I know stealing is wrong.  But I couldn’t possibly improve on Rose Lerner‘s post about Eloisa James including IN FOR A PENNY in her montly column for bn.com.  From her blog:

Eloisa James has read my book!!!

Okay I know I am supposed to be a professional and not act like a fan and blah blah blah but ELOISA JAMES HAS READ MY BOOK. AND SHE LIKED IT. And she posted about it here for her Barnes & Noble blog/column! I read it this morning at 4:30AM before going to work and of course when I got there I immediately told my coworker all about it:

ME: It’s like every month she does a theme and she talks about books that fit the theme, and–
COWORKER: What was this month’s theme?
ME: …Um. Protagonists who aren’t very bright.
COWORKER: [after laughing quite a lot] Is one of your protagonists not very bright?
ME: Well, I never thought of him that way before. He likes classical music and studied Latin at Cambridge and stuff. But I definitely see what she means because he is pretty hapless and not good at math, and in the genre there are lots of uber-competent brain surgeons running around and–
COWORKER: Doesn’t your book take place in the early nineteenth century?
ME: Yes.
COWORKER: So maybe a brain surgeon wouldn’t be the best choice for a hero for you?
ME: You have a point.
COWORKER: The reader would think, “Ooh, a brain surgeon,” and then he’d walk on with, like, a hammer and bone saw. “I’ve discovered that this part of the lobe controls deviant behavior! Stand aside while I cut a hole in this convict’s skull!”

For some reason I am picturing this hero as Hugh Laurie’s Wooster in my head. Okay, and what’s sad is that I have such a thing for mad scientists (I’m not kidding, I think they’re dreamy!) that I would probably read that romance. Even though I have a lot of strong and negative feelings about historical psychiatry, ESPECIALLY when it involved surgery (often it was non-consensual surgery!).

Anyway, you should read James’s piece, and then check out the B&N Romance board for conversations about the piece and about my book and all kinds of stuff!

Which is a good time to mention–I will be one of the B&N feature threads for May!!!!!! I am so honored and excited you guys. My thread is here and I will be hanging around the boards and the thread all month, but especially I will be there  starting Monday the 10th, to chat and answer questions and talk about books and also probably Star Trek because this is me. I can’t wait!

Back to me now.  Rose also lists her top 10 Regency Romances at DearAuthor and has an interview at The Romance Reader in which she reveals who was beheaded on her birthday and how majors in Math and Russian led to a career writing Regencies.

Unlike many on the East Coast pummeled by the latest nor’easter, New York City didn’t have it too bad–about 8 inches.  Just enough to give the city that beautiful pristine coating…for a few hours.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t use “Bizzard 2010″ as a great excuse to hole up and read a lot this weekend.  If you’re looking for some recommendations for fresh voices, check out the current poll for best historical debut at The Season. Both Caroline Fyffe and Leanna Renee Hieber made the list!

   

Speaking of great debuts, Rose Lerner is giving away a copies of the absoultely amazing historical IN FOR A PENNY.  Get the scoop on where to enter at her blog.  If you’re a fan of Sherry Thomas, Lisa Kleypas, Georgette Heyer and any of the Regency greats, you will not want to miss this book.

 

M.J. Rose, author and marketing guru, has started a fantastic Twitter campaign of recommend reads you can buy with what you save on all the discounts of Dan Brown’s THE LOST SYMBOL (#buyplusbrown).  A few suggestions of some similarly themed thrillers:

     

And if you perfer a little more romance with your adventurous treasure-hunting, check out:

     

To get in on a little treasure-hunting action of your own, check out the Twelve Days of A CHRISTMAS BALL blog tour.  There will be giveaways at every stop, including today’s post at Love Is an Exploding Cigar.

where-the-wind-blowsNot too long ago we noticed we had several books on our list of a similar style: sweeter, heartfelt Americana romances.  They have wonderfully in-depth characters and a lot of emotional pull.  And, don’t get me wrong, even though I say ”sweeter,” we’re not skimping on the love scenes.  ;-)

 We wanted to showcase these books in a special way.  Hence a new Home in the Heartland banner, making its first appearance with Caroline Fyffe’s debut, WHERE THE WIND BLOWS. 

This is not a new line.  There is no set number of titles we’re looking for. 

Future books in the series include Lisa Cooke’s A MIDWIFE CRISIS, which is currently featured on my sidebar, and Sharla Rae’s debut, HOW TO TAME A TIMBERMAN, coming in May 2010. 

A quick way to get a feel for the books is to watch Caroline Fyffe’s video preview.  Invest the extra time to write your version of the last line of her book, and you could win a stay at a California dude ranch.  Check out her Under the Western Sky contest for further details.

Over at DearAuthor, Jane has highlighted some upcoming historicals that defy tradition, including:

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley   runaway       to-tempt-a-knight1

Meanwhile, I’m heading out to Orlando for the RT convention.  Up-to-minute happenings will be posted to Twitter/DorchesterPub with the label #RT09.   

Award announcements to come Friday evening.  And because I’m not technologically advanced enough to own a cell phone with a camera, pictures will follow as soon as I get back.

A few more titles I wanted to alert folks to that I didn’t get a chance to mention before dashing off to mingle at the PASIC party.

Celeste Bradley starts a new trilogy called Runaway Brides in August.  DEVIL IN MY BED is the first title.  According to the marketing descriptions, it’s a Regency-set series focusing on three lords with a “woman in his past who may or may not be the mother of his child.”    I’m a little unclear whether it’s the same woman for all three, but I’m guessing not because that would probably be weird.

 

Also in August, St. Martin’s will be reissuing three books from Lora Leigh‘s SEALs series for $4.99 apiece.  KILLER SECRETS, DANGEROUS GAMES, and HIDDEN AGENDAS will all be part of the promo.

 

Bantam seems to be making a big push for Mary Blayney.  TRAITOR’S KISS and LOVER’S KISS were released in beautiful combined mass-market volume last fall for $6.99 and the cover for her September 2009 release, STRANGER’S KISS is gorgeously foiled and embossed.  Trust me, the picture can’t do it justice.

 

 

Speaking of gorgeous covers, coming from Orbit in September is the first book of the Necromancer Chronicles by Amanda Downum.  THE DROWNING CITY takes place in a monsoon-drenched metropolis filled with pirates, smugglers and revolutionaries.  As a spy for the crown and necromancer, Isyllit Isklader hopes to make a name for herself in these very uncertain times, but suddenly the dead have a lot to say, and she’s not liking what she hears. 

The flowers are starting to pop up, and so are a load of new deals.  The latest:

Rose Lerner’s historical debut, IN FOR A PENNY, in which a dashing and feckless lord enters a marriage of convenience with the lovely and practical daughter of a wealthy merchant in an effort to salvage the family fortune, and they find themselves unprepared for the challenges they face: scandal, revolting tenants, a menacing neighbor and in the end a love more heartfelt than either expected.

 

I give agent Kevan Lyon loads of credit for that blurb, because I never would have been able to sum up the book so well.  What made me love IN FOR A PENNY is the humor and the rather unconventional element of two young people thrust into the position of learning to make solvent his family’s lands so the tenants can prosper. Reading that back, it doesn’t sound very intriguing, but you have to trust me.  ;-)  

 

Before I made the offer for this book, I was looking to buy a historical for our schedule.  And I was starting to despair that maybe I was being too harsh; nothing was resonating with me.  This book made me remember how the good ones really stand out from the pack.  After five pages, I knew Yes!  This is the one.  Certain aspects reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Hoyt’s RAVEN PRINCE. 

 

IN FOR A PENNY is scheduled for March 2010.

 

Emily Bryan’s STROKE OF GENIUS, which she describes:

Grace Makepeace, an American heiress, is determined to marry a titled English gent, but her Bostonian bluntness is severely impeding her chances. When she takes flirting advice from the acknowledged artistic genius who’s engaged to sculpt a marble model of her hands, she garners the attentions of a duke.
 
A cynical, but brilliant artist, Crispin Hawke is a keen observer of the ton and enjoys the challenge of helping Grace beat them at their own game. But he begins to wish he was the object of her passion.     

 

Emily called it a Pygmalion meets Cyrano de Bergerac story with a happy ending (of course!) for all.

 

STROKE OF GENIUS is scheduled for Summer 2010

 

 

Lisa Cooke – A MIDWIFE CRISIS, summarized by Lisa:

Katie Napier is happy with her life as a midwife and healer in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. She has spent most of her thirty years caring for those in need, and though it hasn’t been a glamorous life, it’s suited her fine. So why has Katie’s family all of a sudden decided she needs a husband?  Not that she’s averse to it, mind you, it’s just by her experience men are more of a hindrance than a help, and her new dilemma only supports her belief.  Three of her well meaning though zany family members have managed to find her a fiancé.  Unfortunately, they each found her a different one, and now she has to sort through the well-intended suitors to decide which one’s worth keeping.

Dr. John Keffer has returned to his roots in Wayne, West Virginia after he is unable to save his wife’s life due to a carriage accident.  He knows nothing of the life in the hills, but when he inherits his grandparent’s home, he decides to leave New York and the painful memories of his personal failure as a doctor.  But the locals are reluctant to trust the outsider and keep returning to their healer, a woman who surprises the doctor from the first minute he meets her.  Uneducated and poor, she’s the type of woman he would’ve hired in New York to work in his kitchens.  A woman whom he never would’ve bothered to even learn her name.  But now he’s forced to work with Katie in order to earn the trust of the locals.  What he’s not expecting, however, is her request that he help her decide which fiancé she’s going to keep.  A task complicated when he finally realizes he wants to keep her for himself.

This isn’t at all related to Lisa’s debut, TEXAS HOLD HIM, but I love that both books take a chance with something you don’t see it too many Americana romances (I can’t even call them Westerns): 1. no cowboys (gasp!) and 2. a great sense of humor.  I can’t think of anyone else doing much like that, though if there’s something I’ve missed, please let me know in the Comments.

A MIDWIFE CRISIS is scheduled for February 2010.

 

 

Speaking of Westerns, in my not-so-secret life as a Western editor, I also have some exciting news to share.

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES by Forrest Carter will launch the next set of books in our Classic Film Collection in March 2010.  This novel served as the basis for the movie starring and directed by Clint Eastwood.

We will also be doing its sequel, THE VENGEANCE TRAIL OF JOSEY WALES. 

Luke Short, a giant of the Western genre, joins the Leisure list in April 2010 with the re-release of his classic BLOOD ON THE MOON, which was made into the famed noir Western film starring Robert Michum and directed by Robert Wise. BLOOD ON THE MOON will also be part of the Classic Film Collection.

Also coming from Luke Short will be AMBUSH and VENGEANCE VALLEY.

We will have Johnny D. Boggs’ Spur Award-nominated novel KILLSTRAIGHT coming in mass-market paperback in January 2010.  Bestelling author Tony Hillerman has said, “Johnny Boggs has produced another instant page-turner, but this one, KILLSTRAIGHT, grabbed me in a particular way. It took me right back to my childhood in Indian Country… don’t put down the book until you finish it.”

The New York Times has more on Audrey Niffenegger’s new book, A FEARFUL SYMMETRY, which is scheduled for an October release.

The book is a supernatural story about twins who inherit an apartment near a London cemetery and become embroiled in the lives of the building’s other residents and the ghost of their aunt, who left them the flat.

Niffenegger’s agent gives an inside look at the deal over on agent Kristin Nelson’s Pub Rants blog.

For those who asked whether I enjoyed Rebecca Dean’s PALACE CIRCLE, the answer is yes.  I had a horrible head cold last weekened and spent all Saturday on the couch reading, only taking a break to watch The Duchess because I was intrigued by the plot similiaries even though the setting was hundreds of years apart.  PALACE CIRCLE is a soap-opera, guilty-pleasure kind of book.  It makes me feel like I’m learning something amid all the who’s-sleeping-with-whom drama.  So in that respect, it was similar to Philippa Gregory.  And I’d also say Carolly Erickson’s novels.  However, though I really enjoyed the book while I was reading it, the end left me a bit unsatisfied.  I wish Dean had stuck with one character’s POV throughout instead of giving the main heroine, both her daughters and then the men they loved separate sections.  I felt as though some of the characters were discarded once she deemed them no longer interesting.  It made the book a bit uneven both in tone and plotting.  Then again, I did devour the 400+ page book in less than a day.

An excerpt for Elissa Wilds’ September release, DARKNESS RISING, has been added to the Coming Soon  page.  This is a sequel to her debut, BETWEEN DARK AND LIGHT, which is currently available.

And don’t forget the special DearAuthor sale ends Sunday.  So if you haven’t yet taken advantage, now’s the time to do so.

Speaking of sales, BooksOnBoard is running a 30% rewards offer until Tuesday. I find their ebook prices already lower than just about anyone’s (or least for folks with no Kindle) and now they’re offering 30% credit back to your account for future purchases.

When I first saw an advertisement in Shelf Awareness for Rebecca Dean’s debut, PALACE CIRCLE, with a huge quote from Nora Roberts saying that anyone who liked Philippa Gregory would also like this book, I was intrigued.  Even more so when I started reading what the book was about – a Virginian heiress who marries an English viscount and the story of their lives and their daughters up through the Second World War.  I have to say I wasn’t too convinced it was anything like Philippa Gregory at that point.  So I emailed the publicist for an ARC, not imagining I’d actually get one.  To my surprise, it arrived in the mail last week. 

We all know the typical rules for historical romance – stay before 1900, be wary of exotic settings (as an editor I love them, but it’s a rare book that readers will embrace too), and keep the focus on your main characters.  PALACE CIRCLE is issued in trade as historical fiction, so it has a little more leeway.  But even so, it’s broken every single rule.  It’s set 1911-40, half of it is in Egypt, and the book is broken into five parts with five different characters’ points of view.  Not too surprising that the publisher is so heavily touting a familiar comparison from one of the leading voices in romance.

I found myself wondering how the heck they’re going to convince readers to pick up this book.  Obviously they’ve got a big ARC campaign going, hoping to build word-of-mouth buzz.  And I notice the cover has changed significantly from the ARC to the final:

palace-circle-book    

The different style of dress is not only more vibrant but to me also more reminescent of the 19th century than 20th.  Which I’m sure isn’t a bad thing in the eye of marketers.  And at least the front cover lines and the back copy make the setting clear.  (Though very little–if any–of the book was “at court.”)

I highly applaud authors and publishers who are willing to take risks and go outside the boundaries typically confined to “what sells.”  I really hope this works for everyone.  PALACE CIRCLE will be released March 24 by Broadway Books, part of Random House.

What is it that makes you pick up a book outside the norm, either an author you don’t know or a period of time you’re not as familiar with?  How do you feel about the different cover treatments (minus my shoddy photography on the first)? 

As I’ve mentioned before, we get sales kits every month from a number of publishers.  It’s always fun to check out new cover looks and what’s coming up from whom.  A few new series in coming months that looked particularly interesting to me:

June

St. Martin’s

DEMONS NOT INCLUDED by Cheyenne McCray - the first book in a new urban fantasy series called Night Tracker.  Personally, I’ve had it up to about *here* with demons, but I guess that’s just me. 

 

STREET MAGIC by Caitlin Kittredge - the start of a new series called Black London.  I don’t yet have a cover image to show, but it looked like some fun steampunk-style romance.

EVE OF DESTRUCTION by S.J. Day – This is actually the second book of a trilogy to come out in consecutive months starting in May.  Yet more demon hunting, but apparently the heroine is also wanted by Cain and Abel.  Kinky.  And I really do have a hard time resisting that kick-butt heroine.  To me, this looks as though it could be as fun as the Rogue Angel concept.

Harlequin

CONFESSIONS OF A DUCHESS by Nicola Cornick – Finally, not everything is urban fantasy.  This is the first book of a new Brides of Fortune series, again with three books in three consecutive months.  I wish I had a cover to show, but the three together definitely caught my eye.  And the series sounds as though it has a delightful premise.  From the author’s site: When unscrupulous village squire Sir Montague Fortune discovers that he can revive all the ancient taxes in the village of Fortune’s Folly he causes uproar amongst the populace, for the medieval Dames’ Tax will allow him to take half the dowry of every unmarried woman in the village unless she weds within the year! Soon the village is bustling with fortune hunting bachelors out to persuade the ladies that it would be preferable to marry them than to lose their fortunes!

July

Harlequin

DUST TO DUST – Heather Graham is getting in on the urban fantasy action too, with a new four-book series where the four elements play a major role in preventing the apocalypse. 

August

Ballantine

     

I think the covers in this new trilogy by Tessa Dare look so beautiful together. 

This is it for now, but as new stuff catches my eye, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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