Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tennis Anyone?

I must admit, that as a rule, anything tennis makes me cringe. Maybe this goes back to the long-ago years when Mcenroe was known for his temper. Maybe it has something to do with a high school friend being so nuts over another player she didn't talk about anything else. Whatever it is, I'm not entirely sure, but I've never been a tennis fan.

Until Game, Set, Match landed on my desk.

This sizzling Champagne romance put tennis in a whole new light -- not too difficult when the heroine's a top-rated photographer.

If you like tennis, you'll love, this full length title, written by Nana Malone.

Off the court, tennis star Jason Cartwright’s playboy image is taking a public beating. On the court, he’s down forty-love. A knee injury is shutting down his game, and the paparazzi are splashing his love life on every magazine. A comeback is in order, but the makeover he needs to save his faltering career is in the hands of the woman he loved and left fifteen years ago.

While single-mom, Izzy Connors, sees people for who they really are through the lens of her camera, even without it, she knows Jason isn’t the star he appears to be. Although his charm and good looks haven’t dimmed since he broke her heart, all she sees is his wasted talent and playboy lifestyle.

Can Izzy put the past behind her and help Jason get his game, and his image, back on track? Or will the click of her camera shatter his world as well as his heart?

Look for Game, Set, Match at The Wild Rose Press on August 10, 2010!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What Makes A Historical... Historical?

This topic has been mulling around in my head for a while. In light of having to address it with the submissions pool, I'm going to try and do it justice here.

A historical is so much more than placing a man and woman in an era gone by. The little things count -- more than you would probably expect.

There is a level of detail expected with a historical romance that is, by nature of the beast, overlooked in contemporary submissions. If we, as contemporary authors, put into our manuscript, "the silver pickup", we have a pretty good idea what that looks like. Yes, we can create more vivid visuals by mentioning a brand name, mentioning short or long bed, dually, or king cab. But if you're just moving a character from point a to point b, we don't necessarily need that level of detail. (Arguable, but work with me for a minute).

If you put in a historical, "They climbed into the carriage and rode away." It'll work. Maybe. But you'll have a lot more success with passing the story off as a researched historical with something like, "They climbed into the landau and rode away." Right there, the word landau, does so many things. It sets setting (1743-forward). It creates a visual (used for luxury). It gives a rough idea how many horses are in front(two), it illustrates the seating room. If you take it a step further, you can add in one word "into the five-glass landau" - and now you've added the visual of glass windows (although careful, you might have changed your setting.)

A common error I see in historical submissions is lack of enough detail to give the story a historical feel. I'm not talking about disertations on the setting/politics/class structure. I'm talking about little interwoven adjectives that make pictures pop.

Since my expertise is with ancient civilizations, let me go here to exemplify further.

Knights are a common theme as are Medieval settings. When you have characters in historicals, you must consider their perspectives (POV again).

What's a knight do for a living? War.

What are the tools he uses for war? Horses, armor, swords, spears, sometimes crossbows/arrows. Strategy.

Is a knight going to know the difference between a short sword and a bastard sword? Or the difference between a kite shield and a buckler? Or a lunge versus a thrust attack? You betcha. By sight. Without having to consider it. Second nature.

If he doesn't, chances are he's not going to survive his first battle to go on and become the fearsome knight brought to his knees by our mighty heroines.

Is a peasant going to know those things? Most likely not. A sword is a sword. They are shorter or longer. They kill -- usually friends and relatives when territories are taken over and the serfs pay for a liege lord's failure. Frankly, most peasants weren't allowed to have arms, depending on the era/feudal society and area.

And then we get into a whole different aspect of detail... era-specific tools and details. Just like one wouldn't find a zipper in the Middle Ages, we aren't going to find full plate mail immediately following the Dark Ages. The suits of armor you see in museums, aren't common until the 13th-14th century.

So if you're writing about knights "Armor" isn't going to cut it as an adjective. "Sword" isn't going to illustrate anything specific.

And if you're submitting something in this era to me, be prepared to go through that litmus test.

In conclusion -- when you are doing historical writing, research, research, research. Just like a veterinarian would know a Pomeranian by name, your historical characters are going to know the tools of their trade intimately. Use those details to illustrate the key details that draw a reader in and make them believe they are literally walking through a different era. Use it as an opportunity to show off the things you've learned when studying the era you write about. But do it effectively. Blend it in. Paint the picture. Don't make it stick out like a sore thumb.


Brand New Historical

I love Champagnes. But as I mentioned when I announced my additional work with the historical lines, I really love a good historical. So when Kismet's Revenge came across my desk, I did a few backflips. Author Katherine Brandon returns to her Kismet Series, with this spicy full length American Rose.

Marisa Alvarez looks forward to a day she'll remember the rest of her life. Instead of the marriage proposal and happily ever after she expects, however, she becomes one of only a handful of survivors of one of the bloodiest Indian uprisings in American history, the attack on Fort Mims.

Lucien St. Clair has been sent to Pensacola to learn the identity of a clever saboteur who calls himself "La Venganza." As he pursues the enigmatic figure, he is inexplicably drawn to Marisa, a treacherous woman whose beautiful face may hide deadly secrets.

But when acts of revenge escalate to kidnapping, Lucien will have to find a way to gain Marisa's trust, not only to save her life, but to win her heart!

Kismet's Revenge will be available on August 13, 2010.


Lucien lowered his tone and his head. “Who is La Venganza?”

“Why, Major.” Marisa fixed him with an arched brow. “Are we no longer continuing the pretense you’re here on business?”

From behind him, Ethan pointed an accusatory finger. “You knew! You knew General Jackson sent us to find La Venganza.”

Her laughter washed over him like a hot bath. “Of course I knew. Do I look like an idiot?”

Now he leaned forward, his face a breath away from hers. “I want the villain’s name.”

Taking a step back, Marisa folded her arms over her chest. “What villain?”

“You know exactly what villain.” His tone grew deadly, each soft syllable laced with a hard edge. “Who is La Venganza, seƱorita?”

“Ask your questions elsewhere. You’ll get nothing from me.” She waved a hand as if to shoo
him away.

In one smooth arc, Lucien grabbed her flying hand in his right fist. His left hand cupped her chin, forcing her to look into his eyes. The velvet of her skin, like a rose petal, seeped into his fingers. He’d never touched her bare flesh before now. Never felt her warmth or known such incredible softness in anyone.

But the anger that blazed in her eyes reminded him of stable fires, alligators, and blood streaming from a comrade’s forehead. Besides, she had a lover.

A lover who was a criminal.

“I will find La Venganza.”

With a shake of her head, she simultaneously broke out of his grasp and his gaze. “You’ll find nothing.” She flashed a superior smile. “You don’t even know where to look. La Venganza could be standing before you, and you wouldn’t know.”

From The End Zone

Good evening all. I'm behind in my blogging, but not without good reason. I have a bunch of authors announcing new titles, and I've been super busy!

Welcome author Doreen Alsen and her At The End Zone series:

Book 1, Mike's Best Bet, introduces us to the quaint sports bar, The End Zone.

Meet handsome football coach Mike. He knows his sports, he knows his bets, and when he places a wager with the music teacher (scoff!) he knows he'll win. Only perfect Miss Andi isn't quite as prima-donna as he believes. She might like classical music. She might serve on the ballet's board. But she's got a few tricks up her sleeve -- not the least of which involve insight on Mike's favorite team, which stacks the odds in her favor one-hundred percent.

As this mismatched couple navigates through a world of differences, their charismatic personalities are certain to keep you entertained.

Mike's Best Bet will be released through the Champagne Rose line, on March 26, 2010.


He took his hands out of his pockets and held one out to her. “Dance with me.”

She shouldn’t, she really shouldn’t, but she made the mistake of looking into Mike’s green-flecked eyes. They were so hot, they practically scorched her. Oh boy was she a goner. She put her champagne down, put her hand into his, and followed him onto the dance floor.

He put his hands on her hips and pulled her in close to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and melted against him while the band played Duke Ellington’s Prelude to a Kiss.

Mike moved with all the elegance and grace of a natural athlete. The band’s alto sax lovingly crooned a hot melody that seemed made just for them. Andi sighed and lost herself in the moment.

It shouldn’t feel so good to be held by this man, but it did. He felt warm and solid and safe. Only traces of his aftershave lingered, so her nose caught elusive wisps of wood and spice. His thumbs rubbed up and down on her hips, which made her shiver. He didn’t know the song, but hummed along anyway, off-key. She couldn’t remember when she last had heard more beautiful music.

The music ended. For a long moment, they remained locked against each other, unaware of the applause that replaced the music. She looked up at him, then away. She didn’t want him to see more than she was ready to show.

Book 2, What Ian Wants, brings back our sexy professor Miss Andi left behind.

Ian's so unforgettable, it's hard to imagine anyone passing him up -- a fact waitress Gina can't help but notice. Only these two are so unsuitable for each other, so absolutely polar opposites, their excursions are comical to say the least. When they aren't at crossed-purposes, they're tender and oh so touching, they'll stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Look for What Ian Wants, in the Champagne line, on July 23, 2010.


He wore his eagerness to please like a cub scout wore his first merit badge. Her heart melted a little more. “Coffee sounds good, but don’t worry about it.” She reached in her purse. “I can get it.”

“No, I’ll get it. I insist.” He came from around the table and glommed onto her elbow, then pushed her into a seat. “Your feet must be aching. Just rest a second, and I’ll be right back.”

Stunned, Gina had no choice but to do as he said. Curious about the array of blue books, she picked one up, one he had already graded. It was all in French. The questions, the answers, his red pen comments, all in French.

She couldn’t understand a single word. She felt like a total doofus.

“Don’t mind those. I’ll gather them up and put them away.” He placed the large coffee in front of her, then moved into the booth and started to pick up the blue books. “I feel like I’m constantly grading papers. If I don’t keep up, they bury me.” Stuffing the papers into the open briefcase at his side, Ian dropped the lid. It landed with a soft thud. He looked at her, his eyes hopeful. “I don’t know how you take your coffee, so I brought both cream and sugar.” Jamming his hands in his pockets, he pulled out enough packets of sugar to put her in a coma, as well as a handful of creamers.

She reached for a creamer. “Just cream, thanks.” It made a hissing sound as she pulled the wrapper off the top. “What’s up?”

Ian looked away for a moment, pulled the glasses off his face and cleaned them with a paper napkin. “There’s no graceful way to ask this.” He studied his glasses before slipping them back on his face.

“Why don’t you just spit it out?”

“Right, then.” He nodded. “I need you to marry me.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Champagne Title Coming!

This Champagne Rosebud, written by DC "Pat" Hardy, is a spell-binding tale about love (of course!), lives held in the balance, and learning to believe in matters of the heart. Matters which don't apply strictly to inter-personal relationships.

Medical romances are not my absolute favorite, admittedly, but when I received this submission, it knocked me out of my chair. This isn't another "day in the life of ER", but a very personal account that addresses extremely plausible internal conflicts surgeons may well face.

Laced with just the right amount of humor, laden with romance that's certain to tug at your heart, Kyle and Michelle paint a picture of hope and fullfillment amidst a backdrop of black and white realism. Not to mention our hero is so loveable you'll want to take him home and make him your own personal physician!

Look for Affairs Of The Heart on January 27, 2010.


Dr. Richards," Michelle said to the back of Kyle's well-washed scrubs, "I need to talk to you." The worn blue fabric did nothing to hide his fabulous athletic physique. Or the clench of his shoulders before he turned to face her.

Her stomach tightened. After almost five years, he could still grab her with his devil-may-care good looks. But he certainly didn't seem happy to see her.

"Well, what do you know? Michelle Benoit." Wild mahogany hair held in check by his trademark Billabong bandana, Kyle flashed a lopsided grin that didn't match the wariness in his gray eyes. "How'd you sneak under my guard?"

With a glance at her feet, he leaned toward her. "Nice shoes, by the way. Not what I'd wear to a trauma code, but you always did march to your own drummer."

A hot wave of indignation swept up Michelle's neck. "You knew it was me in there the whole time?"

"Nope. Just on my way out." He peered around her and didn't meet her accusing glare. "Those gorgeous blue eyes of yours gave you away. Excuse me."

He joined the trauma cart as it swept by and left Michelle to finish her conversation with herself. As if.

"Kyle, we're scheduled to meet today."

He held the elevator doors open as his colleagues maneuvered the patient inside. "Plans change, Michelle, as you know." His pointed look held heavy insinuation, sharp with reflections of the past.

"But I have to wonder," he continued, "what I did to deserve the attention of the great Dr. Benoit." He swung inside the elevator next to the gurney. "The promising surgeon who abandoned her residency for a plush research job." His eyes narrowed as he cocked his head. "Tell me, Doctor. Is it true..."

The elevator doors slid between them.

"...that doctors who can't, do research?"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book Brag II

Another book to brag about!

This time, it's an unforgettable Champagne Rosebud written by author Judy Rogers. (For those who may not be aware, Champagne is one of The Wild Rose Press's contemporary lines.)

If you're looking for a book that has an upbeat feel but really knows how to touch your heart, What Are Friends For? is at the top of my list.

With a hero who's so sweet and romantic he'll make your heart melt, and an adorable heroine who just can't seem to get it right, the story will warm you up on these chilly fall nights.

I'm so very excited to be able to announce this forthcoming release. Look for What Are Friends For? on January 20, 2010. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Dooley couldn’t be falling in love with her; he’d known her all his life. Although, he couldn’t remember a time when he’d been so consumed by erotic fantasies. Even the raging hormones of his teen years hadn’t tied him in as many knots. If love felt like this, it was hell. He had married Cass to give her protection and support until the baby came, not to complicate their lives.

Suddenly, two hands began to massage the muscles just below his shoulder blades. Cass’s breath whispered across his neck, “I’m sorry. I know this is important to you. I’ll ask Robert to change the dates.”

He didn’t dare turn around. He could smell the familiar scent of her lemon shampoo. Her fingers prodded all the right places. In order to massage the top of his shoulders, she had moved close enough for him to feel the tips of her breasts against his back. His brain short-circuited under the sensory overload. Don’t turn around! Don’t turn around! The blood surging behind his eardrums drowned out the voice of reason.

With a groan, he turned to face her, his left arm slipping around her waist, pulling her against him. His right hand swept behind her head and pulled her face forward until his lips met hers. As kisses went, it wasn’t particularly gentle. He told himself to back off, to stay in control, but his overwrought system didn’t buy it. Hungry, needy, his lips moved over hers, nibbling at her bottom lip, tugging until her lips parted, and he deftly used his tongue, teasing her, willing her to respond.

At first she stood very still. He could feel the tension in her hands as they lay passively against his chest. Her fingers flexed, and his body stiffened, ready for her to push him away.
Instead, she sighed, and her arms slid up around his neck. “This isn’t good,” she whispered against his lips.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things That Make My Email Happy

Waking up to find a resubmission an author has put a lot of time and energy into, that really shines, is almost better than my morning cup of coffee. Authors who take the time, who step back away from the attachment to their story and are willing to look at it from an objective angle are gems. We editors know it isn't easy to hear the word, "But..." It isn't necessarily easy for us to say that word either. We know the likelihood of how it will be received.

The author who can move past the gut-reaction of, "No way. It's right this way." is the author who wants to grow and has the best opportunity at seeing career goals met.

This morning, I had an even more pleasant experience than revised resubmissions. Every once in a while, I'll have a story come our way that is incredible in one fashion or another, but there's an aspect of it I can't contract. Several months ago, I ran into this and spent several long hours in discussion with the author. To my delight, this morning, after weeks of consideration, the author decided to go with my requested needs.

It's a treat to run into this email before coffee. Made my day, I tell you.

On another note, in the near future I should have two more titles to present to you. Waiting on our wonderful artists to finalize covers. Both are books that I read before coffee.

Hm. I believe there might be a pattern there.