For every exquisite Candice Hern, Eloisa James or Lauren Willig book cover, there must be at least fifty cheesy clinch ones—a muscle-bound half-dressed guy in the snow with a wild-haired woman climbing him, her bodice falling tantalizingly toward her navel. I wonder where their mothers are to tell them to button up, it’s cold outside. You’ve all read people complain about covers and state their preferences on other boards and blogs, so this post isn’t going to be like that. Nor are we going to whine about the tacky titles, with sin and wicked paired with some peer. Well, maybe we will just a little.

We’re also going to laugh. Click onto this delightful site. Then come back to get serious. When I shop at Wal*Mart, I frequently turn books over in my cart so people can’t see what I’m reading. I am ashamed. In Wal*Mart ! Center of all things cheesy and tacky! I love romance, both reading and writing it. In order to indulge myself, I sometimes feel like I’m walking through fire. Why is my favorite genre marketed the way it is? It must work, because cheese and tack are almost all that’s on offer. So I grit my teeth and spend my $6.99.

Would men buy beer if the cans were covered with little pink elephants? No matter how tasty, I think not. But yet we’re forced the spend money on something we know is good but has “You are an idiot” written all over it. I venture to say there’s not another thing you purchase that assaults your dignity as much as a romance novel. If you can think of something, let me know.

I won’t say one word about e-book covers. At least nobody sees them but you.

Rant over. Here’s the burning cover question—bare chest or neatly tied cravat? Be honest. I’ll tell you I’d rather have the half-naked man if he’s standing alone. That way I know he’s all mine.

The cheese stands alone, the cheese stands alone, hi-ho the derry-o, the cheese stands alone.

No cheese at the Romantic Inks auction, just tasty romantic protein!