Photo Op

So, when your editor chooses to add #borntojudge to her tweet saying she’s ready to deal with the photos entered in the ’50 Shades of Kay’ contest, it makes you pay attention. In the end, I said, ‘we’ve been together too long’ as the two of us were in startling agreement. Nicole did send this note for posting here:

It was a tougher decision than I expected it to be because so many of the submissions were thoughtful, bold and clever, but I did find myself especially drawn to the photos of people reading in settings that reflect their own lives.  Reading is such an important part of our lives but the experience of it is different for each of us and I was really struck by the photos that showed that.

That made sense as a way of thinking for us. Trust an editor/publisher to angle it that way. More than just the book, people intersecting with it. I actually noted 7 or 8 I smiled at. One with a beer and a pipe at sunset outside, one in a snowbank, a couple of witty riffs on the contest title, one in a museum with an ancient bronze. All the others can be seen at the Twitter hashtag #riverofstars and I think that photos are also being uploaded to the Forums at, for those without access to twitter, and to archive them there.

But we actually got to three pretty smoothly, using a lovely little webtool that gathered them all – created for us by the splendid Anar Simpson of llearth (@llearth). And so, first, here are the two that just missed.

Shh! Mommy's reading

Shh! Mommy’s reading

This was funny, ‘real’ and demonstrated impeccable low-key taste in blending robe and bedspread! The tbr pile on the beside table marks a reader, too.

And then this:

River of Stars in the wild, both figuratively and literally

River of Stars in the wild, both figuratively and literally

This was beautiful and evocative: a really professional shot and composition, matched with a witty caption. I had used ‘in the wild’ to refer to the book being first released and seen ‘out there’. There’s even a slight hint of the ‘bound’ theme that (alas?) got into the contest with the ’50 Shades’ idea.

And finally, our winner:

Squeezing an air refuel in between chapters...

Squeezing an air refuel in between chapters…

As Nicole said (and I had to agree) it really is hard to top (!) a setting like this for a book photo. A lot of us read on the job. Few of us can … well, you know. I am guessing all viewers of the picture are grateful for the presence of the other pilot!

And I am grateful to all who entered. It was a small, fun idea when it started – and when the devious people at Wunderkind PR leaped on the joke about ’50 Shades of Kay’ – but it played out beautifully. Thanks to everyone, especially Nicole Winstanley, a good sport and a gamer if ever there was one.


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