Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you all celebrated in grand style and got home safely afterward. Me, I celebrated by typing “The End” on my next book right at the stroke of midnight….then heard fireworks going off outside. You know, I think there should be fireworks every time I type The End from now on!
Today launches a new year….and what better way to start than with a brand new book release!
I’m excited about this release for several reasons. So, here’s the story:
Several years back (okay, okay, so several several years back) I wrote five paranormal titles for Bantam Books. All are contemporary romances, all featuring my trademark humor (okay, well, I hope it’s a trademark by now and I’m not the only one who thinks I’m being funny…. ) and I loved having the chance to explore an entirely different landscape that adding in what we call “woo woo” elements allowed me to bring to the story.
To this day, the first of those five books, THE LEGEND MACKINNON, is one of my all time best selling books and I get letters about it all the time from readers who want more of the same.
CHARM STONE is another reader favorite (both are set in Scotland…perhaps I detect a trend….?) The fun thing about CHARM STONE is that I wrote it after meeting George R.R. Martin who also wrote for the same publisher, after becoming entranced with his newly published, and then largely unknown book, A GAME OF THRONES.
I wasn’t a fantasy reader, but, Nita Taublib, the deputy vice publisher and former editor of mine at Bantam asked me to read it before it was published, as they were trying to find out if there might be a crossover appeal for romance readers. I balked at first–it was 800+ pages of a type of book I don’t usually go for, boy quest and all of that–but she said “Read 100 pages and if you can put it down at that point, well, that’s what I want to know.”
So…it didn’t quite take 100 pages before I was completely and utterly hooked. I called it a medieval All My Children. I didn’t put it down. I gobbled it up. The book came out and went on to be named the Fantasy Book of the Year, but it was otherwise still unknown outside fantasy reader circles. I pressed that book on every friend I had, most of whom were romance readers and had the same initial reaction I did. So I made the same deal. Give it 100 pages, and if you can put it down then, then you’re right, it’s not for you. I’ve lost track of how many copies of that book I’ve handed out over the years, because no one put it down. Or gave it back. Then I had the chance to meet George, and discovered he wrote for the television show Beauty & The Beast. Which made perfect sense, and explained why I’d connected to his characters. The man knows how to write relationships.
My favorite character in the series is Tyrion Lannister, the royal dwarf (so utterly perfectly, and beautifully brought to life years later by Peter Dinklage. Exactly how I pictured him. And that never happens.) I loved how George made me care for a character who was essentially a villain, and yet said all the things I wish I could say, but would never have the nerve. He made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me angry. I adored him. I was really intrigued by how George managed to pull that off…so, bringing things back around, when it came time to write my fifth and final paranormal, CHARM STONE, I decided to write a little tribute to Tyrion and George. The character of Bagan, though he is a dwarf, is nothing like Tyrion, he’s not a villain, though I think the hero sees him as such, from time to time. He is, however, magical, and at the core of how the story comes together.
It’s the only time in 20+ years and 50+ books that I’ve paid tribute to now a beloved author in that way, but it was a hoot and a blast, and though I’ve never revealed the connection (until now), readers over the years have fallen in love with Bagan, too. And that’s been the very best reward. Inspiration is such a capricious, unpredictable thing. I never know what might spark a new idea, a new character next! But Tyrion and George are true originals, and will always have a special place in my (and Bagan’s!) heart.
So, no one was more thrilled than me when George’s series was picked up for television and the result has been to bring one of my all time favorite series of books to life and to a much, much broader audience. (I mean, I can only hand out so many of them personally and all… )
Paranormal contemporary romance fiction was a new thing back when my five titles came out (late 90′s-early 00′s), and marketing concepts were relatively unexplored and dicey at best. So I moved on to writing chick lit and launched the popular Glass Slipper series, and continued onward from there, with fond memories of my time dipping my toe in that otherworldly pond, but happy in my new endeavors. Then came Harry Potter and Twilight and paranormal romances abounded from then on and I realized that if I’d just waited a few years….
Well…anyway…. It has brought a whole new realm of readers to those five titles, all of which are still in print (and ebook) which includes a steady stream of notes asking me when I’m going to add to that list. In the intervening yeas, I’ve been happily distracted by fairy godmothers, bad boys, black sheep, hot Scots, cupcake bakers, and, of late, the little coastal Maine town of Blueberry Cove. (Yep, my next series! See yesterday’s post for The Big Announcement!)
But, I’ve never stopped thinking about going back to the world of “woo woo” – in fact, there’s a bit of a thread of that in my upcoming Cupcake Club book, HONEY PIE coming out this April. But, during all of this, a wonderful UK publisher has invited me, twice now, to be part of their fun, internationally published “MAMMOTH BOOK OF” series.
I contributed a short story to their MAMMOTH BOOK OF SCOTTISH ROMANCE a few years back and leaped at the opportunity to add a paranormal element. (Time travel…fun!) Which, in turn, got me the invite to participate in their brand new release, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FUTURISTIC ROMANCE. Which, comes out….today!
I had great fun getting to dive back into that alternate universe, even if it was for a too short period of time. I also kinda sorta broke the rules a little (thanks, Trisha Telep,Mammoth series editor, for indulging me!) My story, “Space Cowboy”, actually takes place entirely in our time, on our planet. I just happen to have a hero who dropped in (literally) unannounced and stirs up a little chaos…and our heroine in what I hope is a funny, sexy wild ride. It was so much fun to write, that I’m also presently writing a full length “woo woo” book for Harlequin - release date to be announced – featuring a hero who is, shall we say….out of this world!
But for now, for all of you who have been asking and asking (and keeping that woo woo spark alive)…I hope you enjoy my short story contributions to both collections.
And hey…if you still haven’t picked up A Game of Thrones, try it! Just give it 100 pages….
Now…on with the book giveaway portion to our New Years celebration! Yep, it’s my New Years Book-a-Palooza! Lucky readers can win ANY copy of ANY published book – print or ebook – on my bookshelf (which now includes the latest MAMMOTH book!) just by following a few simple entry rules. I’m giving away a book every day through Friday! Details on how to enter to follow, but first, it’s time to announce today’s winner!
Drum roll…..today’s lucky, happening Blog Babe is?? Christine & her daughter Samantha! Confetti falls!! The crowd goes wild!!! Hooray!! Christine & Samantha, your requested Kindle copy of “>Cupcake Club Book #2, SWEET STUFF, is on it’s way to your Kindle. Hope you enjoy and happy reading!
Want in on the fun? Here’s how to enter:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com for AOL users) with “Happy New Year to ME!” in the subject line. In the body of your email, please include the book you’d like to receive, and email address/ebook format for digital book, or the address for a print book. (Please specify which you’d prefer.)
Now the fun part! Go browse the shelves and pick a prize, then drop me a note already! My website bookshelf can be found: HERE.
I will announce the next winner tomorrow right here on the blog…and will mention on my Facebook Page and Twitter when the blog goes up. But still…make a note to drop by tomorrow, say lunchtime, just to see if it’s your name we’re all cheering for!
And while you’re entering, browsing, and emailing…take a moment and drop by and “Like” my Facebook Page. It’s party, party, party all the time over there. Have you checked out The Harem we’re putting together? Well…what are you waiting for??
Happy New Year everyone!!