I LOVE romance. But I don't read a lot of mass market paperback romance novels. This is because I have a degree in English, which means that I am pretentious and satisfy my desire for romance by reading love stories thinly disguised as historical fiction, women's fiction, YA etc. etc.
Would you be mortally embarassed to be seen in public reading a book with heaving bosoms on the cover? I'm not ashamed to admit that I would...er...be ashamed.
I'm not predjudiced, either. The heaving bosoms could be women's...
And even if they don't have heaving bosoms, and even if they're perfectly PG, they're going to look something like this:
And honestly, I'd rather dance down the street in a thong than caught reading something that in public.
The downside of not reading Heaving Bosom books means I miss out on awesome character names. Sometimes my sister and I, if we're in a bookstore or Sam's Club and in a particularly silly mood, will go through the Heaving Bosom section and make fun of the names and book descriptions.
One of the few character names I remember - because my sister and I keep returning to it so often - is Dax Deveraux. Sounds like a bathroom cleaner. (My sister: "Dax it out with Dax!")
If you were writing a Heaving Bosom novel, what would your characters' names be? The men need something tool-like for a first name (Rake, Spike, Driver) and something with lots of consonants for a last name (Ravenscroft, Gibraltar, Rorschach). The women need a totally made-up first name (Wyndibethe, Murmur, Allessandrestina) and a rich-sounding last name (Wentworth, Davenport, Gabbana).
For more inspiration, and to celebrate Valentine's Day, check out these awesomely "reimagined" romance novel covers right here. My favorites are "For the Love of Scottie McMullet" and "MerFarts."
You can see some actual real (and really ridiculous) covers right here.