Q&A With Mary-Theresa Hussey, Executive Editor, Silhouette Books

This week at DDU we are delighted to welcome Mary-Theresa Hussey as our special guest. As well as finding a good book to publish, Matrice also loves to find a good book to read and is a member — and MVP — of the New York Editors team in the eHarlequin 100,000 Book Challenge. She has graciously agreed to stop by during the week to talk about everyone’s favourite topic: books! To get the discussion started, we asked Matrice about her job, her reading habits and her favourite series.

Q: What is your current position at Harlequin and what does your job entail?

MTH: My title is Executive Editor, Silhouette Books, and it actually covers many facets! My main responsibilities are to coordinate the fantastic work of the Senior Editors for the Desire, Special Edition and Romantic Suspense lines. I’ll help resolve questions that arise from overseas or Toronto, give input on repackaging and direction of line and copy, approve contracts and legal bits, do the management aspects of the editors in the group, represent the lines to the sales group and overseas in meetings, and do all I can to support the editors in achieving their goals of selling more books every year. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the main aspects of the daily life. Sadly, not a lot of reading or working on manuscripts, but I do have a lot of emails and phone calls and looking toward the future.

Q: Do you have authors you edit and are you still an acquiring editor?

MTH: I still have about fifteen authors and am selectively on the lookout for more. I have authors who write for Specials and Nocturne in series, and for LUNA and MIRA in single title. And I keep an eye out for more authors with compelling voices for both series and single title.

Q: What was your first job with the company?

MTH: I started as an Editorial Assistant for Silhouette Romance. Tara Gavin was Senior Editor of Silhouette Romance at that time and hired me because I was a fan of Diana Palmer and Ann Major, both her own authors!

Q: Which lines have you worked/edited for since?

MTH: Well, I’ve had a number of special projects over the years, and have had authors who have written for more lines as well. Hmm. I’ve acquired titles for Silhouette Romance, Special Edition, Desire, Intimate Moments, Shadows, Yours Truly, Bombshell, Romantic Suspense and Nocturne. And for Harlequin Intrigue, Historicals, Love and Laughter, Duets, Modern Extra. Love Inspired. I’ve also acquired for LUNA, MIRA, RDI, the new YA line and for the single title programs for Harlequin and Silhouette. So a lot of them!

Q: Rumour has it you’re an avid reader — has that always been the case? Do you remember your introduction to romance and Harlequin books?

MTH: I’ve always been an avid reader and I started out young in series — Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, and all the other series like that. They learned to hook me from an early age!

When I was eleven we were spending three weeks in Ireland (my parents were born there), and I’d run out of books to read and was going crazy. So my aunt volunteered her Mills & Boon collection and I was hooked! The first one was “The Master Fiddler” by Janet Dailey and I devoured them all. Then, when I was back in NY, I discovered the library carried these books and used book stores and I was a goner. I got my first bank account so I could write checks to subscribe to the Loveswept series! My parents are not readers (though they read to us every night at bed and encouraged it), and are bewildered by it, but resigned as well.

Luckily I’ve got a commute where 40 minutes each way is on a subway, so I have some solid reading time that I reserve for printed books. And I’ll often go to the park at lunch, or curl up at the end of the day to finish the book. So that gives me an advantage!

Q: You mentioned reading series from an early age — are you still a fan of connected books, series and continuities?

MTH: I do love connected stories and read them for preference. There is a balance however, that needs to be addressed to make the stories move along in characters and plot in a way you can trust them. The J.D. Robb Death series moves the relationship along between Eve and Dallas but focuses on the mystery in a way that’s very pleasing.

But sometimes a series with a single character begins to feel forced and the author has to hold back some decisions or hard choices because of the impact down the road. I have trouble with that, because I like each book to deliver the strongest punch possible and want the author to trust her own creativity to fix it or deal with it.

Still, a world that I can return to heightens the level of trust and comfort and eagerness to return to a series. Lois McMaster Bujold has a SF series that in the first batch of stories she jumped around in time as well so we caught glimpses of Miles at various stages of his life (though the last four or five have been pretty much consistent).

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro did that with her Saint Germain series as well. I admire that and think it allows an author to experiment and keep things fresh.

Q: It seems you read widely across the genres — do you have a favourite genre or subgenre? An all-time favourite romance?

MTH: I find it hard to pick favorites. I like romance and fantasy and mystery and thrillers and paranormals and most of the subsets of those genres. I’m not really a women’s fiction reader; I’ll often prefer non-fiction over literary fiction as well. And what’s my favorite can depend on the mood. I’ve been unpacking boxes of books I’ve had stored for a while and falling in love with the books all over again. In the romance section, I’ve saved a lot of Essie Summers, Kay Hooper, Justine Davis, Rachel Lee, Sara Seale, Iris Johansen, Billie Douglass, Emma Darcy, Susan Napier, Susannah Hart and oh so many more!

Q: Obviously these older favourites are print books, but are you an eBook convert?

MTH: I’ve got mixed emotions. I was an early reader on eBooks and supporter in the company. I’ve probably read about thirty or more, but it’s not my first choice. There’s nothing that compares to the feel of the book in your hand, the words on the page, knowing how far you’ve gone and how far you have to go. Though the bars are there in e-formats, when you’re holding the book in your hand and you see that there’s only a few chapters to go, the excitement level rises as you wonder how it will be all wrapped up! And I love flipping back a page to catch something and carrying the book wherever I go. I generally carry a few books on my PDA, and am looking to do more on an ereader, but it’s not fully converted me yet.

And I’m still trying with audio books, but am struggling there.

I find myself getting distracted fairly easily and losing the import of the words and phrases, even when the readers are strong. But I keep trying to see if I can learn to enjoy it, as I know many others really find it satisfying.

Q: I’ve always wondered, is it difficult to discard your editing pen and read purely for pleasure?

MTH: It is sometimes hard to read for pleasure, but I try to approach the books I read with a clear mind whenever possible. The minor typos and incongruities bother me, but I can let them go. I do often reflect on what I would have suggested to the author to change. What irked me about the characterizations or conflicts or perhaps how to tighten or expand areas. But if I tried to do that all the time I’d never be able to enjoy the book on its own terms, so I can usually limit it.

Q: Have you ever considered writing a book?

MTH: I have sat down maybe twice and got to page two before stopping. It bores me and I really have no interest in writing on my own. I love brainstorming and interacting with authors and am astonished by the commitment it takes to finish a novel. But for me, I’d much rather read someone else’s book!

To finish up, we posed a couple of fun complete-this-sentence questions…

The best part of my job is…

Dealing with the creative, interesting, challenging people in the office and out-the authors and readers as well as colleagues.

On my desk you will always find…

A mess! Tons of papers, magazines, books, pens in various colors. And I have an unopened gift that I leave there for a really bad day. It’s a potential treat that gives me a sense of hope and mystery and fun. Luckily, I haven’t had to open it, and its packaging is pretty so I can just smile at it!

If I wasn’t an editor, I would like to be a…

Hmm. Photographer — for children perhaps!

My favourite place in the world is…

Changes a lot! But I keep coming back to a hill I climbed in Ireland in Kerry twenty years ago. The grass was green and slightly damp, a waterfall was trickling nearby, the wind was freshening, the sun was peeking through the clouds, some mountains were behind for a cradling feel, and the sea stretched out before me dotted with islands that glistened in greens and browns amid the blues and grays and greens of the water that was shot with silver and white as the light caught it.

Whenever I’m stressed or tired, I can call that image to my mind and feel ready to take on the next task.

I have always wanted to…

Go into space! Perhaps one of these years I will….

My favourite piece of jewellery is…

A “History of Ireland” silver bangle bracelet my parents gave me a few years ago. It’s unusual, creative, a discussion point, and the images lead to so much more.

To continue the Q&A theme and start this week’s discussion, Matrice has a question for you: What makes you choose a book by a new author? What makes you try something new?

Your comment this week will enter you in the draw to win a 3-pack of books, handpicked by Bron to include new-to-YOU authors. (Prize drawn June 21.)

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SPECIAL EVENT: Join us for the drawing of Melissa Jeglinski’s critique on Friday, June 20 at 7.30am Australian EST–that’s Thursday, June 19, 5.30pm American EDT. All commenters in the Q&A with MJ are eligible for this fabulous prize. Full details here.
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125 Responses to “Q&A With Mary-Theresa Hussey, Executive Editor, Silhouette Books”

  1. yea 😀

  2. Great post such insight into the life of an editor. For me the description on the back of the book is what will captures my attention and try a new author if I am intrigued by it into my shopping cart it goes. 😀

  3. Thank you so much, DDU and Matrice, for the peek into your interesting world! I LOVE to read. I have several authors that are auto-buys, but I think with today’s economy – some readers are having to be choosy. As a struggling writer and stay-at-home mom, I’m having to stick with the storylines I’m interested in. I love reading the incredibly talented authors with the Desire line and I’m finding it difficult to choose every month!!

  4. Just forgot to add, Olivia Gates is a recent author I read in May, I loved her book; The desert lord”s baby you all should check it out 😀 I am so looking forward for more books from her.

  5. azteclady Says:

    Avi!!!! grrrrrr 😡

    *ahem*

    What makes me try new-to-me authors? This is a very interesting topic to me–I have a couple of posts on it, elsewhere.

    There are several things that have helped me–from the point of view of marketing, a good cover and well written blurb help, of course, but I’m not an impulse buyer (a teeeeeenise tiny book budget will do that to ya), so I rely a lot on word of mouth.

    For me, word of mouth means online discussions and readers’ review sites, blogs and forums. From there, I visits authors’ websites and read any excerpts or free short stories they may have posted, along with their blogs if they have them. *waving at Bron*

    This year I have read several new authors because I’ve been given books through giveaways *waving to Paula* Some I have liked a lot, others not so much; either way, now that I have read those authors there is name recognition when I do go to the store. Also, I can now recommend them to people whose tastes I know.

  6. Hi Avi, first again! 🙂 You mention that you often buy by the back cover blurb — does this mean author recognition is not as important and so you are as likely to pick up a book by a new-to-you author if the blurb is intriguing?

    Chelle, you also mention storylines attracting you. And perhaps that you buy by the category line…e.g. you know that Desire offers the stories that you like…?

    Azteclady (waving back). Thanks for yr terrific comments re how word-of-mouth, reviews, blogs etc inform your buying choices. I love that blogs and forums provide a site for book review and discussion by readers. I’m really enjoying the eHQ mini-reviews, both as a reader and a writer. Esp. find the variety of views/opinion on the behaviour of alpha males interesting. One reader’s too overbearing is another reader’s top hero.

    Also, good to know there are readers taking note of excerpts. They’re a big influence on my reading choices with new authors, because I react very strongly to a writer’s voice and storytelling style. The back cover blurb might draw my attention to an intriguing premise, but if I don’t like the author’s voice then that killer story is lost to me.

    Also great to know that giveaways are doing their job in attracting new readers.

    Bron (just the one of me today, Jan 🙂 )

  7. I would choose a book by a new author based on reading random parts in the book while browsing in the bookstore if I like it I buy it 🙂

  8. Thanks, LJ. There’s nothing like sampling before you buy, is there?

    Bron

  9. Thanks for taking the time to blog for us, Matrice!

    Re: Excerpt. apparently excerpts create good traffic for author’s websites, which makes sense if readers want to get a feel for the story and if the author’s style appeals.

    Avi J – when I was a teen (no disposable income) I used to get my reads from the library and based my selection on a combination of the cover (yes, I chose all those ‘half-clad-heroine-climbing-man-tree’ ones!), author and blurb. Anything with pirate, warrior, forced bride, revenge or defiant virgin 😉

  10. Thanks, Matrice, for taking the time to participate and enlighten us all and for your support of our downunder project. And thanks, Bron, for coming up with some killer questions and another excellent post.

    I loved Matrice’s ‘favourite place’ answer. I might try visualizing my fave place next time I’m stuck for ideas, I could have a light-bulb moment. (I guess that would have to be…you guessed it…Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas!!!) Somewhere quiet and completely personal to me that draws a feeling of peace and well-being.

    I’m a back-of-the-book blurb reader and get esp excited when I see settings that interest me and something just a bit out of the norm. As Azteclady and Chelle noted, readers do have to be picky these days. I know many readers auto-buy the whole monthly set of their chosen category and that’s great but I’d never be able to afford it! Good point about the excerpts on a writer’s website, I hadn’t considered the appeal of that before.

  11. Diana Palmer is an auto-buy for me because of my love for westerns…ok, I admit it–I have a fetish for cowboys! I love the Cinderella and family dynasty storylines so if ya throw in a couple of cowboys in the mix? Sold! I think that’s how Desire pulls in the wide range of readers. I would LOVE to be able to buy the entire line monthly, so I guess the back cover blurbs have to be what I look at next.

  12. limecello Says:

    Hi Everyone, and thanks for visiting with us, Mary-Theresa! Avi, lol good for you on getting the first few spots *again* – you must have an internal timer.
    I love the Silhouette line – Desire and SSE are two of my favorites. I’m a huge fan of Diana Palmer as well -and may have mentioned that I’m on a “quest” to not only read every book she’s written, but to collect them all. A daunting task, considering I only discovered her a little more than a year ago. [And costly! Some of her books are selling on half.com for $60-90! Ack!]
    As to what makes me consider a new book… a big one, is anthologies. If I love the authors novella, I will immediately hunt down her back list and devour it. That, or word of mouth. Some times, the book blurb and excerpt. Ok – I don’t trust book blurbs – I go for excerpts. I find out as much informatino about the author possible, and usually, I can tell if I’ll be hooked or not.
    Publisher might help too – if I like a certain one I’m willing to trust them on a new author. Lastly… if the library has the book and I’m bored, or out of books to read.
    I do admit as well, I’m pretty commercial. If I see “ads” or shout outs to a book online, on blogs, or people raving about a book…. I’ll want to [have to!] read it too!

  13. Matrice listed two of my favorite authors, Iris Johansen and Kay Hooper. I’ve been reading a lot of Kay Hooper’s romances lately. I started reading Kay’s suspenses about a year ago, but I was shocked to learn that she got her start writing straight romances.

  14. Welcome to our DDU blog, Mary-Theresa! Lovely to have you here 🙂 I can’t believe you have an unwrapped gift sitting on your desk. How long has it been there? Me, being an instant gratification junkie, I could never leave a present unwrapped for any length of time. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else, although I concede that the build up of anticipation is definitely appealing.

    I think what makes me choose a book by a new-to-me-author is often controversy. When I read polarised reviews or hear totally at odds comments about a book it nudges my curiosity and I’ll buy the book in either print (if not too pricey by the time its in NZ$) or e-format. Aside from that, I tend to go on recommendations by friends who also enjoy similar authors to myself. Also, here in NZ, we have an awesome romance/sci fi/fantasy bookseller, Barbara Clendon, who regularly recommends books to her friends and customers. Nine times out of ten, for me at least, she’s spot on with those recommendations and as an avid reader herself she really knows what she’s talking about when she promotes new authors.

    Jane, Kay Hooper is an auto-buy for me. I love the tension that threads through her novels. It draws tighter and tighter until you think your mind is going to snap. When the story climax comes it is such a relief!

    Avi! I can’t believe it! First post again? You’re way too quick for us 😀

  15. Hi Yvonne just luck those first posts 😀 I just got through you book in the series I absolutely loved it. It had me in suspense straight to the end. Paula I read your book today as well, late order in the bookstore got May and June books yesterday. Same goes I totally loved it. Well done DDU ladies this was truly a fantastic series. Thanks for all the great reads over the past six months and I’ll be looking forward to your future releases. 😀

  16. I loved the first M&B book Matrice read, The Master Fiddler by Janet Dailey! A great book!

    Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Matrice! It was fascinating to learn how you became an avid reader of M&B and got started in the publishing business!

    Thanks for having such a delightful website, Down Under Girls!

    Andrea

  17. Patricia Cochran Says:

    Thanks, Ms. Hussey, for joining us today! For me, although I do have auto-buy
    authors, a name isn’t always the draw. A combination of the back-of-the-book
    information, the cover, and a peek at the first page usually work for me. If I
    am not “hooked” by this point, chances are I won’t be!

    Pat Cochran

  18. I fully agree with Azteclady.

    A little excerpt sample is definitely a hook for me. And the internet and online exposure is fantastic.

    I’m not a huge fan of e-publishing but can see how important to some people. Say for instance, a reader can’t get out and suddenly wants to read a certain book. How convenient. There it is available on e-publishing. eharlequin has done a wonderful job with their e-book publishing!!

    Thanks Matrice for letting us in on what your job is about. 🙂

    I love paranormal and mysteries and to see what’s new…I also love MIRA books as they have a seasoning of everything. Ah modern technology.

    Cheers to everyone.

    Judith

  19. For new authors I’m a back blurb girl. I’m also a link girl and all these tried and true authors send me merrily linking to find new authors. Oh and can’t forget the author blogs where they describe the book they are reading. But then who can forget the recommendation on the 100,000 book challenge at harlequin.

  20. Thanks Matrice for taking the time to tell us a bit about your likes and your life. Wish I had a 40 minute commute so I could read more *sigh*

    I love trying out new authors, particularly if I’ve heard about them or know of them off the eharlequin community.

    I have fave authors that I always auto buy. Having said that will have to go back and check to see if Oivia’s desire has been published in Australia. I don’t want to have missed it!!

  21. Matrice, like Jan I also loved your “favourite place” response and also your favourite piece of jewellery. How fitting that it’s a piece that tells a story. I have a question re your love of Ireland: does this draw you to books by Irish authors and/or with Irish settings? And do you have any other favourite settings for books?

    Bron

  22. I love the Cinderella and family dynasty storylines so if ya throw in a couple of cowboys in the mix? Sold!

    Chelle, I believe you may be in luck. 😉 Have heard a whisper about another Texas Cattlemen’s Club series somewhere down the track and I know some of us will also be working on our own brand of Aussie cowboy. Hopefully they’ll carry your favourite cowboy traits.

    Limecello, good luck with your collecting quest. You have set yourself quite a task. (And where’s Christa? I believe she’s another Diana Palmer fan.) I’m with you on responding to commerical aspects. Am very influenced by word of mouth and the talked-about books, but then that also lifts the level of expectation.

    I was shocked to learn that she got her start writing straight romances.

    Jane, I guess your shock is because her books now are so far removed. The list of authors who started out writing category romance for Harlequin or Silhouette is incredibly impressive, isn’t it? Category romance teaches so much about pacing and tension and economical story telling and characterisation and oh so much more.

    Bron

  23. Oh, Bron! You just made my day! I would love to read the Aussie version. I grew up near the Texas border and even married my own personal cowboy hero! It’s just natural for me to read and write westerns, but what I’m loving is the Desire spin.

  24. Bron see I was here see my time stamp June 16 12:25

  25. Crystal B. Says:

    I will choose a book by a new author if the blurb on the book sounds good or if I have read positive comments on the internet by other readers. I have found some great reads this way. 🙂

  26. MARIAN STEVENS Says:

    Thanks to DDU and Matrice! Great Q&A. Very interesting to see how your day goes, Matrice! I have many auto-buy name authors, the ones I love and trust and will always look for, but I also watch for a BUZZ about new authors as well. Like to see what’s sold recently to the lines and check out fresh voices. Love continuities, series that have reoccuring characters–like visiting old friends.

    And I’m wondering about that GIFT on Matrice’s desk!!! I’m dying to know what’s in it. Perhaps she’ll open it before she leaves here and TELL US what’s in it!!!!

    And let me tell you, it pays to watch for these Diamond Down Under gals and what they are up to. They are fun and sweet and have that great series going now that everyone should run out and pick up! And their prizes . . . Well, I WON a critique from Diana V off their blog and I’m soo thrilled and thankful. (And yes–gals, I’m working furiously on my project to get it in!).

    Anyway, great to have Matrice here and the DDU at it again! You go girls!

    Hugs,
    MARIAN

  27. Hi! 🙂 It must be so very cool reading all those soon to be books when editing, don’t have to wait for the book to come out to read it! 🙂 But the thing I noticed that you said that I soooo loved. . .

    —-I have always wanted to…

    Go into space! Perhaps one of these years I will….—–

    Yes!! 🙂 I so very rarely see anyone on blogs or the like say that other than me!!! LOL 🙂

    Lois

  28. Shari C Says:

    Many times it is by reading the synopsis on the back of the book, but also thru various blogs when someone will mention a new author or book coming out. A few times it has also been from employees at a bookstore when I mention I alm looking for a certain type of book they will make suggestions that have definitely appealed to me…very helpful.

    Thank you for the interview; your job sounds so challenging and exciting. I think I am envious…all those great authors and fabulous books.

  29. I will use an excerpt or the back cover to decide whether to buy a book. I have authors that I really enjoy and their name on a book will get me to buy a book but a new to me author takes either an excerpt or back cover info.

  30. Phew! I made it. Have just finished my latest manuscript and sent it to MJ and now I can come out to play. 🙂

    Matrice, it’s fabulous to have you here. And what excellent questions and answers. Your favourite romance authors are some of my favourite too. I loved Essie Summers’ books, and still remember Emma Darcy’s first one set in a casino where they actually did ‘it’. 🙂 Hmm, perhaps that’s why I ended up writing my DDU book set around an indecent proposal storyline set in a casino. Just thought of that.

    Oh, and I remember Iris Johansen’s Loveswept “Star-Spangled Bride” which had a wonderful opening where the hero and heroine had to pretend to be in the middle of making love or the guard would kill them, and she held the suspense to the last possible moment. Actually the whole book never let up until the last page. A fantastic read.

    Books really do make a person feel good.

  31. Lois, I’d love to go into space too but the whole ‘blasting off into the atmosphere’ scares me silly!

    Marian – now I’m DYING to know what’s in that present! Matrice, you are such a tease 😉 Like Yvonne, I’m an “instant gratification” gal 😀

    Maxine – woo hoo on finishing your ms! Re: first books. I do remember collecting a set of category historicals published by Minstrel (they were $2 from the local supermarket). I fact I found a few at my local second hand store a few years ago. And I absolutely loved Candlelight Ecstasy, the first contemporaries I read. I still have Elaine Raco Chase’s “Special Delivery” where the heroine is a belly-gram and gets trapped in a lift with the hero LOL.

  32. Hey Maxine, cme play with me, I just got my synopsis in in the wee hours so now I’m FREE for a day or two. (Hope she reads mine first – well, it is shorter…)

    I find this very interesting. I mucked around for years humming and hah-ing about getting a website after I sold. I honestly did not realise the interest they generate. You guys have shown me different. I’m just off to update mine now!!

    To Spacey Lois – there’s no f-o-o-d up there…

  33. oh one quick word about back-cover blurbs. The last two best-selling single titles I bought, I bought because the blurb sounded so intriguing. But once I got past about the fourth chapter in both (different authros) the book so dragged. I was very disappointed and one of them, I didn’t even bother finishing. I wonder if it’s because I read almost exclusively Desire and category these days and I’m used to the tight pacing etc. Apart from JD Robb, I cannot remember the last single title I enjoyed. There was a Danielle Steel a year or two back which I hated for 3/4s of the book but it was so terribly heart-wrenching at the black moment and beyond that I bawled my eyes out and forgave her. I so wish I can make someone cry one day…

  34. Popping back again to wave at Marian! Hope your polishing is going well and I’m sure everyone here wishes you the very best of luck with Diana V

  35. Hey Jan – you always make us cry 😉 I’m the opposite – I read mostly ST these days – urban fantasy, paranormal, romantica, chick lit. I find it’s less distracting to my writing that way. I also think what gets me right into a ST story is the way the author writes their characters and the use of 1st person POV. I love those 1st PPOV stories! I’ve just been completely blown away by Megan Hart, who writes for Spice in the 1st p. Amazing, amazing writing, gritty and real and e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y HOT!

  36. It’s interesting you say that about reading mostly ST, I guess it would give you a fresh insight and probably that would come through in your always-fresh writing, m’dear.

    I’ve made a note to look out for Megan Hart, ta!

  37. Great post!

  38. limecello Says:

    Bron – oh, I know. I have 71 [wow! O_O] of her books – but still have like 50+ to go… my goodness how daunting. Word of mouth does a lot to get me to want to read a book -or blog tours, if I see it a lot, the “subliminal” messages work. Or even commercials! I’ve been seeing book commercials on tv, and I love it. [I think.]
    Paula and Jan – I really enjoy Megan Hart’s Spice books too. There’s this stark, yet vulnerable quality about her writing. [I hear people have more a mixed feeling towards her other books.] I’ve read all her spice novels, and I think my favorite is her first, “Dirty.”

  39. What gets me to try a new author to me would be or or all of the following:
    1) a chat where we ask the author questions about her book and she answers and I’m really becoming interested in it.
    2) a review I’ve read seems to describe a book that seems to be ‘right up my alley’ at the time.
    3) a contest I’ve entered and perhaps won a book and upon reading it I like the author’s style.

  40. Chelle, just the messenger. 🙂

    Christa, there you are! Obviously hadn’t read further down the mails — my bad.

    Limecello, do you have your own Diana Palmer bookshelf or shelves?

    Does anyone else have an author they collect or may have a full collection of their books? I have some small collections, from authors who are newer or so not so many books, but nothing like that 71!?!?!

    Jan, maybe it was just those two books. To me it doesn’t matter if the book is a short category, longer category or single title, the reading can drag and I can put the book down and never pick it back up again if I’m not engaged by the characters and their situation and the author’s voice.

    Bron

  41. Hi Robyn. Simulpost. 🙂

    Going into space: I am absolutely not brave enough. Lois and/or Matrice, I will read your book about the experience.

    Bron

  42. Hmmm, I have over 30 Linda Howard books. I guess it helps if an author is prolific and you want to build a collection 😀

    I also have all of Barbara Erskine’s novels but not her short stories. Borrowed them once from the library and, well, nnnnnh, not my thing.

    Back cover blurbs can be disappointing, Jan. The blurb on Linda Howard’s UP CLOSE AND DANGEROUS was completely misleading, either that or the last third of her book was completely cut out and some other ending tacked on at the last minute. If I hadn’t read the blurb, and had just read the story, I’d have loved every minute of it. Forced proximity, stranded, danger, intense attraction–all the things I love to read. But all along I was waiting for the next ‘event’ which had been alluded to in the blurb and it just never happened. Really disconcerting, I tell ya!

  43. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Wow, you guys move fast in posting! Sorry the day got away from me yesterday. I was caught in meetings (and I happen to be one of those people who generally like meetings!) and still trying to catch up on the last three weeks of work (vacation and then in toronto for a week).
    I’m delighted to be here and eager to hear your thoughts and responses to the various questions!
    I’ll try to do a few at a time, so there aren’t very long posts!
    Hi to Avi! Ahh, that dreaded/blessed/wonderful back cover copy! I guess it’s worth all the effort we put into it! What is a turn on/turn off when you read it? (I admit, I often put back books where the hero is immediately proposing marriage just for love’s sake!)
    Hello, Chelle! I do understand. I keep saying that’s one of the reasons I love working here—I save money on all the books I’d have to buy otherwise! Melissa has been doing a fantastic job on the Desire line, and I’m excited by many of the authors she’s brought along and featuring.
    I just finished THE DESERT LORD’S BABY and also loved it! I had to wait, actually, because Natashya and Melissa had been so excited about the book that when it came in while I was out, all the copies had been snapped up in the office! I had to wait for the next reorder—but now I have my very own copy! And Natashya is saying they are just getting better!
    Azteclady—send me the link to the other topics! It’s something we’re always interested in as well. Naturally!
    It’s interesting—I recently had a discussion with another of my authors who was wavering about the value of the website and posting excerpts. I did encourage her to do it, even if she kept things to a minimum, but I do feel in this world it is necessary to let readers “taste” your style and lure them in to the rest. Thanks for that feedback—I’ll let her know as well!
    And I agree that a fellow reader can give the best recommendations, narrowing down what you like or don’t like until there’s the perfect match! There’s a few people in the office here who are also great for recommendations.

  44. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Okay, now I see have to do double lines between paragraphs. Sorry it got crammed the first time!

    And hello to you, Bron! Thanks for inviting me—it’s going to be a fun week I’m sure! I like your questions as well here. As an editor, I know we try very hard to be true to the author’s story, style and sensibilities, but we also try to make the book sell!

    I agree, LJ, looking at the first few pages can be useful. My only little foible, is that if I read the pages and don’t buy the book, if I come back to it afterward, I might think I did read the book by looking at the pages again! That’s why I’ll sometimes read in the middle as well—or pay close attention to pub dates! It’s why I rarely tease myself by reading ahead that way. 🙂

    Hello, Paula! I used to get lots of books from the library or used bookstores as well. And when I found favorite authors, I started to buy them new, because sometimes they didn’t show up anywhere else. I was never a big historical fan, but I understand the pull of those themes!

  45. Christa Says:

    I finally finished all the painting around here and put the bookcases up again. re- organized, 2 shelves just for the 80+ Diana Palmer (limecello maybe we can exchange emails and we can see if I have any doubles. I know I have a duplicate of Winter Roses) I think other than Diana Palmer I like collecting Vicki Lewis Thompson, Jill Shalvis, Laura Marie Altom, Emilie Rose. I think I have complete collections of Yvonne Lindsay, Tessa Radley, Paula Roe, Bronwyn Jameson, Maxine Sullivan, Jan Colley 🙂

  46. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Jan! It’s nice to “see” you as well! I’m glad you liked my favorite place—the beach is always a wonderful one as well. There’s something about water that’s renewing and constant. I guess some of us are closer to having come from the water as well…. Just escaping to it for a few minutes can calm me down. And I’m glad we’re all getting a little something from this discussion!

    Chelle—yes, DP (as she’s often referred to in the office) is a true storyteller. She’s got that Western mystique, and the often ordinary girl who can win through at the end. I still get swept up in her stories!

    Wow, Limecello! I wish you good luck to collect all the books! I’d say reading them might be possible with some of her backlist on ebooks, but collecting, that might be a little more difficult… Still, we reissue a lot of her titles, so don’t give up hope!
    And it sounds like you’re a fairly voracious reader as well. That’s the good and bad—we know we’ll read a lot so we can try more, but it’s hard to turn down any story sometimes… : )

    Hello, Jane! Yes, I have a lot of Kay’s Loveswept titles, some of her Second Chance at Love titles, the early paranormal ones (like The Wizard of Seattle or House of Cards) and of course the two Intimate Moments titles she did. As someone else mentions, straight romance has done wonderful things for an author’s general career. You learn discipline, tightness of writing, structure, frequency of publication, a sense of the commercial possibilities, how to make stories your own, and how to build continuing characters/themes. It’s a great place to start—and to return to as well!

  47. waitingforthecall Says:

    Hey, great Q&A, thanks!
    I can’t imagine being able to leave a gift unwrapped- it’s a lovely idea, but I’m definitely an instant gratification type of girl!
    I choose new to me writers on a combination of factors. As i’m a pre-published writer, I like to read the first-time published stories to see what the ditors are looking for in new writers. I buy on recommendations from friends or from writers whose books I have read and enjoyed, from the blurb, and especially from reading excepts, either on the e-Harlequin site or on the authors own webdite.

  48. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Whoops! My spell check apparently left the building. I didn’t think I was so good it didn’t need to correct me! Please forgive any typos that escaped me before. I’ll have to get someone to find the .dll file so I know I won’t be making more errors. : (

    Thanks for the welcome, Yvonne! You certainly are a warm and enthusiastic bunch down under. One of these days I hope to get down there.
    And my gift has been there for over 18 months I have to admit. It’s in a nice bag, with bright green paper coming out and a ribbon and it looks cheerful on my desk. So if the stress gets too much, I know I have a treat in store! The bad thing is that I forgot to thank the gift giver because it didn’t get opened and had to apologize in person (I think she thought it strange as well). But she gives such thoughtful gifts I know that it will be worth the wait!
    We often think that if a book gets talked about and stirs passions, it’s succeeded on one front at least. Though sometimes it doesn’t bode well for the next book! In PR, there may be no such thing as bad press, but that’s not the way it is in publishing. Still, the good thing is that dedicated fans will allow the occasional off title and eagerly await the next wonderful story from the author.
    A good bookseller is worth your checkbook! There are a few that I know (like Michelle Thorne) who reads and knows just what to recommend. She pays attention to what readers like as well as what she likes and has recommended things that she knows I would like, even if it’s not entirely to her taste. I love long conversations with her at RWA National!
    As for Kay, one other thing about her is that so much of the information is conveyed through dialogue. That can be a bit frustrating at times, but I find her narrative is kept to a minimum, and so much comes through the various conversations, cueing the readers in on the facts. She does a great job of making each character distinct as well in word choices and speech patterns. I just race through them!

    Hello, Andrea—yep, she did her job in making me addicted to the whole genre at that time.

    Patricia, your pattern is very true! The more we can intrigue a reader to pick up and hold the book (cover/title/author, copy, front sales, first chapter), the better chance we have for making a sale. So the goal is to make it as tempting as possible for every title…

    Okay, that’s it for tonight I think (unless I’m inspired when I get home!), but I’ll check back in tomorrow! Thanks again for your great Q&A and dialogue here!

  49. Matrice,
    Great to see you here! And I join the others in thanking you for the insight you provided into your job and what drew you to it, and your reading tastes. I’m also burning with curiosity over the unopened present. I can spin a whole book around the mystery and the consequences of opening it…. 😀

    Bron
    Thanks so much for the great questions. (and all the other DDU ladies for the wonderful blog and series! Mega congratulations on the great success!)

    Avi
    I’m THRILLED you loved The Desert Lord’s Baby! Thanks SO much for recommending it to everyone. I really hope you’ll enjoy the next two books in the series as much! 😀

    Nicki
    Nope, you haven’t missed The Desert Lord’s Baby. It’s out this June in Australia/NZ in a two in one with a book by the great Brenda Jackson. Hope you enjoy it!

    As for what makes me try new authors, I find that an excerpt, word of mouth and reviews are what influence me most.

    Waving to everyone!

  50. 18 months??????? THUD! Yvonne’s jaw hits the floor as she contemplates the patience required to remain so restrained

  51. Mary-Theresa Says:

    I agree, Judith. I think our readers—in particular the savvy, voracious readers!—are becoming more technologically savvy. In this hyper-completive world, readers do respond to all the information they can get.
    I’m sometimes mixed on the reading of the e-books—nothing beats a book in hand—but the ease of carrying the books, the availability of so many at any time and the joy in discovering new authors is quite compelling as well. We’re the first publisher to have the entire front list available in e-format, and we’re releasing older titles as well.
    It’s not as easy to turn something into an ebook as people think. I don’t remember all the details, but there are about six major formats these days, and the books need to be “translated” into those electronic forms. The books then need another proofing job to be sure that no bugs crept in. Artwork needs to be resized, copy needs to be rewritten, meta data should be changed and adapted, files need to be sent out. They also need to be stored and backed up and stored again to make them available to the distributors. And they are also sold via discount. I admit there’s the benefit of no returns or printing/shipping costs, but it’s not as easy to do it as it first seems!

    Christa—I know! I try to keep up with some of the recommendations from the challenge, but we’ve got such a fantastic group of readers and authors that it leaves me always behind!

    Hey, Nicki—the commute does have some benefits! But on the days when I just walk from the bedroom to the living room, I don’t actually miss it! 🙂 Still, as readers we always find that extra five or ten minutes to sneak in the reading….

    Bronwyn—oddly enough, Ireland traditionally doesn’t do that well in books (certain historicals and Nora Roberts excepted of course!) I’ve read some Irish stories and poetry and authors and enjoyed them, but I don’t know if it’s truly the heritage coming through or just that the language and cadence rings through.
    Hmm. As for settings, I’m pretty flexible. I’ve enjoyed books in and out of the country, in cities and in towns. It does have to be suited to the type of story, and if it’s someplace I know well, I might be a little more critical (you do not drive UP fifth Avenue in NYC, and until recently liquor stores aren’t open on Sundays and other things struck me as wrong!), but I can also relate to the vagaries of catching a taxi, passing a bodega, or trying to get someone’s attention.
    Just make it as real as possible and use it to the best of the story you can!

    Oh, and I agree with your comments on authors who started in category and are now NYT bestsellers in other genres. Of course we can continue to celebrate those who stayed with “straight” romance and have made their homes there, but one of the great things about romance readers is the willingness to follow good writing in whatever kind of story there is!

    And you’re right about the new Texas Cattleman’s Club! And I know Melissa is looking for more “western” feeling stories, no matter it’s set in Texas, Oklahoma or the Outback!

  52. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Crystal B—thanks for sharing your process as well! It’s always a learning experience to see how we can continue to bring new authors to readers. I’m happy that we’ve got some confirmation about a few of the ways we do use already! Have you tried reading comments from the eHarlequin challenge? They do have some enthusiastic readers! Though of course it’s always good to have someone who knows your taste exactly. And I’ll be sure to keep encouraging the excerpts on our site as well.

    Marian—wow, there’s a lot of curiosity here about the gift! I hadn’t realized it would spark so much imagination, but now you’re tempting me to open it. I might just have to break down on Friday (but no promises!).
    And I totally agree, these DDU authors are definitely exciting, talented and creative. They’ve done a fantastic job building excitement here and intriguing us. I can’t wait to read all the series myself! I’ve got them in the office and will be starting them soon. : )

    Lois—it can be wonderful to read the books early, but it is also frustrating because you can’t share the excitement with everyone else at that time! I’m just finishing the line-edit for PRIDE, the third book in Rachel Vincent’s “The Shifters” series, and when the turning point comes I can’t talk it over with anyone else (except Rachel of course!). But I’m really excited about it, and when it comes out, I think everyone else will be as well.

    And yes, I’d go into space in a shot! If I ever won the lottery, I’d be booking that ticket on one of those rockets in the hope I’d be able to experience it. I’m delighted to know that there are others of like mind out there!

    Shari—thanks for your comments! And yes, it’s a wonderful job. It’s never boring, and I always swear that one of these days I’ll be caught up, but it never happens. Still, I can’t imagine doing anything else!

    Ellen—another for the copy and excerpts! I’ll continue to encourage the excerpting. Hopefully we’ll be managing to tempt you into trying a bunch of new authors!

    Okay, more tomorrow!

  53. You certainly are a warm and enthusiastic bunch down under. One of these days I hope to get down there.

    Hope you do get the opportunity, Matrice. We are, indeed, a warm and friendly bunch in Australia and New Zealand. Trying to get someone’s attention down here is as simple as an “oy, mate.” 🙂 As for New York, my introduction to “getting attention” was the first time I tried to order in a deli. If I’d politely waited my turn, I would still be waiting for my bagel. 🙂

    As far as this blog goes, we’ve been having a blast chatting with readers over the past six months. They, too, are a warm and fun and well-read bunch. And it’s never a hardship to be enthusiastic about books!

    Bron

  54. Meant to comment on eBooks as well. Your comments about loving the feel of a book in your hand and seeing where you were up to and how much more to go…that really resonated with me. On the other hand the availability and pricing of eBooks is a huge factor for us on the other side of the world. Also being able to decide, buy, download and be reading a book within minutes, any time of night or day — how cool is that?

    I have to say eHQ is doing a great job with discounts and specials. Every week there’s a new selection of books at big discounts. So while I do love a “real” book in my hand, I’m also a (relatively recent) eBook convert. Love getting the new books instantly.

    Bron, admiring your willpower with the unopened gift. I’m the child who always shook, rattled, weighed, sniffed and prodded every gift under the Christmas tree.

  55. I was totally anti e-books for a very long time, but the cost of books down under can really be a handbrake when you read fast and when the libraries don’t necessarily carry all the books you love. So toward the end of last year I researched e-readers, but again, being down under made purchasing one of the newer models very difficult. Then, I discovered that my Palm (aka my lifeline to keep me sane and organised) could work as an e-book. I thought the screen would be too small to actually enjoy reading books on it but boy, oh boy, was I wrong. Now I love to read e-books on my Palm but I still buy my ‘keeper’ authors in print. I still love that anticipation (however short that may be for someone like me 😉 ) of stroking the cover, opening that first page etc. Just bliss. Mind you, being married to one who isn’t a reader and who likes the lights out to go to sleep, we’re all a lot happier since I started reading e-books. Now, I can read in bed until I’m sleepy without disturbing him. A win win in our household.

  56. Anonymous Says:

    Yvonne,

    Those wonderful BOOK LIGHTS work great too! They are tiny –hook onto the book and once you get them positioned — are a lifesaver for those wanna -read-moments, but don’t-want-to-disturb-others moment! And a skillfully wedged extra PILLOW in the middle as a barrier works too for deflecting shadows! LOL! Us readers gotta do what we gotta do!!!

    MARIAN

  57. Nina in Ohio Says:

    I find new authors via commentary and recommendations on blogs, although I still have a hard time with some genres even if the author is really good. Never going to be attracted to vampire stories for example.

    I also like to read the back blurbs when in the store and see if anything sounds interesting. Although, like many, I can’t spend as much as I used to on books, so I’m more careful about what I pick up. I recently participated in a couple of judging contests and found a couple of new authors I like that way. I get books from the library every week and if I find an author I like, I will buy her books from then on because if I find someone that I really like then I will re-read her stories – both for the enjoyment and, as an aspiring writer, to analyze why I liked the scene (book) so much.

  58. Nina in Ohio Says:

    To the DDU authors

    That mystery gift of Mary-Theresa’s sounds like a great seed for a story!
    I can see a lovely bauble in there……

  59. LOL! I’m not well known for my patience here at home…an unopened gift definitely wouldn’t have lasted past the hour given. My dh even tried to surprise me for our anniversary this year by setting up his R&R and flying home without me knowing…I found his itinerary last week when the airlines emailed it to our account for confirmation. He was disappointed but I told him he could find a little pretty thing for me at the Bazaar on base before he leaves. Last R&R he brought me home a tiny, gold horse figurine.

    I’d never ventured into the e-books until several of my critique partners sold. Now I’ve got their books downloaded on my laptop and when we go on vacation…I have an excuse to take my laptop. Hehe.

  60. Ooh, the fabulous Yvonne Lindsay is #4 on the Waldenbooks Bestseller list again this week with Jealousy & a Jewelled Proposition. Yeah, Yvonne! Congratulations!

  61. MARIAN STEVENS Says:

    YEAH YVONNE! Congrats!!

  62. WooHoo!! Yay, Yvonne! You go, girl!!

  63. Christa Says:

    WTG Yvonne

  64. good going Yvonne Gongrats again

  65. Typo it was suppose to be Congrats

  66. Mary-Theresa Says:

    I’m back! 🙂

    Ahh—my favorite thing! Authors who deliver on time! If there’s one thing I could beg of you, please be realistic about due dates and when you will get them in. If you know something is running late by more than a week or so, alert the editor so she can figure out if production needs to be crunched, or there’s time to juggle things. It makes all our lives easier!

    Yes to Essie. I loved the name Tamsin (from Thomasina) when I read it, and she blended poetry and history and description so well. Amazing how much she could say in those relatively short novels! I don’t remember that Darcy title, but my favorite was the heroine who made quilts, and Peter was the perfect hero there! I’m going to have to look for that Johansen—it doesn’t ring a bell, and it sounds like something that should! : )

    Paula—I just re-read Video Vixen from Elaine! It’s taking me FORever to empty my boxes of books because I just keep finding favorites I have to read. I wish I could keep them all—and I have to admit, that’s the part of e-books that I love the most. I can keep the books without having to dust!

    Jan—this is a fantastic website, but it takes a lot of work and effort. For me, having it clean, easy to read, updated quarterly perhaps, and with a clear list of titles and connections and awards and reviews and excerpts is good. I know authors sometimes find it difficult to build a “brag” corner with reviews, but that’s the thing to assign to a child, neighbor or even volunteer to swap with a fellow writer! (It’s also handy for editors when looking to vary quotes on covers or such!)
    And just think—in space I’d HAVE to lose weight! I’d bring up some chocolate though….

    We have tried some series 1st person POV titles, Paula, but they weren’t as compelling as they could have been. I think it’s because we need to see that internal side of the hero—particularly when he’s been in ultra-alpha mode! But I enjoy switching between the two as a story strikes me. And yep, I’m a Megan Hart fan as well!

  67. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Robyn L—some interesting comments there. But—and I’m just guessing here—that the chats and such are because you are a writer as well? Do you think it’s as essential for non-readers? Though computers and websites are becoming more ubiquitous, there’s also the thought that distracting the reader from diving into that book can be a bad thing, too! It’s difficult to find that right balance.

    I think I noticed the same thing, Yvonne! The copy for series books are generally written as or after the manuscript has been delivered and the copywriter has read the manuscript. For single titles, the copy is often written a year to eighteen months ahead, and based upon a synopsis or outline. And sometimes when the muse strikes, the book changes and there may not be time enough to change the copy as well. In the single title world, the production run of the back cover can be done before the files of the book are in. Particularly if the author is cutting it close to the wire when turning in the manuscript. So there might not have been any chance to go back and revise—though it should be caught and fixed on the mmpb reissue of the book I hope!

    I’m impressed by your complete collections, Christa! I used to be more of a complete-ist, but now I tend just to keep the favorites of each author. Not as much room in an apartment if I want to have some floor space as well!

    Waiting for the call, as editors, we are all about delayed gratification! We read the proposal and then wait months for the book. One of my authors played an evil trick on me last year. Catie was working on a trilogy, but was looking ahead to her next contract and sent in a proposal and short scene of the end of the third book. Which is when Jo and Morrison are getting together. Six and a half books into the series, and I’ve got to wait nearly three years to get that scene in context with the rest of the book! Now, that is something that could drive me crazy! (I’ve re-read that scene again, wondering what’s going to happen to get it there—and what the book after will be!)

    Hello, Olivia! Glad to see you visiting the other side of the world! You’re probably the only one who will have more trouble getting to a RWA conference than these women! Will you be in SF this year?

  68. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Yvonne, but this way it is a gift that really does keep on giving! I can smile and wonder every time I see it on my desk, and know there’s something good around the corner. Although there are a lot of things I want immediately (as my bills and waist will vouch for!), I can delay for some things. : )

    And my iPAQ has a couple of books on it. I have tried the Kindle and want to play with it some more—if it gets some upgrades. But that’s also for the convenience of not carrying manuscripts around! Now those can throw out a back!

    LOL, Bron! Yes, I guess NYers are an impatient bunch a lot of the time. But we also know what it’s like to be trapped on subway, bus, crowds and traffic, and so have to split the difference somehow! But we’re also eager to share our city with others. I’ve had visitors say they can stop a NYer and she’ll always try to help find the way to the destination. We like showing off our knowledge!

    Yep, true readers can always give some good tips on how to sneak in some extra reading time!

    Nina—you’re thinking like a writer and a reader! A great combination I think. 🙂 (Except for me who will never be a writer, and is just left admiring those who can—and do!)

    Chelle—Yes, e-books are great for going on vacations. Though I do like taking our books as well and leaving them on planes, in airports and hotels as the case may be. I’ve enjoyed them and hopefully another will as well! I do find, however, that traveling this days means bringing plugs and power along with everything else, and so having a real book (or six), means I can go to beach, pool or woods without worrying!

    Oh! Wonderful news, Yvonne! Congratulations!!!!!

    That’s the other best thing about romance writers—such genuine joy, camaraderie and encouragement whenever something good happens, and support if it’s needed as well.

  69. You guys…you’re making me blush. I’m stoked to be holding the #4 position again this week. 😀 Thanks for sharing the fun with me and Maxine, thanks for the announcement 🙂

    And, Matrice, I think I can understand the gift that keeps on giving concept. I like that. Problem is, I will forever wonder what on earth you have in that gift. Can we get you to make an announcement on eharlequin or somewhere when you do open it? Or can you at least let my editor, Diana, know so she can tell me? 😉

    I have to admit to a certain curiosity about the lead time in writing a back cover blurb for a single title book and the actual publication date. I never realised it could be so long. Must be a real problem with pantser-type writers.

    BTW, I like the sound of Catie. Heh!

    Re: Essie, I can remember reading some of her books as a teenage new to romance reader (in between reading the Flowers in the Attic books, still love a bit of creepy in my reading) and being just blown away that I was reading books set in my own country. She was an amazing writer, they say she made a huge conttribution to New Zealand tourism back in the day and I’d say that with her books still being released in special collections people are still enticed by her style.

  70. Congrats on hitting the bestseller list, Yvonne.

  71. Thank you Jane! It’s always a lovely feeling. You worry about it with every release (which is a waste of time, really, since as an author you have no control over the darn thing 🙂 ) but when you see the lists and you’re there it is a fabulous feeling.

  72. Oooh, just over an hour until the announcement of who win’s the MJ critique/phone call prize! Who’s excited?

  73. I’m excited, Yvonne. 🙂

    Jan, Tessa, and I sold our first books through sending our manuscripts direct to MJ in the pitch contest on eHarlequin, so we know the value of the critique/phone call prize here. It’s a wonderful chance to get your manuscript in front of the senior editor. If I wasn’t published, I’d be entering this one for sure.

    Good luck to all.

  74. Yvonne, the blush suits you. CONGRATULATIONS!

    Matrice, I have always been infatuated with NYC and I swear that the deli experience did not dim that at all. We had a fabulous, fabulous time.

    Ola, waving. So good to see you here.

    Now…on to the business of the morning. I have the list of entries at my right hand. The random integer generator in my left. Can someone take care of the drumroll, please…

  75. And the winner is…

  76. Yvonne searches frantically for drum…. argh!

    Would my fingers rolling on the desk do? 😀

  77. Bron, you’re killing me! Whose #30?

  78. Excellent, Yvonne, keep drumming while I consult the list of numbered names…

  79. It’s okay, I found a saucepan and a wooden spoon.

    DA-DA-DA-DA-DAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  80. Congratulations SANDRA!

  81. Woohoo! Yay for Sandra! Congratulations you lucky thing, you! Awesome 😀

  82. Congrats, Sandra!!! What an incredible opportunity!! WooHoo!!

  83. Congrats Sandra!! 🙂

  84. Congrats Sandra, Bron I guess the suspense for the pendant draw will be just like this 😀

  85. Congratulations, Sandra! Fantastic!!!!!

  86. Am just checking through the WordPress comments to see if we have further information and a contact email.

  87. Avi, I dare say we will attempt to drum up some suspense for that draw as well. 😉

    Bron

  88. ye gods, the tension is unbearable….

  89. ok that came in obviously after you’d drawn.
    congrats, Sandra! What a valuable prize this is.

  90. LOL, Jan! Is it too early for champagne? Silly question…it’s never too early for champagne, right? 😀

  91. Congrats, Sandra!! WooHoo!! What an awesome opportunity!

  92. yeah, I hope Sandra will have a glass for us. It might be cocktail hour, wherever in the world she is.

  93. Congrats, Sandra!! Good luck with your critique!!

  94. I’ve tried sending congrats but my posts are going through…

  95. While we’re waiting to hear more about our critique winner, back to the discussion…

    Earlier Matrice said “if it’s someplace I know well, I might be a little more critical” and I’m nodding my head in agreement. I suspect we’re all alike in this way, when we see something glaringly wrong because it’s our own local setting or a situation/occupation we know well. 99.9% of readers may not even notice but then there are the few who live in that area or who are experts in the field who pick that up.

    Once I received a long and detailed letter (page and line numbers cited) of what one reader perceived as errors in my book. Most were lost-in-translation between Australia-America things; a couple were valid points. Matrice, I wonder do you (the editors) receive many letters from readers pointing out mistakes in books?

    Bron

  96. Wow, congrats, Sandra! What I would’ve given to have that kind of prize prior to 2006…

    Sorry guys, have been absent the last two days attending a local two-day conference by an amaaaazing speaker.

    Okay, Yvonne, Mizz #4 – howsabout next time we’re in NY, we call in to Silhouette and demand Matrice open that pressie ? 😀 Or we could pin her down with manuscripts and do it ourselves 😉

    Whole collections – I have a few completes – Johanna Lindsey and Shirlee Busbee (with all the original gorgeous clinch covers and stepbacks), Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella, Jenny Crusie. Am working on Nora Roberts (she’s just so damn prolific!), Ruth Wind, Charlaine Harris. Ooh, and thanks to Bron I have all of hers now !

    Matrice – I’m an info kinda gal, so thanks for filling us in on the blurb process. And it’s a good-but-DAMN-HER! suspense from Catie, right? LOL

  97. I can’t seem to get through…I’ve sent several messages and it just says discard…

  98. Just received a WordPress-keeps-rejecting-my-comments email from one of our regulars, so this is a test…

  99. I just dug Yvonne from the Spam trap, Bron!

  100. congrats Sandra

  101. Congrats, Sandra!! WooHoo – You go girl!

  102. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Yvonne—

    How can I resist these pleas? I’m going to break down and open my gift tomorrow afternoon! I’ll post before I leave the office. 🙂

    And yes, the lead time in the single title field can make the covers and copy an…interesting and frustrating time for author and editor. Many a time I’ve been trying to draw details out of authors not willing to fully commit on details of plot or cover! Not often, I admit, but I have done some rewriting of copy just before the production version….

    Bron—

    It seems like you’ve been doing some delayed temptation here as well! Congrats to the winner and to all of you! Even if you entered and didn’t win, that doesn’t mean you can’t submit your manuscript when it’s ready. We are looking for new writers each and every year!

    And we do receive letters and sometimes have to blush at the errors. (The sun rising over the water in California, a map that was missing an entire state, people going from place to place without actually traveling, days passing, etc.) And letters from readers who are passionately sure that facts on health/traditions/locations are wrong, when it might be just a regional difference or preference. I was doing “the itsy-bitsy spider” with my nephews a few weeks ago when I was informed (more than once!) that it was “eensy-weensy” there was no “the” and my hand motions were all wrong. They forgave my errors when I tried to do it “right” but the American/Scotland differences permeated in many ways. So I understand that some things perceived as errors might not.

    In Medicals, I am always stopped by surgeons being called “Mr.” and characters “going to hospital” instead of “the hospital”—it’s very foreign to me! But it does also reinforce that this is another world.

    I know all of us do try to keep the actual errors to a minimum. And if I find typos or such, I’ll often send them to our production people so if the book gets reprinted, it will be corrected. Although you can’t rewrite your books, if there are actual errors found, do let your editor know and she can pass it through in the hopes of getting it corrected one day.

    Paula—At least Catie is prolific enough to satisfy some of my needs for her stories—and I’ve got her book from her other publisher to tide me over a bit. But yes, she knows how to tantalize—and does it deliberately for me!!!

    Enjoy!

  103. MARIAN STEVENS Says:

    CONGRATULATIONS SANDRA!

    Has anyone heard from the winner? Does she know?

    Yeah, Matrice will open the gift and tell all!

    Thanks so much for coming and sharing the view from your side!

    MARIAN

  104. Yay, Sandra!! Congrats and good luck!!

    A pubbed friend of mine received a nasty letter recently about a character she had with medical issues. The letter went on to bash my friend for her use of certain terms for the condition…she’d researched the medical terms and condition with a local doctor. Sometimes you just can’t please everyone.

  105. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Drum roll, please!

    I’ve opened my mystery gift, and it is lovely!

    It’s a small (just about 2″ across) round pill box with a silver base and a rose/purple top with an enamled purse and shoe on it. Appropriately enough, there are some “diamonds” decoarting the purse and shoe as well! Inside are three compartments (I might use it for earrings as well!).

    So it is a lovely gift and while I had the enjoyment of the mystery, I now have the joy of the use of the present!

    Thank you all for telling me what appeals to you in a new book, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with many of you in SF or in the future. And of course, through the wonderful Diamonds Down Under stories! I can’t wait to see what you will come up with next. 🙂

    Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

  106. Christa Says:

    Yvonne
    Now that Matrice has opened the surprise gift, I think she needs another unopened gift for her desk.

  107. Marian, we know who the Sandra is who won MJ’s prize and Jan is trying to contact her now.

    Hugs to all who didn’t win. It’s disappointing for each of you I know, but I’m a firm believer that things will happen as they are meant to happen. I wrote for over 20 years before I was published and I came close to selling a few times and then it would fall through. It was a tremendous disappointment at times and I never knew if I would ever sell. And then one day it happened. 🙂 So don’t give up trying. Enjoy the writing. That’s what I finally decided and soon after I sold to Desire. I couldn’t be happier.

  108. Matrice, what a lovely gift and yes, the diamonds are entirely appropriate. And what an excellent way to end our blog with you this week. Thanks so much for being here. It’s been a great week.

  109. Yay, Matrice! The water dripping on a stone technique…never fails! That aside, I’m so excited to hear what your gift is. It sounds beautiful. I have a collection of ‘pretties’ on my computer, including jewelled and enamelled heart shaped boxes so I have no trouble at all imagining your new treasure. Enjoy!

    Christa, good idea. I had wondered earlier on this week if we shouldn’t strike a bargain with Matrice about sending her another gift to ‘anticipate’ provided she open the one she’s tantalised us with 🙂 Seems unfair that she’s opened the parcel but now has a gap on her desk.

  110. congrats to Sandra.

  111. Wtg, Sandra.

  112. Bron saw the cricket today. WI won yupee! came close to the end some 4’s and 6’s saved the day I just love this game 😀

  113. azteclady Says:

    *applause* Congrats, Sandra!

  114. Matrice, the gift sounds beautiful. I love those little bejewelled boxes — so pretty and perfect for earrings. Thank you so much for sharing, and for the greater gift of your company and commentary this week.

    Re reader letters: I’m glad that the ones sharing typos and genuine errors are useful for changing the editorial for future reprints. I hadn’t thought of letting our editor know — definitely worth knowing.

    Chelle, sorry to hear about your friend’s nasty letter. I guess, along with rotten reviews, they are part of the job. And to balance that is the lovely weight of positive reader mail — one of the many delights of the job.

    Avi, glad you enjoyed the cricket. 😦 😦 😦

    Bron

  115. What a fabulous week! Congratulations, Sandra!!!

    And Yvonne, congrats on your Waldies listing!! I’ve just received your book and Olivia’s Desert Lord in my mail box this week. I am SO looking forward to them both!

    Matrice, your gift sounds gorgeous! I’ve so enjoyed reading through your responses here. Thanks for being so generous with your time. And another big thank you to the fabulous DDU gals – Bron, Tessa, Maxine, Jan, Paula and Yvonne – for organising it and their sensational series!! I’ve enjoyed every word.

    Robbie

  116. so that’s what it was, Matrice! LOL. how gorgeous! (sorry about the unwrapping… peer pressure much?) 😉

  117. In all the excitement over the draw of MJ’s critique and the gift unwrapping I almost forgot the drawing of this week’s prize from the comments. No suspense or drawing the moment out this time. The winner is…

    CHRISTA!

    Email me, Christa, and we’ll see if I can find 3 authors who are new to you!

    Thanks to everyone who participated in this lively and interesting discussion and special thanks again to our guest, Mary-Theresa Hussey.

    Bron

  118. Christa, congratulations on winning this week’s book prize. Bron, you’re going to have trouble finding 3 books that Christa hasn’t read yet. 🙂

  119. congrats christina

  120. azteclady Says:

    Yay, Christa!

    Again, thank you, DDU ladies! You throw the best parties 😀

  121. Matrice!!!
    I’m simply THRILLED you loved The Desert Lord’s Baby, and that it was so popular in the office, not to mention that Tashya think the series gets better!! 😀
    And YES, I’m coming to San Francisco, even though I’m trying not to think what I’ll go through to get there. :-/ But it’ll be worth it, as it always is!
    And oooh that you opened up your present! And it turned out to be such a lovely one! But I agree, now you need another mystery, another present to sit there on your desk unopened for a while, tantalizing you and firing your imagination with endless possibilities!

    Robyn
    Waving madly! And I hope you enjoy The Desert Lord’s Baby!!!

    Yvonne
    Mega congrats on the Waldies!!!!!!

    Sandra and Christa
    Mega congrats to you too on your wins!

    Thanks again to Matrice and to the DDU ladies for this wonderful blog and waving to everyone else! 😀

  122. Christa Says:

    Thank you all. At least this takes athe damper out of not winning the lotto. Off to email Bron right now to see if we can come up with some name of new to me authors

  123. Mary-Theresa Says:

    Oh, don’t worry–I’m sure to find another “mystery” gift to celebrate soon! Though I might have to keep giving myself a deadline to open them, so I do get to find out what the fun is all about! 🙂

    And thank you all for the warm welcome, feedback, and great insight on how to attract readers to new authors. It’s always wonderful to get feedback from consumers.

    And Bron and the rest know where to find me if more questions come up, though I know they do a great job on advice.

    Enjoy–and see some of you soon!

  124. wtg christa

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