Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Summer of Mary Jo Putney, part 2

Almost done with the final book in the Fallen Angels extended series, The Bartered Bride. After that, Loving a Lost Lord, the new book in her next series. As I am given to ah, discussions, of such and visited my friend, Mary, :waves: this past weekend, and we always talk romance books, expect some ponderings on that subject soon. (Sidebar: apparently Eloisa James’ next book is *not* in a series. That alone sticks it on my TBB list.) Still not sure how/if Ms Putney’s first two books, The Bargain and The Rake relate to the Fallen Angels (satellite books?) they will come after Loving a Lost Lord.

Apart from Putney, and partly thanks to, I’m on an exotic settings kick at the moment. Partly from reading and partly because I need to research the British in early 19th century India for my next historical. Most of what I’m finding right now covers the Raj, which is a few decades later than what I need, but I will persevere.

Talking with Mary always brings me right back to the early days of my romance reading life. Historicals were still divided between historical romances and traditional Regencies, the early 19th century seeming almost reserved (in both senses of the word) for the trads, and the big, thick historicals could happen anytime or anywhere. Case in point, Mary asked what period Johanna Lindsey wrote in, and my response was “most of them.” Variety ruled. Favorite Author’s new book might take place on a Carribbean plantation in the middle of the seventeenth century, while her last one was set during the Alaskan gold rush, and the next would be Moorish Spain or the French Revolution or maybe Ancient Rome. (Laura Kinsale, I have not forgotten your tease of wanting to write a Roman book. I promise readers would buy it.) I loved the variety and would love to see a return to that.

So far, I’ve written in 1720 New York, 1900 England and Italy, 16th century Cornwall and 17th century Netherlands and Isle of Man. Current time travel ms is modern day NYC and early 16th century Scottish Highlands. I like to get around. I plan to get around even more. Which begs the question(s): where/when would you like to see a historical romance set if there were absolutely no restrictions (other than the historical designation?) Writers, if you *knew* it would sell, what era would you pick for your next book? Extra points if you can name three different ones. Because I’m nosy like that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Summer of Putney, Part One

I like for my summer reading to have a theme, and most often that means some sort of schooling myself in the classics of historical romance. This summer’s focus is Mary Jo Putney.

While I do prefer a book that is complete in itself, I had set myself a broader study of collecting and reading the first books in many seminal (no puns, kthanx) historical series. Many of those were not intended as series starters, but the spirit or the market moved, and companion volumes followed. In pure business terms, my goal was to find out what made those founding books successful.

No such survey would be complete without Mary Jo Putney’s Fallen Angels. When I found a copy of Thunder and Roses in the UBS, I snagged it, and there it sat in my study shelf until I heard its call and soon snagged the rest. Also the Bride trilogy, as I count that as connected. The Bargain and The Rake are also in that shelf, with the Silk trilogy, and her return to the straight historical, Loving a Lost Lord, is the tippy top of my TBR mountain…after I finish The Bartered Bride. Phew.

Accordingly, I dub this my Summer of Putney. For the last couple of months, my default “don’t know what to read next” book has been a Putney, going through the Fallen Angels and then the Brides in order. (For those who don’t know me, I must read linked books in chronological order, or mountains will crumble, puppies will die and *your* celebrity crush of the moment will wake up ugly. But really, I do it for the puppies.)

More on that later, but for now, I am insanely delighted to have found this in my vault; Mary Jo Putney's one and only western novella. Extra points for having an Anita Mills title in the same volume. (Anita, if you're out there and ever want to come back to historical romance, you can bunk at my place.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Happy mid-July. This is the month that marks mid-summer in our family, and a good time for changes, but you may have guessed that from the presence of a new post, the new look of the blog and the new title. Or the old title. I'll explain.
A previous blog of mine was titled "Typing With Wet Nails" because I usually was, and my inner polish diva has resurfaced, bringing with her a desire to get back to the basics of how I create. Which spotlights something I've ignored for a while. I like pretty things. Normal for many girls, appropriate for a romance writer, and a part of me that deserves to be indulged. Plus I flat out like the title, so it is back.
The focus will be shifting as well, with less real life talk and more about the romance genre in general, and my contributions and observations in particular. My first exposure to historical romance was reading my mother's copy of The Kadin by Bertrice Small, and found what I would be reading and writing for the rest of my life. Mumblecough years and four e-books later, that love of the romance genre is still strong and getting stronger.
I love alpha heroes and equally alpha heroines, history and romance that depend on each other and a heap of angst on the way to a well deserved happily ever after. The same as I love closing a book with a happy sigh that things ended right, I also love typing "the end" after telling such a tale of my own. Romance is the genre where the woman always wins, and I consider that a very good thing. If I can spend a few hundred pages exploring other times and places, then even better.
As with all changes, it takes a while to get things settled, so please pardon my dust (but it's pretty, sparkly dust) and drop by as you please. Welcome to new readers and welcome back for those who have been checking in. I hope you'll like it here, because I certainly do.