Monday, 19 March 2012

Before her Kindle - Meet Heather Bennett, Co-Owner of Decadent Publishing

     A five year old walks into my room. Out of the corner of my eye, I see his head tilt, face wrinkled contemplatively.
     "Mommy, why is that man standing in a lake with a sword on his back and no shirt?"
     I look around and see a trade-sized romance book on my
bedside table. Ah, crap, I usually turn them over. Think fast. Think fast.
     "Ummm, well, the story is....eeerr.....about a knight and hheeeeee has to battle a sea monster."
     Five year old, a budding Lancelot at heart mixed with a large dash of padawan enthusiasm, nods. "Oh, okay, that makes sense."
     I smile. Phew, that was a good save, I thought, mentally patting my own back.
     "Can you read me that story at bedtime? It sounds good."
     Ah, crap.
That was a true story, one of the many reasons I am now ever so grateful for my ereader. I love the gorgeous e-covers, too, but personally I'm fine with them remaining out of sight. In the old days, BMK (Before My Kindle), I would typically turn the book cover over if it was a passionate clinch sort. While I enjoyed the man-candy, I wasn't terribly eager to re-visit conversations where I was forced to explain to a preschooler why the big dark-haired man was so mean he tore the fainting lady's shirt. Or why the lady was only wearing her bra and panties when there were three gentlemen standing around her in a barn. After all, my DD wasn't allowed to run around outside in only HER panties; it wasn't fair. A few of those and I either resorted to shoving it behind the bed between readings or flipping it good-side-down.

Now, however, I don't need to worry about a cover requiring me to come up with a 10 minute bedtime story about shirtless knights ("He lost it when the three headed monster LUNGED for him and tore it from his back as he struggled to get away through the murky water!"), leather pants ("Yes, he made them himself from the skins of wildebeest he slayed."), strategically placed gowns ("No, the shoulders of your Cinderella costume are not supposed to be around your elbows! I don't care how the lady on my book wore it!"), or why the people were naked in the shower together ("Uummm, I don't know. Hey! Do you want ice cream? Yay!") I don't think these explanations would fly anymore as both kids are tweeners and not as naive as I wish they were.
I love my ereader and miss nothing, really, about the BMK days of a paper book other than the sentimentality of it. I can read a burn-the-sheets
erotica novella and delete it off the device, if I wish, rather than figure out how to concealing it between sweater stacks from curiosity seeking 10 year olds until I want to read it again. I can read a Gabaldon-esque gigantabook without acquiring a case of carpel tunnel. I can take 500 books in my purse on a plane. I can hoard....errrr, I mean, COLLECT *cough*....books all I want without hiding my walls and aggravating my allergies.
Sure, I miss my flip back man-candy covers, but then they tend to get me leering or disdainful glances from neophytes anyway. This way, I can thoroughly enjoy my books, revel in the adventures and romance, delight in the escapist virtues of the genre while the rest of the world is blissful ignorant and thinks I'm modern and trendy.

AND I don't have to explain why Mommy's novel has two shirtless cowboys and one, apparently, feverish miss on the cover. ("They should give her Pedialyte, Mom. That's good for fevers.")

Heather Bennett was an avid reader of romance novels long before they were considered 'appropriate for her age'. She eventually transitioned her passion for reading into an affinity for editing where she met the wonderful author who became her business partner. They now co-own a quality fiction epublishing company, Decadent Publishing--which is known for their feverish, bare-chested man candy covers. Find them all at


Anthology Authors said...

HAHAHAHAHA, Heather. I was an avid romance reader long before it was appropriate for my age too. My friends used to give me a hard time for reading them in high school. (shrug) My mom figured I was reading and that was better than not reading.

My daughter Lily doesn't really ask me about my books. Well, that's not true. And I get embarrassing questions like: why can I shower with you and not Daddy? O.O I tell her to go ask her daddy. (g)

Great post!


Jaime Samms said...

LOL! Great post, Heather. My absolute favorite comment on a book cover, coming from my 8-yr-old son: "Firemen don't go into fires without their shirts on. I saw a demonstration at the library. They wear Darth Vader masks and are scary, but nice. Those guys can't be very smart." Sorry, Damon, but he's got you there. (The book was Damon Suede's Hot Head, and one of my absolute favorite reads of all time, and The Boy was right. Those firemen were thick as posts. At least, when it came to finally getting the romance cues right. They were fine with putting out every fire but the one between them! lol!)

Anthology Authors said...

Thick as posts, Jaime. Did you purposefully type a double entendre? (g)

Faith said...

All my kids 'cept the youngest know what I write, but I imagine he has an idea about the content since he hears the family talk about mom's sexy books. He's been raised in the sticks around animals, so he simply says, "Mommy writes books." and rolls his eyes, lmao.

I used to read the steamy parts of romance books aloud to a group of girls in study hall, but I'd make noises, gasps, etc., until we were laughing so hard we got in trouble. However, sex scenes in romances of the 80s were nothing like that are now where they can peel the paint off the walls.

Jaime Samms said...

LMAO! No, Marci, I actually didn't! But I did say it was one of my favorite books ever, didn't I? Three guesses as to why. lol!

Kate Richards said...

I can't believe how many people on my trip last weekend at various airports (don't ask! Weather was involved and United flew me more places than I had reservations for...and my luggage even more) but seeing me with the Kindle...they want one. They want to know if it's great. I swear I should get a commission from Kindle. Because I can tell them a hundred reasons why they should get one, and privacy is just one, but an important one! Remember reading sexy books on planes before? Bending the covers back so the nun seated next to you doesn't know there is a sexy miss with three guys in a barn????

Anonymous said...

@Antho Authors--Yes, we did the same in high school. Actually, I had one of Johanna Lindsey's in my 9th grade science class and the guys were passing it around, reading the good parts. It sort of became a 'thing' then; "What are the girl's reading, because our Piers Anthony books don't have THAT in them!!"

@Jamie--Yes, your son is very observant and smart. LOL I've not read that book, I'll have to go look for it. For my Kindle. lol

@Faith--My kids have no idea about the content we publish (not all of which is hot at all, in fact--as you know--we even do non-fiction), but they DO know we publish books. They are not, however, allowed to touch my Kindle. lol When they get a bit older they will have their own!

LaVerne Thompson said...

Great post Heather!

I had this same problem when my kids were younger but now I have one turning 18 and I have always told her she couldn't read my work until she was 18. That's only days away. Oh oh.

LaVerne aka Ursula

Samantha Gail said...

I love my Kindle...I love my Nook too even though it's a bit too heavy for comfort. I cherish a few of my older print books for sentimental reasons but I'll never go back to print. Holding an entire bookshelf in my hand, combined with the privacy an e-reader affords is a no-brainer.

Faith said...

When I got my iPad I gave my Kindle to my mother. It's her first of anything techie, lol.

I love both e-readers, but when it comes to non-fiction, I prefer a hardback or paperback. I usually have 3 or more spread out around me for reference, so it's easier to have a hard copy when I'm doing research.

Valerie Mann said...

I have two Kindles and a Nook. I took an e-reader to a conference this past week and it gave me fits in the airport. I was right in the middle of a very good historical romance and decided I'd read the rest of it on my laptop. OMG. Combine a 17" screen contained text with a thrusting hero, moaning heroine and a very curious man with excellent eyesight in the seat next to me...I was mortified. I desperately wished for my e-reader!

Anonymous said...

@Kate--I bent the covers, too! Which is sortof against my religion, I like neat, crease-less cover. :-/

@LaVerne--you're brave. I'd tell them if they read it don't talk to me about it. lol I don't even let my Mom read anything I write. Not embarrassed, but my husband might be .

@Sam--me, too. Print is much less convenient for me, in general.

@Faith--I can see that with the non-fic. But for pleasure reading, it's all Kindle all the time. :)

@Val--I can definitely relate to that! I always like to see what others are reading on the plane, gauging the market and all. a 17" monitor with a hist.rom? BRAVE is you, m'dear. LOL! Maybe the guy learned a few new tricks.

Valerie Mann said...

Right after I closed my laptop for the 3rd time, he asked me where I was from and who I was going to vote for. I'm sure He thinks I'm going to vote for whoever Satan is voting for. Because whoever reads that smut is going to hell.

Jessica Subject said...

LOL Yes, I get different comments from my kids about my covers. My daughter the other day looked at CS again, and said, "Why don't they have any clothes on? I don't think that's appropriate." Meanwhile the cover magnet had been on the fridge for months. I made her take a closer look to show where the picture had been faded so the clothes weren't visible. Yet I have other covers that show even more skin, and they didn't bother her. LOL We'll see what both my kids say when they're older.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Very funny post. I have tons of books, and have creatively put them in decor baskets in my living room. My kids know my books are off limits and out of their reach too lol. My 12 yr old asked me the other day, "why can't I read one of your books?" My hubby turned and gave me a "I want to hear what you've got to say to that" look.

I love the covers, and really thought I'd miss the paperback if I got an iPad, but it turns out I don't miss it. Anyway, for the hundreds of paperbacks I've got, there's no way I'm getting rid of them ever. And then I still have a pile of "to-read's" waiting for me. The thing is every day I'm becoming more addicted to my iPad and how easy I can get a book in it just by one-click (I got that from Amazon) tee hee.

I think I was 15 when I read my first romance by Johanna Lindsey, my eyes popped at the things it said, and my imagination just flew its merry way. Since then, I've never been able to walk away from romance.

Shiela Stewart said...

I was reading VC Andrews books when I was 13, daydreaming about my Mr. right and making up my own stories of romantic couples.Yet when my 13 year old daughter asked what I wrote, I simply said stories that would scare you. Partly true. LOL Now they have their friends reading my books. She's seventeen.

Anthology Authors said...

The guys wouldn't dare touch my books for fear of having their hands cut off, Heather. (g) And I so did not like my books to be marred by even a crease. When I finished reading them, you could never tell they'd been read. (g)

Fierce Dolan said...

Ha! Kids don't miss a thing. I never thought I would acclimate to digital reading as much as I have. I read more now that I've surrendered.
Cheers, Heather!

VS Morgan said...

lol, great post Heather! Love it! Per Kindle I actually put a post-it note on a cover that featured a Domme's bare butt just in case my son saw my book. God only knows what questions that would have generated - I'm sure her whip would have been the highlight...

Another person glad for Kindles and enjoying eye candy in peace. :)

VS Morgan said...

Jaime Samms - there was a post today that MN firefighters were out fighting a fire in dresses (part of St. Patty's day celebration for some reason). All I can say is I'll take Damon's guys any day. ;)

Anonymous said...

@Val--*snort* If he only knew....

@Jessica--Yes, my DD is very fashion conscious so she notices EVERYTHING anyone is wearing. Or Not wearing.

@Evie--glad to see you here! Yes, I have a ton of books in paper yet and I love the covers, but they're in my closet! lol I have a bookshelf in there (walk-in), but some o fit has to do with me not wanting the spines bleached by the sun. If you think I'm bad, you should see my SIL. She's a fanatic! If you crease her cover, she'll hate you forever. :)

@Shiela--Luckily, my DD is still into Monster High and has zero interest in hot books. lol I give it a year or 2.

@Fierce--thanks for stopping! I do love the ereader. You also don't have to keep switching positions for light at night for blindish people like me.


Zee Monodee said...

LOL! Awesome post, found myself nodding all along. I'm glad I too can 'hide' my book covers from over-inquisitive young minds. Not a problem when you're reading chick-lit and the cover looks like a cartoon version of your Cosmo mag that lies around - let little boys see a hint of pink and you can guarantee they'll turn their noses up. But a shirtless man...

Funnily, this reminded me of my 9-yr-old's timing throughout my writing career. I swear he will always - always! - come to me when I'm looking for hero pics on the laptop, and then he'll ask, "Mummy, you say you're working and not to disturb you, so what are you doing looking at pics of half-naked men on there?"
Followed by the best one - gotta love their male loyalty - "Does Daddy know what you're doing?"

Kids... 'nuf said! :)

Janice Seagraves said...

I love your post. In the years before I got my ereaders (I have two), I got asked by one of my daughter's friends to please turn over one of my romance books so her BF wouldn't see it. Yeah, that was a bit embarrassing.

Good luck with your release.


D L Jackson said...

Kids? Lol. It's my mother I have to worry about. Needless to say, she still skims the sex scenes and spells s-e-x out when talking to me. My boys roll their eyes when they see my covers. One time I was in Rite Aid picking up some stuff and my Marine son was with me. He saw one is those shirtless covers and pointed. "I have bigger guns." To which I replied, "of course you do." Fast fwd 20 minutes and I'm cooking supper. My son calls from behind me, "hey mom." I turn around and he's taken off his shirt. "That's right. When the sun's out, the guns are out. Told you I was bigger." And he procedes to flex.
I laughed hysterically, deflating his ego a bit.
Sheesh. Try explaining it's not about the size of the guns to your 20 year old son. I think he missed the point of the man titty, and I think ill be forever scarred.