Bitchin' Blog Posts
: Interviews & Smart Responses
by SB Sarah | May 04, 2013 | Saturday at 3:08 am | 12 Comments
In 2009, Delilah Marvelle won the author interview I donated to the Brenda Novak auction, and in that interview, we talked about marketing, and about her School of Gallantry series that she wanted to finish. At that time, she said of RT that it was one of the most effective tools for branding herself as a first-time author, as it allowed her to contact readers directly.
Now, four years later, Marvelle has published more than ten historical romances. Recently she contacted me because she's self-publishing the rest of her series after trying to sell it - and after turning down a contract for a new series. She agreed to answer some of my nosy questions, so here we are.
Tell me about what you're self publishing?
Delilah Marvelle: I'm excited to say that I've self-published a historical romance, Lady of Pleasure, which continues the School of Gallantry series which New York had turned its back on, despite its popularity with readers. It's a cheeky series about…
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by SB Sarah | April 02, 2013 | Tuesday at 1:42 am | 17 Comments
If you've been online, especially on Twitter, you've probably seen some reader discussion of Kristen Ashley and her contemporary romances, which feature motorcycle clubs, alpha heroes, some of whom are mighty mighty antiheroes, and some feisty heroines. I think it was Mandi at Smexybooks who said her books were like Pringles - you can't read just one. Jane and I discussed Ashley's books on a few podcasts, too. At some point in the last six to eight months, you might have stumbled upon someone talking about Kristen Ashley.
Own the Wind ( A | BN | K | S | iB ), Ashley's newest book, is being published today by Grand Central digitally. I asked Amy Pierpont, Executive Editor for Grand Central and Editorial Director for Forever, about her acquiring of Ashley's books, and she was kind enough to answer all my nebby questions.
What was your goal when acquiring Ashley's books? What grabbed you about them? (Do you love them as much as her readers do?)
Amy Pierpont: Mystery Man ( A | BN | K | S| iB…
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by SB Sarah | March 05, 2013 | Tuesday at 12:49 am | 51 Comments
In last year's Brenda Novak Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research, I offered an author interview as part of the auction. Previous authors who have bid on and won the author interview include Jesse Petersen, Delilah Marvelle, and Angie Fox.
This year, I'd like introduce debut author Kim Boykin! Her book The Wisdom of Hair comes out today - have a look:
“The problem with cutting your own hair is that once you start, you just keep cutting, trying to fix it, and the truth is, some things can never be fixed. The day of my daddy’s funeral, I cut my bangs until they were the length of those little paintbrushes that come with dime-store watercolor sets. I was nine years old. People asked me why I did it, but I was too young then to know I was changing my hair because I wanted to change my life.”
In 1983, on her nineteenth birthday, Zora Adams finally says goodbye to her…
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by SB Sarah | February 28, 2013 | Thursday at 4:04 am | 56 Comments
There are some authors who are superb at engaging with readers through various forms of social media like Facebook, Twitter, or personalized email newsletters. Susan Mallery is one of those authors. Her Facebook page is always active. Like, umpty-thousand comments active. I've seen her ask or help naming characters' children, or future heroes. A few months ago, she invited her readers to send a snapshot of themselves, which Mallery and her crew Photoshopped to add a picture of Mallery's most recent book, making it look like the person was reading the book and peeking over the top. Readers were invited to use that as their photo on Facebook - which is just some savvy inclusive marketing like whoa.
Recently I noticed that she'd started a Review Crew, a group of dedicated readers who were invited to receive copies of her books in exchange for an honest review of the book itself. From 2012:
How would you like to receive an advanced copy of my books? I have a crazy idea… I want to put together a…
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by SB Sarah | February 20, 2013 | Wednesday at 1:55 am | 18 Comments
While I was watching the Golden Globes last month, I tweeted that Mychael Danna's speech, after he won for Best Original Score for Life of Pi, was romantic and adorable - specifically the end, where, even though the music is playing (heh), he thanks his wife.
Here, have a look:
When I tweeted how awesome his speech was, his sister Jen, replied and said, "That's my brother!" To which I said somethign along the lines of, "Holy Crap That's Cool!" Shortly afterward, we started an email correspondence - which became this interview about writing, musical composition, hooks, and film scores.
Jen J. Danna is a research scientist who works in infectious diseases - but she's also a mystery writer whose debut novel, written with Ann Vanderlaan, is called Dead Without a Stone to Tell It. It comes out in June 2013. And, according to her site,…
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by SB Sarah | January 21, 2013 | Monday at 1:44 am | 46 Comments
I apologize for what I am about to unleash upon you, if you haven't already been afflicted by this video addiction. It's likely that you may have heard about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a video blog adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but if you haven't, well, clear your schedule now. Once you start, you'll keep going. Seriously, just order takeout tonight and tomorrow, too. If you're in the US, you might have today off, so this is perfect. Enjoy!
I don't remember when I found out that romance novelist Kate Noble is a writer for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries - she's credited as Kate Rorick, prompting me to say, "Alas, poor Rorick, because that has to be the worst job ever...NOT." When I started watching the LBD again after taking a brief break, I realized that I'd never held her down and asked her nosy questions - and now that so many of you are discovering the addicition, well, alas poor Rorick, she got an email from me - which she was kind enough to answer, thank heavens!
1. How did you start writing for…
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by SB Sarah | November 28, 2012 | Wednesday at 12:32 pm | 10 Comments
Escape Publishing, a digital-first imprint from Harlequin Australia, is doing a pretty damn huge blog tour, and because I was so curious about the books being published by Escape, I joined the mayhem and interviewed Kate Cuthbert about the books, the focus, and what we can expect from Escape.
Can you tell us about the debut titles, and, if possible, which you're most excited about?
Kate: Eek! That's like asking a mother for a favourite child (it's totally whichever one is asking at the time ;)). Look, I chose each of these titles because they were extraordinary in some way. But I will share that Chaos Born ( A | BN | K | S | iB) revitalised my very flagging interest in urban fantasy with its unconventional heroine (she has a limp - and totally works the accompanying cane) and the fascinating militant religious order that patrols her world (to make it 'safe' for everyone, you understand?) and Grease Monkey Jive ( A | BN | K | S | iB) was something I haven't seen in a…
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by SB Sarah | November 12, 2012 | Monday at 2:29 am | 103 Comments
The Sunday after I arrived in Australia, Kat from BookThingo hosted a tea, and while I was hoovering scones and tea sandwiches, I met Jodi McAlister, who is doing her PhD thesis (or dissertation, as we call them in the US) on romance.
Specifically on virgins in romance.
I KNOW. Can you IMAGINE? Such a rare, hard to find subject (heh). So I asked her if she'd be willing to do an interview with me (poor soul) and she agreed (oh, boy). This is a pretty lengthy discussion (heh) (no really, this entry is hella long) but there certainly is no shortage of ways to examine, analyze, or just plain count up the virgins in romance.
Sarah: Can you tell me about your project, how you landed on that idea (VIRGINS in ROMANCE? WHO would…
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by SB Sarah | September 04, 2012 | Tuesday at 1:12 am | 55 Comments
When I started reviewing all the 50 Shades-esque covers, particularly the Lora Leigh book ("Oh, come ON, now") I started wondering what things might have changed in Ye Olde Publishing Houses in the weeks and months following 50 Shades' domination of the bestseller list.
For example: cover art is changing, especially covers for contemporary romances that are explicit or tagged as erotic. Sexuality within books has also become a more prominent part of the pitches I've received - "This book is HOT!" for example.
I got to wondering how the success of 50 Shades might have changed or influenced the way folks in publishing houses go about their jobs, and so I got nosy and asked a few.
Pamela Jaffee, Director of Publicity at Avon, says that the style of the books on the outside and the inside has definitely changed: "We are repackaging a lot of great books (ie Sylvia Day) in the new evocative/erotic style. We're launching a new trilogy acquired by Harper Australia specifically geared to interest and entice the…
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by SB Sarah | August 16, 2012 | Thursday at 12:36 am | 8 Comments
Ready to learn about something cool? I hope so - this about blew my mind with the neat-o. I was contacted recently by Dani, who works for WorldReader.org. Their mission is to make digital books available to developing nations, and they focus on school children. But because they want everyone to assist kids in picking up the digital reading habit, WorldReader also makes books available to adults through their supremely cool app. The app is for everyone, as they want to reach as many people as possible.
Dani contacted me because guess what type of book is among the most popular among the adult readers? But, of course: romance!
When Dani emailed me, I asked her all kinds of nosy questions because I thought this was really freaking cool. I put together a Q&A based on our conversation, and I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
I work for an organization called Worldreader (www.worldreader.org) whose mission is to bring books to all.…
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by SB Sarah | July 20, 2012 | Friday at 2:15 pm | 3 Comments
This review was written by Randee. This story was nominated in the Best Romantic Suspense category.
Most people would take an all-expenses-paid trip to the beach in a heartbeat. Garrett Kelly only accepts to keep tabs on Sarah Daniels, who's in hiding after witnessing a murder by Marcus Lattimer, her half-brother--and a personal enemy of KGI. This gig may be beneath a disciplined soldier like Garrett, but if he gets a shot at Lattimer, it will all be worth it...
But Garrett hadn't counted on falling for Sarah. He'd considered seduction as a tactical maneuver, but when he glimpses Sarah's dark past, he feels an urgent desire to keep her safe--even after she disappears on him. Garrett doesn't know exactly who, or what, Sarah's running from, but whatever it is, she's running for her life...
And here is Randee's review:
Of the romantic suspense I’ve read it the last few years, Maya Banks’ KGI Series is among the very best. The stories get…
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by SB Sarah | May 29, 2012 | Tuesday at 9:00 am | 26 Comments
Your comments on this entry about cover design, featuring art director Claire Brown has led to a new feature, and some kidnapping on my part. I let the Anonymous Editor out of the basement, and have locked poor Ms. Brown in the comfy chair next to the furnace (don't worry, she has plenty of wine) so she can answer all our questions. I've also asked other art directors for their, um, expertise for this feature as well, so you'll see other romance cover folks joining the discussion soon.
In the comments to that entry, Susan had several questions, and I had some as well, based on this interview with Ms. Brown from this interview with Imprint. I started there, and I hope you find the conversation interesting. As usual, if you have questions about art direction and cover design for romance novels, let us hear them in the comments, and I'll ask the Art Director!
First question: your comment about "familiarity in typeface" in the Imprint profile caught my attention. What are the typefaces that work, and what hasn't worked?
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by SB Sarah | April 30, 2012 | Monday at 12:51 am | 24 Comments
At Romantic Times, I sat next to Jodi Thomas on the contemporary romance panel I wrote about earlier, and because I'm horrible, I got all up in her business about her position as Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University.
A romance author as a writer in residence? That's awesome! Thomas is only the second writer to fill the post. Prior to Thomas, the writer in residence was Loula Grace Erdman, who wrote novels about the settlement of the Texas Panhandle.
I thought the idea of a romance author serving as writer in residence was very cool, so I asked Ms. Thomas if she'd put up with all sorts of nosy questions. Fortunately for me, she agreed, and I think this is a wonderfully inspiring interview.
Let's start with basic questions: How long have you been the writer in residence?
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by SB Sarah | April 03, 2012 | Tuesday at 11:21 am | 26 Comments
In March, a book of acdemic essays was published by Mcfarland titled New Approaches to Popular Romance Fiction (McFarland | Amazon). There are many different perspectives included in the book, including an essay I wrote about the use of the word "bitch" to describe ourselves, the website, and its community. I asked Sarah Frantz and Eric Selinger, the editors of the book, some questions about it so they could share some information about it and how it might be of interest to more than just the academic community.
What are 5 things the average romance reader who is not an academic might find interesting in this book?
Eric Selinger: There are four amazing essays about individual romance novels: The Kadin, Flowers from the Storm, Dark Lover, and Joey Hill’s Holding the Cards. If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if an English professor or a history professor finally took a romance novel seriously, really thought about the history in it, or the ideas about love, or the way that a book can capture the spirit of the times, these…
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by SB Sarah | January 23, 2012 | Monday at 2:51 am | 431 Comments
Lisa Kleypas' Rainshadow Road comes out in February, and her publisher has offered 10 finished copies to give away. Whoo! And not only do we have books to give away, but Lisa Kleypas was kind enough to answer several inane questions from me via email. Hooray - bonus interview!
Rainshadow Road has magical realism while Friday Harbor did not. Why add it to this novel? Did you plan to go this way all along with the series?
Well, when I first visited Friday Harbor with Greg and the kids a couple of years ago, I really felt a sense of "otherness" or magic in the air. It's a misty Brigadoon-type place--but you're probably too young for that reference, unless you're a show tune queen like me. San Juan Island is unique place--a mixture of steep hills and bluffs, forests, rolling farmland, sandy beaches, and all of it is protected by the Olympic mountain rainshadow. And I'd read and loved so much magic realism in the past, including "Like Water For Chocolate" by Laura Esquivel, and "Garden Spells" by Sarah Addison Allen, that I really saw this as the…
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