Romance Novel Covers: An art and a science

Image: RT Bookreviews

Image: RT Bookreviews

I just stumbled upon two awesome articles from Publisher’s Weekly on the topic of romance covers, plus an article shared by Katherine Ashe that appeared in Women’s Health Magazine.

For those interested in the branding and marketing that goes into the design and selection of a romance novel cover, Anatomy of a Cover: Romance Novels 2015-2016 is a great read. It covers several different romance publishers as well as their process as to how they arrive at the strategy and final decision for covers…ultimately, what will sell as well as make the author happy. They also touch a bit on author personal branding, which I found incredibly interesting.

Body of Work: Romance Novels 2015-2016, another Publisher’s Weekly article, looks closer at the actual process of the cover artwork – from casting requirements to model chemistry to what to expect at the photo shoot. They talk with romance cover photographers and I thought the story about how one of the male models landed the gig (it involves nuzzling) was absolutely adorable and captures the essence of why we all love romance.

Katherine Ashe also posted a photo to her Facebook page after being interviewed by Women’s Health Magazine on the importance as well as the recent changes of the romance novel cover.

And since we’re covering all things romance covers, RT Bookreviews just posted a cover breakdown of Lisa Kleypas’s Marrying Winterbourne, her next book. I can’t even begin to describe how much I am looking forward to this book…I think it promises to be better than the previous book in the series. Fingers crossed!

No matter how you approach romance covers – it’s clear that a lot goes into creating a memorable masterpiece that captures the heart of the love story and the loins of the reader. Have a favorite romance novel cover? Share in the comments below and tell me why!

 

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Romance Authors Expand Their Story Worlds

Hi readers! It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write, lots of great things brewing over here. However, I received two amazing email updates from some of my favorite authors and just had to share!

Lady Bridget's DiaryThe first comes from Maya Rodale, who is launching a new series with the first book, Lady Bridget’s Diary, coming out in February. I can’t wait! I’ve written about how Rodale has incorporated transmedia elements into her writing and previous series and it looks like she’ll continue to do that with this new series. So for those of you who love to live in the world of your favorite characters, you are in for a real treat!

As part of her recent newsletter she shared the latest edition of the London Weekly, her fictional regency newspaper, which includes the juiciest tidbits teasing her new book and series. It’s a fun, quick read that will leave you rubbing your hands together in greedy anticipation of being formally introduced to Lady Bridget early next year. Remember to pre-order from Amazon to get the book delivered immediately on release day!

The Rogue Not TakenAnother author who is coming back to the romance scene with a new series is fan-favorite Sarah MacLean. Her Scandal and Scoundrel series kicks off this December with the first book, A Rogue Not Taken. This road trip romance re-introduces us to two characters who made brief appearances in her Love By The Number Series, Sophie Talbot and Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley. If you can’t wait until December for the book release, MacLean is giving her readers a little something to whet their appetites – a romance roadmap illustration, which shows all the major stops along the way for Sophie and King. WARNING: This map does contain what I consider to be some spoilers or plot points, so if you like the surprise of not fully knowing where the characters go and encounter, you may want to wait until after you read the book. I allowed myself to read the first few bullets, but then decided to stop because I love living in-the-moment with MacLean’s characters and plot.

December Releases

Some of my favorite authors are putting out December releases that you may want to pre-order including Stephanie Laurens who is releasing a new historical adventure series with The Lady’s Command. Tessa Dare also has a new novella out, perfect for a Christmas read, Lord Dashwood Missed Out, from her Spindle Cover series.

New Favorites

The Madness of Lord Ian MackenzieEarlier this fall I decided I wanted to go on a Scottish Highlander binge. To be honest, it was inspired by Tessa Dare’s When a Scot Ties the KnotCaptain Logan MacKenzie may be one of my favorite heroes. Ever. So I highly recommend.

Back to my desire for more Highlanders in my life – I ended up doing some researching on Goodreads and rolled the dice on a new author (to me) Jennifer Ashley. She has an eight book series featuring one the most fabulous Scottish families I have ever read about, The Mackenzies. The first book, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, first had me a bit nervous if I was going to like the hero. Not because he is unlikeable, but because he is a very different kind of hero. That’s all I will say besides the fact that you WILL fall in love with Ian Mackenzie. The series is still going strong too, so I highly recommend you start reading now!

Happy Reading!

Fashion Friday: The London Season

1812 Ballroom Gown Template from Ackermann's

1812 Ballroom Gown Template from Ackermann’s

The Ton. The Season. The Fashion.

I love a romance novel that takes place during the height of the London Season (typically January – June) as it’s filled with tons of social activities from balls to the theater to garden parties. It sounds like a whirlwind of fun of and magic…and of course, fashion.

Many regency ladies of the upper crust would spend a fortune on gowns, hats, gloves, and the like all in preparation of the London Season. Sometimes they would only wear the dresses once or twice before being discarded for new designs and fabrics. Below is how the dress pictured above is described:

Ball Dress: a round Circassian robe of pink carpe , or gossamer net, over a white satin slip, fringed full at the feet; a peasant’s bodice of pink satin or velvet, laced in front with silver, and decorated with the same ornament. Spanish slash sleeve, embellished with white crape foldings, and finished at its terminations with bands of silver. A Spartan or Calypso helmet cap of pink frosted crape, with silver bandeaus, and embellished with tassels, and rosets to correspond. A rich neck-chain and ear-rings of Oriental gold. Fan of carved ivory. Slippers of pink kid, with correspondent clasps; and gloves of white kid: an occasional square veil of Mechlin lace.

Even the description sound luxurious! I think the only thing I would change is the hat. I imagine a ballroom without modern AC and packed wall-to-wall with people would not welcome an added layer. Enjoy!

Fashion Friday: Victorian Dresses

Fashion in the Victorian Era

As a reader of historical romances, I most often am interested in the early Regency era and fashions with muslin dresses gathered below the bust and featuring light and airy colors (for young maidens) and bolder colors and fabrics for those married or of a “suitable age.”

However, once again, Two Nerdy History Girls has caught my interest with the image above featuring Victorian women’s fashion of 1864. The classic silhouettes, bright colors and fabrics, and low necklines seem far less stuffy than one would imagine for the time period and are, actually, very attractive. Additionally, have you taken a closer look at the hats and bonnets? Many of them remind me of what we might find on today’s royalty! I also have come to appreciate some of the more glamourous hairstyles of the Victorian age than the Regency.

This image, originally seen here, is from Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine. The publication was filled with all kinds of information from fashion plates and descriptions, to biographical spotlights and educational articles ranging from crafts to female etiquette and arts and more.

A better description of the publication by Accessible Archives:

The magazine was intended to entertain, inform and educate the women of America. In addition to extensive fashion descriptions and plates, the early issues included biographical sketches, articles about mineralogy, handcrafts, female costume, the dance, equestrienne procedures, health and hygiene, recipes and remedies and the like. Each issue also contained two pages of sheet music, written essentially for the pianoforte. Gradually the periodical matured into an important literary magazine containing extensive book reviews and works by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and many other celebrated 19th century authors who regularly furnished the magazine with essays, poetry and short stories. Godey’s Lady’s Book also was a vast reservoir of handsome illustrations which included hand-colored fashion plates, mezzotints, engravings, woodcuts and, ultimately, chromolithographs.

You can view the complete book of 1864 and get an idea of what women were interested in and learning about during this time period. Happy Fashion Friday!

Victorian Lady's Magazine

An example of some of the fashion ideas and templates in Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine (1864) via Archives.org.

Fashion Friday: Drawing Room Seating

1828-03 Seating-Ackermann

I love Two Nerdy History Girls! Their blog is always full of rich information and great research. They featured a post a few weeks ago about drawing room seating in 1828. I think we can all agree that so many important (and sexy) scenes take place in drawing rooms, especially in historical or regency-era novels. I thought this great photo from Ackermann’s really helped showcase the different types of seating as well as the thought and detail that goes into each piece.

Personally, the top one is my favorite with the lion head posts, although I could see a maiden attempting to escape having to sit too close to her hero taking up the middle seat pictured, which typically is suppose to seat one person. Of course, that’s no match for a determined hero, but I’ll leave that bit of imagination up to fellow readers and authors. 🙂

You can also enjoy a previous post on Ackermann’s (the history and some additional designs) here.

Fashion Friday: Victorian Carriages

Victorian Carriages

Carriages for the rich and famous. Via Daily Mail

Carriage love scenes are some of the best. Close quarters? Check. Lush fabrics and textiles? Check. Chance of getting caught and forced into matrimony? Double check!

When you think about it, it’s really quite amazing just what physical feats can be accomplished in a carriage. And for those you (who like me) may have trouble visualizing such luxary or simply are curious as to what Victorian Carriages looked like…here you go!

The Daily Mail posted this fabulous article about a Victorian Carriage(s) auction and it includes some gorgeous photography to really paint the picture of traveling in the Victorian and Regency eras.

I don’t know about you, but that purple and fushia woven pattern is to die for. As someone who gravitates towards neutrals and little pops of color, this is a wonderful first hand example of how we’ve embraced color and patterns historically!

Victorian Carriage Interior

Gorgeous interior of a Victorian Carriage up for auction via Daily Mail.

 

 

Fashion Friday – Regency Style

I came across this great blog post with some Regency-era fashion templates from roughly 1816. Although the bonnet’s modern form is the fascinator, part of me still wishes we could get away with floral adorned head pieces with colored-ribbons. If you could bring any regency-fashion piece or style to the modern day world, what would it be?

1816 03 Saxe Cobourg full dress 1816 03 Opera dress

 

Some of my favorite Princess Kate fascinator looks! (If I can’t have bonnets, this is a close second!)

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Source used:

Bell, John, La Belle Assemblée (1806-1837) via Regency History Blog