Monday, July 31, 2006

RWA! And the Winners are....

So many exciting things to report!

Each year PASIC (Published Author Special Interest Chapter) recognizes one editor with an award. This year there were 23 nominations, 8 of which were Harlequin or Silhouette editors:
Birgit Davis-Todd; Susan Litman; Kathryn Lye; Johanna Raisanen; Kathleen Schiebling; Tessa Shapcott; Patience Smith; Natashya Wilson

PASIC Editor of the Year Award Winner:
Patience Smith, Senior Editor, Silhouette Intimate Moments.

Not an RWA award, but a recent major honor I wanted to share was Vanessa Del Fabro receiving the prestigious Christy Award (2006 Contemporary Category) for her Steeple Hill title The Road To Home. She's working on the third book in the series, A Family in Full, with Sandpiper Drift the sequel.

2006 National Reader's Choice Award: Best Regency Romance: The Mysterious Miss M by Diane Gaston, editor Linda Fildew, Harlequin Historical

Greater Detroit 2006 RWA Booksellers Best Award: The Italian's Rightful Bride by Lucy Gordon, Harlequin Romance

Daphne Du Maurier Awards: The RWA Mystery/Suspense Chapter recognizes the best mystery/suspense books of the year:

- Best Single Title: Sex and The Serial Killer by Jennifer Skully, Editor: Ann Leslie Tuttle

- Best Inspirational: Love the Sinner by Lynn Bulock, Steeple Hill, Editor: Diane Dietz

- Best Series Book: Camouflage Heart by Dana Marton, Harlequin Intrigue Editor: Allison Lyons

Borders Books honored Debbie Macomber’s 50 Harbor Street in their Borders Bestselling Contemporary category, Editor: Paula Eykelhof

RITA Winners that I can toot about—and I'm counting primary, secondary and tertiary connections within my scope of tootability.

For a complete list of RITA and Golden Heart winners go to the
Romance Writers of America official website.

Princess of Convenience by Marion Lennox, Harlequin Romance (Marion...send that nice photo you sent to the RWA to PR for your author page!), Editor: Sheila Hodgson

The Marriage Miracle by Liz Fielding, Harlequin Romance (Mills & Boon Tender), Editor: Emma Dunford

Worth Every Risk by Dianna Love Snell, Silhouette Intimate Moments, Editor: Allison Lyons

Show Her the Money by Stephanie Feagan, Silhouette Bombshell, Editor: Natashya Wilson

A Reputable Rake by Diane Gaston, Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical, Editor: Linda Fildew

Lady Luck's Map of Vegas by Barbara Samuel (aka Ruth Wind at Harlequin) Ballantine Books, Editor: Linda Marrow

Survivor in Death by J.D. Robb(aka Nora Roberts at Harlequin...and elsewhere!), Penguin Putnam, Editor: Lesie Gelbman

Lakeside Cottage by Susan Wiggs, MIRA Books, Editors: Dianne Moggy & Margaret Marbury

Golden Heart Inspirational Romance Manuscript
WHEN ANGELS FALL by Lora Bale, acquired by Melissa Endlich for the Love Inspired line

Well, I can't think of any way to establish even a tertiary link with this year's lifetime achievement award winner, except that I'm a big fan, but I can say the skit that Gayle Wilson and Nora did prior to the award had the room ROTFL.

2006 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD to Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Congratulations Susan!

Congratulations ALL Rita and Golden Heart winners (not just the ones I can toot about!)

Congratulations to all the Finalists, who made the experience so exciting with their wonderful stories

Congratulations to everyone who had the courage to enter and compete!

Congratulations to all of you who finished their manuscripts and proposals.

As we all heard throughout the RWA, it is a watershed event for so many of us, a life-changing, mind-altering challenge and opportunity.

It is the journey, not the destination that counts, and that journey starts with a step, and is made up of a thousand steps—from completing a query, to a attending a conference, to finding a critique partner, to making a first pitch, to finishing a manuscript to winning a prize, to selling—and the years that can pass between those achievements.

I am always touched, humbled and motivated to hear of the vision, humor, grace, pragmatism, flexibility and all around stubborn determination and force of will this group has, individually and collectively.

It is a yearly inspiration.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More Than Words Nominations close August 4! But...

We are in the process of soliciting nominations now for the 2007 book. The deadline for nominations is Aug 4.

Do you know a real-life heroine?

Nominate her for the Harlequin More Than Words Award

Somewhere right now a woman’s compassion is improving the quality of life in her community. With each act of kindness, each word of support, she is proving that real-life heroines do exist. And at Harlequin we believe her story should be told!

Each Harlequin More Than Words Award recipient will receive:

• $10,000 to advance the work of her associated charity

• National recognition and promotion on

• An all-expenses-paid trip to the award ceremony for her and a friend

• And a novella inspired by her life and work will be written by one of Harlequin’s most acclaimed authors

For more details, please visit

But as soon as one contest closes (11:59 p.m. on Aug. 4) the next one goes up (12:01 a.m. on Aug. 5) so we’re always interested in getting nominations in.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

What I did this Weekend

I thought with all my floggy blogs, I'd just do a quick bloggy blog of sharing a few things I did this weekend that I really thought were special.

If you are planning to be in New York City between June 25-October 29, 2006, check out Dale Chihuly at the New York Botanical Garden, Garden and Glass exhibition. Tickets at, though we just got tickets ($20) at the gate—most of the exhibition is in the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and it is amazing. Photo on left offers a quick peek.

There is much, much more and it is quite remarkable, not just as art, or glass, or a mind boggling creative vision, but juxtaposed with the plants and flowers, it makes you realize how amazing nature is, and see things with and through an artist's eye.

Also went to see a Leonard Cohen documentary, I'm Your Man showing at the Film Forum. The documentary itself is basically a concert film intercut with some interviews of Leonard Cohen, a few early photos and footage.

It is not a brilliant film, but I have always found Leonard Cohen a brilliant poet, songwriter and musician. No, it isn't because he's Canadian & I am practically Canadian at this point—I can date my fondness to college with Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy and Hey, That Ain't No Way To Say Goodbye along with the rest of the world. Then I'm pretty sure Elvis Stojko skated to I'm Your Man, Atom Egoyan used his songs in Exotica and enjoyed that. Really, I'm a fan.

Nick Cave does several songs in the film & I found Cave's interview and comments very touching (no, don't know his music, only know him because Leslie's a fan of his). But getting to hear Leonard Cohen talk made me realize what a truly amazing person he is. I just wanted to listen to him forever, perhaps interspersed with hearing him sing his songs.

So many times you "meet" an artist you admire & they aren't what you expect from their work. What you wanted, imagined believed them to be is crushed by their reality, and adjustments need to be made. Remarkable as I think his work is, I found Leonard Cohen even more inspiring as a person—and it was especially cool to have U2's Bono and Edge really articulate that specialness. Listening to them do the Tower of Song together was pretty amazing.

Bonus! Finally got to see Fan Fan La Tulipe! Many (many!) years ago visiting a friend in Paris during college, we both fell in love with a poster of Gérard Philipe in the original Fan Fan La Tulipe. We were never able to see the film then and I have been waiting for decades to see it. A lifelong dream has been realized! Excellent film—he definitely is shoulder to shoulder with Errol Flynn—but...not as cute as that poster.

All three of these experiences illustrate the facinating dynamic between viewer, creator, created object and inspiration. Sometimes the fantasy is better than reality...sometimes reality surprises us. And sometimes it takes seeing reality through art to make us realize how fantastical our reality actually is.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What Is Love? Tell us! We want to know!

Harlequin launches:

If you’ve got a good answer to our question, we’ll publish your response!

Welcome to the launch of something special——where you can write Harlequin, and you may be contributing to writing a Harlequin!

Harlequin is canvassing our extraordinary community of romance experts—readers, authors, editors, aspiring writers, employees, interested parties, friends and family—to answer important questions like: What is Love? Got to, type in your answer and hit SUBMIT!

New questions will appear every few weeks, asking for your stories, opinions, insights on subjects like memorable kisses, love at first sight, dating disasters, perhaps provide snappy answers to your favorite stupid questions—really all the challenges and triumphs of romance & relationships...the sky’s the limit.

Note that everyone interested and able to type in a submission is a valued player in this project—no exceptions! And no limitations to the number of submissions: as much as your creativity allows—

Your great responses will be collected and reviewed with the hope of creating entertaining material using the shared information—whether it’s a full collection using the quotes or just a charming selection as an addition to a title or some other vehicle. Remember to give us a valid email address if you want to be contacted if selected!

The goal is to create a place to explore the creativity of our global community of people interested in romance and relationships—to find out the answers to some burning questions—and to determine ways to share that creativity and those answers with that community and the world at large. By sharing our views, ideas and thoughts, we can create a whole that is so much greater than the sum of its individual parts—something quite unique. We're seeing sharing content happening more and more, and our community seems uniquely suited to participate!

Why do it? Here are a few reasons: to explore your share your opinion...recognition...out of curiosity...validation...delight in your cleverness...celebrate your whimsy...explore your sense of fun.

Because there is something satisfying about sharing your unique point of view. And because there's also something fascinating about checking out what others have said. There's always a sense of discovery.

You are entering a place of the known...and the unknown. Yes, you're entering (Twilight Zone music please) the mind of your fellow human beings. They are both amazingly similar and remarkably different from you.

Therein lies the challenge. Therein is the beauty.

We will be continuing to enhance and improve the site—am hoping to add the ability to post favorite samples, ask questions, solicit votes, etc.

Check out and let us know what you think!

Monday, July 10, 2006

You're Invited!

But only if you're at the RWA 26th Conference July 26-29, 2006 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA (open to members and non-members). But if you haven't already acted fast, note that this year's Conference is sold out and the waiting list has reached full capacity. But if you're going to be there, please visit....

Thursday, July 27th, 2:30-3:30p.m., In The Champagne Suite, Lobby Level

Come to a 21st Century Digital Fair @ The Champagne Suite aka The Harlequin Suite. Learn about Audio! eBooks! Manga! Harlequin On The Go!!! Mobile! Other stuff! Ask Questions! Get Answers! Make Suggestions!


Come one, come all! You'll have a ball!

And for those more serious types, here's Malle's and my session at the RWA in Atlanta this year:

Friday, July 28th 8:30-9:30 a.m. in room International 8

The divine Vicki Hinze will be our moderator.

We all are going to have to get up very early to be at this session, so I see no reason you shouldn't have to get up and be there too. I need incentives to rise & shine. You can do that for me. Can you tell I'm not a morning person? It really is an interesting topic (timely too), & Malle is a wonderful speaker. So get up & come on over! Here's the description:

What do you need to do to deliver effective, salable, storytelling in the multi-format Digital World? What impact do "new formats" and "multi-media" have on your writing, e.g. mobile, mobisodes, layering, audio, manga, etc.?

As part of the new business development department, Malle and Isabel are charged with finding ways to better capitalize on these new opportunities—join us to explore these questions. Audience participation.

Between time shifting TiVo, watching bonus episodes of 24 on your mobile, writing Fan Fiction or texting your American Idol votes, Blogging, creating or downloading podcasts, the new age of storytelling is here. It’s happening—and we are part of it.

Top 10 things to remember when telling stories in the digital age:

1. Great storytelling: foundation for everything
2. Bite sized, accessible, quick
3. Repurposed content
4. Portability (streaming, downloading, satellite)
5. Multiple layers (audio, visual)
6. World-building
7. Interaction connectedness, participation
8. Discovery, uncertainty, lack of control
9. Voyeuristic
10. Freedom

Your story is no longer limited to being read from a printed page but can be experienced in many ways at many time across multiple media creating a rich layered story experience.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Freedom =/= Free

OK, I don't know where the "does not equal" sign is on my keyboard. That's the best I can do.

My fellow NBD colleague, Mary, sent me two links I thought I'd share that offered some interesting insight into the issue of copyright in the digital age—a truly complex issue in which laws are being created, boundaries pushed, precedent explored. A brave new world with compelling arguments from many perspectives.

By way of back story, as you may know, both the Association of American Publishers (of which Harlequin is a member along with most other publishers and I am on the board) and the Author's Guild have filed suit against Google over copyright & a Google project with several University libraries (Stanford among them, Google founders are Stanford alums) to make digital copies of material under copyright without the copyright holders permission. You can go to & search for additional detail...

On a side note, if you find it confusing, Google has a number of initiatives, some appropriately requesting receivingng copyright holders permission, the Library project not. However the names these various initiatives are called seem to change, making it hard to pin things down (perhaps that's the point).

I see this issue as being the subtext to the conversation between Richard Sarnoff & Lawrence Lessig below...

Click through to the blog by ZDNet's Mitch Ratcliffe. He's talking about a forum at the D: conference (all things Digital) with Richard Sarnoff, Random House CEO and Lawrence Lessig, a lawyer teaching law at Stanford University.

I found Mitch's piece well articulated, focusing on what I see as the true challenge—the ability for creators to control and be compensated for their work.

I am going to quote two paragraphs of his, in case you don't click through, because I think he puts things so nicely:

"But I think it's a little too easy to applaud lawyers complaining about lawyers when the problem is a question of, as Lessig said, 'the digital destiny of American culture or world history.' The lawyers are the sideshow, the problem is how to pay for the culture Mr. Lessig wants to preserve, and lawyers aren't the experts I'd rely on for culture. After all, with rare exceptions, lawyers don't produce writing or video or music that anyone would want to read, see or hear except to pass a test.

"The big question is how artists, writers, performers and others who dedicate themselves to creative work and make no living from a "day job" are going to get paid. This doesn't mean one has to be a "paid professional" to be a writer or artist or filmmaker, only that if one does choose to make their living that way, they need to put food on the table just like anyone else. And, if they produce a great work or monstrous hit, why shouldn't they live in a big house and eat caviar from the belly buttons of their favored gender or contribute their fortunes to charity and schools for the art, should they so choose? After all, it's only fair given the nature of the economy that someone who bets everything on their creativity should get paid when they make something people want, enjoy or participate in with zest."

While one could continue to argue this is a new medium, needing zero barriers to entry, I actually think it's time we began to up the ante & ask for more—like let's start to figure out control & compensation, which is what copyright is supposed to be about.

The next story Mary shared was the Virgin France music piracy article, where the courts found that Virgin France had illegally downloaded Madonna's Hung Up to sell on their own website. Check out the BBC article.

In case you don't click:

"France Telecom's Herve Payan told the International Herald Tribune: 'This is an amazing case of simple piracy by a respected company.'"

Why, you might wonder? "Virgin France said it had broken the exclusive agreement in the interest of consumers. The group...have recently attacked record firms for releasing top selling singles to mobile and internet firms under exclusive deals. Similar deals in the US involving the Starbucks coffee chain have also prompted anger, with retailer HMV claiming such moves limit consumer access to music."

There is a sense of entitlement that seems to feel justified in rolling over individual decisions and the right to control one's own content....But ultimately, it is something the courts will decide.

As a treat for reading this far, here's an example of a publisher (moi...well, whatever) choosing to give something away—a cool $1.00 off Coupon, good wherever books are sold—for Brenda Novak's DEAD SILENCE, out July 26th, set in a small fictional town in Mississippi. Scary.