Last Night’s Book Banter

Elizabeth Camden Musings on Life Leave a Comment

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the chat with me last night at the Bethany House party! As promised, there is a little something for the following folks:

Pauline Cotton Osborne
Jessica White
Jan Duffy
Megan Wilson
Jennifer Miles
Kathy Faberge
Nancy Juedes

If your name is on the list, please contact Noelle with your snail mail adress at

Thanks again!

The Evolution of Romance Novel Covers

Elizabeth Camden The Book World 3 Comments

The Evolution of Romance Covers. Few things have come so far, so fast!

Let’s take a peek at some of the covers that have graced NYT bestselling books from the 1980s (on the left), and the current versions of the same book on the right.

Oh….. the horror!

These books are all from the mainstream romance market, so although they have some graphic love scenes, but the books contain much more emotional depth, character development, and downright good story-telling than the original covers would suggest. Was I the only girl who was horribly embarrassed to approach the counter at the checkout line with these books in tow?

What accounts for such atrocious covers?

Some people in the business speculate it was because the salesmen who marketed the books to retail stores (and yes, in the 1980s they were mostly men) insisted that such books sold better because women needed help identifying a romance novel on the racks. Hmmmm….even when I was a teenager I could read the back blurb and figure that one out! I was also intensely loyal to my favorite authors, and bought the books despite the covers, not because of them.

The pretty landscapes and evocative covers of today’s book market still clues in most readers that this will be a romance book.

Now, let us speak of one of the worst tragedies in book cover publishing history. Yes, it’s Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. This is perhaps one of the most moving romance novels ever written. Twenty years after publication, it still makes the Top Ten List of romances ever written. And yet… brace yourself for the original cover:

I am deeply grateful for the evolution in marketing romance novels, as I work very hard to write moving, emotionally uplifting and insightful novels… and I would have been heart-broken to get stuck with an 80s-style cover. I give daily thanks that my publisher, Bethany House, has such a fantastic team of in-house designers.

Who has Captured your Moral Imagination?

Elizabeth Camden Musings on Life 3 Comments

Who has captured your Moral Imagination?

I was thrilled by the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy a few years ago. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how blessed I was to be exposed to Tolkien’s writings during the formative years of my adolescence. I devoured the tales of heroism, camaraderie, and refusal to give up in the face of overwhelming odds.

I grew up in a house that was filled with books. Mostly good ones, but I smuggled in my fair share of romance novels, comic books, and thrillers.

All of those books…even the seemingly frivolous romance novels and comic books… had a common theme. Hard work and perseverance were honored. On the rare occasion when a character acted dishonorably, there were consequences. Those books captured my imagination and inspired me to plow through a difficult adolescence where books were my primary means of escape.

I’m afraid that isn’t the case in so much of the culture that has seized modern imagination. I work on a college campus and am stunned at how the Kardashians seemed to have captured the imagination of otherwise intelligent young people. Here we have a family whose daughter vaulted to fame for releasing a sex tape. In the following years they have glorified conspicuous consumption, tacky bling, and out-of-wedlock births. They have no apparent ambition, accomplishments, or aspirations beyond the next party. And yet these are the women who set the standard for many of our young people today.

Aristotle once said “give me the storytellers, and I will control the government within a generation.”

Who is writing our national story? Who is capturing our imagination, helping set our aspirations? We need more Tim Tebows. More Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenbergers. More Tolkiens. I don’t believe our books and movies need to be overtly religious (Tolkien’s fiction never was, although he was a devout Catholic.) Most good novels have a sound moral foundation. Readers want to see decent people triumph and the vain, lazy, and immoral fall by the wayside. I’m not sure why popular culture seems to be the opposite of what is routinely celebrated in novels.

As I prepare to teach a load of brand new students arriving on campus this year, I’ll try to plant this seed. “Who owns your moral imagination???”

Choose wisely, grasshopper…

Thanks Bane!

Elizabeth Camden Against the Tide 1 Comment

Thanks Bane!

Awards season for the book world has recently wrapped up, and Against the Tide fared very well! I am thrilled to announce it has won the following awards:

* The Rita award from the Romance Writers of America
* The Christy Award for Historical Romance
* The Daphne Du Maurier award for Inspirational Mystery/Suspense

I have no doubt the success of Against the Tide was carried entirely by the character of Bane. I loved writing about the lethally dangerous but charming spy with his cold, angelic good looks.

I was tickled when I noticed some bloggers posting pictures of what they imagined Bane looked like. Here are a handful of pictures I saw on the web that other bloggers posted for their “fantasy casting” of who they think Bane looks like:

All worthy candidates! For the record, the guy in the tux, second from the left, is Alexander Skarsgard…the guy who was MY version of Bane.

It’s Here!

Elizabeth Camden Writing Life 1 Comment

Into the Whirlwind is now available!

I’m thrilled to finally see it in stores, and should be available at all your favorite online and brick & mortar bookstores.

The advance word has been good. Publisher’s Weekly said it is “an emotion-filled romance to warm the soul.”

I’m really proud of this book. Although I put my characters through the wringer in this one, I hope readers have a wonderful, exhilarating time reading about a determined woman overcome the battles thrown in her path by the fire.

While I don’t think any of us would want to personally endure a catastrophe like the Chicago fire, this book will explore a love story that blends rich historical detail and characters who face the crisis with intelligence and an optimistic attitude.

My favorite novels make the reader feel like they’ve just made friends with a bunch of captivating people and are sorry to finish the last page. I hope this novel captures that quality.