In which I am at all the best parties! Don't worry, on the internet we always have a +∞

I’m over at the Book Smugglers’ today talking about some of my favorite historical romances of 2011 (and two of my favorite TV romances!), and some that I’m looking forward to for next year. Narrowing this list down was PAINFUL, this has been a really wonderful year for romance. Come on by and tell me about your own favorites!

AND I have some very exciting news! I’ve been asked to join the History Hoydens!! It’s one of my favorite historical research blogs so I’m thrilled and honored to be invited. I almost feel bad linking to this post because the only content is Isobel Carr being incredibly nice about me, but come on over and say hi, and if you haven’t checked out the blog before, have a look around. You won’t regret it! I’ll be posting every third Monday, either starting the 12th or January 2nd depending.

Giveaway!

I’ve got an interview up over at Kat Latham’s blog! She asked really cool questions which is always exciting–I may have gone into embarrassing depth on the whole “Jane Austen vs. Charlotte Bronte” thing. I’m also giving away a book!

A sample:

My relationship with Jane Austen is really complicated and my relationship with Charlotte Bronte is really simple.

I adore Jane Eyre on every level. Sometimes I’m a little embarrassed by how earnest Charlotte is about everything and wish she had more of a sense of humor. Okay, I’m done.

When it comes to Jane Austen, though, there’s a whole Dostoyevskian love-hate thing going on, where I love her and then I resent her because I love her and that gives her the power to reject me. Here’s the thing: I identify with Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. I talk too loud and I love things too much. I’m not particularly elegant or refined or reserved. I’d probably shamelessly ogle militia officers, too.

Wickham
Mmmmm!

No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die! (Also, some news.)

This one tiny thing turns Bond from a guy who laughs in the face of danger into a guy who laughs at his own dumb jokes in the face of danger. Which to me is exactly what’s so great about Moore’s Bond and (of course this is purely a personal preference) ratchets him up from “moderately sexy” to “someone please fetch my fainting couch.”

So first, some news: the release date of A Lily among Thorns has been pushed back to September.

I know it sucks to have to wait longer, and I’m sorry to tell you this so late in the game. But this means that the e-book and the paperback will come out at the same time, which I think in the end is good for the book. And I really want this book to have the best chance that it can, so I’m actually pretty happy, but I do apologize to folks who were excited about getting the book in the next couple of months. I really appreciate your patience through all of the changes that have happened with this book! I can only hope that you’ll find it worth the wait.

And now for something completely different! Yesterday I was working on this post for favoritethingEVER.com about The Persuaders!. In it, I quoted something Roger Moore said in a British TV special about him. There was another quote that stuck with me:

“Sean played the throwaway line not quite as deliberately as I do. I sort of tip the audience off and say ‘here comes a joke.’ It was a surprise coming from Sean. That was the difference between us.”

This one took me a while to work out. At first I was dubious. Their Bonds are so different! How could this one tiny thing be the key? But I shouldn’t have doubted Roger Moore.

Because this one tiny thing turns Bond from a guy who laughs in the face of danger into a guy who laughs at his own dumb jokes in the face of danger. Which to me is exactly what’s so great about Moore’s Bond and (of course this is purely a personal preference) ratchets him up from “moderately sexy” to “someone please fetch my fainting couch.”

Roger Moore smirking behind a martini glass

I’ve realized over the past few years how important it is to me that a hero enjoy himself. Because for me, a huge part of the romantic fantasy is feeling like I would enjoy myself with him.

Which doesn’t mean he has to be happy. I love angst as much as the next girl, I just prefer that my hero take some time out to have fun in between his moments of self-doubt/ennui/crushing remorse/whatever (e.g. Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

(If you want me to love a hero who doesn’t have fun, the easiest way to do it is to make him so broody/serious that I enjoy affectionately laughing at him, e.g. Angel from Buffy. Or Batman.)

Who is your favorite Bond? Why? Does that correspond to your favorite type of hero in a romance? (Just please, don’t insult Roger Moore’s acting skills in your comment! There seems to be a lot of that going around and I’m starting to feel a wee bit protective…)

It's the most wonderful time of the year

EEEEEE it is December 24th! This means two important things:

1. My “Best Books of 2010, Most Anticipated of 2011” post is up at the Book Smugglers!

I won’t be around till later this evening to answer comments, but I am excited to discuss some of my new favorite books and TV shows with you, and also some of the freaking awesome stuff happening next year! Doctor Who Season 5 got a mention in the bonus “Best TV romances” section, which brings me to:

2. The Doctor Who Christmas special is tomorrow! EEEEEEE anything could happen! Here, have an adorkable video of the cast doing a dramatic rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”:

Me talk pretty one day

So I don’t have time for a post with actual content because:

1. My deadline for A Lily Among Thorns is coming up in a few weeks and I am revising every spare minute that I have. The only reason I was able to snatch this time to post is that I’m printing out the MS now to do a hard-copy edit and my printer is REALLY SLOW.

2. I’m going to see David Sedaris speak tonight and I have to leave soon to pick up my friend for dinner! I’m so excited. I’m hoping he’ll talk about his mother since it’s Mother’s Day. I LOVE his essays about his mother. Although right now I miss my own mother so much that if he does talk about his, I’ll probably cry. (Also, happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! Moms are great.)

HOWEVER, in the meantime, here are links to some stuff:

1. Ten of my favorite romances, over at Dear Author! What an awesome new feature, I LOVE hearing about other people’s favorite books.

2. An interview with me over at The Romance Reader! I talk about my introduction to romances, my day job, my attempts at writing “serious” literary fiction in college, and a bunch of other stuff. An excerpt:

What led you to write romance?

I’ve been writing since I was a tiny child–after a certain age it was fanfiction for classic British lit, mostly. My first attempt at a novel was a sequel to Ivanhoe when I was ten. I wanted Rebecca to marry Brian. I got into romance when I was twelve. My middle school had a little career internship thing in seventh grade, and they paired me up with a local writer. She in turn introduced me to Carola Dunn, another local author who was writing traditional Regencies at the time (she’s doing mysteries now). I read everything by Dunn in the local library, some of it more than once. The following year a friend loaned me my first Georgette Heyer, and it was all over.

3. My thread is up at the Barnes & Noble forum! Come on over and say hi! (And if you have any questions about In for a Penny, this is a great chance to ask them, the thread is spoiler-friendly!)

4. And don’t forget about my contest! I’m taking suggestions for the plot of a short story set in the In for a Penny world. You can submit ideas through May 31st, and then I’ll pick my favorite and write the story over the summer and post it September 1st.

Do/did any of you watch Smallville? I watched some old episodes with a friend this week, and I forgot how incredibly wonderful Lex is! It’s kind of frustrating because it’s like the show figured out that he looks beautiful and heartbreaking when he’s sad and/or terrified, and then they had him do that every week. On the one hand, I enjoy it, but on the other hand, sometimes I just want him to be happy! I want the episode “Lex And Clark Go On A Picnic In Lex’s Porsche And Nothing Bad Happens.”

It’s a great lesson for a writer, though, I think: if your villain is arguably your most compelling character and you don’t make him clearly villainous enough, it makes your good guys look like jerks. And also, you need to have a good balance between bad things happening and good things happening, or your reader gets worn out. (A few reviewers of Penny mentioned this rule, actually, which I think is fair; I did throw a lot at Nev and Penny. If I had it to do over again, I’d probably add a couple more scenes of them just being happy together…although what I’d cut to make space, I don’t know.)

Aaaaand, gotta run! I’ll be back with content soon, I promise. I’m even talking to a copyeditor friend about doing some guest posts, it’s gonna be great!

Fresh Fiction and April 22nd: "Fighting Words"

Today I have a piece up at Fresh Fiction about the difficulty of taking feedback on your writing. I’m giving away a book in the comments! And in honor of that, here’s a poem by Dorothy Parker. We writers have our priorities, don’t we?

###

Fighting Words
by Dorothy Parker

Say my love is easy had,
  Say I’m bitten raw with pride,
Say I am too often sad —
  Still behold me at your side.

Say I’m neither brave nor young,
  Say I woo and coddle care,
Say the devil touched my tongue —
  Still you have my heart to wear.

But say my verses do not scan,
  And I get me another man!