Last week, my Holiday Pleasures historical romance quartet was re-issued as an ebook bundle. The four books in the series–Season for Temptation, Season for Surrender, Season for Scandal, Season for Desire–were released in time for the holidays in 2011 through 2014. If you haven’t read the series, the bundle offers these four books at a significant discount over buying them all separately. You can find more info here.
It’s been fun to take another look at my first historical romance series. Season for Temptation was my historical romance debut, and it’s got rompy energy out the wazoo. (Not a Regency-correct term.) My style’s changed over time, which you can see if you read all four books in order, but I’ve never had so much fun writing a book as I had coming up with the love story of James and Julia.
In the months before Season for Temptation came out, I amused myself by making comparison tables on my blog. Since at the time I was one of about five people who had ever read SFT, I pretty much amused ONLY myself. Now that the Holiday Pleasures series has been re-issued, I thought it’d be a good time to revisit those comparisons again.
From May 2011:
Lately I’ve been working on the page proofs for SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, and also listening to Harry Potter books on audiotape. (They make great company when you’re cooking, for example.) This is probably why I’ve begun to notice a number of eerie similarities between SEASON and the Harry Potter series–similarities that, I think, cannot fail to turn SEASON into an international publishing phenomenon.
But wait, there’s more!
See what I mean? I can’t fail. I fully expect to see children wearing cravats and waving sword-sticks at the movie version of SEASON FOR TEMPTATION sometime in 2014.
Alas, there was no movie version in 2014. But I continued to be inspired to create parallels; viz. this post from August 2011. Clearly I was into the table functions of Word.
I’ve been watching a lot of Food Network lately, maybe to inspire myself to cook more during these dog days of summer. (Not that the inspiration is very practical, since I usually watch cooking competitions that involve bizarre ingredients like canned haggis.) This is probably why last night, instead of sleeping, I started thinking of how much my favorite show, Chopped, has in common with SEASON FOR TEMPTATION.
If you’ve never seen Chopped, here’s the format: four chefs, three rounds of competition (appetizer, entrée, dessert). In each round, the chefs have to base their dishes on the cray-cray ingredients out of a mystery basket, and after each round, one chef is eliminated from the competition.
So how is SEASON like Chopped? There are several scenes set during meals, and I think the parallels are fairly uncanny:
See what I mean? That. Is. Amazing.
If you’ve read SFT, what do you think of my comparisons? Or if you haven’t, what other goofy and/or inappropriate things would you like to see a romance compared to? I can’t promise I’ll create another table, but I DO promise to give one of you a print copy of a Holiday Pleasures book. Winner’s choice! One winner will be chosen at random from among all comments on this post, and will be announced on Sunday. International entries welcome.
When I was growing up in Central Florida the space program and NASA was a really big deal. There wasn’t a launch that I couldn’t see from my house (even though I lived in the middle of the state and not on the coast) in fact when there was a launch sometimes my dad would get out the ladder and we’d all climb up and sit on the roof to watch it. This is probably something that no parent would do today but I loved it.
My first job was at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando and it was in Tomorrowland. The ride I worked on was Mission To Mars. It was a simulated space journey to Mars and part of my job was interrupt the audio animatronic Mr. Johnson in mission control to get guests onto the space craft. I had a thirty second interaction with a robot, how cool is that?! If you remember the ride you might have thought it was tired in the 80s but a part of me just loved it. And in that last hour before the theme park closed and we didn’t get that many guests through the ride I’d make up stories about going to Mars. Since I was a romance reading addict from an early age those stories always involved myself as the plucky heroine and some dashing astronaut dude as the hero.
This series is really close to my heart. It came out of a conversation about the space program and ranches in Florida. I also grew up in a very rural area and my parents have had everything from an egg ranch to a citrus grove. I never had any doubt about where the meat on our kitchen table came from (my dad was a big proponent of not naming animals anything except steak or bacon since that was what they’d become!). So I was remarking to my editor that most people don’t realize that Florida has so many ranches. And then we talked about combining it with the space program.
The NASA missions all launch from Florida but mission control and training takes place in Texas—a place I’ve also lived and when I got home from the conference I sent my editor an email and the series Space Cowboys was born.
I’ve got an autographed copy of NO LIMITS to give-away to one of you. All you have to do to be entered to win is to tell me something from your childhood that you loved or tell me about your favorite Disney World ride…mine is It’s A Small World—which I also got to work at! It was really a dream come true. I loved every second of it.
Some cowboys are outta this world…
Astronaut Jason “Ace” McCoy tried to escape Cole’s Hill, Texas—and the memory of Molly Tanner’s dark eyes and strawberry-scented hair—among the stars. Now he and Molly have jointly inherited her father’s struggling ranch. And having failed his latest medical tests, Ace is on leave—maybe forever.
He’s determined to sort things out with the ranch and get back to Houston as soon as possible. What he isn’t counting on is that Molly’s only gotten more beautiful over the years…and she still wants him. The passion between them is hotter than rocket fuel—and just as dangerous. He can’t promise anything as long as there’s a chance to go on another mission. But even in orbit, this attraction has no rules…and no limits.
Harlequin Blaze, On Sale: September 1, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781488000355 / eISBN: 9781488000355
When an author turns in a book, it’s still far from done. There are editorial comments, revisions, maybe a second round of both if you’re lucky–and then copyedits and the final review of page proofs.
Copyedits are the last chance to make significant changes to the manuscript (er, not that I would do that. If my editor is reading). At this stage, a copyeditor–often a freelance editor, and OFTEN A SAINT (more on that soon)–reviews the manuscript as a Word file, making a bible of the unusual terms in the story, checking the timeline for consistency, confirming words were in use at the time if it’s a historical manuscript, and so on. Here’s part of the bible the copyeditor created for my upcoming historical romance Passion Favors the Bold.
I *love* these lists because they make the book sound so cool. Did I really write about heart-sorrows? What does Derbyshire have to do with the devil? Just how much gold dust are we talking about??
I mentioned above that copyeditors are saints. Well, I can’t be sure they ALL are, but the one I had for my 2014 historical romance Season for Desire was incredible. In that book, three coded messages had to be integrated before being decoded. Which meant? The copyeditor had. To check. Every. Bit. Of. That. Here’s some of the text with the copyeditor’s markings:
Do you see what she noticed there? I had left out an R–and what’s more, it was an R in the enciphered text. She put together the message and caught the mistake, which means that if a reader actually wanted to solve the puzzles–and I have no idea if any did–they could do it without being thrown off three-quarters of the way through. Bless you, copyeditor, and I hope someone gave you cookies. Or wine. Or both.
So, there’s a little peek behind the scenes of a couple of my books. Readers, is there anything else you’re wondering about how a book gets written or made? Fellow JQs, surely I can’t be the only one to drive my copyeditor to drink…can I?
Last year my friends Theresa Romain, Vanessa Kelly, Kate Noble, and I got together to write an anthology. We’d never worked together before, but we enjoyed each other’s books and thought our writing styles complemented each other. The great thing was that our personalities clicked too. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to work with these ladies. Even when we aren’t working on a project together, we like to email back and forth and keep in touch.
It’s been extra exciting to keep in touch lately because Theresa, Kate, and I are each releasing our novellas separately this summer, while Vanessa’s will be released in the fall. Theresa’s novella, Those Autumn Nights, came out on Tuesday. I love the cover, and it’s kind of cool to see Theresa’s vision for her story.
My own novella, The Summer of Wine and Scandal, releases singly next week on June 29. Here’s my cover.
I hope it looks suitably summery. Funny story about this novella. I didn’t have an idea for the plot. The anthology follows the village of Hemshawe and the Gage family through all four seasons of the year. My season was summer. So I thought about what I liked about summer. On those sultry nights, I do like to settle back with a good book and a chilled glass of wine. And what goes with wine (besides books—but then everything goes with books!)?
Scandal, of course.
So the title became The Summer of Wine and Scandal, and the plot evolved from the title. In the story, Peregrine Lochley is a wine connoisseur who gets roped into judging the wine at the local fair. There are just two problems. First of all, he has a distinct dislike for British wines. Secondly, the woman he’s falling for is part of a family who makes wine.
There’s scandal in the story too. Caroline Martin has a dark secret. She can hardly forgive herself for her mistakes much less expect anyone else to.
The novella is up for pre-order now, and it’s only 99 cents through the July 4th holiday. Theresa’s novella is only 99 cents as well. If you’re looking for a quick read while you’re at the pool or on a plane to that sunny beach, grab your copy.
On the morning of March 25, I got a fabulous phone call: Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress was named a finalist in the Short Historical category of the RITA® awards! The RITAs are the most distinguished award in romance writing, and for the rest of the day (and, ok, more time than that) I alternated between disbelief and happy freaking out.
My husband, Mr. R, has heard enough about romance writing over the years to know about the RITAs. So he suggested a celebration. “Whatever you want,” he kindly and perhaps unwisely suggested.
Me: Really? Like, I could buy a thing?
Mr. R: I was thinking dinner out, but…yeah, sure.
Because I had an idea in mind. And it was this.
The cotton candy maker promised to turn my house into the sort of candy paradise that Hansel and Gretel found in the woods (minus the evil witch, of course). We–meaning Little Miss R and me, though Mr. R was soon led by curiosity to investigate–began that evening with plain sugar, honing our craft.
Just kidding. There’s not really a craft to it. You try not to smack the cone against the heating element, that’s all.
Anyway, we had a good time making these little twirls of cotton candy. Not bad, I thought. It’s not exactly professional-grade floss, but then again this machine is the size of a toaster.
Then I invited some friends over for cotton candy, and for fun they pulled up a YouTube video featuring a cotton candy artist. Um, it was pretty amazing. And what we discovered? If you hold the cone horizontally, it doesn’t matter how little your machine is. You can make some big, fluffy treats. Behold: me looking like a goofball while making an impressive twist of cherry.
What did we learn from all this? Well, first, Mr. R probably learned not to give me carte blanche on celebrations, or I will turn our house into a carnival. But I also learned that making cotton candy is just as much fun as eating it. (Seriously. I made like five batches in a row.) I also learned that it’s good to have smart, curious friends who actually, y’know, try to figure out the best way to do things.
Tell me, what are your feelings on cotton candy? Or is there something else that makes you feel like a kid again? To one random commenter, I’ll send a print copy of my RITA-finaling book, Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress. International entries welcome. Winner announced on Sunday.