Jennifer's Journal


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

July Newsletter

Greetings to all!

            It's that time of year again, the "lazy, crazy days of summer."  Here at the lake, the buzz of motor boats can be heard at any time, from dawn till dusk.  Fishing tournaments are in full swing, and we often watch people at play on jet skis, water skis and that old stand by, the inner tube.  Our Fourth of July celebration will have a lake theme this year.  At 9:00 PM on the great day, we'll be cranking up the pontoon boat and joining our neighbors at a nearby cove where they put on an annual fireworks display.  As with similar displays set off over water, the reflections in the lake will double the delight.  It should be a fine night for it since temperatures are predicted to be in the balmy 70 – 75 degree range. 

            I've only been back a couple of days from the two-week Mediterranean cruise I told you about last month.  Jet-lag is still has me in its toils.  The main symptom is a tendency to start yawning around six in the evening—since that's midnight in Rome.  And then, of course, I awake at 3:00 AM, ready to get to work.  But all will be back to normal in a day or two, and the trip was well worth any minor wear-and-tear.

            The cruise, undertaken with my two daughters, Lindy and Kathy, was wonderful; we saw so much, did so much, that my mind is a jumble.  My main impression, however, is absolute wonder at the incredible feats people accomplished with their limited means 2000 – 3000 years ago.  We saw the Parthenon and Acropolis above their olive groves; the Blue Mosque and also Topkapi Palace with its outrageous jewels; Ephesus; the crusades-era castle at Rhodes, also everything in Rome worth goggling at.  We drank from the Trevi Fountain, or at least the designated public water spout of it—I didn't know until this trip that you could still drink from the spring-fed fountains of Rome.  The last time I was there, the Trevi was being renovated so I missed tossing my coin in it, but did that this time.  We saw all three "active" volcanoes in Italy (Mt. Vesuvius, Mt. Etna and Mt. Stromboli) and walked the streets of Herculaneum where Roman philosophers had trod.  We bought Murano glass jewelry and jewelry made of ancient Roman glass, ate true Italian pizza and gelato.  I also took a solo day trip to the Cinque Terre seacoast, seeing the town of Lerici where Shelley died in a storm and his wife wrote about Frankstein's monster, and Porto Venere where Bryon stayed.  And at a small shop in the seaside resort town of Monterosso, I met an elegant, older Italian gentleman in a doorway.  He looked me up and down, made a delicate gesture with thumb and forefinger toward my outfit of ankle-length dark blue/white printed skirt, white, lace-edge tank, white over shirt with embroidery in shades of blue and navy sandals, and said with a warmly appreciative smile, "Verry Niczze."  What more could a romance author want?

            Waiting for me on my return were the AAs, or page proofs, for my February 2009 release, GALLANT MATCH.  It's my job as the author to read through these for any final errors—in case you ever wondered what writers do when they aren't writing.  Since the package arrived just after I left for Rome, the deadline for returning the corrections was near.  It was necessary to plunge into them as soon as I could get cobwebs out of my brain caused by 24 hours of traveling.  Rather than try to ship the whole proofed manuscript back, I listed the errors and sent that by email yesterday—only to discover than my editor had gone on vacation and won't return until July 8.  Will my corrections be included in the final book?  We'll see.  (Update here: Messages from both an editorial assistant and administrative assistant arrived a few minutes ago, assuring me the corrections would be added at once.  Big sigh of relief.)

            The cover for GALLANT MATCH should be available soon.  Since a large section of the book takes place aboard a sailing steamer and in Mexico, I'll be interested in seeing if Mira catches this exotic flavor in the artwork.  I'll let you know as soon as it's posted on my web site, at:

            One thing my two daughters and I did, while cruising in the Mediterranean, was to plan new book projects.  They will be collaborating with me on a series of historical romances set in New Orleans, circa 1840-1850.  What fun, planning these stories!  Three heads are always better than one when it comes to brainstorming, and what developed between us while hovering around a laptop on the Lido deck was neat beyond words.  These stories will have a quirky originality that readers are sure to enjoy.  I can't wait for them to hit the stands.

            Meanwhile, I'll be creating a proposal for another romance set in the same time period.  Though not precisely a continuation of the Masters at Arms series, it will use a character from CHALLENGE TO HONOR, Denys, brother to the book's heroine.  Another story or two in a similar vein may follow.  This all depends on upcoming contract negotiations, however, so isn't set in stone.  But what a great way to spend the rest of the summer, leisurely making up stories that won't have to be written until the fall and winter.

            Yesterday I received, by DHL delivery, four copies of the Czech hardcover publication of an older title, ROYAL PASSION.  It's fascinating to see the covers for these foreign editions with their different interpretations of romantic figures, and I love having a copy on my shelves.  But what to do with the extras?  Some writers toss them, some donate them to libraries, others pass them on to readers, at least for the more common languages.  I've done all three at one time or another.  After more than two decades of getting multiple copies in different languages for more than 50 books, however, I'm running out of room to house what I can't use, and I hate destroying them!  FYI: ROYAL PASSION is available in the U. S. as both a print-on-demand title and electronic download from a variety of sources, from and to

            I don't do a lot of public speaking these days, but have agreed to one engagement so far in 2009.  This will be for a reading group, the Arcadia Literature Club.  The meeting will be at the Bienville Parish Library, Arcadia, Louisiana, February 9, 2009 at 2:00 PM.  If you're in the area, feel free to join us.

            Writers, being human, enjoy fan mail, and email makes this an easy process these days.  Now and then, a message comes along that strikes a special note.  The one that follows popped up in my email box this past month:

            "I'm writing to ask if it is possible to get signed bookplates or if there is an address to which I could send a SASE with some blank bookplates to be signed (provided you have the time to do so, of course.) I'm asking because I've just fallen in love with the Masters at Arms Series. I was out looking for books to take to the beach this week and I picked up the first book on SAT thinking, "Well, set in New Orleans, different type hero, strong female lead...this looks like it might at least be a little different from the norm." I read the book in one sitting that afternoon! So SUN I went out for the next book (to take it to the beach) and stayed up SUN night to read it. MON I went out, bought the next two and IMMEDIATELY packed them in the luggage! These stories are a perfect combination of romance, suspense, history and just enough spice. It seems many historical romances have gone the way of 'erotica goes to the costume ball' and frankly, if I wanted erotica, I'd read it. When I pick up an historical romance, I want romance. Yes, passion is part of that, but some details I just don't need to read. Anyway, these books will be kept in my personal library, something very rare for romances. It's been over ten years since I added a romance author to my favorites list. I read many (many, many, many) but very few appeal enough to make me want to reread them and as I have over 2,000 books in my home, if it won't be reread, it has to go. There are a few others, but up until now, only Stephanie Laurens and Julia Quinn were guaranteed a trip to the bookstore on release day and a spot in the library. FEB 2009 will find me eagerly awaiting Gallant Match (as it comes right after my birthday (1/31) I'll even have a gift card to purchase it. So, if at all possible, I would like to add signed bookplates to my copies. Please let me know if this can be arranged. And most of all, Thank You for a great series. (Now if I can just stay out of the luggage for a few more days...)"

            Nothing is quite so gratifying to an author as the knowledge that their books have become "keepers."  It suggests that something about the story world they created made the reader want to hold on to and revisit it at some point.  Did I sign bookplates for this lady?  Of course!  And I'll be glad to do the same for anyone else.  Just contact me directly to arrange it.

            That's about it for this month.  Have a grand Fourth!


Warmest wishes,


Challenge to Honor, 2005
Dawn Encounter, 2006
Rogue's Salute, 2007
Guarded Heart, 2008
Gallant Match, 2009
Triumph in Arms, 2010