Ainslie Paton romance author

A Tale of Three Covers


Once upon a time there was an aspiring author who lucked a publishing contract.

Her little book, Grease Monkey Jive got a really great cover.  Given it started life as a self-published read with a series of really ordinary to deeply embarrassing covers, this was a hip hooray moment.

It was oh so sexy.

But this was 2012 and there was still some Wild West left over from the early days of the self publishing revolution.

A certain retailer declared the cover – TOO SEXY — and refused to range it.


So the publisher’s cover fairies sorted out a new cover – and it, well, it was nice, it suited the book and it did the trick.  And it’s obviously no good having a cover that bookstores won’t stock.  All was good, if a lot less sexy.

But you know how standards can change and what seemed risky once is old hat now – yeah, that happened.

Some very, very sexy covers started showing up and that retailer changed their mind about what was acceptable (clothed below the waist please!) for a sexy cover.

So the original cover is back with a new improved look.


But just to prove you should never judge a book by it’s cover – the story is the same playful, sweaty, flirty, fun ride.  Plus surfing.

Here’s a snippet:

“Oh, blow me!” Scott said, clenching his fists in frustration.  “I don’t like this whole idea, but I can’t think of a better one.  I don’t think caveman here can pull it off, but I don’t know what else we can do.  Can you handle it, Alex?”

Could she?  Dance with Dan, the caveman, the surfer, the player?  The man who did extreme favours for people he barely knew?  She couldn’t trust him – she wasn’t even sure she liked him – but he was standing there looking at her, waiting for her to say something.  Trevor was right about his presence; he could draw eyes, he could enthral.  Maybe she was part enthralled herself, part in lust with a caveman.  Was that the reason she felt unbalanced around him?  In any case, this was the last chance – she either agreed to this or their attempt was over.

“Yes,” she said, and Dan gave her a smile that crinkled his eyes and chiselled his cheek bones and she grinned back at him, and felt the stupidity of what they were thinking about.  There was no way this would work, but it might be fun trying.

Scott sighed again, “We’re at your mercy, surfer dude.  And I don’t like that either.”

Alex pressed her heel down on Scott’s good foot, not hard, but enough to warn him.  “Dan, that’s Scott’s way of telling you he’s sorry.  Right, Scott?”  She shifted her gaze from Dan to Scott who said, “Something like that,” and pulled his foot away.

“Scott didn’t mean to insult you, Dan, but yes, we were inspecting you.  If you had knee or back problems or flat feet we probably couldn’t do this.  It would be too stressful for your body.”

Dan looked from Alex to Trevor; he held up both hands in a surrender gesture.  “Ok, now you’ve got me worried.  You’d better tell me exactly what it is you need from me.”

There was a silence and then Trevor, Alex, and Scott all spoke at once, making Dan blink in surprise.  The reality of what they wanted him to do sunk in slowly.  They wanted him to take Scott’s place in the dance competition for three rounds over the next nine weeks.  They’d pay him five Gs if they won.  His job was to help Alex stay in the placings while Scott’s ankle mended, so Scott and Alex had a chance at making the final round and claiming the fifty Gs prize money.

He was their last option. They were either completely friggin’ mad, or someone – Ant – had put them up to this.  He roared with laughter.  He wished Mitch and Fluke had stuck around to hear this.  Maybe not Fluke.  Fluke was likely to think this made up for causing Scott’s fall.

“I guess that’s a no then, Dan?” said Trevor.

Dan whipped around to face him.  “You’re serious!”

Trevor nodded.

“What the hell makes you think I can do this?  You’ve got advanced students so there must be other dancers around.  I don’t get it.  Someone put you up to this.  You’re having me on.”

“It’s not a joke, Dan.  We’ve tried to find other qualified dancers and, for one reason or another, we can’t get anyone,” said Alex.  Now that Dan was back peddling, she was anxious to reel him in.  He was their last chance and a last chance was better than nothing.

“Get a better qualified student than me – that can’t be hard,” Dan said.  He looked at Trevor for an explanation that made sense.

“We have more qualified students than you, Dan, but none of them can match the way you look, the way you fit with Alex, and that goes a long way to making up the artistic side of the points score.  We know you won’t score high for technique, but you have a strong presence and we can use that to our advantage,” said Trevor.

They were completely mad and he was thoroughly confused, but Scott got in his face.  “You’re fricking good-looking and Alex is fricking gorgeous.  You and Alex will look so fucking hot together, that no one will notice you can’t dance.”

His mouth dropped opened in surprise, he could’ve caught flies.  He shook his head.  “It can’t be that easy?”

“No.  It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, caveman.  You’ll have to learn all the steps, the routines, rehearse every day, and that’s just so you don’t make a laughing stock out of Alex,” said Scott.  “And if this fool idea is of any value at all, you’ll have to dance passably well so that we don’t give the judges any reason to disqualify or eliminate us.  Put it this way – if you screw up, Alex and I lose.  So, no pressure.”

Dan met Scott’s eyes, saw the challenge he was throwing down, saw his fear and anxiety.  Ok, so this wasn’t a joke on the scale of Ant’s usual machinations.  This was real.  It was still nuts – world class, fuck-up-waiting-to-happen nuts.


2 Responses to “A Tale of Three Covers

  • That’s interesting isn’t it? How our sensibilities change or retailers perceive they do.

    • Ainslie
      9 years ago

      And you have to assume it will keep on changing as well. No sleep for us.

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