Friday, February 26, 2010

To the Netherlands . . . with Love!

from Emily Bryan . . .

One of the really fun things about seeing my words in print has been seeing them in print I can't read. I'm talking about foreign translations. So far, my books have been published in German, Dutch, Italian, Russian and Spanish. You can see all my international covers at Going Global.

This is the Dutch cover for VEXING THE VISCOUNT. The title has been changed to "When He Kissed Her." Authors have no say about titles, even in English, so I was pleased with this one.

On the same website, I found one of Gerri Russell's books as well. The Dutch title is "Forbidden Fruit." Since none of Gerri's English titles remotely resembles that, I'm not sure which of her books this is. (Can you help me out, Gerri?)

And once I found one other Chatelaine, I had to go looking for others. There were three Jennifer Ashley titles on the Candlelight Romans site. Which book of Jenn's do you think this is?

I know the other Chatelaines are published internationally as well. Maybe I can get them to post some of their favorite (or not so favorite) foreign covers this week! It's always fascinating to see how different markets use cover art to sell the stories.

Has a cover ever leaped off the shelf at you so that you had to buy the book?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Love in the Land of Yankee Practicality

from Emily Bryan . . .

I've lived in New England since June 2007 and I'm beginning to understand how people think here. New Englanders see themselves as hardy, frugal, and pragmatic. They don't tend to think of themselves as romantic. In fact, in a recent survey only 12% of folk in the northeast will admit to ever having read a romance novel (compared to 29% in the southeast, 28% for the midwest and a close 27% in the Pacific northwest!)

That's why I was a little trepidacious about speaking at the Duxbury Free Library on Valentines Day with my friends, Marie Force and Dalton Diaz. Especially when I learned Henry Winsor (1803-1898) one of the founders of the library, placed this single restriction on his bequest: “No novels, and no romance!”

I write historical romance for Leisure Books, Marie writes contemporary for Source Books and Dalton writes erotic romance for Ellora's Cave. Old Henry Winsor must have been spinning in his grave last Sunday afternoon!

But if he was unhappy, he was the only one. We were pleasantly surprised by the appearance of New York Times Bestseller Hannah Howell, a former Duxbury resident, who came to support us. (We all belong to the New England Chapter of RWA!) The readers who attended were friendly, interested and attentive. Their questions sparked a great discussion and we had a successful book signing after the talk. The library staff was so supportive. We even garnered some terrific press. Here's the link to the Duxbury Clipper article.

It just goes to show that romance can bloom anywhere--even in the practical, rocky soil of New England.

Have you ever discovered an interest in romance novels in an unexpected place?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A smile from Haiti

By the time you read this, I’ll be heading back to Haiti for the day job.

This time, I’m touring tent cities and areas where my organization will be building houses and latrines. With about 1 million people homeless, the need for housing is critical, especially as hurricane season looms on the horizon.

I posted this photo of me with girls at our younger girls orphanage, who swarmed me like ants on my last visit. I hope you remember this smile, and the smiles of so many others, because there is much good work being done by many in Haiti to help those struggling after the earthquake.

When I return, I have a book to write. Right now, it’s hard for me to return to writing my next Nocturne, which is Gabriel’s story. I can’t get the images of Haiti out of my mind.

I think about writing Gabriel, a powerful Draicon werewolf, and see the crushed Hotel Montana that killed several. I think of Darkness of the Wolf, the Bite that recently won the CataRomance Reviewer’s Choice award. I wrote part of it while staying at the hotel, and one hotel in the short story is modeled after the Montana. The stone sculpture that fascinates the little girl once sat by the Montana’s entrance.

I try to write Gabriel’s story and remember seeing the dead bodies lying at the Cathedral doorway, people who were in church and were killed by falling concrete.

I see the haunted, numb expressions on the mothers I talked with, those who don’t know what tomorrow will bring for their children.

I hear the plaintive cry of a four-year-old who was buried beneath his house for five days, his little cousin dying besides him. When he was found, his father walked for 15 miles with his son in his arms to find a doctor. Eventually he found one and his son’s hand was amputated. As I talked with his father, the boy began to cry for his mother.

“He is crying for his mother, but his mother is dead,” the father told me.

I have faith I can return to writing Gabriel’s story.

I keep telling myself that writing romance is important because romance novels are important to readers needing an escape. My Haitian friends had one request for my return. They told me, “Bring romance novels to Haiti.”

I packed a bunch in my suitcase, including Jennifer Ashley’s (NY TIMES BESTSELLING!!! WOOT!) Pride Mates.

Haiti has always been dear to my heart. Haiti’s people are resilient and courageous, and filled with a determination to survive. When I return to writing Gabriel’s story, I’ll remember the people of Haiti and embody my characters with their strength, determination and heart.

And I know I’ll dedicate the book to the people of Haiti.

They deserve their own happy ending.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Valentines Surprise

A couple of weeks ago my husband told me to be ready to go at 5:00 on Valentine's Day and that the rest was a surprise. Since I love surprises I said okay and didn't think anymore beyond that since we've been together several years and he knows what I like. Yesterday we're leave and I immediately know that we're on our way to our friends house. As we come in from one direction a big white stretch limo is arriving from the other. Squeee. I go into the house where the two other wives have been told to stay.

"Do you know where we're going?"
"Nop, but there's a big limo out there that's taking us."
"Nooo way." They look out the window and bust into laughter.

The limo has champagne and the works. Our husbands played mysterious the entire hour trip. We finally arrived at a winery where we were greeted with dinner, dancing and roses. We ate and laughed and danced and had a most wonderful time.

Well done guys!

How about you? Have you ever been pleasantly surprised? Tell us about it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Armchair Traveler

from Emily Bryan . . .

I love to travel! And I've been blessed to see a number of fabulous places, but there are still lots of trips I'd love to take. Like to Scotland, for example.

But wouldn't it be grand fun to be able to add an additional element to travel? Like time? As much as I'd love to visit the lochs and the highlands, I doubt they'd live up to Gerri Russell's Scotland.

Invariably when I travel, I have a preconcieved notion of what the area will be like, mostly because of the books I've read. I've been to England several times, but I've never found Arthur's England. All that's left of Roman Britain is a few ruins, but it lives large in Joy Nash's Druids of Avalon series.

I'd love to visit medieval times, to see a noble knight in full armor and feel the ground tremble under my feet before a charge of 'heavy horse.' But since cholera and plague aren't high on my "to do" list, I'll be better off visiting that era in Cindy Holby's BREATH OF HEAVEN (June 2010)

Then there are those places on the globe, like Egypt, that hold a real fascination for me. But because it's not a very salubrious place to be a Christian these days, I can get my desert fix with one of Bonnie Vanak's Egyptian love stories.

And since we're armchair traveling, why confine ourselves to this world? Why not visit Jennifer Ashley's Nvengaria where magic drips from every leaf, or CL Wilson's richly imagined Eloran, home to the Fey of the Fading Lands?

How about you? Where would you like to go? What book will take you there?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More on the USA Today List

This morning, I was thrilled to see that PRIDE MATES, my Feb. release, not only stayed on the USA Today bestseller list, but moved up!!

Not only that, but I noticed that category romances are now being reported to USA Today. Hooray! If you look at the PDF of the list:

you'll see four Harlequin Presents on it. Last week (ending 1/31/2010) there were eight from Harlequin. And a couple of Silhouettes. Until recently, USA Today did not report category sales (and NYT still doesn't), so I'm very glad to see this. Category romance has a huge audience and sells as well as big-name hardback single-title authors of all genres. I'm pleased to see category authors get some recognition!

In other news: RWA National accepted two of my proposals for workshops (one is Bonnie Vanak and me; one is on my own). I've already registered and looking forward to Nashville!

Monday, February 8, 2010

My trip to Haiti

Hi everyone. It's hard for me to talk about what I saw in Haiti, and every time I write about it or talk about it, I keep envisioning what happened, so I'm just posting photos.

I'll be back in Haiti next week.

Here are the photos. Everywhere you go, there is destruction. For me the worst part wasn't seeing the dead bodies, but the suffering on the faces of people who are still living in fear with aftershocks, and trying to make it from one day to the next. Thanks to everyone who is helping, and everyone who donated, either to my organization or another that is helping Haiti.

Mammoth Book of Irish Romance

First of all....Yay Saints. While I adore Peyton Manning I was thrilled to watch the Saints get their first victory. Drew Brees is a hero in my book

And nope that isn't Drew Brees, nor is this story about him. Fellow Chatelaine Jennifer Ashley and I were invited to participate in the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. I was thrilled to contribute a story to the mix because my ancestry is mostly Irish (with some Cherokee and English mixed in) I have a picture of my Dad's grandfather and mother that was taken after their family came here after the great Irish famine during the 1800's. Ireland is one of the places I would love to visit. I know that when I go I will feel the magic that is part of the land.

While researching the story I found that the tradition of Irish story telling goes back several hundred years. While most of the history of the world was lost during the dark ages, the Irish have several tales that tell the story of their history. I incorporated one of these legends into my story about a lost warrior and a mysterious woman he finds in the surf one night. Its called Quicksilver and I hope you enjoy it.

The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance is available at any of your favorite bookstores.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Wonderful World of Jane Austen

Over the last two Sundays, I’ve been watching the PBS broadcast of Emma starring Romola Garai as Emma and Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightly. It’s a wonderful adaptation. If you missed it, fear not. It will run through February and March on PBS, or you can watch it on the web at the PBS website.

I always make room in my life for Jane Austen features, films, biographies, etc. It’s a yearly pilgrimage in the Russell household to watch The Complete Jane Austen series as we call it, in all its adaptations. I’m a faithful follower of Jane Austen, and my husband is very accommodating.

And I started to wonder, is it just me who has this closet obsession for Jane?

A quick web search of the words “Jane Austen” revealed the truth. The world is in love with Jane Austen and her books two hundred years after her death.

So I started thinking, what is it about her writing that touches a world so deeply? Is it her wit? Is it the way she slowly builds a romance between her characters? Or is it her way of describing and accurately pinpointing human nature and events of everyday life?

I tend to believe all the above are true. Jane Austen just had a way of observing society and communicating what she saw in a highly entertaining fashion.

But it’s more than that. As much as I love her stories, I also truly respect the woman she was. She never knew true love outside of her books. She struggled to find her own place in society. She didn’t receive instant success for her writing in her own lifetime, in fact quite the opposite. I am certain she had doubts about her chosen career, as any writer does. I am positive she shed a few tears. And I respect her all the more because of it. She was a woman in a man’s world following her dreams.

One last notable area that Austen mastered was her creation of the romantic hero. Maybe it was the fact she never found her own true love that made her heroes so appealing. To this day I cannot read one of her books without her heroes lingering in my mind for days afterwards. Austen’s heroes are legendary even in today’s world—Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, Frank Churchill, Mr. Knightly, Captain Wentworth—to name a few.

What is your favorite moment in Austen's novels or the film adaptations of her work?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Filling the Well

from Emily Bryan . . .

When I'm in the middle of a project, I generally don't read for pleasure within the romance genre (my way of making sure someone else's words don't accidentally flow out my fingers) but I do watch movies to fill up the creative well. I'm looking for a visual experience, a sense of place, costume and architecture details that are more compelling in a moving picture than a static one. I love "costume dramas" so when I saw that The Libertine was available On Demand, I sat down to watch it.

First let me say this is not a film for those who wish to guard the innocence of their eyes. I don't know how it escaped an X rating in places. But the draw for me was Johnny Depp's portrayal of the sad, debauched life of the brilliant 17th century poet, John Wilmot.

I'm not a raving Depp fan in the sense that I think he's "oh-so-hot." I don't. He's a little too androgenous for my taste. And his recent support of Roman Polanski, the film director being deported back to the US to face pedophilia charges, is disgusting, IMO. Sex with a 13 year old is wrong no matter how many years have passed.

But I cannot deny Depp's talent. He's a deeply disturbing actor. He makes me think. Makes me feel. Hence, he's compulsively watchable. There is always a subtext running behind his eyes that reaches past the flat screen's surface. His Wilmot is played like a Greek tragedy. He carries the seeds of his own destruction within himself and his sense of pointlessness is heartbreaking. He sought meaning in life and found none.

I know I've seen a good movie, read a good book, visited a good museum when the experience stays with me, when I ponder elements of it for days afterward. By that standard, The Libertine was a good movie.

So how about you? Has a movie, book or experience haunted you for days recently? What was it and what about it captivated you?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Congratulations Jennifer Ashley!

The Chatelaines want to congratulate Jennifer Ashley on her most recent success! She made the New York Times Bestsellers list and the USA Today Bestsellers list for her January 26th release of Pride Mates!

Jennifer, we couldn't be happier for you!

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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