Thursday, September 27, 2007

Now Available: A Seaside Enchantment

My new release, "A Seaside Enchantment," is a time-travel romance featuring the Regency era. It's a short story published by The Wild Rose Press and is rated "sweet,"- i.e. no explicit love scenes.

"Of all the seaside cottages in all the villages in all the world, she had to haunt the one I'm renting."

After being seriously wounded in the line of duty, Justin has retreated from the world by renting an isolated cottage along the English coastline. The next thing he knows, he's plunged into a time-travel adventure as he meets the trapped spirit of a lovely nineteenth century lady, Julia.

As Julia explains, she's been awaiting her champion. All he has to do to free her from her entrapment as a spirit is to perform a spell, travel 200 years into the past, find the villain who first worked the spell, and then vanquish the fellow. Easy, right? Justin suspects not, but he's prepared to take on the world, in whatever time period, to fight for his new love.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Look: Sara Freeze Website

Now that my new release, "A Seaside Enchantment," is coming out this week with The Wild Rose Press, I decided to play around with some of the design elements of the website. It's incredible how simply altering the colors and playing with the page header can dramatically alter the look of a website.

In particular, I had a lot of fun adding information and photos to "The Earl's Enchantment" page. If you click here, you'll find an excerpt, reviews, and my inspiration for writing the story. I've shared photos of Holworth and Hay-on-Wye, as well as a special section on who in particular inspired my concept of the earl. When I was cruising around the web checking out various author websites, I especially enjoyed Donna Grant's pages devoted to each of her heroes from her Knights of Legend series. Since I'm also a devoted romance reader, I appreciate when authors give a little extra information on their books; in my opinion, it adds to my enjoyment of the story.

Coming next week: Coverage of the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference

Friday, September 21, 2007

Be a Guest Blogger on the Cata Network

Another writing opportunity: The Cata Network is looking for guest bloggers. Between now and October 15, they are especially looking for blogs on locations you've visited and/or places that have inspired a scene in your book or story. The guidelines are as follows:

How do I become a Guest Blogger?
- First, email Ally and let her know you’re interested. We don’t need a firm commitment, in fact you may only want to write one blog piece per year for us. And that’s great. We appreciate any and all guest blog pieces. We just need to know for scheduling purposes what might be coming down the pipeline.
- Second, register here on the site. It’s free and takes all of 30 seconds. You’ll be listed as a contributor and that means you can add your blog pieces yourself by clicking the Write tab in the administrative section of our site. Our site is like most blog software so if you’re familiar with one, you should have no trouble using ours. (If that’s too technical for ya, just email Ally with your guest blog piece and she’ll post it when she has a minute. )

How do I actually blog?
After registering (super easy) it’s a fairly simple and painless process to post a piece here at CataNetwork Readers’ Lounge. The info we need from you is a catchy headline and the actual blog piece you want to post. See, nothing difficult.
We’ve created a neat little page with a screenshot to show you the administrative side where you’ll be posting. It’s supposed to be Top Secret and stuff, be we can trust you, right? *g* Check that out here.

2007 Brava Novella Contest

Sorry for the late notice- I just heard about the contest through an online discussion board.
It’s back…
The contest that launched several successful publishing careers and brought readers hours of joy is back! Are you ready?
The Rules:
1) The 5th annual Brava Novella Contest will begin accepting entries at midnight central time on August 1, 2007 and will cease accepting entries at midnight central time on September 30, 2007.

2) All entries must be made using the online entry form (which can be accessed by the link below.) No email or snail mail entries will be accepted.

3) Entries will be 750 words (computer count/actual word count) and entrant’s choice of any scene in the novella. Entries over 750 words will be disqualified.

4) This year, for the first time, the contest will have a theme. Entries must be written to the theme of: reunited lovers.

5) All entries will be judged by established Brava authors with the top twenty finalists being judged by Kensington Editorial Director Kate Duffy. As in previous years, there will also be voting by readers with the highest voted entry being named the “Readers’ Choice.”

6) Judging will be held during the month of October with winners announced by November 15, 2007.

7) One entry per person (multiple entries is cause for disqualification.) Open to unpublished authors and those published with houses other than Kensington.
The Reward:
If your 750 word entry is selected as one of the 20 finalists, your entry will be read by Kate Duffy. Take a look at the books in the sidebar and below to see how many previous Novella Contest entrants became Kensington authors because of having their entries read by Kate.
Got Questions?
Visit the message board’s Contest Forum and post them there. The contest will be run through the message board, so get accustomed to it now!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stardust Press

Unfortunate news from a fellow author this morning: Stardust Press is closing at the end of the month. If you visit the Moondancer Drake blog, you'll see the full story. She just recently posted a public letter from the publisher, which reads in part, "After much discussion and negotiation and evaluation, it is with regret that we announce StarDust Press is closing effective September 30, 2007. We are saddened that despite all our efforts, SDP is bleeding, and the investors have decided to cut their losses." One interesting comment, posted by Moondancer Drake at the bottom of the page, notes that epubs need to devote more attention to their marketing efforts. As she says, "I think now creative marketing techniques along with a good solid product is the best shot any of these epubs have to lasting past the start up gate."

If you work in the e-publishing industry as an author, editor, or publisher, I recommend checking out the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums. They offer tons of information for the newbie writing, and even more importantly, the members exchange information on the latest developments in the industry. If you want to check on a publisher before submitting your work, I advise visiting their Bewares and Background Check forum. Obviously, not all e-publishers are crooks, just as all New York publishers aren't legit, but it's always good to do your homework. For instance, when I first heard of The Wild Rose Press during the national RWA conference, I went online and searched for news. In addition, I contacted a few Wild Rose Press authors to hear their comments, and when I learned of nothing but positive responses and glowing reviews, I knew I'd found the right place.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Duchess of Richmond's Ball

The now famous ball took place on June 15, 1815 in Brussels. Readers famliar with Thackeray's Vanity Fair will remember that famous scene. It was during this ball that the Duke of Wellington learned that the French had crossed the border, and the ball was abruptly ended.

Lady de Ros recorded that "When the duke [of Wellington] arrived, rather late, at the ball, I was dancing, but at once went up to him to ask about the rumours. He said very gravely, "Yes, they are true; we are off to-morrow." This terrible news was circulated directly, and while some of the officers hurried away, others remained at the ball, and actually had not time to change their clothes, but fought in evening costume. "

Surprisingly few books have been published on the subject, and Miller clearly did extensive research on his topic. He includes descriptions of the Richmond family and clarifies the location of the ball, a topic that has long been debated. I highly recommend this book for any researcher of the Regency era.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Website Advice for Authors

As I was cruising along in the cyberworld today, I landed on the brilliant article on website design for authors by the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels site. The article is called Authors on the Web, and its offers a wealth of advice for authors who are in the process of building their websites. As the article's author notes, authors need to think long and hard about the "content and style of their websites." She also notes some authors with especially good websites, and I have to say Susan Holloway Scott's site was my favorite. My personal favorites are the websites of Elizabeth Hoyt, Rebecca Kohn, Janet Mullany, Cindy Miles, Kristina Cook, and Marly Mathews. Each of these authors clearly considered their audience and purpose and crafted their sites in a way that appeals to their readers. What are some of your favorite author websites?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Release Date for A Seaside Enchantment: September 26

My editor emailed me today with the release date for "A Seaside Enchantment": September 26th. This is only my second published story, so I'm very excited about having another publication out. As the date approaches, I'll be posting excerpts and a blurb; for now, you can see the cover art for the story.

Also at the end of September, I'll be attending the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference, which is sponsored by the Georgia Romance Writers. The conference will feature special guest Sue Grimshaw, the national romance buyer for Borders Group Inc., and I look forward to hearing her speak about trends in the industry. Roland Haas will also be presenting a CIA workshop, which sounds intriguing, as well as the Maggie Award presentations. In October, therefore, I'll be postings details from the conference; I anticipate there will be much to share.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Teach Me Tonight: Musings on Romance from an Academic Perspective

With romance scholars such as Pamela Regis, Sarah S.G. Frants, Sandra Schwab, An Goris, E.M. Selinger, and Laura Vivanco contributing entries, Teach Me Tonight: Musings on Romance from an Academic Perspective helps romance scholars by providing academic links, romance industry news, critiques, and conference/scholarship updates. Recently, I've been reading Regis's A Natural History of the Romance Novel and am finding it a valuable resource in understanding the evolution of the genre. So, if you're looking for a place to get started with your research or just want to learn more about the industry, you'll benefit from a glance at this website.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Romance Wiki

If you're beginning your research on the romance genre, the Romance Wiki is a good place to start. The Wiki contains a number of resources for researchers of romance, and the dissertation abstract section offers all the latest research being done by up-and-coming scholars.

Of especial interest, at least to me, is the listing of academics who write romance novels. Something I've also wondered about is how so many academics came to write their own romance novels, especially since there is a stigma attached to romance in academia. In September 2007 issue of the Romance Writers Report, Karen Hawkins commented that "I started writing historical romance while working on my Ph.D. in political science in an effort to break up the monotony of reading scholarly, dry books." Eloisa James created a stir a couple of years came when she 'came out' out of the romance closet. In an interview with the New York Magazine, which you can read here, she states, "The main reason I kept [my romance-writing career] separate in the beginning had to do with the sense of shame that American culture deals out to romance, to readers of romance. "

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Romancing the Blog

Yes, I've been a bad blogger lately. Ever since I started my Ph.D. in August, I've been madly reading and researching new topics. In fact, I've recently decided to focus on the 19th century courtship novel and shows how it progresses to the modern romance novel. So, I'll be adding some new content having to do with that area of research, as well as with the Regency era.

To that end, I'll be profiling several websites/blogs that relate to the modern romance novel. First up: Romancing the Blog. From their mission statement: "The columnists on Romancing the Blog are readers, reviewers, aspiring authors, and bestsellers. Some are thoughtful, some humorous, some a bit “ranty,” and some are insightful. They have their own voices and a love of romance. Together, with your comments, they will map the landscape of today’s romance genre from every possible angle. From story conception to the moment a reader finishes the book, they’ll cover it all." They have many influential contributors, including some romance scholars, so it's definitely worth a look. Also, if you have a blog that relates to the romance genre, they'll add you to the list of author blogs. Happy browsing!