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Have You Ever Shot A Gun?

I’ve been working on covers lately. Part of that means I look at every cover I see and evaluate it. Do the colors make me want to buy? Is it too loud? Too soft? Too … weird? I saw a cover the other day where the lady on the front was in some kind of…well, let’s hope it was a fighting stance. It looked more like she had a really bad cramp or…maybe, yeah, she might have just crapped her pants. That could be a scene in the book for all I know, but it really isn’t what I want on the cover (of her book or any other book, frankly.)

Anyway, in my various evaluations, I keep running across covers similar to this one:

Blood Challenge

I have seen three or four or six covers where the woman is in heels and crouched in a similar position with a gun. These ladies have one leg stretched out and one leg in a crouch. Sometimes she’s in a mini-skirt, sometimes leather pants, sometimes jeans. The backdrop varies from a cityscape to waterfront or she looks like she’s balancing on a wall. No matter where she is…This is a silly stance. Yes, yes, I am *sure* it is sexy (it must be because that is the only possible reason to use this stance.)

Go ahead. Try it–and remember you’ve got to get into this position quickly and you have a gun in one hand (or have both hands around the gun). Then, when you’re crouched, use both hands to hold the gun.

I’ll wait.

Okay, if you can even GET in that position without pulling anything (I hope you’re able to get back up, too!) try holding your hands out with an invisible gun. Keep your hands steady! Did you fall over? How long did it take you to find your center of gravity?

When you hold the gun in a shooting position, are your arms moving as you try to keep your balance?? No rocking back and forth!

Yeah, it’s possible to get a shot off, and if you hold very still, you can maintain the position and find your center of gravity such that you can hold the gun across one knee.

But if you’ve ever shot a gun, this is not the position you’re going to rush to get into if you’re in danger.

See, if you’ve ever shot a weapon, you know that a major requirement is balance. Not just to get the shot off, but to handle the recoil. And if you’re in a hurry, crouching down to avoid getting shot, you’re scared. You’re moving, you’re looking everywhere, but the one thing you need to be is steady–fast. You go down on your knees–both of them. Maybe you even fall onto your stomach because from there, you can use the ground to steady your arms and you might be marginally safer. I’d sit on my butt before I’d attempt a crouch like the ones in these covers.

I *know.* It’s Hollywood. It’s imagination. It’s fiction. But yanno. If you really want some laughs, put on a mini-skirt and heels and try it… just don’t try it with a loaded gun!

(related poses on covers)
(related poses #2)
(Maria Complains about Cover Art)
(Maria complains more about Covers)
Maria Complains about Stock Photo selections
What?? Another complaint about cover art? This time about guy cover art…

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Posted: June 21, 2011
Filed in Cover Art Discussions


  1. I’d give the cover designer props because A. she’s actually wearing normal clothes instead of leather or miniskirt or bikini or whatever and B. she isn’t wearing heels. According to most cover designers (based on the covers they create), women are apparently not sexy unless they are flashing skin and wearing heels. I’m actually sad for them if they truly think this.

    But yes, perhaps a bit ridiculous as a shooting pose. But, I don’t believe it is nearly as bad as say Vicki Petersson’s Taste of the Night cover:

    Comment by April — June 21, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  2. Yikes! See, it’s that same pose (notice this model has to brace herself or she’d probably fall over). And what is that she is holding out? It probably needs two hands to operate as well. Lady, put your leg underneath you–one knee down the other foot out in front flat on the ground and balance!! Egads. It’s a miracle these heroines survive… πŸ™‚

    Comment by Maria — June 21, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  3. So, I’m not the only one who likes to pick on covers. Reader sent in this one:

    Frostbound: The Dark Forgotten

    It’s a nice cover except that when about to turn the corner and fire, I doubt any woman is going to casually rest one foot against the wall like that. And those are the highest heels I’ve ever seen…

    Comment by Maria — June 21, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  4. She’s holding a small crossbow (I think).

    Comment by April — June 21, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  5. I was really afraid someone was going to say it was a crossbow. Have they actually tried to shoot a crossbow from this position????

    Comment by Maria — June 21, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  6. Good grief. I’ve heard (and agree with) people describe these covers as the modern equivalent of the girls in the chainmail bikinis … or the ripped, half-naked warrior with the chained, mysteriously scantily clothed female nearby, take your pick.

    Comment by Lindsey Duncan — June 23, 2011 @ 8:17 am

  7. I do find them worth a chuckle. That may not be what the artist/publisher was shooting for (pun intended) but I’ll take my laughs where I can get them.

    I do despise those covers depicting women with a tiny loop of chain mail a sword and high-heeled boots. Yeah, I’m going hand-to-hand combat with nothing but skin. Puh-lease.

    Comment by Maria — June 23, 2011 @ 8:25 am

  8. And if you survive said combat, not only do you have to worry about fight wounds but chain mail chafing, blistered feet, sore calves and a bad case of frostbite in the unmentionables. Spare me. I’ll be at home in my comfy sweats with a nice cup of chocolate!

    Comment by April — June 23, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

  9. April–you are so dead-on!!!!

    Comment by Maria — June 23, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

  10. *cough* *sputter* *gasp*

    Oh, excuse me! I was just choking on my drink just now…..

    πŸ˜€ Hilarious! And so (unfortunately) true. I’d like to see a guy get into that position to shoot a gun. He might lose a dangly bit or two…

    Comment by GraceKrispy — July 10, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  11. Grace! You didn’t hurt yourself practicing that crouch, now did you?? πŸ™‚

    Comment by Maria — July 10, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

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