Some of you may remember that last summer, I made a little low-budget video for my Stud Club series, using toys from my children’s bedroom. The response to the video was great, and I had so much fun making it.
So last March, as part of Operation Auction, I offered up a similar homemade book video as an auction item. A whole slew of kindly bloggers pledged to post the winner’s video, thus sweetening the deal and driving up the bidding.
The amazing Maya Banks was the generous top bidder, and when she told me what she had in mind…oh, it made me so happy. This video was a truly family project, with the darelings working props and Mr. Dare providing the special effects. I hope you enjoy it! And if you do, please feel free to tweet, link, embed, and Facebook it to your heart’s content.
I also want to say, one of the best parts of the experience was getting to read In Bed with a Highlander early. It was fabulous. Took me straight back to my formative years as a romance reader, falling in love with Julie Garwood’s Scots. If you like a passionate, tender read with an endearing heroine and strong Highlander hero, be sure to pick this one up on August 30.
The “K.I.S.S.” stands for “Know the Important Signs and Symptoms,” and teal is the designated color for ovarian cancer awareness. There’s a money component to this partnership—Avon has donated $25,000 to the OCNA and will donate up to $25,000 more, based on sales of the labeled books—but the other important part of the campaign is raising awareness.
There’s no routine test for detecting ovarian cancer, such as the mammogram and Pap smear for breast and cervical cancers, and the symptoms of ovarian cancer are easy to miss until the cancer is in an advanced stage. That’s why is so important for all women to know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer (K.I.S.S.) and discuss them with their friends and family (“teal”/tell).
Here are the books that will carry the KISS and Teal burst. For each copy sold (print or E), Avon will donate another $.25 to the OCNA, up to $25,000.
Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue, by Stephanie Laurens The Deed, by Lynsay Sands (reissue) The Seduction of Scandal, by Cathy Maxwell A Night to Surrender, by Tessa Dare In the Arms of a Marquess, by Katharine Ashe One Night in London, by Caroline Linden Star-Crossed Seduction, by Jenny Brown
At the KISSandTeal.com, you can find more information about all of these books and view videos taped by several of the participating authors, including yours truly.
There are several other ways to help the cause and promote awareness, and I’ll be posting more about them as we move into September. I can’t say what an honor it is to be part of this special effort.
That’s Hastings Castle, one of the first castles William the Conqueror built after the Normans invaded England in 1066. In the beginning of ANTS, Bram is gifted a revived medieval earldom, which comes along with no real lands or money–just the similarly crumbling (and fictional) Rycliff Castle.
(You can click on any of these photos for a better look.)
My imaginary Rycliff Castle was mostly inspired by Hastings-especially the setting, on a cliff overlooking the English Channel. But I did feel Bram should have a bit more of a place to call home. He’s a military man and used to roughing it, but I did want him to have a bit of shelter. A standing few walls, you know, to keep out the elements: wind, rain, sheep.
So I added in a bit of this place, Ypres Tower:
Ypres Tower was an early medieval fortress built to protect the then-bustling port of Rye. In later years, it was used as a jail. Nowadays, it’s a museum. Changes to the coastline over the centuries mean Rye is now situated a good mile or two back from the sea. So Ypres Tower looks out over farmland and delta, instead of the harbor it was constructed to protect. But it was from a historically plausible era, and it did have walls!
I decided Rycliff Castle would have a keep (inner castle) added a few centuries after its original construction, and I envisioned it something like Ypres–a cloverleaf of four stone turrets.
So now Bram had a few walls. But still…it’s not terribly romantic, now is it?
Fortunately, this place was an hour’s bus ride away:
Ahhh, that’s more like it! Bodiam Castle, constructed in the late 1300s. That date puts it well after the time Rycliff Castle should have been completed, so the architecture style is a little off, but wandering the ruins was lovely inspiration nonetheless. Now I could form a nice idea of what those four stone turrets looked like from the inside.
There. Nice and cozy, right? I know, I know. It’s no country estate with lavishly-appointed rooms and manicured gardens. You’d have to visit the heroine’s home, Summerfield, for that.
But Rycliff Castle does have one more selling point–PARAPETS.
How could one not feel romantic up there, hm? Everyone knows that when it comes to castles, the ramparts are where all the action happens. Ahem. Yes.
So what do you think? Which do you find more romantic, mansions or castles? Did I manage to make Rycliff Castle into suitable (temporary) digs for a Regency romance hero?
Speaking of The Ballroom Blog, be sure to pop over on Monday, when it’s my turn to blog. I’ll be chatting with Miss Susanna Finch and posting an exclusive excerpt from A Night to Surrender!
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!
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.
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.)
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!
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!
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!
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*
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.
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.
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!