Monday, June 30, 2008

Debra -- Aw, Hell...hound. (Vote)

The fates were smiling on Bell Bridge Books, and we found another fabulous YA author to share with the world. Yay, us! We've done a few cover rounds and you can see the results below.

Girl and city 250x386

BITE ME (the first Demon Underground novel) from Parker Blue is an edgy book for teens that spans the gap between YA and adult fiction. Barely eighteen-year-old heroine Valentine Shapiro got a raw deal in the parent lottery. Her father was part incubus demon, and her mother's never forgiven her for that.

Life after high school is tough enough without having to go 15 rounds with your inner demon. Thrown out of the house by her mother, Val puts one foot in front of the other and does the only thing that seems to make any sense--she takes aim at the town vampires. A stake a day, keeps the demon at bay. (But don't call her Buffy. That makes Lola, her demon, very cranky .)

Soon enough she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not.

Great, huh? It gets better. She's the proud new owner of Fang, a hellhound.

Here's where things get dicey for me. We had a great photo of Fang for the back cover. The author felt the photo matched her imagery. What's the problem? We forgot to check the price on the photo. He's very very expensive. hellhound - terrier - dreamstime_214478 (Aw, hell!) I couldn't even buy a reduced resolution to show you!

Instead we're auditioning other's for Fang's role and you can help. Tell us which dog-type you think would make the best hellhound. Are you going to go for quirky or do you like a classic?

1. The terrier-- These little dudes can be relentless. And funny. They have no fondness for vermin and they'll go down a hole to root them out.

hellhound- border collie -dreamstime_4723225 2. A Border Collie-- Here's a breed that isn't afraid to do their job. You don't stand up to a 900 lb cow unless you've got some grit. Borders don't back down easily. And they have a strong work ethic.

3. An Irish Wolfhound-- "Gentle when stroked and fierce when provoked. " Irish Wolfhound This dog has the heft to fight at your side. Bred to take down wolves in the "Old Country." Usually stand 34 or MORE inches tall at the shoulder. They've been known to die of grief, shortly after their owners died.

4. Other. If you don't like these choices, describe your take on a quirky or classic hellhound.

33 comments:

lois greiman said...

Yowsa!! The book sounds GREAT! And what a fabulous cover.

Congrats, Debra. And I like the wolfhounds. Could there be a cooler dog? They're all angsty looking. Not to mention big and hirsute and romantic. I think terriers are too cute...though yeah, they're well...terriers. And border collies...well they make me feel intellectually inferior...and lazy. Still...Irish Wolfhounds make me sigh.

Cindy Gerard said...

I agree with Lois. The book DOES sound great! It would be fun to go quirky and have this darling little terrier fill the role - talk about unexpected. Same thing with the Border collie but for my money it's the Wolfhound all the way. They are so multi-dimensional.

Michele Hauf said...

Oh man! My current WIP it titled Bite Me. :-)

Anyway, I don't know what hell hounds should look like, nor do I know dog breeds, but something more vicious looking with fangs and a long pointed muzzle, is what comes to mind.

And for quirky, you can't go wrong with a Saint Bernard.

Amy said...

Holy Tamoley. That cover is great.

As far as Fang: Of the three you posted: the wolfhound.

MsHellion said...

Wolfhound. Wolfhound.

The book seems sort of serious, with wit humor and I think the dorky little terrier would smack of slapstick. (Okay, and I don't care for terriers...so if I saw it on the cover, I wouldn't pick it up.)

Karen Fox said...

I've read the book. I know Fang has to be a terrier. It's part of his character. His outside doesn't match his inside.

Debra Dixon said...

Lois-- ROFL at Borders making you feel intellectually inferior. That’s funny.

Cindy-- I tossed the Wolfhound in because I showed them for years. Had 5 living in the house at one time. I, of course, adore them. (g) And I agree the Terrier would be so unexpected for the reader. I like that too.

Michele-- St Bernard? Now that’s one I hadn’t put on the list. Totally unexpected choice. I emailed the author and told her to come check out responses. You guys are giving her something to think about.

Debra Dixon said...

Amy-- That's great to see such a strong reaction for the book's package. Thanks!

Debra Dixon said...

Mshellion-- Somehow I knew you'd be a wolfhound voter. Just seemed like your vibe. :)

Debra Dixon said...

Karen-- I have great affection for the terrier posted here! He looks like a trusted companion. Keen, alert, majesty in a small body.

Christie Ridgway said...

I vote wolfhound too, but also like the idea that the outside of the hellhound doesn't match the inside. There's a lot of fun breeds if you want to go that route.

Labradoodle could be cool.

flip said...

The book sounds great. I am a big YA fan. I have read some many good novels aimed at YA.

Hellhound - Mastiff

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- Well, Labradoodle wasn't on the radar but that would be funny.

Flip-- Good. I'm glad a YA fan can see what we saw in this book. :) Yay!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Deb, I'm so thrilled with Belle Books's growth. You and your partners are my heroes in the business.

I was all for the wolfhound right away. There's a built-in vulnerability there from what I understand. Clyde had his heart set on one years back, and when we looked into it, we found that they're prone to heart attacks. Is that true? The body's too big for the heart. True of some horses, too, where breeders have gone for size. I can see using something like that in the story. Love those Achilles' heels.

My daughter has a Giant Malamute that would make a great hellhound. He's like a big teddy bear--loveable but huge. They take him to the Renaissance Festival every year just to see the sights, and he becomes a bigger draw than the royalty. But, he nearly killed our aging Aussie. One day Legion (yep, "We are Legion, for we are many.") realized that he was the baddest dog in the Eagle pack, and he suddenly went for the jugular. Elizabeth's husband--fortunately a big guy--had to risk his own neck to save poor old Cisco.

More dog lore than you needed, but I just wouldn't buy the terrier as a hellhound. A little devil, maybe, but hellhound has presence. Physical presence. We've had terriers--little body, big heart. Feisty does not a hellhound make, imo.

Great cover!

deb smith said...

Hi all
Can't he look like a cutie on the outside but shapeshift as needed? I loved that little vampire lap dog in Blade. The one who opened his mouth to reveal fangy pincher stuff. Wow.

Deb, who is easily impressed by special effects.

Debra Dixon said...

Kathleen--

Poor Cisco! He was totally out-gunned in a fight with a Malamute! I love the very primative look of the stare and heads of Huskies and Malamutes.

Irish Wolfhounds are a short-lived breed. I had one who lived to 12 and the vet said he'd never had an IW client live that long. But generally they are a breed that isn't going to live much beyond 7 or 8. I figured I was on "gravy time" anytime they turned 6. Heart problems are one of the bigger health issues for the breed. But that's not so much Irish Wolfhounds but with any giant breed.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I hear you on the giant breed thing, Deb. Legion is already showing signs of age, and I think he's 6. He's a Giant Malamute, so extra big.

Hiya, DebS!

You guys know vampires aren't my thing, so I shouldn't press the issue. But I'm a fan of mythology. Googled hellhound, and the look is definitely not terrier. Size anywhere from lab to bear. Ears are always pointy, never floppy. They're not shapeshifters. Point being, a hellhound is a specific mythological creature. If you're into this sort of thing, you're not going to sit still for a shapeshifter being confused for a hellhound.

Am I being a useful devil's advocate, or just my usual stubborn-old-dog self? Either way,this is interesting and so much more fun than polishing up the rough edges of the about-to-be-shipped WIP. Here's one of the sites I found for the hellhound afictionados among us: http://twine.hellhound.net/Hellhound

Kathleen Eagle said...

Okay, so the terrier in the picture has pointy ears, and the wolfhound is floppy. And Legion's ears were supposed to perk and never did, so he's floppy. And hellhounds are shorthaired. How about a Dobie?

Debra Dixon said...

Kathy-- Dobie made me think...A Beauceron might be cool.

http://www.beauce.org/images/going_for_the_big_one.jpg

(And of course we all know that the author does actually get to decide whether she's changing it or not.) There is support within the manuscript to explain her choice of dog and how that happens.

But it's fun to play!

catslady said...

I agree about the Wolfhound - I've always liked medium to large dogs.

Estella said...

The book sounds great!
I kinda like the terrier.

Kristina Wright said...

Irish Wolfhounds make great hell hounds. :) There is one who lives in my favorite hanging-out neighborhood and he is a BEAST. Just enormous! But a total sweetheart, not hell hound material at all.

Liza said...

The book sounds awesome! I think a good hellhound would be like Fang in the Harry Potter movies. I think he is a mastiff, but not really sure. I also like the Irish Wolfhoud best of the three choices.

Debra Dixon said...

Catlady-- I always like medium to large dogs because I don't drop kick them at night when walking through a dark room!

Debra Dixon said...

Estella-- Isn't that terrier a cutie? I'm not usually a terrier fan but I liked him.

Debra Dixon said...

Kristina-- Yes, they are the "super-size-me" of dogs, that's for sure!

Anna And Sean said...

I vote Wolfhound- they seem to have the disposition that a hellhound would need. I like the loyalty factor too. If I had to pick a small dog I would say a beagle or something.

Debra Dixon said...

Anna-- A beagle? Now that's an interesting choice. The beagle would be a good tracker, run game to ground. Certainly unexpected!

Karin Huxman - Romance Author said...

Great cover! I'd go with the terrier - a bit quirky, a little bit of a surprise at least to us large dog owners!

Betina Krahn said...

Deb, sorry to be late chiming in on this, but I've been out of touch with the family thing.

A hellhound has to have some "hound" in it I think. the wolfhounds do it for me. I also think something like a Weimereiner with the big yellow eyes could be hellish-- though I love them as dogs.

My niece had a black giant schnauzer for years that had weird eyes. . . reddish brown that glowed blood red when light hit them at night. Used to freak me out when we drove up to the house after dark. Two red eyes and a huge dog running out to take a bite out of a tire. . . whew! She was a bright, sweet beastie, but looked very fierce and they called her "the devil dog" because of her freaky red eyes.

Debra Dixon said...

Hey, Karin-- We large dog owners are sort of like the Hummers of the pet world. We think we own the road. (g)

Debra Dixon said...

Betina--

We had a weim many years ago. A miscellaneous dog we picked up in the dog show crowd. If you show dogs, breeders will try and weasle a dog into your home. (g) She was a sweetie but, like all weims, she could "put on the weird" when she wanted to.

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