24 June 2014

Worst Romance Covers 2013

This week's instalment of Cover Cafe's romance cover competition is... Worst Romance Covers.
Last week we looked at the best - this week we're covering the other side of the scale.

This is the category that authors (myself included) dread being nominated for. When I get that email and my finger always hovers nervously before I can bring myself to open the cover art file. So far I've been able to breath a sigh of relief. These poor authors are less lucky...

The full list, first to tenth is on the Cover Cafe site, but here are a few to wet your appetite for... less.

In first place: 
The Search is Over

The scary trend for this year is started with this cover - computer generated people. I'm sorry but they all just look weird and plastic.

Sunny also wasn't impressed. "Ugh. These bad CGI art covers have to go. Maybe those two guys are supposed to look like giant latex dildos, and maybe her breasts are supposed to look like frozen hams (and what the heck, are they training her to mime an invisible wall?) But if this is the best you can do at drawing what I assume is supposed to be sexy romance, please give it up and turn to technical manuals or Japanese robot fetish fantasies."

Elyse: "Nothing says romance like a badly-dressed woman with oddly-shaped breasts being restrained from behind by hairless conjoined twins. Seriously, the bald guys are standing so close they MUST be joined at the hip, with only two arms between them. I'm pretty sure the right one also lacks genitalia, and nipples are doubtful. I'll keep searching, thank you very much."

Fourth place goes to:
Wild Things Lost

More plastic people, this time they're both wearing wigs, and what's with his expression he looks like he hasn't a thought in his head other than staring weirdly at her chest.

from Lynn P.: "You know how when you were little and played with your Ken and Barbie dolls -- and you would end up losing some of their clothes? And then you would just make do with what you had left? This cover is the result. He looks like a plastic doll -- particularly the area where his hips join the rest of his body. He also looks like what your Ken doll looked like when you decided to play beauty shop and cut his hair. She is a little bit better but still looks like a plastic doll. His stare is also really creepy."

Robin B. was rendered speechless: "I have no words...."
In ninth place:
Sweet Delight

Which really isn't much of a sweet delight. I like most of the commenter's can't get past the fake tattoo - in fact it's so bad I didn't even immediately realise it was a tattoo.

Cover Cafe's Mary Lynne: "Ah, the higher glories of the Worst category. How can I choose? Should I opt for the amateurism ofEntangled? The overly busy bodies on Perfect Mate andRetribution? The creepy android-like people of The Search is Over, On Thin Ice, and Lost? The use and abuse of babies and dogs on Baby Papers and Animal Attraction? The eerie shininess of the man's body on Desperately Seeking Fireman? They are all pretty awful. But there is just so much wrong onSweet Delight. There's the way the man's body proportions don't quite work--that torso looks a bit too Photoshopped. There's that godawful paw that's just slapped on the image. But let's face it. The guy's wearing a Speedo. In today's day and age, that earns you the worst label no matter what

In case you've forgotten, here's the winner and runner up from last year (last year's list). While there are some shockers this year - the CGI especially - I almost feel that last year was worse. So, that's got to be good hasn't it...

17 June 2014

Best Cover Competition

It's that time of year again. The Cover Cafe's romance covers competition results are in.
This week the the winner - next week you guess it the cringe contenders.

So the best of 2013 (follow links to get full list):

Avant Garde:

In First Place:
Lady of Ashes

Cover Cafe's Mary Alice says: "This cover is captivating. The gray, foggy, gloomy background gives this an other-worldly feeling to the cover. The stark black outfit of the woman, combined with the lily white hand and just a peek of her face makes her seem so frail and vulnerable. The lacy parasol and font give it a Victorian setting. And the red rose held behind her give it a romantic element. The red of the font leads me to believe she has something to hide. "

 Pieces For You is one of two covers tied for 7th place. 

I liked this one because the colours stand out and it's just that little bit different. 

Cora B. says: "I love the graphic style and the simplicity of the cover as well as the contrast between the bright blue and the black background. And that little red heart inside the phoenix is just perfect."

In first place in the contemporary category:

Okay, it's the loverly flame dress.

Elyse found humor in the flaming dress: “The dress, of course! It's mesmerizing! Although I'm a bit worried the heroine will be scorched, I'll assume she has special powers to protect her legs from those flames!”

 Two other covers in the contemporary category. 

 Water Witch (2nd place) has a lovely sensual feel,
and the colours on Carolina Girl (12th place) are so evocative.  

First Place in the Historical Category:
Forsaken Dreams

I think it's the dress that wins this one as well. It almost looks like the inside of a paua/abalone shell. Plus there's all that misty mystery.

Of course, there was that stunning dress. Judy W. said: "This category is filled to the brim with women standing in beautiful dresses but I liked this one best. The smoky effect of the fog that almost matches the blue of her dress and the cloudy sky that looks about to erupt makes this cover really moody looking. Love it."

Clockwork Princess came in third, and I have to say I loved it. It's the ideal bookworm cover :) the magic of the book takes centre stage and the rest of the cover keeps pace.

Caro said: "The open book with the light coming out got me right away. That's what I feel every time I open a book - excitement to see a story shine."
Sheila S.: "There are so many things going on in this cover that make you want to read the book. Also love the dress she is wearing."
Two Image Covers

And finally the winner of the Two Image Covers Category:
Winter Queen

Michelle W. commented: “This is a beautiful image and it blends perfectly as a wraparound cover. No jolting change. It evokes the fantasy theme of the book. Lovely colour palette of purples used, from darkest almost-black to lavender and mauve, suiting the winter of the title...”

10 June 2014

Great literary put downs...

The Telegraph is running a fun survey at the moment on what is the greatest literary put-down.

Will Rhett Butler's "My dear, I don't give a damn."

Beat out Mt Darcy's "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me."

head over and cast your vote here.

The full list:
1. "My dear, I don't give a damn." - Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell - (Character: Rhett Butler)
2. "To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune, Mr Worthing, to lose both looks like carelessness" - The Importance Of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde - (Character: Lady Bracknell)
3. "May your genitals sprout wings and fly away." - Small Gods, Terry Pratchett - (Character: Om - the tortoise)
4. "If you will forgive me for being personal, I do not like your face." - Murder On The Orient Express, Agatha Christie - (Character: Hercule Poirot)
5. "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me" - Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austen - (Character: Mr Darcy)
6. "You are the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry." - Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austen - (Character: Elizabeth Bennett)
7. "If looks could kill, you'd soon find out that yours couldn't." - After Claude, Iris Owens - (Character: Harriet)
8. "The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes." - Coriolanus, William Shakespeare - (Character: Menenius)
9. "The simplicity of your character makes you exquisitely incomprehensible to me." - The Importance Of being Earnest, Oscar Wilde - (Character: Gwendolen)
10. "I misjudged you... You're not a moron. You're only a case of arrested development." - The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway - (Character: Harvey Stone)
There are a few like I like that have been missed from the survey that I rather like. Here are my two favourites. Anything you think is missing?
“I desire that we be better strangers.” - As You Like It, William Shakespeare
Cecily: This is no time for wearing the shallow mask of manners. When I see a spade I call it a spade.
Gwendolen: I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different. – The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde