Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Captive Dreams

This is a recent cover for Berkley and I'm afraid I don't know the author. I'll try to find out. Fantasy starring sexy alpha males came up in the discussion on Michele Hauf's Blog,( So here's my contribution to the genre. By the way, the dragon is supposed to look like it is made out of metal, like a broach, or something like that. I found it hard not to make it into a real, living creature. To do this image I had to train my eyes to see the guy the way a woman would. I asked myself, " What does a woman find sexy in a man? " All my experience indicates it's not the way he looks as much as the kind of person he is. Strong, decisive, but listens to his woman. He's independent, but devoted to her, and because he's magical, he can take her away from her mundane life! And of course he wants her body passionately! Is that about right? No wonder guys feel intimidated by the romantic ideal! Both sexes constantly do battle with the ideal and the real.
We might be strong, but we don't know how to listen, or we're good listeners, but can't whisk anyone anywhere! Do women read these books and then turn and look at their mates with dissapointment?


Michele said...

That is an awesome cover. Really love the way the dragon arcs over the man and the heraldy stuff down in the left corner.
I think you've got the woman's perspective down pretty well. Yeah, we like the inner man, the honorable, valorous guy. But eye candy is nothing to be sneered at. Some muscles, and that unflinching sexy gaze is right up my alley.

Auyrn said...

I'm not a romance for the sake of romance, reader. I tried to read romantic fiction when I was younger, but just didn't have the patience with the dynamic between hero and heroine - usually its a mutual attraction, but neither one feels brave enough to tell the other of their affection. Of course, there wouldn't be much of a story either.

And yes, I can see where a man can find himself inadequate to a storybook hero; that's also part of the reason I stopped reading them. I'd feel somewhat inadequate too if my husband did the same thing.

james Griffin said...

Michele, You mean my wife mislead me all these years? I could have been working on my abs, instead of our relationship?
Truthfully, I think the chemistry is between each man and woman and way too complex to sum up. That's probably part of why romance is so interesting.

Auyrn, don't you agree that most of those typical romance couple act like teenagers? They fall in love instantly, based on looks and then spend the next 2/3 of the book fighting and hating each other, only to make up in the end. Could Romance really be about teenagers?

Sally said...

Hey, found your site through Michele - your work is amazing.

I think one of the best things about these books is the artwork and so often I wish the books would indicate the names of the artists!

How big are your originals? What do the author preference sheets (or whatever they are called) look like? I always have pretty distinct ideas of what my characters look like - I so look forward to the day I finish my book(s) and get them published.

Do you still do work for Harlequin/Silhouette?

james Griffin said...

Sally, I still work for Harlequin/ Silhouette and am doing a steady stream of Harlequin Historicals as well as Special Editions, Luna and Intrigue. Recently Harlequin standardized their spec sheet to fit on a single page. It has character descriptions, scene setting, a one sentence synopsis and a few photos to show mood, background or pose examples.
My oil originals are 36x24 inches, more or less.
Thanks for your comments & questions!

Mark Penny said...
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Mark Penny said...
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Mark Penny said...

I had left a sarcastic comment about the dynamics between sexes, but on reflection I reckoned the complicated candor and irony might get seriously misread, so I've chucked it.

Suffice it to say that loving attempts to "celebrate the differences" often turn into desparate efforts to circumnavigate the hazards.

james Griffin said...

I have to agree with you, mark. Marriage, or relationships are not for the faint of heart!

PC Cast said...

James, as usual this is a lovely cover! But I must stand up for romance. Perhaps romance novels in the past have been immature, but too many excellent authors of today are producing well-written, insightful stories that celebrate the complexities of love, as well as empower women. For instance, my Luna books are fantasy, but each of them has at its core at least one romantic relationship (because I don't think life - in any world - is as interesting without love and romance). I work hard to portray real feelings and real relationships. I don't think fictional men denigrate real men. I think a well-written romance can have a female reader smiling and thinking, "yeah, my man has _____'s(insert fictional character's name here) integrity/honesty/sex appeal, etc."

So a secure man of integrity has nothing to worry about if his lover is reading romance, actually it wouldn't hurt him to join her. After all, I read all genres, as do many women. Why shouldn't men? Now, if a guy's a bum...well...he should worry about much more than romance fiction!

And, James, I'd take your well-developed communications skills over well-developed abs any day (as I'm sure your wife would agree!).