"Oh, how nice," I said just a few minutes ago as I opened my mail and saw that Harlequin had sent me (and the rest of its authors) a 2009 calendar to celebrate "60 years of pure reading pleasure."
I appreciated the company milestones and upcoming events noted on the calendar; it's going to be quite a useful addition to the cluttered bulletin board in my office. But I imagine I'll end up folding the top half of the calendar back each month so I won't have to look at the sleazy vintage bookcovers they're celebrating.
Take January's illustration, for example. You can see it there at the top left of this photo, which I took from the back of the calendar. (Click on the pic to enlarge it--if you dare.) The book is Anna (Anneke de Lange, 1952), the cover of which informs us that "She lived like a wicked little animal."
On April's calendar page we see Love Me and Die! (Day Keene, 1952): "Out of the darkness came the slow, sure hand of Death..." And on May's, The Manatee (Nancy Bruff, 1949): "The strange loves of a seaman." (That one really gave me pause.) And take a look at July's gruesome cover, Case of the Six Bullets (R. M. Laurenson, 1950), which pictures the bodies of a man and a woman lying across a railroad track. The woman's death stare is downright chilling.
September's page features Nine to Five (Harvey Smith, 1952): "The private affairs of a not-too-private secretary." And December's illustration is The Faro Kid (Leslie Ernenwein, 1950): "A fast, Salty, Realistic Yarn...Pulsing with Action." I'm not entirely certain what The Faro Kid is doing to the woman on that cover. Is he trying to kiss her while simultaneously removing a gun from her hand?
I'm very proud to write books for Harlequin under Steeple Hill's "Love Inspired" imprint, but I've never endorsed all of the books Harlequin publishes and I never will. Further, I reserve the right to make fun of any bookcovers and titles that amuse me. I hope "the company" understands.
Thanks for the calendar, Harlequin. And congratulations on 60 years of publishing romance fiction.