Winter Weekend Reading

It’s cold. I know the rest of Canada considers Torontonians a city full of wimps when it comes to winter weather (our mayor did call in the army for heaven’s sake) and they are not wrong, but still it’s over minus 20 outside and all I can do is drive to work, not go outside for lunch (so tired of brown bagging it) and go home and read!

Thank goodness the Olympics are happening soon so I can watch TV and knit.

As I was leaving on Friday I realized I was really in the mood for a western historical romance. My google search turned up Pamela Morsi — how have I not read her before? (Especially since MIRA publishes her! Sometimes I am just slow. Although she has been writing more women’s fiction books, I think. I am a romance HEA gal.) COURTING HATTIE and GARTERS! They were exactly what I wanted. The first is a friends to lovers story, and the second is my favorite, a woman determined to get what she wants story. The heroine, a hillbilly, goes courting. it’s funny and touching and real.

I love historical western romance (oh, Maggie Osborne, please come out of retirement). I think it has something to do with the openness, sense of possibility the West offers. No rigid society rules but a land of opportunity. Plus a lot of the authors I have loved are gosh darn funny. Maggie Osborne. Jill Barnett. Pamela Morsi.

After my two Morsi’s I decided to read Lisa Kleypas again. Now, I love this woman’s resume. While I have issues with beauty pageants I do have admiration for the women who compete. I had previously “read” Kleypas’s Wallflower books in audio, and they were enjoyable, but she is better on the page. I adored DREAMING OF YOU. I’m in the middle of MINE TILL MIDNIGHT, the first Hathaway book (and bought the second as soon as I met Merripen on page 1). There is a depth and sophistication and charm that works better for me when read on the page.

But having mentioned audio I have to make a recommendation. Robert Petkoff narrates Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. I read and enjoyed many of the books in the series but had stopped. In the fall as I was surveying the Audible site to use up some credits I came across LOTHAIRE (seriously great book because Kresley dares to keep him villainous) and the incredible  narrator Robert Petkoff. He is Beyond Amazing. His voices are great. I have started the series over again at book #1 and am currently on #8.  He has also narrated some of the Castle Nikki Heat novels, a favorite of many romance writers.

Last, since I mentioned the upcoming Winter Olympics, I am going to plug one of my new books from Harlequin E. The Contemporary Romance box set will be on sale in February and COMING IN FROM THE COLD by Sarina Bowen features a former Olympic athlete. Everyone who has read this story has loved it and if you like contemporary with lots of depth and emotions, you will love this. Plus the entire box set (4 books) is only $4.99 for a limited time.



NANOWRIMO: Write a Cosmo Red-Hot Read!

It’s the night before NanoWrimo and all the writers are dreaming of glory. Or writing 50,000 words in one month that they can then edit and polish and submit. And hope that someone is buying more zombies, or steampunk or whatever your fertile imagination is about to unleash on the world.

If by any chance, you are still wondering what to write, might I suggest a Cosmo Red-Hot Read from Harlequin. Read the guidelines and do read our published books, but to give you a quck summary,  these are contemorary female-driven romances featuring the fun, fearless Cosmo heroine. At 30,000 words you could write 2 in one month.

I have a fantastic line up of authors for the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads but I have few submissions from unpublished writers. I WANT to acquire new voices. All you have to do is write and submit.

Here are a few things I am looking for:

  • ethnic characters
  • humor
  • sparkling dialogue
  • European settings like London, Paris, Rome
  • pushing the erotic boundaries (this is Cosmo!)
  • nontraditional happy endings (ie she dumps the guy at the end of the story because he is no good and invites his best friend, who has always been there for her, out on a date)

Read Cake, Fearless, Everything You Need to Know, Naked Sushi, Ripped or Definitely Naughty. Read Cosmo. Think sexy, fun, fearless. Turn on your imagination and write!

Our submission information  is available on the guidelines. If you include NANOWRIMO in your subject header and send me a manuscript before March 1, 2014 I will personally look at it and offer you a few lines of feedback! That’s a month to write and  a couple more for revisions. It’s a great opportunity.

Let me know if you have any questions.



The Returned Picked up by ABC

THE RETURNED by Jason Mott is an amazing book that will on sale in the fall. The rights were also picked up by Brad Pitt’s production company and a pilot was filmed. ABC TV has announced that THE RETURNED, retitled to Resurrection, will be a fall TV show.

This is ABC’s trailer and it looks good! I have read THE RETURNED and loved it. It’s beautiful, lyrical, moving and gripping.


Book Cover Nail Art

Nail art from book covers  is now officially a thing. I’ve seen it on a few blogs. This is from today’s PW Daily.

Fingerprints of You

Industry News Round Up

There are many publishing predictions showing up in newsletters and blogs. I list a few that resonated to me.

From Michael Levin at HuffPo, his publishing predictions about how it’s going to get worse for New York publishers in 2013.  Good news: Harlequin will be okay because we have a real brand.

9. The publishers whose brands actually stand for something will do just fine. Regnery enjoys massive credibility with conservatives; Harlequin with women who crave romance. But what of the other publishers, whose brands stand for nothing? It’s gonna be a long, long year.

Mike Shatzkin of The Idea Logical Company also offers his 2013 predictions. His last point about marketing being an ongoing learning experience resonated strongly with me as it ties in to what I’ve been saying:  no ebook has fulfilled its sales potential — you can always sell more. This is a big shift in the publishing industry and great news for those titles that did not hit it big at launch.

Giving some credence to at least one of Leven’s predictions is news from Techcrunch that B& saw a 10.9 percent decrease in sales over the nine-week holiday period ending December 29, 2012. Nook sales and were also down.

Mark Coker (Smashwords) had a long and fairly upbeat list of predictions.

I am writing up my list of predictions now. Check back on Monday.

Hugh Laurie, Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch Walk into a Bar…

Posted just because I saw it on the interwebs — and if this doesn’t make you want to write a romance novel, nothing will.

Hugh Laurie, Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch

Watch “The Call” from Editor Joanne Grant

Those of us in the publishing industry speak of “the call” with hushed reverance. For an editor, it’s the best part of our job: getting to call a debut author with news you want to publish her book. This is Present Senior Editor Joanne Grant calling Jennifer Drogell, the winner of Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest.

Click here for more details.

Harlequin’s SYTYCW contest announces winner: Jennifer Drogell

I’ve been on tenterhooks all day, whether I’ve been in my office on in a meeting  – not for myself but for the winner and runners up of the Harlequin writing competition So You Think You Can Write. I don’t even make any of the calls to the winners — I am just genuinely thrilled that one person is going to have a life dream come true, to be published by Harlequin Books, and that the runners up will have conversations and working relationships with their very own editors.

A big congratulations to Jennifer Drogell (@JenDrogell) who won So You Think You Can Write with her Harlequin Presents submission,  The Divorce Party. Joanne Grant, the senior editor for Harlequin Presents called her from our London office to tell her the good news and offer her a 2 book contract!

Please go to the SYTYCW contest annoucement page to read all the details.

Another significant highlight: Over 60 writers who originally entered the SYTYCW contest have been contacted by the Harlequin editors—and asked to either submit a full manuscript or revise the project. We fully expect to contract a number of these books.

I’ve been in publishing a long time, but I am never jaded when it come to the thrill of finding a new writer. New voices keep the romance genre fresh and relevant. There is also nothing more wonderful than appreciating the joy of someone who has fulfilled a dream. As Jennifer wrote on twitter to Joanne Grant: thank you, Joanne. I think your phone call has just made me the happiest person on earth!!

Congratulations as well to Amber L. Whitford and Mel Sterling for placing second and third.

As Nanowrimo winds down to a close, I wanted to share this content as inspiration for everyone who writes and dreams of being published. It does happen. We, at Harlequin, reach out in many ways. The SYTYCW contest is a team effort that takes a great deal of time and dedication from the editorial department, but also IT, public relations, marketing and others. Throughout the year Harlequin editors speak at conferences, conduct online pitch sessions, and write countless revisions letters to find and nurture new talent. Today I am thrilled for Jennifer and also delighted to work at a publisher like Harlequin that has a long tradition of doing more than any other publisher I can think of to find and encourage new writers. Go Jennifer, Go Amber, Go Mel! Go Harlequin!

The Billionaire Collection

I love the fact that our Harlequin Presents editors knew, almost a decade ago, that a successful Presents hero had to be a billionaire. In our current economy, a millionaire is not all that swoon worthy.

I also love the new packaging we’ve put on some of our favorite titles being reissued in ebook format in December All titles listed below will be published as Harlequin Special Releases at a special price of $2.99 U.S. from December 17th, 2012 to February 15th, 2013.

May I present the Presents Billionaires:


$2.99, loyal readers!  Just imagine how many books a billionaire could shower you with…


Happy Holidays from Jimmy Fallon and Rashida Jones

Now this is a holiday medly! I hope all my American friends had an excellent Thanksgiving. Also, it is now official that Jimmy Fallon is my talk show host boyfriend.