Several of the Jaunty Quills were in San Antonio last week for the Romance Writers of America conference. We thought you’d like to see some photos from the conference (at the bottom of the page, there’s a legend telling about each photo).
1. Cindy and Nancy with former Jaunty Emily McKay at the Harlequin Party.
2. Cindy and Nora Roberts.
3. The gorgeous decorations at the Harlequin party.
4. Friday was Cindy’s birthday. Harlequin threw a big party just for her. Shhh! Don’t tell her they the party was for everyone.
5. The annual Jaunty Quills breakfast.
6. Kristan and Alexander Rodriguez.
7. Nancy at the Harlequin authors book signing (signing Cindy’s birthday card).
8. Kristan at the Harlequin authors book signing.
9. Nancy and Kathy before the workshop they presented.
10. Nancy, Jane Porter, and Kathy at the Harlequin party.
11. Raeanne Thayne, Nancy, and Kristan.
12. Cindy, Nancy, Kathy and Harlequin editor Susan Litman at the Harlequin party.
13. Harlequin editor Patience Bloom and Cindy at the Harlequin party.
14. Nancy and Kathy.
15. Robyn at the RWA Literacy signing.
16. Shana looking beautiful before her publisher’s party.
17. Shana and Mia before the Golden Heart and Rita awards.
18. Shana at the RWA Literacy signing.
19. Nancy at the RWA Literacy book signing.
20. Nancy, Kathy, and Mary Louise Wells realize former Jaunty Terri Brisbin was on their flight home.
21. Kristan, Gail Kirkpatrick Chianese, Virginia Kantra, and Jesse.
When I first started reading romance, many years ago, the majority of what was available was the traditional historical romance. What many referred to as the bodice ripper because of the sexy clinch covers. I fell in love with these books from the likes of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey and Catherine Coulter. And then I found Amanda Quick and her historicals were a little different. I suspect that she is probably my strongest influence, as a writer, because none of my historicals are what you’d call ballroom romps or even the lush historical dramas that Woodiwiss for known for.
With Amanda Quick, there were suspense subplots and her heroes were often scholars – something I have always been drawn to – is it any wonder that I married a college professor? ☺ Her heroines were smart too and unique. I never set out to immolate her, but when RT Bookclub compared my books to hers in a review – well, that was just about the coolest thing ever. So without further ado, I give you the 5 hallmarks of a Robyn DeHart novel…
1. A Robyn DeHart heroine is unconventional, whether she be bucking society by going to medical school to become a physician, as with Anna from The Temptations of Anna Jacobs or whether she be a blind sculptress, as with Mia from The Secrets of Mia Danvers.
2. My heroes are smart and almost always the pursuer in the relationship. Once they meet the heroine, no other woman will do. They fall hard and they’re loyal to a fault. Not to mention smoking hot! They also usually have jobs, even if they’re aristocrats, as with Drew in The Temptations of Anna Jacobs, is working undercover for Scotland Yard, or an antiquity hunter for hire as with Fielding in Seduce Me.
3. Don’t be surprised if there’s a murder at some point. Quite obviously the Dangerous Liaisons books have killings in them, even scenes in the Rippers point of view. But even in my other books, I sometimes leave a trail of bodies, not always gruesome though (for those of you who have an issue with violence). The Raven, the villain in two of my Legend Hunters books (Seduce Me and Treasure Me) is rather wicked and does away with more than one person. Even in my novella that’s currently out, a Regency spy story, No Ordinary Mistress, chapter one opens up with a murder.
4. Amidst the carnage you’ll often find humor. Some books are funnier than others, but even if you don’t laugh out loud, there are plenty of happy, smiling moments. There’s one scene in A Study in Scandal where the heroine knocks a door into the hero’s head and every time I read it, it made me chuckle. That’s saying a lot because as an author we have to read our own books a lot and by the end, they get really old. ☺
5. My books are full of snappy dialogue. Almost every review and reader email I receive comments on both my characters and the witty dialogue. It’s where the books come alive to me when I’m writing, where the characters live, in the words that they speak. Dialogue is super important to me and an integral part of all of my work.
Well, I hope this has given you a little taste of what reading a Robyn DeHart book is like. If you’ve read me before, what are your favorite parts of my books If not, what do you usually look for when picking out a new author?
I once read that every writer has a signature theme, a theme that shows up in almost every book.
Your theme, the article said, can probably be expressed in one line, if you dig deep enough.
At first, I thought that couldn’t possibly be true. Not about me! My stories may all be romances, I assured myself, but within that they are diverse, as different from one another as winter from summer, dawn from twilight. I’m special.
Oops…not so fast. As I was writing my Bell River Ranch series, I realized I do have a recurring theme. I even know a single line that expresses it perfectly.
The line is from an old country song about a man who wants to help a broken-hearted woman find happiness, but she won’t forget the past. He compares it to rescuing a drowning person.
“If I’m ever going to save you,” he says, “let go of the stone.”
This is my theme! Maybe it just took my Bell River Ranch series to make me recognize it. The theme is front and center for all the Wright sisters. They were traumatized years ago when their father killed their mother, and they haven’t trusted men – or love – since.
But, when I looked at my other books through that prism, I discovered it everywhere. I guess that’s because, bottom line, I believe all of life is really a variation on that theme.
The humiliations, the insecurities, the failures. The strict father, the smothering mother, the mean girl, the boy who broke our hearts… The mistakes, the regrets, the missed opportunities… The shy years, the wild years, the lost years…
We carry them around like a ball and chain, often letting our past get in the way of moving forward. Even if we’re lucky enough to meet the perfect person to love us back to happiness, they can’t help us if we don’t let go of the stone.
What about you? Either as a reader or as a writer, is there a theme you are drawn to, over and over? Is there a line, from a song or a book or a friend, so full of wisdom you can’t forget it?
I’m giving away a copy of my upcoming SECRETS OF BELL RIVER, a May Superromance, to two random commenters today.
Our spam filter is a bit touchy lately, and we’re working on that. In the meantime, be assured that Jaunty P. Quills will liberate your comments!
The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome author Brooklyn Ann back to the Jaunty Quills! Brooklyn Ann has a new book out. It’s titled Wrenching Fate.
Shana: Welcome back, Brooklyn Ann! Tell us about Wrenching Fate. Is this your first indie published book?
Brooklyn Ann: Wrenching Fate is the first book in my paranormal romance series, Brides of Prophecy.
Here’s the blurb:
“Silas McNaught, Lord Vampire of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is elated when he finds Akasha Hope, the woman his psychic visions revealed to him centuries ago. To his surprise, Akasha is infuriated when Silas interferes with her life. Furthermore, she is nothing like the sweet woman he’d envisioned. Instead she’s a foul mouthed mechanic and, due to being the accidental result of a military experiment, she possesses the strength of ten men ….and government agents are looking for her.
Matters are further complicated when Silas’s vindictive ex lover spurs the Elders to investigate Silas in hopes to destroy Akasha and gain control of her friends, which are the key to an otherworldly prophecy.
As government conspiracies and vampire politics collide, Silas teaches Akasha the meaning of trust…and love.
And yes, this is my first Indie published book. I’d been wanting to experiment with Indie Publishing for quite some time and WRENCHING FATE already had a small cult following from all the beta reads it’s had over the years, so it was the perfect choice.
So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the hype it’s already generated with my fan base, so hopefully it will do okay.
Shana: Is it difficult to write in two different genres or a nice break?
Brooklyn Ann: It’s mostly a nice break. I actually write in three different genres but they’re all romance and that ties it all together. Of course I do have to watch out for having modern rock stars talking like nineteenth century British nobles, but for the most part, the more worlds I get to explore, the better!
Shana: I noticed the book is set in your hometown, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Did you enjoy writing a book set in your own backyard?
Brooklyn Ann: I loved it! Aside from admiring how well Anne Rice and Stephen King bring their own hometowns to life, I really believe that Coeur d’Alene is a unique and versatile setting. One can be downtown at a club or golfing on the floating green and be on the lake fishing in twenty minutes or up in the mountains hunting or berry picking within an hour.
Shana: I enjoy those same qualities in Anne Rice and Stephen King’s novels. Tell us about your next Regency Bites series book. When is One Bite Per Night releasing?
Brooklyn Ann: One Bite Per Night releases in August and here’s the blurb for that one.
“The Dowager Countess of Morley asks Vincent Tremayne, Lord Vampire of Cornwall, to become guardian of her American granddaughter. Vincent honors the agreement and plans to get his new ward married and off his hands as soon as possible.
When Lydia Price arrives, she soon turns Vincent’s gloomy castle upside-down, and he decides he wants Lydia for himself. But if Vincent can’t protect Lydia from her entanglement with scandalous portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence, the vampire community will make sure that he—and Lydia—face dire consequences.”
Shana: Finally, tell us what you’ve been working on lately.
Brooklyn Ann: Currently I’m working on a heavy metal romance series and working on edits for both my 3rd Regency Paranormal series and IRONIC SACRIFICE, the sequel to WRENCHING FATE.
Readers, now it’s your turn. Last week I did an event at a library and had a copy of Brooklyn Ann’s historical to give away. Everyone wanted it. Do you love vampires in your novels or would you rather stick with humans? One commenter will win an e-book copy of WRENCHING FATE!
I’ve always liked “Where Are They Now” shows and TV segments. It’s fun to see an actor or actress you watched for years but who disappeared from the public eye and catch up on their life now. There’s a few I wonder about and now. For example, whatever happened to Mark Hamill?
He seemed to rocket to stardom with the Star Wars movies, but whereas Harrison Ford made a career out of acting, Mark Hamill was never more than a blip on the radar. I heard recently he signed to come back for the Star Wars VII movie. Fingers crossed it’s true.
Another actor I loved was Andrew McCarthy. When I looked him up online, it seemed as though he’d been in a lot of films, even recent films. I just hadn’t seen any since maybe Pretty in Pink or Weekend at Bernie’s. I’d like to forget that second one, by the way.
Now let’s talk authors. One of my biggest influences and favorite authors is Marsha Canham. I read all of her books and then she seemed to disappear. But when I checked Amazon and her website, I saw that she does have books in the work and new books on sale. Like so many other authors, the ease of digital publishing has made it possible for us to keep reading her fabulous books.
Elizabeth Elliott was another historical author I adored. I must have read her 1995 release Warlord half a dozen times. When I looked her up for this blog, I saw she also has a new book out—well, newer. In fact, I had it on my Kindle app. One of my readers had told me about it, and I’d bought it and forgot to read it. Guess what I’ve been reading lately?
Finally, whatever happened to Elizabeth A. Vaughn? She was a guest on the Jaunty Quills years ago (February 2007—read the interview here), and I loved her Chronicles of the Warlands series, especially Warprize. She also published another series, but I can’t see that she’s published anything else recently. Anyone know what she’s been up to?
Are there any authors you wonder about?