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Saturday, July 16th, 2011
Regency Paper Dolls!

Over on The Ballroom Blog, today Sarah MacLean is hosting our first Saturday Salon and sharing her trade secret: Regency Dress-Up Paper Dolls. Come make and share some of your own!

I’m headed out the door early this morning, but I couldn’t resist taking time to make a doll for the heroine of A Night to Surrender, Miss Susanna Finch.

I love her red hair, freckles and long gloves! Although, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by the lack of appropriate accessories to put in her hands. No book, apothecary mortar and pestle, or pistol. :(

Don’t miss The Ballroom fun today, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Come to the ball!

Today is an exciting day! Months of collaborative scheming have come to fruition, and I’m delighted to announce the grand debut of The Ballroom Blog. The Ballroom blogroll includes authors Sarah MacLean, Gaelen Foley, Katharine Ashe, Miranda Neville, Sabrina Darby, and yours truly. I was thrilled to be invited to blog with these lovely and talented ladies, and our hostess, the incomparable Lady B, will be most happy to make your acquaintance.

We’re starting the blog off with a round of introductions and, naturally, a giveaway. :) Please do stop by and join the party! All posts on The Ballroom will be in the style of fun conversations – between authors, characters, and guests.

Also, if you’d like to read A Night to Surrender early, you have few hours left to bid on a special advance copy. It’s up for auction to benefit author L.A. Banks, who has been battling adrenal cancer. As of this post’s writing, it’s still going for a song! Here’s the eBay link.

See you in the Ballroom!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
In the news…

I’m back from NYC! The conference was wonderful. A full wrap-up (including details of my scintillating encounter in the NYPL Rare Books room!) will have to wait for another day, because I have so much exciting news to share.

(The beautiful NYC skyline from Bryant Park. We had gorgeous weather! You can click on the photo to see it bigger.)

The quick-and-dirty RWA recap: My panel went great, the signing was wonderful, and the parties were to die for. I had a great time meeting so many readers, bloggers, authors, and publishing folk. The RITA award for Best Regency Historical went to the amazing Lauren Willig–congratulations to her!

One of the huge stories of the week was the fabulousness of my friend and roomie Courtney Milan, who hit both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists with her wonderful self-published novella, Unlocked. It was a tremendous thrill to wake up in our hotel room Thursday morning and retrieve the complimentary copy of the paper from the hallway, so we could see it for ourselves in print!

Adding to the excitement, what should be two pages back in the same section of the same edition of said national newspaper–but a little photo of me! I was quoted in this fun little “Opposites Attract” article with a few authors you might have heard of. Like, say, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Sarah MacLean? Yeah. Pinch me. :) You can read the whole article here, if you so choose. (But there’s no picture of me.)

But wait, there’s more! Just as I was getting ready to come home, I learned that A Night to Surrender had received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly:

Dare pairs up an educated spinster and a wounded hero in this delightful Regency, the first in the Spindle Cove series… The instant attraction between Susanna and Bram is complicated by Bram’s having just inherited a title, a crumbling castle, and the right to summon a militia. The last will be nearly impossible in the peaceful woman-dominated community of Spindle Cove, where few are thrilled by the military newcomers. Enticing romantic encounters are matched by witty conversations that slowly and seamlessly reveal deep truths about Dare’s endearing one-of-a-kind characters.

They liked it! *huge sigh of relief* This review was a thrill beyond any other, and the perfect end to my conference. I had several early readers tell me in NYC that they’d already read and enjoyed the book. I’m so excited for it to be available for everyone on August 30th. (Psst, have you read the first chapter yet?)

I have so much more to blog about, but I’ll have to spread it out over several posts. More conference recap, an exciting announcement that involves a ballroom, and information about the excellent K.I.S.S. and Teal campaign involving Avon Books and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. And of course, my NYPL escapades!

OH. And a Very Exciting Book Video Project. :mrgreen:

Until next time…

Sunday, June 26th, 2011
New York, here I come!

The bags are (mostly) packed, and in just a few short hours I’ll be jetting off on the red-eye, headed for the Romance Writers of America national conference in New York City!

Before I forget —

While in NYC, I’ll be passing out some beautiful postcards for A Night to Surrender, directing people to visit my website to read the first chapter. So… the first chapter is up now. :) You can read it here.

Things I’m so excited for in the coming week (other than the chance to see all my fabulous and far-flung romance-minded friends, of course):

  • Workshops! I’ll be on the “Quick Release Trilogy” panel with Stefanie Sloane, Monica McCarty, Zoe Archer, and Christy Reece.
  • The literacy signing! Open to the public and featuring hundreds of fabulous authors in one place, this Tuesday night event is always a blast. Plus, it benefits local literacy organizations.
  • The awards luncheon – can’t wait to see local colleague and friend SuperLibrarian Wendy Crutcher pick up her “Librarian of the Year” award.
  • PARTY – I have some smaller celebrations planned with friends, and I’m particularly excited for the Avon party at the swank Central Park Boathouse.
  • The RITAs and Golden Heart awards. It’s a huge thrill to be a RITA finalist for Twice Tempted by a Rogue, and I’m so excited that my good friend Leigh LaValle is up for a Golden Heart in the Regency category. Actually, I’ll be rooting for friends in several categories, so it should be an exciting night.
  • Library heaven – I plan to spend at least one day researching in the beautiful NYPL main building. Can’t wait to pet the lions!

After all those high-heel occasions, I fully expect to come home with blistered feet. But it will all be worth it. :) If you’ll be in NYC, I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
Site updates!

A Night to Surrender finally has its own bookshelf page! There isn’t a whole lot there yet, but there are pre-order links and a blurb and tiny teaser excerpt. I will be posting a much longer excerpt in weeks to come.

If you’d like to win a signed coverflat and bookish surprise, please do enter my new contest.

Exciting news! Rights have been licensed for the Stud Club trilogy to be published in Thai translation.

And before I dash off again to put the finishing touches on Spindle Cove book two (A Week to be Wicked), I leave you with this gorgeous French cover for Goddess of the Hunt.

C’est magnifique! I just love it. I especially love how much that cover model looks like “Lucy” to me. Her hair is perfect, and her expression definitely looks as though she’s up to something. :) And the title, Impulsive, certainly fits Lucy, too! The French edition releases June 15th.

I hope you’re all enjoying the first taste of summer!

Friday, April 15th, 2011
Foreign Cover Love!

I finally found time to update the site with some of my most recent foreign covers. I thought I’d highlight them here, too.

First, this gorgeous new Slovak cover for Surrender of a Siren:

Siigh… So romantic! I love it.

And here are two new covers for A Lady of Persuasion– the Indonesian and the Thai.

What I find so interesting is that they’re wildly different covers, but the artists seem to have tried to keep the same color scheme from the book’s original cover. Or maybe that’s just coincidence?

I understand (from a Russian reader) that the Russian title translates loosely to, “Why a Lovelace Gets Married.” To which I asked, “Um… What’s a lovelace?” :) A scoundrel or rake, she tells me. So there you go! A very appropriate title, actually.

Speaking of great foreign titles, the German edition of Surrender of a Siren releases next Monday! Its title? “Hurricane of Love.” (I confess, I can’t type that without hearing it as ‘Hurricane of Luuurve.’)

To any German readers who might wander by… Ein herzliches Dankeschön!
(Crossing fingers I got that right. I don’t speak German! Correct me if it’s wrong, please.)

Foreign editions are just the most exciting things. It’s so amazing to think that people in Russia and Indonesia and Germany and Slovakia are all reading a book that I wrote. *pinches self*

Sunday, April 10th, 2011
RT Recap

I spent much of the last week at the RT Booklovers’ Convention in L.A., and it was a fabulous conference. What a busy few days! I, of course, always forget to take pictures – especially ones with me in them – so I’m linking to a few posted on various blogs, and I hope those folks don’t mind.

Wednesday, I participated in a few panel workshops, then attended Avon’s Romance Live event. We had some technical challenges, but I’m told something like 800 people stuck with us and watched the chat! Pictured, from left to right: Katharine Ashe, Cathy Maxwell, Sophia Nash, publicist Pam Spengler-Jaffee, editor Erika Tsang, me, and Elizabeth Boyle. What an amazing group–I’d doubt it really happened, if I didn’t have this picture to prove it.

Photo linked from Avon Romance blog

Thursday, I hosted Purple Prose Taboo with friends and fellow authors Victoria Dahl and Courtney Milan. A raucous good time was had by all!

Photo linked from RT Book Reviews blog

Also on Thursday, I was honored to accept the RT Reviewers Choice award for Best Regency-Set Historical, forOne Dance with a Duke. And no, I didn’t take a picture. But when I got home yesterday, the darelings reenacted the award ceremony with a toy pink microphone that makes applause sounds. :) The actual awards ceremony was wonderful–I especially enjoyed the inspiring speeches from the career achievement award recipients, including Robyn Carr, Catherine Coulter, and Lisa Kleypas.

Of course, the highlight of conference for me is always the book signing. It’s so exciting to meet readers in person and see all my own favorite authors in one room. Over 300 authors participated in the Book Fair on Saturday! Here I am, at my table.

Photo linked from RT Book Reviews blog

And this was SO exciting–
My romance trading card made the front page of the LA Times “Calendar” section! Kudos to Jeannie Lin for starting such a fun idea, and thanks to Joanna Bourne for giving the reporter my card for the picture. You can read the whole article online here.

That’s just a fraction of the fun times – I could go on and on about the meet-ups with reader, blogger, and author friends, the workshops, and and the RT mixers and events.

If you were there at RT, attended the book fair, or even watched the livestream broadcast – thank you so much for making RT special. I’d be tempted to take to my bed for days to recover–but it’s Spring Break for the darelings. No rest for the wicked!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Romance Live – Tonight!

Don’t miss this! Tonight, at 9 PM Eastern, 6 PM Pacific — six Avon historical romance authors live-streaming questions and answers. You can watch it here and order personalized books here.

From the latest announcement…

If you are a romance fan, but you can’t make it to the RT Booklovers Convention in Los Angeles next week, join your favorite authors online for a virtual chat and booksigning, broadcast live from the Avalon Ballroom at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in L.A.!
Log here on April 6, at 6 pm PT (9 pm ET). We’re going for a historical salon theme. Granted, I don’t think that our bestselling participants Katharine Ashe, Elizabeth Boyle, Tessa Dare, Sophie Jordan, Cathy Maxwell and Sophia Nash will come in hoop skirts or kirtles, but they’ll be dazzling nonetheless! And you’ll have a chance to buy personalized copies of their newest titles, and selected backlist, via Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.
So, grab a glass of wine, make sure to snag yourself something sweet, and join us for a romantic interlude where we talk about our enduring passion for historical romance with these beloved authors!

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.

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.

Go Butler Bulldogs! *pompoms*