Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Harlequin's calendar girls

"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.


Anonymous said...

Those "classic" covers are hilarious. I'm not about to be too snooty about Harlequin either, because I have submitted to Steeple Hill and I certainly wouldn't have turned them if they'd accepted me, but the Harlequins that are currently making me crack up in the drugstore are those "Mediterranean Billionnaire" ones ... the covers and especially the titles. "Ruthlessly Bedded by the Italian Billionnaire!" I mean, that's a whole plot, right there in the title, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Do you know if we can buy this calendar ? If yes, where ? thank you in advance. Estelle

Brenda Coulter said...

"Ruthlessly Bedded by the Italian Billionnaire!" I mean, that's a whole plot, right there in the title, isn't it?


Estelle, I'm sorry, but the calendar isn't for sale anywhere. It was a gift from Harlequin to its authors.

Anna Adams said...

Hey, Brenda!

I'm actually planning to frame Anna because it makes me laugh, and I'm not sure how one lives like a wicked little animal! (A wolverine? A prairie dog? I mean which little animals are wicked? And how big still counts as little?)

All the best,


Brenda Coulter said...

Hmm. For some reason, Anna, I did not think of you when I saw that one!

Anonymous said...

Would you believe that Anna was one of Harlequin's early hits? They actually released it several times, each with a different cover, but the one illustrated is the best (or worst, depending on one's point of view)!

25 years of looking, and I've got a about half the first 500 Harlequins. Only in Canada, eh? Pity ...

Jo said...

Actually, they didn't just send them to authors. I received one too. I suspect because I'm participating in https://www.tellharlequin.com/ (Just an FYI... I don't know that it would be possible to obtain one now that we are already over half way through January.)