Worst covers

How about each of the wenches posts their least favorite cover (or covers), one original, one from a translation? After all, none of them are our fault. They can hurt because our precious children are sent out into the world in stupid clothes, but we have so little say. My publisher does ask me for input on the design, both at the start and then when they’ve done a first pass at it, but there’s a limit to how much they’ll do to change it. And often it’s a really subtle thing which amounts to good art v bad art. Some, however are mind-boggling, and I’m not talking about straight-out mistakes like extra arms, or even the “we don’t care about the details” ones like wrong hair-colour.

Consider, for example, my first paperback cover for Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed. Who in the world could even imagine that this man was the hero of a romance novel? Who? (Click on the pictures to see a larger version, if you can bear it.)

And then we have the cover of my sole Bulgarian edition, for my Georgian romance, Something Wicked. Teens going to a very strange Prom in the ’50s, perhaps?

Come on, Wenches. I throw down the challenge. Beat those if you can!


Fantasy settings

Wow, this first week of blogging has been absolutely amazing!  We’ve had a fantastic response from readers, wonderfully intellectual posts on everything from history to writing, and I’m supposed to follow all this up with what?  I’m not an educator, a historian, or even a lit major.  I was a CPA for pity’s sake.  I can give you a history of the book publishing industry over the last twenty years if you’re looking for a way to cure insomnia, but intellectual ain’t me.

I’m currently writing Georgian era historicals because I like guys in tight pants and long hair.  <G>  (make note, find icons!)  I adore Johnny Depp’s pirate, earring and all.  Contrasts fascinate me, and they’re wonderfully easy to do when you have a smoky-eyed, steamy hero clothed in lace and buckskin, or a laid-back charmer with an engaging smile lounging about in leather jerkin and open linen with his cravat off.  And then there’s the virginal spinster who grabs that cravat and yanks the hero off his feet with a kiss so hot he doesn’t know what hit him.  Or the naïve maiden who bats her lashes and has the steamy hero stumbling over his boots. 

And to prove my lack of intellectual qualities, I have to admit that I love historical settings for love scenes, as well.  Everyone can make love in a shower stall.  How many of you can make love in a grotto dripping with moss and flowers?  A palace on a silk-covered chaise longue?  A ship with sails billowing on a moonlit sea? 

And since I’ve done all of the above at one time or another, I’ll soon be exploring new settings on a fantasy island where I get to make up the rules and the environment.  It will be set in the real world with real world problems and people, but wow, that island…  Hot as the volcano that created it. 

So what settings crank your fantasies?  And do I dare ask why?

Pat Rice

Six More Reasons Why the Regency Rules

Now that we’re settling into our weekly WordWench routine, Monday will be my regular day for posting. I hope you’re all enjoying this first official weekend of summer, and won’t be near a computer to read this until tomorrow. And if you or any of your family members have served in the armed forces, I’m sending along a special “thank you” on Memorial Day for all you’ve done and the sacrifices you’ve made.

Jo’s entry about how Regency settings have nearly taken over the historical market was so exactly on target that I can’t help but add a few more reasons of my own. I’ve written my share of Regency-set historicals; I can relate.

1. The Regency era is a familiar place to visit. Thanks both to the long-established tradition of Regency-set books and to Hollywood, readers come to newer books with a pretty good idea of what this time period looks and feels like. They have an instant connection with Almack’s or an English country house that they wouldn’t necessarily have with a Renaissance palazzo or an ancient Roman villa. From the first page, readers know where they are, and can jump right into the story with the hero and heroine.

2. Not only are the women’s gowns appealing to modern sensibilities, but the men’s clothes are, too. Cropped hair, close-fitting trousers, tailored coats with padded shoulders, and riding boots all fit into current ideas of what’s dashingly “masculine.” While I agree with Jo that Georgian clothing is infinitely more seductive and elegant, most modern women just can’t bend their minds around a guy in high heeled shoes and a wig (though Johnny Depp in The Libertine could change a lot of minds.)

3. “Regency” is such a great concept that it knows no national boundries. In France, those high-waisted muslin gowns and classically-inspired chairs are called Empire; in America, they’re Federal. Truly Regency is a state of mind.

4. There’s a persistent rumor that Regencyland will soon be added to the Magic Kingdoms at Disneyland. No, not really, but from the version of early 19th century England that pops up in many (but certainly not all) historical romances, it does seem to be a charmed world. Everyone’s rich, witty, titled, handsome or beautiful, and lives in gorgeous houses with plenty of amusing servants who just can’t wait to be your confidant or go-between. There’s little mention of that unpleasant war with the French (unless, of course, you’re a spy), or of the unstable economy, or syphilis, or children working in the textile mills, or unemployment, or the fact that the king is mad and his regent-son is more than a little irresponsible. If you’re looking for a great place to escape from the twenty-first century for a few hours, Regencyland can’t be beat.

5. Despite feminist efforts to broaden literature curriculums, Jane Austen continues to be one of the very few woman writers to break into required reading lists. For many high school girls, Pride and Prejudice and Emma are a surprising, enjoyable breath of fresh country air. In other words, you never forget your first Mr. Darcy.

6. Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, and Jennifer Ehle.


Corrupt Cookies on the Loose!

Hi there!  I’m popping in with boring technical stuff.  A few of you have experienced difficulty with TypePad’s "Remember Me" feature when typing a comment.  This may be caused by a corrupted cookie on your computer.  Try deleting your cookies, then restart your browser and post a comment, checking the "Remember Me" box.  This will give you a new cookie that should take care of the problem. 

Sherrie Holmes, hunting down rogue corrupted cookies so that the blog streets are safe once more