Monday, October 30, 2006

iBOAS—you'll never guess what it stands for, but you may want to join when you find out!

Far left: Malle & her pet dog. Center: Tamara & Mary (Tamara with Crown). Right: Me.

First, the scene set. Yes, these are my colleagues. While we are all fascinating, and have unique and very different special powers, amazingly, we share certain reading tastes.

We realized when we started working together we shared a passion for a particular author and decided to form a Club. Please note that the author in question knows nothing of our plans. We decided we needed a name. We needed presence. It all came together.

We are the imaginary Buddies Of Anne Stuart. iBOAS. Please note the thematically linked and color coordinated boas! I assure you a feather boa is completely appropriate attire for any Buddy, imaginary or not, associated with Anne Stuart. We are here to alert you that she has a new book coming out in NOVEMBER, you can check out the fabulous Publishers Weekly review below. We also wanted to share some of our thoughts.

Anne Stuart's previous title (there is a connection to this one) Black Ice got a starred review in PW and Cold as Ice got an excellent review from Publishers Weekly.

Early (or whatever whenever you read this) breaking news: Cold as Ice will be #33 on the November 12th, 2006 New York Times Bestseller list! and #77 on the USA Today Bestseller List (also on the list are Nora Roberts' Silhouette First Impressions @ #10 in hardcover, and Dream Makers @ #9 in paperback, Debbie Macomber's MIRA, Christmas Letters, @ #20 in hardcover and Glad Tidings in paperback @ #5, Diana Palmer's HQN hardcover Heart of Winter and Sharon Sala's Nine Lives @ #24--iBOAS are equitable about sharing information. We just adore Anne Stuart.)

Tamara: "Anne Stuart gave me a gift in the form of a special paradox: She created bad boys that I loved, who also made me glad to be married to such a good soul. I can escape into the world of Black Ice, and Cold as Ice whenever I choose and snap back to reality in a heartbeat.

"As someone I know once said, I can enjoy exploring that world and lose myself 'between the covers, not between the sheets.'"

Mary has these thoughts to add...
How Anne Stuart has changed my life:
"Ever had one of those weeks where you're just not sure you can make it through? I was having one when I realized that the new Anne Stuart would be available in time for the weekend. I remember that it was this ray of sunshine in the distance, knowing that maybe, just maybe, if I made it through the week I would be rewarded with a Saturday devoted to reading a great story.

"OK. I'll be honest, half a Saturday because I just tear through her books. Anyway, thank you Anne. You made living through that tough week worthwhile.

How much I enjoyed Black Ice:
"I must confess that I re-read Black Ice. The confession is not that I re-read it because I re-read a lot of my favorite books. My confession is that I read it first on Saturday and then again on Sunday. And I totally loved it both times.

"I loved Cold As Ice because after I read Black Ice I told someone that Peter Jensen would be a great hero for the next book. She explained to me why this wouldn't be possible. In fact she told me... "Didn't you notice? He's gay. He couldn't possibly be a romantic hero...or at least not for you.' I went back to the text and thought...Well, I guess she's right.

"But I should have trusted that Anne Stuart, the queen of the baddest of the bad boys, would be able to make Peter Jensen a romantic hero for me. I don't know how she'll top Cold As Ice but I can hardly wait to see."

Isabel said,"Years ago, when I found myself sneaking into the Harlequin side of the New York office to 'borrow' all the Anne Stuart titles, I knew I had discovered a special author. An author worth stealing—excuse me—borrowing (at least until the titles were reissued) was a keeper. Nothing has changed my opinion. No, I don't lend my Anne Stuarts. Sorry."

Upcoming schedule in MIRA: Cold as Ice, November, 2006; Ice Blue, April, 2007; Ice Storm (tentative) November, 2007; and possibly Reno's story in spring of 2008.

In addition to her own fabulous website where you can read excerpts, Anne also has a blogging site, Story Broads with Maggie Shayne, Tara Taylor Quinn, Patricia Potter, Lynn Kerstan and Suzanne Forster.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Karen Harper in recent NYT article on Book Fairs

Check out Book Fairs: Reading Might Not Be Dead By Beth Greenfield in the New York Times, October 20, 2006. And just in case you don't click, here are the bits I think are relevant:

Ms Greenfield starts by saying: "LESS than half of the adult American population now read books that can be defined as literary, the Census Bureau reported after a 2002 survey. Yet the number of book fairs appears to be growing, so perhaps not everyone is eager to replace hard covers with hard drives after all.

"'There are now 35 statewide celebrations, and that has gone up tremendously in recent years,' said John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. Mr. Cole arranges for authors to appear at the annual National Book Festival, which drew 100,000 literature lovers to the National Mall in Washington last month. The center also helps organizers put together local book fairs.

"Several are scheduled next month, with the Miami Book Fair International the biggest and best known...

"If it all seems like a highbrow disconnect to those who associate Miami with glitz and glamour, they may find an even bigger surprise in Las Vegas: the fifth annual Vegas Valley Book Festival, held in the shadows of the city’s casino theme parks."

But the one I care about is (natch) the one that mentions MIRA's very own Karen Harper....

"In Wooster, Ohio, the 19th annual Buckeye Book Fair aims at all ages. Participants will include Karen Harper, a best-selling mystery writer and the author of “Hurricane,” and Carl Sferrazza Anthony, who wrote “Nellie Taft: Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era.”

“'State festivals tend to focus, rightly, on local writers,' said Mr. Cole, who is happy for any excitement about reading that these events create. 'In the electronic age, books and reading and authors really need promotion more than ever. The real competition now is not the computer per se, but for a reader’s time.'"

The Details

What: Miami Book Fair International,
When: Nov. 12 to 19.

What: Vegas Valley Book Festival,
When: Nov. 3 and 4.

What: Latino Book & Family Festival,
When: Nov. 11 and 12.

What: Connecticut Children’s Book Fair,
When: Nov. 11 and 12.

Buckeye Book Fair
When: Nov. 4.

What: Kentucky Book Fair
When: Nov. 11.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sobol Award: We Discover New Writers

Just attended a lovely event at the Century Club hosted by EVP of Contest Management Sue Pollock and EVP & Editorial Director Brigitte Weeks announcing the launch of The Sobol Award for Fiction and wanted to share the details:

The Sobol award for Fiction is a national contest designed to discover talented, but unknown writers, to help them get published and find enthusiastic readers.

 Yearly contest, open to all unpublished writers in English

 Electronic submission, complete anonymity & equal chance

 Competent readers, including a panel of prominent editors

 Every writer receives at lest 2 reviews of his/her work

 All winners are represented & presented to leading publishers

 Submission fee: $85.00

 First Prize: $100,000

 First Runner up: $25,000

 Second Runner up: $10,000

Visit for more details

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Presenting...MIRA & Spice Editor Susan Pezzack

Susan Pezzack photo
Let me introduce you to an editor from the Toronto office—Susan Pezzack. I'll let her speak for herself!

Tell us about you: I’m a huge Anglophile. I adore any and all things British, especially Monty Python, BBC television and have a mild addiction to Coronation Street. My fiancĂ© tells me we can never live in England because he’s sure I’d run off with the first man who spoke to me with that yummy accent.

Role at Harlequin: I’ve been with Harlequin for seven years now. I began in the Marketing department, but moved over to Editorial after a year. I spent about three years working on Temptation and Blaze, then got the opportunity to work on the single title side of the business with MIRA Books. Then, in 2004, I was asked to help roll out Harlequin’s new single title erotic fiction imprint, Spice. Now I edit and acquire for both imprints.

Did you always want to work in publishing? For a long time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. My degree in Fine Art and French Literature didn’t really offer me much in the way of gainful employment! I’d always been a huge reader – I used to bring a book with me everywhere as a kid, and I was always reading at the table during meals, even if it was only the back of the cereal box. I finally decided to try to explore whether I could do something with my love of books that also paid the rent. I went back to school and did a degree in Publishing with a focus on editing, and here I am!

If not, what else did you want to do? I saw myself as the curator of the
Royal Ontario Museum, believe it or not. My love of art and archaeology is still very strong, but unfortunately curator jobs are pretty hard to come by.

Favorite recent film/film of all time: An impossible question! I’m a sucker for romantic dramas/comedies, particularly the British ones like Love, Actually, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Sense and Sensibility and Notting Hill…but I also love historical dramas like Lion in Winter and A Man for All Seasons.

Favorite author? Roald Dahl, hands down.

Favorite meal/to make, to eat: There’s not a lot of food I don’t enjoy. Good, authentic fish & chips is one of my favorites. I could eat my weight in pastry. When we travel to Montreal it’s essential we have steamies (steamed hot dogs) and fries at least once a day. It’s the worst food in the world for you, but it’s such a treat.

Hobby? Obsession? I’m an avid horseback rider. And I’m obsessed with decorating shows.

Do you get to write off sex toys with your new Spice responsibilities? Lingerie? Hmmm, I haven’t thought to ask, but now that you mention it...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I want to be Powerful! But still…Pretty

It’s many years ago, it's Fall, and I’m having lunch with agent Irene Goodman, and I’m asking about her kids and we get into the Halloween costume discussion.

I hadn’t really thought about how important costume selection is to a child. It is who you are that year. Who you want to be. Who you want to try on—to stand out. To blend in. To connect. To explore.

So I asked, “So what is your daughter going to be for Halloween this year?” and I get an earful! She was thinking about this, she was thinking about that, she couldn’t decide. I can’t remember now all the options and alternatives, but there were many. Finally it all boiled down to one heartfelt cry, which her mother shared with me—which I have never forgotten:

I want to be powerful! But still…pretty.

I nodded. Wisely. Don’t we all?

And isn’t that what is so wonderful, so seductive about reading? About stories? That we slip into each character’s skin for a time and become powerful, pretty, everything beyond and in between.

We can indulge the many faces of our complex selves, we can balance any opposing fantasy within a story, assuming any sex, ethnicity, age, orientation, experience, social status. Indeed we can lose our human-ness entirely and run with the wolves, swim with the dolphins, soar with the birds.

We can find ways to be powerful…and recognize that we may also still want to be pretty. Or just pretty powerful. Or whatever.


So what should you be reading to get you in the Hallowe'en mood? Check out
Girl's Guide to Witchcraft
by Mindy Klasky, out this October from Red Dress Ink. Mindy sends these adorable eVites to her signings. She also has a blog. I haven't inspected them closely enough to understand the Cocktail motif. Shaken, not stirred?

I've just finished Girl's Guide after getting hooked on the first few chapters in the acquisition meeting when Mary Theresa presented it. It was delightful then, and after grabbing a copy of the book (the last on the shelf!) I indulged myself in this irresistible fantasy.

Is it a book of unpredictable tricks filled with interesting treats or a intriguing treat filled with unexpected tricks? It was a total treat! I really enjoyed it, loved the heroine, loved her familiar, enjoyed exploring a half-real half-created Washington, D.C. (my sort-of home town) through the author's eyes.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pat Schroeder Speaks Out in Response to Books@Google

The following letter is from former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, in response to "Books@Google" by Jason Epstein which appears in the current issue of The New York Review of Books. I don't know if it will get published, though it certainly should.

I thought it very articulately captures the points at issue, was beautifully written and wanted to share it with you. Yes, I have Pat's permission!

To The Editor
The New York Review of Books
October 4, 2006

In his encomium to Google (TNYRB, October 19), Jason Epstein flicks a dismissive hand at the legal action which publishers and authors have undertaken in an effort to bring Google’s library project into compliance with U.S. copyright law. He also mischaracterizes that project as an “utterly heroic....effort to digitize the public domain contents of the books and other holdings of major libraries.” Were Google’s activities limited to public domain materials, neither the publishers, nor the Author’s Guild, would be in court.

In line with its self-stated mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” Google is now engaged in making digital copies of the entire collections of some of this country’s most prestigious academic libraries: Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the institutions comprising the University of California. It was only a matter of time before Google focused its ambitious vision on the books and journals housed in these libraries. They are the sum total of who we are, how far we’ve come, and where we’re headed. Former Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin said it better than anyone I know: “Books are the main source of our knowledge, our reservoir of faith, memory, wisdom, morality, poetry, philosophy, history, and science.”

There is no doubt that Google has the creative vision and resources to carry out this monumental task. Nor is there any question about the value of making lesser known and out-of-print books readily accessible and searchable, giving individuals and institutions an opportunity to make more informed choices about contents before committing to a purchase, bringing the works of little-known authors to a whole new audience. But Mr. Epstein completely misses the point when he says that “Lawyers for Google and the publishers will continue to exchange Talmudisms on this conflict until book publishers decide to enter the digital world to everyone’s advantage...” We’ve got news for Mr. Epstein—publishers are already planted in the digital world with both feet! Other players, including Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe, the Internet Archive, as well as the publishers themselves, are currently engaged in projects and strategically planning others to make works accessible, searchable, and available to the broadest possible audience on the Internet without abandoning copyright protection.

The key question is rather: does Google have the right to make complete copies of someone else’s creative work for its own financial gain, infinitely enhancing its advertising revenue, without permission from the work’s creator and without sharing any of the benefits it will derive? We think not! We object to Google’s library project not because of its lofty goals, but because of its shoddy business model—a business model which assumes that a $120 billion dollar, profit-making corporation can use its size, power, and image to expropriate rights and property that belong to others and then add insult to injury by telling them it’s for their own good.

Google is doing it right in Europe by obtaining permission from authors and publishers before digitizing their works. Google is doing it right here by licensing content in highly publicized arrangements with the Associated Press and Viacom. Google is even doing it right with individual publishers who have opted to make some of their works available for digital search. Google is not doing it right in the library project! Instead, it presumptuously assumes it can copy complete works still under copyright without obtaining the permission of the copyright holder, claiming its actions fall under the rubric of fair use because they will only show “snippets” of the work to searchers. "Snippet" is Googletalk, not a legal term. While it is possible for a library patron to copy a portion of a book under fair use, Google cannot claim that patron’s right. The word “snippet” is thrown around to distract people from what Google is really doing--reproducing entire copyrighted works for financial gain without permission. This is emphatically NOT fair use. Oh yes, and Google also neglects to say they’re making another full copy of the work, without permission, and giving it to the library as "payment" for being able to copy the library's entire collection. Using someone else’s work as "currency, " without permission, has never been a fair use.

If the perfect search engine is, as Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin once described it, “like the mind of God,” then let it be used in ways that nurture and support the creative genius that feeds it, allowing writers and their publishers, photographers, visual artists, composers, and other creative spirits to benefit from their own work, just as Google benefits.

Pat Schroeder

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Than Words Book launch October

Introducing the third annual More Than Words anthology.

They’re your neighbors, your aunts, your sisters and your best friends. They’re women across North America committed to reaching out and changing lives, one good deed at a time. Five of these exceptional women have been selected as this year’s recipients of the Harlequin More Than Words Award:

Debra Bonde's Seedlings Braille Books for Children
Deb Fruend's Team Activities for Special Kids
Seana O'Neill's Cottage Dreams
Kathy Silverton's Stitches from the Heart
Gloria Gilbert Stoga's Puppies Behind Bars

And once again five award-winning bestselling authors have kindly offered their creativity to write original short stories inspired by these real-life heroines:

Catherine Mann
Kasey Michaels
Susan Wiggs
Tori Carrington
Karen Harper

Available wherever books are sold or at in October 2006. Proceeds from the sale of More Than Words anthologies are returned to the program to support more causes of concern to women.

If you know a real-life heroine, nominate her for next year’s More Than Words anthology at