by Susan Sey
Big news today, darlings: Money, Honey—the book of my heart that I almost didn’t submit anywhere because it was so tragically flawed, the book I’ve been waiting to see in print for nearly two full years—that book? It hits the shelves today. Let the chandelier swinging/shield sliding/rooster grabbing commence!
I personally plan to sit around all day with a stupid grin on my face, nursing a ridiculously strong drink, and making suggestive remarks to the gladiators. I may talk the Golden Rooster into a tango later. He’s divine on his sharp little feet, & I feel like dancing.
But first, walk with me. Come on. This way, while we can still walk a straight line. Demetrius? Grab that torch, will you, darling? Sven? Be a dear & bring along that pitcher of margaritas. Watch your step, now, everybody. The stairs are a bit sketchy, the door jamb’s a bit low…but okay. Here we are, safe and sound.
Welcome to the Cover Art Hall of Fame! Why are we here, you ask? Why are we in a long, stone hall deep in the Lair, lined with giant, gorgeously framed prints of romance novel covers?
It’s the Fabio jokes. They’re killing me.
Okay, let’s back up. I’ll explain.
As you all know, a book release isn’t a book release anymore without the accompanying blog tour. And mine kicks off here, today, as you can see. But a handful of other blogs have graciously consented to host my shameless promo-hoing as well. And I’ll tell you the truth—as much as I cherish my Call Story, I didn’t feel up to telling it ten to twelve times over a two week period. If you’re interested in a fabulous retelling of it, however, RT has been kind enough to offer me their Debut Author Spotlight this week. I go into my Journey to Publication there. You can check it out by clicking here.
For those of you interested in traveling a little further afield, however, welcome to Susan’s Blog Tour in which I will, at each whistle stop, heroically address the Top Ten Responses Commonly Heard when an Ill-Groomed Stay-at-Home Mom Announces her Secret Career as a Romance Novelist. (For the details of where I’ll be next & what I’ll be discussing, see my website.)
And I’m kicking things off here with my beloved Romance Bandits. So let’s get started, shall we? We’ll begin, a la David Letterman, with Response #10: A smirky “Hey,will you get Fabio for your cover?”
Yeah, the dreaded Fabio question. This descends with depressing predictability into “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” jokes and a retelling of the time Fabio got nailed in the face with a pigeon while riding a roller coaster. (Okay, I’ll admit, that one’s still funny.)
Now I have nothing against Fabio. In my mind, he ranks right up there with William Shatner in terms of people who’ve parlayed a somewhat limited & outlandish skill set into a career of remarkable longevity. So it’s not Fabio himself. It’s the way his name has become shorthand for the entire romance genre. It’s the way people seem to think that Fabio—and his enthusiastic embrace of the overblown & ridiculous—IS romance. And THAT offends me. It’s about as accurate as saying all young actresses are Lindsay Lohan. “Got a role in a movie, young lady? Well,then, here’s your ankle monitor, a ziplock of prescription pills & a gallon of Red Bull & vodka. Go get ‘em, princess.”
This is not to say romance novel covers—or what’s between them—are free of ridiculousness. (Christina Dodd’s famous Heroine with Three Arms comes to mind.) But the vast majority of romance novels have perfectly lovely content—and Fabio-free covers. Just here in the Lair, we have some gorgeous—and recent—examples from nearly every subgenre. Walk with me, darlings. Let’s have a look.
In the historical category, we have Christine Wells’ Sweetest Little Sin. Sheer sexiness, literally & figuratively, & not a mullet in sight. Fabio weeps.
In the Category category, we have Kate Carlisle’s July release, The Millionaire Meets his Match. Now this is a Desire, so pretty sexy, right? So where’s all the skin? Underneath that well-fitted tux, I’m guessing. Nice.
In the Romantic Suspense category, we have Jeanne Adams’s Deadly Little Secrets, coming later this year. Dark, dangerous & sexy, the contemporary version of a clinch cover. I get a really noir, old Hollywood vibe here, don't you? I’d be proud to read it on the bus.
And (you knew it was coming, didn’t you?) here in the plain old contemporary category, we have my beloved Money, Honey. Again with the sexy clinch cover but the playful version this time. We have flirt, we have sexual tension, we have a handful of cash for heaven’s sake. What we do not have is cheese. Fabio only wishes he were my Patrick. (I’m biased, I’ll admit it, but my Patrick wears a custom-tailored tux like most guys wear t-shirts. It’s like his native habitat, which makes my heroine a little crazy. In the very best of ways, though. I’d encourage you to pick up a copy if you’re curious about why.)
I recognize, however, that not everybody is as lucky as we here in the Lair. Bad Covers do happen to Good Authors. Unless you’re Nora Roberts, chances are nobody’s asking your opinion when it comes to cover art.
So in the spirit of Laughing So We Don’t Cry, here’s some classic Fabio action for you. Pour yourself a margarita, put on your Snarking Cap and come up with a caption that suits the action. The top three captions (as judged by me in all my subjective glory) get a free copy of Money, Honey! Thanks for playing, darlings!