Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Book release day for THE LADY AND THE LIBERTINE

Today is the official release day of my seventh Egyptian historical, THE LADY AND THE LIBERTINE.

I like this book. I may like Nigel, the wicked hero, best of all. In this historical, a wicked earl plots to seduce a virginial beauty in order to steal the treasure she guards in Egypt. But will she steal away his heart, which he keeps as carefully guarded?

Or, if you want to read an interview I did at Dorchester with the wild and wicked hero, click here.

If you're attending the Romantic Times convention in Orlando in April, you can meet Nigel in person when he's portrayed by one of the cover models in the Mr. Romance competition.

You can read more about The Lady and the Libertine, and my other new release, Broken Souls in the Midnight Cravings anthology, over at the Silk and Shadows blog. Click here. Leave a comment to be eligible to win an autographed copy of Midnight Cravings.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Here comes the Wind-up! There goes the Pitch!

from Emily Bryan . . .

If you're a writer you know what I'm talking about. A pitch is a short session with an editor or agent where a writer condenses their work down to a yummy little morsel in the hope that said editor or agent will snap it right up. Reducing 400 pages to one coherent (never mind appealing!) sentence is nothing short of magic, IMHO.

Some folks think once you reach that rarified "published" status your pitching days are over. Not so. We still have to pitch, but we enjoy the luxury of pitching "proposals" instead of completed manuscripts. I'm getting ready for the New England Chapter RWA conference and putting the finishing touches on my pitches to my editor today (She's flying up to Boston from NYC for the conference). Leah wanted at least 3 possible premises. I've got 4 to offer her. Hope she goes for one of them. Please cross your fingers for me!

I'm blessed with a good working relationship with my editor, so I'm going to enjoy the face time with her. But I'm also pitching to a new agent this weekend. My previous one had to close her agency for health reasons, so I'm currently without representation. This meeting will hold a bit more stress for me because I would LOVE to form a partnership with this particular agent. But in my brief time with her, the most I can hope for is a request for my manuscript (I do have a finished Romantic Suspense to dangle before her!) I also hope I don't manage to embarrass myself by blurting out anything stupid.

Today on my personal blog, Emily Bryan Romance, I'm hosting Marie-Claude Bourque. M-C is an American Title V finalist and has become an internet marketing whiz in her quest for publication. She's talking about making the most of your book trailer today AND giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. Please visit Emily Bryan Romance.

Leave a comment or question on my blog for your chance to win!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Woo Hoo Post

Warning: This post will contain cheering.

The RITA award calls have gone out and I'm thrilled that my friend and fellow Dorchester author, Colleen Thompson finaled in the Romantic Suspense category for Triple Exposure.

In June, I'll be interviewing Colleen here about her next release, Beneath Bone Lake

I first fell in love with Colleen's books when I read her first rom. sus, Fatal Error. I remember I sat down at my kitchen table, picked it up to read chapter one and see what it was about--and suddenly I was on page 150! The book just sucked me in... Since then I've been a raving fan.

I love her books because her characters are so real--you can believe these are people you know getting into extraordinary problems. Things that could happen to you...

My next woo hoo is for ME. Romantic Times gave The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie a Top Pick! for May, and them's hard to get, especially in historical.

You can read the first chapter of the book absolutely free here: http://www.jennifersromances.com/Madnessoflordianexcerpt.html. It will release in May.

Also a shout to fellow Dorchester author, Kathryne Kennedy who also received a Top Pick review for her May release, Enchanting the Beast.

A big woo hoo!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

EEK! A Mouse!

There are three things in this world that give me the heebie-jeebies: snakes, spiders, and mice/rats. Okay, maybe that's four. But I kind of lump the last two together as furry things my cats like.

Over the years I have gotten fairly used to riding the house of spider-kind with a glass and a spatula to trap the crawly-critter and return them outside. Snakes, I just avoid. At the zoo in Seattle, one of the only warm places to go on a typical rainy Seattle day is the Tropical Rainforest Exhibit. But there, too, I have learned how to be like a horse with blinders as I hurry through the snake portion of the exhibit and on to less emotion-laden animals.

Which brings us to mice. Imagine my surprise yesterday when while working in my office, I heard the cats making noise in my bedroom and went to see what all the ruckus was about. That's when I saw it . . . a rather large mouse running across the carpet as it was chased by our two inside-the-house-only-kittens.

A mouse in the house? How? Why? @%$&! That meant I had to do something about it (before the cats did)! Being a live and let live kind of person, I did they only thing I could. I trapped it in the bathroom, closed the door, got over my horror, and went to find a big box.

After a few squeaks on both mine, the cats, and the mouse's part, I got him in the box and returned him to the outside.

The kittens were crushed. I was thrilled. I had triumphed despite my fear, a household warrior goddess.

How did the mouse get in the house? I can only assume that one of our older cats carried it inside when he came back inside. My children, who are home on Spring break, don't understand that it's important to do a mouth check ~before~ you let the cats back inside. Perhaps the cat thought he was bringing a present to his brothers. Thoughtful cat.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? A critter surprise? A time wher you had to triumph over your fears to get through a situation?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Looking on the Bright Side

from Emily Bryan . . .
Did you hear about this? It seems a Brazilian Wandering Spider (whose bite is not only deadly but has some curious side effects) was supposedly found hitchhiking in a bunch of bananas in a Tulsa WholeFoods. The stock boy killed it. (My hero! Anything caught indoors with more than 4 legs deserves to die.) Then later a university type said the spider was merely a Huntsman spider, not harmful, and should not have been destroyed. (Killjoy. I really like not sharing my interior spaces with multi-legged beasties.)

And yet, the article went on to say, the deadly variety of spider has a potential gift to give mankind. It seems in Brazil, victims of this spider's bite are easy to recognize in the emergency room. They're the ones sporting a very substantial erection that will last for hours (provided the spider bite doesn't kill them in 25 minutes). So researchers are hopeful that studying the venom will lead to new drugs for erectile dysfunction. (Will they actually find volunteers for that initial human testing?)

So the strawberry in the situation is: The spider bite will kill you, but you'll go out smiling?

This story just sort of pegged out my "weird-stuff-o-meter." What have you seen in the news lately that made you go "Huh?"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Still Learning

I just got back from the fabulous Southern Lights one day conference given by the First Coast Romance Writers. The workshop was awesome. It was given by Dianna Love and Mary Buckman and is called Break Into Fiction. I can't recommend it enough. Their book will be released in June so please go preorder it because I have a feeling its going to sell out fast.

Also a special shout out to President Alesia Holliday and Conference chair Renee Ryan for a wonderful day.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Music Video Goes Historical

Since I have a million pages that I need to write, proposals that are due, copy edits to take care of, I was doing what every true-blooded writer does . . . I was searching the web. It was a productive search, for I found this fun new music video that celebrates historical romance.

It's a video by Taylor Swift called Love Story.

Check it out!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Drunk on Art

from Emily Bryan . . . Yesterday, after taking the red-eye back from Seattle where I spoke for Eastside RWA, I went to the Isabella Gardner Museum. A friend of mine is a docent there and she treated a small circle of us to a private tour.

Isabella Stewart Gardner was the wife of a wealthy Boston Brahmin who inherited 1.6 million upon the death of her father in 1891, back when that was an embarrassingly large sum. She and her husband agreed she'd spend the lot acquiring art. So she spent her life and her funds traveling the globe cherry-picking masterpieces.

I was already so sick with envy, I was predisposed not to like Ms. Gardner a bit.

Then I saw what she'd created.

The Gardner Museum is an absolute gem! More than merely a collection of acknowledged masterworks, this is the sum of a life's passion, a peek into a woman's soul. It's a very personal exposee of a unique individual's quest to educate, to tempt, to infuse her culture with an appreciation for beauty. Not only did she acquire art, she encouraged and supported the best artists of her time. Then she put on her curator hat and transformed her home into a museum (She lived on the fourth floor of this incredible building that's wrapped around a four-storey Venetian-style courtyard). By observing what she'd so carefully chosen and so lovingly displayed, I learned about her tastes, her loves, her theology, and her eccentricities.

The painting above is a portrait of her by Anders Zorn, a Swedish artist. She's stretched out, filling the space and pressing against the walls, refusing to be confined by the conventions of her day.

I like Isabella Gardner very much indeed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Historical Wit

I finally watched The Duchess, which inspired me to grab Amanda Foreman's biography Georgiana: The Duchess of Devonshire off my TBR shelf and read it.

The biography far richer in detail and interest, imho, so if you did not enjoy the movie, I would encourage you to read Foreman's book (read it even if you did like the movie). I realize that movies have to truncate for time, but the movie concentrated on only one small soap-opera of Georgiana's life (there were several).

I was going to go into detail about what I would have liked to see portrayed (more about her desperate struggle to conceive at all; her circle, including Beau Brummell; and other things), but I'll just say that the movie left out *a lot.*

Not to say it isn't worth watching. It did get me to pick up Amanda Foreman's biography to "learn more."

Also if you're into historical costumes and interiors, it's a must see. I drooled over the interiors (I'm into period architecture and interior design), and the DVD has extras about the costumes, the period, the houses, and Georgiana's letters.

And this leads me to.....

With my current immersion into the 18th century, I've started remembering my fondness for the literature of the time (Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne is one of my favorite; Fanny Burney's Evilina another).

Those people were so witty! They could turn a phrase like nobody's business. Jane Austen grew up reading and hearing all this stuff--no wonder she endures.

For example, from a discussion about snobbery in the ton in a Fanny Burney novel: "There's nothing in the world so fashionable as taking no notice of things, and not seeing people, and saying nothing at all . . . ."

Or a comment about Devonshire house on Piccadilly, the exterior of which Londoners found unattractive: "It is spacious, and so are the East India Company warehouses . . . ."

Those are both from Amanda Foreman's book, and then there was the great putdown someone mentioned on Talk of the Nation (show date: 7/16/08). During a heated Parliamentary debate between John Wilkes and John Montagu, Lord Sandwich:

Montagu: "You sir, will either die on the gallows or of the pox!"

Wilkes: "That depends on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Great stuff.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Barbara Vey's Party

Its the second anniversary of Barbara Vey's blog over at PW and she's throwing one heck of a party. The Chatelaines will be there on Wednesday with some historical hotties to help her celebrate. We're also giving away a tote bag full of books so drop by this week and enter to win here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why Be Blue?

from Emily Bryan . . . Guess what today is? Naw, you'll never guess. It's Colon Cancer Awareness Day. (Told you you'd never guess.) I'm asking you to wear blue to raise awareness for the need for colon cancer screening. (I can't tell you how relieved I was to learn the awareness ribbon was blue, since I was envisioning several less appealing options!) A screening colonoscopy caught the disease early for me last November, so I'm sort of the self-appointed poster girl now. To learn if you or someone you love is at risk, please visit my blog.

As far as my writing life goes, I'm just starting a new story so I'm building my hero--which is less Frankensteinish than that sounded--but I do have to decide what sort of man he'll be. And I was thinking about what it means to be masculine. Since my DH is taking his team over to a homeless shelter this morning to do some painting and general maintenance, it reminded me that one of the qualities I admire in a man is taking care of those who are weak or less able to care for themselves.

Which has little to do with low-slung jeans and a six pack (but isn't he yummy? Thought you'd enjoy a little Friday eye-candy.)

PS. I'm also blogging at MuchCheaperThanTherapy today and giving away a VEXING THE VISCOUNT to one commenter there.

Pop over after you tell me what you think masculine means here. Of course, we all love a ripped guy, but he can't run around with his shirt off forever. What do you want to see in a hero? What other traits say "masculinity" to you?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Bet You've Read More than Six

I gacked this Meme from my LJ f-list. (OMG, blogger speak!!!!!)

Anyway, below is a list that's been going around, supposedly put out by the BBC who claim that very few people have read even six of the books on this list. Not one to resist a challenge, I went through and bolded what I've read.

(My notes in parens; and several people have pointed out that the list likely wasn't put together by people who'd read more than six of these either, for reasons that will become obvious.)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien (three books; read all)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling (seven books; read all)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (three books again)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (about 20 times)
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (seven books; read all)
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
(which would be in Chronicles of Narnia, hello?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving.
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (about 20 times)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (about 20 times)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath (I've read parts of it)
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White (about 20 times)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Every Holmes collection, in fact, plus the novels)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
(um, the one not in the complete works?)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I scored about 40 or so (depending on whether you take out the two duplicates), plus there are a few that I started but never managed to finish (e.g., Tess and Madame Bovary). I seem to have managed to avoid both The DaVinci Code and Lord of the Flies and that's fine with me. :-)

How did you do?

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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