Sunday, 22 January 2012

Kilts, naked chests and swords

TIME CHILD and other stories features in the Amazon genre chart, Romance Time Travel, so I went to have a look.

Browsing, I was struck by the prevalence of covers with hunky men wearing the kilt. Fourteen of them in the top 100. None of these guys have a shirt to their name, let alone the woollier clothing necessary for the chilly weather you get in the Highlands most of the year. A bit of jewellery, a Celtic tattoo and a draped female will be of little assistance when gales are roaring down the glen. (Bit like those sci fi women who select a skimpy bikini as suitable battle wear.) Maybe that's why the ones with heads are all glaring morosely out of the covers - they are wishing they'd thought to put on a jumper and padded jacket before leaving the house.

My father was half Scottish, clan McGregor, and wore the kilt now and then. I still have it in my wardrobe. On the beach, he even wore it without a top. In August, on the south coast of England, on hot days.

Clearly there is something compelling to writers and readers here that I don't get.  How odd fiction is.


  1. Lovely Lexi!! You got me to click over to swoon - gawp - erm.. dribble? at these magnificent men in their naked muscularity! On a Sunday! At work! Bad Lexi!

    But yay for your stories being in this chart surrounded by such blatant nakedness and bulging male muscles from waist up! LOL!!

    Ok, off I go to stick my head out the window and get some cold fresh air.

    No, I don't get it either. Ahem.

    take care

  2. Seems very sensible to me. It would be difficult to get battle stains out of a nice white shirt, while tartan is the ideal fabric to not only display your team colours but also hide the dirt.

    Anyway, I've been to the Highlands and the reality is that the men are clad in Goretex. Fiction should never be that boring.

    ps Congratulations on the chart position!

  3. Any cover with naked anything completely turns me off. However, show me a book with a charming house on the cover, and I want to read that book.

  4. Karen and Kitty, you have given me a dilemma. Hunk or house on the cover of my next oeuvre?

    K, I doubt laundry is at the top of anyone's mind when going in to battle :o)

    (Thinks: why do all my commenters have names beginning with K?)

  5. My tuppence: Go for the hunk, Lexi. Get the reader to look first at the cover and then be drawn in by your writing. If covers did not help, the marketing depts would demand covers devoid of artwork and simply the title on it.

  6. Ooh, not sure about that, Norm. If the sort of novel I write had a bare-chested man on the front, I might attract readers who were looking for something quite different and would be disappointed.

    There's an astonishing consistency in romance covers, as there is in chicklit - and I know from the US Amazon forums, Romance readers are not to be trifled with.

  7. I'm on the front cover of my book in my fur. Does that count as naked? Or am I naked under my fur? Is there an 'under' my fur? It doesn't zip off. I shall curl up in my basket and think hard about it this. A dog curled up in a basket thinking hard looks awfully like a dog asleep but do not be fooled.

  8. Cassie, you look charming on the cover of your book.

    I think it would be far better if humans were covered in fur - warm, free and doesn't show wrinkles. I'm off to my own basket/bed now to do some hard thinking :o)

  9. I considered a photo of me in a kilt and naught else for the cover of my next book. My wife's stated intention of having me institutionalized if I went forward with the idea has me considering other options.

  10. Shame! Well, shame or not depending on the knobbliness of your knees, I suppose...

  11. I will put the knobbliness of my knees up against any man's. Or giraffe's, for that matter.

  12. What about seagulls? They have very knobbly knees, which might explain why you so seldom see them wearing a kilt.

  13. A sort of cover related comment (not from someone with a name beginning with K)...

    But I love the new design for REPLICA. In its own way it looks like ONE DAY which has won numerous awards for its cover as well as selling millions of copies. Hope it helps with your sales!


  14. Thanks Guy. I fancied a change, and I love fiddling around in Adobe Photoshop.

    It is a bit like One Day's cover - though I don't like the orange. The US version used to be the same but monochrome, which I thought much classier.

  15. It's a metaphor, Lexi. Nothing is worn under the kilt; everything is in good working order.