Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year's Treat

What would you like to know?

Some have said they wanted to find out more about those intriguing figures who work in the editorial department. Many acquire and edit (among other editorial responsibilities) some of the over 100 new titles Harlequin Enterprises publishes every month. Others deliver key creative and support services to ensure quality and manage the process.

While this keeps them quite busy, some of these figures of mystery have graciously agreed to be profiled and will appear in upcoming posts.

Happy New Year!

Did you know the year of the Rat begins February 7, 2008 and ends on January 25, 2009, the first in the cycle of 12 animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac?  I know many don't share my fondness for rats, so let me share the following:

"A Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start. Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful. The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find. 

"In Chinese, the Rat is respected and considered a courageous, enterprising person. People born in the Year of Rat are clever and bright, sociable and family-minded. They have broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes.

"They are gifted in many ways and have an easy going manner. They are active and pleasant, tactful and fantastic, and are able to grasp opportunities. They seem to have interests in everything and hope to participate in doing it and usually do it very well."

A few famous people born in the year of the rat: Charlotte Bronte, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristen Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Lucrezia Borgia, Margaret Mitchell

quoted from

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ruminating on Rudolf....

The holiday season seems a time for aspirational tales, fables with a moral, stories that deliver that Happily Ever After. Of people behaving not as they 'normally' do, but rising above themselves, their hearts growing several sizes larger—if they are a Grinch—or perhaps just discovering they have a heart—if they are a Scrooge—or countless other examples.

Which is why I have always found Rudolf The Red-nosed Reindeer such a puzzling anomaly in the midst of all the Holiday inspiration. It is such a unshrinking, unpleasant, utterly accurate depiction of man's inhumanity to man—or within the animal metaphor, reindeer's incaribouity to its fellow kind.  There is no Yuletide moral compass to note what I would see as Naughty and Not Nice behavior. But perhaps no one else feels as I do.

Do people pay attention to the text? Are all the Rudolph song-singers, players and supporters advocating that if someone looks different from you, you should indeed: "laugh and call him names/They never let poor Rudolph/join in any reindeer games." So ridicule, exclusion and humiliation is the correct response to someone who doesn't look or act just like you?

Not to say that that isn't many people's fearful, small-minded response at being faced with someone different from themselves.  But it demonstrates a lack of confidence, compassion, imagination, vision that is so. . . pathetic and sad.

Of course, the moment someone powerful and important finds the element of difference of use: "Then all the reindeer loved him/as they shouted out with glee,/Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, /you'll go down in history! "

Again, a totally accurate life-lesson: You will be excluded and vilified unless and until you become important. Then everyone that spurned you will adulate and worship you. Do you think Robert May was a clear-eyed realist, or a total cynic? Hmmm.  Hard to say.

We learn everything we really need to know in Kindergarten, and it's not pretty. I think some spend much of the rest of our lives trying to do better, be better human beings than we were then.

Here's hoping that the coming year gives us all the gift of accepting—indeed of celebrating our differences—a common theme for romances.  For therein lies our strength.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Talking about talk shows and Donna Hill...On The Line

Linda Gill, General Manager and queen of all things Kimani emailed me to say, "We have a fantastic book being released shortly -- January 2008 publication -- ON THE LINE.

"It's edited and written by Donna Hill along with 18 of the hottest African-American authors and it's fabulous! I wanted you to let your readers know that Donna has set up a special blog just for the book, and has also created a short book trailer."

It's not every day that I get that kind of special enthusiasm from an editor, so when they talk, I listen--and share the news.

Donna Hill, Co-Author and Editor of ON THE LINE, had this to say about the experience, "Bringing together the voices and talent of 18 authors into a seamless novel I knew was going to be a major challenge! However, they are all so incredible at what they do, that magic happened.

"The result is, what I think, the most unique novel of its kind, and I'm sure readers are going to love the drama, fall-out funny, eye-opening and even poignant moments in On The Line."

When I connected with Glenda Howard, Executive Editor, Kimani Press, who is also Donna's in-house editor, she shared the following: “It is not often a project idea comes across your desk that you are immediately intrigued by. But, in this instance the gossipy talk show host made such an interesting character -- In fact, wickedly delicious! Then, to have 18 amazing authors contribute their stories makes this a sure-fire hit!”

Doesn't it sound intriguing? On Sale December 26th. Run, don't walk to your nearest bookseller! Or let your fingers do the walking....