Please join us in welcoming author J.A. Rock to TNA today, on the tour for her newest release, By His Rules. She’s talking cover art and there’s also a giveaway, so be sure to check out the details.
Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and I’m touring the internet to celebrate the re-release of By His Rules, my first published romance novel! Leave a comment with your contact info in the comments section to win a copy of the new version of By His Rules and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Fun times with the new By His Rules cover
I loved the original By His Rules cover. April Martinez did an awesome job, and I knew when I got the rights back to the book and hired myself to do the new cover because I’m free labor that I was never going to be able to outdo her work. I’m not a cover designer by any means—I like drawing and painting, but that’s where it ends for me. As far as I’m concerned, the only font that exists is Garamond. And isn’t there some term for the spacing between letters? I don’t even know what that term is. I briefly considered trying to do something in a similar style/tone to the original cover. But I felt like that would only invite comparison. So I decided to go in a completely different direction.
A naked direction.
I thought it might be fun to do a cover with imagery that’s actually associated with discipline relationships. Since I haven’t, unfortunately, found much stock photography of domestic disciplining, I decided to do a painting. This scared me a little, because I’m still haunted by memories of some of the painted book covers of the 80s.
But I felt like as long as I steered clear of 80s hair, pastels, and neons, I could pull it off. In fact, if I steered clear of clothes in general, that would be even better. I thought about painting a full on spanking scene, but that seemed like it might be too on the nose. So I went with a nude man standing in a corner. Kind of subtle. But also…not actually that subtle.
The next thing I needed was a TV show to binge watch. The whole world was talking about Making a Murderer, so I grabbed my roommate Chris, we queued up Netflix, and over the next twenty-four hours, we watched all ten episodes of Making a Murderer, ate a truly disturbing number of tortilla chips, and I painted a naked guy.
And man, was he naked. Full buttal nudity. All right, I thought. I guess this’ll do. And then I remembered a list from a couple of years ago of “Amazon will flag your cover if…” rules that I was never sure were real or not. They read:
- No model can be handcuffed (this will instantly flag you), blindfolds are okay for now Handcuffs are allowed if they are separate–not on the models. The model can hold the cuffs.
- No side boob or big cleavage.
- No upper butt. (No nudity, obviously).
- No lower hair patch for men (or women).
- No sexual positions–no doggie style, missionary (or any position that implies penetration).
- No hands on boobs or private areas.
- No women on their knees in front of men (even fully clothed).
- No men between women’s thighs.
- No men’s faces on breasts (resting, etc–even fully clothed).
That’s right, no butts allowed. I wasn’t sure if this applied to my painted man’s relatively tasteful butt-sposure, but who wants to take the risk? Apparently Amazon has standards, and they’re not gonna let their customers be subjected to upper butts, booby pillows, the groping of private areas, the pernicious side boob, or the dreaded… “lower hair patch.”
I had to get this dude some underwear.
So I painted some tighty-whiteys on him. And somehow, as I added the underwear, his ass got way bigger and rounder. Because sometimes that’s just how things go.
The problem is that with digital painting, the image often looks different in my painting program than it does when it’s saved as a JPEG. So I saved the painting, pulled it up in my photo viewer, and discovered that the underwear were extremely white. Like, blindingly white. Much like the sun, they would burn your retinas out if you looked directly at them. I would show you a picture, but I don’t think it’s safe.
So I got out the ol’ digital airbrush and tried to tone them down. Which made them look dingy. Like when you’re in denial about how it’s time to throw your favorite pair of underwear away? That’s the underwear cover-Aiden was now wearing. This sartorial fig leaf was turning out to be more trouble than it was worth.
In the end, I think I sort of found a happy medium. My eyes don’t burn when I look at his underwear, but nor do I worry that he’s had that pair of underwear for the past fifteen years.
And maybe someday I can release a version featuring the original naked butt. Maybe I’ll even add a hand on his private area. Who knows what the future holds?
About the Book
Aiden Cole can be anything men want—naughty schoolboy, palace slave, virgin twink, or slutty secretary. He’s a gifted actor with a gorgeous body who gives legendary head. Aiden could have his pick of any Top in the local leather bar, but is drawn to Scott Runge—a cruel, sexy Dom who pushes Aiden to his limits, allowing Aiden to experience the excitement and danger of the BDSM lifestyle to a degree he never has before. But when Scott goes too far, injuring Aiden, Aiden withdraws from the scene completely. Until he meets Keaton Hughes.
Keaton’s looking for something he can’t find in any dungeon: A domestic discipline relationship, in which he can provide his partner with guidance, support, and loving discipline. When Keaton takes Aiden in after Aiden’s traumatic encounter with Scott, he vows not to pursue any sort of relationship with the troubled sub. But as Aiden struggles to overcome the damage Scott has done and get his life back on track, Keaton’s rules might be just what he needs.
Note: This is a revised second edition.
Warning: contains violence and dubcon.
About the Author
J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
Leave a comment with your contact info to win a copy of the new version of By His Rules and a $10 Amazon gift card! A tour winner will be drawn at 11:59 p.m. EST on September 17th.
Follow the Tour
August 30 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
August 31 – Love Bytes Reviews
August 31 – Crystal’s Many Reviewers
September 1 – GGR-Reviews
September 1 – Prism Book Alliance
September 3 – Joyfully Jay
September 15 – The Novel Approach