Announcing the Lukewarm Cover Blurb Contest

We’ve passed the 1500 RSS subscribers mark! Thank you all so much for sticking around and participating in our discussions of all things writing. As has become tradition here, we'll celebrate with a contest. And I have a good one.

A while back, my dad asked my husband (aka astronomer and literary snob J Blackburne) if he liked Midnight Thief. J’s response was something along the lines of, “Yeah, I did! A lot of first novels have cardboard characters and plots that fall apart halfway through, but Livia's book was not like that.”

Later on, I teased him about having liked my book because it “was not horrible.” At which point, my secretly-supportive-but-very-mischievous husband got a glint in his eye.

“It's… serviceable fiction,” he said. “With every element needed to become a runaway bestseller amongst undiscerning readers.”

And that dear readers, is how I got my very first cover blurb. I can just see it now, in italics across the top of the cover, just above the picture of Kyra vaulting over a palace wall.

In honor of this occasion, I now announce the Luke Warm Cover Blurb contest. Because good cover blurbs are boring, and bad ones are too obvious. I'm looking for the ones that make you step back and scratch your head --  do a double take.

Here are the rules: 

1. Leave as many entries as you want to, between now and end of the day April 14, 2012.
2. My husband can get away with this because we have the same sense of humor and I think he's adorable, but for the sake of good karma, let's limit this contest to imaginary book titles and authors (or your own, if you're the masochistic type).
3. On April 15, the original Lukewarm Blurber himself will choose the winners. Each winner will get a book, with the first-place winner getting first choice, and so on. I'm not quite sure how many books I'll give away, but they will include at least:

Alright, folks. Happy blurbing!

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  1. It's pretty good. I didn't want to kill myself when I read it.

    Hee hee, your husband sounds like my husband. The above blurb is something my hubbie would say.

  2. I don't have one (maybe later) but there's a term for what you are looking for. A paraprosdokian sentence is a tricky and humorous verbal trick. It begins, often with a cliché, and ends with an unexpected twist that forces the reader to reexamine or reinterpret the phrase preceding it. It’s sharp evidence of intelligence and humor on the part of the writer. However, it’s the kind of a smart-aleck sentence you’d have to be careful of indulging in a serious work. Here are a few examples:

    “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.”—Winston Churchill

    “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”—Groucho Marx

    “She looked as if she’d been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say ‘when’.”—P.G. Wodehouse

    My wife and I were deeply in love; just not with each other.—William Leroux

    I was told some excellent advice, but I can’t recall what it was.—Kainlyn Cepeda

    “If I could say a few words, I’d be a better Speaker.”—Homer Simpson

    1. Jan -- Very cool! I didn't know that. I like the Wodehouse one. Quick clarification for contest people -- your entry doesn't necessarily have to be a paraprosdokian sentence. If it is, great, but don't feel limited to that.

  3. "This paper fills a much-needed gap in the literature." - A scientist I know, in a peer review report.

  4. JB: Ouch! Here's mine:

    There are some sparks in this competently written tale of a love triangle between unemployed liberal arts graduates, which will strongly appeal to readers who regret their college years.

    Disclaimer: Not mine! Not anyone's (I hope).

  5. An enjoyable enough way to pass an afternoon, for readers at an adequate comprehension level with nothing better to do.

  6. "I do not regret walking into the bookstore the day I bought this book at a discount."

    "I do not hide this book when I have company for dinner."

    "Makes a better book than doorstop, though I'm not sure by what margin."

    "Minimal spelling errors, characters with consistent names, fewer than six plot holes: perfect for the tired high school English teacher in your life."

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. TYPO Corrected!

      "Younger Twilight fans and anti-feminists will find plenty to like in 'I Can't Lift My Pepsi Glass Without Knowing You Love Me," a 789-page chronicle detailing the first hour of what may not actually be a date between the lovely but catatonic Blala, and the mysteriously pallid Edsomething, whom Blala suspects is like, maybe actually dead."

  8. It passed the time in flight, since the movie screen was broken.

    Thankfully the book I read on my recent flight was much better than that!

    :} Cathryn / Elorithryn

  9. Okay, here we go again:

    Title: Dumped at the Dump

    "Recycling offers a triple metaphor in this bromance chronicling the misadventures of two jilted sanitation engineers. Readers will happily dispose of this light read."

  10. Agh, I hope I'm not the only one doing this.

    "With pyrotechnic virtuosity, [author] never lets the reader forget who is pulling the strings as the tragic misfortunes of his doomed characters shove them to the brink."

  11. I was already hard at work on this one:

    "A giant lateral leap in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Mutton Chops chronicles the way the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles rational theories of human history."

    More at

  12. "I don't care for this genre, but I read this book anyway because my wife wrote it." (Title and author omitted for the sake of preventing a divorce.)

  13. Title: The Fog of the Caveman's Blog
    Author: Douglas Gilbert [me]

    Love, romance, and adventure can be minor titillations, but if there be one decent poem in a novel, there can be no rhyme or reason to the plot; here we have both. Good humorous start to the end of world for the reader.

    Note: If this changes sales from zero to 0, I'm suing myself for defamation. But I don't think I'll have a case because it's just my alter-ego's opinion, and obviously I disagree with myself from time to time. The characters, of course, could testify if they can be reached.

  14. "When a Down Writer Loses a Pen"

    A guy with too many fig leaves and no dates finds a pen under his palm tree. When the ink runs dry, he turns toward the ritual sword. Like a discarded ball, it has its downs and diminishing bounces, yet it finally rolls away. For the weekend athlete who practices malaise and mayonnaise, this is the perfect mood setter for writing a will.

  15. "Too Much Pudding Spoils the Cook"

    Diary of a morbidly obese chef who whisks away his troubles on a treadmill-peppermill. Skillfully he crushes spices with his derrière on an exercise bike, writes his memoirs in beef blood, and suffers a fatal heart attack live on television while dictating his last recipe for chocolate marinated moose with venison and truffles. Reading this book helped me stick to my diet with a minimum of nausea.

  16. Title: Roaming In Poetry
    Author: Douglas Gilbert

    The best abuse of the poetic license ever, especially in the overly cute romp through the gifted forest "where the antelope are fed their just cantaloupe and melon collie dogs bark a lark." Not every dark poem makes you want to hang yourself, although there are a sufficient number of those, and not every love poem will force you to dump your present lover. With attention to the index, one can avoid death or an ecstatic state quite easily. Heavy enough book to hammer stakes into the ground or heart, but light enough to throw across a lake. Friends, toilmen, bumpkins, lend me your eyes to spy; I have come to bury Caesar salad not to praise the Anchovy.

  17. "This is a book that no one else on earth would even have conceived of writing. The author's word choice is stunning, and his plot twists boggle the mind. I couldn't get through it fast enough."

  18. "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." - Dorothy Parker's review of Benito Mussolini's The Cardinal's Mistress

  19. "I didn't find any major typos in the first three pages, and by page four I was fast asleep."

    "Out of all the books I've read, this is one of them."

    "Not the worst book ever written. No, this must be only the seventh or eighth worst book ever written. A hundred times better than that one book the author didn't pay me to review."

    "Wonderful book! The plot made sense most of the time, the characters were only a little cliched, and the ending wasn't as bad as the last Transformers movie."

  20. An homage to the classic Vivian Mercier review of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, which she described as a play which “has achieved a theoretical impossibility—a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps audiences glued to their seats. What’s more, since the second act is a subtly different reprise of the first, he has written a play in which nothing happens, twice.”

    "Nothing happened, twice, and I fell asleep twice reading this."