Hi guys, today we have author Heidi Belleau & cover artist Vivian Ng stopping by to show off the brand new covers for the Rear Entrance Video series. We have a great guest post and a special offer from Riptide Publishing, there’s also links to Thommie’s reviews of the series. So enjoy the post <3 ~Pixie~
This straight-A student has a dirty little secret.
Christian Blake dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, but making the grade means maintaining a squeaky clean image: no drinking, no drugs, no swearing, no sex. And definitely no falling for his new roommate—tattooed bad-boy Max, who may or may not be a drug dealer.
Most of all, it means no working at a porn store. But Christian’s aunt has cancer, and her beloved Rear Entrance Video will go bankrupt if Christian doesn’t take over managerial duties. Soon enough, Christian finds himself juggling sticky twenty-five cent peep show booths, a blackmailing employee, and a demanding professor who likes to make an example of him.
And then there’s Max, who doesn’t know anything about the store, but hates Christian’s preppy sweater vests and the closet Christian forces him into when they’re together. Max just wants Christian to be himself—even though Max is keeping secrets of his own. Christian struggles to find the impossible balance between his real life and the ideal one he thinks a teacher needs to live . . . all while trying to keep his aunt’s dream alive without losing his own.
This gamer geek has a pretty little secret.
Art student and MMORPG addict Robert Ng has always been a loner, but he’s recently made it his goal to make more (IRL) friends. Which is how he winds up working nights at Rear Entrance Video, shilling sketchy porn and blowup dolls as a favor to his roommate. The longer he works there, though, the more he realizes he’ll never be truly happy until he becomes the person he is online: his female persona, Bobby.
Bobby is cuter and funnier than Rob is, and a thousand times more popular with boys. Becoming Bobby IRL presents its own set of challenges, though . . . especially when you’re sitting on the fence between two genders, only one of which has caught the attention of your seriously cute customer/classmate.
Dylan Ford is a six-foot Inuit comic book artist who always says what’s on his mind, and screw anyone who doesn’t like it. As rough as he appears, though, Dylan has a soft spot for Rob. But will out-and-proud Dylan still want Rob if he’s not all man?
This macho jock has a crooked little secret.
College hockey player Austin Puett is in trouble. Unless he starts treating his flamboyantly gay roommate with respect, he’ll lose his room and his job at Rear Entrance Video. But Austin’s got a not-so-straight secret of his own: nothing turns him on more than insults implying he’s gay—even though he’s definitely not!—and all his old coping methods have stopped working.
Pure desperation drives him to rent a Mischievous Pictures porn flick about straight men tricked into servicing Puck, a male dominant. Instead of letting off steam, though, it just leaves him craving more, more, more, and suddenly, Austin finds himself at Mischievous Pictures Studios for an audition. After all, you can be Gay For Pay and still be straight . . . right?
But meeting Liam Williams, the real person behind Puck, confuses Austin even more. Liam really seems to like him as a person, and Austin likes him back. And while Gay For Pay’s okay, what does it make Austin if he still wants Liam when the cameras aren’t rolling?
Choosing a Cover Concept
Hi, I’m Heidi Belleau! Over the coming days I’ll be touring the web showing off the gorgeous new covers for my queer NA rom-com series Rear Entrance Video, all about a diverse house of Vancouver roommates who wind up running a dilapidated porn store.
Today on the tour, we’re taking a behind-the-scenes look at what might have been with Vivian Ng, the cover artist, as we share some of the early concept art for the series.
Here’s Vivian on how it all went down:
The covers were designed book by book instead of as a set, like I would submit a batch of 4-ish thumbnails for one book and then wait for feedback. But after the concept for Apple Polisher was picked I made sure the thumbnails for the other books had one reasonably developed composition to would match the style of the first cover. And L. C. picked the matching ones, so I’m pretty sure it was obvious what I was doing.
And here’s the original cover art concepts for Apple Polisher and Wallflower, as well as the finished versions of all three books!
Everyone at Riptide was torn between the middle two concepts: the first with the neat rows of shirts eventually became the cover you see, but the close-up of Christian—so dynamic and gorgeous, bringing Christian to life in all his gangly glory—was a strong contender right to the end.
With the Wallflower covers, the question was whether to go subtle: (the two shirts, one a women’s and one a men’s, distinguishable only which side they button on and the shape of the collar) or more on the nose: the image of Bobby’s makeup and extensions, or the image of Bobby holding up a skirt and blouse as if considering trying them on. In the end, the fourth concept wound up becoming the kernel of our cover—with the feminine and masculine attributes of each outfit pumped up and then intermingled to really suggest Bobby’s fluidity.
So! Did we make the right choice on covers? (We certainly think so!)
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.
She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!)
When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.
Connect with Heidi:
About Vivian Ng
Vivian Ng is an illustrator and occasional comic artist living in Mississauga, Ontario, working mostly in watercolour, ink, and digital media. Vivi’s hobbies include watching children’s cartoons, reading fanfiction, and drawing entirely too much fanart.
Special Offer From Riptide Publishing:
Use coupon code REVRECOVER to receive $2.00 off the ebook price of Apple Polisher!