Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Intrigue Covers--25 years and counting

Since we're celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, I thought it'd be fun to share some Intrigue covers, and show how the look of our beloved romantic suspense novels have changed over the years.

Here's where it all started, with THE KEY by Rebecca Flanders.

Then we went through a "white" period--I discovered 43 Light Street in this phase--read bunches of the white covers in college.

You may have notice Tess Gerritsen's name on that cover. She's not the only NY Times Bestselling author to write for Harlequin Intrigue. I fell in love with Suzanne Brockmann's heroes elsewhere before I knew she'd been an Intriguer. How about this cover? Still white, but now they're tweaking the background.

Then we went into a "color" phase. I loved the rich colors and background details of the covers, though the pictures were tiny--and I do love to see a nice shot of a hunky


Here's Patricia Rosemoor's TORCH JOB--it has one of my favorite lines ever in an Intrigue. You'll have to read it to see what the hero says to the heroine at the end.

We also had a cartoonish phase that featured a lot of drawings--not my personal favorite--but the titles and author names were certainly clear.

Then we get into the signature "purple" era, when I started publishing with Intrigue. Here's an example. The "thumb print" was added later as the covers evolved. And more recently, the art department has started to "bleed" the cover art beyond the square on the lower 2/3 of the picture--that gives me a full shot of those nice heroes I love. See? We can do tender and romantic (one of those brief moments when our characters are catching their breaths between dangerous encounters in our books)

Intrigue covers went through an experimental phase--trying a mainstream look that really played up the suspense. Some of their best stories ever, but not great for sales. Maybe because readers couldn't identify them as Intrigues? Or, again, they wanted to see those heroes. But it was an interesting experiment.

And did I mention I like a good shot of the hero? How about this sizzler?

And finally, one of my favorite features of Intrigue covers (and from what I hear it's a favorite with readers,

too) is when we have an "Intrigue's Ultimate Heroes" month,

featuring nothing but the best in men--cops, military men, sheriffs, cowboys, spies, you name it--on the covers. You can see all 6 covers for this month's Ultimate Heroes. And I have to give kudos to Harlequin's art department. I think my cover this month is one of my best ever--I'd get lost in the mountains with a man like that any day.

So what are some of your favorite Intrigue covers? Which style do you like? What would you like to see more of? Let's dish and reminisce.

Julie Miller


  1. I like the experimental style, different covers for different story's(this was a 2-edged sword IMHO, readers who wouldn't think of picking up a harlequin would pick these up, but then the loyal harlequin readers didn't realize that they WERE harlequin) but the purple with the finger print is pretty awesome!

    I like the photo work on Intrigue covers,some are exceptional; except when they make the "hero" look like he just stepped out of wax and oil down spa, it takes away from the masculinity of the figure.

  2. westridgerunner--that's a funny, but accurate, description of why some heroes don't work for me. They're just too "pretty"--not manly enough for the studs who rule in Intrigue.

    And I think you're spot on with the mainstream covers and why they didn't sell well. They looked terrific, and would draw in new suspense readers--but I think many of our loyal Intrigue readers just passed them by because they didn't look like the familiar, guaranteed read they were looking for. Possibly.

  3. Oh yes on the covers Julie, maybe let the "cover" people know....A ex-Navy Seal, Monatana cowboy Rancher or a rugged individualistic Mountain Man; I don't think they worry about their chest hair and wether they or oiled down or not..it's just harder to put them visually in the story.....

    Aren't ya'll tired of readers complaining yet??!! LOL

  4. Personally, I'm a BIG fan of the purple covers with the thumbprint (or no print). Purple's my favourite colour and I didn't catch on to Intrigues till the covers changed. I like clear pictures of the hero too. As alpha as possible, heroic and if the heroine's on the cover too, she should look like she can take care of herself any day of the week. I love the continuity series or even just a two book follow-up. Not a fan of royalty stories. Give me military, cops, cowboys any day. :)