Monday, August 20, 2012

Tour: The House of Arkhangel'sk Series by Jane Kindred (Guest Post/Giveaway)

Today I would like to welcome author, Jane Kindred, who writes about naughty demons and angels in her series, The House of Arkhangel'sk!

The Hot Guy on the Cover

My upcoming release, The Midnight Court, features a shirtless demon on the cover. (Well, actually, it features a shirtless human model, but let’s not quibble over details.) He’s certainly easy on the eyes, but I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about him being there.

On the one hand, I’m thrilled that my hot demon is getting some cover time.

Vasily is a firespirit, which means he’s literally hot. Descended from the Seraphim, creatures of elemental fire, he has the ability to manifest his intrinsic element as wings of brilliant ruby flame within the world of Man. He can also light a cigar with his tongue, illuminate the darkness with his breath, and generate healing seraphic fire. And if you’re lucky enough to share a bed with him, he can keep you toasty warm throughout a long, Russian winter.

At 6’4” and 220 pounds of pure muscle, with rows of spiked piercings down the sides of his neck and his hair in lava-red dreadlocks, he strikes an imposing figure. But on the inside, Vasily is still the insecure little boy who grew up on the streets of Heaven’s Demon District, desperate for love and approval. Out of all my characters, he’s the one I feel the most protective of. He projects this tough exterior with his unconventional looks almost as a dare for someone to notice him and make something of it.

Since Vasily loves attention, what could be better than a book cover all to himself? And who doesn’t love a hot guy on the cover?

The reason I’m conflicted is that “hot guy on the cover” says romance and sex, and while there are certainly some of both in this series, it isn’t your traditional love story. The House of Arkhangel’sk is primarily an epic fantasy. Not sword and sorcery fantasy (though there’s a little bit of that, too) so much as “rightful heir trying to regain the throne” fantasy, and “battle of good versus evil” fantasy—and all the shades of grey in between.

If that last phrase sounds familiar to you, I’ve used it for a reason. Vasily is the submissive partner in a BDSM relationship between two men—not the usual fare of either paranormal romance or traditional fantasy. He’s also the lover of the female heroine.

I guess all of this begs the question: What kind of cover would accurately represent what’s inside? And I’m not sure I know the answer to that. I just hope fantasy readers won’t dismiss the book because of the shirtless cover model, and that romance readers won’t pick it up expecting a light, sexy read and find themselves dismayed when some rather dark themes ensue.

Ultimately, I think there’s a little something for everyone in The House of Arkhangel’sk, but whether readers agree may depend on to what extent they judge a book by its cover.

I’d love to hear your opinions. What do you expect when you see a book with a hot guy on the cover? Does it make you want to pick it up? And are you more likely to grab the paperback and read it in public, or is it the kind you buy for your ereader and enjoy as a guilty pleasure?

About The Fallen Queen, Book One of The House of Arkhangel’sk:
Heaven can go to hell.
Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.
Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.
Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.
The Fallen Queen is available now at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | The Book Depository | Books On Board | Diesel | IndieBound | Powell’s Books.

About The Midnight Court, Book Two of The House of Arkhangel’sk:
Against the pristine ice of Heaven, spilled blood and a demon’s fire will spark celestial war.
The exiled heir to the throne of Heaven, Grand Duchess Anazakia and her demon companions, Belphagor and Vasily, have made a comfortable home in the Russian city of Arkhangel’sk, but their domestic bliss is short lived. When their daughter Ola is taken as a pawn in Heaven’s demon revolution, the delicate fabric of their unorthodox family is torn apart—threatening to separate Belphagor and Vasily for good.
Anazakia is prepared to move Heaven and Earth to get her daughter back from Queen Aeval, risen in Elysium from the ashes of temporary defeat. But Aeval isn’t the only one seeking Ola’s strange power.
To conquer the forces amassing against them, Anazakia is prophesied to spill the blood of one close to her heart, while Vasily’s fire will prove more potent than anyone suspected. In the battle for supremacy over Heaven’s empire, loyalties will be tested and secrets will be revealed, but love will reign supernal.
Pre-order The Midnight Court, available August 30, at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | The Book Depository | Books On Board | Powell’s Books.

About the author:

Jane Kindred began writing fantasy at age 12 in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury—which, as far as she recalls, never killed anyone…who didn’t have it coming. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. Although she was repeatedly urged to learn a marketable skill, she received a B.A. in Creative Writing anyway from the University of Arizona.

She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.

You can find Jane on TwitterFacebookGoodreads, and on her website.

Jane is giving away an ebook of either Book 1 or Book 2 of The House of Arkhangel'sk, winner's choice. To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering her question, found above, and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Additional entries are available but not required. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Congrats on the new release. This book sounds fantastic. Can't wait to read it.
    When I see a book with a hot guy on the cover, I except it to be a steamy romance. When I see the cover, I will pick it up and read the back cover and sometimes skim the book. There;s got to be a good story or I won't even think about buying it. I will read anything and everything in public. If you don't like it, you don't have to sit by me or look at the cover. I'm minding my own business so you should mind yours.


  2. Love the cover and sometimes that's how I get hooked on trying a book!

    diane dot sadler at gmail dot com

  3. I love a hot guy on the cover and I would read it in public no problem but I buy everything on my Kindle now. Carin

  4. Such a wonderful post Jane! I was kind of surprised to see Sam Bond on the cover because I admit to having pictured Vasily a bit more Jason Mamoa-esque. Kind of ruined my visual there. lol

    I honestly have reached a point I don't care what the cover looks like in public but then I'm mostly ebook reading these days. I love an eye-catching cover and I think that's honestly the point of them at all... grabbing a reader's interest enough they'll check the book's content out.

    I think this series really defies everything. No genre truly pigeon holes it properly and that is also what makes it great in my humble opinion. I truly feel like I've been let into some special club having gotten to read TFQ as an ARC. Can't wait to get my hands on TMC. :D

  5. Most of the books i read have hot, yummy men on the front, but since i´ve started reading everything on my Kindle, i don´t have to worry any longer. I know i used to be hesitant of bringing my books along but that´s no problem any longer =)

    best wishes, Linda xo

  6. So, in the days before ereaders or before they were affordable, I did hospice care, so there was a lot of time to read. I was reading one A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole, and of course family came to visit so I tried to kinda hide it under one of the chair pillows, but ofcourse the daughter asks what are you reading, and I respond "oh I'm not sure", so she digs it out from under the pillow and(we are both bright red now)says oh, ok. So from that day forward I made a little cover that fit over the books so you could not see the covers. Lol, so I say thank god for ereaders to hide the smutty covers that we love so much. Thx for giveaway.

    blinkysthebest at aol dot com

  7. Thanks for a great post! I admit, you're right. When I see the shirtless, 6 pack ab guy on a cover, I think romance. But I always read the back blurb before I make a decision. And if it's in a series that I already know about or have heard good things about, I'll buy anyway. I just get around the covers by strategically placing sticky notes (the long ones are great cuz they cover most of it... I learned to do that so I could bring my books to work and not get heckled). And the covers don't influence what I buy for my Kindle... the price does :)

    Congrats on the newest release... I just got book 1 and I can't wait to start reading :)

  8. I'll admit to being one of those readers who do slightly judge a book by it's cover and will see a book with a hot guy on the cover and pick it up. I love pretty covers and unfortunately my ereader doesn't allow me t enjoy them in color, so I grab the paperback.

  9. I'm one of those who pick the books I want to read by the covers. Most definitely, if there is a hawt guy on the cover I'm picking it up, studying him very carefully, then I'll read the blurb. I have a hard time getting interested in a book with a cartoon like cover, or one that's a cutesy cover. I don't have a problem reading a print book with a great looking guy on the cover. I do read a lot of books on my ereader only because I can take 1 ereader with a lot of books vs a lot of books.
    luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

  10. Great post, Jane and congratulations on your new release. Wow, that's a hot cover. When I pick up a book, based on the cover, I expect the story to relate to the cover. I would be surprised if it was a young YA for instance! So, yeah, seeing a hot guy on the cover absolutely makes me want to pick it up.

    I'm looking forward to reading The House of Arkhangel'sk.


  11. I'd be intrigued enough to pick it up & look it over but I'd only buy if if it was in a genre I like and sounded interesting.

  12. The first romance I ever bought was Sherillyn Kenyon's Dream Hunter. I was stuck in a train station with 4 hours to kill and needed something to read. It had a hot guy on the cover, but I really didn't think it was going to be a romance. I didn't know anything about Sherillyn Kenyon and the back cover blurb sounded like it was more a vampire book (silly me, I know now that most times vampires=romance these days). So a hot guy on the cover does not always say "people will be naked forthwith" if it's done right, and sold to naive travelers.

  13. I may pick it up but it doesnt mean I will buy it unless the story sounds good. I dont do a lot of reading in public so that wouldnt influence me on the format.

  14. Thanks for all the great comments, everyone! Looks like I might be one of the few who hesitates to read the hot guy book in public. LOL. I'm kind of amused at myself right now.

    Rhianna, I didn't even realize the model was well known. Yes, Vasily is definitely more like a red-haired Jason Momoa. But I agree, getting someone to pick up the book in the first place is what it's all about. :)

  15. Eye candy is nice, but the blurb is what I go by. I do think twice about reading in public if the cover is mantitty since it makes me self-conscious.


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