Today I am so pleased to welcome Charley Descoteaux to Joyfully Jay. Charley has come to talk to us about covers and her books Buchanan House and The Pinch of the Game. She has also brought along copies to give away! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Every Cover Tells a Story

Thank you, Jay, for having me back! I hope it’s not too cliché to talk about cover art on your blog—I love cover art, and fangirling over the amazing artists I get to work with.  🙂

Earlier this year I did a lot of research to figure out what to ask for on the covers of my three books on Dreamspinner’s release schedule for 2015. I probably should’ve done that a couple of years ago, but we live and learn. Especially after hearing that covers I thought were perfect really weren’t telling the right story.

One article (I want to say it was written by Jordan Castillo Price, but I can’t find it) described the function of cover art as communicating the genre of the book to the reader. This was a lightbulb moment for me. I love a hot and sexy Romance cover but that post got me thinking beyond the sexy hunks, and focusing on the most telling details. Every Romance isn’t created equally, after all.

The Pinch of the GameFor my June release, The Pinch of the Game, a paranormal adventure Romance (in that order) I needed a cover that fit the story: enemies to lovers with a heavy dose of magick and mayhem. AngstyG gave me this gorgeous high-contrast cover. It’s very different from almost every cover out there—which, I hope, says that the story isn’t a typical paranormal Romance. I love that it looks like an art nouveau-inspired pack of playing cards.

Buchanan HouseBuchanan House, though, is a very different story. It’s a contemporary Romance, pure and simple. A much sweeter story than I’ve written in the past, the cover needed to reflect that. L.C. Chase did an amazing job capturing the feeling of a relaxing beach holiday—from the clear sky and calm waves to the simple font and informal garden surrounding the camp house. This isn’t exactly the way I pictured Buchanan House and its gardens, but that’s far less important than evoking the right feeling—telling the right story on the cover. Every time I look at this cover I wish I were sitting at that table, watching the waves (or the hunks). Maybe I’ll get the hang of this after all.

How did I do at choosing covers for these two stories?

I have more books in the pipeline so I’m going to shamelessly enlist your help to get the best covers for them.

If you could design an M/M Romance cover, what would it look like?

Answer in the comments for a chance to win a copy of either of my new releases, Buchanan House or The Pinch of the Game. If the winner already has both, they can choose an ebook from my backlist.


Eric didn’t realize he was staring at Alex until he heard Maria’s breathless “Oh my good Lord.” Alex froze, her fork halfway to her mouth. Eric glanced at Maria, who stared toward the kitchen, her mouth slightly open.

“Well, hello there.” Tex grinned. “And who might you be, handsome?”

Eric followed Tex’s line of sight and thought Tim’s expression mirrored Alex’s. Nathan and Paulie turned, and it creeped Eric out a little, how quickly their expressions morphed into naughty.

“Tim.” For a long moment, that’s all Eric could get out. Before Nathan could give him any hell over it, he forced himself to stand and finish his thought. “We didn’t expect to see you today.”

“Had the time, so I thought I’d join the work party. If you need an extra pair of hands.”

Eric crossed the room, every step a little faster than the one before it. He didn’t want to be anywhere near the horrible people who moaned and sighed and mumbled over that. “That’s so nice of you. Have some breakfast first. Oh, and meet everyone.”

The closer Eric got to Tim, the hotter his face felt. Damn Nathan and Paulie and their uncouth natures, making Eric think of Tim’s hands…. By the time he turned back to look at everyone, sitting around the table looking like a bunch of fat cats with canaries in their mouths, Eric knew his face was red. “Everyone, this is Tim. He’s been fixing things around here. He’s a professional handyman.”

Eric glared at the people he had so generously mischaracterized as family. The lovely people who obviously wanted to take everything he said in the naughtiest way possible. It wasn’t Tim’s fault a day’s growth of stubble made him even more ruggedly—

“These horrible people are my family—and I use the term loosely. You know Nathan, and that’s Paulie, Tex, Maria, and Alex.” It took a lot of self-control not to stick his tongue out at them, but that wouldn’t have helped one bit.

Tim smiled, as much as Tim ever smiled, which was not much. He nodded toward the far end of the table and said, “Good morning, ladies.”

Alex, who’d shrunk a good three inches when Tim appeared, seemed to grow at least five and favored him with a full-blown smile pointed right at him.

Eric thought he might cry. “We’re having Pancakes Alex. Let me get you a plate.”

Tim sat at the table and ate politely, but he seemed relieved when they all headed upstairs. With Tex and Maria grilling him in a way they might’ve thought subtle, and Nathan and Paulie ogling him in a way that wasn’t in the same zip code as subtle, it was a minor miracle Tim didn’t bolt for the back door. He did keep his face turned away from them for the most part. Even though that little trick of his wasn’t Eric’s favorite thing about his favorite handyman, he could see its worth in the face of the inquisition.


Buchanan HouseEric Allen, thirty-three-year-old line cook, moved in with his grandmother, Jewell, after a disastrous coming-out when he was in middle school. She raised him, and he cared for her when she fell ill. When Jewell died she left everything to Eric—angering his parents and older brother. The inheritance isn’t much, but Eric and his bestie Nathan pool their money and buy an abandoned hotel on an isolated stretch of the Central Oregon Coast. The hotel isn’t far from Lincoln City—a town with its own Pride Festival and named for a president—so they christen it Buchanan House after James Buchanan, the “confirmed bachelor” president with the close male friend.

Eric and Nathan need a handyman to help them turn Buchanan House into the gay resort of their dreams. Eric finds Tim Tate in the local listings and over the months leading to opening weekend Tim reveals himself as a skilled carpenter with many hidden talents. Eric falls hard for Tim, but before he can see a future with the gorgeous handyman he has to get over twenty years of being bullied and shamed by his birth family. It would be much easier if Eric’s brother Zach weren’t trying to grab part of the inheritance or ruin opening weekend.


Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Rattle Charley’s cages:


Charley has brought a copy of Buchanan House or The Pinch of the Game for TWO lucky winners to give away to two lucky readers (winner’s choice). Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, August 24th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
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