Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Presenting...Associate Senior Editor Patience Smith

PatiencePatience had a rich and varied career prior to becoming an assistant editor at Harlequin in '97, but I'll let her share her information in her own words. I'm delighted to present Patience Smith....

Tell us about you
: I started my relationship with Harlequin at fourteen while studying for final exams. I had pulled an all-nighter to study for History and had three hours before my Latin exam. To get through that day, I had to drink many Tabs and read a romance.

After stealing Harlequin Presents from my roommate’s pile, I devoured them when I should have been studying declensions and conjugations. I wound up getting a C on the History exam and an A—would have been an A+ if I hadn’t skipped an entire section due to sleep deprivation spaciness—on the Latin exam. I credit the romances for helping me ace Latin.

I continued to read romances during those times when I should have been doing something else—like writing my master’s thesis, doing lesson plans, typing memos for lawyers and answering phones for oil traders.

Role at Harlequin: I’m the Associate Senior Editor for Silhouette Intimate Moments which will turn into Silhouette Romantic Suspense in February 2007.

A lot is happening in Silhouette Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense. The line has already changed editorially in that we are looking for suspense in every book—though the romance is the heavy focus. We’re looking for highly romantic, passionate category romances set anywhere in the world and containing some element of suspense.

The SIM/SRS team has revamped the covers, which will begin a transitional phase in October 2006. And the line changes its name and introduces its new covers starting in February 2007. Very exciting!

The feedback for the changes in the line has been overwhelmingly positive.

Did you always want to work in publishing? I’ve always loved reading and writing, so I knew I would wind up doing something with words, if only to do graffiti in bathrooms.

If not, what else did you want to do? I wanted to be a movie-star, but because I don’t like auditioning, memorizing lines or starving myself, this didn’t work out.

Also, I can’t act.

Did anything surprise you about the editorial role? It surprises me how little time there is to edit, but also how much fun it is to see a line evolve over a year—and to be a part of it.

What are most challenging/most satisfying aspects of job? The most challenging aspect is gathering all the materials in order to make deadlines. I have to rely on many people, which I’m not used to.

The most satisfying aspect of the job is the interaction with authors and editing. My favorite time of day is early morning when I first come to the office. It’s quiet and I usually spend the first hour just reading before noise levels rise.

Anything make you totally insane? Doing things at the last minute. Most of the time, it’s my own fault.

Can you finish the sentence: "If I read one more story with…. I will fall asleep." If I read one more story with the hero and heroine bickering for no reason, I’ll fall asleep. Same goes for the heroine stating at the beginning of the story that she doesn’t have time for a man and is too focused on other things.

Or “I wish I could find a story that….” I wish I could find a story that makes me cry. That happens every now and then and it’s always a treat (waterproof mascara is a good investment). That’s when I know I have to have the book.

Favorite recent film/film of all time: Favorite recent film: The Devil Wears Prada. Favorite movies of all time: Jaws, Notorious, Heat, The Hours, All About Eve, Hannah and Her Sisters, Silence of the Lambs

Favorite meal: To eat: Steak, mashed potatoes and peas (and cheesecake). To make: cupcakes. And I excel at overcooking rice, vegetables and pasta.

Most amazing recent purchase: I bought in one week a new big TV, computer and cell phone but have trouble working all three of them. I have discovered the magic of texting, which annoys my friends and family since I’ll send them really important messages like, “Hi.”
Hobby? Knitting, watching movies, collecting elephants (not real ones)

Most surprising thing about you we’d never guess in a million years? I’m known in my family for using a lot of foul language, which I think I inherited from my grandmother. Also, I read tarot cards, did calligraphy professionally for fifteen years and was the ace pitcher on a co-ed softball team all through high school.

Guilty pleasure you refuse to feel guilty about? Watching Dr. Phil.

Most interesting thing you've done lately? This is not so much interesting as it is obsessive—In the last seven months, I’ve knit ten pairs of slippers, four purses and two Peruvian hats, all of which I’m going to sell.

Inspiring event? In August, going to a family reunion and seeing so many interesting, fun people in one room. It made me realize how lucky I am.

Today’s favorite expression or quote? "Whatev”, which I got from Senior Editor of Special Edition Gail Chasan. Who has the time to add the extra syllable?

Comic book character that embodies characteristics you most admire? I sort of like Marv from Sin City. He’s done some evil deeds, but his heart is mostly in the right place. At the other end of the spectrum: Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter has always been my hero! I even bought her album.

Superpower you would enjoy having? Ability to beam myself places without going through the pain of traffic, driving, sitting in cramped places for hours, living through turbulence.

If you had a magic wand that would allow you to do one thing Naughty and one thing Nice, what two things would you do? Naughty: I wouldn’t protest if a magic wand allowed me to steal several million dollars from a bank without anyone ever finding out. Basically, anything having to do with theft, as long as I don’t have to be punished for it later. Nice: Put the cast of the Jon Stewart show in the Oval Office.

Least favorite characters in fiction and why? Rochester and Heathcliff because they’re just too much work. Also, this is wrong and bad of me, but because I had to read Le Petit Prince so many times, I came to despise him.

What do you have on your bulletin board? A picture of Ganesh—the god that removes obstacles. A lot of charts for deadlines and an 8x10 glossy of Keanu Reeves, courtesy of Marie Ferrarella.

Looking for… New authors for SIM/SRS. This line has a strong author base and we’d love to add new voices. As always, I’m looking for a book that will sweep me away and make me forget about day-to-day responsibilities (like studying for Latin and History exams).

Bought several great… Veteran authors to contribute to Silhouette Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense. Rachel Lee, Catherine Mann, Lindsay McKenna and Susan Grant will contribute short stories for two separate military Christmas anthologies to be published in 2007 and 2008. And six authors—Marie Ferrarella, Caridad Pineiro, Lyn Stone, Nina Bruhns, Kathleen Creighton and Karen Whiddon—came together to create a new royal, international themed continuity, MISSION: IMPASSIONED, which will happen in 2007.

Just about to publish…. Lindsay McKenna's paranormal romance, UNFORGIVEN , which is in the launch month of Silhouette Nocturne, is about to hit bookshelves in October.

This story is amazing. Jaguar shapeshifters, the fight for good and evil and falling in love with the enemy—oh my!

I read it in one sitting.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


To Susan Wiggs for hitting the top 15 New York Times Bestseller list with her MIRA title Summer At Willow Lake on August 27th, 2006, her debut on the published list. Totally fabulous! I love Susan's writing!

To Maria Snyder for her Luna title, Magic Study being selected as an October Book Sense pick. Her first book, Poison Study also got a starred review in Publishers Weekly when it came out and was also selected by Booksellers as a Book Sense pick. Both fabulous stories. Available in
eBooks or Audio.

To Charles Davis for getting a starred Publisher's Weekly review for his MIRA title Angel's Rest, a touching, heart-tugging tale of childhood, place and the shifting currents of innocence and awareness that coming of age brings. A lovely story.

To Deanna Raybourn for getting a starred Publisher's Weekly review for her first book Silent In The Grave coming out in MIRA in January, 2007. It's a fascinating, unusual and compelling mystery. Worth the wait!

To Pam Jenoff for her debut novel coming out from MIRA in March, 2007, The Kommandant’s Girl for getting a starred Publisher's Weekly review.

To Crystal Green for having a very cool video clip for her upcoming October Silhouette Bombshell, Baited. You can check it out on www.YouTube.com if you search on Baited-Book-Teaser (or just click on this nice link!)

To the queen of romance Nora Roberts, for her always stellar bestseller performance on her most recent titles, Dangerous (Risky Business, Storm Warning and The Welcoming) and By My Side (From This Day and Temptation). I know I shouldn't have favorites, but I do have a soft spot for Storm Warning!

To Silhouette Nocturne , for being born this October! Happy Birthday!

Lindsay McKenna's Unforgiven and Kathleen Korbel's Dangerous Temptation are an amazing pair of stories to launch the line with. Of course, I am only speculating, knowing those authors, because I can't get hold of copies of the books for love or money! While I managed to snag a cool Nocturne bag at the RWA, do you think I was smart enough to score books? Noooooo. Why do I want to fill my suitcase with my own books, I thought. Well, eventually the excitement will calm. Surely? As someone who loved Shadows, it's really exciting to see the market has "grown into" this genre, and to be fully participating in it again!

To Vanessa Del Fabbro for winning the 2006 Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction in the Contemporary Series category for her Steeple Hill title, The Road to Home.

To Tara Taylor Quinn for her next title, In Plain Sight, interview in BookReporter.com, and do take advantage of the $1 off coupon!

To M.J. Rose, whose Venus Fix is one of The Book Reporter's Reading Group Guide titles--check out The Venus Fix Reading Guide .

To Debbie Macomber for her free Podcast on Audible! Not to mention 6 Rainier Drive success on the New York Times list (#3 on upcoming October 1st New York Times list) as well as having not one but TWO Harlequin Ginger Blossom Pink Manga titles (No Competition and The Bachelor Prince) out and available. It doesn't get much better, does it?

To Moi--I will be guest posting on one of my favorite romance blogs, Romancing the Blog on October 10th, introducing myself & what's happening in new business.

There is always something going on...the challenge is keeping up!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Copyright, Digital Coursepacks and a joint announcement from Cornell and the American Association of Publishers

I wanted to share a recent press release from the AAP on copyright. As you can see, it involves college coursepacks. There is more detail, but a significant point is that duplicating material digitally must be treated with the same respect for copyright as if it were physically duplicated.

You may think that is fairly straightforward Copyright issue-reading someone's material whatever the format, is accessing and using their work-but for many, it doesn't seem to be so straightforward. Correcting that perception is an educational process.

And while I expect there are very few enlightened institutions of higher learning where romances are making up many of coursepacks, the principle of copyright is at issue, and that should be important to us all. Especially as it is respect (or lack of) for copyright that is being taught to a new generation.

As almost every academic is a published author and I expect many students hope to make their living creating intellectual property, this should be a core value of our academic institutions. I really applaud Cornell for having stepped up and so compelling articulated the importance of this issue to their institution and to education.

Press Release :

Jointly Written Guidelines Affirm That Copyright Law Applies to Electronic Course Content

New York, NY, September 19, 2006: As part of ongoing discussions over the manner in which Cornell University provides copyrighted course content to students in digital formats, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Cornell recently announced a new set of copyright guidelines to govern the use of electronic course materials on the library's electronic course reserves system, on faculty and departmental web pages, and through the various 'course management' websites used at Cornell. The guidelines affirm that the use of such content is governed by the same legal principles that apply to printed materials.

The guidelines, which were jointly drafted by Cornell and AAP, make it clear that faculty must obtain permission to distribute such works to the same extent as permission is required with respect to reproductions and distributions of publishers' copyrighted works in hard-copy formats.

"Cornell and AAP concur that instructional use of content requiring the copyright owner's permission when used in a printed coursepack likewise requires permission when used in an electronic format," said John Siliciano, Vice Provost of Cornell.

"The Publishers and the authors they represent are gratified that Cornell has responded positively to their concerns and has taken a leadership role on this issue in the academic community," said Pat Schroeder, former Congresswoman and head of the AAP. "With more and more content now available in digital form, it is important to clarify the copyright responsibilities that accompany use of that content,
and to be sure that colleges and universities are enforcing the rules they adopt."

Mrs. Schroeder continued, "AAP hopes that Cornell's actions will set an example for other colleges and universities and provide them an opportunity to review their own practices and institute similar guidelines."

Discussions are ongoing between AAP and Cornell concerning additional approaches that may be appropriate to encourage compliance with copyright law so that instructors' postings of electronic course content conform with legal requirements.

More info on the AAP site:
Press Release

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Keep Your Eye on the Donut

A romance is...well, its a story about the challenges of loving someone. And that can mean a lot of different things. Let me just quote from a few submissions to www.writeharlequin.com What is Love in fact:

"Love is trust, and not wanting to change someone, but accepting them as they are. If you can't, then it isn't love. But if you can, that love is the everlasting kind. Now isn't that simple?"
—Bertrice Small

"Love is accepting: the good, the bad, the ugly. "
—Emilie Rose

"Love is pain in your heart at the tear in their eye. Love is when your heart sings at their happiness, even if what makes them happy is the opposite of what you needed. Love is knowing when to hold them tight or let them go. Love is the highest euphoria and the saddest moment in life, all rolled into one. Love is living.
—Sheila Baker

That's not always easy. I remember during a particularlyary difficult dating phase, listening to very anti-guy Punk songs (One of my favorites was the X-Ray Specs, "Guy are Not Proud." Great line in it: "Guys are such creeps, they'll even do it with sheep!" Upon reflection, I hope this was not a negative statement about sheep pulchritude, but focused more on the lack of a true sense of choice and consentual participation on the part of the sheep) and thinking...who deserves this? Who should be on the receiving end of actually having to date guys? And then thinking about making T-shirts that read: Men: They deserve each other. (Hey, it was a difficult time).

But on that note, there's a very interesting conversation over at Teach me tonight, an academic blog, about male/male romances & why women find them appealing. Let me quote:

"Because, if, as I argue in my article*, romances are actually about watching the hero figure out and confess his feelings, if they're about watching him move from the "masculine economy of use" to the "feminine economy of exchange," then watching TWO men have to figure it out for and with each other is more than twice as wonderful as watching one man figure it out for and with a woman."

I think there are other forces at work as well (two attractive men to watch, no women to "compete" with, etc.) but I found it a very interesting essay—they were using Brokeback Mountain as an example. In Japan there's a whole genre, Yaoi, with nothing but pretty boys, read by women.

I missed seeing that film, but didn't miss all the hype surrounding it, with the words "Gay Cowboys" on everyone's lips and people constantly being asked publicly if they'd seen the film and having to say no, so they wouldn't be forced to present their opinion on gay marriage, gays in the military or Mr. Cheney or Mr. Regan's progeny’s sexual orientation.

But what really fascinates me is the lack of commentary on Talladega Nights and the gay Nascar guys! While they did make the Sasha Cohen/Girard character French, and thus, I suppose, sufficiently "other" he is clearly happily loyally married to a nice man, has a good life, is a talented, successful, honorable guy (who has Elvis Costello and Mos Def hanging out at his house) and when Will "Ricky Bobby" I'm-just-an-Ordinary-American-Guy Ferrel refuses to shake his hand—he kisses him on the lips instead. No comment.

Talladega also presents an interesting take on the permissive father, the absent father, on understanding, forgiveness, and Mom's Rules (or in this case, Grandma's Rules). It's not without its classic qualities, and I enjoyed it, but hey, I like my mac with cheese. It just has to be the right cheese.

Because love, as we see with Little Miss Sunshine too, comes in many forms. So we can all spend a lot of time parsing words and analyzing elements and arguing about what came first (excuse me, I was thinking chicken or egg!) but the real challenge is the complex, multi-faceted nature of love, not the rules that we surround it with.

And when given a chance some people at least, can keep their eye on the donut and recognize that.

*Frantz, Sarah S. G., 2002. "'Expressing' Herself: The Romance Novel and the Feminine Will to Power," in Scorned Literature: Essays on the History and Criticism of Popular Mass-Produced Fiction in America. Eds. Lydia Cushman Schurman and Deidre Johnson. (Connecticut: Greenwood Press) pp. 17-36. posted by Sarah S.G. Frantz @ Monday, July 10, 2006