If it’s done right, you can judge a book by its cover. Cover artwork is a marketing tool that conveys the genre and tone of the story, a representational image, and not a direct rendition. Like the title, its job is to grab the reader, to get him or her to take a closer look, to buy the book.
Not only do I know what covers are intended to do, I personally prefer more abstract images than two people staring off the cover.
Yet we authors create, live, breathe, and sleep with our characters until their images become cemented in our minds. When we envision a cover, we think in literal terms. We want the model(s)on the cover to look exactly like our character. From the length and style of her hair to the little star tattoo on her foot. And if the cover deviates, well it bumps us.
I’m not immune to that.
When I received the draft cover for Body Politics, my latest domestic discipline erotic romance, it bumped me. You see, it didn’t match the image I had in my head. There were things that I immediately loved, but there were others that I thought, oh no.
Stephanie Gordon, the heroine of Body Politics, is a march-walking, placard-carrying feminist. I put more thought into her attire than I have in any other book I’ve written. Stephanie eschews what she sees as the frivolity and discomfort of women’s clothing. She favors men’s shirts, low heeled-motorcycle boots, even men’s ties and vests.
So when “Stephanie” appeared on the cover of Body Politics wearing a black fishnet body stocking, a micro-mini skirt and a halter top, I thought, no way. NO WAY would Stephanie wear that. It is the antithesis of what she would wear.
And I disliked the man’s forearms. Mark DeLuca is a tough, macho 6-foot-6 inch tall man. The male model’s forearms were delicate. Not Mark. Not macho.
I did like the red and black. Very much so. Red and black are power colors. And both Stephanie and Mark wore the colors— and in a contrasting manner (Stephanie has red on bottom, black on top; Mark is the reverse). That implied to me that they both held power in the relationship.
As I stared at the cover, I began to see the symbolism. His hands reach toward her butt, which to me, hints at spanking. The man’s hands are tied by a woman’s scarf and she seems to be leading him along. While Mark exerts overt control in Body Politics, Stephanie’s influence cannot be understated. They meet on a blind date, and when she dumps him and runs from the bar, he chases after her. He pursues hers and she leads him along – just as the cover depicts.
And in the book, Stephanie DOES come to temper her attire for Mark. She doesn’t don a fishnet body suit, but at one point in the book, she puts on a dress for him.
Dogma is cold comfort on chilly nights. What I tried to do in Body Politics is show the give-and-take, the shifting power dynamics that exists in relationships, even a domestic discipline one. The cover of Body Politics, I think conveys that very well.
So in the end, I am very pleased with the cover. (I did request that the man’s forearms be beefed up, which was done, so the cover you see here does not have the same skinny forearms. Are they quite as masculine as I envision? Not quite, but I’m satisfied. (As my husband said, “you don’t want him to look like Popeye.”)
Body Politics is a domestic discipline story, yes, but it’s also an old-fashioned romance in which the man courts the woman. Take note of how Mark treats Stephanie, what she says she wants and what she gets. Their relationship makes a full circle in Body Politics, but both are slightly different people at the end.
Body Politics is the third novel in the Rod and Cane Society series, but all the books are written as stand-alones so you don’t have to read the first two to enjoy it.
If you want to see how I do envision Mark and Stephanie, check out my Pinterest Board.
Body Politics Blurb
Feminist Stephanie Gordon knows the instant she meets blind date Mark DeLuca it’s not going to work. Sure the deputy chief of police is criminally sexy, but he’s arrogant, domineering and sexist. Thank goodness after the evening ends, she’ll never have to see him again.
A member of the Rod and Cane Society, an organization of men who spank, Mark DeLuca is attracted to Stephanie like a paddle to a well-rounded ass. He sees beneath the shield of feminist militancy to the soft, sensitive woman she tries to hide. When she storms away in a snit, the chase is on. Can a Dom convince a diehard feminist her true strength lies in submission?
Did you know…Body Politics was chosen as the debut Spanking Book of the Month on spanking fiction author Celeste Jones’s blog?
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Contest winners! These lucky commenters were chosen by random drawing as the daily winners during the Body Politics Release week celebration:
- Day 1 – Mrs. Reckless
- Day 2 – Sue Lyndon
- Day 3 – Jennifer France
- Day 4 – Blondie