Monday, February 27, 2006

"Clinch" covers

Cover art is one of the most influential aspects of a book, but unlike other literary genres, the face of historical romance novels has evolved little since the “bodice ripper” covers became popular in the mid-eighties. For over two decades the “clinch”** has been the established symbol for romance; and it has to be said, it does nothing but give it a bad name.

As a romance reader, I admit that I’m terribly embarrassed to be seen in public reading a book that depicts Fabio (ickkk!) or any of his clones. These covers usually have a bare chested man with a flowing mane of frizzy hair, clutching a woman—whose “milky bosoms” are popping out of her dress—to a ledge, or somewhere equally absurd, like: pinning her to a tree, swinging her off a horse or groping her on a rock by a river, etc.

These covers are not only ridiculous; incredibly, they are also completely inaccurate. Never do they show any hair on the hero’s body, while in the story the author can’t seem to stop giving us descriptions of his “thatches, thickets or pelts” of chest hair. A heroine might be described as a Plain Jane with mousy brown hair, and the cover will illustrate a hot broad with flaming red hair that usually defies the laws of gravity and flows behind her in the air. There might be a white horse, half flying off the ground, and the story is about pirates at sea (never is a horse, or any other farm animal, mentioned in the entire novel).

You HAVE to wonder where the editors and/or authors of these books are, and how do they let this happen? Isn’t it bad enough that their books end up sporting Rico Suave and Britney Spears’ look-alikes, but do they also have to find random models that do not resemble the descriptions of the characters in the least?

You have to admit, they’re begging me to make fun of them. And since I’m a most obliging bitch, I say, let’s get it on. *g*

**For those of you who don’t know, a “clinch” cover is one in which there is a half naked heaving couple, tightly embracing each other, with orgasmic expressions on their faces.

Tickle Me Fancy

Harlot got this cover for me—no idea how she finds this stuff. I refused to add it to my list because, in all honesty, this looks like a joke. She then send me an Amazon link as proof that this book was in fact marketed and sold in stores with this exact cover (is it any wonder that romance novels are considered no more than tasteless porn?).

I have not read it, neither do I have any idea of what this novel is about, but I’m guessing there is a scene where the hero tittie fucks the girl? Someone who’s read it, let me know about that scene! Why are they naked in the wilderness? Does he comment at any time about those leaves tickling his ass, or did he stand there with that purpose in mind? I’m guessing sex toys weren’t that common back then and he had to make do with the natural resources they had in hand..?

Also, could someone explain to me why most of the cover models in these books seem to have some sort of bone debilitating disease? They’re always falling all over the place. It’s like their legs can’t hold them up, so the guys have to drag them around like rag dolls. You’d think the romance industry could afford to hire healthy models who can stand by themselves, hmmph!

The Virgin Mistress and the Well-Endowed Sheik

No matter what else a desert story entails, the heroine will always be a feisty virgin, and the hero, most often than not, will be hung like a horse.

The couple on this cover has nothing on circus acrobats. Just look at the way he’s riding that horse while still being able to hold on to the ripping blonde with the orgasmic expression—and all this with one hand, ladies and gentlemen. Not to mention that, to be able to hold on to that woman, a man would need an iron claw stuck high into her ribs. But wonder of wonders is that this horse has not toppled to the side and squashed them both to the ever after!

My biggest problem with these kinds of covers is that they blur everything in the bottom, so you have no idea what is going on beneath. Where are the horse’s legs and the woman’s feet? Are we supposed to believe that they are flying gracefully behind her and not dragging in the sand, giving her some serious injuries? Give me a fucking break! This lady will probably be missing at least a toe by the time this “joy” ride is over LOL.

Viking Fabio and the Inflatable Doll (Each Sold Separately)
Original cover: Season of the Sun by Catherine Coulter

This isn’t really a “clinch” but I had to use it. Any Fabio cover deserves to be ridiculed without mercy, but this one is so preposterous, even I (heartless bitch that I am) have started to feel sorry for him. This is by far the fugliest cover I’ve yet to come across. And that, let me tell you, is no small feat.

My first thought after seeing this cover was, that these people were burn victims who survived a fire. It was the freezy, burnt hair that led me there. Either that or they’d been badly electrocuted, which now seems like a more feasible option since they are walking on water. Hmm, he does have that sword and all that jewelry that is very conducive of electricity. Very dangerous, Fabio—you should have realized that!

I am almost positive that the woman in the picture is a doll of sorts. Look at that blank plastic expression she’s sporting. It’s like she’s not feeling the cold from the water, the ache in her arms from dragging that canoe (or whatever it is she’s holding), and worse even, she apparently doesn’t notice that Fabio is pulling her along by the hair. Unless that’s a wig, how can she not feel the hair being ripped out of her skull by that farcical Viking???

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20 comment(s):

Blogger Harlot said...

That cover with guy getting tittie fucked is priceless LOL. Can't believe you think this perv who uses leaves to tickle his ass is cute. :S

Babe, love the Fabio cover! LOL Though, poor guy, he looks pained somehow. Seems like the only one he can be with who wouldn't complain is a burnt plastic doll.. yikes!

2/27/2006 07:20:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

Oh, come on, guy getting tittie fucked is cute! I mean, I wouldn't marry him, or anything, but he'd be fun for a roll in the hay, errr or the leaves in this case lol

2/27/2006 07:53:00 PM  

Anonymous Vixen said...

Harlot, you crack me up. I agree picture of tittie fuck nasty but I must side with VT, he does have a good body. Chick is freakish. Ew.
As for Fabio. EWWWW!
These covers remind me of books I found in my grandma's house. Ah, the horror!

2/27/2006 10:55:00 PM  

Blogger Malicious Strumpet said...

Okay the one where he is being TF'ed (can't say that. Me...with my sailor's swearing potty mouth, just can't bring myself to say that phrase! LOL)...that cover is just AWFUL.

How could any publisher think that would be a good idea? It used to be (when I first started reading romance) that you could tell the good book by what was on the cover - JM with her flowers and pearls (though Tart has disillusioned me on that one), Nora Roberts with her landscapes, Jude Devereaux, etc.

But now clinch covers are less popular (at least, that's the feeling I get from what I see in the stores). So now it's harder to tell

2/27/2006 11:00:00 PM  

Blogger Sterling Knight said...

Acurate, and the comments made me laugh.

2/28/2006 06:39:00 AM  

Blogger jaxieknight said...

As I said before, you won't find a romance book with a horse on my shelf (three's a crowd). I looked more closely at the Ecstasy cover and I really thought I saw the horse was pulling the guy *away* from the girl as if it was jealous! (again... three's a crowd) And that girl... she's going to loose that skirt thing. Talk about sand burn! (OUCH)
OH and Fabio's blow-up doll... let's just hope he doesn't have any sharp objects on him!

2/28/2006 07:57:00 AM  

Blogger Marg said...

The cover model I don't get is CJ Hollenbach...ewwwww!!

2/28/2006 09:03:00 AM  

Anonymous Simi said...

cracked me up all the way to the last word..
I agree, such atrocities should not be allowed to be put as covers..

funny... :) am still chuckling

And VT, CANT believe you find the "leaves tickle ass guy" cute!!!!

2/28/2006 09:51:00 AM  

Anonymous angela low said...

OMG!!! I have that first book!!!
LOL!! I guess my age is starting to show. And no there was no TF scene. Damn the luck.

2/28/2006 09:59:00 AM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

I recently TRIED to read a Debra Mullins', Feb 06 that had an atrocious cover! It didn't grab me so it's going to my bt.

The front cover was alluring, picturing a naked back of a woman looking over her shoulder. BUT, her dress was waaay down her back, so that you should be able to see her butt-crack but the artist didn't draw it in.

The back cover was the naked lovers entwined in red sheets.But, the man was positioned and looked like Christ on the cross, arms out,knee bent,skinny chest and ribs showing, with the red sheet draped across his loins. Not sexy AT ALL! Did the author really approve this?

I couldn't even leave the book laying out because both covers were so suggestive and DS (9) really shouldn't be looking at it!

Maybe Harlot can find it for us ;)

2/28/2006 12:31:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Hey Hotmama,

Are you serious? LOL I've never heard of Debra Mullins, but will look for that book. Will get back to you about that later. ;)

2/28/2006 12:48:00 PM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

Harlot, I went to DMullins' site and did not see the book! I already got rid of it so now I'm going over to Walmart to see if they still have it. Maybe it was a diff author. I can't imagine an author wouldn't have her new release plastered up front on her site. I'll see what i can find.

Its worth the effort!

2/28/2006 04:58:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...


I already have the cover you're asking. You want me to send it to you? Well, for your enjoyment and all as you fancy that naked dude.. :P LOL

About that trashcan, ignore that. ;)

2/28/2006 04:58:00 PM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

why is there a little trash can at the bottom of my post?

2/28/2006 04:59:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I browsed the Blog and one thing is for sure: Ya'll need to get your clippers serviced. I'll take the chore but I'll want pics first. Send to:

2/28/2006 05:54:00 PM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

Thanks Harlot! I thought you might like to use it for the blog, you know,for everyone's viewing pleasure, NOT!
I did find it too, but not the back. Did I remember it right, the crucifix thing?

2/28/2006 06:43:00 PM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

btw, didn't all of you rec Loretta Chase for romance kit? I just brought home her latest..JQ saying she's one of the greatest of all time!

We shall see..

2/28/2006 06:46:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

Hotmama, I've just read Lord of Scoundrels by her. It was ok. Maybe I should re-read since everyone absolutely positively adores it! mmmm, maybe if I read again, I'll like it better this time around.

Readinf funny/light ebook by Teresa Roblin, more on her and her books in a later blog.

3/01/2006 02:53:00 PM  

Anonymous Kris said...

My mother has a copy of the first book... I've mocked her many a time for reading those (and yes those were laying around when I was a child...)

As for everything else, thanks for the great laugh guys!! :)

3/01/2006 03:13:00 PM  

Blogger T-girl said...

OMG! Laughing! I have a few with Fabio on the cover, the fact I like the author is the ONLY reason they were allowed in my home. I have a very strict rule... no Fabio! LOL I want to know where they are standing in that cover, it looks like the boat or whatever the hell it is just gets really deep where there are standing and her hair looks like it is not part of her HEAD! Bad, bad, BAD cover! LOL

3/05/2006 02:38:00 AM