Monday, July 28, 2014

Erika Marks: Romances - We've Got You Covered

A show of hands, my friends: Who remembers Fabio covers?

Okay, good.

Now those of you who said yes, do you have a favorite?

I’ll go first—I do! And while I can’t recall the title of the romance, I can still see the image in my mind and there’s no question that cover made me pick up the book—and dig in before I was even out of the library.

Romance covers can be tricky business. And for me, as a reader and a writer, more important than having the physical features of my hero and heroine represented according to the story is that the relationship between them—and the mood of the love story—is accurately depicted on the cover.

Believe me when I say, this is easier said than done.

Which is why I am very, very fortunate that my publisher at Tule understands that a romance cover isn’t just a frame of reference for a potential reader—it’s THE frame of reference. It says everything about the love story inside—Is it fierce and passionate? Is it playful and tender? Is it both?

Take for example the gorgeous cover of my recent novella, PICK ME…

Tell me you don’t want to feed this man a strawberry! Now I’m not just talking about how handsome he is—I’m talking about THAT SMILE. There is a connection between these two people and the reader can see that without even reading the story’s summary. Calder and Thea clearly enjoy each other—but there’s a sense of testing the waters in their pose. Thea offering him the strawberry (which, spoiler alert, she does in the story—and no, I won’t give anymore away than that;)) and he reaching it to take it is a perfect representation of their sexy, playful romance. Years earlier, Calder was the sexy bad boy that every good girl at Thea’s high school lusted after—now, he’s her new neighbor. Think the temperature this summer just got a little hotter in Magnolia Bay? And where there are strawberries, you can be there’ll be plenty of sweet to go along with the spice.

Now tell me that cover doesn’t make you want to know everything about these two and their fun? (Not to mention, make you want to pick up a pint of fresh strawberries and eat them all in one sitting!)

Happy summer, friends! May your season be filled with sweetness and spice—and lots of covers just waiting to be opened!

Erika Marks is a native New Englander who now makes her home in North Carolina with her husband and their two little mermaids.  In addition to writing women’s fiction novels for NAL, she also writes Southern-set romantic novellas for Tule Publishing’s Southern Born imprint—and she will always be a hopeless romantic. You can catch up with her at her website at or through Facebook at

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