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Archive for September 7th, 2012

Someone’s going to have to let down their guard…

Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot.

When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground rules: no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare with his gorgeous baby blues, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields.

 

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Let’s talk about cover art. I know everyone these days is going all 50 Shades of Greyscale or 50 Shades of What’s on a Guy’s Dresser or In His Closet. You know the covers I’m talking about. Not that there’s anything wrong with them. I actually like them a lot. I think they’re all very sharp—sexy without being In Your Face sexual.

 

And then there are the covers to my Play by Play series. Hot, sweaty, naked from the waist up athletes with ripped abs and wide shoulders and muscled biceps.  Nothing greyscale or nonsexual about those covers, is there?

 

Someone on Twitter asked me a few weeks back if I’d be changing my Play by Play cover art to a greyscale cover with just a football or catcher’s glove or hockey stick to match the current craze in “God Forbid We Let Anyone Know We’re Reading A Hot And Sexy Romance Novel” trend of cover art.

 

My answer to that was to laugh and say not a chance in hell.

 

Why? Because when cover art works, you don’t mess with it. There’s no doubt the cover art for my Play by Play series is working and working well. The covers for this series have caught readers eyes—a lot of times it’s the covers who capture readers attention well before what’s inside does. Do I have a problem with that? Not in the least. Of course I want readers to love the story—that’s the most important part for me. But if the cover can grab them and make them read the first chapter or the back cover blurb, then I’ve gotten their attention. And I think the stories are good enough to make them want to buy the book.

 

Putting my reader hat on for a minute, I can tell you that from a reader’s perspective, at least this reader’s perspective, cover art grabs me and makes me want to take another look at a book I might not otherwise be interested in. If it’s a great cover or a unique cover or interesting cover, I’m going to stop and take a look at that book. It doesn’t matter to me what the title of the book is, or what the subject matter is—a unique or compelling cover will make me stop and either browse the book online, or pick it up at the bookstore and look at the back cover blurb and start reading it to see if it’s something I want to read. It begins and ends for me with the cover art.

 

I’ve heard from countless readers how they decided to pick up my Play by Play series based upon the cover art (thank you Berkley Art Department!). So why would I mess with that by changing what has so far been a series of phenomenal covers?

 

What about you? Are you liking the trend of changing covers to reflect something a little less in your face sexy and more tame, like cufflinks and ties and whirling ribbons and what not? Are do you still think traditional romance covers are the way to go? And tell me what you think about the covers to the Play by Play series.

 

I’m offering up a copy of my newest release, Playing to Win—print, Kindle or Nook copy, to one commenter.

 

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To read an excerpt, visit jaciburton.com. And for a chance to win, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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Agent Jess Harris is back in another thrilling installment of Debra Webb’s Faces of Evil series.

Jess is ready to start the next chapter in her life as the new deputy chief of Birmingham’s major crimes division. But with her first love, Chief of Police Dan Burnett, acting as her new boss, it looks like Jess won’t be able to put the past behind her that easily.

Jess has decided to focus all of her attention on work when a celebrated ballet instructor is found dead by one of her students. Though Jess’s instincts tell her otherwise, the death is ruled an accident, and the case is assigned to another division. Still, Jess can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the story, and her investigation leads her into the worlds of Birmingham’s gang culture and its powerful elite.

Now Jess’s investigation has dug a little too deep, and there’s a target painted on her own forehead. Will she be able to solve the crime before her own life is in jeopardy?

 

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As an author, I get asked some of the funniest questions by friends and strangers alike. For example: What makes a woman who lives in a 112 year old house and who salvages junk to decorate her home and spends every extra minute in the garden write books about evil murderers? That’s a question I get whenever someone new moves into the neighborhood. The folks who’ve lived here for a few years know the story. But, every so often I have to explain to the newbies in this old village. I have loved scary, creepy stories since I was knee-high to a duck. I love figuring out unique ways to commit murder and digging up the motives that would prompt my character to do the deed. But mostly, I love writing about the ordinary folks like Jess Harris and Dan Burnett who step up to the plate and sacrifice much to become the heroes of my stories.

 

Another question I get really often is: Where in the world do you get your ideas? Well, let me just tell you, I could get inspiration at an estate sale (I’ve done it before!) or a neighborhood picnic. Just about anywhere. All it takes is watching a person carry out some routine activity like throw a few steaks on the grill or find an almost new hedge trimmer at a tag sale. People watching is my favorite way but I also read LOTS of newspapers. You’d be surprised what you find in the local police blotters.

 

Here’s another favorite: Have you ever used someone from your real life in one of your stories? That is a secret I will take to my grave. Suffice to say, we all have our ways of getting even! But, just to tickle your curiosity, when you read OBSESSION, the first book in the Faces of Evil series, remember that I am keeping that secret.

 

This question always cracks me up: What does a person like you do to relax? I honestly think some who ask this question (judging by the expression on their faces) expect me to say observe autopsies or ride alongs with cops. The answer is when I’m not working I do all those regular things that everyone does—house cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. What I do for fun is gardening and exploring junk stores and old house. I love old houses!

 

And finally, the question that never fails to come out of someone’s mouth whenever I’m doing a book signing: Can you tell me where the bathroom is? My answer is always the same, “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you where the bathroom is, but I’d love to tell you about my new book.”

 

Even though you didn’t ask me about the bathroom, I’ll tell you about my latest release. POWER is the third book in my new Faces of Evil series. RT Book Reviews magazine gave POWER  four and a half stars and said: Jess Harris doesn’t have to go looking for trouble–it finds her. Jess is one of the toughest, smartest, most stubborn lady cops to strut the pages lately, but Webb’s given her just enough vulnerability to keep her likable. This third entry in the Faces of Evil series is a hard-to-put-down police procedural with pitch-perfect voice, well-developed characters and a setting that is as much a part of the cast as the protagonists. I hope you’ll check out my new series! Come and visit me at www.thefacesofevil.com!

 

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GIVEAWAY!

Debra is giving away a prizepack of the following ARCs to one lucky reader!

THE WARRIOR by Margaret Mallory
BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN- by Roxanne St. Claire
AN HEIRESS AT HEART by Jennifer Delamere
WHERE ANGELS REST by Kate Brady
TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE by Cara Elliott
TWO SINFUL SECRETS by Laurel McKee

To be entered to win, just leave a comment below. Open to U.S. residents only.

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