Books by Melissa Bowersock

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Book Do-Over!

When my first two books were published by a New York house way back in the 1980s, the giddy excitement rather quickly turned to disappointed resignation. Although they accepted both books without any editing comment except to increase or decrease page count to fit their norm, they had full control over the cover images and the titles, and they exerted that control with no input from me. I named my first book The Rare Breed, as it was about a half-breed woman searching for her Cheyenne family after being reared in the civilized East. Well, that title was just way too tame. The book became Love's Savage Destiny. When it was published and my husband and I made our first foray into a Waldenbooks to look for it, we scanned one huge wall of historical romances. My husband searched the titles for a few moments, then came to me and whispered, "There's a lot of Savages up there." 


My second book was another historical romance, but this time the heroine was searching the Superstition Mountains in Arizona for the Lost Dutchman gold mine, escorted by a cavalry major and a Pima Indian scout. My title was Superstition Gold. Noooo, the publisher said, the word superstition connoted the occult and they couldn't have that. They sent me a letter in which they said, "We hope you'll be as thrilled with the title as we are." The new title was Love's Savage Embrace.

All righty, then.

It was at that point that I made myself a promise; one day I would write a book and name it Love's Savage Armpit.

I never did that, but I did write a satire of romances called The Pits of Passion by Amber Flame. The Pits of Passion is not your normal romance novel. It's a bodice-ripper, to be sure--but literally. The poor heroine can barely walk down the streets of London without having some lust-crazed man rip her clothes right off her body. When she goes to her closet to find something to wear, she has a hell of a time because the bodice is ripped out of every dress she has. You see, this is a romance novel where every aspect of the much-loved genre has been taken to the nth degree. This is a completely over-the-top, wild and sexy satire. I often warn people, this is NOT your mother's romance novel!

I actually wrote it just for fun, without any idea of publishing it. I was working at the time, and I wrote it longhand on blue line pads in the break room at work on my lunch hour. Some of the other gals in the office thought it was a hoot, and pretty soon most of them were reading it, coming behind me as I wrote. Word spread quickly, and before long I found out several techs that worked out in the field were also coming in on their lunch hours and reading it, too. I'm guessing these guys had rarely read a romance novel before, but even if they had, they hadn't read anything like this one! One day I went back to the break room and actually had to shake down almost every person there to find the last page I'd written. The pages were being passed fast and furious, and I had to wrestle the last page away so I could continue writing. That's when I realized that this campy little novel might actually be popular.

But who would publish such a thing? Romance is a sacrosanct genre, and the readers who love it would not be open to having every sacred cow lampooned as I was doing. Heck, even the hero had alabaster thighs. Surprisingly enough, though, one publisher stepped forward and optioned it. True, it was as an eBook only, and not a big deal, but at least someone actually published it. After that, it was a simple matter to publish it myself, both as a paperback and an eBook. 

My original cover was quite a mishmash of ideas. I wanted to hint at the sexiness of it, but also the absurdity of it. Ripped bodices, pirate ships, kidnappings; they all figured in. I cobbled together the cover myself, and at the time I felt it was a decent presentation. Now, though, after many years, it was time for a redo.

That was when the idea struck me. Pits could become Love's Savage Armpit. It was a perfect fit. Why hadn't I thought of that before?

The book has gotten mixed reviews, to be sure, which is no surprise. This is a book with something to offend everyone. But if you can approach it with an open mind, and if you're ready for some belly laughs, it really is quite a romp. Here's a sample of a couple reviews:

I was laughing out loud throughout the whole thing. Most satires/parodies I've read tend to go over the top and take things too far. Ms. Bowersock didn't do that. She does a wonderful job of giving just enough absurdity without crossing the line into the unbelievable. I really don't know how to write a review because there was just soooo much I liked about this book. It's friggin' hysterical!  If you like satire or historical romance or romance of any kind, you'll love this book. -- Kara Leigh Miller 

(This) is an unbelievable, hilarious tale and an enjoyable, easy read. Captivating from the get-go, this novel will take you on the ride of your life! Elizabeth's journeys will enable you to ride the high seas with her and her twin lovers, and laugh at the predicaments in which she both finds and loses herself. I have never read a novel quite like this one; (This) is in a class of its own! ... Congratulations, Melissa, (aka Amber Flame) for doing what so many writers fail to do! I treasure it! —Amazon review

So, in honor of the little satire that could, I'm re-releasing it with a brand new name, a brand new cover and a special sale. From now through October 9, 2016, it'll be just 99 cents. If you like satire, if you like over-the-top, off the wall humor, if you like sizzling, sexy action, this book is for you. 

But just remember: I warned you.

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