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Elisabeth Staab | How Does This Romance Feel?

Okay, perhaps there's still a little too much holiday nog in my system making me feel warm and fuzzy as I type this, but I'm about to lay a true confession on you: I'm truly, madly, deeply in love with artist who designs my book covers. Not, you know, that way, I'm talking a spiritual appreciation here people. As renowned cover designer Chip Kidd says, a cover artist's job is to ask "What do the stories look like?" This is a big flipping deal for an author, because the way a cover artist answers this question can and does affect a reader's desire to pick up a book. I've been known to grab a book for the cover alone, so I know first-hand that this importance. As an author, you must have love and respect for the person who does that job for you and does it well.

Equally important for me, during the writing of a book, is how does the story feel? Every writer has a different process, but for me the way a romance feels comes in part with the music that helps act as a sort of invisible score. A backdrop that infuses the scenes with an extra special texture, like music at a party. Sometimes I may weave music into a scene as a write. Tribal drumbeats spun by Anthony Papa play while the future king and queen of vampires make love in King of Darkness or a secondary character sobs quietly as he listens to Matt Alber's The End of the World and grieves for his dead mate.  The song is supposed to be about makeups and breakups, but when I added to my playlist for Prince of Power it became about so much more, endings and beginnings of another kind entirely.

I build this playlist as I go along in the telling of a story. The most exciting moment in the world for me is when I know I my couple well enough to have found "their" song. Sometimes there is more than one. For Anton and Tyra in Prince of Power, there were a couple of key moments that spoke powerfully during their journey. Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" fit so well for me with my hero and heroine, because the song is about strong emotion and heartbreak, and funnily enough, my heroine is pyrokinetic. There was also "We Found Love," which felt fitting because Anton is the son of the vampires' greatest enemy and Tyra is the vampire king's half-sister. From the start, theirs seems a romance that is hopeless. Doomed to failure... Or is it?

Song—be it the music, lyrics, or both—can be the glue that binds my story together. It offers inspiration, and helps define my characters. What music a character loves tells me a lot about them. Tells me what moves them literally and figuratively. The music I have listened to for a story has run the gamut from electronica to country, and sometimes I am surprised at what I find resonates. As a dedicated house music gal, I began King of Darkness at a rave and figured the techno theme would carry through the Chronicles of Yavn series. However, in Prince of Power Anton and Tyra were all about the R&B and the pop music, and that was the music that made Prince of Power gel.

With the exception of my one lonely human character, Alexia, who loves techno music just as much as I do:

In Alexia's mind she was dancing. Laser lights flashed and pulsed, voices chattered. Her body whirled and writhed and sweat rolled off. Smoke burned her nostrils and her legs were on fire, but none of it mattered so long as her body kept moving. Her chest bumped and her body vibrated in time to her favorite Max Graham remix of Conjure One's "Sleep," and she could float among the stars. Free.

"Ma'am did you hear me?"

Alexia shivered and looked at the police officer. Well, it was a fun daydream while it lasted... does this romance feel? Here's the full playlist:

· Set Fire to the Rain – Adele

· We Found Love – Rihanna

· Frozen – Madonna

· Changing – The Airborne Toxic Event

· Sleep – Conjure One (Max Graham Remix)

· It Will Rain – Bruno Mars

· I Am the Highway – Audioslave

· Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright

· Otherside – Red Hot Chili Peppers

· The End of the World – Matt Alber


This Fight Is Personal...

Wizards and vampires have been mortal enemies since the beginning. Now Anton, son of the Wizard Master, has one last chance to steal the unique powers of the vampire king's beautiful sister, Tyra...and then kill her. But when he meets Tyra face-to-face, everything changes...

Tyra will stop at nothing to defeat the wizards, until Anton saves her life and she suddenly sees an opportunity she never could have imagined...

As the sparks ignite between them, together they could bring an end to the war that's decimating their people, but only if they can find a way to trust each other...

About Elisabeth Staab

Elisabeth Staab still lives with her nose in a book and at least one foot in an imaginary world. She believes that all kinds of safe and sane love should be celebrated but she adores the fantasy-filled realm of paranormal romance the best.  She lives in Northern Virginia with her family and one big scaredy cat, where she loves to spend time with good friends, go dancing, and sing off-key in her kitchen (when she isn't making characters fall in love, that is).

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Comment to win PRINCE OF POWER US / Canada only, please.

King of Darkness
Chronicles of Yavn
February 2012

Prince Of Power
Chronicles of Yavn
January 2013




59 comments posted.

Re: Elisabeth Staab | How Does This Romance Feel?

While the cover of a book is indeed important, it is usually the title that first
catches my eye. Probably because my idea of handsome is quite different
than what I see on most covers. Not that the men on the covers aren't
good looking, they are. However, there's good looking, then yummy, and
finally mouth watering. Few covers are mouth watering for me, so I must
read the blurb to see if I find the description enough.
(Kelly Knapp 1:09am January 3, 2013)

The covers do draw me to a book in the first place. The picture and the colors will get your attention but I do read the back of the book and check out the author before I buy.
(Kathleen Yohanna 1:55am January 3, 2013)

I personally live it when authors provide a song list
for books. I'm a big music fan, so combining it with
books, which I also love, is awesome! I hour one
day there will actually book soundtrack albums
released! It could happen ;) Book trailers have
become big, maybe one day official soundtracks
will too! Until then, I'll just stick with the playlists,
and listen to them over and over again, as scenes
from the book play out in my mind. Great post!
(Heather Machel 5:56am January 3, 2013)

I certainly agree that the cover plays a large part in the sale of a book.
(Marjorie Carmony 6:02am January 3, 2013)

I think the cover definitely catches your eye or it can put you off.
(Maureen Emmons 7:26am January 3, 2013)

The cover certainly does help me in my buying decision - and I, too, love the music soundtrack as well - that SO reinforces the story!
(Felicia Ciaudelli 7:49am January 3, 2013)

I am another who looks at a cover to help me decide whether or not I want to buy.
(Jackie Preas 7:54am January 3, 2013)

Love the cover! If I did not know you were such an awesome
author, I would take a chance on this book based on the
cover and the title!! When I buy books, the cover is what
catches my eye. If the cover is too cartoony, I usually
won't give it a second glance. I know that's awful, but I
read romance, UF, PNR and erotica so it kinda weirds me out
to see a cartoon for a cover.
(Elizabeth Haney 8:33am January 3, 2013)

Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out Prince of
Power everyone, I love hearing your thoughts about music and
book covers!
(Elisabeth Staab 8:41am January 3, 2013)

I also check out the cover if I'm not sure of the author but I love your books cover or not!
(Bonnie Capuano 8:54am January 3, 2013)

the cover is that often that 1st impression that determines if you want to get to "know" the book better or not
(d Kenney 9:42am January 3, 2013)

I rely on blogs and other recommendations. Covers are nice but they never
get me to buy. I'm also not able to listen to music while I read. I start
singing - yuck ;).
(Victoria Sloboda 9:50am January 3, 2013)

The cover is great. Romance in music is all Gershwin.
(Kathy Sullivan 10:08am January 3, 2013)

I have learned not to judge a book by its cover, i check blogs and such. But I will admit that if the cover is eye catching the more of a chance of me at least checking it out.
(Valeri Davila 10:30am January 3, 2013)

new year contest great
(Kent Cook 10:58am January 3, 2013)

The relationship between the cover and the story should
definitely work. When the main character has a notable
characteristic (i.e. hair, tattoo or eyes) that is shown
incorrectly, it can turn the reader off.
(Karin Anderson 11:00am January 3, 2013)

Ooooh... sounds like a great book! :)
(May Pau 11:12am January 3, 2013)

The cover art is eyecatching but I personally don't like tattoos, I just think it looks like the person needs to wash. But if your character had a tattoo I am sure the model didn't mind getting body paint on and washing it off.
(Clare O'Beara 11:24am January 3, 2013)

The cover does have to work. I've definitely passed over books
just because the cover didn't look professionally done.
(Rebecca Whitehead-Schwarz 11:33am January 3, 2013)

A book will catch my eye with its cover enough to draw my interest... I then read the blurb and decide if it is something that I would enjoy. Like that cover!!!
(Colleen Conklin 11:43am January 3, 2013)

I think a catchy title and an interesting cover will grab my attention. If the blurb sounds interesting then I am hooked!
(Allie Motherway 12:04pm January 3, 2013)

I don't know anything about cover art, other then it plays a big role in catching my attention. I first look for authors names I know. Then for new authors, I look at the cover. If the cover grabs my attention, I then read the blurb on the back.

There is some cover art that I would love to frame.

Deb T
mammy4423 at
(Debra Thomas 12:14pm January 3, 2013)

I LOVE your playlist! I think that I was able to feel the story through the music you listed, a journey, through sound and lyrics - I also love your covers ;)
(Carla Carlson 12:39pm January 3, 2013)

(Shelly Caggiano 12:48pm January 3, 2013)

Really interesting and different points of view everyone,
thank you for checking out Prince of Power and for sharing
your insights!
(Elisabeth Staab 12:49pm January 3, 2013)

Yes, a great cover on a Book is very important but so is a
catchy Title for the book and like the old saying goes: You
cannot judge a Book by the cover because what is inside the
book and story can make it or break it too. Everything is
important in Life and in a great Book too and the story must
stay interesting to keep the attention of the readers and
then what is blessed by God will flow the right and correct
way. Thanks and Happy New Year everyone. God Bless You,
Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 12:59pm January 3, 2013)

Thanks for the chance to win! Sounds good!
(Sally Hannoush 1:32pm January 3, 2013)

I think the cover always catchs my eye. I like your cover,thanks for a chance to win.
(Linda Hall 3:02pm January 3, 2013)

Love author/book playlists!!! This romance feels like there have
been lots of challenges, but somehow love will find a way. ^_^
(Samantha King 3:59pm January 3, 2013)

nice pic on cover and now i wanna read it, thanks for this chance
(Debbi Shaw 5:34pm January 3, 2013)

The cover is hotttt...fell in love with the guy. :)
(Nahal Momin 5:49pm January 3, 2013)

Without a doubt, that is a yummy cover!
An appealing cover or cover candy as I like to call it helps to sell me a book but there are many factors that come into play. Storyline, sometimes one that I can relate to or other times one that help me to escape. It just depends on my mood of the moment.
I was mesmerized by Chip Kidd, he's like the sassy girlfriend every woman needs. He's a riot!
(Tracie Travis 6:09pm January 3, 2013)

You guys rock, thank you for your comments! Tracie, I'm glad
you loved Chip Kidd, isn't he hilarious!?
(Elisabeth Staab 6:35pm January 3, 2013)

A good cover is critical for me... That's the teaser that causes me to read the back of the book and the inside cover for more info on the story. It's the blurbs that are the final hook for me. If the blurbs don't catch me, I'm more than likely to pass on the book. If the photo doesn't catch me, I move on to other covers. Books without cover photos only drag me in if the author is already known and liked by me.
(Donna Holmberg 8:04pm January 3, 2013)

I love it when an author provides a playlist! I love reading
and I love music and there are times I hear a song and it
reminds me of a book or character and any time I hear that
song, I automatically relive the book or a certain scene!
Thanks for the playlist :)
(Jolene Allcock 8:16pm January 3, 2013)

covers give character to a book. Each author has their own style and artist who brings the book to life.
(Lisa Fitzgibbons 8:17pm January 3, 2013)

Definitely cover art catches my eye...I tend to like seeing the main character or some characteristics of the main character to give me an idea of what kind of character/story is involved. Example is Prince of Power has the dark, brooding male shirtless and with a tattoo that screams to me primal,warrior, fighter, alpha. Music playlist interpretation is harder but this one feels like there's intensity, drama, a bigger than you and me battle.
Thanks for sharing...this looks like a terrific read!
(p c 8:42pm January 3, 2013)

Music sets the mood and the background of the story. It brings the characters to life.
(Kai Wong 8:44pm January 3, 2013)

This series sounds amazing. Wow! I'm really looking forward to it.
(Chelsea Brooks 8:45pm January 3, 2013)

Music adds so much to movies, it would be wonderful to have
special background music for reading a book.
(Diane Sallans 9:05pm January 3, 2013)

Really enjoyed reading your blog. The cover of a book usually lets me know if I would even be interested, then look at the authors name and read the fly leaf. Never heard of a playlist for books.
(Sheila True 9:16pm January 3, 2013)

Sounds so good. Thanks for a chance to win it. Love the
cover, too.
(Mary Hay 9:19pm January 3, 2013)

I LOVE your taste in music!
(Renee Pajda 9:23pm January 3, 2013)

Thanks for sharing the playlist. I admit that I love music
and am curious about what authors listen to while they write.
(G. Bisbjerg 9:39pm January 3, 2013)

The title and cover of a book both catch my eye, but I use them more to tell me what type of book it is before I pick it up to read the cover blurb.
(Janie McGaugh 9:39pm January 3, 2013)

covers catch my eyes but i like the playlist also. thanks for the chance to win!!
love the cover!!!
(Jennifer Beck 10:31pm January 3, 2013)

Oh these sound great! The playlist has some of my favorites on it! Thanks for the chance.
(Martha Lawson 10:49pm January 3, 2013)

i would love to win a copy of your book...thanks
(Kimberly Hoefs 10:57pm January 3, 2013)

I usually choose a book based on the cover, I love artwork. I do read the back of the book to find out the content but the artwork has to grab my attention first. Your "prince of power" caught my attention very quickly. Thanks for the giveaway.
(Linda Fast 11:02pm January 3, 2013)

Book cover Difficult for me to work with music. By the
way, love the tat on the cover model, esp.since it's on his back /shoulder.
(Margaret Murray-Evans 11:22pm January 3, 2013)

The cover grabs my attention but the blurb or summary has more
influence if I buy it or not.
(Jan D 11:39pm January 3, 2013)

I do fall for a cover first, but I really rely on reviews for book
(Ann Sheiring 12:26pm January 4, 2013)

I read the exerpts and have a very in the know friend who tells me about so many fabulous reads :)
(Darci Paice 12:33pm January 4, 2013)

great covers!
(May Pau 10:07am January 4, 2013)

I have to admit, I am a slave to covers. If the cover doesn't
interest me, I probably won't pick a book up at all. It really
can make or break a book.
(Deidre Durance 10:35am January 4, 2013)

would love to win & read1
heard great things about you
(Pamela Faye Howell 2:25pm January 4, 2013)

For a book that isn't of my genre, I believe you got yourself a new fan!! I am totally into this story, and can't wait to get my hands on this book, to find out how you make this story unfold. Thank you for having such a great imagination, and I hope you have a very Happy and Healthy New Year!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:17pm January 4, 2013)

Thank you soo much for choosing me as a winner. I cant wait to read the book. I emailed my shipping info..plz let me know if you received it.
(Nahal Momin 2:31pm January 5, 2013)

the cover of the book and the back of the book description is what gives me an idea if I want to buy it or not
(Danielle McDonald 3:35pm January 5, 2013)

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