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Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
In praise of artists…

Despite having no actual visual arts talent of my own, I love art and am fascinated by artists. I adored writing an artist heroine in Surrender of a Siren, and giving Sophia all the artistic talent I wish I had, but don’t.

This week, I am the very happy beneficiary of some prodigious artistic talent!

First example, this lovely new design at Tessadare.com. Frauke of CrocoDesigns just knocked it out of the park. Look at the file I sent her for inspiration…

I knew it was way too busy to use as a pattern on the site, but I loved the colors and feel. She just totally took that and made it a website, didn’t she? So talented.

And then, can we take a moment to ooh and ahh over my new cover?

Here’s how the art looks, on its own:

Some people like to say that all romance novels look the same, and there’s no thought whatsoever put into matching the cover with the contents of the book.

Those people (in this case, at least), would be dead wrong. So much thought and work went into this cover, on the part of my editor, the art director, and the artist – I’m so grateful to all of them! They really thought about the book, and it shows. The book is a fun, sexy, emotional struggle of wills…a Regency-set a battle of the sexes, if you will. And this pose was carefully staged to get that across. Just who is surrendering to whom, eh? I especially love that her eyes are open, and his are closed. I told my editor that I love clinch covers (it’s the truth), but I like them best when the woman looks like an active, equal participant. ;) My heroines always do their fair share of the ravishing.

Siiigh, at all that lush, gorgeous texture on her gown. Plus, their hair and eye colors are perfect. The heroine model even looks tall, which Susanna is. And yes, Bram’s shoulders are indeed that fine.

Now I’ll admit… At no time in the book do they roll around on a purple bed. But in one scene, she does wear a violet silk gown! Close enough.

And here’s how the cover will look in stores:

You can see this version has two exciting additions. One is that beautiful bronze stripe down the right-hand side, which not only perfectly matches the shade of the heroine’s hair, but is indicative of my very first stepback. (Q: How do I feel about that bronze stripe? A: FILLED WITH GLEE.)

Also, you’ll see there is a special label for the “K.I.S.S and Teal” campaign — every September book from Avon will carry this seal, which indicates Avon’s partnership with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. It’s a great campaign for a very important women’s health issue, and I’m honored that my book is a part of it. I’ll be posting more about it here on the site as the time draws near.

It’s probably obvious, I adore my new website and my new cover, and I’m just so glad that people more talented than I designed them both. Thank you, Croco and Avon!

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011
Newsy notes…

Sometime in the next few days, the site will have a bit of downtime – so my wonderful web designer, Frauke Spanuth of CrocoDesigns, can give it a new, fresh look. I hope everyone loves the new design as much as I do!

Operation Auction update:
The winning bidder on my book video was none other than Maya Banks! I am soooo unbearably excited to make a video for her. It’s TOP SECRET for now. ;) But in the meantime, please know that Maya is an amazingly generous person, in addition to being an incredibly talented author. Thank you so much to all the bloggers who offered to post the video when it’s finished – I guarantee, we’re going to have something entertaining for you!

Congratulations to everyone to donated, bid, and helped with the auction. I hope the proceeds are some help to Fatin and her children as they move forward from this terrible tragedy.

I’m so excited to be headed for the RT Booklovers’ Convention in LA next week. I’ll be on three different panels, signing at the giant book fair, and also attending the Reviewers’ Choice awards ceremony–where I’ll be honored to accept the Best Regency Romance award for One Dance with a Duke!

And even if you can’t be at RT, don’t forget about Romance Live! Next Wednesday, 9ET/6PT.

From the press release:

For romance fans who can’t make it to the RT Booklovers Convention in Los Angeles next week, Avon Books is broadcasting six beloved authors online for a virtual chat and booksigning, broadcast live from the Avalon Ballroom at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in L.A.!
Featured among the participating New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors are: Katharine Ashe, Elizabeth Boyle, Tessa Dare, Sophie Jordan, Cathy Maxwell and Sophia Nash.

Date/Time:
April 6, 2011
6 pm PT; 9 pm ET

This is the fifth live-streaming event brought to fans by Avon Books. Our most recent “online signing” from Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro MD featured authors such as Nora Roberts and Jeaniene Frost, and was enjoyed by more than 1500 romance fans around the world via Livestream. Attendees travelled (virtually) from as far as Germany, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Ireland, Nigeria and Tunisia!

Participants can watch online at http://www.livestream.com/romance, and order personalized copies at the Mysterious Galaxy website (http://www.mystgalaxy.com/event/rt-booklovers-convention-la).

So yes, it’s even a virtual booksigning! You can order personalized copies from any of the authors, and we’ll sign them there before they’re shipped to you.

And…
Go Butler Bulldogs! *pompoms*

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Romance Live on April 6 (Plus, see my cover!)

First, don’t forget about Operation Auction! Bidding for my book video has been doing great, thanks to all who’ve helped spread the word. But I know we can raise even more money for Fatin and family.

Second, I’m going to be part of this uber-cool event at RT on April 6th, called Romance Live. Six Avon authors of historical romance are going to answer questions and chat with readers, and it will be streamed live on the Internet for everyone to see. (note to self: buy darker lipstick) I hope some of you will be able to join us online, or even in person – I hear there will be wine and cupcakes!

I’m very excited about this, and even more excited to post the ad because it has my beautiful new cover for A Night to Surrender! The one I haven’t been cleared yet to post on this site! But there it is (the pretty purple one), so get out your magnifying glasses and enjoy. :)

Monday, March 28th, 2011
Operation Auction

I want to draw everyone’s attention to a huge Ebay auction going on right now, to benefit a special cause. From the Operation Auction website:

Fatin has been an integral part of the romance community for years – she owns and runs the RR@H Novel Thoughts and Book Talk blog, is an administrator of the WriteMinded loop, an author assistant and a tireless advocate for romance novels. She is also a friend to many in this community.

On Tuesday, March 8th, she lost her husband in a senseless act of violence, leaving her alone with four children. You can read more about the tragedy here: http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/9233067/

I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and fear that Fatin and her children must be going through, in the wake of this tragedy. Authors, bloggers, editors, agents, and others have donated a myriad of items to raise money to help the family. You can view the items and bid here. There are signed books, gift baskets, critiques, name-a-character packages, lunches with authors, and much more.

My own contribution to the auction is a custom book video, similar to the video I made for the Stud Club books last year.

Here’s the item description:

The winning bidder will receive a customized book video shot on location in the Darelings’ bedroom.
Tessa will provide all props, materials, and (admittedly amateur) production. You provide cover art, a manuscript or synopsis for reference, and creative direction, if you wish. If desired, the video will include stock music, which the winning bidder is welcome to help choose. Tessa will upload the finished, approved video to YouTube, so it can be easily embedded on your blog or website, and linked/shared via social media. On request, she’ll also send a copy of the file for you to do with as you please. From project start date, please allow a month for turnaround time.

I’m going to do my darnedest to make the winning bidder a unique and fun video. Making the prize much more valuable, several A TON of bloggers have committed to posting the video – so the winning bidder will have guaranteed distribution at these sites and possibly more:

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Dear Author
Book Binge
PlotMonkeys
Literary Sluts
The Good, the Bad, and the Unread
Write Chic
Chance of Books
Limecello
Isabel Roman’s blog
Genre Reviews
SmexyBooks
Read, React, Review
Keira Soleore
Ticket to Anywhere
The Book Pushers
Vauxhall Vixens
The Romance Book Nerd
Novel Romance
Seductive Musings
Noelle Pierce
Historical Romance Book Reviews
Katiebabs’ Babbling About Books
Maggie Robinson’s blog
Just Janga
Not Another Romance Blog
Make of it what you will

A huge thank you to all of those bloggers! And of course, I will post it everywhere I can, too.

Bidding ends at midnight Wednesday (March 30th), so don’t delay! And once again, if a book video’s not your thing – there are dozens and dozens of other great items to bid on. Please bid and help out a family in need.

Friday, March 25th, 2011
This just in…

I got “the call” this morning that Twice Tempted by a Rogue is a finalist in the 2011 RITAs, in the Best Regency Historical category! The RITA awards are presented by the Romance Writers of America each year, at our annual conference.

I am so thrilled and honored, not least because I’m in the most amazingly talented company. Just look at this list of finalists:

    His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell (Avon Books; Lucia Macro, editor)
    The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig (Dutton; Erika Imranyi, editor)
    Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (Avon Books; Carrie Feron, editor)
    Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter (Jove; Wendy McCurdy, editor)
    To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott (Forever; Frances Jalet-Miller, editor)
    Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare (Ballantine Books; Kate Collins, editor)
    When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Enderlin, editor)
    The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice (NAL/Signet; Ellen Edwards, editor)

(You can view all the categories here.)

Congratulations to all the finalists!

The amazing Sarah Maclean has a giveaway up and running already, where you could win all of the finalist books in my category!

Monday, March 21st, 2011
Books for Free (sorry, not a giveaway post)

Though I do have an ongoing giveaway here.

Let me preface this with an apology. I’m about to get all deep-thoughty about digital book pricing and so forth. I feel sort of bad blogging about this when a) I blog so infrequently nowadays and b) most of the people who regularly check this blog are, I suspect, not doing so because they want my unsolicited opinions on this topic. Most would probably much rather hear about the next book, right?

So I’m happy to say firstly–I have posted a bit of info about the new series and two–count them, two!–dueling excerpts from A Night to Surrender here. Anyone not interested in digital book pricing and libraries and so forth, please do follow that link and never mind what is beneath the fold.

If you are interested, read on… (but don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday, February 4th, 2011
What’s New

I’ve finished most of my revisions on A Night to Surrender–just a few little things to wrap up, hooray! (And I do think that title’s going to stick.) It also looks like the release date will be August 30, 2011. I really hope I have a cover to show you soon! Thank you so much to everyone who left “anxiously awaiting” comments on my previous post. :) They really mean a lot to me.

Next week, I hope to post a little more about the new series.

In the meantime, I’m moving house on Facebook! I was getting too close to the limit for Friends, so I’ve opened a new Fan page that will eventually house all the updates, giveaways, and such. If you’ve been a Friend on my profile page (or even if you haven’t), I’d love it if you’d come “Like” my new page now. To kick things off, I’ve uploaded a new photo album of some pictures from my trip to England that inspired locations in the new series. You can view it here. And all next week, I’ll be giving away an autographed book every day, so don’t miss out!

I’ve updated my contest page with a new giveaway – and I’m making up for lost time by giving away five hot new historical romances in one bundle!

I recently learned rights to my first trilogy (Goddess of the Hunt, et al) were sold for French translations. C’est magnifique! Finally, a translation I might be able to read…just a little. My high-school French is quite rusty.

And I’m very excited to be a guest of the Friends of Huntington Beach Library for their Romance Authors’ Tea on February 10. Romance and tea and libraries – three of my favorite things! Other authors on the panel will be Patricia Wynn and Carol Snow.

Hope all is well with you and yours, and you are not buried under too much snow, or nursing some horrid winter cold. Cheers!

Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Sneak Peek at What’s Next…

Quite a few of you lovely, lovely people have asked about the next book, and now that the book is actually written 8) I feel I can post a few tidbits of information. I should say that everything in this post is subject to change, as it’s not yet set in stone. Once I have an official cover, blurb, and release date I will definitely create a proper page for the book in my Bookshelf section. For the meantime, here’s what I can tell you.

The book will be almost probably certainly titled A Night to Surrender. It will most likely be released in early Fall of 2011, like August/September-ish. And it will most definitely have a gorgeous cover, if the preliminary artwork is any indication. I can’t share it yet. Believe me, I want to.

Oh, I am weak. Maybe I can give you a just a teensy, tiny snippet?

*siiiiigh*

The setting for this book (and the entire series) was partly inspired by the trip I took to England this past August. I spent most of my time on the coast of Sussex–Brighton, Hastings, Rye. The hero of the book, Victor Bramwell, is a war hero. He’s been granted a revived medieval earldom, which includes a very un-revived medieval castle. Rycliff Castle, as it exists in the book, was loosely cobbled together from several sites I visited. One of them was Hastings Castle, pictured here.

*siiiiigh* some more. So lovely.

To go along with that, here’s a teensy, tiny snippet from the book (again, all subject to change! Not edited yet), where the heroine, Susanna Finch, is showing the newly arrived Bram to what is now his castle.

Once they crested the sandstone ridge, Susanna pulled to a stop. “Well,” she said between deep inhalations, “there it is, my lord. Rycliff Castle.”

The castle ruins sat perched at the tip of an outcropping, an arrowhead of green heath jutting over the sea. Four stone turrets, a few standing arches…here and there, a bit of wall. This was all that remained. In the background spread the English Channel, now turning a lovely shade of periwinkle in the dimming afternoon.

Silence reigned for a long minute as the men took in the scene. Susanna kept quiet too, as she tried to see the ancient ruined fortress through fresh eyes. As a young girl, she’d be taken with the romance of it. When viewing the castle as a picturesque ruin, the absent walls and ceilings were the best features. The missing parts were invitations to dream; they inspired the imagination. When looking upon this as a prospective residence, however, she could only imagine the missing parts would inspire grave misgivings. Or perhaps hives.

So there are a few tidbits. More snippets (and lengthier excerpts, and full size covers, and complete blurbs) to come…!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
GotH around the world!

Today, I received a very exciting package in the mail – copies of the German translation of Goddess of the Hunt! It prompted me to do some web searching to see if any of the other translations have hit the market while I wasn’t looking. And look, they have! Not only in German, but in Japanese, Russian, and Slovak!

See the pretty covers!

I love the clinchy goodness of the German cover art, and the tender romance of the Russian one. I’m very impressed by the way the Slovak publisher referenced the design of the original US cover. Though I have to admit, that lovely, sweet girl on the Japanese version (the title of which, Google Translate informs me, is something like “Earl and a Fake Kiss”) strikes me as rather innocent-looking to be representing Lucy. ;)

Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
Since I blogged last…

Um, the seasons changed!

Also…
I went to England!
My eldest started first grade! *sob*
Goddess of the Hunt came out in Russian!
Booklist mentioned me as one of the “new stars of historical romance” – woot! (If you’re looking for new historical authors, be sure to check out that list.)

And I’ve received so much lovely reader mail. I’ve noticed a few common questions cropping up, so I thought I’d go ahead and post answers here for anyone else who might be wondering.

Will Claudia get her own book?

I love this question. I love that so many readers have cared about her, asked about her, and want to see her happy in life and love. She was definitely a character who came alive for me. I hope I do get to write her story someday, but it won’t be happening right away. For one thing, she is still pretty much a teenager in my mind. I need some time to think about the kind of woman she’ll become, and how her life experiences will have shaped her. Second, right now I’m busy with other projects. Which brings me to the other question I’ve been fielding a lot lately…

What are you working on next?
I’m thrilled to report that I’m working on the first book in a brand new Regency historical series. This one has an alpha hero and an alpha heroine mixing it up in a fun, flirty battle-of-the-sexes. Regency-style, of course! Because I caught up to myself with that back-to-back schedule, this next book won’t be out until we’re well into 2011. Once I have a release date (not to mention a title and cover!), I’ll be sure to share them with you! Watch this space for more details.

This weekend, I’ll be in Sacramento, speaking at the Sacramento Valley Rose chapter of RWA. Really looking forward to it! Hope you all have a great weekend, too.