Jennifer's Journal


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Link to Romantic Times Content

Below is the link to the content posted on the Romantic Times Magazine Web site for GUARDED HEART.  When I was asked to provide the 500 word excerpt that's included, I knew exactly the scene I wanted.  It really captures the essence of the story, I think -- not to mention being immense fun to write.  It will be available until January 28.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January Newsletter

Hello to all:

I love this time of year, don't you?  The holidays are over, the winter solstice has come and gone so the days are getting longer, and a New Year full of possibilities lies before us.  My resolutions?  To simplify my life, de-clutter my home and somehow, some way, add 30 minutes of exercise to my daily routine.  Other than that, I plan to make 2008 count.  I haven't quite decided what Big Thing I'm going to do to achieve this goal, but it will be something to make this year memorable.

Want to know what I got for Christmas?  I won't bore you with the whole list, but a smashing pair of diamond solitaire earrings was the gift from my husband.  I bought a Garmin GPS for him, which means we will never be lost again while traveling.  Maybe!  One other special gift came from my older daughter: copies of two of my vintage books that have become extremely scarce, MURDER FOR CHARITY and HAVEN OF FEAR, both published in 1974 under the pen-name of Patricia Ponder.  I was delighted to have them since I own only a single copy of each.  These are priced at around $25 as collector's items, which honestly blows my mind.  Another book published a year earlier, STORM AT MIDNIGHT, written as Elizabeth Trehearne, carries a $99 price tag.  Ouch.  But I have no say about the pricing; won't see a penny from these copies.

By this time every year I usually have new book on the shelves—I've had an end-of-the-year shipment date for a January release for over a decade.  Not this time around.  GUARDED HEART was considered such a perfect Valentine's Day story/gift that its release was delayed.  Its official "lay down" date is January 29, which will put it on the shelves during the weeks before and after February 14.  Reviews are beginning to come in for it, however.  Just yesterday, I received the February issue of Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine which gave GUARDED HEART their highest rating of 4 ½ stars with a "Top Pick" designation.  The reviewer said: "Blake adds another memorable book to her Maîtres d'Armes series.  With dialogue filled with subtle nuances and a fine overview of the art of fencing and duels, she brings together a noble, honorable hero and a heroine bent on revenge in a compassionate, sensual and emotionally intense love story."  Am I happy?  What do you think?!

Another great bit of news is that I've been nominated for an RT Career Achievement Award as Historical Storyteller of the Year.  The competition is stiff since the other nominees are Shirlee Busbee, Beverly Jenkins, Julia Quinn and Bertrice Small.  The award will be presented at the RT Convention in Pittsburgh, April 16 – 20, at the Hilton Hotel Downtown. More than a hundred other authors will be on hand for this event, as well as for workshops and panel discussion on writing, special parties, and balls, a male cover model contest and a huge book signing.  The focus this year is on e-publication, e-books and e-readers.  Should be both a fun and informative time.

The scuttlebutt in romance writing circles is that historical romances are in demand by editors and the popularity of the genre is heating up.  I've been saying this would happen for some time now, and placed my bet on it by beginning the Masters at Arms series five years ago.  Vindication is a grand thing.

The book-in-progress (TRIUMPH IN ARMS, Masters at Arms book 6, to be publish after GALLANT MATCH that's currently on my editor's desk) hasn't progressed too much this month.  The holidays make such a lovely excuse for procrastination, you see.  Time for writing really is short and the distractions many, but the main thing is that my brain refuses to buckle down to the job.  I've learned not to fight it, but to do small tasks such as editing text already written and mapping out future scenes.  It will all be the same in the end, because the book will take every available minute between now and its June 1 deadline, no matter what.  But I did learn something this month about the way I write.  I'd thought I was editing/ polishing my work much more than in the past.  Then I was asked to contribute to an article on archiving for writers that's destined for a future issue of RWR, the magazine of Romance Writers of America.  The article's author, Susan Anderson, aka Lindsay Randall, requested a corrected page from an old manuscript as an example of what future historians might stumble upon in a writer's archive.  I waded into my storage room to dig out a rough draft of PRISONER OF DESIRE from 1985, hoping for a suitable page with changes.  Looking through this old manuscript, I found hundreds upon hundreds of minor changes and dozens of additional lines and paragraphs scribbled on the backs of pages.  Apparently I've always rewritten as much as written!  What a relief, to know the brain is still in okay working order. :">

I've been asked to contribute to a couple of blogs in the coming months, one for Orange County Romance Writers on the subject of "things I wish I'd known as a beginning writer", and the other in interview format for the blog of a fellow writer and former Louisiana resident, Shauna Roberts.  I'll post the links to these when they are up, in case anyone is interested.  Oh, and I was offered the opportunity to add unique content concerning GUARDED HEART to the website for Romantic Times Magazine this month.  The posted material includes a 50 word description of the book plus the cover art, a short article about writing it, and a 500 word excerpt.  This content can usually be seen by subscribers only, but I will post a special link for my readers in a few days.

As an additional note under the heading of other work, a book to which I contributed a few quotes, TIME TO WRITE by Kelly L. Stone, has now been published.  Take at look at:

I'll be attending a quilting retreat this month.  This will be a 4-day stay at a cabin on a local lake.  Some 20-plus members of my quilt guild will be on hand, and we'll sew "from can to can't."  I'll be taking several projects, including a couple of simple Linus Quilts for charity, an embroidered quilt and one that features paper-pieced stars.  It's good for writers to do other things now and then as a means of "refilling the well."

A change will take place on my Web site soon.  Book contests seem to have become passé.  It's reported on the author loops that participation is down and winners often fail to pick up their prizes, and I can only agree.  Accordingly, my web mistresses will be removing the contest link from my home page and replacing it with the simple opportunity to subscribe to my newsletter list.  My apologies to those who may have joined this list because of the contest, though of course I hope everyone will stick around for future news and views.  As a replacement, I intend to write an occasional short story to be posted on Yahoo for you in the coming months – though I'm not setting any deadlines!  I have enough of those already…

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful and productive New Year,