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Friday, January 31, 2014

Guest Post with Author Cathy Maxwell and Giveaway


Born in Olathe, Kansas, Cathy Maxwell’s family roots go back to the Mayflower and the Revolutionary War. She has long called Virginia home, noting she is “a Virginian by choice, but a Kansan by nature.” She worked in television news as a broadcaster before spending six years in the Navy. She attended Air Force intelligence school, worked in the Pentagon and did a tour with Naval Intelligence.

Cathy began her writing career in 1991 while her children were still small. “It wasn’t easy,” she says. “I worked full time, my husband travelled, we had three kids, I volunteered and I was writing from four until seven every morning.” Now, twenty years later, she is the author of seventeen national bestsellers and her novels appear regularly on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. A rarity in the book world, Cathy has published every one of her novels with the same publisher, Harper Collins/Avon Books.

Places to find Cathy:

I confess I'm crazy about the covers for my two latest books, THE BRIDE SAYS NO and THE BRIDE SAYS MAYBE. The Avon Art Department is wonderful and these must be the best covers they've given me yet.

Years ago, I listened to some young cover artists talk about the industry speakers who visited their art classes. One of the speakers was the head of the Avon Art Department, a woman whose name I don’t know. She is before my time.

She was late coming to the classroom. She walked in, and without a word, started putting covers up on the board behind her. Row after row of cover flats for all different kinds of books.

When she was finished, she turned and acknowledged the students by announcing, "A good cover is one you want to lick."

The artist telling the story said that, in that moment, he "got it."

I got it, too, when he told me the story. Cover art sells the book but it is also a way of identifying the genre. That is the reason we see strong trends to the art. Years ago, Romance covers were heaving bosoms and near naked bodies or the spunky career gal, steno pad in hand and ready to take on the big city or chase a doctor.

The next wave were discreet bouquets of flowers, rings, and gloves--symbols of adoring affection. Those books sold as well as the naked and spunky ones. They shouted romance.

Change happened once more and we have the "headless" covers. The guys are bare chested, the women have their chest covered, but no one has a head. I have a couple of those. Of course, the ones I think are funny are the military guys because you really can't go around as naked as their covers are. I've gotten so if I see a naked male torso I automatically assume the hero is in Special Forces.

Erotica is intriguing because after the success of the Fifty Shades series, all of their cover came out gray. I think the other publishers are hoping we get confused and buy their books instead of the Fifty Shades ones.

One of the trends in contemporaries right now is the well placed dog. You may not see any of the humans except for their legs, but you do see FrouFou. I actually think kids are hard to draw. Sometimes I'll see a kid on the cover that creeps me out--like the head is too big or the child has bushy eyebrows.

In the past, covers were actual artwork. Most of it is spectacular. In fact, often it is for sale. My friend Robin Lee Hatcher has some incredible covers and owns a number of the pictures. Kat Martin has also purchased some of her cover art. However, today, we are using more and more photography. The covers to my two new books were actually photographs reworked by the art department.

Right now, I'm liking the Young Adult covers. I think they have an edge to them. I also like the covers where there is solid color and the character stands out. You see these with Tessa Dare's new book or a Sarah Maclean novel. Of course, I am always a fan of a cover that has a bit of a fantasy edge to it.

And what about you? Has a cover really caught your eye? Do you buy your books based upon the cover art? Or are there other factors more important? Let's yak!


What happens when a bride says no?

He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publically jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens' pride isn't about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar. What happens when the heart says yes? He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit's sister!

Lady Aileen Davidson's reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she's buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass. And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love?

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Check out the Brides of Wishmore:


Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 copy of The Bride Says Maybe

To Enter: 
  • Please answer Cathy's question: Has a cover really caught your eye? Do you buy your books based upon the cover art? Or are there other factors more important?
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Cathy Maxwell sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

45 comments :

  1. It is always the cover that attracts me to a book. Especially, when it is an author that I have never read. The cover is what makes me pick up a book. Then I read the back and the first page to see if it is to my liking.

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  2. I will admit it. I do buy wine and books somewhat by the cover. It is not the sole factor but the one that attracts me in the first place.

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  3. A beautiful cover does play an important part in attracting my attention but I'd base my purchasing decision on other factors - the blurb, author, reviews.

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  4. I will pick up a book at Target based on the cover, but I always read the blurb before purchase. I will also not even consider a book if I don't like the cover. The cover art in your 2 books above really is beautiful. I am a fan of Jon Paul for cover art. Maire Clairemont's Dark Lady & Lady in Red are gorgeous. Another cover that I love is Samantha Grace's Lady Amelia's Mess and a Half (Paul Marron - how can you go wrong?) Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe has a cute cover, too!

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    1. I believe there should be more art shows featuring cover art. If you ever get a chance to attend one, go. Seeing the whole piece as a art and not pushing a product is refreshing.

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    2. Yes, that would be great! Jon Paul has a website with his works, but I am sure seeing them in person, full size would be exciting!

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  5. The cover plays an important part with me too in making my decision to buy the book. I also look at the back cover blurb, and reviews online.

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    1. I once moderated a panel where an author was nervous about reviews. So, I asked the audience of about a good fifty people how many read online reviews. Every hand went up. Then I asked, how many had purchased a book with a bad review. Every hand went up. I think people enjoy reading the reviews but will make up their own minds as well.

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  6. Yes, the front cover will influence my decision to buy. (This one is beautiful!!) But, I also look to see who the author is. Some are almost automatic buys for me, for others, I will then turn the book over and read what the book is about and then make up my mind. BUT, the cover and the author are usually the most important info.

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  7. The cover does pay an important part - especially if I'm at the actual book store wandering around just waiting for something to catch my eye. A good looking cover will make me pick the book up and read the back blurb - which is the first step to me making a purchase.

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  8. For me, I always check the author/series first. However, if I'm browsing in a bookstore/online, cover art is important in that it catches my attention. If I don't like the cover, I might never pay attention to the book in the first place. Once I see a cover that I like, I read the back cover blurb. If I like that, I'll usually check GoodReads to see what the ratings are like and if it is in a series. If it is part of a series, I'll find the first book.

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  9. Today, since I read on my Kindle, the covers are not so important. I look for the names of authors that I like to purchase for their books and also find new authors through my beloved older ones, which is how I found your books. Even pre e-reader I looked for authors that I liked. There are some covers though on books that just attract for a closer look. I don't think that I have ever been turned off bad a bad cover but some of them have really been strange through the years.

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    1. I hear you on strange! And then other covers just have to grow on me.

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  10. Both I think. I buy a lot of my physical books for the cover art, it's the first thing that grabs my attention lately and I think it's because it's the first thing we see so it feeds our senses and we become more interested automatically. I still do it even if my reader is black and white, why I own Fire on the side ;)
    But that's how I meet my favorite authors as well, that way later on I pick them on based on name and not their covers.

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  11. I must admit that I am attracted to good cover art, but if the blurb doesn't interest me, then I will not buy it. It is really a combination of good cover art and a good book description that gets me to buy a book.

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  12. I like the cover :)
    I rarely buy books based only the cover,yes it happens to me,but more often I admire to beautiful cover from afar,as they say :)
    Except the cover,also I pay attention to the synopsis,if both caught my eye,then I will buy the book,but the most important criterion for me who plays a role if I decide to buy the book is synopsis :)

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  13. Hi Cathy!

    I can honestly say that a cover doesn't influence me to or from buying a book! What I usually do instead is to open it (or on Amazon) and read part of the first chapter as well! I must admit if it's one of my authors of choice (like you) I usually don't even bother doing that because I already know I'm going to love the story!

    I firmly believe in the adage "Don't judge a book from it's cover!". I think it goes back to my up-bringing when I was always told not to judge a person by how they look but instead by how they live their lives!

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  14. Aloha, Cathy! I love all your covers but the Wishmore Brides are particulary gorgeous! I enjoy looking at book covers, trying to get the artists/photographers perspective. Only one thing annoys me - the book's hero is Air Force (or another service) but the cover features a Navy uniform. Yeah, yeah, those sailors know how to have fun. But so do the other services!

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  15. The cover draws me to the book first then the blurb.

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  16. I can appreciate the artwork that compliments the book but the cover is only the icing on the cake; I always read the blurb if I don't already have an idea about the book's plot from my visits to my favorite book blogs.

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  17. a nice cover makes me read the blurb

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  18. The synopsis on the back cover is what gets my attention. 40% of the time, the cover is a decision maker too but it is mostly the blurb. I don't like wasting money on a book that I won't read even if I love the cover

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  19. The cover does catch my eye but that will not be the only reason to buy it. The blurb has to be intriguing as well.

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  20. I will not buy a book if the cover is ugly even it sounds good. And I have been known to purchase a book based on the cover too :)

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  21. the cover and/or the author's name catches my eye first - then I'll check out the book description a bit closer.

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  22. the cover can get me to look at the book but would not get me to buy it. I'd read the front and inside first.

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  23. The cover of a book does impact my initial opinion of it... and honestly there have been some books with perfectly hideous covers that I have been unable to force myself to spend money on no matter how good the book sounds - just because the cover is so bad. (This also applies to self published ebooks- especially self published ebooks) It may be petty, but I can't help but think to myself, that if the author really likes this cover, then their writing might not be so good.

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  24. a cover might get me initially interested in a book but the blurb and/or excerpt has to really pull me in to make the buy :) I have to admit there have been some good books that I bypassed b/c of an ugly cover but the blurb and good reviews got me to take a second look. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. I do judge by the cover & an attractive cover will get my attention. I will then explore further. A good cover is essential I think.

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  26. Covers almost always play a factor when I buy books, especially if it's not an author I'm familiar with. If it's not an attractive cover, I most likely won't pick it up to check out the blurb and see if I'd be interested in reading it. If it's an author I know already, the cover will affect where it ends up on my TBR pile - the less interesting it is, the more likely I'll keep passing it up for another must read.

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  27. The covers catch my eye first but it is the plot that determines whether or not I buy the book!

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  28. The cover plays an important part with me too in making my decision to buy the book. I also look at the back cover blurb, and reviews online.

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  29. I love an attractive cover, but the main thing I'm looking for is what the book is about and whether I think I'll enjoy it or not. Just a pretty cover is not going to hold my interest if the story isn't any good. :D

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  30. I admit, I'm a cover whore. A cover has to grab my attention, then I read the synopsis.

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  31. Most definitely a beautiful cover grabs my attention and also lets me know what kind of book it is. :) I love the covers for this series.

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  32. You are my favorite historical romance novelists, Cathy! I just can't read enough of your totally awesome and witty prose. Please keep them coming!

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  33. I will admit that there were a few times I found a new Author and their book strictly because the cover reached out to me. I Thanks for the chance to win Cathy's book. I adore her stories.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol )dot) com

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  34. I do like pretty covers. However it's the back blurb that influences my decision to buy the book.

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  35. I like a nice book cover, but I think it's more important for new authors. If it's an author I read, they could have a terrible cover & I'd still buy it. If it's a new author, however, I might pass on the book.

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  36. The cover, if the characters are in period costume, tell me if it's a Regency or other type of romance. I don't like offensive scenes on the cover art. Usually, the Regency cover art is beautiful and I like that. I don't like caricatures or drawn art...as I prefer photos of real people. Once I know an author, I buy a book because it by a favorite author. When it's a new-to-me author, I look on the cover to see if they are endorsed by another author I know. Otherwise, I check it out on Amazon for reviews. Covers are not all-important to me, but I appreciate any effort taken to provide nice covers to fit the story. I'm rambling I know, but that's appropriate for this blog spot, right? :-) Hope I answered the question. jdh2690@gmail.com

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  37. Cover art isn't the sole reason I buy books but a great cover definitely helps. I'm more interested in reading the blurbs to find out if the book is my taste and great cover art is just bonus.

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  38. Actually I bought Off the Record by Sawyer Bennett based solely on the cover. Never heard of the author; didn't even realize it was part of a series....just loved the guy on the cover. Well I really enjoyed the book and have bought all of Sawyer's books since.

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  39. I have bought books based solely on the cover before, but I usually always read the summary too.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

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