Tuesday, September 6, 2011

For the Love of Art with Guest Blogger: Jess Macallan

Win a copy of Stone Cold Seduction and meet paranormal author Jess Macallan today at the Book Boost!

She's here to discuss the art of many covers and here's what she had to say...

Thanks so much for having me at Book Boost today! I want to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: books. Or more specifically, book shopping, which is the only kind of shopping I enjoy. I recently spoke to a friend about book shopping, and what draws our interest. She contended covers are the most important feature. The right cover art can captivate or repel you in an instant. I disagreed. I’m a loyal reader. I have my favorite authors and I purchase their books as soon as they release, or close to it. I could care less about their cover art. The storyline is what interests me. I scoffed at the idea of buying a book based solely on its cover.

I’m not so shallow that I’d only buy (or not buy) a book because of its cover.

Er…actually, I am. (This is a good place to mention I’m famous for proving myself wrong.) I put myself to the test and I failed. Miserably. I went to my local bookstore and wandered through the aisles, stopping to pick up random books in the romance, YA and urban fantasy sections. I looked at the cover AND the back copy. What I discovered humbled me. I’m a shameless cover junkie.

There, I admitted it. Even if the back copy fails to entice me, the cover can. I don’t have a favorite style, but eye-catching colors or a dramatic picture gets me each and every time. Here are a few of my favorite:

River Marked by Patricia Briggs. Dan Dos Santos is the cover artist for most of her books and he is uber talented. It’s easy to appreciate artistry like this. I have to admit, she’s a favorite author of mine, but her covers rock.

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning. This cover is gorgeous. And so different from the typical urban fantasy covers on shelves. I love the opulence and rich colors. Again, she’s one of my fave authors, but this cover is hands-down my favorite out of all her books.

Shiver, Linger, and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve never read this series, but I added it to my to be read (TBR) pile based on the covers. I love the simplicity. Or rather, the initial simplicity. The more I stare at the covers, the more I love the way the graduating colors give them depth.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t add my cover to the list. I love the contrast of colors, but I really love the gargoyle *cough* wings. His wings. Ahem. (Superficial cover junkie here, remember?)

As you can see, my cover art tastes vary wildly, but they all have one thing in common: I’d buy these books based on the covers alone. In this instance, I think it’s okay to be superficial. Cover artists are a brilliant, talented group of people. They put a face on books. Authors bring the book to life with their words.

What’s your favorite cover, or favorite cover style?

A Note from the Book Boost: One of the most breathtaking covers I've seen in a long time is Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. Thanks for joining us today, Jess. Congrats on the new release, please tell us more!


When a regular night of Robin Hood-ery results in the manifestation of some, um, unusual paranormal abilities, perfume-maker Elleodora Fredricks realizes the normal world she lives in isn’t quite… normal. And neither is she, thanks to her father, king of the shadow elves. Not only is he evil incarnate and the reason Elle moonlights as a burglar—someone has to take care of all his victims—he’s stolen her memories.

And only reading her fate can fix that.

Good thing she’s got a trio of hotties willing to help her find said fate. Saving her oracle BFF’s fiancĂ©e, falling in love with the gargoyle, and making up for breaking the phoenix’s heart ought to be a piece of cake for the princess of the shadow elves.

If only the king didn’t want his daughter dead…


Get in, get out. Get in, get out, I chanted in my head.

I could do this. I crept toward the stairs, keeping to the shadows and the outer edges of the room. Footsteps moving at a fast pace were coming toward me. I touched the small mark for the cloaking ward and silently chanted the words, and pressed against the wall. Please let this work. A split second later, two gargoyles rounded the corner. My mouth went dry, and I was afraid they’d hear my heart pounding, it was so loud.

They were full gargoyles. Their stone feet made dull, heavy thuds against the stone floor.

Hysteria bubbled, and I wondered what happened if they got a chip in gargoyle form. Did they ever break a toe or finger off? Wings tucked behind them, horns on their heads, they were an awesome sight. Long faces, pointy chins and bright, glowing silver eyes. No clothes and very, very…naked.

I brought my gaze back to their faces as they neared the stairs. I held my breath. Silently, they brushed past me, oblivious to my presence. So close, I could have reached out and grabbed their…er…wings. I waited until I could no longer hear their footsteps, before releasing the ward and my breath in a quiet exhale.

I sucked in a deep, shaky breath. That had been far too close for comfort. I made my way down the stairs, one cautious step at a time.

Candle sconces lined the walls. Tiny flames flickered and cast sinister shadows down the curving stairwell. I felt like I was walking down to the dungeons, which is what I’m sure the lower levels used to be. Fear snaked along my spine. I didn’t want to be here.

Which was more motivation to hurry the hell up.

Because of the candle sconces, I couldn’t hug the walls. I crouched down and took the steps as quickly and quietly as I could. Every five steps, I paused to listen. The gargoyles must be faster than I gave them credit for, because I didn’t hear their footsteps receding.

The growing silence strained my nerves. Where were all the guards and oracles MacLean had spoke about? I’d heard one female and seen the two gargoyles. There were five upper levels and three lower levels. I should hear something.

Keeping one hand on the wall, trying to avoid the hot, dripping wax, I made my way downstairs, into what felt like the pit of hell. Was it getting warmer?

The spiral stairs continued down. I was almost there, when the next ward hit me. If I’d thought the first one was big, this one brought me to my knees. Literally.

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t hear. Raw energy consumed me. It ripped through me with the force of a tsunami. As quickly as it started, it was over. Huddled on the stairs, I gasped for breath. A twinge in my shoulder indicated where the new mark was.

“The ward is down. Did you hear that?” The low, nasty voice came from below. It echoed in the stairwell. Heavy thuds on the stairs had me scrambling to my feet.

Shit. They were coming.

Quiet, calm shadow. Quiet, calm shadow, I repeated mentally, squeezing my eyes shut. I held the image in my head, praying it would hold. If I got out of this alive, I’d donate more.

Volunteer my time. Be nice to every person I met. No more take-out food. I’d exercise and get enough sleep. I’d…

The two gargoyles raced up the stairs. Fast and agile, they ran right through me. Right through me.

Shock held me still.

Time was running out. I moved down the stairs, despite the way my legs threatened to give out with each step. Hitting the second level, I ducked into the first room I found. Hoping there was electricity down here, I fumbled for a light switch. Success. I flipped the switch.

With horror, I took in the scene in front of me.

Want More Jess?

Visit her blog here:

Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/JessMacallan

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Jess and be entered to win a copy of Stone Cold Seduction.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**


Debby said...

I buy books based on the author as well as other things but if a cover captures my interest, I look further. Your books looks great!
debby236 at gmail dot com

Rebecca said...

Unless it's an author I know and love (Patricia Briggs fan here too!), an enticing cover will always make me pick it up. It'll have to have an interesting story after that before I'll buy it, but it has to pass the cover test first.
Loved the excerpt from your book. What happens next? ;-)

buddyt said...

I agree with Jess that I would never buy a book just based on the cover.

I will admit that a cover can interest me enough to pick up the book but I would still browse the pages and read the blurbs before considering buying especially if I do not know the writer.

Thanks for the giveaway and if it is open worldwide, please enter me.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I've had a couple of covers draw me over and over, even after I'd decided the story wasn't for me. There is a particular artistic style that does that, though a football or...okay, yes, I'll admit it, a great set of abs can play a role, too. LOL

I've added this book to my "to buy" file on my Kindle!

Na said...

Stone Cold Seduction is on my wishlist so I am really glad for the chance to win it. I have to admit the cover is what caught my eye but the premise is what kept me interested. That is how I feel about books, a cover is what I first notice but it is a great sounding story that wil convince me to read it.

As for covers I like, there are so many kinds and what is important for me is that it accurately portrays the story. I really like the covers for Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. They are stunning!