The May books are here! 

Elisabeth Naughton starts a hot new series getting lots of great buzz:

  • “Gripping, dangerous, and sinfully sexy, MARKED is a top-notch read! Elisabeth Naughton combines dynamic dialogue and sizzling romance with a wicked cool world. Do NOT miss this series!” NY Times Bestselling Author Larissa Ione
  • “Steamy, intricately plotted, and creatively conceived, this title gets Naughton’s ‘Eternal Guardian’ series, featuring warriors who protect their world from the daemons of the Underworld, off to a sizzling start and will leave paranormal fans breathless and wanting more.”                 –Library Journal
  • “The sensuality of Sherrilyn Kenyon and the intensity of Patricia Briggs. Naughton’s foray into paranormals is deep, dark and sexy as hell.” —NY Times Bestselling Author Angie Fox
  • “Naughton has a tremendous skill with steamy passion, dynamic characterization—especially of strong, multifaceted women whose friendships and family relationships play a crucial part in the story—and thrilling action.” —Publishers Weekly
  • “Elisabeth Naughton’s MARKED gives an incredibly fresh spin on Greek Mythology that is full of humor, action, passion and a storyline that keeps you from putting down the book.” —Fresh Fiction

We think you’ll love MARKED, too.  That’s why it’s our Publisher’s Pledge title of the month and we’ll refund your money if for whatever reason you don’t want it for your keeper shelf.

Leanna Renee Hieber’s Percy Parker is ready for her Broadway debut.

And Gerri Russell has a fantastic introduction to her men of the Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars.

A huge congrats to Dorchester’s 2010 Rita finalists!  In no particular order:

    

 

For a limited time, you can get these titles 30% off

I was fortunate enough to be with Elisabeth Naughton in Portland, OR,  for the annual Public Libraries Assoc. conference when she got the announcement that STOLEN FURY had double finaled for Best First Book and Romantic Suspense.  We had a fantastic time celebrating.

I also had the pleasure of being on a panel about chick lit and women’s fiction with Susan Wiggs (another double Rita finalist!), Jane Porter (also a Rita finalist!), Beth Kendrick and super-librarian Joyce Saricks.  Teresa Bergen has a nice recap of the panel–include how chick lit has become a dirty word among some houses and how it’s evolved for others.  It might just not be as dead as you think.

Elisabeth Naughton is featured over at Dear Author today to talk about her first sale, STOLEN FURY.

Her third release, STOLEN SEDUCTION, is on shelves now. What a difference a year makes.  Here’s to a happy and successful 2010 for all.

For those who didn’t get goodies at RWA–or are maybe looking for more:

Elisabeth Naughton is hosting 30 Days of Freebies on her blog in preparation for the release of STOLEN HEAT later this month.

You can nab a free Sandra Hill story here.  The link should pop open a window with the pdf.

For every 4 books you buy at Borders, you can pick one up free.

Get MY SOUL TO LOSE free at Books On Board.  This is a teaser/prequel to the launch book in Harlequin’s new teen imprint, MY SOUL TO TAKE.

Some of these actually gave me goose bumps.

A LITTLE LIGHT MAGIC by Joy Nash – June

STOLEN HEAT by Elisabeth Naughton – August

WHERE THE WIND BLOWS by Caroline Fyffe – August

Every time I see the commercial for the new Julia Roberts/Clive Owen movie coming out later this month, I get caught at the line “You charmed me, you seduced me, you drugged me, and ransacked my hotel room.”  Because that’s exactly how Elisabeth Naughton‘s stolen-furySTOLEN FURY starts out.  From there, the plots completely diverge, but those characters who love to hate loving each other are definitely similar.  So if the movie looks intriguing, you might want to give the book a try. 

It also gives me a chance to mention that a link to the excerpt for STOLEN HEAT is now available on the Coming Soon page. 

And that’s my shameless plug for the day.

The former publicist in me just can’t help highlighting some particularly amazing recent reviews and good news.

First, though, congratulations to Carolyn Jewel, winner of the complete set of March romances for her comments on excerpts.  Thanks to everyone who chimed in!

Over the weekend, The Chicago Tribune ran a fantastic review for Elisabeth Naughton’s STOLEN FURY: “…[a] superbly written debut. Naughton deftly distills deadly intrigue, high adrenaline action, and scorchingly hot passion into perfectly constructed novel of romantic suspense.” Read more.

 

 

Emily Bryan‘s 50 Days 50 Blogs tour is at a close. But the amazing review for VEXING THE VISCOUNT are starting to roll in.  And this one was just so enthusiastic, how it could not make me smile?  From Penelope’s Romance Reviews:

Every once in awhile I discover a new writer and I am filled with glee.  A fresh, new voice! An engaging story! Wonderful, fully-formed characters who are interesting, and more importantly, who I grow to care about as I read the novel! This was my reaction to reading Distracting the Duchess by Emily Bryan. (I also had this reaction when reading Candice Hern’s In the Thrill of the Night and Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Raven Prince).  I found Emily Bryan to be a unique voice in the land of historical romances. This genre has a tendency to be very formulaic, but when it’s done well, it is a treat for the reader.  I had high expectations for Vexing the Viscount, and Bryan delivered. Vexing the Viscount is fantastique! (I apologize for breaking into francaise, but Blanche La Tour has inspired me, vraiment!) This book is the total package…witty humor, lusty sex, intriguing plot, great pacing, and marvelous characters.  I loved the unexpected flashback to Caius Meritus in ancient Rome.  It was a great device to pull you into the mystery that Daisy and Lucian are trying to solve. Caius’ tragic love story is very touching and really brings history alive. C’est magnifique!  I must admit that when the premise for the story was revealed (virgin pretending to be a courtesan), I thought “Now how the heck is Bryan going to pull this one off?” Honestly, it was done incredibly well.  I highly recommend Vexing the Viscount.  And now I am off to find a croissant au chocolat! Au revoir! Grade: A 

Emily’s also opened The Courtesan’s Club on her website with all kinds of outrageous info and fun.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer AshleyBarbara Vey of PW’s Beyond Her Book featured Jennifer Ashley’s THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE on her Your Turn Friday feature, calling it “Mysterious, heartfelt, sensitive and sensual…two big thumbs up.”  Read more.

 

 And technically, this isn’t romance, but three of Leisure’s horror authors–Graham Masterton, Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum–got a nice shoutout in a list of the Top Horror Authors of all time.  If any genre is more stereotyped or misunderstood than romance, it has to be horror.  The horror editor here was appalled when I told him one day that I thought everyone had to die at the end of a horror novel.  He’s since enlightened me.  ;-)   And that’s why you’ll see in Coming Soon some books from our horror list that I think could appeal to crossover readers, including #20 himself, Graham Masterton (who, by the by, Cosmopolitan has quoted several times as a “sexpert.”  Who says romance and horror don’t mix?).

It’s one of those days where there seems to be a ton of great, relevant links.  So I hope you’ll excuse the randomness and read on.  Who knows what might tickle your fancy.

board-meetingEvery month the entire staff gets together and the editors officially present their titles to folks in Marketing, Sales, and Production. Tomorrow we happen to be going over August 2009.  We typically start with any updates from the previous meeting – changes in titles or scheduling, updates to ISBNs and page counts.  Ooh, I can sense your excitement. 

Then one by one the editors present the titles they’ve acquired for the month that we’re discussing.  Tomorrow I’ll be talking about STOLEN HEAT by Elisabeth Naughton and WHERE THE WIND BLOWS, a debut by Caroline Fyffe.  I usually tend to start with a reminder of the author’s previous books (if there are any) and how they’ve performed.  If it’s a new author, I try to give a sense of whose work the book will appeal to.  Then usually I give a brief plot summary of the new book. Next comes some of the author’s background, if relevant, and a generalization of what I like about the writing and why I think it will appeal to readers. Basically, it’s my five-minute pitch.

If we have preliminary cover art, a printout is passed around the table.  If there are any major objections (man nipple seems to be a constant problem with some accounts, though obviously the readers never seem to mind), we talk about how they might fixed.  And then we open discussion for promotion and sales ideas.   if the author has strong sales, we discuss ways to try to bring her to the next level.  If the author’s initial draws have been slipping but sell-throughs remain high, we try to figure out whether an incentive at the sell-in level will help – extra discounts, a matching program, or something of the sort. If the sell-through is the issue, we talk about the best way to reach readers – advertising, buzz campaigns, in-store placement, preview excerpts in similar books and other tactics.  Then we go over any other marketing ideas.

When we’ve exhausted everything we can think of, our sr. v-p of sales gives a budget number–the number we must get out to meet the annual budget numbers–and a target number–what we want the sales reps to shoot for in the field.  And that signifies that it’s time to start all over again with the next book. 

What’s most important for authors to note is that their book is constantly being pitched:  from the agent to the editor, the editor to publicity and sales, publicity and sales to media and booksellers, then media and booksellers to readers.  It’s why it’s so vital that a book have a strong hook and a great pitch line.  The more authors work on honing that from the very beginning the greater the dividends will be down the line. 

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Art from Pop Portraits.

If you’re the type who always needs to be in the know, keep these titles on your radar in the coming months.  Each is the start to a new series, though of course they all also stand alone as a full and complete novel. 

January

Dept. 18 by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims (horror) – BLACK CATHEDRAL launches this series about a paranormal investigative unit of the British government.  One of their first missions is a haunted castle in Scotland.  Read more about this mysterious agency and download the first 50 pages of the book. If you liked X-Files, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

Stolen series by Elisabeth Naughton (romantic suspense) – STOLEN FURY is the first of three high-octane, super adventurous suspense novels.  Each novel features a bit of archaeology and treasure hunting combined with steamy romance and lots of danger. Allison Brennan says: “If you like Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone, you’ll love Naughton’s dazzling romantic adventure.”

February 

Ghost-in-Law series by Jana DeLeon (mystery romance) - The folks in Mudbug, Lousiana, thought town matriarch Helena Henry was a pest when she was alive, but even death can’t stop her from investigating some fishy bayou goings-on and interfering in love lives, guaranteeing there’ll be TROUBLE IN MUDBUG. 

Classic Film Collection by various authors (Western) - Novels that were the basis of some of the greatest Western movies of all time.  Read more.  

April 

Endworld by David Robbins (sci-fi adventure) – One hundred years after DOOMSDAY, a group of nuclear survivors struggles to stay alive in a world filled with peril.

May

The Adventures of Gabriel Hunt by various authors (adventure) – The editor of Hard Case Crime has developed a new pulp-style series, featuring a modern-day adventurer traveling the globe in pursuit of priceless artifacts and lost civilizations. Anyone who grew up reading H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Alexandre Dumas and Sax Rohmer, or Doc Savage and the Avenger…or who grew up watching adventure movies starring Buster Crabbe or Harrison Ford…will want to check out HUNT AT THE TREASURE WELL. See www.HuntForAdventure.com for more.