where-the-wind-blowsNot too long ago we noticed we had several books on our list of a similar style: sweeter, heartfelt Americana romances.  They have wonderfully in-depth characters and a lot of emotional pull.  And, don’t get me wrong, even though I say “sweeter,” we’re not skimping on the love scenes.  😉

 We wanted to showcase these books in a special way.  Hence a new Home in the Heartland banner, making its first appearance with Caroline Fyffe’s debut, WHERE THE WIND BLOWS. 

This is not a new line.  There is no set number of titles we’re looking for. 

Future books in the series include Lisa Cooke’s A MIDWIFE CRISIS, which is currently featured on my sidebar, and Sharla Rae’s debut, HOW TO TAME A TIMBERMAN, coming in May 2010. 

A quick way to get a feel for the books is to watch Caroline Fyffe’s video preview.  Invest the extra time to write your version of the last line of her book, and you could win a stay at a California dude ranch.  Check out her Under the Western Sky contest for further details.


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.”

Award season is upon us.  This week accolades have rolled out across numerous genres.  Congratulations to everyone!

RITA Award finalists:


TRIPLE EXPOSURE by Colleen Thompson – Romantic Suspense

NO GOOD GIRLS by Jean Marie Pierson – Contemporary Single Title

NO GOOD GIRLS by Jean Marie Pierson – Best First Book

The RITA Award winners will be announced on July 18 at RWA’s national conference in Washington, D.C.  A full list of nominees can be found here.

Spur Award Winner:


TROUBLE AT THE REDSTONE by John D. Nesbitt – Best Original Mass-Market Paperback

The Spur Award winners were announced by WWA at the National Festival of the West on March 22.  Winners and finalists will be honored at the national WWA convention June 16-20 in Oklahoma City.

Spur Award Finalists:



THE TRESPASSERS by Andrew J. Fenady – Best Mass-Market Original Paperback

“Morning War” by Cotton Smith in THE WAY OF THE WEST – Best Western Short Fiction Story

KILLSTRAIGHT by Johnny D. Boggs (coming in Jan. 2010) – Best Western Short Novel

Bram Stoker Award Finalists:



COFFIN COUNTY by Gary A. Braunbeck – Superior Achievement in a Novel

THE REACH by Nate Kenyon – Superior Achievement in a Novel

Stoker Award winners will be announced at HWA’s Stoker Award Weekend in Los Angeles June 12-14.  A full listing of the final ballot of nominees can be found here.

It’s one of those days where there seems to be a ton of great, relevant links.  So I hope you’ll excuse the randomness and read on.  Who knows what might tickle your fancy.

If you’re the type who always needs to be in the know, keep these titles on your radar in the coming months.  Each is the start to a new series, though of course they all also stand alone as a full and complete novel. 


Dept. 18 by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims (horror) – BLACK CATHEDRAL launches this series about a paranormal investigative unit of the British government.  One of their first missions is a haunted castle in Scotland.  Read more about this mysterious agency and download the first 50 pages of the book. If you liked X-Files, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

Stolen series by Elisabeth Naughton (romantic suspense) – STOLEN FURY is the first of three high-octane, super adventurous suspense novels.  Each novel features a bit of archaeology and treasure hunting combined with steamy romance and lots of danger. Allison Brennan says: “If you like Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone, you’ll love Naughton’s dazzling romantic adventure.”


Ghost-in-Law series by Jana DeLeon (mystery romance) – The folks in Mudbug, Lousiana, thought town matriarch Helena Henry was a pest when she was alive, but even death can’t stop her from investigating some fishy bayou goings-on and interfering in love lives, guaranteeing there’ll be TROUBLE IN MUDBUG. 

Classic Film Collection by various authors (Western) – Novels that were the basis of some of the greatest Western movies of all time.  Read more.  


Endworld by David Robbins (sci-fi adventure) – One hundred years after DOOMSDAY, a group of nuclear survivors struggles to stay alive in a world filled with peril.


The Adventures of Gabriel Hunt by various authors (adventure) – The editor of Hard Case Crime has developed a new pulp-style series, featuring a modern-day adventurer traveling the globe in pursuit of priceless artifacts and lost civilizations. Anyone who grew up reading H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Alexandre Dumas and Sax Rohmer, or Doc Savage and the Avenger…or who grew up watching adventure movies starring Buster Crabbe or Harrison Ford…will want to check out HUNT AT THE TREASURE WELL. See www.HuntForAdventure.com for more.