Almost New Year PARTAY

The Talon of the HawkAs the year draws to a close, we’re in the final round of The Hottest Heroine Cover contest. We all know Ursula is the hottest – and not because she has a big-ass sword. And she’s running second to a drowning girl. We can’t have that! You can vote and enter the giveaway or not, as you please.

Tonight – December 30 – from 7-9 pm Eastern Time (6-8 CT/5-7 MT/4-6 PT, for those of you who hate math), I’ll be hanging with some of my favorite naughty authors on Facebook for a Not Quite New Year’s Eve/Saved The Best For Last Facebook Party. The party crew includes Anne Calhoun, Tessa Dare, Megan Mulry, Miranda Neville and Maisey Yates. Expect lots of wordswag, great giveaways and plenty of saucy conversation. Stop on by and have some pre-New Year’s Eve fun!

 

Some of the Things I Learned at #RT14 – Part 1

Deanna Raybourn, Helen Kay Dimon and Jeffe KennedyI got to sit a few minutes at Cafe Beignet with Helen Kay Dimon and Deanna Raybourn during the RT Booklovers Convention. Both such smart writers and lovely, charming women. I also scored a copy of Helen Kay’s new book, Mercy, which I’ve been gobbling up! So good.

Sunday on Word Whores, I mentioned that this conference brought me into so many great conversations about the industry. I’d like to talk a little more about that today.

First, I should mention that the amazing E and Has Bookpushers are running a seven-day Release Week Bonanza Giveaway for me, to celebrate the release of The Mark of the Tala a week from today! These gals are so awesome to me. You should run over and tell them so, even if you don’t want to win a fabulous prize or follow the Vacation Guide to The Twelve Kingdoms. ūüėÄ

I already waxed on about how grateful I am that Megan Mulry put together the group she did. A lovely and gracious person, Megan also possesses a gift for bringing together really wise, interesting people. Anne Calhoun, whose books I’ve always loved but I only had met glancingly, turned out to be as super smart and insightful as her stories. At one point she said:

“Unlike love, there’s not enough power to go around. For one group to gain power, another must lose some.”

That became a resonant theme through the week. She also talked about her Masters Thesis, which traces the changes in women finding their own agency through the roles, desires and expectations of the heroines in romance novels. I really want to read that.

Also sharing our house was Janet Webb, who reviews for Heroes and Heartbreakers. She had an amazing and insightful perspective on the romance genre – as someone with an extensive understanding of both the canon and emerging works and writers. We had a terrific conversation on the role of condoms in romance novels, how editors and publishers really insist on couples using them, which she finds artificial as a reader. She’s since sent me a fascinating article on an HIV-prevention drug that’s vastly underused. So interesting. I want to work this into a story now.

 

In a terrific stroke of serendipity, Janet was also reading The Mark of the Tala for a H&H First Look. She shared her notes and impressions about the book and gave me insight into my own story. Amazing experience. Janet’s longtime friend and avid reader, Andrea also stayed with us, bringing enthusiasm and sunshine to the week. Sasha H @caribbeanaccent

Another book blogger housemate, Sasha Harrinanan, who does Caribbean Accent Book Reviews, seemed to be out and about most of the week, gathering her prodigious pile of books.¬†That’s her by the gate to our French Quarter home. She came and went like the went, but such a delight to get to know a little better.

Rounding out our blogger contingent was Julia Broadbooks. She also writes for Heroes and Heartbreakers. We’ve talked on Twitter many times, but this was our first to really get to know each other. Absolutely delightful person.

I’d never met Lexi Ryan before, but she’s just terrific. A savvy marketer, Lexi sat down with me and filled my head with excellent advice from her perspectives on self-publishing and marketing. She is not one of the loud, strident voices in the Indie publishing community and she’s doing very well for herself. I loved getting her perspective. Her best advice? “Be everywhere.” We talked about serials and what works and what doesn’t.

She also taught us how to play Cards Against Humanity and may have spent some time stroking her Bigger, Blacker Box. Just saying.

Historical romance author Miranda Neville was also someone I’d never read or met before. I came home with two of her books and tremendous respect for her, her body of work and Georgette Heyer. Seriously, it’s totally Miranda’s fault that I now have summer reading to improve my understanding of the canon.

Also new to me was Lisa Dunick, PhD professor of English, Romance Novel Center editor and also writer of YA as Lisa Maxwell. Another sharp, savvy woman with a terrific understanding of books and genre, Lisa contributed to my broadening view that the loudest voices in our industry don’t comprise the majority opinions.

More to come!

 

Four Colly Birds – WTH??

R is for REBEL COVER-FINAL Today I have a very special New Friend Megan Mulry visiting. 

Megan started following me on Twitter first (who knows why??), something I discovered when I began chatting with her via mutual friends. We’ve since discovered a reciprocal love for the other’s books (which does not always happen, sadly) along with similar sensibilities. She’s become a bright spot in my online world and one of the wonderful developments 2013 brought.

AND she’s giving away an ARC of her new bestseller, which lesser mortals won’t lay paws on until February, so fire up your commenting engines people!!

 *****

Hi Jeffe!

¬†I’m so excited you asked me to be a part of your Twelve Days of Christmas blog! It didn’t take me long to choose my day, because what the hell is a colly bird anyway? I needed to know!

¬†As usual, I’m all hung up on words. When you first posted about this blog idea, the four birds were listed as ‘colly’ birds and I was all, “What the‚ÄĒ?” When you posted the next time, it said “calling” birds and I thought, “Ah. That’s more like it, right?”

 Wrong.

¬†You kindly sent me this link explaining the long-standing debate. It’s colly birds. Full stop. Which of course meant I had to venture over to Samuel Johnson’s dictionary to verify (no help whatsoever; ‘collie’ and ‘colly’ were dogs), then to the OED to get some serious fore-word-play on:

 

So the blackbird theory stands up. But coal-dust and soot got me thinking, because (*fist pump*) that is also the origin of one of our mutual favorites: smut.

The thing I love about words is: they don’t just tell the story, they are the story. Take smut, for example (yes please!). The history of the word smut is delightfully linked with all that dirty sooty goodness too:

  

¬†So we’ve got the ‘colly’ part all set: those birds were really four sexy little tarts.

¬†Wait! Birds, you say? Well, now I’ve got Michael Caine in Alfie and Mike Myers in Austin Powers yammering on about sexy birds. But was it a 60s thing? Referring to women as chicks and birds? Back to the salt mines I went:

 

That’s Samuel Johnson right there. That’s like‚Ķold (first published 1755). And not even a mention of the “feathered tribe.” And here is a subsequent definition from OED:

 

*tries and fails avoid bird/bride/bryd/burd rabbithole…twenty minutes later…*

So, right! Where was I? Oh, yes. Basically, I rest my case. It’s all right there in black and white. Those four colly birds were a bunch of dirty whores out for a good time with the leaping lords. Four birds‚Ķten lords‚ĶI like the odds.

Next year, I’ll be researching the French Hens (arrogant bitches).

Oh, and since this should probably have something to do with my upcoming book (or something) I am giving away a super-top-secret advance reader copy of my February release, R IS FOR REBEL, to a random commenter. Why? Because the heroine, Abigail Heyworth, is one of my all-time favorite colly birds: she likes her sex smutty and to keep her hero…leaping. To win a copy, please let me know: who are your favorite colly-bird, sex-loving heroines?

 Happy caroling everyone!

PS And just for kicks, here’s a portrait of the aforementioned Samuel Johnson,painted by Joshua Reynolds, which I’m attaching because he’s so totally reading smut, right? No question. How do I know? Because he looks exactly like I do when I’m reading Jeffe’s books and tell my husband, “This is research, damn it!”

 

 

 

Twelve Days of Gifts!

CM-3152-SSToday marks the start of my Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway! For BaGOfH_CIAAuf91the next twelve days, I will be giving away special treats to mark the countdown to Christmas. Yes, I know that the first day of Christmas is really Christmas Day and it counts up from there – I promise they do it correctly in my naughty holiday novella, Five Golden Rings.

But this is way more fun!

And, because this is the season of appreciating good friends, look for some of my writer buddies to be participating too! More details as time passes….

So, for today’s Goodie Giveaway, rather than 12 Drummers Drumming, I’m offering a Create Your Own Cookie Collection from Wolferman’s Bakery, plus a digital copy of Five Golden Rings. (Or one of my other books, if you already have one.)

At the very end, I’ll draw a from all the entries and draw a winner for this really pretty sterling silver Partridge in a Pear Tree pendant (or a $100 gift card, if overseas shipping becomes an issue).

To enter just comment on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. Share the Facebook posts, Retweet the tweets, say something about how much you like the author or books. Either tag me there or comment on this post to tell me what you did. Easy peasy! I’ll draw each day’s winner the following morning and the Grand Prize Winner on Christmas!

The schedule so far!

12/13   12 Drummers Drumming

A dozen Wolferman’s cookies and a digital copy of Five Golden Rings!

12/14    11 Pipers Piping

Darynda Jones, $25 iTunes gift card and a digital copy of any of her books!

12/15    10 Lords-a-Leaping

Carolyn Crane with a special delivery of her favorite candy treats and an ARC of her brand new romantic suspense Off the Edge!

12/16    9 Ladies Dancing

Tawna Fenske, who I can vouch is great in bed, will be giving away a copy of Believe It or Not!

12/17    8 Maids-a-Milking

Katie Lane with goodies and copies of her Cowboy Christmas books!

12/18    7 Swans-a-Swimming

Debut author Audra North is offering a $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N along with a copy of her debut book Falling for the CEO!

12/19   6 Geese-a-Laying

Anne Calhoun will be giving away some Ghirardelli chocolates, an ARC of Jaded – not out until February! – a copy of Uncommon Passion

12/20    5 Gold Rings

Something very special from Jeffe

12/21    4 Colly Birds

Megan Mulry with a hot-off-the-press ARC of her upcoming release R Is for Rebel!

12/22    3 French Hens РTBA

12/23    2 Turtle Doves

My fabulous agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg is offering two lovey-dovey opportunities for a query and first chapter critique!

12/24   And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Pendant Grand Prize!