Monday, November 3, 2008

Life in Dareville: New Covers, New Friends, New Reviews

Aren't they just freakin' gorgeous!? Truth or Dare and Dare Me are getting print cover makeovers, just in time for the release of the fourth book in the series, and the pending launch of the Dareville site. This is something I had wanted to do for a while. Mind you, it's not that I didn't dislike the original covers - the occasional blog snark aside. Quite the contrary, when I sent Stacey King the ideas for the first two books she gave me what I had envisioned. Though the debate rages on over Poser-like covers versus photography and artwork, I still look back to when I first saw those two books, and I smile.

So why the new look? To be truthful, there were a few reasons. For one, now that Dareville is four novel-length works long, I wanted to bring a continuity to the series that extended to visual presentation. When you look at other series books, you might find they are cut along a similar template: Rita Mae Brown's mysteries have the large cat silhouette, the Kinsey Millhone books have the letters emblazoned huge on their covers, etc. I would like for the Dareville books to be as recognizeable.

Which brings me to the other reason: customer attraction. I've been doing quite a few signings lately. I plan to do more. Over the few years I have worked stores and festival booths, I have noticed one thing about the present Dareville covers: they get quite a reaction. Unfortunately, it isn't always the reaction I want. Erotic romance is hot right now, and the books sell well. One reason I think they sell well is because they can be purchased with discretion. Now, this is just my perception of things, based on experience, but when I display the original Dareville covers on a table I see double-takes, widened eyes, and the occasional embarassed chuckle. What I don't see is anybody coming closer to pick up the book. While a reader of romance may pass my table and show some degree of interest, I wonder if the idea of being seen holding a book with a naked man concealed only by a bass guitar is too much. I mean, what if a string of nuns should happen to walk past?

So wonderful Debi of the Phaze Books art department designed these replacement covers. Both are sexy and tasteful, and hopefully will draw more readers to my table than inspire what I call the "fearful crabwalk" - when a shopper is obviously trying to get away from you lest you whip out the silver lasso. Look for them soon.

Whip it Good!

I'm on a sugar high right now, mainly because of this review of Daringly Delicious (a Top 20 Bestseller from Phaze Books) from Whipped Cream Reviews. Four cherries on top, don't spare the wet nuts (HA! I kill me). If you read the review, you'll notice some interesting points I'd like to clarify. For one, unfortunately, the reviewer mistakenly identifies Dom as Lupe's husband. He is actually her father in law, Robbie is the husband. You'll meet all three in Dare to Dream. You have bought it, right?

Second, the reviewer didn't care much for the character of Lola, calling her the "obligatory office slut." Now, some authors might bristle at that, thinking it a swipe at their characterization abilities. I, however, don't mind. In fact, that was part of the plan. If you read Delicious and Dream and find Lola sort of one-dimensional, it's because she is. She has a one-track mind, sex and lots of it. She doesn't care where or with whom, so long as she gets off. If you don't like her, that's okay. I suppose in the back of my mind I arranged it for her not to be wholly liked, because I would then have the challenge of helping her be redeemed.

It is my intent to see Lola through a transformation, from a spoiled young lady to a focused, selfless lover. When Dare Devils is finished and released, I hope you will see and appreciate the results. Until then, read the other books.

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