Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

On this day in 1775, Jane Austen was born at the Steventon rectory. Her family included her parents, George and Cassandra Austen, six brothers (James, George, Edward, Henry, Francis, and Charles), and one sister (Cassandra). Although she lived a relatively quiet life, her six completed novels are considered classics, despite Austen's initial difficulties in achieving publication.

Portrait of Jane Austen by James Edward Austen-Leigh

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jane Austen Society of North America

Since Jane Austen's birthday is this month (December 16, 1775 to be exact), I've decided to hold a celebration and profile her works and life. If you're interested in learning more about Austen and perhaps in meeting with others who hold the same interest, you may want to check out the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). With 4000 members and a number of regional groups, JASNA is the largest organization devoted to Austen and her works. If you click on their calendar of events, you'll find a comprehensive list of meetings and other events such as teas and country dance lessons. And, if you're still searching for a special gift for the Austen fan in your life, they offer a link entitled Merchandise, which will direct you to regional groups that sell Austen-related gifts. Teachers looking for additional material to add to discussions of Austen's novels will definitely want to explore the list of Austen-related links. Finally writers may want to check out the Jane Austen font, which Pia Frauss created and which JASNA advertises on their site.

The Austen family's coat of arms

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Regency Research: A Regency Repository

When I first began researching the Regency era, I quickly discovered A Regency Repository, a comprehensive featuring information on the era's military, politics, fashion, and education. Although the fashion page doesn't feature images, it does offer a comprehensive list of sources for interested researchers, including a set of links. In fact, the entire website offers over 400 links to browse, and of special value is The Regency Romances page, which provides fans of the genre with links to information about their favorite authors. If you're new to the era, this website makes for a good starting point to learn basic information and interesting facts about Jane Austen's time.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nancy Mayer: Regency Researcher

I just discovered this website today and am impressed by the wealth of material that it contains. Nancy Mayer: Regency Researcher offers a comprehensive array of information on the Regency era, with subjects spanning dance, education, law, marriage, medicine, Parliament & politics, period publications, peers & peerage, Regency fashion, and titles & names. Nancy Mayer has been a long-time contributor to the Writing Regency listserv, and she is considered an authority on the era. I was lucky enough to take an online class on the Regency era with Nancy a few years ago and can attest to her knowledgeable handling of a variety of topics concerning this era. If you can't find the material that you need, Nancy offers an "Ask Nancy" function that allows users to email Nancy with their questions. For the aspiring romance authors out there, I recommend checking out the "Marriage" section, which discusses issues such as common errors in novels and marital law. In addition, since many Regency romances incorporate scenes at balls, Nancy's page on "Dance" is informative and interesting, with images of popular dances and a bibliography at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Researching the Regency Era

To inaugurate a month of profiling the best Regency websites, I've decided to start with a popular site that has even earned kudos from the History Channel: Cathy Decker's Regency Fashion Page. If you're fascinated by Jane Austen's novels and have always wondered about the details of Regency dress, which Austen omits in her descriptions of her heroes and heroines, the Regency fashion page will provide insight into all the varieties of male and female fashion. By the time you finish browsing the numerous pages and images, you'll know the difference between spencers and pelisses and turbans and bandeaux, as well as have a working knowledge of the more important historical figures of the era.

In addition, Decker's work on Princess Charlotte's Wedding Page offers a unique glimpse at one of the lesser known figures of the Regency era. Since all of Austen's novels end with weddings, but leave out any descriptions of wedding finery, Decker's page allows the reader to have a better understanding of how this momentous occasion would really appear. Finally, the lovers of Regency literature will appreciate Decker's Portraits of Women Writers, which profiles lesser known authors such as Mary Brunton and Susan Ferrier alongside more popular authors such as Hannah More and Elizabeth Inchbald.

Wrap-Up: Moonlight & Magnolias Conference

In conclusion, I would highly recommend the GRW Conference to fellow writers. When you're constantly sitting at the keyboard, immersed in writing stories, it's easy to get caught up in the solitary writer's life. Attending a conference such as the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference reminds you that you're not alone in the journey toward publication. If you missed the conference, the Georgia Romance Writers have been kind enough to post the entire conference booklet online. Also, they're already gearing up for the 2009 conference, which will feature Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, and Tami Cowden, the author of one of my favorite writing books, Heroes and Heroine: Sixteen Master Archetypes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Themes: November

In the interest of keeping things fresh here on the blog, I've decided to start having different themes each month. Because of my research and writing interests, I've decided to devote the month of November to profiling different websites focused on the Regency era. When I first began writing Regency romances, I had a difficult time narrowing my search results when I used Google. Now, every time I find a good website, whether from a friend's tip or Yahoo group suggestion, I bookmark it. In November, I'll be celebrating the best of these websites and providing links and profiles.

Moonlight & Magnolias Conference: Leanne Shawler

One of the most interesting sessions I attended was held by Leanne Shawler and entitled "Let's Get Physical." In this particular workshop, Shawler emphasized the importance of incorporating body language into our writing. Like other instructors, Shawler noted the importance of showing and not telling, and her best tip was to "replace adverbs with descriptive action tags."

Toward the end of the session, Shawler discussed and listed some helpful websites for writers who are interested in learning more about body language and how it can add emotional intensity to you writing. I've included two of the best websites below. If you're interested in finding out more about Shawler's work, please visit her website at http://www.leanneshawler.com.

Highlighted Websites:
Police Body Language: http://www.hodrw.com/cop2.htm
Sexual Tension & Intimacy: http://groups.msn.com/RomanceWritingTips/sexualtension1.msnw

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moonlight & Magnolias Conference: Teresa Medeiros

At the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference, I was excited to hear Teresa Medeiros speak at the luncheon on Saturday. She reminded all the writers in attendance that we participate in a business and should remember that when we approach our careers. For the unpublished writers, she urged them to take pleasure in creating and to remember that without a contract and its attendant responsibility, you can be fearless in what you write. For the published folks, she gave upbeat advice on dealing with critics; I especially liked her quotation from one of VH-1's One Hit wonders: "That's one more hit than you had." Most importantly, Medeiros emphasized to write for yourself, and not for your audience. I had never heard Medeiros speak before, and since she's one of my favorite authors, I'm happy I finally had the chance.

For more photos of Teresa Medeiros and her fellow authors at the conference, please visit her blog here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Moonlight & Magnolias Conference

Recently, I attended the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference and was impressed by the lineup of authors and workshops. This is the second time I've attended the conference, and I highly recommend it to my fellow writers. Also, readers have an opportunity to meet their favorite authors in person, and I enjoyed hearing the speeches of authors such as Theresa Medeiros and Stephanie Bond. In fact, for writers who are looking for inspiration and/or motivation, I highly recommend visiting Bond's Writers' Pages, which feature articles available at Amazon Shorts (I especially like "Mind Your Own Writing Business, article series 2," which covers how to create a business plan for your writing career). Over the next few weeks, I'll post highlights from the conference.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just Married!

Some exciting news- my wedding was this past Friday, August 15th. It was a small ceremony in my family's home, and my new husband and I are thrilled to be married. He's been the inspiration for my romance stories, and it's a treat to finally have our happily ever after. I have a lot to celebrate these days, and I anticipate this jubilance will be reflected in my stories and work.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Book Recommendation: The Story of Ernestine

Written in 1765, Marie de Riccoboni's The Story of Ernestine is one of the earliest romantic narratives. At 80 pages, it's a quick read and a charming tale of the love story of the orphaned Ernestine and the wealthy and handsome marquis de Clemengis. Since most of the historical romances I read are set in England, it was a nice departure to read the French setting. You can read the entire first half of the story at Google Books.

Website Tip

Now that I'm taking classes on website development and search engine optimization (how to improve your search rankings on popular search sites such as Google), I'll be sharing simple tricks and tips from time to time. Many authors are now choosing to develop their own websites or enlisting web development firms to create websites for them; either way, it's useful to know some of these ideas.
Today, the tip is how to check which websites are linking to the domain names that you own. All you have to do is to go to a search engine such as AltaVista and type in +link:your domain name. So, if I wanted to check who's linking to my Sara Freeze website, I'd type into the AltaVista box: +link:sarafreeze.com.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Romance Short Story Contest

I received the following press release in my email today and thought it might be of interest to other writers.

MyRomanceStory.com Announces Romance Short Story Contest
Winner will Receive Cash & Prizes
Gathersburg, MDJuly 16, 2008 – Arrow Publications, publishers of the online romance novel website MyRomanceStory.com, today announced the "Forever After" Romance Short Story Contest. The contest invites readers to continue one of the site's romance novellas to win cash and prizes.
"You know, something as simple as 'the end' should not get in the way of a good romance," said Patricia White, publisher. "So we thought, why not let our readers continue their favorite novella and let us know what happens during the 'they lived happily forever' after part?"
Contestants are invited to pick any of the MyRomanceStory.com's online romance novellas and write about what happens next in the character's lives. Did they encounter bumps along their road to romance? Did they truly spend the rest of their lives happily together or did the passion fizzle? Were the characters living secret lives we didn't know about in the original novella? Who knows? "We want our readers to tell us," said White.
"This is a wonderful way for someone who would like to become a romance novel writer to get their foot in the door and receive some valuable feedback," said White. "We'll be judging the stories on creativity, faithfulness to the original story and characters, strength and appeal of the romantic elements, and the overall writing."
Submissions are due August 31, 2008, and must be between 2,000-2,500 words. The story line should focus on the challenges the couple face after the novella ends, and what circumstances occur to fortify their love for each other. The writer of the winning story will receive $250 in cash, a $25 gift package, a two-year subscription to MyRomanceStory.com, and a written critique by one of the sites' editors on another of the writer's short stories or a sample chapter from a novel.
Cash prizes will also be awarded for the 2nd through 4th place winners and 10 honorable mentions. In addition, visitors to the site can read all qualified submissions and vote for their favorites. The top vote-getter will receive the Reader’s Pick prize valued at $25.
To enter visit www.MyRomanceStory.com/foreverAfter/. All qualifying submissions will be posted on the site.
About MyRomanceStory.com:
MyRomanceStory.com, the premier online romance graphic novella site, is published by Arrow Publications, LLC, a 24-year old Potomac, MD corporation. In addition to graphic novellas, MyRomanceStory.com features lifestyle columns, book reviews, online shopping, a reader blog and quarterly newsletters. The site is enjoyed by millions of readers worldwide.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Article on The Wild Rose Press

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the romance-writing website Roses Colored Glasses, I encourage you to check it out. They have newsletters, writing advice, and workshops, all of which are very inspiring for the new and established writer. This month, their newsletter features Rhonda Penders from the Wild Rose Press. I especially like Penders' advice to actively seek support from other writers. The writing process can be lonely sometimes, and I've found it helpful to network and socialize as much as possible with the writing community.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Posts

I apologize for the lapse in making new posts. Some good news on the personal front has kept me busy for the past few months: I'm engaged! It's an exciting time, especially since I'm still working on two joint educational ventures: an MS in Information Studies (emphasis: Web Design and Instructional Technolgoy) and a Ph.D. in English (emphasis: Regency Women Writers). I'm in the process of creating a new website to showcase my research on the Regency era and on its women writers, in particular. So, I'll be sharing a lot of different news over the next few months. At this point, I'm half-way done with a new story, which will be historical-paranormal, though no time-travel this time.

Call for People: The International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR)

Exciting news: the scholars behind the educational and entertaining blog Teach Me Tonight are looking for volunteers to help out on with the creation of a new society and new journal. I've copied and pasted the information below:

Teach Me Tonight: IASPR and JRPS
This is a Call For People, rather than a Call For Papers. It is time for an academic society for the study of popular romance fiction, with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereunto, like a journal and conferences. So we have decided to start one! "We" being myself, Eric Selinger, and a few other people who are already interested in being involved.

The society will be called The International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR) and the journal will be an online, open-source journal called The Journal of Popular Romance Studies (JPRS).

So, we're looking for people who might be interested in helping us build these institutions. Do you want to get in on the ground floor? Do you already have experience in the hierarchy of an academic organization or with an academic journal that you'd love to share with us, even if you don't want to be involved in the day-to-day aspects of running either? Please let us know! For minimum involvement, for example, we're going to need people to act as peer reviewers for the journal, so please let us know your specific area of interest in romance novels (paranormals? inspirationals? Regencies? heroes? romances published in the 1950s?). For maximum involvement, we're going to need journal editors and IASPR board members. We especially need the input of people who might have done any of this before, so you can at least tell us what to avoid! :)

For now, the contact person for both the society and the journal is myself, Sarah Frantz. Comment here with a way to contact you and I'll email you post-haste. (Or you can contact me at my Gmail account, which is my full first and last names as one word.)

Let me know what you're interested in doing (A highly-valued affinity for numbers? You could be Treasurer! Technical Know-how? We need Web Gurus! Organization? We need a Membership Chairperson!). Or if you don't know specifically what you might be able to contribute, but are really interested in being a part of the process, let us know that, too! We promise, we'll find a use for you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Romance Writing Contest

Unfortunately, I've been sick for over a week now; hence the delay in writing new posts. In the meantime, however, I thought some folks may be interested in this new writing contest sponsored by MyRomanceStory.com.

“Forever After”
Romance Short Story Contest

Don’t let something as simple as “The End” get in the way of a good romance.

MyRomanceStory.com is holding a romance fiction short story writing contest from March 24, 2008 to August 31, 2008. Winners will be announced in September 2008.

Select one of MyRomanceStory.com’s romance novellas and write about what happens when happily Forever After begins. Each of our stories has its passionate ups and frustrating downs. So select the hero and heroine from your favorite novella and tell us how their love deepens and their relationship is cemented in the Forever After of their story.

How it works: Submit your follow-up to one of our novellas as a 2,000 to 2,500 word short story using our online
submission form. (Submissions are limited to no more than two per entrant.) The novella can be chosen from one of our free stories, member’s stories or one of the stories from our Buy E-Books section. You can find our novellas online at MyRomanceStory.com, many can be read for free, so no purchase is necessary. Your submission should focus on the challenges the couple face after our novella ends and what circumstances occur to fortify their love for each other.

Our editors will judge all qualifying submissions on:

  1. creativity
  2. faithfulness to the original story and characters
  3. strength and appeal of romantic elements
  4. overall writing.

The contest is open to all U.S. citizens who are 18 years of age or older by the end of the day on August 30, 2008. Submissions will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 31, 2008. Prizes will be awarded during the week of September 30, 2008.


1st Place:

  • $250 in cash
  • a gift package valued at $25
  • a two-year subscription to MyRomanceStory.com
  • plus a written critique by one of our editors on one of your other short stories or a sample chapter from a novel (no more than 5,000 words).

2nd Place:

  • $200 in cash
  • a one-year subscription to MyRomanceStory.com
  • a MyRomanceStory.com tote bag

3rd Place:

  • $150 in cash
  • a one-year subscription to MyRomanceStory.com
  • a MyRomanceStory.com tote bag

4th Place:

  • $100 in cash
  • a one-year subscription to MyRomanceStory.com
  • a MyRomanceStory.com tote bag

10 Honorable Mentions (each will receive):

  • $50 in cash
  • a one-year subscription to MyRomanceStory.com
  • a MyRomanceStory.com tote bag

All qualifying submissions will be posted on MyRomanceStory.com, so readers can vote for their favorite romance short story. The top vote getter will receive the Readers’ Favorite Prize. (Only one vote per person a day). Submissions can be awarded one of the above prizes and the Reader’s Favorite.

Reader’s Favorite:

  • a gift package valued at $25
See MyRomanceStory.com for
a complete list of Terms of the Contest

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Southern Lights Conference- Recap 1

The First Coast Romance Writers Southern Lights Conference officially ended today, and it was a well-organized, rewarding event for writers at all stages of their careers. I just arrived home a few hours ago and am in the process of sorting through all my books and materials. Over the next week, I plan to post information and news I learned during the course of the conference. Listening to Suzanne Brockmann and attending the various workshops was definitely a treat, and I learned a lot over the two days. Also, visiting the book signing was a highlight of the weekend, given the wide variety of books and authors.

For now, I will post the major points from the Q & A Session with Suzanne Brockmann. Brockmann started with some insights into her drafting process, stating that she likes to set down 8 pages outlines before sitting down to write. However, she emphasized that "writing is so organic- it has to work for you." She also reminded authors that something has to happen in each scene to propel the story. She cautioned writers that we are currently in a 'white knuckle' period when agents/editors are more hesitant to take risks on unusual plot lines and/or characters. Brockmann then noted that authors should write what they want, and their passion will reflect on the pages. In addition, she stated that when she was first starting out, she would take note of her favorite authors and observe the types of books they first wrote and how long it took for them to achieve success. Finally, she said her husband's career as a lawyer inspired her to label of daily word count as "billable hours," which is a wonderful idea since writers don't have a specific product to show until the story is written and published.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Southern Lights Conference

I'm a little late posting this information, but I'll be attending the First Coast Romance Writers Southern Lights Writers Conference this weekend. Suzanne Brockmann is serving as the keynote speaker, and a variety of agents and editors will be taking appointments throughout the conference. I'm particularly looking forward to the workshops that are being offered. Alyssa Day and Deidre Knight's workshop on World Building for the Paranormal Romance sounds interesting and instructive, Simone Elkeles and Shannon Greenland's Transitioning to Writing for Young Adults. I look forward to reporting back on what I learn!

Time Travel Romance at Cata Network Today!

The semester has gotten very hectic lately (that's what I get to trying to do 2 degrees at the same time!); hence, the delay in posting. However, I am excited about an event going on at the Cata Network today. The theme is all about time travel romance, which is one of my favorite genres. I hope to stop by sometime today and hope to 'chat' with other readers and writers.

Theme Day: Time Travel Romance March 27, 2008 -- 9 - 9pm EST - drop in

Link to the Readers Loop: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CataNetwork-Readers/

Sunday, February 10, 2008

In Memory of Dawn Thompson

I was greatly saddened to hear of Dawn Thompson's death this morning. Deborah Macgillivray, Dawn's friend, announced the news on the Night Owl Romance listserv, saying that " Dawn Thompson is dead. She died Friday around 2pm. She went peacefully, life finally granting her that single blessing when it had taken so much more from her." Deborah ended her message with the words "The world lost one of the best and brightest with her passing." I had just discovered Dawn's works during the fall (I got mixed up and started with the second book of her trilogy) and enjoyed her books so much that I gave some of her work to my mom and sister. I can't believe we won't be receiving any more new works from Dawn; she's a wonderful author, and her legacy lives on in her work.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Interview with Historical Romance Club

In January, I was pleased to be interviewed by Sandra Marlow at the Historical Romance Club. I answered questions about my work and about what inspires me; since it's my first official interview, I'm excited to see it live on the website.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dr. Phil's Personality Test

This personality test has been circulating around the Internet, and even if it's not the most in-depth test, it does seem fairly reliable. Supposedly, the test originated with Dr. Phil when he visited the Oprah show, though I haven't been able to verify that fact. At any rate, the test is copied and pasted below, so enjoy!
I received a 34.

1. When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
B) during the afternoon and early evening
C) late at night

2. You usually walk...
a) fairly fast, with long steps
B) fairly fast, with little steps
C) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
D) less fast, head down
E) very slowly

3. When talking to people you. .
a) stand with your arms folded
B) have your hands clasped
C) have one or both your hands on your hips
D) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
E) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with.
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
B) your legs crossed
C) your legs stretched out or straight
D) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with....
a) big appreciated laugh
B) a laugh, but not a loud one
C) a quiet chuckle
D) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you...
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
B) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
C) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted. .
a) welcome the break
B) feel extremely irritated
C) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) Red or orange
B) black
C) yellow or light blue
D) green
E) dark blue or purple
F) white
G) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are...
a) stretched out on your back
B) stretched out face down on your stomach
C) on your side, slightly curled
D) with your head on one arm
E) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...
a) falling
B) fighting or struggling
C) searching for something or somebody
D) flying or floating
E) you usually have dreamless sleep
F) your dreams are always pleasant


1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c ) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 ; (e) 6 (f) 1
Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS : Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS : Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS : Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS : Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature..

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you' re boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Romance in Publishers Weekly

I was thrilled to once again see the romance genre featured in Publishers Weekly. In the article "Publishers Stand By Mass Market Paperback," Jim Milliot says that mass market paperbacks, especially romances, are still popular with publishers, despite new formats. And, in good news for historical romance writers, "There was widespread agreement that, among the various mass market categories, romance continues to enjoy solid sales gains, helped by what deGuzman called a “resurgence” in historical romance." Perhaps unsurprisingly, paranormal romances are also still big sellers. Milliot discusses premium paperbacks at length, which was useful since I'm not familiar with the pricing and reasoning for this new format.

P.S. If you have a little extra money floating around, the London Book Fair will be held in Earls Court, London from April14-16th.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Courtesy and the Romance Genre

Recently, I was browsing through a popular romance website, Ecataromance.com, and was interested in finding out the winners of the 2007 Best Book of the Year. I was disturbed to read the introductory letter from the webmistress, which stated that it was supposed to be a fun contest, and, hoping to make the process more efficient and organized, she changed some of the categories. Unfortunately, and this is the disturbing part, some authors/nominators sent in "impatient ranting emails" about the changes, and further, "I’ve received emails the likes of which I never thought I’d get. Obviously our contest has made many people very unhappy and that was NEVER our intention." Many of the folks who run romance-friendly websites do it for love of the genre and are not getting for their work, and I imagine reading nasty emails must have some effect on how they perceive the genre and its writers. I also realize this is part of a larger problem that Lynne Truss discusses in her book, Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reason to Stay Home and Bolt the Door. Rudeness is just part of our everyday lives, but need it be a part of our profession?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fun Website: Longmire does Romance Novels

I can't believe I've never run across this website before. Basically, the guy who runs the website takes romance novel covers and then has fun with them. If you're easily offended regarding the genre, then avoid it; otherwise, it's a fun site to visit. Also, if you're technologically savvy, you can send in your own artwork, and he'll post it on the website. The image I posted below is particularly funny to me since I write historical romances.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Outlander Graphic Novel

For those of us interested in the intersections between the romance genre and the graphic novel, the news that Diana Gabaldon will be publishing an original Outlander graphic novel is tremendously exciting. According to her website, " The new story, starring Gabaldon’s beloved characters Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser, opens with Murtagh, Jamie’s godfather, awaiting the return of his godson to Scotland, and the fulfillment of a vow made years before. The graphic novel will be approximately 192 pages and will publish sometime in 2009." If you want to learn more about this topic, the RT Booklovers Convention will host a workshop entitled Fiction in All Its Forms: Exploring Opportunities in the Manga, Anime, Graphic Novel and Comic Book Markets, which will be hosted by Anne Elizabeth.

P.S. On the plagiarism front, the romance community is directly attacking the issue at the RT Booklovers Convention, Bertrice Small, Jennifer Blake, and Roberta Gellis will be presenting a workshop entitled How to Use Historical Facts Without Crossing the Line Into Plagiarism.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Writing Contest: The Wild Rose Press

Got Wolf?
Black Rose Writing Contest
If you've got a hot hero/heroine that also happens to turn furry at
least once a month, then Black Rose is looking for your story.
We are interested in werewolf stories with tight, well-written
storylines and plots. If the hero is female make sure the male is
equally impressive. All stories must have at least one HOT
consummated love scene and, of course, the traditional story
requirements still stand.
Please take a moment to look at our submission requirements
(www.thewildrosepress.com and click on the tab for "Submissions" )
before sending in your stories. Stories that do not follow
traditional guidelines will be disqualified.
Submissions are now open!
Please place "Got Wolf? Contest Entry" in your subject line along
with the traditional subject line matter, also found on the
Submissions Guide.
Contest deadline: August 30, 2008
Winners to be announced: October 31, 2008
Contest details:
4 shorts -- 15-25,000 word maximum and
2 full shorts -- 25-45,000 word maximum will be chosen from the
All six winners will be included in a Black Rose anthology and will
also receive a special Black Rose contest T-shirt. In addition, one
winner will be chosen from those six to receive an author's survival
basket full of goodies.
Anthology Publication (estimated release) date June 2009
Judges: Ami Russell, Callie Lynn Wolfe, Jade Alexander, Amanda
Barnett, Joan Archer, and Rene Stephens

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Treat for my Fellow Jane Austen Fans

I thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite Pride & Prejudice passages, accompanied by a romantic Regency image. Enjoy!

"Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change, since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances. The happiness which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never felt before; and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eye, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight, diffused over his face, became him; but, though she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of feelings, which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable."
Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice (1813)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Plagiarism and Authors

Paul Tolme, one of the authors whose work was lifted by Cassie Edwards, wrote an interesting and thought-provoking column on the topic in Newsweek Online. You can find Tolme's article here; his remarks about plagiarism at the end of the article are particularly astute, and I plan to share the article with my Composition students to open up a discussion about the fair use of research. As Tolme's remarks, "Plagiarism victimizes writers. It betrays the trust of readers. It tarnishes the craft of writing." As an English instructor, I've always been attuned to how I incorporate other authors in my research on the nineteenth century, which has helped when I approach research for my fiction writing. It's just plain courtesy, thanking the people who have helped you along the way to complete your research by acknowledging their contributions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Complete Jane Austen on PBS

Rediscover the timeless novels of Jane Austen in celebration of Masterpiece's Complete Jane Austen film festival—airing on PBS this winter.

    Viewing Schedule:
  • January 13—Persuasion
  • January 20—Northanger Abbey
  • January 27—Mansfield Park
  • February 10—Pride & Prejudice (Part I)
  • February 17—Pride & Prejudice (Part II)
  • February 24—Pride & Prejudice (Part III)
  • March 23—Emma
  • March 30—Sense & Sensibility (Part I)
  • April 6—Sense & Sensibility (Part II)
For more information, visit pbs.org
The Masterpiece Theatre® broadcast of Pride and Prejudice is the first in the U.S. other than on A&E Television Networks

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Red Roses for Authors: Nomination

I just found out that my short story, "The Earl's Enchantment," was nominated for the Red Roses for Authors Christmas award. As the blog owner stated, "I just want to remind visitors to this blog that our reviewers read well over two hundred books since we began in March 2007. It was hard to choose a shortlist from those authors." Although my story didn't win the award, I was thrilled to find out that my story was one of just five nominations in the Short/Novella category. Thank you to Red Roses for Authors, and congratulations to Sloane Taylor and Desiree Holt for winning!

New Reviews: A Seaside Enchantment

I was happy to find out that a few more reviews for my latest release, A Seaside Enchantment, have been posted on the web.

Tammy, from Fallen Angel Reviews, had the following to say: "A Seaside Enchantment by Sara Freeze is an unique tale that mixes a little bit of romance, a pinch of the paranormal and a dash of historical into a very flavorful story that flows along beautifully."

At Sensual Reads & Reviews, L.E. Kelly said "
A Seaside Enchantment is a touching story that plays upon the hope of all true romantics—‘somewhere, in some time, is the One Love for me, and nothing will keep us apart when I find that person.’"

Rose, the
Romance at Heart Magazine reviewer, stated " Sara Freeze has concocted a delightful tale of lust, danger, magic, and matchmaking."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

RWA Responds to Plagiarism Case

As many of you have no doubt heard by now, the popular romance author, Cassie Edwards, is under scrutiny for charges of plagiarism. The Smart Bitches Who Read Trashy Novels website was the first to raise the issue, and other sites have quickly jumped on board with their own take on the subject. If you visit the Dear Author website, you'll see a side-by-side comparison of the texts in question, so you can judge for yourself.

The following alert was sent out to all RWA members, and it addresses the situation:

RWA Alert: RWA Responds to Plagiarism Accusations

There are heated discussions on various loops and blogs regarding the accusations of plagiarism against a published romance author. Some questions have also been raised regarding RWA’s stand on the matter. To be clear, RWA does not condone plagiarism or any type of copyright infringement. (Please see RWA’s Code of Ethics http://www.rwanational.org/cs/code_of_ethics).

RWA takes all accusations of plagiarism very seriously. RWA also stands behind the idea that guilt or innocence should be determined after a thorough review of all documents and sources, not based on discussions or articles found on the internet or in other news media.

Within RWA, there is a process in place to examine claims of plagiarism made against RWA members. That process includes a set of procedures that affords the individual due process. Any member found to be in violation of RWA’s Code of Ethics is subject to disciplinary action including loss of membership.

According to information RWA has, Cassie Edwards was once a member of RWA and is listed on RWA’s Honor Roll; however, it appears she allowed her membership to lapse four or more years ago. If guilt is admitted or established, RWA will take appropriate steps with regard to the Honor Roll listing.

Members have raised questions about a news article that includes a quote by RWA’s president. The president was asked to give an expert opinion on the issue based solely upon information available in internet blogs. The president does not have enough first-hand information to adequately assess the allegations.

Romance Writers of America

Publisher's Weekly: 15 Trends to Watch in 2008

Mike Shatzkin makes some interesting predictions for the publishing industry in his article "15 Trends to Watch in 2008." I think his first prediction, that ebooks will see increased sales, is absolutely correct. Many users are comfortable with using the Internet for shopping, doing research, and making friends, so it's logical they will demand more opportunities for reading online. Check out the list to see all his predictions; it'll be interesting to see how many of them come true.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Preditors & Editors Readers Poll

Happy New Year everyone! I'm happy to announce that my short story, The Earl's Enchantment, has been nominated in the romance short story category of the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. This annual poll has a number of categories, and you can vote until January 15th. Click on the image below to be taken to the poll website.