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Lavendiron

The author says:

This is a coming-of-age slice-of-life romantic black comedy set in the year 1969 of an alternate timeline. This story follows the strange love life of fourteen-year-old Heinrich Kennedy, product of the Greensboro Lebensborn Institute, as he gradually comes to terms with being attracted to both a boy and a girl from another Lebensborn Institute that he met while attending the Stonewall Rally in New York. The institute authorities don’t mind his interest in Rolf Heisenberg, but their records indicate that Emma Monroe is biologically his half-sister. To make matters worse, their attempts to steer him away from Emma and toward the recently-turned-eighteen Rolf are thwarted when Rolf is suddenly drafted into Germania’s brutal Pacific War with Premiere Lysenko’s Soviet Bloc forces in Japan. In chapters punctuated with various pop cultural references (such as the lyrics to the first verse of “In The SA Now” by Aryan Dorfbevölkerung), we get a personal perspective of life in a world in which Nazi Germany won World War II due to Ernst Röhm’s rise to power as its Führer after Sturmabteilungnacht. This story is aimed at readers of Harry Turtledove alt-history novels who might appreciate something a little lighter and softer in the same genre.

Lavendiron

Lavendiron

Nathan says:

A black comedy alternate-history Nazi love triangle? I can totally get behind that.

The problem with your cover is that it’s too subtle.  Readers will pick up on the swastika over the White House, sure (well, maybe not in the thumbnail) and the Germanic script, but it’ll be at least a few seconds before the pink tones and “Lavendiron” can come together in their minds… and they still won’t get it.

I mean, this is Springtime For Hitler with teen angst melodrama!  Go big or go home! And I think on this one, because this doesn’t match any conventional genre, you can’t just pull together a cover with imagery familiar and appealing to that genre’s readers.  I think you’re gonna have to spring for a custom cover on this one.

In fact, I know just the guy.  Let me see if he’s interested, and then I’ll give you his contact info.

Comments

  1. There is absolutely no way anyone would be able to get “a coming-of-age slice-of-life romantic black comedy” from this cover. Indeed, I see nothing that even really suggests the story you are describing, other than the general idea of post-war Nazi America. And even if someone did get a clue, they would have to have managed to decipher the title from the typeface you’ve chosen.

    I think you probably need to rethink this cover from scratch.

  2. > Nazis won WWII
    > School is trying to push him *toward* dating a guy

    Uh. Recheck your history a little. In particular, look up the origin of the pink triangle.

    1. It is a bit strange, that is the thing about alternate timelines though – they are allowed to be different.

      Even then, 1969 seems a bit early for something so progressive, regardless of timelines. For all we know though, after the war Germany was ultra-progressive thanks to Hilter’s teenage daughter.

      1. The key here is Ernst Rohm becoming Fuhrer. That would have meant that the SA/Brownshirts would have become this timeline’s equivalent to the SS/Gestapo and one of the big rumors/gossip about the Brownshirts was that many were homosexual including Rohm.

        1. That makes sense, given the facts.

          Can Hilter still have a teenage daughter though? I imagine her as a free spirited young girl who thinks daddy was a bit of a stick in the mud. Millicent is a nice girl, good with kids, likes cats, and she goes by the nickname Minty.

          1. As I say, if Ernst Röhm is der Führer, that probably means Hitler and company are out of the way. Also, Röhm’s homosexuality and promotion of homosexuality in the S.A. was no mere gossip and rumor; they were pretty flagrant about it. It was their socialism rather than their sexuality that got them in trouble with the other Nazis, though: the industrialists and nationalists were none too thrilled at Röhm’s plans to collectivize and nationalize industry in much the same way Josef Stalin was doing in the Soviet Union.

            Again, Röhm’s being der Führer explains a lot, such as why a Nazi institute would be fine with a boy crushing on another boy, but it clashes with the effeminate pink themes of the cover (not Röhm’s style of homosexuality at all) and raises a lot of further questions of what else Röhm might have done radically differently from Hitler. Seems to me Nazi Germany under his leadership might have been almost a carbon copy of the Soviet Union under Stalin–which also explains a lot.

  3. I look at this cover.
    I read the description.

    These do not match at all, sorry.

    I keep looking at the cover, trying to guess what this cover is saying this book is about. The title doesn’t help me clarify either, because I don’t know if Lavendiron is a real word or not, or German? I just don’t know.

    My best guess is that is about Lavendiron, a trendy young Nazi princess who goes off to be a white house intern and has madcap Nazi adventures.

    Side Note: Is “In The SA Now” by Aryan Dorfbevölkerung a real thing? I couldn’t find out if it is or not, but If it is, have you secured the rights to use the first verse of it in your book? (as well as your other references)

  4. My first impression from the thumbnail: pink Nazis have taken over America! Granted, at that size I thought that symbol on the flag might be a plain X like the tilted crosses on the flags in Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 parody of the Nazis in The Great Dictator, but that’s still obviously a riff on the swastika, so the point gets through. The Germanic font (so that’s what that fancy font is called; I’d been wondering about that) is legible in thumbnail size as well, though it took me a bit longer to make out the author than the title. So far, so good.

    My second impression, on seeing the cover and reading the synopsis: I guess pink Nazis really did take over America, though that’s only the background to the story, and only by implication: assuming “pink” stands for “camp gay” here. It only came together for me after reading your synopsis to the very end, and then only after considerable parsing and analysis of a kind your prospective readers aren’t going to have the time or inclination to do. Even then, only the setting appears on your cover, and only the place at that, not the time.

    So there are no characters on the cover, no clues to the year, nothing particularly romantic (except maybe to someone with a fetish for flags or the color pink), and nothing particularly personal to hint at the slice-of-life or coming-of-age aspects. Apart from the bizarre implications of a pink Nazi symbol flying over a pink “White” House, I’m not seeing much of the humor a black comedy ought to have either. In short, your cover’s incomplete.

    I know we’re supposed to focus on the cover, but for the benefit of my fellow critics, maybe I should present my analysis of the tricky wording of the title and synopsis here as well:

    1. Lavendiron
    My browser is putting red squiggly lines under that term, so it’s probably not in the dictionary. Running it through a search engine, I’m turning up only links to this site, and one World of Warcraft reference; I doubt the latter has any relevance to a story about Nazis. My best guess is that the word’s a portmanteau of “lavender” and “iron” as in lavender standing for homosexuality and iron standing for the Nazis’ militaristic ideology.

    2. Stonewall Rally
    The Stonewall Riot occurred in our version of 1969. That it’s called a “rally” here suggests it’s a government-endorsed celebration in this story’s version of 1969.

    3. Lebensborn
    Basically, Himmler’s baby farms for breeding and manufacturing Aryan children on an industrial scale. Presumably, in this story, they’ve been instituted in Nazi-conquered America as well, since Greensboro is a city in North Carolina.

    4. Germania
    If this is anything like the use of the term in the HBO movie Fatherland (also set in an alternate history where Nazi Germany was victorious), presumably the title for Nazi Germany’s expanded empire.

    5. Premiere Lysenko
    If this is the Soviet Union’s science director Trofim Lysenko from our history, a real nasty piece of work, to put it mildly. How he came to rule the Soviet Union in this story would be interesting to know. In our 1969, the Soviets’ leader was Leonid Brezhnev; not a very nice guy either, but nowhere near the totalitarian monstrosity Trofim Lysenko was.

    6. “In The SA Now” by Aryan Dorfbevölkerung
    The Google Translator translation suggests “Villagers” or “Village People” for Dorfbevölkerung. Considering the… setting, I’m guessing it’s alternate 1969’s version of “In The Navy” by the Village People… though they rolled that song out in our 1978. For obvious reasons, I doubt this Aryan version of the Village People has very many of the same members as our version, if it has any of them at all. As an obvious parody, any lyrics from that song should be protected from copyright claims under the Fair Use laws.

    7. Ernst Röhm… Führer
    This explains a lot, considering that Ernst Röhm was the very gay and very socialistic leader of the Sturmabteilung, a.k.a. the S.A. or the Storm Battalion or the Brown Shirts, an army of almost three million thugs. If he’s the Führer in this story, that means Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler must all somehow be out of his way, since they were the ones who engineered his downfall and ordered the purging of the S.A. in our history.

    8. Sturmabteilungnacht
    Literally, Storm Battalion Night; presumably the opposite of our history’s Nacht der Langen Messer (Night of the Long Knives), in which the S.A. was purged.

    As mentioned, Ernst Röhm being der Führer in this story explains a lot; but it raises a lot of questions too. For one thing, Röhm and his thugs were mostly brute-force-loving “butch” homosexuals, not the campy limp-wristed “femme” kind. If anything, they’d be more into wearing lots of black leather and metal than silky pink and lavender girly clothes. As such, if they changed the red of the Nazi flag (which they might not have, Röhm being a big fan of Stalin’s red-themed socialism), they would probably change it either to the brown of their uniforms or to the black of the S.S. uniforms. (Röhm wanted the S.S. to be under his command too.)

    In other words, unless the divergence in timelines between this story’s history and ours came from some event a long time before World War II and the rise of the Nazis, the color scheme is rather anachronistic even in this alternate history. That doesn’t leave much of the cover worth keeping except maybe the title and byline. Also, the spacing of the latter needs to be reduced: the first and last name are too far apart.

    I recommend getting a whole new picture; maybe an illustration of this Stonewall Rally with a shot of your protagonist kissing with his new crushes in the crowd, or something like that.

  5. Yes, this does not say much about romance OR black comedy, just some bad exterior design choices… Besides gays, lavender is also colour and fragrance associated with little old ladies – I would rethink both the title and the cover.

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