Favorite Series Covers and Cover Artists!

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Book covers have always fascinated me.  Some repel me, others draw me in immediately.  Think “ooh, shiny, pretty…” lol.  Others intrigue me by their content or graphic design, while others leave me “meh” or confused. When I think of series covers that are successful, all they have some of the same elements incorporated into their design.  The first being I can tell the books belong together at a glance, they have a cohesive design element consistent in every cover.  The fonts stay the same.  Each cover contains the same overall design with small changes that  don’t affect the overall picture they present to the reader.

So we are looking for consistency, cohesiveness, clarity and recognition.  Designs that convey a sense of connectedness between the books. Look over my choices and see if you agree with me. Many of my favorites series also have some of my favorite series covers. Yes, I have let quite a lot out but I need something for the next cover post, don’t I? Lets get started.

1. Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban, now being written by Abigail Roux,cover design by Mara McKinnon:Simple and elegant.  The central object, which is prominent in each storyline, is changed out with each book.  I can tell a Cut &Run book in a heartbeat.

2. Lost Gods series by Megan Derr, design by London Burden. Each cover is a map of the kingdom the story is set in.  The color is important as it is a prime element for each kingdom and its culture.  Blue for the kingdom of Kundou, a land to whom the sea is all important.  It’s people have hair in all shades of blue and green, the color of water.  The orange/red cover of Burning Bright is self explanatory and so on. Subtle, expressive, simple on the surface yet contains hidden meanings just like the books.

3. Sanctuary Series by RJ Scott, artist/cover design by Reese Dante.  Each cover depicts the two men who will be the novel’s romantic couple, usually one is a Sanctuary op.  The design stays the same with the men being switched out.  The models are  consistent with the descriptions of the men inside.  Reese Dante  does the fantastic design.

4. Dance With The Devil series by Megan Derr, design by London Burden.  Effective use of a simple graphic design where the object floating in the center of a black cover is switched out for each new book. Again the main element is important  to the storyline. Effective, elegant, and easy to recognize that the books belong together without having to resort to the publishers note.

4. Cambridge Fellows series by Charlie Cochrane, cover design by Scott Carpenter: All the covers have a lovely vintage feel to them, sepia toned with elements such as furniture, buildings and mens clothing from 1900’s included on the design. Unfortunately, the last cover from Samheim had a more modern looking model which threw off the design. The newest title in the series has a completely different look as it was published at the different company. Can you pick it out?

3.  Superpowered Love by Katey Hawthorne, artist P.L. Nunn:  Just wonderful art by PL Nunn, the covers really set the stage for the stories within.  I just love these.  Again while the content changes, the style is the same and makes the books easy to identify.

4. Infected series by Andrea Speed, art by Anne Cain, cover design by Mara McKinnon: These covers blow me away.  Intense, dramatic, with that hint of menace.  Outstanding.  They are offered to download at Andrea Speed’s website.  I grabbed them, you will want to as well. Andrea Speed’s website http://www.andreaspeed.com.

5. Cattle Valley Series by Carol Lynne, art by Anne Cain.  It doesn’t matter if it is Book 2, Book 12 or Book 23, you can tell it is a Cattle Valley book immediately due to the great design and artwork by the wonderful Anne Cain.  This series is branded, folks! Total E Bound does more of a series branding than any other publisher or so it seems to me.

6. Sci-Regency Series by JL Langley, cover by Anne Cain.  Sigh!  I love Anne Cain and her artwork.  Especially her cover for My Fair Captain.  That one is so drool worthy that I have to bring out the towels. Yeah, I know TMI!  But just look at that chest!  And the same goes for the other two books in the series, the last of which, My Regelence Rake, is to be released in October 2012.

7.  Leopard’s Spots series by Bailey Bradford, artwork by Posh Gosh. What a lush, rich group of covers,  They are like a feast for the eyes, I just don’t know where to look next.  The design pulls your eye around the cover, so nothing is missed.  Just superb.

So that’s my short  list. What is yours? Yes, I see the same artists over and over on covers I like.  Anne Cain, PL Nunn, Reese Dante, Posh Gosh and London Burden.  Lately I have also noticed Alessia Brio too.  I know I have missed so many great artists, help me fill in the blanks.  And don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered in the contest.

It’s Series Week at Scattered Thoughts and Our First Book Giveaway!

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This week is series week here at Scattered Thoughts… and Joyfully Jay.  JJ and hubby were hurrying off to Scotland to celebrate their 40th birthdays (yep, won’t see that one again) and 15 years of marriage (not this one either) and wanted to know if Sammy and I had anything we wanted to write about.  Well, little love pandas, I have been reading some outstanding series and loving on the fact that my journey with each cast of characters would not be stopped short at one book! And as my mind wandered over the various landscapes and emotional terrains of those series, a little LED light went off in my head, I waved my hand and piped up “Series!  I want to write about how I love series!”  Sammy and JJ both had favorites series too, everyone got excited and so the idea of series week was born.

So what an exciting week ahead here in Maryland to offset the return of 100 degree temperatures and humidity that would not be out of place in the Congo!  I will be talking about why I love a series,  I am listing my favorite series and favorite series covers. I thought about listing my all time worst series but hey we are not about negativity here, at least this week.  There are author spotlights and our first ever book giveaway!  Nicole Kimberling will be giving away a copy of Primal Red, the first in the Bellingham Mysteries series being reviewed this week!  So watch out for her Author Spotlight and the series review.  Make a comment and I will choose a winner by the end of the week!

So here it is, my sweet baboos, the schedule for Series  Week!:

Monday:                               Series I Am Excited About (And Still Reading)

Tuesday:                              Favorite Series and  Series Book Covers

Wednesday:                        Series Spotlight:  The Warder Series by Mary Calmes

Thursday:                           Author Spotlight:  Nicole Kimberling

Friday:                                 Series Spotlight: The Bellingham Mysteries Series by Nicole Kimberling

Saturday:                             Why A Series Makes My Heart Sing!

Also stop by Joyfully Jay this week.  Check out the authors and series reviewed there.  She is having book giveaways from Ava March and Katey Hawthorne! Woohoo.  Love both of those authors and their books so  you can’t go wrong.

Here is another great summer cocktail recipe in our battle against the summer heat and doldrums:

The French 75:

Ingredients:

1 lemon
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) gin
1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) simple syrup
1 cup ice cubes
1/4 cup (2 ounces) dry sparkling wine, such as brut Champagne, chilled

 

 

 

Preparation:

Using zester or paring knife, slice peel from lemon in long, thin spiral. Reserve lemon for another use and set peel aside.
In cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into chilled Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.
Curl lemon peel around finger to create twist at least 6 inches long. Garnish drink with twist and serve immediately.

Thoughts on Dust Jackets, E readers, and Women Reading Erotica

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about books (all right, all right, I am always thinking of books, jeesh). And I mean almost every aspect of books. Book covers, book formats, hardbacks, paperbacks, eReaders and of course, dust jackets.  My thoughts may be scattered but they are revolving around books!

My muse got rolling with Michael Dirda of The Washington Post.  He reviewed Book-Jackets: Their History, Forms, and Use by G. Thomas Tanselle (2/5/12).  Talk about a fascinating book and a must read for all book lovers.  Prior to this book, I will confess that I had not given much thought to book jackets, other than what an annoyance they were at times, and what an inadequate book marker they made.

I came to these conclusions from past experience.  I have always been tough on my books, whether it was Make Way For Ducklings or Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  As soon as I could toddle, I always had a book in hand, or under my arm, or stuffed in a bag.  Books were and still are a constant companion.  And books that had dust jackets?  Well, let’s just say the dust jackets did not hold up under such cavalier treatment.  They were always torn, edges curled under and even folded.  I used them to mark my place when my real book markers had fallen out (another blog) or I had already dog eared too many other pages in that book.  This application didn’t work too well because  I would end up dropping the book I was reading, then the dust jacket would fall off and I would lose my place once again.  Sigh.  I was a librarians nightmare!

Later on in high school and early college years, I stopped buying hardback books with their dust jackets for the most part.  To feed my addiction for fantasy and science fiction, I started buying paperbacks because I could afford those in mass quantity (think Star Trek series) and book jackets became a thing of the past for me.  Oh, there were still certain books where I bought the “expensive” version but during this time paperbacks reigned supreme.

I still have almost every book I ever bought,  except those my daughter has absconded with (and they are many)! Everything from mysteries to fantasy to science fiction to romance.  All with marvelous covers and no book jackets.  And all the worse for wear because nothing had protected them from my abuse.  OK, that’s not completely true because I just came across a lovely handmade book cover a friend had sewn for me about 15 years ago.

Enter women reading erotica.  Some of the books my friends and I were reading had covers we were too embarrassed to be seen with.  Lurid covers or lurid subject matter. For some, it was those fabulous bodice rippers that featured Fabio or others like myself, it was The Story of O ,  Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus or others of that genre.  Whatever.  So a friend sewed these wonderful book slipcovers made of leftover fabric scraps she had around the house. Voila!  Freedom to carry the books we wanted to read where ever we went.  Freedom to read whatever we wanted outside the house.  We loved it and always asked her for more as gifts and for our own use.  Later, I saw them in a local bookstore.  Others obviously had the same idea and the same need.  Much later I used these same slipcovers when I started reading m/m fiction and didn’t want to have to explain the covers.  Then came eReaders and my Kindle.

I started with eReaders because as my eyesight worsened, I needed to be able to adjust the font size. Also, if I wanted to read my m/m fiction I needed to acquire eBooks as not all were available in print.  I started reading eBooks on my computer but as it is a desktop, reading in bed just isn’t the same or even possible.  So I finger skipped my way over to Amazon, bought my Kindle, and started a love affair that continues to this day. We have our ups (oodles of m/m books) and downs (the removal of some GLBT books from their inventory, since restored) but love it I do. Thanks, Yoda.

Soooooooooo imagine my surprise when recently I was watching my local Channel 4 (WRC) news and they did a segment on publishers of romance/erotica and the affect eReaders have on their sales.  The big news?  That more women are buying and reading erotica because of their eReaders.  That the sales of erotica have skyrocketed due to eBooks and eReaders.  Why?  The same reason I once had covers for my paperbacks. Freedom.  Freedom from embarrassment, freedom from questions, and freedom from others disapproval. This includes the freedom from comments such as “I think it’s disgusting that women are reading porn.”  That reaction came from a man stopped on the streets as a part of the segment.  Yikes.  But I will bet my favorite Adam Levine picture that same man has a Playboy or porn somewhere at his house. *shakes head*

Are eReaders the new cover jackets?  In a way.  The older dust jackets protected the covers and bindings of the books, kept them from growing faded or soiled.  The front cover of the dust jacket also helped advertise the story within, promoted the author and advertised the publisher. A printed book without its dust jacket loses its value, not so the eBook.

A eReader stores books electronically.  A eBook won’t fade, it’s bindings won’t break, and its pages will never tear. A eReader also functions in just the same manner as plain dust jacket or my later cloth versions did, it helps hide the book from sight and the judgement or derision of others.  Ereaders, whether it be Kindle, Nook or other device are here to stay and so are eBooks to the chagrin of some and absolute joy of others, including myself.

Have I given up my books in print?  No and I never will.  I love the feel of a book in my hands.  I love a afternoon or day spent in a used book store trolling for treasures.  I love my bookshelves filled with old friends and adventures.  I love the way books smell.  Books are a true cornucopia for the soul, overflowing with feelings, textures, memories, and emotions.  My eReader doesn’t replace that, it just adds to it.  I no longer need my book jackets, fabric covers, or the anonymity that the eREaders offer.  But others do, if only to save them from derision and judgements like the guy quoted on the news.

So here’s to eBooks, eReaders, and all the authors (published or self published), and publishers.    For all the wonderful stories, all the great adventures, all the memorable characters in every genre under the sun and beyond. My thanks and a tip of the old wine glass to you.  I wouldn’t make it through the day without you. (And yes, I am thinking fondly of those book jackets.  I may have to go and dust a few off).

Book available from Oak Knoll Press http://www.oakknoll.com/bookimag/107173.jpg