ReCOVERy Room: Blue Kingdom by Max Brand

Click for original cover copy.

You know how it’s generally frowned upon to touch, drool, attack, or otherwise mess with great works of art? Well I almost felt like I was breaking this universal law by messing with Max Brand’s cover copy. I mean, the man is a legend. His books may not be framed in a museum (that I know of), but they’re most definitely works of art.

I hope Mr. Brand will forgive me, but this week’s ReCOVERy Room is a fill-in-the-blank fun house from the back cover of his 1929 Blue Kingdom.  Originally titled “The Strength of the Hills” and published in a six part serial by Street & Smith’s Western Story Magazine, this classic was resurrected and renamed in 1957. The hero, Carrick Dunmore, is…well, kind of silly. Of all the Western heroes out there, I think he would appreciate the silliness of this week’s ReCOVERy Room the most.

Carrick, this one is for you.

Blue Kingdom ReCOVERy Room PDF

Romance Covers Court Readers

Everyone who reads romance has their own very specific tastes when it comes to covers. A love/hate issue for many readers is that rarely do the cover models look like the characters described in the book let alone any real-life people, and often the covers are so provacative that some readers are embarrassed to be seen with them in public. And yet, these “bodice-ripping” trends persist and romance continues to sell, sell, sell!  I suspect the same covers readers don’t want to be seen reading are also the covers that got them to buy the books in the first place. For all the jokes and snark romance covers elicit, they must be doing something right. Check out these Dorchester highlights from the past twenty years. Did any catch your eye, then or now?

1)      I *Heart* the ’80s—The cover trends of the ’80s lived well on into the ’90s in the world of HEAs. Flashy, neon colors grab the eye—a promise of the fantasy that awaits on the pages within.

  2)      The Foldout—The explicit nature of these covers’ content—rippling muscles and ample breasts—can always be found, if not on the cover, then, on the foldout.

3)      The Chick Lit Influence—With the rise of chick lit in the late ’90s came the fun cartoons, which abandoned the couple-centric covers of the past and endorsed a feminist take on women who controlled their romantic futures.

 

4)      Reissues—Sometimes popular titles of yore need a little help finding their way into the hands of the next generation of readers. Reissues reintroduce classic romances to a new audience with snazzy new packaging.

Which types of covers give you pause when browsing the shelves?  Do you have a favorite cover that transcends time and trend?

ReCOVERy Room: Operation Prince Charming

Click to see original cover copy

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. DayY’all!

It’s time for another ReCOVERy Room, and I’ve selected one of our African American Romance titles, Operation Prince Charming, by Phyllis Bourne. Phyllis is also a co-author of our African American Romance Anthology, Holiday Inn, so if you like playing with the cover copy here, go grab her books! Maybe Hunter, aka Mr. Prince Charming, learns more than he expected at finishing school. Everyday his secret crush continues to grow! Let’s just say,  he’s “hot for teacher!”

ReCovery Room_Operation Prince Charming

Reading on a Budget: Book Swaps!

Hey Y’all,

If your wallet is still recovering from the holidays, or, like me, you’re a savvy shopper, have I got some great ideas for you! Reading can become an expensive habit, but what would we do without this joy?! Enter book swaps. If you’ve never participated in one, a book swap is pretty much just what it sounds like:

n: “…Practiced among book groups, friends and colleagues at work, it provides an inexpensive way for people to exchange books, find out about new books and obtain a new book to read without having to pay. Swaps occur between individuals, without central distribution or warehousing…”

Book Swaps Across the World!

It’s just like trading clothes with your sister or b.f.f.! True, swapping books has been happening for a while, but now there are more and more organized book swappers with an online presence. E-book lovers, don’t fret, whether you prefer print or digital, there’s a book swap for all readers! I’ve compiled a few swapsites for all you avid, budget-conscious readers.

Meetup: If you prefer to see the books, meet swappers, and chit chat a bit, then Meetup might be the search engine for you. Meetup is “the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face.” All you have to do is type in “book swap” and your zipcode, and Meetup spits out the website for your local book swap.

BookMooch: If you’ve completed a book and want to use it as currency, BookMooch is the place to go! You earn a point every time you mail a book to a “Moocher,” and in turn, you can get any book you want from other “Moochers”. Once you’ve read a book, you can keep it forever or put it back into BookMooch for someone else, as you wish. You only have to pay for shipping books to “Moochers;” that’s it, no joining fee or anything! The only costs you incur are the mailing costs. They even include an option to give your earned points to different charities. Check out their website for more details!

eBookfling: If y’all have an e-reader, don’t worry, you can still swap, borrow and lend. eBookfling lets you swap, borrow, or lend ebooks using your e-reader device. Like other swapsites, it’s free to join. All you have to do is sign up, list the books you’d like to swap, earn credits, and start reading!

The whole swap mentality is pretty cool, and I feel like I’ve been living under a rock to have missed this trend! Also, if you prefer, many major e-retailers also have swapping programs. I’m sure I’ve missed some other creative swap ideas. What do y’all think—what are the other thrifty ways to get your read on?

What’s your blood type?

Stow away that garlic necklace and turn down your collars! It’s National Blood Donor Month where your contribution can provide much needed help to those in need. Be sure to spread the word—every drop counts! To learn more, visit the American Red Cross website for details.

In honor of this worthy cause, we offer you blogging mortals (and immortals!) a few of our fanged favorites. New York Times bestselling author Nina Bangs enchants us with her book My Wicked Vampire. A delectable thrill-ride, this paranormal romance is set in a theme park with plenty of twists and turns to leave you reeling.

“You know all about vampires, right? Wrong! Ms. Monajem has approached vampires from a totally new direction. A direction you are going to be captivated by.” —The Long and the Short of It

Fancy a set of feminine fangs? The incomparable Barbara Monajem spices up the usual flavor of old lore in Tastes of Love & Evil.

On the run and ever-tempted, the femme-fatale vampire Rose must solve the mystery surrounding the elusive Jack and why he is being hunted by underworld hitmen. Or will she be the one to stop his pulse first?

Now what sort of undead line-up would this be without the famed daughter of history’s first vampire slayer, I ask you! Minda Webber’s wit is razor sharp in The Reluctant Miss Van Helsing where our heroine has big shoes to fill. In this particular gavotte through the graveyard, Jane attends a masquerade party and all hell breaks loose. Literally!

What are some of your fanged favorites? Do you prefer the walking undead or the wandering slayers? Tell us! Personally, I’m partial to the slayer’s assistant. What? Somebody needs to hold the bags!

Allow me to thank all those who volunteer and donate to the American Red Cross.

Signing off—

Jillian, The Zombie Intern

Acrostic New Year’s Bash!

We’ve got more than books, people. We’ve got skills. Acrostic skills.

To celebrate the New Year, I’ve created an acrostic TBR pile for all you book lovers out there! You can always count on Dorchester to have a book that starts with any letter in the alphabet. Except for ‘Y,’ of course. That one stumped me.

Enjoy, and a happy New Year to you all!

 


New Authors of 2011!

Can you believe it’s almost 2012?! Before you toss that 2011 calendar take a look back at Dorchester’s debut authors of 2011. Check out these great newcomers to the Dorchester family!

S. Craig Zahler had an amazing year in 2011, and we’re looking forward to more from him in 2012! Between his successful screenwriting career and Western debut of A Congregation of Jackals, Zahler is creating much buzz, including becoming a 2011 Spur Best Western Award finalist! Here’s what people are saying about A Congregation of Jackals:

“A noir western of uncommon power…what happens…is more horrific than anything we might have imagined…All of (the) characters…confound us with their complexity.” —Booklist

“Genre fare will always be a premium in Hollywood, but original, literate voices that embrace dark material are anything but common. Enter Craig Zahler…”  —Variety

Laura Navarre is another Dorchester newbie this year! Like others new to the Dorchester family, Navarre has an interesting background. She holds degrees in National Security and International Relations! You definitely see the effects of Navarre’s background in her novel, as mysteries lurk around every corner in the dark, romantic plot; there are tastes of espionage sprinkled throughout. Her second novel, The Devil’s Temptress, met rave reviews, as many historical romance readers embraced her vividly described Crusades setting, dark and mysterious characters, and steamy relationships! Here’s what fans are saying about The Devil’s Temptress:

The Devil’s Temptress is a well-written novel that explores the lasting effect of the Crusades on the soldiers that served the King during that time. The dark, sexy romance is both satisfying and enjoyable and every chapter is filled with secrets and subterfuge. I will certainly add this author to my auto-buy list.” —Night Owl Reviews

A fresh face in the thriller genre is Chuck Hustmyre. What’s a Harley Davidson-riding, retired ATF special agent to do in the off season? Write a fast-paced crime thriller, of  course! If you like cop drama, then you’ll love Hustmyre’s books! His back-to-back 2011 releases are both set in The Big Easy and tell the tale of detectives caught on the wrong side of the law. Pick up Hustmyre’s House of the Rising Sun and A Killer Like Me today!

“Hustmyre is as gritty and in-your-face as can be, making readers feel like they’re poring over a real-life crime scene.” —The Best Reviews

A Killer Like Me is a thriller from page one, to the very end. Hustmyre keeps you gripping the edge of your seat, just hoping that Murphy tracks down this crazy [#] killer and doesn’t [let] himself go down the path of destruction…” —The Kari AnnAlysis

All the best in 2012!

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