Thursday, June 04, 2009


I must be in a bad subconscious mood this week. I have seven draft posts written and ready to be edited and scheduled to post (I try to keep at least two weeks ahead of the blog, but I've fallen behind.) Tonight when I read over them to pick out something for today, I realized all seven are either too blunt, too impolitic, or too satirical for public consumption. I can tone down most of them, and I will, but one was so vicious that I have to delete it.

I've been at this gig for a while now, and the biggest casualty aside from my heart has been my patience. Ask any career writer; after the gilt wears off and we reach that nebulous territory called "established" most of us get tired of the nonsense. We learn what the deal is, and we make our peace with it (or we quit the biz.) I'd like to think that we grow that famous thick skin and accept our battle scars, but on occasion knowledge combined with experience can also arm you with certain weapons the fresh troops don't yet have. It's not exactly sporting to use an AK-47 on a youngster with a sharp stick, no matter how many times he pokes you with it.

I'd rather laugh at myself than use my powers for the dark side, which is why that one post is destined for the garbage. As funny as it is -- and I think it would have most of you guys rolling on the floor -- Pokey has enough problems.

So let's look at my current dilemma: I have to send my mom a copy of the cover art for Shadowlight, which as you all know has a naked male torso on it. My first naked male torso cover, as it happens (I was overdue, I suppose.) It's not to my taste or what I'd hoped for, but what else is new? So should I tell Mom:

1) He's not showing anything that would upset the ladies at church, unless you squint at the stuff behind the byline and title.

2) People will think he's cold and feel sorry for him.

3) It could have been something like a naked snake-man.

4) He's in great shape so he's obviously been eating his vegetables, like his Mom told him.

5) We can apply some nice T-shirt-shaped stickers that say "autographed by the author" on the ones I sign before we show them to the ladies at church.

6) He's not pink.

6a) Or an albino.

6b) Or a pink albino Robin Hood.

6c) What, you thought I was going to pass up another opportunity to whine?

7) Maybe I've been cover art cursed and we need to go see a gypsy. Or a priest. Or a gypsy priest.

8) He's obviously just come back from the beach and didn't have time to put on some clothes.

9) Right before the photo shoot his girlfriend accidentally washed his clothes in Tide, which gives him a rash.

10) He desperately needed the money from posing for the cover to pay for an operation for his poor sick Mom.

10a) I desperately need the money from this book to pay for an operation.

10b) I'll limp more than usual when I give her the books.

11) He was running a fever.

12) He has a really bad shirt phobia.

13) My cover art was accidentally switched with someone else's, which means right now some erotica author is bitching about the fully-clothed guy on her cover.

14) He's really wearing a shirt with a manly torso printed on the front of it, and it's just very tight.

15) He needed to express to the world his utter joy in the beautiful body that God gave him, and this was the most efficient way to do it.

15a) No, I don't think she'll fall for that one, either.

16) As always, we writers have little to no say and no control over cover art. We take the good, the bad, and the ugly. As cover models go, this one is young, handsome, and -- bonus -- not pink. We must be grateful for our blessings, even if they're not what we would have chosen.

17) And I'll get those T-shirt-shaped autographed stickers made up right away.

Let me know what you think in comments.


  1. 3 and 16. Also, you can always quote Genesis. (The man and his wife were naked and were not ashamed.) Or Psalms. (I am fearfully and wonderfully made!)

  2. LMAO. Hey. Look at it this way. He's not pink.

  3. Jajajajaja.

    Great Lynn.

    Saludos Marta.

  4. I think the t-shirt stickers are a fabulous and hilarious idea. Run with it!

  5. It was a misunderstanding - you originally requested a picture of a bear-man?

  6. LOL, don't most semi-naked cover models look cold?

  7. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Ok, Lynn, I could not remember where I had seen this guy before, but I found him. Take a look at the following cover art from "The Nymph King":

    Now, I love Gena Showalter (almost as much as you), so I think it is cool that ya'll have the same cover model on both of your books. What I do not think is cool is that the publishers could not come up with someone a little more original. I mean, does this guy get around or what?

  8. Anonymous9:03 AM

    As always, we writers have little to no say and no control over cover art.

    As someone new to this business, can I ask why this is? Why don't authors have more input into this process? What possible reason is there to publish a book with a cover so heinous that the author can't look at it and a reader is embarrassed to be seen with it in their possession? (Lynn, I honestly didn't think yours was that bad. I bought it at a store instead of online!) I swear, as a reader I buy so many books DESPITE the cover. Wincing in pain. But I buy them nonetheless, so I know I'm part of the problem.

    It just seems to me that a lot of the 'rules' we're all expected to follow benefit the publisher a lot more than the author. Why can't this be more of a partnership? Or at least an illusion of one?

    Thanks for my daily innoculation of "WTF!? Thank gawd it's not just me."

    -- A 2009 Golden Heart Finalist

  9. You missed out "he's not sparkly".

    (word ver: writert)

  10. "Oh my God, Mom. You're right! He's half-naked. I'll call the publisher right away and get it changed. Thanks for pointing it out. We dodged a bullet, didn't we? Wheww!"

    "Here, Mom. Here's my latest. Can you believe they put a half-naked man on the cover???"

    "Mom, he's only naked from the waist up."

  11. Maybe it's an early proto-type Harry Potter-photo-esque cover? Normally he moves (ergo, he could get dressed) but somehow, he got stuck like that...

  12. If your mom is anything like mine, I'd go with 10b). Limp - ALOT - maybe throw in some sniffles, and use one hand to hold your head, because nothing short of a brain aneurysm is gonna get you out of the speech that is sure to come.

    Just do what I do...go to your happy place - think about your birds, foxes, whatever (I'd reflect on your cover art, but that's just me) and nod alot. Works for me :0)

  13. He can't put a shirt on yet, because the tat is brand new and a bit sore. Of course, having a tat might be a problem too...

    Maybe you should go with "The orphans he was taking care of needed his shirt more than he did."

  14. Wow, that's quite the six pack he has. That valley between his muscles --there's a name for that-something like he worked out too hard and it seperated the muscles?

    Well, I like the blue.

  15. Keita Haruka10:14 AM

    LOL! I love #4. "He's been eating his veggies." #13 is also quite good.

    Personally, I think the cover is great..but that's just me...:P

  16. Definitely #15. He's expressing to the world his utter joy in the beautiful body that God gave him ... and appreciative readers (like myself) will flock to the stores to pick up several copies.

    Hey, at least he isn't brandishing a phallic symbol like a big sword or somethin' ... Just sayin'.

    — Bonz

  17. I vote for the tee-shirt stickers. Tasteful, discrete and not pink.

  18. Bear-man, tee shirt stickers. I needed a laugh today. I am drafting a a training guide on how to conduct an interview. It could use some laughs also.

  19. Anonymous10:49 AM

    Hey Mom, do you think that this was what God had in mind when he created Adam?

  20. Thanks, now I have to admit that you had me squinting at the stuff behind the byline and title just to see if I missed something in my first casual glance!

    Maybe a trip to that gypsy priest is in order.

  21. Don't worry about it. She's already seen naked men.
    A few years ago, the Public Theater put on a production of a new play titled "House of Dry Leaves" and it has a nude scene where the male protagonist undresses on stage and stands there for a good three minutes naked as a jaybird.
    Now I started with the Theater tickets because my Mother wanted to see "Man of La Mancha" for 30 years and the plays have become my treat for her.
    So I'm sitting there next o Mother (who is in her 80's) and a naked man onstage and she pokes me and says... "So-and-so is sitting there with the best view and it's good that she's already on oxygen in case she gets excited."
    Well that ended my dilemma. Mom was the highlight of the beauty parlor and the senior center for a couple days.

  22. I'd be like, "Here, Mom. Enjoy."

    Because it's so pretty that any hetrosexual woman with a pulse can't do much else but enjoy.

  23. If your mom and the church ladies are anything like the church ladies I know they might say something about it being shameful but that won't stop them from looking....naughty naughty

  24. I say you send it to her and say nothing. If she mentions it you reply, " Wow! I didn't notice that I will have to talk to the publisher. Thanks for pointing that out Mom."

    I generally works with me as long as I do it over the phone. I don't have a poker face.

  25. Tammy1:32 PM

    LOL, I like all of #6 & #7

    Although the t-shirt stickers sound like a neat idea too.

  26. Hey ~ the Kindle version won't have that cover... ;)

  27. I gotta go with what Charlene said!!! :D and also....look how big your name is?! maybe it'll distract ur mom from tha mantitteh?

  28. I like numbers 14 and 15. The T-shirt shaped stickers are a grand idea too lol. You could also tell her that the cover art is "Fabio" from the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" tv commercials, and due to economic constraints he is all they could get.

  29. *hugs for the beg. of the post*

    It's really hard when you've been doing something for a while (and I do mean anything: teaching, software development, writing, editing, parenting, etc). You see and hear the same moaning and sometimes *sigh* you just want to tell some people to just shut up and color or at least get a clue.

    That's not nice, or polite. Human moments are like that though.

    Some days I'm good with the shut up and color long as it's not pink. I also need to have the freedom to color outside the lines now and again. :) Or better yet, give me a blank sketchbook and I'll be happy.

    I hope your Mom likes the cover. As far as naked torsos go, it's verra tasteful. (And not pink!)

  30. I kind of like the, "At least he's only naked from the waist up" thing too. Or at least as far as we can tell. ;-)

    In the meantime, start making those stickers!

  31. I think if I were single I'd ask my editor for his number. But that's just me. ;-)

  32. I'd tell her that the art director cut out his lederhosen and you've already complained about it, but she knows they NEVER listen to you. ;)

    At least I hope she's not pulling you aside every time she sees you to ask 'What happened to make you so deranged?'

  33. Wait! Does your mother know what you write, young lady? :-P

    You know, they make pink sharpies now. If you're only going to send her one cover flat, get yourself a pink sharpie and 'paint' the t-shirt on. She can always lift the sticker ;)

    And he's hot!

    word ver: tedle...with all this talk about how hot he is, surely tedle must stand for something. :-)

  34. Anonymous9:48 PM

    Yay Marnie Collette! The perfect non-denial denial!

  35. My favorite is number 14. You could also try, "I know mom, but the model they had booked for the heroine canceled at the last minute and he was the only one they could call in." That would shut my mom up, lol!

    However, I have to say that although I understand that you don't approve of eye-candy-covers, I don't understand why a nekid man on the front would upset the church ladies when compared to the sex scenes inside the book. There's plenty of graphic stuff (and not just sex, murders and what-not, too) in your books that I can't understand why a six-pack would be a turn off if blood, gore and sex isn't.

  36. Anonymous3:06 PM

    He was having dinner at his mom's house, spilled something on his shirt, and now he's waiting for it to come out of the dryer.