Cover Kibitz and Giveaway: A Dance With Danger

Tell you a secret: When I first saw the cover of my debut book, Butterfly Swords, I was kind of concerned. First of all, it didn’t look like anything else out there in historical romance. Second of all, I didn’t know if it was dramatic enough. It didn’t look action-y. It didn’t look romance-y. The hanfu, though red, was rather plain looking to me in the historical romance field where pretty dresses reigned supreme. It certainly was very bold-looking, but there were so many examples in Hong Kong cinema that to me looked so much more romantic and dashing than my girl in red.

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I was wrong to complain even just a little. Everyone LOVED that cover. It really stood out.

But when I got my first glimpse of The Sword Dancer, I was completely blown away. The Harlequin art department had come MILES from Butterfly Swords. Then when I saw the cover for the sequel, A Dance with Danger, I couldn’t stop grinning. It looked exactly like a still from a Hong Kong, Crouching Tiger style action movie. I had to put them side by side for comparison.

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So here’s my cover commentary for A Dance with Danger:

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  • First of all, in a world of clinch covers and heated embraces, this cover shows the hero and heroine mid-sparring duel!!!! You know I love the flirtatious sword fight. Awesome scene. (Note: In the book, my heroine actually never touches a sword though she does spar with a staff. Whatever. The sword looks cool. Points for the sword.)
  • I do love the detail on the dress and the colors and the flowiness of it. My Little Sis was tickled that they even had the pom-poms in her hair. That’s not necessarily authentic to Tang Dynasty, BUT it’s very popular in HK depictions of imperial Chinese dress.
  • I like that this one has the hero in it. And that he’s wearing a shirt. Tee hee. And he’s scruffy looking, in a good way.
  • In my mind, Bao Yang, the hero of the book, is clean-cut and suave in appearance. The hero depicted here looks closer to what I imagined the outlaw Liu Yuan would look like. But that hardly matters. He’s attractive and it’s good to see an Asian male model getting work in Romancelandia.
  • Why are they both closing their eyes? Would have been nice if there was a shot of them looking at one another.

All in all, wow have my covers evolved since Butterfly Swords! It still looks like nothing else out there in romance or fantasy, and I have no idea if that will be a turn-on or turn-off for readers, but it certainly looks like a Jeannie Lin cover doesn’t it?

What do you think? Oh yeah, and I have a bunch of advance copies. Reviewers don’t seem to go for those much anymore. So I’ll be randomly drawing names from the comments to win advance copies. Let me know if you’d like to be entered and I’ll contact you via e-mail. If you are outside of the US or Canada, you may need to wait for release day and I’ll send via BookDepository.

What’s old is new again + Giveaway

I’ve been in a reflective mood lately, thinking of how with six full length novels out (and another already turned in), I’m still pretty new at this publishing thing, but at the same time, six books ain’t nothing to sniff at.

So I suppose I’m no longer a baby, but a toddler? A wobbly, inquisitive little creature who’s not quite running headlong into things anymore, but still tripping over obstacles.

Yes, I have twin toddlers. The metaphors come easy. Just not any metaphors that can be used in historical fiction set in imperial China.

But you know something you realize, but don’t realize when you get that first book published? That book is going to represent you forever. For better or worse. The mistakes you know are in there will come back to haunt you as new readers discover it. Even if you’ve written five, ten, fifteen more books, this debut novel has your voice frozen in time in all its rawness and eagerness and rough edges and unbridled joy.

Kind of like how you try to do everything right, but still make so many mistakes raising your first child…

I kid. I kid.

Guess what? Butterfly Swords just came out in France – La fille de l’empereur

lafille_butterflyswordsOne review called it “adorable” <– It looks the same as English, but I’m pronouncing that with a French accent, in case you didn’t know. Another review gave it “trois etoiles”. Three stars, not so bad you say? It’s 3 out of 6. *weeps softly in French*

I realized that I’ve become less sensitive to negative reviews of Butterfly simply because I have some distance between the Jeannie that wrote that book and the Jeannie of today. Actually, I always had a bit of distance between that book and reviews since I wrote it in 2008-2009 and it didn’t come out until 2010. By the time people were calling it “meh”, I had become another me. Unlike say, The Jade Temptress, where I turned that sucker in and several months later people were already saying “meh”. *weeps softly in English*  (In truth, people have said “meh”, people have said “yay”, people have cross-referenced it with Shakespeare. As SEP once told me, and it’s some of the best authorly advice I’ve received: Every book you write is someone’s favorite book and someone’s least favorite. )

But, to return to my point, a re-release albeit in another language does make me realize that what’s old can be new again. At any point the old me, the now me, any version of me can be new again to readers who have just discovered it. A bit daunting, no?

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And while we’re on the old being new and the French, one of my favorite historical romance books is now available in audio: The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne.

You can win a copy over at Goodreads: Giveaway for audio book of The Forbidden Rose

Or you can buy yourself a copy directly: Audiobook on Amazon

Good luck!