Courtney Milan: A Slow Writer’s Guide to Making a Living (RWA2014)

July 25th, 2014

imageI’ve loved attending my first ever RWA. It’s always great fun to meet new writers, talk to those I already know, and listen to everyone chat about Romancelandia. Read the rest of this entry »

News from San Antonio

July 24th, 2014

I I had to hit the ground running At RWA this year, leaving a family reunion in just enough time to make it to the Literacy Signing. Not the most relaxing way to start off a conference, but then you haven’t really lived until you’ve heard an adorable almiost-three year old call you Aunt “Life”. Nonetheless, I made it just in time and got to catch up with some great authors and hear about their work. Here’s what’s new (at least with authors A-L…sorry, by the time I got to the M’s everything was wrapping up).

Zoe Archer Zoe Archer wrote one of my favorite books last year (Sweet Revenge). She’s going in a new direction next year, and will be publishing Regency set historicals with Avon. They’ll center around women writers, and will be written under a new name to match the new direction – Eva Leigh.

Jo Beverley has been concentrating on her Malloren books recently, but is moving back to her Rogues series. Her next book will be Too Dangerous for a Lady (out next April), and will feature a heroine who is the sister of one of the Rogues who didn’t survive the Peninsular Wars. As she pointed out, it was a dangerous time, and not all would-be heroes or their friends survived it.

Kristen Callihan is continuing with her Darkest London series, which she considers to be more Gothic/Gas Lamp fantasies than Steampunk. Her latest, Evernight, comes out in August. The heroine has to work on (in the mechanical/metaphysical sense) a man who is back or revenge. Two more books are on the horizon – Souldown and Forevermore. And Kristen says it’s harder to come up with her compound word titles than you might think; many of the obvious choices have already been co-opted by YA.

Sherri Browning is working on the next book in her Thornbrook Park series, Affair Downstairs.

Claudia Dain was a name I hadn’t seen in awhile. She wrote some Medievals that received positive reviews here back in the day. With the wonders of the internet, they’re available again. She’s now concentrating on Regency historicals (which she self-publishes) and women’s fiction, which she writes under Claudia Walsh. He regencies are lighter in tone than her medievals, and the women’s fiction emerged because she felt she had a story to tell that didn’t quite fit the romance mold.

Megan Frampton used to write for AAR back in the day. She has a new series coming out with Avon starting this fall – Dukes Behaving Badly, which starts out with The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior in late November. She’ll also have a novella in February; novellas are a bit of a theme this year.

Laura Florand is moving from chocolate books to fragrance books. Her new series will feature an old Fragrance family from the south of France and will include four books and a novella. The first of these is Once Upon a Rose. Laura was drawn to fragrance as a theme because she loves rich settings and was able to do extensive research in the area.

Elizabeth Essex is an author I’d love to review – if only everyone else didn’t keep beating me to the punch. Her next book, out in September, is a shipwreck story with a heroine who is near and dear to Elizabeth’s heart. The heroine manages to talk her way into a royal expedition to the South Seas; Essex herself is a former nautical archeologist. It’s based loosely on the voyages of Darwin and Cook.

L.B. Gregg is another novella enthusiast – for her the length really works. Her newest novella with Riptide is part of a multi-author series involving a town in the Pacific Northwest where a werewolf TV series is filmed. Her particular story is bout a barista and an actor in the show.

Blythe Gifford had the first of two royal wedding stories come out in March. She also has a self published book set in the seventeenth century called The Witch Finder. We chatted about fellow Blythes we have known (not many), and Blythe has actually met Anya Seaton’s granddaughter (a fellow Blythe apparently). And all the cooler because Seaton’s writing and the way she showcased love and historical intrigue are what inspired Blythe to write those type of books herself.

Susanna Kearlsey has a new book coming out in spring – A Desperate Fortune. It’s a bit of a departure from some of her other books in that it doesn’t have a paranormal element (although it does have a dual storyline). It’s about a modern day code breaker who starts translating the journal of a 1732 Parisian and Jacobite sympathizer, and learns that the journal is not what it seems. Her next project is set in Colonial Long Island during the French and Indian War. Bonus: The modern day hero is a full-blooded Mohawk.

Caroline Lindon is still writing her racy Regency books, which have featured a mystery about the writer of – essentially – Regency porn. Said writer is about to be exposed…perhaps that’s a double entendre?

Jennifer Lohmann’s next book is Winning Ruby Heart, which has a disgraced Olympic runner heroine and sports caster hero. This piqued my interest as I have a son who runs, and much of our spare time revolves around cross country and track seasons. The heroine was a middle distance runner (5K and 10K for those of you who don’t spend your spring Saturdays watching teenagers run around in circles) caught doping who now runs ultra-marathons. Jennifer was influenced both by the Lance Armstrong Scandal and reading Born to Run (a fairly interesting and provocative book even if you’re not a runner).

Julie Anne Long just wrapped up Lavay’s book, and next up will by Lyon. Her series and her fandom are still going strong.

I’m hoping to catch those M-Z authors elsewhere this conference, as well as others like Tessa Dare and Julie James, who had longer lines. Stay tuned!

An Interview with and a Giveaway from author Laura Andersen

July 23rd, 2014

I’m speaking with Laura Andersen about her Boleyn Trilogy, which was completed on 15th July with the release of the final book, The Boleyn Reckoning. (My review of the book is here.) I’ve been reading historical fiction for more years than I care to remember, but this is the first time I’ve branched out into anything other than stories centering around actual historical figures and events. I picked up the first book because I was intrigued by the “what if?” premise; suppose Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII a son who had lived to succeed him. I confess to some skepticism, but it wasn’t very long before I was sucked into the story and invested in the characters. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all three books and have found myself a new auto-buy author, and I’m delighted to welcome Laura to AAR. Read the rest of this entry »

50 Shades of Readers

July 21st, 2014

VanGogh woman reading“All sentences are not created equal,” Jenny Davidson tells us in Reading Style: A Life in Sentences. Her tale is not so much about “which books must be read than about how to read.” Her main conversational point is the “sentence, sometimes the paragraph, its structure and sensibility, its fugitive feel on the tongue.” In other words, Ms. Davidson is talking about the value of a book derived not from the book’s life lessons or even overall cohesive tale but its structure – the beauty and efficacy of its prose. Read the rest of this entry »

Courtney Milan talks to AAR… and gives away five copies of The Suffragette Scandal!

July 18th, 2014

The Suffragette ScandalI, like many AAR readers, have been avidly awaiting Courtney Milan’s most recent book, The Suffragette Scandal, which she released this week. I asked Courtney if she’d answer some questions and she agreed to do so. She is also giving away in five copies of The Suffragette Scandal to five lucky AAR readers. (To enter the drawing, just make a comment below.) Read the rest of this entry »

TBR Challenge – It’s RITA Time!

July 16th, 2014

prospero Note: This year’s RITA awards will be held next week at the RWA National Conference, so the July multi-blog challenge is focusing on reading RITA nominees and winners.

My choice for the multi-blog TBR challenge was Prospero’s Daughter by Nancy Butler, a RITA award winner in 2004. I loved it – it’s a beautifully written and tender romance in which an ex-soldier helps a badly injured young woman to recapture her spirit and zest for life in the face of the neglect of her seemingly perfect family. Morgan Pearce is inveigled by a friend into visiting the friend’s father to assist him in writing his memoirs. Not long after his arrival, Morgan literally stumbles across a lonely young woman sitting in a bath chair in the gardens, seemingly abandoned. She is Miranda Runyon, a relative who lost her parents in an accident three years previously, and who was left seriously injured. Her family has basically shut her away and now ignores her existence, and Miranda, once a vital, independent young woman, has more or less given up. Read the rest of this entry »

Mr. Darcy: Douchebag or Dreamboat? (a new series at AAR)

July 14th, 2014

Welcome to the AAR Douchebag or Dreamboat series, in which AAR staffers take famous literary heroes to trial for perceived slights, misdemeanors and otherwise unsavorybehaviours. Are they a victim of their circumstances, time and/or personality, or are they just plain douchey?

Mr. Darcy:  Imperious Misanthrope or Just a Shy Guy

DB2

 

or

DB1

Read the rest of this entry »

Picking Review Books One Book at a Time

July 11th, 2014

stack-of-books2-300x214AAR receives scores of print and digital books a month. In addition, reviewers are constantly buying or borrowing books above and beyond their AAR allotments. How do AAR reviewers choose the books which make it to final review?
Across the board, most AAR reviewers choose first by author, seeking writers they have enjoyed before or who have garnered positive buzz, especially here at AAR or on Goodreads. Many reviewers sneak peeks at excerpts from Amazon, Google Books, or author web sites, to rule out authors whose voice they dislike or who seem utterly unacquainted with the fundamentals of the English language. One exception is Heather, who deliberately eliminates all authors she’s reviewed before. Read the rest of this entry »

Wait. What? They did that where?

July 9th, 2014

We’ve all read them – those books where the sex just doesn’t make sense. Recently, I’ve stumbled across several that made me cringe. Read the rest of this entry »

Speaking of Audiobooks: Downpour – an Alternative to Audible and a FIVE Credit Giveaway!

July 7th, 2014

Downpour lgWhen audio enthusiasts look for downloadable audiobooks, they usually think of Audible first, unaware that there is now another game in town. Downpour.com, Blackstone Audio’s online audiobook retail site, offers not only competitive pricing but all the ease of downloads you’ll find at Audible. Downpour also offers two additional features that have significantly impacted my buying habits – DRM-free buying and lower pricing for purchasing those extra audiobooks beyond your monthly credits.

The DRM-free factor is big. How often have you been frustrated by your inability to loan your eBooks or downloaded audiobooks? That’s DRM at work. Here’s what Craig Black, founder of Blackstone Audio, has to say about DRM: Read the rest of this entry »