Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lunch and Learn

Just spent one of the most delightful afternoons at Candy and Joe's—for those who know them, I thought I'd take a photo of them actually in the same frame to demonstrate they actually do intersect in their amazing and peripatetic lifestyle. No, I'm not even going to go into it.

Candy, in my opinion, defines the word Maven as used by Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point. If you haven't read it, it's worth checking out. Perhaps one of the early works of non-fiction that really took to heart or simply took good advantage of the lessons of fiction and storytelling and makes for entertaining—as well as instructive—reading.

While I was ensconsed in this lovely spot, eating amazing food, enjoying the conversation of most eclectic, and fascinating group of people—journalists, vintners, actors, filmmakers, psychologists, writers, editors, pick an interesting profession, pick an interesting person, they are there—an interesting challenge was made: are there 32 great romances? Would I be willing to contribute to a collection a fellow guest was compiling? I canvassed everyone for help, but realized as I sat down that it was too awkward to do as a publisher, so I bowed out.

I wanted to thank everyone who contributed their brilliant suggestions—many of which I totally agreed with. However there were a number of titles I hadn't read, so my "TBR" pile has just grown enormously, and I can't wait to get started—thank you for so many excellent suggestions and ideas! I will also be passing on your recommendations to our team for consideration for favorite titles to get back in print, so I assure you, nothing is wasted!

OK, you have been so good, I had to share this brief article I read in my September 2006 Natural History Magazine Samplings section (Magazine is yours free just for being a member of the Museum of Natural History in New York, one of my favorite Museums!).

You may ask yourself: Is there any benefit to having a lateralized brain? Let me just share some information from a recent study by Marco Dadda, a psychologist, and Agnelo Bisazza, an evolutionary biologist, both at the University of Padua in Italy that suggests that lateralization may make animals better at the critical skill of multitasking (something you may feel is a skill particularly well developed in women. Well, gentle reader, read on!).

"Goldbelly topminnows are small Central American fish that belong to the guppy family. Female goldbelly topminnows must put up with repeated attempts by males to mate with them. The suitors can be distracting, even exasperating, to females, particularly when they are trying to eat.

"Dadda and Bisazza compared the feeding efficiency of female goldbelly topminnows bred to be lateralized with that of females bred to have no side preference. When there were no distracting males, the two kinds of females caught food equally well. When randy males were present, however, only the lateralized females kept eating efficiently, while still avoiding unwanted advances. Parallel processing seems to benefit from a brain with asymmetrical function. (Behavioral Ecology 17:358—63, 2006) —Stephan Reebs

Doesn't that sort of say it all? Somehow, when it's two Italian guys (with, c'mon, sort of made up sounding names) staring at schools of these adorable Central American guppies, worried about whether their girls are getting enough to eat. Sitting there, describing the importunate and irritating goldbelly topminnow guys...just trying to get on top, one can only assume, taking the girl's side. It's, well, it's beautiful. Food? Sex?

Now you know why you have a right and left brain. Keep them both in working order!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Press Release—the Virtual Event

It's just a sheet of paper. Well, it's not even paper any more is it? Just a collection of symbols on a screen, really. But it's only marginally less crazy than, say, doing a wedding. I'm not kidding!

There's the planning, who reviews it, who writes it, rewrites it, needs to review it again, rewrites it, needs to review it again, rewrites it, needs to review it again, (you get the picture), hey, I've got a great idea, let's put in.... (insert champagne pyramid and/or live links), who is it going to? Oh did you update the mailing lists? Could you do that for me sweetie? Let's see what it looks like if we... Oh, not so good, let's go back to...You know, I think I liked it the first not that first time, the other first time. Yes, that one, but with the bit at the end from the eighth draft. Loved that bit. You know, maybe it should go through proofreading again. Legal already checked it & will have to check it again? You're kidding. Now we've changed it so much everybone that approved it before have to approve it again? Really? And everyone's on vacation right now? Oh, they just changed the order of everything? The logos have been modified? You'll be sending me the new ones shortly. Right away? Please? Everything is being checked to make sure it works when we go live. There's a problem? None of the buttons work? Someone's looking into it? They'll let me know what's happening? No one knows anything so you're just going to make it up? That sounds good. OK. Let's go! Push the button to launch. Oh, it doesn't seem to be working. There is goes! Yes, it launched for sure because I just got an irate email from a vendor complaining we mispelled their name in our release.

Thank you for a lovely party!

According to Malle, who knows these things, there is an Estonian custom that I have to share. Malle says it is a customary practice when you have attended an Estonian event and are thanking your hostess and saying your goodbyes, you also share any helpful comments you might have on shortcomings and how she might improve the event in the future (i.e. dinner was lovely, but very slow and started far too late. And next time, stir the soup before serving it). Pretty special, eh? Wikipedia is missing these bits of color. Malle will need to add them in.

So as you create your event—virtual or otherwise—watch out for those helpful Estonians. They are looking for continuous improvement!

We're delighted to have the eBook site up & running on eHarlequin, to have the adorable Minis available for sale and to be able to offer the Mini Round Robins for a FREE download. I think we have discovered five authors for Harlequin (and counting!) with the Writing Round Robin program—one of them, Mia Zachary—is launching the Mini Round Robin line.

Putting a press release together is as crazy as throwing a major event, but there's no food! Still, it is fun to see all the 'guests' arriving & chatting about your event.

Y'all come on over!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Harlequin Launches eBook Boutique & Announces Birth of the Harlequin Mini!

Toronto, Ontario, August 22, 2006 - Harlequin Enterprises Limited(, the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, today announced the launch of four digital entertainment ventures, specifically: Harlequin Mini ™ eBooks, Harlequin Mini™ Round Robin eBooks, the launch of the eBook Boutique on and, a platform for gathering reader-generated content.
"Harlequin is the brand in publishing that is trusted by women around the world to provide them with great entertainment," says Donna Hayes, Publisher and CEO of Harlequin Enterprises Limited. "We are uniquely positioned to serve their needs and offer entertainment in new digital formats. Put simply, a lot of women are already there, and those who aren't trust us to help them navigate the evolving digital space."
"The modern romance reader has gone digital," says Pam Laycock, Executive Vice President of Harlequin's New Business Development department. "She demands the portability, depth, breadth, immediacy and convenience of romance novels in downloadable formats." Ms. Laycock illustrates this fact by pointing to the success of the company's eBooks on the bestseller lists of many eBook Web sites, including, where Harlequin titles out-performed The Da Vinci Code just prior to the release of the film.
Responding to reader demand for even more romance fiction in a digital format, Harlequin is launching the Harlequin Mini eBook. These are short-series eBooks written by Harlequin authors, including New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling writers—ideal for readers who want a "quick fix" but don't have the time for a longer novel. "No other publisher is doing anything like this," says Malle Vallik, Editorial Director of Harlequin's New Business Development department. "These delicious ‘bite-size' stories are exclusive to's eBook Boutique." Ten Harlequin Mini eBooks will be available during the August launch of the imprint. Four new Harlequin Mini eBooks will appear every month thereafter. Each story costs only 99¢ to download.
The Harlequin Mini Round Robin eBook is an outcome of Harlequin's collaboration with its readers. These stories are launched by a published author, and subsequent chapters are created—and hotly competed for—by fans and aspiring writers. Many of Harlequin's talented new voices have been discovered through this interactive round robin challenge, including launch author Mia Zachary. The popular Writing Round Robin has been a feature of since 2000. This is the first time it will be available as an eBook. As a special introduction, the Harlequin Mini Round Robin eBook will initially be available for free download.
Harlequin Enterprises Limited is at the leading edge of digital publishing, offering about 40 new titles every month in eBook format. As of today, all of these titles will be available in the new eBook Boutique at It will be the exclusive eRetailer for the Harlequin Mini and Harlequin Mini Round Robin eBooks. eBooks from the eHarlequin Boutique will be available in three formats—Adobe PDF, Microsoft Reader and Mobipocket.
"Harlequin has an unmatched involvement, engagement and participation with its readers," says Pam Laycock. "Because of this intimate relationship, Harlequin is going beyond reader participation in the Round Robin to tap the creativity and wisdom of our global community via We ask such burning questions as What Is Love? or What Was Your Worst Date Ever? and anyone and everyone can send in responses. A collection of the most appealing answers will be published in a digital format early in 2007 and then later as a print version."
Harlequin's drive to develop and offer more content in more ways furthers the company's digital strategy, which also includes downloadable audio from (, the leading provider of digitally delivered spoken-word audio, and the Harlequin On the Go™ mobile phone content subscription service ( Readers can keep up with further digital developments on a blog written by a Harlequin vice president at or
About eHARLEQUIN.COM The community provides Harlequin with an outstanding opportunity to speak directly to its readers around the world on message boards, in chat rooms and through author blogs. Whether looking to buy the latest books, reading original stories from bestselling authors, or sharing the love of reading with other readers and authors, visitors will discover the ultimate online women's fiction experience.

About HARLEQUIN ENTERPRISES LIMITEDHarlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, with titles issued worldwide in 25 languages and sold in 94 international markets. The company produces over 115 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.B). Harlequin's Web site is located at Harlequin has offices in 18 countries, including Toronto, New York and London. For more information please visit or
# # #
For more information, contact:
Don Lucey
Assistant Manager, Public Relations Communications
Harlequin Enterprises Limited
(416) 445-5860

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

RWA Photos & A Few Notes

my fairy blogmothers!

Suzanne McMinn, Author; Jill Shalvis, Author; Jayne Hoogenberk, eHarlequin Community Manger

This is where I expect I am supposed to say the bit about "all errors are my own" so I'd better say it. Yes, and Jill's photo is with a real camera, not my phone, no need to rub it in. Bet Don Lucey snapped me & Jayne. But don't Suzanne & I look like we belong on an album cover of some cool rock group? Yes, she is the lead singer & I am back-up, but still!

Kat Martin, author, above left. Karin Stoecker, Editorial Director, Harlequin Mills & Boon and Jayne Hoogenberk, eHarlequin Community Manager, DTC above right. Debbie Macomber hard at work, right.

Do you think they find me...risible?

I wanted to share a few notes I had taken from a talk given by Susan Elizabeth Phillips on Librarian Day. Her points were so familiar, yet I still don't have the perfect response, and that frustrates me. Maybe I will have to come up with a series of questions for and just get everyone to send in their snappy answers and collect 'em!

She talked about how, while there is progress, romance fiction is still often seen by media and others as "bad" because it creates "unrealistic expectations." This is both irritating and profoundly depressing for a positivist such as myself.

Irritating in that it assumes readers of romance fiction are incapable of differentiating life from their entertainment reading (one can only assume the assumer is profoundly grateful that these brain-dead women are not spending their leisure hours watching, say, The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre and really cutting loose).

And depressing because while it may not be everyone's certain daily reality to find lifelong happiness, or one true love, I will not accept that it is UNREALISTIC to want to find happiness, to love and be loved, to win every once in a while. Surely we can allow that is a realistic goal, though not always an attainable one--or not always attained 24/7/365.

Though as Susan noted, commitment can mean you win by losing. The challenge is knowing when you are losing too much. That's why you need your friends...and a few good romance novels to see you through.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Editorial Recommendations—Just a few!

I asked Executive Editor Mary Theresa Hussey to gather some editorial recommendations on interesting series titles coming up over the next few months—August to October—she grabbed a few handfulls and I'm passing them along!


MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE – Allie Pleiter – Love Inspired, 8/06
We’ve been publishing a select few Steeple Hill Café titles in the Love Inspired program during 2006, and in hers, Café author Allie Pleiter poses a very interesting question--dating is the pits, but what do you do when you’re the voice of a major cartoon character...and all your dates seem to want is for you to “do the voice” for the kids in their Sunday School class? Yikes!
—Krista Stroever, Associate Senior Editor, Steeple Hill

FINDING NICK by Janis Reams Hudson, Special Edition, 8/06
This is a book about the very far-flung implications of 9/11—not a typical series premise, yet the characters in question, a firefighter “hero” who’s been fighting the title with all his might, and the reporter determined to get his story—truly come alive in this vitally compelling story. I respond to this book because it’s such an honest story, and it really is complex, just the way things are in real life. There’s no pat answer to anything—not to the hero’s suffering, nor to the heroine’s drive and determination. Read it! --Gail Chasan, Senior Editor, Special Edition


MY BABY, MY BRIDE by Tina Leonard – Harlequin American Romance, 9/06
Tina Leonard, who writes cowboys like nobody else, has a wonderful sense of humor. I look forward to reading her books, and this one made me smile all the way through. Her heroines are women you can identify with, and her cowboys are always tough on the outside – but soft on the inside. They make me want to find a cowboy of my very own!
—Kathleen Scheibling, Associate Senior Editor

MR. IMPERFECT – Karina Bliss – Harlequin Superromance, 10/06
A Golden Heart winner last year, this is Karina’s first published book and we’re so excited about it! I couldn’t put this reunion story down when I first read it. It’s hilarious, poignant, and nobody conveys New Zealand—or bad boys—as well as Karina. Warning: You will laugh out loud.
—Victoria Curran, Editor, Harlequin Superromance

THE RANIERI BRIDE by Michelle Reid, 9/10, Presents (#2564).
This is the perfect page-turning read for when the nights start drawing in. Dramatic, emotional and hotly passionate, it has a to-die-for dark and dangerous Italian hero in Enrico and a heart-wrenching dilemma for the heroine, Freya - and the most unexpected twist at the end!
—Tessa Shapcott, Executive Editor, Harlequin Presents


THE BOSS’S CHRISTMAS SEDUCTION by Yvonne Lindsay, Silhouette Desire, 10/06:
New Zealand writer Yvonne Lindsay makes her debut with this title and begins her New Zealand Knights trilogy. Yvonne delivers a highly sensual office romance between two very flawed people. It packs a strong emotional punch and is one of those books that I just can’t put down every time I pick it up, and I want to re-read it over and over again.
—Jessica Alvarez, Assistant Editor, Silhouette Intimate Moments

ASKING FOR TROUBLE by Leslie Kelly, Harlequin Blaze, 10/06
Like Leslie, I’m a longtime fan of the works of Victoria Holt, and think she’s done an incredible job of reinventing the traditional Gothic romance, Blaze-style, complete with a few chills, lots of thrills…and a sensual love story that will have readers scouring the countryside for old haunted houses. I couldn’t put it down.
—Brenda Chin, Associate Senior Editor, Blaze.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER – Jennifer Taylor – Medical Romance, 10/06
This story is a first for Medical Romance – all the action takes place over 24 hours! From the opening chapter Jennifer has you hooked, I found myself swept up by the pace and excitement as the hero and heroine battle to save lives in the ER. The medical drama, combined with the passionate, emotional intensity of the marriage rekindled story certainly makes this a book to remember!
—Jennifer Hutton, Assistant Editor Medical Romance.

BLACKHAW’S BETRAYAL by Barbara McCauley, 10/06
Finally! I have been anxiously awaiting more SECRETS! books from this RITA award winning author and she hasn’t disappointed me one bit. I sure didn’t see this newest batch of illegitimate Blackhawks coming—and I know readers will love all the twists Barbara provides as she launches four new titles filled with scandals and secrets!
—Melissa Jeglinski, Senior Editor, Silhouette Desire

THE HEART OF A MERCENARY by Loreth Anne White, Intimate Moments, 10/06 (book #1 of SHADOW SOLDIERS). As a huge fan of espionage and international intrigue myself, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for exotic settings, passionate romance and deliciously evil villains! The author grew up in South Africa, and her intimate knowledge of the country is sure to make the reader feel as if they are right beside our hero and heroine every step of the way.
—Susan Litman, Editor, Special Edition

SEASON OF SECRETS - Marta Perry - Love Inspired Suspense, 10/06
There’s just something darkly mysterious about Southern cities—behind their polished society façade lurks family secrets people would rather stayed buried. Marta Perry’s set her keep-the-lights-on Christmas story in my favorite Southern city—Charleston.
—Krista Stroever, Associate Senior Editor, Steeple Hill

Hope you enjoy...!

Special treat—RWA photos, taken with my trusty phone, which also holds my eBooks, my audio books and will be able to get HOTGo once it is available on Cingular! OK, I admit, Don Lucey took the Landscape shot.

My fantabulous legwear (if I do say so myself)
Dressed for our 21st Century Digital Fair
Standing Room Only @ the Fair--Malle Vallik & Isabel Swift presenting the New Business Team's amazing activities over the past year and plans for the future!

Anne Marie Winston, Nora Roberts and Ruth Langan--Can these ladies DANCE!

Nothing would be complete without a chocolate tower....make that TWO chocolate towers!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Check it Out

This is all getting so scary I can hardly visit these websites, much less read the books after dark!

M.J. Rose—her blog too—is the queen of all things internet, and has another of her amazing Dr. Morgan Snow novels out now. You need to check out It is wonderfully atmospheric, creative, compelling. And call me crazy, but I feel like I recognize someone's voice....

M.J. has written LYING IN BED for the newly launched Spice line, is a key contributor to THRILLER as well as her Morgan Snow series, THE VENUS FIX, THE DELILAH COMPLEX, THE HALO EFFECT all sexy, thrilling and chilling reads.

Then you can visit Brenda Novak's site and get a cool $1.00 off Coupon—good wherever books are sold—for her DEAD SILENCE, out in July, set in a small fictional town in Mississippi. Scary.

Brenda also has a Harlequin SuperRomance, THE OTHER WOMAN (also available in a larger print edition). A friend was just sharing that storyline had actually happened to a friend of hers in real life. I can't decide if it would be comforting to be given a book with a plotline that mirrored your life (but with a happy ending) or depressing. What do you think? Brenda's earlier HQN is EVERY WAKING MOMENT.

And now that you're in a webcrawling mood, go visit Heather Graham's video on her July title, THE VISION. It is really cool.

Heather also has a story in THRILLER and her THE LAST CAVALIER is back in print!

Bite-size content! Tiny nibbles of the stories you can see and hear and practically taste!

Try them. I bet you'll like them.

(and do you remember my recommending Rogue Angel in an earlier blog? Fabulous reviews).