Category - Arts & Crafts

About Book Covers, My Shiny New Cover and Thoughts On...

My very first official cover...
is in and it's so pretty and purpley! As it should be, considering the title and the story. I have to say that the folks over at Torquere did a lovely job and I'm so pleased with it!

Finding the right stock photos, especially for a story set in the 1930s is not easy. Believe me, I've searched through hundreds! It gets even harder when you're trying to find a fella who somewhat resembles the character you've got in your head. In this case, Remi, my smexy Englishman.

The process...
When I was asked what kind of cover I wanted, only one thing filled my head: ????? Terribly naive, I know, but as a newly published author, I spend most of my time with my head immersed in my characters' worlds. I had no idea what the production process of a book entailed, only that it was most likely quite a lot. Boy, is that an understatement!

Suddenly, I had to think about everything. Formats, Marketing, Mood, Tone, Time Period, Symbols, Character, Color, Settings, Aesthetics, and more. Did I go with the kind of covers I liked? Did I go with man nakedness? Somewhere in the middle? Did I want a photo cover? Yes. Animated? No. Did I want to see the model's face? Not in this case. For some covers, it works. Personally, I prefer to use my imagination to 'see' my characters, and I know many readers do too. Though, I'm not opposed to it if I see the right model and image that makes me go 'that's him!' while releasing a sigh and my eyes get that glazed, starry look in them. Did I want both fellas on the cover or just one? This time I decided on one. But which one? Remi or Hawk? Well, seeing as the whole caper sort of starts because of Remi, I went with Remi.

I had to try and find an image that could capture the mood of my story, that felt 'right'. I had to offer the art department as much info as possible, and I tell you, I inundated those poor folks with information, links, photos, and descriptions, the whole while asking myself if it was too much or too little.

My thoughts...
During my search, I went through hundreds of images, typed in scores of keywords. It was tough. I knew that no matter what I chose, somewhere, someone wouldn't agree, and you know what? That's okay. What I enjoy, someone else may not. When it comes to book covers, in m/m just as in m/f, there will always be a difference if opinion. Though with the m/m genre growing as it is, the question of what makes a great book cover is often on peoples' lips. Personally, I'm not into the naked, 'man boob' covers. Now, that's not to say they're not hot, or that it turns me off the book. Sex sells, everyone knows that, even those who'd never admit it. Then again, I'm one of those gals who thinks a sneak peak is sexier than the full monty. I KNOW what's under that towel, and the fact that I know it's there but can't see, is way hotter--and brings all sorts of things to the imagination-- than him just laying it all out there. But that's just me ;)   

The Magpie effect...
I'm an artist and a very visual person. I'm also like a magpie. I get attracted to shiny, pretty things. Certain covers will attract my attention, and get me to read the blurb. I admit that I've often bought a book solely for its cover, because I see book covers not only as a marketing tool, but a work of art, much like the stories themselves. If it's an author I know and love, I'd probably be looking them up anyway, so the cover really is a second thought. 

Remembering Fabio...
I've been reading romance since I can remember. I LOVE romance books, especially historical romance (no surprise there). BUT--here's where I run the risk of possibly getting strangled with someone's corset laces--I hated a lot of the covers to the point where some really put me off. Remember all those books with Fabio on the front? I'm certain they're well-beloved to some people, but it's safe to say, I'm not one of those people. Let's face it. When you're in your teens, awkward, and reading romance, your self confidence is pretty shaky as it is without sitting out in the open with a book showing a half naked Fabio sporting long, windswept hair standing on some cliff top with a buxom lady at his feet grasping his skin-tight leggings.

M/M Romance covers and the great debate...
Now, I'm not embarrassed about the fact that I read romance. I know the stigma it still carries for some. I'm proud to say I read AND write it. If it's a great book with a great premise, the cover won't turn me away. Of course, I'm all grown up now, so Fabio no longer intimidates me. In the romance genre, we still find plenty of ladies clinging onto their muscular males, but what of M/M Romance?

I know there's the question of what readers want out of their M/M Romance, as well as what sells. Erotica versus Sweet Romance? That's a conversation for another day. The fact is, that for some authors, their titles containing covers with more nakedness sell somewhat more than their titles without. So does the nakedness prevail or...? I know in the past year alone, I've seen a growth in the artwork of many new titles, many incredibly stunning. So what's the future of the m/m romance book cover? What do you like to see? What turns you off? Does it really make a difference to you? What's your take on the debate? What do you believe should or shouldn't be on there? It's okay, you can tell me... ;)

Photo Friday: Hot Historical Hunks

... and how Hollywood continues to feed my suit fetish. It's no secret that I love a man in a suit. Especially a three piece suit. Add a hat, and well... *sigh*

There's just something incredibly sexy, sophisticated, and just plain ROAWR! And let's face it, Hollywood does wonders in providing one with those little pleasures. When I'm not writing, I looove watching movies. Like books, they come in all flavors. Some are deep and gripping, some are just plain fun. I've got plenty of classic on DVDs, and then I've got some that are major cheese, but as they say, variety is the spice of life!

As with everything else Historical, movies can be hit or miss, but I try to find something enjoyable in each one, whether it's the costumes, the cinematography, the story, the actors-- I'm always happy to give the film a go.Here are some movies set around the 30s/40s/50s.

Ewan Mcgregor: Big Fish                   Bruce Willis: Last Man Standing

Chris Evans: Captain America  *swoon*      Johnny Depp: Public Enemies

Ryan Gosling: The Gangster Squad            Armie Hammer:  J. Edgar

Hugh Jackman: Australia                   Harrison Ford: Indiana Jones / Raiders

There are loads more, these are from some of the films I own on DVD. Except for The Gangster Squad. (That's out in cinemas some time later this year.) These films may not be to everyone's taste, but personally, I really enjoyed them.

Big Fish was wonderfully fantastical, the colors were beautiful, and it made me cry.  It's been a while since I've seen it and it's probably about time for me to watch it again. I love films that have that magical feel to them, and Big Fish is just beautiful.

Last Man Standing, gun for hire in Jericho during the Prohibition Era. Expect questionable morals, shootouts, sex, and Bruce looking his most broody.

Captain America, I have a weakness for comic book films, even some of the not so great ones (Constantine) though I do have to draw the line somewhere (Daredevil, Elektra, Jonah Hex). Green Lantern wasn't anything to write home about, but Ryan Reynolds is another weakness of mine. I watched Blade Trinity for him. Only for you, Ryan! Anyway, Captain America was loads of fun and hit all the right buttons.

Public Enemies, somewhat glamorized movie about John Dillinger but still enjoyable. However, I found the book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and Birth of the FBI 1933-34 to be far more fascinating. They slapped Johnny Depp on the cover of the book as they tend to do, but actually the book isn't just about John Dillinger. It covers several other notorious figures, such as Machine Gun Kelly, The Barker Gang, Bonnie & Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, & Pretty Boy Floyd.

J. Edgar, I've actually got the DVD but have yet had a chance to watch it. My movie to be watched list is as big as my book to be read list. I'm particularly interested in seeing how Hoover's relationship to Clyde Tolson--Hoover's assistant director-- is handled. For those of you who may not know, it's said that Hoover and Clyde shared a romance. According to the book The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI by Ronald Kessler, "The two were inseparable. They ate lunch together almost every day and dinner almost every night. They vacationed together, staying in adjoining rooms, and they took adoring photos of each other." I'm planning to do a post on Hoover and Clyde sometime next week. That up there is Armie Hammer, who plays Clyde Tolson.

Australia, it was like watching a romance novel, one of those old school ones. Loved it. It was rather long, and being a Baz Lurhmann film, heavy on the special effects, but I enjoyed it, and not just because of the scene where Hugh is half naked, pouring water over his rippling pectorals. Though it did make me giggle like a school girl. It also made me teary on more than one occasion. Expect lots of drama, tears, defiant chin lifting, banter, and pretty, shiny things. 

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, well what is there to say about a hunky, young Harrison Ford yielding a whip and getting his clothes torn left, right, and center. He's arrogant, fearless (except for the snakes) and the ultimate adventure hero. Raiders and the Temple of Doom I can watch over and over, and never get tired of them. Last Crusade wasn't the best, but still enjoyable. Crystal Skull, well, up until the great reveal, it was fun. 

So what kind of films do you enjoy? Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Westerns, Musicals, Bio pics? Do you have a guilty filmy secret on your shelf?  

x Charlie x

Media Monday: New Cover Art for The Auspicious Troubles of Chance *Updates*


Hello all! This weekend I received a special treat in the form of my shiny new cover for my upcoming release from Dreamspinenr Press: The Auspicious Troubles of Chance.

The cover was designed by Anne Cain and I couldn't have hoped for more. I haven't been able to stop looking at it since. She did an amazing job, and considering how little info I gave the poor woman, I'm even more impressed.

Unlike with The Amethyst Cat Caper where I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted, when it came to Chance's book, I drew a great big blank. There were so many elements in the story, that I didn't know what imagery to draw from. The only thing I kept getting was the emotional side of things.

So instead of telling her what I wanted, I gave her as much info on the feel and tone of the story, along as some key settings, and left the rest in her very capable hands. When I opened my inbox and found this, you can imagine my flailing:

I'm so looking forward to it's release, and hope you all will enjoy it. I had a great time writing it. Chance is a very special fella to me, so I hope he'll find a little spot in your heart, too.


The Auspicious Troubles of Chance has a release date and is now Dreamspinner's Coming Soon page! *happy dance* June 20th!! You can check it out here.

x Charlie x

LHNB Cover Reveal!

Hello all! I wanted to share the cover for my Love Has No Boundaries story An Intrepid Trip to Love. Coming up with a cover for this one was tough, because there's a kiddie in the story, which I've not had before. I loved writing Robbie. He's just so adorable and too much like his dad. I think I managed to capture the feel of the story with the cover, and I just love all their sweet smiles, especially Boone's grin on the left there. The other challenge was whether or not to put in actually Huskies, and I did have a version where I did, but it just didn't feel right. Instead I decided to do things a little differently and have the fellas' shadows be their shifter halves. Well, hope you like it!

An Intrepid Trip to Love450

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