Archive for October, 2012

In the Writers’ Lounge here at the Emerald City Writers’ Conference, they have stacks of Harlequin books, free for the taking. I had to take a picture of this one:

Book cover: "The Nanny Bombshell"

I didn’t know there was a “Billionaires and Babies” series, or a market for such a series, but apparently there is! The back cover tells us a bit about it:

"Billionaires and Babies" tag line

That’s such a very, very specific thing to be looking for in a romance!  But I think I approve.  One hears so much, these days, about ruthless, non-nurturing billionaires in romance; I’m glad someone’s writing billionaires who go mushy for babies.

Unfortunately, by the time I made up my mind that I wanted to go back and actually pick up the book, all the copies were gone. (Maybe there are a lot of billionaire+baby fans in the ECWC populace?)  So instead I decided it was time to bite the bullet and read a Harlequin Presents.

There were several to choose from, and I chose one whose title followed the classic “Adjective Noun, Adjective Noun” construction, and whose storyline involved a swarthy rich playboy, a seduced innocent, and a pregnancy.  I think I read about 20 pages before I had to quit.  I’d heard a lot about how HP heroes are usually overbearing jerks, and I thought I’d prepared myself for that, but he turned out to be jerkish beyond what I’d imagined.  I couldn’t wish for an HEA for him, or get invested in any woman who’d fall in love with a jerk like that.

Also, something kind of weird:  The back-cover copy referred to him as a “billionaire,” but twice in those first 20 pages he was described as a “millionaire.”  So maybe there was a plot point in which he added to his already remarkable fortune and went from millionaire to billionaire.  Or maybe the heroine discovered, somewhere in the story, that he actually had a lot more money than she’d heretofore realized.

Or maybe… I don’t want to think this is true but it did occur to me… maybe someone in marketing said, “Hmmm, who’s going to buy a book about a mere millionaire these days?  It’s too late to change it in copyedits, but let’s just upgrade him on the back cover to make the book more attractive to the billionaire-seeking reader.”  (And then I have to wonder if any reader bought the book and then wrote to complain about the bait-and-switch.)

Anyway I sat by Susanna Fraser (guest on my blog, November 20!) at one of the meals, and told her about my unsuccessful attempt to read an HP, and she said there’s more variety in them than you’d think and I should really try another. She recommended Doukakis’ Apprentice by Sarah Morgan.

So would people agree that’s a good HP to read, for a reader with a very low tolerance for jerkish & possessive heroes?  Or are there other HPs you’d recommend?  I’m really not crazy about “Powerful man has glamorous women falling all over him, but chooses plain, sensible, pure-hearted woman.”  Are there HPs with super-glamorous heroines, or sorta pushy, irritating ones?  I can take some jerkishness in the hero as long as the heroine is allowed to be jerkish too.

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(*I hate it when stories I like turn out to be apocryphal. Legend has it that Winston Churchill, in response to an editor who corrected his ending sentences with a preposition, scrawled on the manuscript:  “That is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.”  No documentation exists, though, and it’s a pretty good bet it never happened.)

1) The blog has been silent for quite a while, I know. I’ve been in head-down writing mode. I’d always sort of shaken my head and pursed my lips when I heard writers talk about being too busy to read, but I’m off that high horse now. I have not read a full-length book for over a month. I wish, wish, wish I were able to write faster. I don’t believe prolific-ness (prolificity?) is necessarily a good measure of success, and I do think there’s such a thing as oversaturating the market with your stuff, but I’m still slower than what I’d like to be.

2) I went to Paris in September. It was a wonderful Trip of a Lifetime thing, starring my mom, who’d never been off the North American continent before, and co-starring my sister, my brother, and me. Mom is artsy beyond any of our ability to keep up, so we divided up the museum shifts, and she and I spent an excellent, not-long-enough day in the Louvre.

I did some writing in Paris, so now I can say I’ve been to Paris and written there. Mostly I wrote in a minuscule office in the flat we rented, but one day I walked up to the oldest library in Paris, the Bibliotheque Mazarine, and wrote for a little while there.

Exterior of the Bibliotheque Mazarine

Bibliotheque Mazarine. You have to stop at the office to get a visitor’s pass, for which you leave your driver’s license or other ID.

You’re not allowed to take pictures in the reading room, but here’s a picture on a Wikipedia page.

Okay, stuff coming up:

1) This weekend I’ll be at the Emerald City Writers’ Conference, which is the annual conference put on by the Seattle chapter of RWA, in cosmopolitan Bellevue, Washington. In fact I should be packing right now instead of writing this, as the first workshop starts in just over an hour.

If you happen to be at the conference, there are two formal chances to encounter me:

  • Saturday I’ll be signing at the Book Fair, 4:30 – 6:00 on the 3rd floor of the Bellevue Westin Hotel. Actually this is open to the public, so even if you’re not attending the conference, if you happen to be near Bellevue then stop by! Lots of more-famous-than-I authors will be there, too. Oh, and I’ll have candy.
  • Sunday morning I’ll be on the annual “Chapter members who became published authors in 2012” panel, AKA “How Did They Do That?” It’s at 8:00 a.m., so I’m expecting kind of a sparse turnout, but we’ll do our best to make it worth your while. I’ll give away books, and try to have edifying advice.

Also, if you’re at the conference and just see me around, please say hi.

2) Author Susanna Fraser is going to be stopping by the blog on November 20 to talk about her upcoming release, An Infamous Marriage and to give away a copy. If you’re a fan of trad-flavored Regencies with a military emphasis, authored by someone who really knows her stuff, then you should be reading Fraser. And if, like me, you’re a fan of love stories that get off to the worst possible start, then you definitely need to read An Infamous Marriage.

Okay, I’m going to pack now. Will try to send updates from the conference!

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