Monday, June 22, 2009

June Foreign Releases

La novia del aristócrata - Michelle Douglas

¡De mamá trabajadora a señora de una mansión!

Lord Simon Morton-Blake, un guapo aristócrata inglés, no quería tener una relación seria con nadie en Australia, y menos aún con una madre soltera como Kate Petherbridge. Pero Simon no pudo negar la atracción que sentía por Kate, una mujer llena de vida, ni decirle que no cuando le ofreció su casa para alojarse.



Zach szybko wyrzuca nową sekretarkę, która zamiast pracować, próbuje go uwieść. Wzywa na rozmowę szefową agencji, Lily, by wyjaśnić, dlaczego poleciła mu tak nieodpowiedzialną osobę. Zgadza się puścić sprawę w niepamięć pod warunkiem, że to właśnie Lily obejmie zwolnioną posadę...


Przez lata Reese i Duncan rozumieli się bez słów, teraz niemal z sobą nie rozmawiają. Są w trakcie rozwodu, ale właśnie otrzymują wiadomość, że ich starania o adopcję zakończyły się sukcesem. W tej sytuacji postanawiają odłożyć decyzję o rozstaniu...

En contacto con la alegre familia de Kate, los rígidos modales de Simon se fueron suavizando poco a poco. Simon nunca había formado parte de una familia feliz, pero comenzaba a darse cuenta de que ya había una dispuesta para él.

Casamento negociado - Jessica Hart

Estava a infringir as regras do jogo ao apaixonar-se pelo seu próprio marido…

Mallory McIver prometera ao seu marido um casamento sem nenhum tipo de implicação emocional, uma espécie de negócio.

Então, Torr anunciou que partia para a Escócia para restaurar o velho castelo que herdara. E esperava que Mallory o acompanhasse…

Mallory casara-se com um executivo sofisticado e citadino, mas ali, no campo, Torr transformou-se num homem forte, habilidoso e muito atraente que estava a provocar-lhe sentimentos proibidos.



Un vero principe è disposto a tutto, per difendere il suo regno.
Ma non a rinunciare al vero amore.

L'annuncio delle nozze tra l'erede al trono Luca Vittorio V e Alexandra Grigory ha creato grande scompiglio nel regno. La stampa ha già preso d'assalto la capitale e i sudditi non vedono l'ora di festeggiare la nuova, splendida coppia reale. In pochi, però, conoscono la verità: il loro sarà soltanto un matrimonio di convenienza.

Alexandra non riesce ancora a credere di aver accettato l'assurda proposta del principe Luca. A preoccuparla, però, non sono tanto le nuove responsabilità di regina, quanto la prima notte di nozze che dovrà trascorrere al castello in compagnia di un uomo assolutamente irresistibile!

La princesse des sables, Barbara Mcmahon

Prise dans une violente tempête de sable en plein désert, Lisa est secourue par un inconnu qui la conduit jusqu'à une somptueuse oasis. Elle apprend alors que son sauveur n'est autre que le tout-puissant cheikh Touareg Al Shaldor, qui règne en maître sur toute la région... Troublée par l'attitude tantôt empressée tantôt distante de son hôte, la jeune femme comprend bientôt avec effroi que celui-ci n'aurait qu'un mot à dire pour la retenir prisonnière dans son refuge...

Το Κυνήγι του Έρωτα - Fiona Harper
Πρώτο ραντεβού: στην πλατεία ΤραφάλγκαρΌταν μια φίλη της την προκάλεσε να ζήσει πιο συναρπαστικά, απαντώντας «ναι» σε ό,τι της πρότειναν για μία εβδομάδα, η Φερν δεν φανταζόταν ότι θα κατέληγε να πάρει μέρος σ' ένα κυνήγι θησαυρού στο Λονδίνο, συντροφιά με τον παιδικό της φίλο.
Πρώτος χορός: στο Κόβεντ ΓκάρντενΟ ριψοκίνδυνος Τζος δεν έμενε στο ίδιο μέρος, ή με την ίδια γυναίκα, για πολύ. Όμως η όμορφη συμπαίκτριά του τον έβαζε σε πειρασμό να παραβεί αυτό τον κανόνα…
Πρώτο φιλί: στην Εθνική ΠινακοθήκηΟ Τζος συνειδητοποίησε ότι αυτό που έψαχνε, ο πιο πολύτιμος θησαυρός απ' όλους, ήταν η ίδια η Φερν. Πώς θα την έπειθε να του πει «ναι» στην τελευταία και πιο σημαντική πρόταση απ' όλες: να γίνει γυναίκα του...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Special Releases: An Italian Summer

One of the very neat things is writing and reading special projects. This summer, two Romance authors join Kate Hewitt in an anthology entitled AN ITALIAN SUMMER. Here are Jackie Braun and Rebecca Winters to tell you a bit about their stories!

Rebecca: My inclusion in this June anthology is a new novella called THE LUCCHESI BRIDE. It's the story of a darling redhead named Catherine Dalton who finds out her birthfather Mario Conti is alive and living in Italy. She's a western girl from the US and flies over to Italy to meet him. In the process she encounters the hero Alessandro Luchessi who is a business friend of her father's... and it's love at first sight for both of them.

Alessandro has a teenaged son who isn't too thrilled to discover his father has a love interest after all these years. And to add to the mix, Mario's daughter through another marriage is insanely jealous of her American half sister who has won Alessandro's heart. To make things even tougher, Catherine is feeling guilty to have left her stepfather (since her mother's passing). She loves him and doesn't want him to feel betrayed because she has gone to meet her birthfather. Lots and Lots and lots of angst!

Jackie: A VENETIAN AFFAIR originally appeared in Destination: Marriage, an anthology out last June that featured, as the main title implies, destination weddings. I had a ball writing this story, and I still have a bit of a crush on Maxwell Kinnick, the story's flirtatious, confirmed bachelor. I paired him with Dayle Alexander. She's his business partner and seemingly the only woman alive immune to his considerable charm. Dayle has good reason to be immune. She made the mistake of falling for one Lothario. She's vowed never to do so again, which is why it makes sense to accept the proposal of her long-time, uber-reliable beau. So what if she doesn't experience sparks when they're together? She had those once and only wound up burned.

When work takes Max to Venice and Dayle tags along to scout out wedding locations, the long-simmering attraction they've both denied can no longer be ignored. But is it more than attraction? And just what is Max hiding behind all of that charm? When Dayle learns the answers, she's left with an even bigger question: Venice is the perfect location for her wedding, but who is her perfect groom?

Don't they sound like LOVELY stories? You can find the book for sale at Mills and Boon, and at amazon.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Can This Manuscript be Saved? Susan Meier

Good morning…afternoon…or evening!

I’m Susan Meier. I’ve written over forty books for Harlequin and Silhouette but most of you know me as a workshop speaker…especially an online speaker. CAN THIS MANUSCRIPT BE SAVED is my most popular workshop.

I think there are two reasons for that. First, the material for this class came from my own blood, sweat and tears as I learned how to write AFTER I got published. I’m not exactly proud of that (LOL!!!) but because I did learn all this stuff by working with editors YOU get the benefit of editorial noodle whipping without having to submit bad manuscripts and taking the lashing!

Second, I think all of us have a manuscript somewhere that’s “broken” and we don’t know how to fix it!

So here is the very, very, very condensed version of CAN THIS MANUSCRIPT BE SAVED.

There are seven common reasons books get rejected:

1. Doesn’t fit our line/Isn’t right for the publisher to which it was submitted
2. Not enough emotion (too much emotion/romance if it’s going mainstream or single title)
3. Pacing off/bad
4. Tone wrong
6. No conflict/weak conflict
7. Weak story

Unfortunately, those are only symptoms of what’s wrong with your book. Think of going to the doctor. You go in. You say, I have a fever, body aches and I’m throwing up. He doesn’t say, “Oh! You have fever, body-aches and puke disease.” He says, “You have a virus.”

That’s one of the most important things about figuring out what’s wrong with your book. Most of us deal in symptoms and forget the disease. So what does a book “disease” look like?

Well, we write on 3 levels…Story, Scene and Word. You tell a story using scenes and you create scenes with words. Those are the main entry points to fixing (or writing) a book. So if something is wrong with your book, it’s either a story problem, a scene problem or a word problem.

Let’s take them one at a time.

Your story is your premise, (forgiveness is hard, opposites attract, boss falls in love with his secretary, older man falls in love with younger woman, hero and heroine must catch a killer) coupled with your characters’ goals, motivations and conflicts. (i.e.: The hero and heroine must find a killer, but she’s already been charged with the murder and he’s the DA prosecuting her.)

If you’re getting rejections saying, “I wasn’t wowed by this story.” Or “It was okay.” Or…shudder… “It didn’t make sense.” “I didn’t believe the hero would behave that way.” “Hero (or heroine’s) motivation was off.” “The main characters goals weren’t compelling.” You have a story problem.

To fix a story problem, you don’t jump into the manuscript and start changing things willy nilly! You first create a story summary which includes your story’s premise coupled with your characters’ goals motivations and conflicts. You change this SUMMARY first. Then when you jump into the book you have a plan for what the NEW VERSION should look like. This summary will keep you on track but also show you what can stay the same. And sometimes, knowing what NOT TO CHANGE is every bit as important as knowing what to change!

How about scenes? Well, the purpose of a scene is to illustrate a journey step. Journey steps are the steps it takes to take hero and heroine from chapter one – the introduction of terrible trouble, the day/moment everything changed, the inciting incident – to the satisfying conclusion.

Poorly written scenes, scenes in the wrong order and scenes without purpose can cause poor pacing.

Jack Bickham and Dwight Swain give us a magic formula for plotting – which is combining story with scenes. That formula is action/reaction/decision. For every action there is a reaction (consequence) which usually results in somebody making a decision…which results in that person taking action (or getting someone else to take action) which results in a consequence…which results in a decision…and on and on.

To check to see if you’re following an action, reaction, decision formula, you can create a story board to “see” your scenes. Write your chapter numbers across the top of poster board (or spreadsheet in Excel). Print the journey step and number of pages used for the scene on a Post-it and paste it to the poster board under the appropriate chapter. When you’ve done this for an entire book, scenes without a journey step (or scenes with weak journey steps) will become obvious!

Scenes without journey steps aren’t necessary! If you’ve got a lot of them, that might be why your book is “slow”. But there’s another trick to writing scenes that lots of us don’t know. Come closer…it’s kind of a secret…Not every scene has to be the same length! Scenes with “lesser” journey steps can sometimes be a page, or a paragraph or even a sentence. And some “lesser-journey-step” scenes can be combined!

On the flip side…you don’t want to shortchange the scenes that should be your most powerful. Those scenes might be the scenes where you want to “spend” the most pages!

I believe the skill of discerning if a journey step should be illustrated as a sentence or a fifteen-page scene is the master skill of the greats among us!

Now there are other reasons scenes “go bad”. You could have picked a poor way to illustrate your journey steps. You could have simply written the scene poorly. In those cases, you don’t need to “rewrite” an entire book…simply fix those scenes!

Studying your storyboard will show you everything you need to know about your scenes!

And finally…Words.

Think this through. Words are your primary tool for creating scenes, characters and tone. If an editor tells you that your character isn’t likeable…it might be because his or her actions make him unlikeable. But…could it be the words you’ve chosen to describe him make him unlikeable? More to the point…could it be the words you’ve chosen to use as his “reactions” to the events around him that make him unlikeable? Have your words turned your character into something/someone you didn’t intend?

Follow me on this one! It takes some thought.

“Reaction” phrases are an important part of the “word” problem of characterization. Not only can character reactions create a “tone” for your book that you might not want, but also characters are “known” by what they do…how they react. Your characters are only as good as the words you put in their mouths and minds and the words you use to describe them!

So if you sit down tomorrow and read your problem manuscript and discover that you’ve inadvertently created a character you didn’t intend by the words you chose, how can you fix this?

First, create a List of 20 for more creative character reactions, movements and traits.

What do I mean by that? Well, if your character is always reacting in a dark and somber way and your rejection said the book was too depressing. Put a question at the top of a piece of notebook paper that says…WHAT ARE TWENTY DIFFERENT WAYS THIS GUY CAN REACT THAT WILL MAKE HIM BEHAVE AS A STRONG AND DETERMINED PERSON RATHER THAN A DEPRESSING WEIRDO? (Have fun with your question! It has to inspire you!)

Then work to figure out twenty reaction phrases. If he sighs every time he learns bad news, you might replace those sighs with more action-oriented, expressive reactions. For instance, his eyes could glint with anger or glaze over with rage. Or he could make a fist, grit his teeth, snap his toothpick in two.

Once you have twenty good reaction phrases, you can begin to plug those in everywhere he sighs or has any other type of reaction that makes the book (and him) depressing! You’ll not only strengthen his character, you’ll improve the book’s tone.

So if you’ve gotten a rejection that said the tone of your book wasn’t good…go back and take a look at how your characters are reacting!

So what have we said here?

Create a story summary BEFORE you try to fix a book wherein the editor has criticized goals, motivations and conflicts! Then use that summary to guide you on fixing your book.

Create a story board to evaluate scenes, if an editor has said your book is slow, pacing is off, or (God forbid) boring!

Use a list of twenty to create better reaction phrases to fix books with rejections that pertained to characters.

And that’s the quick and dirty version of CAN THIS MANUSCRIPT BE SAVED!

I'll be happy to answer any questions!

susan meier
MAID IN MONTANA, 6/09 Harlequin Romance

Monday, June 08, 2009

June Author Post - Donna Alward

This month marks the release of my sixth book with Harlequin Romance, Hired: The Italian's Bride. I loved writing it, I was thrilled when it was accepted and when I received my author copies and read it (I always read them in book form, because somehow they read differently in print), I fell in love with Mari and Luca all over again.

Mariella Ross is beautiful, efficient, and a bit reserved. It's not much wonder - she's got a dark past that makes her wary of most people. But she loves her job - working at a high class hotel in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. She does a fantastic job of catering to others' needs without having to get too personally involved with anyone.

But when the hotel changes hands and becomes the Fiori Cascade, it comes complete with new owner, Luca Fiori. Italian, young, energetic and oh-so-sexy, Luca is determined to break Mari out of her shell.

Along the way, Mari somehow regains her confidence and Luca realizes what he really wants out of life, and it was a wonderful thing, seeing them fall in love. I'll admit, there is a pivotal scene where Mari just GETS it, and writing it I shed a few tears even as I felt really proud of her.

Ok, so I know it sounds silly to talk about her like she is a real person, but as I'm writing, my characters DO become real and most of the time they end up guiding me through the book, telling me what they want most, what they are afraid of, and hopefully in the end, gathering the strength to go after it.

Here's a small excerpt:

“I can’t sleep with you Luca.” It came out on a rush of breath.

A smile teased his mouth. “Perhaps a kiss.”

He was close enough now that she had to tip her chin up to meet his eyes. It was a struggle to keep them open as his fingertips moved through her hair. “Kiss.”

“Surely you’ve kissed before?”

Mari’s insides trembled. She had, but not for a very long time. Not without utter fear.

“A time or two.”

His face was so close his breath warmed her cheeks. Her fingers tightened around the edges of his jacket. Surely, if she could make it through a first kiss, it would all be fine. “Kiss me, Mariella.”

Their gazes held for a second. He was waiting for her, she realized. He understood she’d been hurt and he was letting her make the first move. It was unexpected. She was used to him bossing her around. Now he was giving her the power and it made him even more difficult to resist.

She leaned into his hand, tilted up her face, and with her heart in her throat, touched her lips to his.

For a split second she let them rest there, testing. Their eyes were open, and the connection between them was so strong it rocked her core. His lips were warm, soft, waiting. She let go of the jacket and rested a hand against his heart and she felt the thunder beneath her palm.
The simple movement changed everything. Her breath came out in a rush as Luca’s hand commanded her head, tilting it gently to the side and he opened his lips. Her lashes fluttered shut. The kiss was deliberate but soft, easing into the passion slowly, building the fire with teasing nips.

For the first time since leaving her old life behind, she threw caution to the wind, wrapping her arms around his torso and pulling him closer.

The moment she did it, everything changed. His hand swept from beneath her hair and dragged her close. His tongue swept into her mouth and she wilted against him. The jacket fell from her shoulders to the floor of the terrace and his hands warmed her skin as they roamed over the bare flesh of her arms.

Hired: The Italian's Bride is out in stores on June 9 and available online from booksellers including eharlequin and Mills and Boon.

Monday, June 01, 2009

June Releases

Francesca Forsyth is happy with mud on her boots, working the land. But when she inherits half of her grandfather's empire, Francesca must come out of her shell and become a high-flying businesswoman, professional and smart!

Handsome Bryn Macallan, the joint heir, watches this country girl take the reins with more than a little interest….

Top tycoon Tom Maddison is used to calling the shots—until his convenient marriage falls through. But rather than waste his honeymoon, he'll take his boardroom to the beach and bring his oh-so-sensible secretary, Imogen, on a tropical business trip!

Imogen's always fancied Tom, but knows he sees her as superefficient…not sexy! Yet on idyllic Coconut Island the white sand and inviting turquoise lagoons are weaving their magic….

When Lia Costa discovers overnight that she's a princess and is betrothed to a royal duke, it turns her world upside down! Because regal duty means she can never tell her best friend, Toby, how she really feels….

Firefighter Toby Winder has always secretly loved Lia. But, watching her swap her apartment for a palace, he realizes he must now compete with an entire kingdom for her attention!

Dani Bennett isn't looking for a man, but her new job requires her to sign up to The last thing Dani expects is to be paired with a devastatingly attractive millionaire! Her poor background and blonde-bombshell looks mean she expects Bryce Delaney to take one look and judge her—like all other men.

But Bryce isn't just any man….

For single mom Sophie Penazzi, accepting a housekeeping job at handsome Jeb Worthington's ranch is a fresh start for her and six-month-old Brady.

More comfortable with a baby on her hip, dough on her apron and flour in her hair, Sophie knows she is nothing like the glamorous women who inhabit Jeb's world.

Her welcome from the taciturn rancher is far from warm…but that doesn't stop Sophie wishing she could be more than a maid in Montana!

Mariella Ross has built a new life for herself at the Fiori Cascade hotel, and she isn't going to allow the new owner's devil-may-care attitude to disrupt her hard work! Even if Luca Fiori's laid-back charm and infectious smile are giving her butterflies….

Luca's showing Mari a side of life she's almost forgotten. Overcoming her dark past won't be easy, but with Luca by her side, Mari's beginning to feel that anything might be possible….