Launch Parties and Torsos

So, I had my launch party for my latest release.  I didn’t want to do the usual, author takeover, marketing spam thing, it’s been done and overdone, and no-one’s interested, so, instead I asked my friend A. M. Leibowitz to torso bomb the event.  Regular visitors to my site will remember The Grumpy Badger Guide to Book Covers, where we took some (genuine) advice we were given about torsos on book covers improving sales, and satirised that baby to death.

Well, not quite to death.  There are so many books out there that could really benefit from a torso cover.  Rather than be negative and put those books up for mockery, we teamed up once more, to help the hapless authors improve their lots.  I would like to thank all the brave authors who put their covers forward for improvement.  And thank those who had their books put forward by others for being such good sports and taking this in the spirit in which it was intended. I have also spent some time improving their blurbs, so hopefully you can see the difference. Let us know what you think in the comments.

So, the first torso cover was a complete surprise! Amy created a cover for my Flash Fiction piece, Vehicles and Torsos. As there was no original cover, I simply created a blurb off the cuff. I will have to release a flash anthology, just so I can use this cover!

Blurb:

 Step into the steamy world of vehicles and torsos. There isn’t a dry seat in the house.

It even has a cover, thanks to the incredibly talented A.M. Leibowitz.

Our next victim… er… subject was the brilliant Darkly Dreaming by Chloe Hammond.

New Blurb:

Stuck in a dead end marriage, with a flabby torso’d husband, Rae longs for the adventure that death brings her. Step into a sexy story of the undead. Chloe Hammond writes vampires with real bite!


See how much better this is than the original cover by clicking here.

The next reimagined book cover was Watership Down which has been reimagined as Watership Down With Shifters… Yeah, it was a special request by a family member, sorry folks.

New Blurb:

Who doesn’t love a furry bunny? But you need a strong man too, right? Well, in Watership Down, Adams provides just that, and brings a new meaning to the phrase “doing it like rabbits”. Warning, you’ll probably cry…

See how much of an improvement this is on the original (which is not a shifter story, just a rabbit story) by clicking here.

The next book in our torso collective is The Wag and the Scoundrel by Debbie McGowan, imaginatively  retitled The Wag and the Torso.

New Blurb:

Gray is a man’s man, who likes sleeping with men. Step into this sizzling torso romance, from the author who brought you To Be Torsos, and Hiding Behind The Torso, is another hot bod…

Find out how much better this is than the original by clicking here.

Our next brave volunteer was The Elixir of War  by Margena Adams Holmes.

New Blurb:

War is hell, but when there are torsos it can be slightly more bearable. From the author who brought you Dear Torso, comes this epic, of torsos and drink, and more torsos.

Find out how much better this is than the original by clicking here.

Undisturbed by previous torsos, our next volunteer was author J C Steel with her vampire novel Death is for the Living.

New Blurb:

What is sexier that vampires? Vampires on boats with French accents, of course. Blood has never been so slick in JC Steel’s sexy vampire story.


And as this book doesn’t appear to be on Amazon yet, here’s her original cover idea. Maybe she’ll change it for a torso before it’s too late.

We also did a poll to find out which classic should be reimagined at a torso.  The winner, by a landslide was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

New Blurb:

Victor couldn’t get a man. He’d tried TINDER, Match, and all of the traditional sites. No luck. Not to be defeated, he decided to dig up a corpse and make his own, but has he made a man, or a monster…?

You can see how much better this is than the original by clicking here.

And finally, a reimagining of Curtain Call! I love this so much I contemplated changing my original cover, but then, I may lose my target audience…

New Blurb:

Jim has it all. Successful career, money, fans. The one thing he is missing is the perfect woman to share it all with, and well, he doesn’t find her here, because this is lesbian fiction, fools.

You can see how much better this is than the original by clicking here.

And if we can get Curtain Call into the top 10 on Amazon UK for Lesbian Fiction, Amy will do a Shrek torso poster, so get buying, let’s make this happen!

 


Vehicles and Torsos

Category : Flash Friday

Well, today’s #FlashFriday prompt was vehicles.  I, however, never being one to turn down a dare, promised Debbie McGowan that I would include a naughty scene with a torso, which I have dutifully done.  This post, therefore, contains naughty bits, so you have to be over 18 to read it. If you aren’t over 18, please go away and come back when you are. Thanks.

So, for those of you who have been following Grumpy Badger Guides, you may recognise a theme here… ahem..

It even has a cover, thanks to the incredibly talented A.M. Leibowitz.

Jamie ran his fingers tentatively down the smooth torso.  It was warm to the touch, and so hard. He hadn’t expected it to be so hard.  It shifted slightly under his touch, so he took it more firmly, a hand on either side, gripping it.  Leaning in he cautiously touched it, first with his nose, then with the tip of his tongue, exploring the contours, abs, chest, neck.  It was exciting. He’d never done anything like this before. He shifted in the back of the car. His excitement was growing, it was so intense.  He had to unbutton his jeans or he might just burst. The pressure of his swelling member against his fly was just too much to bear. He sighed as he released himself.  The torso shined in the sunlight that had been beating down on it through the car window. It was time.

“Oi!” A woman’s voice called from behind him.  “What are you doing in my car, weirdo?”

Jamie spun around, pulling the torso out with him to cover his front area.

“And what are you doing with my mannequin?” She sounded hysterical.

“I’m sorry…” Jamie stammered.  “It was just in there and I couldn’t resist… It’s so smooth and…”

“Oh, Christ!” The woman went grey, suddenly realising what was going on.  “You’re the bloke who was in the paper for marrying a pizza oven, aren’t you?”

“Please don’t tell my wife!” Jamie suddenly panicked tossing the torso at the woman and taking off at a run.

“Eugh… I…” she held the torso at arm’s length.  It was still damp from Jamie’s saliva.

“Hey, babe,” a man approached her. “Whatcha doin’ with old Horace, there?”

“The pizza oven guy was in the back of my car with him…” She held the torso out still, staring weakly at the open back door of her car.

“Eurgh…” the man stepped away from her. “How did he get in?”

“I must have left it open…”

“Right… well… stick him in the boot and be glad we didn’t buy a bread maker,” he said philosophically, as he climbed in the passenger side and opened the window.  


The Door

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

I’d been working at the lab ten months when the incident occurred.  Every day I’d walked down the long white corridor, ignoring the turn off to the restricted area.  I didn’t have permission to be in the restricted area. I was a lab tech. Occasionally I’d glanced down, and seen the huge industrial steel door, with a handle that looked like the wheel of a ship, so big I always imagined it would take about four people to open it, but I never went down the corridor, never peered through the thick glass window.  It was restricted. Above my paygrade.

“Morning, Lucy,” I smiled as she walked passed me and turned down the corridor.  She was the scientist in charge of this special project. She always insisted I call her Lucy.  All the other coats insisted on formality. They were mostly dicks though, and Lucy was really nice.

“Morning Mike,” she smiled at me. “How’s the weather?” She always asked me how the weather was, I don’t think she left the lab.

“Bit drizzly today,” I informed her. “Nice weather for ducks.”

She laughed a genuine laugh.  “I’m gunna be stuck in the lab most of the day, wanna have takeout with me at lunchtime?”

“Sure, I’ll order it in.  What do you fancy?” I smiled at her. Ten months I’d been there, and not really gotten to know anyone.

“Surprise me,” she smiled. “See you later.”

I watched her walk down the corridor, swipe a key card, tap in a code, press her hand against the panel before turning the big wheel.  Security sure is tight down there, I thought as I plunged my hands into my pockets and began to whistle, heading to my area.

By midday I decided I had had quite enough of cleaning jars, so I brought up the takeout app on my phone.  I decided to go for pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza? Cheese and tomato, sure winner.

“What are you doing here, this area’s restricted?” A tall man in a black suit and dark glasses blocked my way down the corridor like a giant, living cliche.

“I’m having lunch with Doctor Winters,” I said.  “Could you tell her I’ll meet her on the steps outside.  Tell her it’s brightened up.”

The man looked confused, but turned and headed towards the room. Dick, I thought to myself, as I headed up the steps and out to the main entrance to wait for our pizza.

“I think I’m in trouble, Mike,” Lucy’s voice from behind me made me start.

“What?” I spun around.  She had a large bruise on her face and looked very shaken.  “What happened.”

“I knew it was coming,” she said quietly.  “The thing I’ve been working on, they want to move it to the next phase.  It’s not ready, but they… they don’t want me to work on the next project. I think that would have been it for me, if I hadn’t arranged to meet you for lunch.”

“We need to get you out, now then, Lucy,” I said determinedly. “Don’t go back in, it’s dangerous for you.”

“It’s not that easy, Mike,” she looked awkwardly at me. “Where would I go, they’re everywhere!”

“I know.” I said calmly.  I shouldn’t be revealing this.  I was going off mission. But Lucy had all the information in her mind.  I’d get her instead of the files, we could blow the place. “But we can protect you, trust me.”

“We?” She looked at me, a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

“I’m SECTOR, Lucy,” I smiled at her. I know I was taking a risk.  “Trust me, I’ll get you out.”

“My family?” She was looking around nervously.

“We’ll get them too.” I said.

“Are you serious?” Control’s voice came in over my cranial implant. “What are you doing Mike?  This is not the mission!”

“It’s the mission now,” I said firmly, turning away from Lucy slightly as I spoke. “Get her family, and send us an extraction unit, we’re leaving now.”

“BOSS isn’t gunna like this,” Control said awkwardly.

“BOSS can shove it,” I responded. “Ten months in this shit hole and I’ve got nothing.  Now I’ve got something.”

“Alright, give us 30 minutes,” I could almost hear Control role her eyes.

“Mike,” Lucy looked at me. “We need to get him out.”

“Who?”

“Project J5.  If we leave him in the room they’ll weaponise him.  He’s behind the door.”

“OK,” I took a deep breath. “Come on, let’s go…”


The Grumpy Badger Guide to Book Covers

Welcome to another epic collaboration by A. M. Leibowitz and C H Clepitt, the team that brought you “The Grumpy Badger Guide to Dinosaur Erotica“.

 

Foreword (by C H Clepitt).

Those of you who follow me across social media will know that recently one of my book covers was put up on a website and labeled “bad refrigerator art”.  A lot of *coughs* well meaning people commented on what a shame it was that what looked like a good story was marred by such a bad cover. I am not particularly bothered by these *coughs*… er people, because they don’t ‘get’ what I’m trying to achieve with my covers, which is a consistent recognisable brand. You know my covers as soon as you see them, and anyone who is not a *coughs* ‘professional’ (read actual potential customers) thinks they are really fun, which they are.

However, some more well meaning folks suggested that if people don’t like my covers, I should change them, and as I always give in to peer pressure, I thought, what does sell? Answer, torsos.  So, I have teamed up once more with fellow author A.M. Leibowitz to create new, improved covers and blurbs for not only our books, but some classics whose covers are quite frankly, below parr.

Now, let us begin:

I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse: Tyrone Torso Edition

Tyrone takes his shirt off at one point towards the end, the author is capitalising on this.

Step into a sexy post apocalyptic world, where danger leads to bisexuality and sexy kissings of multiple genders. There is also a badger and possibly zombies, but no-one kisses them.

New blurb:

The apocalypse, danger, badgers, but who can you trust? Follow our hapless heroine as she experiments her way through the apocalypse, with sexy, yet terrifying consequences!

To see how much better this is than the original, visit the book’s Amazon page.

 

Lower Education: Phin Torso Edition

A.M. Leibowitz and I have worked together on several projects, so they have accepted this constructive criticism of their current cover as clearly having too many clothes in it.  Please keep in mind that if you don’t know the author, your negative thoughts are probably best kept to yourself…

Now, the main point when thinking about adding a torso to your cover is, does your book contain a man? You don’t want to deceive your reader. Fortunately, a quick look at the blurb tells me that there are a number of men in this story, so we’re golden.  Next we have to draw our torso loving reading in with a good blurb. The current one is frankly, too wordy.

New blurb:

Phin is boring and he knows it. One last job, then he’ll get a life, maybe, but will this job lead to the man of his dreams? Read this steamy story to find out!

To see how much better this is than the original, visit the book’s Amazon page.

 

Pride and Prejudice: Darcy Torso Edition

Jane Austen knew it, that’s why she told Colin Firth to dive into that lake, then step… out….

There are so many men in this book, torso is surely the next logical step in its cover arc.  It will open it up to a whole new generation of readers who have yet to see the BBC version…

New Blurb:

Lizzie is a modern girl in a world that’s failing to catch up.  She must get married or die a spinster with a ‘tude. She has all but given up hope when not one, but two sexy beaus enter her life, but how will she choose between the down on his luck soldier and the proud, incredibly rich Lord of the Manor? Er… they managed to flesh this out for how many words?!

See how much better this is than others by visiting the book’s Amazon page…

 

The Book of Abisan: Torius Torso Edition

Torius gets changed at one point, revealing that he has a tattooed torso, and we think this is the money spinner for the entire book.

This book is mostly about kick ass women, fighting the patriarchy, but where you have patriarchy you have torsos, so don’t be disappointed. There is also a hairy soldier who takes his shirt off at one point, but no actual kissing in this one, maybe next time, folks.

New Blurb:

Enter a world where women are tough and men are super manly, occasionally hairy, and there’s swords, lots of swords. Not as much nudity as Game of Thrones, but as you can see from the cover, we have torsos…

See how much better this is than the original by visiting the book’s Amazon page.

Pink in the Mirror: Random Torso Edition

OK, so, this one is more tough. It’s lesbians, so torsos are more hard to come by.  Still, there is a polite young man, and as most young men know, it’s only polite to remove one’s shirt when asked, so let’s go with that…

This seems to be mainly about girls and cars, so the torso is fairly tenuous, but we have a torso cover, so we still need to draw in our torso loving reader with a good blurb!

New blurb:

Girls, grease and cars, what more could a polite young man want? But when it turns out your girlfriend prefers girls, can your torso save the day? Spoiler… no.

See how much better this was than the original by visiting the book’s Amazon page.

Moby Dick: Torso Edition

They’re on a boat, right? They’re gunna get wet, so shirts will have to come off.  Let’s breathe some life into the old sea dog.

So, sure, it’s about some bloke who goes nuts whilst hunting a whale, but who doesn’t love a whale hunt, made all the sexier by this torso on the cover?  And check out the size of his harpoon! If you were on the fence about buying this one, the torso edition has sealed the deal.

New, improved blurb:

Size matters when it comes to Whales, and Ahab has a point to prove.  The one that got away is the one that will make or break him. He’s on a mission, but will Moby Dick be his downfall?

See how much better this is than the original by visiting the book’s Amazon page.

Life Begins at 48: Tim Torso Edition

Tim never actually removes his clothes in this cozy romance series of shorts, but working under the assumption that he must wash occasionally before leaving the house, we’ve taken some creative license with these covers.

A series of 3 short stories about a woman who has to take care of her mother after a stroke, and meets a very nice vicar. The vicar is a man, and where there are men there are bound to be torsos…

New Blurb:

Getting sacked leads to love for Linda, who proves getting old doesn’t mean you can’t still get it on, in this sensual series of shorts.*

See how much of an improvement this is by visiting the book’s Amazon page.

*Disclaimer in tiny print: There is no actually sex in this story.

Anthem: Trevor Torso Edition

And we’re back to men and easy access torsos.  We have definite MM one night stand going on here, so we could even have two torsos, but we don’t want to overdo things.

The main problem with the current blurb is that it’s just too angsty to draw in your average torso fan.  No-one cares about personal demons or finding yourself, or they might, but they don’t think they do, and won’t buy a book based on that, so, we need to reblurb immediately.

New blurb:

Trevor thinks his steamy one night stand with a musician is just that, until a song gets written about the experience.  Now Trevor needs to decide if he wants to fight for the man of his dreams, or share him with his girlfriend. From the co-author of “Can’t Help Lovin’ the Lizard” comes this latest sexy story.

See how much better this is than the original by visiting the book’s Amazon page.

Of Mice and Men: Torso Edition

If Steinbeck knew then, what we know now, he’d have put a torso on it too.

This book contains many men. And mice. Farm hands get hot, so they take their shirts off, thus, torsos. It’s not even tenuous here.  So, we have two torsos, (Lenny and George, obvs), a bale of hay (because, farm) and a mouse. Not a dead mouse, because that’s just sad, and let’s face it, if people knew what actually happened they wouldn’t read this one.

New Blurb:

Drifters George and Lenny find work on a farm, where the men are men and the women are sexy and no-one at all is killed.*

See how much better this is than the original by visiting the book’s Amazon page.

*Disclaimer in really small print: Almost everyone is killed…

Do you need a torso edition?

Is your book a bit blah? Have sales been a bit slow? Submit it to us in the comments and we’ll sort it out with a sexy torso cover and new blurb.  Seeing your sexy new torso cover on our blogs may increase your sales, you never know…


Happy Easter!

Category : Uncategorized

 

Hello everyone! Did you follow the link from my newsletter here? Or have you been silently lurking for months, just waiting for me to post something thrilling?! I’d love to know how you found me, so say hello in the comments, would you?

Today I would like to draw your attention to two things. Firstly, my hilarious sci fi satire is free on Kindle over this Easter Weekend, so if you were thinking you’d like to, erm… take a chance on me… now’s the time…

So, anyway, if you want to check out Heels whilst it’s free, get on with it! I’d really appreciate the downloads, followed by the honest reviews. I’m not sure if reviews do anything, but they do make me feel like it’s worth bothering, so you could do that for me… Click here to get your copy!

Wait, what’s that? You came here on an Easter Egg hunt? Well, it wouldn’t exactly be a hunt if it was easy to find, would it? *Rolls eyes* – here you go…


Slush

Category : Poetry

Be careful walking in the slush,

Even if you’re in a rush,

If you’re not then you may find,

You slip and fall on your behind.


Flash Friday

Category : Flash Friday

Today’s Flash Friday prompt from the fabulous Claire Buss is ‘Why is it so hard to accept the party is over?’

When it ended.

“School for me was one big party. I was captain of the football team, popular, could write my own ticket.  I had scholarships to all the major colleges, just had to pick.”

“So what happened?” Jared looked at his father.  The washed up mechanic with the bum knee and the beer gut had always been a bit of a joke to him.  Still lived in the small town he’d grown up in, worked in the garage since he was seventeen, but was still just a mechanic.  Anyone else would be managing the place by now, Jared thought.

“I didn’t want the party to end,” the man said quietly.  Indeed, he had never raised his voice to Jared, but there was something in his tone now that told the boy to be cautious. “I see you feel the same way.” He placed a clear bag with white powder on the small glass coffee table between them.  Jared felt the blood drain from his cheeks and a wave of nausea swept over him.

“Where…” he began.

“You left it in your damn jeans! Your mother found it when she was doing the washing! How could you be so damn stupid? You want to waste your future for a momentary high? You know if they find this shit on you it goes on your permanent record. No college will touch you! You wanna leave this town? You wanna have a future? You need to stop partying and care! For god’s sake, Jar! I thought better of you!”

“I…” the boy swallowed hard. “Everyone at the party was doing it, I…”

“No more parties, then. Six months to graduation, I need you to knuckle down, focus on the goal, can you do that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. You’re grounded until further notice.”

“Oh, but…”

“Nope, grounded, further notice, and if I ever get a call from the police saying you were found with this shit on you, you can stay in jail, you understand me? It’s poison!”

Jared stood up and stomped up to bed.  The man left in the room stared at the white powder, it was just there, so tempting.  He picked it up, held it in his hand, just feeling it.  The he sighed, stood up, headed to the bathroom, emptied the bag down the toilet and flushed.


Dead Cigarette in the Snow

Category : Poetry

Dead cigarette in the snow,

White ruined by a yellow glow.

Why can’t you vape?

Or better yet,

Just give up your cigarette.


Friday Flash – Strange

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

This Friday’s flash prompt from Claire was to type “strange pictures” into Google, and pick one as inspiration for a flash.  What this showed me is that people find many different things strange, and strange for someone might be perfectly normal for someone else, so, here’s my #FridayFlash

Strange Pictures

It always struck me, how the portrait of my great grandmother, the one that hung in the smoking room was never particularly, pleasant.  I suppose that was why it was in the smoking room, rather than the great hall, with all the other portraits. That, and of course, Great Grandma Gretel was the shame of the family.  She had been on the marches, argued the part of the slaves, once she threw a stone at a policeman.  True story.  Our family didn’t protest.  We were in the fortunate position not to need to.  We were well off, well respected and had no need to rebel, or incite change.  Anyway, Great Grandma Ethel disappeared, shortly after the portrait was painted, leaving Great Grandpa Bill with two children, and I can only imagine greatly relieved not to have a rebel living under his roof any more.

I often retired to the smoking room, no-one really used it, and I enjoyed the quiet.  I would sit and study the painting, sometimes chat to Great Grandma Ethel about my day, the things that pleased or annoyed me, what I was looking forward to, or what I was dreading.  No matter where I would sit, it seemed to me that Ethel was looking at me, really paying attention to what I was saying.  It was on such a day that the fire broke out.  I first noticed the smoke coming under the door, and opened it to the flames.  I let out a cry of panic, and was unable to shut the door again against the heat and the flames.  I rushed to the window to try and leave that way, but it was rusted shut.  The old house had fallen into disrepair.  The smoke was burning my lungs, everything was getting darker, and then I remember no more.

I awoke to see firemen staring at me, as though I was on a platform, above them.  I think I blinked, but can’t be sure.  A voice from behind me said quietly,

“Do not move until they’ve gone.”

I remained still, lying out, looking at them.

“What a strange picture,” one of them was saying. “See the woman in the background, she is in very old fashioned clothing, but the one at the front, she’s modern. Very out of place.”

“The whole thing is out of place,” another said. “See the farmer in the backdrop? He’s older again, whoever painted it did not research their history.  Come on, there’s no-one here, let’s go.”

When they were gone I looked up to see Great Grandma Ethel smiling down at me.

“The world I lived in was not for me,” she said quietly. “So I came here, to join my grandfather on his farm. I’ve enjoyed our talks, I hope you will be happy here.”

I blinked. I felt I probably would.


Friday Flash: Music

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

Today in our Sparkly Badger’s Group, the flash prompt from Claire read as follows:

Choose your favourite song, pick a smidgen of the lyrics and use that as your inspiration. Alternatively, choose an instrumental piece. Share your music & your flash in the comments below, no more than 1000 words.

My original problem was that songs already tell stories, so telling a different story was nearly impossible for my brain.  But then, a colleague dared me to write a flash about the song below, and I do enjoy a challenge. It’s more of a micro flash, but never say I don’t rise to a challenge…

Geoffrey the giraffe peered longingly over the treetops to the watering hole. There, with only her nostrils and ears poking out of the mud was Henrietta. Geoffrey had loved her from a distance for months, but had never had the courage to say so. His parents wanted him to settle down with Gloria, a giraffe from the neighbouring plain, but Geoffrey had never really been into giraffes, he preferred a filler, rounder figure. He…

Sadly for him, Henrietta was not interested in giraffe’s with a hippo fetish, or being anyone’s experiment, so Geoffrey was doomed to watch from a distance, never able to wade the swamp and dare allow his love to speak its name… Well, it was a bit weird, wasn’t it?!

This picture is shared from Wikipedia, under the creative commons license. It was taken by Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa