Part of Borders’ new RomCon (Denver, July 9-11) is a reader-judged award called The Readers’ Crown.  The winners in each of 11 categories receive some pretty impressive in-store promotion.  

Congratulations to our finalists:

ANNE MARSH – THE HUNT, Best First Book

 

JENNIFER ASHLEY – THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE, Best Long Historical

EMILY BRYAN – “My Lady Below Stairs” from A CHRISTMAS BALL, Best Novella

A full list of finalists can be found here.

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Covers and descriptions are now posted for Dorchester’s May 2010 titles, including LORD OF DEVIL ISLE by Connie Mason, which features Mr. Romance himself, Charles Paz.

You can also get a peek at what we have coming in June on the Coming Soon page. One cover to check out out now is the gorgeous (if I do say so myself) STROKE OF GENIUS by Emily Bryan, now in the right-hand sidebar.

I’m also beyond thrilled to announce that Dorchester’s message boards are back up and running.  Actually, these are all new boards with loads of new features.  Even if you’ve posted previously, you’ll have to register.  But it’s quick and painless–promise.  Voting for America’s Next Best Celler will start there on Monday.

Congratulations to Trish Albright, whose SIREN’S SONG just took first-place honors in the Write Touch Readers contest sponsored by WisRWA.

Love Vikings?  Check out Michelle Buonfiglio’s post over at Barnes & Noble today.  You might be surprised at some of the Viking stereotypes debunked by Emily Bryan.  If it’s a genre you can’t get enough of, there’s also plenty of recommended reading.

Congratulations to the following finalists for the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence:

     

Emily Bryan has posted more RT photos on her site, including shots from the Mr. Romance competition.

Speaking of RT, Teri Thackston wrote a great recap of the Dorchester Spotlight.  The only thing you’re missing is the chocolate we gave out.

Jennifer Ashley is over on The Chatelaines today–part of her huge blog tour–talking about the dream life of an author.

And catch a glimpse of the darker side of Dorchester with Executive Editor Don D’Auria’s interview at Famous Monsters.

The flowers are starting to pop up, and so are a load of new deals.  The latest:

Rose Lerner’s historical debut, IN FOR A PENNY, in which a dashing and feckless lord enters a marriage of convenience with the lovely and practical daughter of a wealthy merchant in an effort to salvage the family fortune, and they find themselves unprepared for the challenges they face: scandal, revolting tenants, a menacing neighbor and in the end a love more heartfelt than either expected.

 

I give agent Kevan Lyon loads of credit for that blurb, because I never would have been able to sum up the book so well.  What made me love IN FOR A PENNY is the humor and the rather unconventional element of two young people thrust into the position of learning to make solvent his family’s lands so the tenants can prosper. Reading that back, it doesn’t sound very intriguing, but you have to trust me.  😉 

 

Before I made the offer for this book, I was looking to buy a historical for our schedule.  And I was starting to despair that maybe I was being too harsh; nothing was resonating with me.  This book made me remember how the good ones really stand out from the pack.  After five pages, I knew Yes!  This is the one.  Certain aspects reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Hoyt’s RAVEN PRINCE. 

 

IN FOR A PENNY is scheduled for March 2010.

 

Emily Bryan’s STROKE OF GENIUS, which she describes:

Grace Makepeace, an American heiress, is determined to marry a titled English gent, but her Bostonian bluntness is severely impeding her chances. When she takes flirting advice from the acknowledged artistic genius who’s engaged to sculpt a marble model of her hands, she garners the attentions of a duke.
 
A cynical, but brilliant artist, Crispin Hawke is a keen observer of the ton and enjoys the challenge of helping Grace beat them at their own game. But he begins to wish he was the object of her passion.     

 

Emily called it a Pygmalion meets Cyrano de Bergerac story with a happy ending (of course!) for all.

 

STROKE OF GENIUS is scheduled for Summer 2010

 

 

Lisa Cooke – A MIDWIFE CRISIS, summarized by Lisa:

Katie Napier is happy with her life as a midwife and healer in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. She has spent most of her thirty years caring for those in need, and though it hasn’t been a glamorous life, it’s suited her fine. So why has Katie’s family all of a sudden decided she needs a husband?  Not that she’s averse to it, mind you, it’s just by her experience men are more of a hindrance than a help, and her new dilemma only supports her belief.  Three of her well meaning though zany family members have managed to find her a fiancé.  Unfortunately, they each found her a different one, and now she has to sort through the well-intended suitors to decide which one’s worth keeping.

Dr. John Keffer has returned to his roots in Wayne, West Virginia after he is unable to save his wife’s life due to a carriage accident.  He knows nothing of the life in the hills, but when he inherits his grandparent’s home, he decides to leave New York and the painful memories of his personal failure as a doctor.  But the locals are reluctant to trust the outsider and keep returning to their healer, a woman who surprises the doctor from the first minute he meets her.  Uneducated and poor, she’s the type of woman he would’ve hired in New York to work in his kitchens.  A woman whom he never would’ve bothered to even learn her name.  But now he’s forced to work with Katie in order to earn the trust of the locals.  What he’s not expecting, however, is her request that he help her decide which fiancé she’s going to keep.  A task complicated when he finally realizes he wants to keep her for himself.

This isn’t at all related to Lisa’s debut, TEXAS HOLD HIM, but I love that both books take a chance with something you don’t see it too many Americana romances (I can’t even call them Westerns): 1. no cowboys (gasp!) and 2. a great sense of humor.  I can’t think of anyone else doing much like that, though if there’s something I’ve missed, please let me know in the Comments.

A MIDWIFE CRISIS is scheduled for February 2010.

 

 

Speaking of Westerns, in my not-so-secret life as a Western editor, I also have some exciting news to share.

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES by Forrest Carter will launch the next set of books in our Classic Film Collection in March 2010.  This novel served as the basis for the movie starring and directed by Clint Eastwood.

We will also be doing its sequel, THE VENGEANCE TRAIL OF JOSEY WALES. 

Luke Short, a giant of the Western genre, joins the Leisure list in April 2010 with the re-release of his classic BLOOD ON THE MOON, which was made into the famed noir Western film starring Robert Michum and directed by Robert Wise. BLOOD ON THE MOON will also be part of the Classic Film Collection.

Also coming from Luke Short will be AMBUSH and VENGEANCE VALLEY.

We will have Johnny D. Boggs’ Spur Award-nominated novel KILLSTRAIGHT coming in mass-market paperback in January 2010.  Bestelling author Tony Hillerman has said, “Johnny Boggs has produced another instant page-turner, but this one, KILLSTRAIGHT, grabbed me in a particular way. It took me right back to my childhood in Indian Country… don’t put down the book until you finish it.”

The former publicist in me just can’t help highlighting some particularly amazing recent reviews and good news.

First, though, congratulations to Carolyn Jewel, winner of the complete set of March romances for her comments on excerpts.  Thanks to everyone who chimed in!

Over the weekend, The Chicago Tribune ran a fantastic review for Elisabeth Naughton’s STOLEN FURY: “…[a] superbly written debut. Naughton deftly distills deadly intrigue, high adrenaline action, and scorchingly hot passion into perfectly constructed novel of romantic suspense.” Read more.

 

 

Emily Bryan‘s 50 Days 50 Blogs tour is at a close. But the amazing review for VEXING THE VISCOUNT are starting to roll in.  And this one was just so enthusiastic, how it could not make me smile?  From Penelope’s Romance Reviews:

Every once in awhile I discover a new writer and I am filled with glee.  A fresh, new voice! An engaging story! Wonderful, fully-formed characters who are interesting, and more importantly, who I grow to care about as I read the novel! This was my reaction to reading Distracting the Duchess by Emily Bryan. (I also had this reaction when reading Candice Hern’s In the Thrill of the Night and Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Raven Prince).  I found Emily Bryan to be a unique voice in the land of historical romances. This genre has a tendency to be very formulaic, but when it’s done well, it is a treat for the reader.  I had high expectations for Vexing the Viscount, and Bryan delivered. Vexing the Viscount is fantastique! (I apologize for breaking into francaise, but Blanche La Tour has inspired me, vraiment!) This book is the total package…witty humor, lusty sex, intriguing plot, great pacing, and marvelous characters.  I loved the unexpected flashback to Caius Meritus in ancient Rome.  It was a great device to pull you into the mystery that Daisy and Lucian are trying to solve. Caius’ tragic love story is very touching and really brings history alive. C’est magnifique!  I must admit that when the premise for the story was revealed (virgin pretending to be a courtesan), I thought “Now how the heck is Bryan going to pull this one off?” Honestly, it was done incredibly well.  I highly recommend Vexing the Viscount.  And now I am off to find a croissant au chocolat! Au revoir! Grade: A 

Emily’s also opened The Courtesan’s Club on her website with all kinds of outrageous info and fun.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer AshleyBarbara Vey of PW’s Beyond Her Book featured Jennifer Ashley’s THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE on her Your Turn Friday feature, calling it “Mysterious, heartfelt, sensitive and sensual…two big thumbs up.”  Read more.

 

 And technically, this isn’t romance, but three of Leisure’s horror authors–Graham Masterton, Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum–got a nice shoutout in a list of the Top Horror Authors of all time.  If any genre is more stereotyped or misunderstood than romance, it has to be horror.  The horror editor here was appalled when I told him one day that I thought everyone had to die at the end of a horror novel.  He’s since enlightened me.  😉  And that’s why you’ll see in Coming Soon some books from our horror list that I think could appeal to crossover readers, including #20 himself, Graham Masterton (who, by the by, Cosmopolitan has quoted several times as a “sexpert.”  Who says romance and horror don’t mix?).