebastian were both grinning; they both thought Cole was a stitch.  “He’s just giving them a show.”

One of the producers, a friend of Calvin’s Sebastian and I had known since we were babies, came hurrying up to us, looking frazzled.  “Wanna help me save an idiot’s life?” she said, her cheeks flushed pink in spite of the chilly breeze coming off the pool.

Sebastian kissed her cheek.  “Relax, honey.”  In that moment, he looked and sounded exactly like our father.  “Cole’s just being himself.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.”  She took my hand and squeezed it, and her palm was sweaty.  “Come distract him, kids, won’t you?”

“Yeah, of course,” I said.  I reached for Romeo, but Loki blocked me.

“You and Sebastian go ahead,” she said. “I’ve got some people I want Romeo to meet.”

I didn’t like it, but there wasn’t much I could do without causing a scene.  “I’ll see you later,” I told Romeo.  He had just enough time to smile and wink at me before the producer whisked me away.

A Letter to Amazon

librarianDear Mr. Bezos,

I was very excited to receive your Email request this morning, asking for my help in your battle against Hachette. Not since Carrie White got invited to the prom has a girl been more pleasantly shocked to be included. And you’re right; those big publisher types are just fuckers. I was a mid-list romance author for Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster all through the 2000s, and let me tell you—

Oh, right, sorry, you want to talk about your thing. No, yeah, of course; it’s totally fine. So anyway, okay, Hachette and its other big nasty “media conglomerate” friends have been being all hateful to you at Amazon about your e-books. I heard about the whole collusion thing – those bastards! You and the Supreme Court are so right; I don’t blame you one bit for being upset. I mean, I know in my heart that if you hadn’t already put every other bookselling outlet that could possibly affect the market at your level out of business, you and those peers you don’t have would never, ever sit down in a New York City restaurant to try to come to some sort of price fixing agreement. I can just see them all in there, smoking their big cigars, drinking their martinis – they probably pinched the pert derriere of the cigarette girl as she passed. Kudos to you and your lawyers for bringing them to justice. So now they’re coming after you one by one, starting with Hachette, and you’ve come to me for my help as a writer to fight back. I’m flattered; I really am.

But let’s talk about the pig’s blood before I put on the tiara. (Sadly, unlike Carrie, I don’t have evil superpowers, but this also ain’t my first prom.) You talk in your email about the “invention” of the paperback “just ahead of World War II” and how some writers like George Orwell didn’t like it and how they were wrong and how the current debate about e-book pricing is just like that. Leaving aside the nagging knowledge I have of yellowback novels being published way back in the 1870s and magazine serials blazing the trail for pulp fiction decades before that, let’s talk about Orwell’s fears about what paperbacks would do to what you call “literary culture.” At that time, there was no such thing as “literary fiction” or “genre fiction;” there was just “fiction,” and Orwell, who wrote dystopian sci fi with straightforward political commentary, was part of it. So were Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. So were the Bronte sisters, who wrote romance, and Sir Walter Scott, who wrote historicals, and Mark Twain, who wrote YA and comic satire, and Mary Shelley, who wrote horror. And all those books from Orwell’s era that we now consider classics too dense, boring, and “literary” for anybody but aging academics and film directors to read, like The Great Gatsby and The Sound and the Fury and Moby Dick and Ulysses, those weren’t considered “literary novels,” they were considered “novels,” and everybody who read novels read them right alongside the lighter stuff.

Paperbacks are awesome; I’ve built my life as a reader and my career as a writer on paperbacks. And they did “rejuvenat[e] the book industry and mak[e] it stronger,” in that a lot more books got published and read because they were so much cheaper, and ultimately publishers and booksellers made a lot more money. (Authors maybe not so much, but maybe so. Bigger business meant bigger demand which meant bigger paychecks for the bigger names, and more people probably got published, too.) But those bigger numbers created the need for some kind of genre categorization, at least in the minds of those publishers and booksellers, which led to the big divide between so-called “literary” fiction and “genre” fiction that plagues every author alive today and threatens to destroy any notion of a “literary culture” in English completely.

So maybe old George was on to something after all.

You (or to be fair, your spambot) also talk about how paperbacks, because of these snooty objections from the literary establishment, were first sold in drugstores and newsstands, casting Amazon as the humble newsstand/drugstore of today’s e-book world. Well . . . maybe. If we’re talking about a drugstore that first puts all the other drugstores out of business. Then sells their paperbacks at somewhat less than cost so they can sell more candy bars and condoms by luring in more customers. Then decides to just give the paperbacks away to special customers who have credit accounts with them to buy their much more expensive prescriptions, explaining to the people who make their living off the paperbacks that they’ll pay them a percentage of the nothing they’re charging, they promise. And when those people who make their living off the paperbacks object, accuses them of wanting readers to die because they’re being denied access to cheap medicine. Then, yeah, the comparison is probably pretty apt.

So in response to your request, I would like to suggest a new marketing model to you and Facebook and Google and all the other companies who hire marketing copy writers (most of whom probably wrote at least the first couple of chapters of a novel at some point) to write this kind of mass communication to me and the rest of us content providers and customers and such; sort of a new mission statement. It’s not a new concept; my grandfather was fond of it, but it has the kind of folksy charm I think you were going for here.

Stop pissing on my shoes and telling me it’s raining.

Love and kisses,

Lucy Blue

(Credit for the groovy writer girl graphic to the brilliant Isabel Samaras)

I Ain’t No Follow Back Girl

cowgirl for FB

I’m on Twitter as @LucyBlueCastle, and I have been for a couple of years now, and I’ve tweeted more than 2500 times, and I follow a lot of people and enjoy reading them a lot, and I have a fair few followers of my own.  But it’s been brought to my attention that I don’t follow people back enough, that I don’t automatically follow back everybody who follows me, and that makes some people, particularly other writers, feel bad.  I’m sorry about that; I really am.  And actually, if somebody follows me, I always check their profile, and if it says they’re a writer or an aspiring writer, I almost always do follow them back.  (The exceptions being the ones who make some explicit BDSM portrait of themselves or their spirit animal their identifying avatar – sorry, kittens; I go on Twitter at the office; I can’t have you trussed up like a Christmas goose on my HD screen for all the world to see. no matter how vehemently I defend your right to trussing.)   But if the only thing a writer ever, EVER tweets is some version of “buy my book buy my book tra-la-la, buy my book!” I un-follow them pretty quickly.  We know you’re a writer.  We can guess you’re on Twitter because you want to promote your work.  There’s nothing wrong with that – an occasional message from our sponsors is only to be expected, and some people do it very cleverly.  But if you want a permanent slot on my scrolling wall of everything in the whole wide world 140 characters at a time, your slice of everything has be more entertaining or informative than that.  Nothing depresses me more than to open my Twitter feed to find a whole screen full of one-sentence blurbs and links to e-books.  And don’t even get me started on the people who tweet SEVENTEEN THOUSAND PROMO TWEETS IN A ROW IN ALL CAPS.  Trust me, you might sell a book to somebody that way, but I can promise you, it won’t be me.  The same thing goes for so-called professional Tweeters who dump seventeen thousand different promo tweets in a row for their seventeen thousand different clients.  Again, it’s good sense to get the word out; that’s what your Twitter account is for.  But if that’s all  you ever do, if your personal broadcast is nothing but commercials 24/7, why should I keep tuning in?   Even TBS occasionally gives me a little bit of movie in between the ads;  as a Tweeter, you’ve gotta do the same.

And you don’t have to be Patton Oswalt, Wil Wheaton, or Stephen Fry.  Snappy one-liners are always welcome, certainly.  But I follow a couple of writers who tweet all the time about their day jobs, their kids, their struggle to find time to make art in the midst of very full lives, and I love reading them.  I relate to them; I feel a kinship with them that makes me want them to succeed.  And how can I help them succeed?  Buy their books – and I do.  There’s no need to get TOO personal – I un-followed someone last week who might conceivably be a big help to me in my career because she tweeted about the “food baby” she birthed following a big meal with a VIP at a convention.  Ummm, ew.  But don’t be afraid to be yourself, to share who you are as a writer.

Re-tweets are also a good way to keep your feed interesting.  If you find somebody else’s tweet hilarious or interesting or important, chances are, your followers will, too.  Just always be sure to give credit where credit’s due.  There are people for whom Twitter is a major resource in their writing career; stealing their tweets is the same thing as stealing someone’s stories.

Selling books these days is hard, and social media, for better and worse, is the main way to get it done.  But in that arena, before we care about your book, we’ve gotta care about you.  If you’ve already captured your followers’ attention with your personality, your humor, or your taste in cute kitten videos, chances are they’re a lot more likely to follow that link and buy your masterpiece.

A Blasphemous Conversation

prince lestat UK coverIn which lesser vampire authors Lucy Blue and Alexandra Christian bemoan the fate of their idol.

LUCY:  How much do we hate Anne Rice’s new UK cover?!!??!

 LEX:  WTF is wrong with them??!!! It looks like a cheap romance novel.  And I say that as an author of cheap romance novels…

LUCY:  My cover for Tender Bites was better than that.  Your covers for the Mocha Memoirs trilogy are MUCH better than that.  They probably spent a fortune hiring a semi-recognizable model (I think I’ve seen him in a Ralph Lauren ad, him or someone who looks just like him), and the costuming is extremely pricey – that jacket alone cost a fortune and was probably made specifically for that shoot.  But then they use the image in the cheapest, most obvious way imaginable.  Almost nobody who sees it is going to notice how pricey the individual elements are; they’re only going to engage the cheap, amateurish product.

Never mind that my whole reaction to a book entitled “Prince Lestat” is a big fat groan.

LEX:  They’re counting on the name Anne Rice to sell it.  But the cover is just horrendous.  Blech.

LUCY:  And here’s the thing – the name Anne Rice isn’t selling all that well at the moment. Which is probably why she got pushed into this cover in the first place.

It all comes back to what we’ve been saying for months – nobody knows nothing no more.

LEX:  Well if she’d write a book that’s worth a damn….

LUCY:  True . . . I think the problem is, she was always psycho.  But before, her version of psycho was sexy.  But she’s done that now, and as she’s aged, she’s moved into an older, more mature version of psycho that doesn’t connect with anybody any more.

LEX:  Well she keeps plowing the same dirt.  And when she’s not plowing that dirt, she’s doing something that’s so off the wall that it doesn’t make sense.

LUCY:  I think the plowing is her trying to reconnect and the off the wall is what she really wants to write.  It makes me sad because I think she’s brilliant; I think there are probably many more great novels inside her head wanting out.  But I think she has had some kind of weird religious conversion that has made her feel guilty and apologist about some of her early stuff (which is ridiculous), and just like she does in these monster series (serieses?) she writes, she’s trying to write her way out of the corner with plot that just gets nuttier and nuttier.

I feel her pain a little bit because part of the problem is, she was the Mother Goddess of this entire paranormal/gothic/romantic movement, and everything that has come since feeds off her original creation.  But that has gone on long enough that it’s moved beyond imitators into contrarians – people don’t write like Anne Rice any more, they specifically write vampires and werewolves and witches that are NOT like Anne Rice.  But she’s still around and still writing; she’s not ready to be the compost in the general soil just yet.  So she’s got a choice – she can either write in the sensibility she’s always had and be perceived as out of touch with the times and the sad crone who doesn’t know when to leave the party or she can try to adopt some version of the new sensibility (hence this cover) which isn’t hers, doesn’t fit, and results in rotten books, and she looks like the sad crone who bought a lot of make-up and has had a bit too much to drink.  And with trends cropping up, blooming, and dying in the space of months now, it’s happening to more and more content creators faster and faster.  As soon as something succeeds, it immediately becomes a punch line.  And once it becomes a punch line, it’s dead.

LEX:  Well sadly, she IS out of touch with the market right now.  She asked on Facebook if anyone would be interested in reading an erotic romance.  I mean, really Anne?  Where have you been in the last five years?  So I feel like we’ll be seeing a freako copycat of her Beauty books in the near future.

LUCY:  Oh but see, I suspect if you asked her, she would sniff aristocratically and point out that all of THOSE books came from independent publishers and smut mongers; she’s only interested in REAL erotic romance from Random House.  She probably considers 50 Shades beneath her notice, too.

So yeah, a new Beauty-esque saga is most likely in the works.  Jack and His Amazing Beanstalk?

I feel like a cretin for making jokes; I love those books; I love her writing – anybody who has read a sex scene I’ve written knows how much I love her style of erotica; she’s been a huge influence on me.  But yeah, it’s like she’s been up in the ivory tower for decades, only to discover that the world changed without her.  And now she’s trying to climb down and make art, and it’s just not working.

That said, if I had the sales numbers she had on her past couple of “failures,” I’d be a happy little writer indeed.

LEX:  Exactly.  She could never sell another book and be perfectly happy.

Gentle readers, may the same be said of all of us someday.

Rise Up, Kittens! Or at least stop lying down . . . .

Without writers, publishing as an industry would not exist.  Well, duh, you may well say; how obvious; how trite; how could any sane person not know that?  And I would agree.  But I begin to suspect that this truth we declare self-evident is in fact the greatest of mysteries to the rest of the monstrous machine.

One of the great traditions of traditional publishing is treating the people who write the product they sell like galley slaves, a necessary inconvenience that whines too much and smells kind of funny.  Myself, I’ve spent immense slabs of my professional life waiting around on some agent or editor to give me an answer on something even when they called me first.  Hurry up and wait and don’t ask for anything has always been the order of the day, and writers have had the choice to either take it on the chin or head on back to grad school.

The brave new world of independent and self-publishing is supposed to give us another choice.  Small presses can be more responsive, more enthusiastic, more nimble in their protocols, and for the most part, from what I’ve seen, they are.  As for self-pubbing, who could care more about getting your book out in the world and collecting golden lucre for it than you do yourself?

But over the past couple of months, I’ve seen more and more evidence that writers are still getting slapped around by the very people who live off their art.  A major independent press founded on the premise that women’s fiction could be erotic without being skeevy recently paid a huge advance for and spent big wads of cash promoting the memoir of an amateur porno princess who can’t even spell just because she’s a “reality star.”  And when some of the authors on their roster, many of whom have made them a great deal of money and very few of whom have ever received any advance at all dared to protest, they were basically told to suck it up, buttercup.  And by the way, where’s your registration fee check for the conference?

Speaking of conferences . . .  just this week, I saw a posting from a delicate flower who makes most of her book-related money from other writers who pay her to promote their work.  In this very public address, she employed the f-bomb with wild abandon to bully and castigate the writers WHO ARE PAYING HER for a conference for daring to book rooms outside the conference hotel.  Putting together a conference is a lot of work and very expensive, no question.  Organizers are certainly within their rights to encourage guests to help with costs by booking rooms on site whenever possible.  And from what I understand, the conference in question is “kind of a big deal” in the genre it promotes.  But NOBODY has the right to use that kind of abusive language toward the writers who, for lack of a better word, are their customers.  No product is that good.  I love chocolate, but if the lady from Godiva calls me an effin bitch on a public forum, be it me individually or in toto with all chocolate lovers everywhere, I’m going to make do with Hershey’s kisses from then on.  And I would strongly advise all other chocolate lovers—or conference attendees—to do the same.

Which brings me to my point.  Things are tough all over; making a living as a writer is harder right now than it’s been in more than a century, I suspect.  With traditional houses going corporate crazy and Amazon wanting to give it all away for free, anybody who says they can help can seem like a haven in the wilderness, your only hope for any kind of success, even if they’re treating you like crap.  But I’m here to tell you, it ain’t so.  You will have to be patient.  You will have to compromise.  You will have to get outside your comfort zone to promote your work.  But nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to treat you like their bitch.  No publisher.  No agent.  No editor.  No promoter.  Because what you do is magic.

And I promise you, I absolutely swear, there are people in every one of those fields who, if you’re talented and willing to work for it, are ready to help you, not out of the kindness of their hearts but because they believe in good writing and they believe in you.  I’ve sold my last two books to Purple Sword Publications, Strange as Angels which is out now, and Alpha Romeo which is coming soon, and everybody there has been smart and professional and kind.  And Seventh Star Press has just announced a new imprint called Seventh Starlight that is going to publish truly amazing speculative romance.  I know this because under my real name, Jessica Glanville, I’ll be their editor-in-chief.  I’ve talked to a lot of writers who have written for them; I’ve seen the great books they publish, and I’ve seen the way they operate, how they acquire work, how they package it, how they promote it.  I never thought I’d ever work in the publishing side of the process; I love just writing too much.  But I’m proud to be part of their team.

In short, my kittens, there are good people out there in the dark, scary jungle of the marketplace.  Respect yourself enough to hold out until you find them.

Imaginarium 2014!

imaginarium logoSo where ya gonna be September 19-21, 2014, kittens?  Me, I’ll be in Louisville, Kentucky, at the first ever Imaginarium, a convention created specifically for creators and fans of speculative fiction in all its many forms.  Imagine the most awesome literary track ever created at a fandom con – that, that’s what it is.  Want specifics?  Here’s a link to a page all about the programming:  http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/writers-track/

The guest of honor is author Rose Pressey.  There’ll be more writers, artists, screenwriters, editors, publishers, game designers, comics gurus, bloggers, filmmakers, and other assorted “Imaginators” than you can shake a Spear of Destiny at, including me, Alexandra Christian, Stephen Zimmer, Tally Johnson, S.H. Roddey, Crymsyn Hart, James Tuck, John F. Allen, Selah Janel, Marcia Colette, and all the Hee Haw gang (as Lexxx would say).  Come play with us, y’all.  It will be a great time.

A nifty holiday gift from Purple Sword Publications

purple sword samplerPrefer to taste before you buy?  Purple Sword Publications knows you do, you naughty minx, and they’ve put out a sampler o’ sexy reads just for you.  Excerpts from all their best paranormal and fantasy erotica and romance from 2013, all in a pretty purple package, all for free.  (Including a few hot bites from my own Purple Sword book, Strange as Angels (https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-strangeasangels-1297349-340.html)

Get your (free -did I mention it’s totally FREE?) sampler here:

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-purpleswordsampler2013-1374862-166.html

Two Great Vamps That Vamp Great Together

fresh bloodFrom now through Black Friday, the amazingly stupendously fabulous first anthology from the Vampire Writers Support Group, Fresh Blood, is available from Smashwords for only 99 cents.  NINETY-NINE CENTS, kittens, for a thick, juicy slab of vampire short fiction goodness.  Whatever vamp genre you prefer, trust me, you’ll find it here, including my own horror short, “Black Cat Bone.”  Follow this link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/366878 and use this Coupon Code:  FX76F.  Soooo simple and sooooo good!

tenderbitescoverAnd if you’re just looking for something sexy and vampy by me and only me, my own short story collection, Tender Bites, is still available for your handy dandy Kindle device from now until December 1 for $1.99.  After December 1, it’s gone, and it’s good.  You want it.  If you don’t have it, you’re gonna wanna get it.  And you gotta get it now.  I know you’re thinking about turkey and dressing and cheap gaming systems on Black Friday, but next week, you’re gonna need something to read, and these deals will be over, and you’re gonna kick yourself. So don’t mess up!  Here’s the link:  http://www.amazon.com/Tender-Bites-ebook/dp/B009PR38GM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1350504705&sr=1-1&keywords=tender+bites

Everybody’s got their sexy . . . .

When I first heard that the Bound in Darkness series was being translated and released by foreign publishers, I just assumed they would use the same covers as the original American version from Pocket.  Boy howdy, was I wrong.

Here’s what the first book, My Demon’s Kiss, looked like at your local American Barnes & Noble store (or similar outlet in the U.K. or Australia or wherever English-language paperbacks were sold):

The story takes place in medieval England, but this is very much an American romance cover – it’s all about the torso, baby, all about that chest.  (A straight male friend, who is understandably immune to the charms of such an image, dubbed this gorgeous hunk of man flesh a member of the Medieval Village People.)  Subsequent installments featured the same model with even more flesh showing – not a bad thing at all.

The Germans went for a much more understated look, I think – much more like what we Americans would think of as women’s fiction.  It’s beautiful; I love it; but I’d never peg this as a romance.  (And yes, it’s exactly the same book.)

 

I love the castle, and the model is gorgeous, but would you think this was a medieval romance?  To me, it looks more like a ‘woman’s thriller’ – she looks like a beautiful American tourist whose just been swept up in an international intrigue by a dashing Eurotrash dude who may or may not be a spy.

But far and away the most striking for me is the Italian version.  Remember those dudes on the covers of Johanna Lindsey and Bertrice Small books in the 1970s?  Amateurs – understated banker types by comparison to this guy.

It’s the Pagani Zonda F super car of romance novel covers – the chest hair!  The lace!  I just adore it -and I just know he can’t believe it’s not butter.  (Stupid in joke – sorry, Fabio.) 

There’s also a Japanese version from a publisher best known for anime – I can’t find it, but if anybody else can, pleeeease send me the link. 

So tell me this, kittens – if all three of these books were in a language you were comfortable reading, sitting side by side on a shelf, and you had to buy one, which one would you pick? 

Lucy Blue on Author Central!

My Author Central page on Amazon is now officially up and running and ready to serve the full menu of my vampy goodness. Plus a bio, links, and other goodies to help you find something to read. Writers, if you haven’t gone to Amazon and done one of these, you’re missing a great opportunity, even if you have less-than-warm-and-fuzzy feelings about Amazon – it’s your own little website within the website, and it’s tied in to their huge stream of reader traffic.
Here’s the link to mine: http://www.amazon.com/Lucy-Blue/e/B001IXQ7TQ