Thursday, November 29, 2007

Congratulations to...Krista Stroever!

And a very warm welcome to Theodore Carr Fierman, born November 14, 2007, weighing a healthy 8 pounds. 6 ounces and looking, I might say, fabulous!

Congratulations to Krista and Dan!

Krista Stroever is Senior Editor, Steeple Hill/Love Inspired.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Harlequin Presents looking for new authors!

This just in: Announcing a brand new writing competition from the world’s best-selling romance series!

It’s an exciting time for Harlequin Presents: from January 2008, there will be 12 of our intensely passionate romances available every month. And with this increase of titles comes a great opportunity for aspiring authors – we will be looking to buy more books for publication!

The old saying goes that first impressions are lasting impressions – and when it comes to reading a Harlequin Presents, that certainly holds true. If the first chapter doesn’t immediately grip the reader with its pace, passion and intensity, then she won’t continue to turn the pages.

So Presents is inviting unpublished writers to show us how they can grab the attention of our readership with first chapters that really sizzle. The INSTANT SEDUCTION competition offers prizes that are chances of a lifetime for the lucky winner and runners-up:

First prize – win yourself an editor for a year!

Two runners-up will be given editorial critiques of their first chapter entries and also a personal telephone consultation about their writing!

Visit the blogsite for full details of the competition – and the chance to prepare for publication with an exclusive series of writing tutorials prepared by the editorial team at Harlequin Presents, including advice on First Chapters, How to Write a Synopsis, Loving the Alpha Male and Generating Emotional Conflict.

These are quintessential stories that capture the pacing, power, passion--and satisfaction--of love. Just about every top selling romance author on the New York Times list started her career as a Harlequin Presents reader, so learn from the masters of conflict, seduction, drama and intensity.

Writers...start your computers!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I Heart Presents...

I don't actually heart Presents, I love them! But do check out the I Heart Presents website. It has many interesting posts, one of which is my own guest post on November 8th which I totally forgot to link to: You always remember your first! Now I have added an insightful comment on why I don't think reading romances should be called "escape."

You can also learn about the launch of Amazon's Kindle, Alpha men, Amnesia & so much more...check it all out at the I Heart Presents website.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bus Driver's Syndrome

That's the term my friend Ellen Kushner has coined.

I guess I would have called it Grocery Clerk Disorder if I'd thought to label it. You know what I'm talking about. You are in a large grocery store. You manage to locate an actual employee who will speak to you. You ask where the ant traps are.

You are told "Aisle 6," then, if prompted, they may even add "on the left," and if they've gone that extra mile, for sure they'll tack on the killer line: "You can't miss it!"

Yeah. You can't miss it. They leave out the last part of that sentence. You can't miss it...IF YOU KNOW WHERE TO LOOK.

Which of course you don't, because you aren't the all-knowing grocery clerk, who I guess just can't conceive of anyone more clueless than themselves.

Ellen coined BDS when she got on a bus in a strange town, told the bus driver she was new to the area, had never been on this route and needed to get off at the Library. Could he please let her know when her stop came up, as she was totally unfamiliar with the town.

He said, "No problem! You can't miss it. It's the stop right after where the old A&P used to be."

Sure can't miss that, now can you?

Why is it so difficult to put oneself in another's shoes for a moment, see the world through their eyes, to tell them NOT what we know, but what they need to know, what they want to hear?

A) Is it ego? The delight in knowing something someone else doesn't and wanting to hold on to that mystery, even if it's just the location of the ant traps? Even if sharing information is your job?

I am thinking of the occasional tech-help types that I am sure are getting their small revenge for prior slights by clinging to the mysteries of their tech universe, cackling with their flock of techies about the cluelessness of non-techies because they don't know the Secret Order of the Button Pushing to Open the Portal of Knowledge.

B) Is it lack of imagination--they just don't get that everyone is not filled with the same knowledge they posses? Do they assume the Jungian collective unconscious is broad enough to include where the ant traps are situated if everyone just concentrated hard enough?

C) Or does it fall towards either profound uncaring laziness or a spirit of cockeyed positivism that, Candide-like, everything is possible in this best of all possible worlds. That what you are looking for, asking about, whatever, is going to just jump out & bite you on the butt and they really don't need to lift a finger to help that happen?

D) I'm thinking B). In many situations people are just so focused on themselves they really can't conceive of thinking about things from a different perspective, as a different person with a different frame of reference and knowledge base. Worth remembering.

I recently learned how to print photos at the CVS machine & was thanking the very nice guy that helped me (a lot!). He demurred & said it's easy. Yeah. IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT. The first time is rarely easy. You know, its hard out there for a virgin...

So what do you think,

E) Some of the above?

F) All of the above?

G) None of the above?

I'm sure you have your own BDS stories of your own....

Monday, November 12, 2007

More Congratulations! Kitt, Miller and Wiggs...

Sandra Kitt makes Library Journal's Best Romances of 2007!

Congratulations to Sandra Kitt whose Kimani title CELLULOID MEMORIES was among the titles chosen by the magazine as the best romances of 2007.

Here is what Library Journal had to say:
A writer goes to L.A. to visit her dying actor father, who deserted her as a child, and gains a new understanding of the man she never knew. With her insightful flair, Kitt has written a poignant, thought-provoking , but gently humorous romance that illuminates the black experience within the entertainment industry. (originally a starred review in the 6/1/07 issue)

Wiggs and Miller Chosen by Amazon Among Top Ten for 2007

The awards continue to come for our books in 2007. Amazon’s editors have made their picks for the best romances of the year, and Susan Wiggs and Linda Lael Miller have both been chosen within the top 10!

THE WINTER LODGE by Susan Wiggs was selected and the #1 book in romance for the year by Amazon’s editors.

MCKETTRICK’S HEART by Linda Lael Miller ranked at #7 on the list.

Check out the Best of Romance list and the complete Amazon list.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Congratulations to...

Susan Wiggs and Brenda Joyce for making Publishers Weekly’s 150 Best Books of 2007!

Three thousand books are published daily in the U.S.(!) and PW reviewed more than 6,000 of them in 2007, in print and online. From that astounding number, they've compiled a list of 150 of the best books for the year in several categories. In the Romance category, two of the five books chosen were HQE titles.

Here is what PW had to say:

The Perfect Bride (which I haven't read yet, and am looking forward to! Update! 11/16 just finished it--really enjoyed it & now am linked into the de Warenne Dynasty! Delightful.)
Brenda Joyce(HQN)
Joyce's seventh de Warenne novel is a first-rate Regency with deliciously damaged leads; fluff-free, Joyce's tight plot and vivid cast make for a romance that's just about perfect.

The Winter Lodge (which I have read and really enjoyed. Guess PW knows a thing or two)
Susan Wiggs (Mira)
Complicated, flesh-and-blood characters inhabit Wiggs's idyllic but identifiable Lakeshore Chronicles, weaving a refreshingly honest smalltown tapestry of romance, domestic drama, mystery and generations-old Polish recipes.

I just happened to be in Seattle and got at chance to visit with Susan recently. Here she is at an autographing I got to attend in Pioneer Square--hey, it was at a cool bar/ restaurant and all I have on me is my phone photo, so don't complain.

Susan lives in a totally amazing house on Bainbridge Island--as you know from Allison's previous post the Pacific Northwest is peppered with writers. I think it's the weather. No, I was so busy admiring the house, I totally forgot to take any pictures. I don't think my phone would have done it justice! Here's another nice dark one of Susan for you!

Seattle is the home guessed it, the Seattle Mariners! Yes, and Starbucks. I'm a tea drinker, and a boring one at that (no flavors, no funny business), so this was not a pilgrimage. Still, interesting to see the very first Starbucks, with (I think) the original branding.

It is really nice to have a place to stop and sit down the "third space," but the everywhereness of Starbucks was beginning to get a bit creepy, so I found a lovely no name spot to have a delicious latte and pumpkin brioche. No that is not a typo. And there is a reason there aren't pumpkin brioches year round, but it's not because they aren't delicious.

I love pumpkin, so this is my season and I feel compelled to order everything pumpkin at least once. Yes, I've tried the latte. It's liquid pumpkin pie filling. It's delicious, I lick it off the bowl, but it's a little weird buying a whole cup of it. I worry if I drink too much of it it will give me a disgust of pumpkins. Can't go there.

This amazing fellow was in the Seattle Aquarium. When you see something like this, you realize those incredible creative types at Pixar and Disney really aren't that creative. They just go to the Aquarium and the Zoo and the Botanical Garden. Nature is totally amazing. Look around!

When you go to Seattle, you have to check out the Experience Music...Project? Theatre? and you can't miss the Science Fiction museum, which is attached. I loved it.

I think we either need to establish a Romance museum or a museum of genre fiction or something. The sf museum was pretty great. It's reading intensive, but there are some fun film clips and interesting history.

I snapped this photo of Dolly, the first clone, in the museum. Isn't she sweet looking?

My aunt is a sculptor and had created a piece called "Dolly Tells All" which we had, so I was really excited to get a glimpse of the "real" Dolly.

Real? Photograph? Sculpture? Clone? Replicant? Is it live...or is it Memorex? And how much and when does it matter? Interesting questions for our time--for any time, for that matter!

I too had a great time in Seattle!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Allison Lyons reports on the Emerald City Writers' Conference

When I heard that Allison Lyons, Editor, Harlequin Intrigue in the New York office was heading out to Seattle, Washington, October 26-28 to attend the Emerald City Writers' Conference, I asked her to post about it—and she was kind enough to agree.

Here are Allison's thoughts and impressions:

Overall, I thought the conference was wonderful. The editor/agent co-chairs, Joleen Wieser and Gina Robinson, did a wonderful job of making all six of us publishing professionals who attended not only feel welcome, but they also made sure a reasonable working balance and pace was maintained, which was appreciated.

Friday night there was an editor/agent panel where each of us presented what we were looking for and then took questions from the audience. There were about 250 attendees, so there were a lot of questions! Attendees seemed more focussed on querying the agents than the editors—perhaps there were more at that stage in their career—but afterwards, people approached me to pick my brain on a number of issues.

On Saturday, I had two sets of group appointments and found that people were writing on a wide variety of things—there wasn't any specific genre I got pitched more than others. Since my focus is romantic suspense, I was happy to get a few of those ideas presented to me and wound up asking for about three or four projects that could fit Harlequin Intrigue guidelines.

If an idea didn't suit anything I was looking for—for example fantasy, which could work for Luna—I would redirect the prospective author to the right editor here. The writers were appreciative of my time and anything I could do to help them achieve their dreams. As there are a lot of different opportunities at the many imprints under Harlequin Enterprises, I was glad to be able help to make the connections.

In the afternoon there was a bookfair, which made it easy for me to find authors I'd missed seeing since they were seated alphabetically to sign. There are a lot of Harlequin Enterprises authors in the Pacific Northwest!

That night, the editors were taken out to a lovely dinner with the board members. Outgoing president Pat White (a Harlequin Intrigue and Silhouette Nocture author) was very warm and helpful in telling me where to visit while I stayed in Seattle the next couple of days. Everyone there seemed thrilled that we were able to attend and made us feel as though we really helped make the conference special.

Some of the authors in attendance included Christina Dodd, who was the keynote dinner speaker on Friday, Jayne Ann Krentz, the keynote luncheon speaker on Saturday, Stella Cameron, Megan Chance, Julia Quinn, Alice Sharpe, Jan Hambright, Pat White, Terri Reed, Susan Andersen, Cherry Adair, Jane Porter, Susan Mallery, Ann Roth, Ann Defee, Susan Lyons, and a lot of others! HQE authors attending represented an incredible scope of lines, from a number of Harlequin and Silhouette series as well as Steeple Hill, MIRA and HQN. There was an editor from Grand Central Publishing and from Dorchester as well as several agents, so a variety of publishing and agent perspectives were offered.

In terms of hot topics, there was a lot of discussion about whether or not Historicals are dead. For those Historical fans, you'll be glad to know, according to the group, they're not! And many people seemed interested in writing paranormals—good for Silhouette Noctures!

What a wonderful bunch of writers--whether published, or yet to be published, it was interesting talking to them. I had a great time.


Allison Lyons

And just to let you know a little bit more about Allison, she began her career at Harlequin as an editorial assistant on the Silhouette Intimate Moments (now Silhouette Romantic Suspense). Editorial is really an apprenticeship, and now, after nearly a decade and several promotions, she’s found a home at Harlequin Intrigue as an Editor.

Since romantic suspense is so popular, you can be sure that her desk is never empty. That said, even with an author base of 19 highly active writers, she still gets excited at the thought of finding new authors who come to Intrigue knowing how tough it is to get published, but who are willing to put in the time and effort to get it right. Her focus tends to be on romantic suspense submissions, but she’s open to hearing about projects that would fit any of Harlequin's lines.