We Have A Winner!

The winner of Cheryl Bolen’s historical romance is Laurie G.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  Be sure to drop by on Friday when I host contemporary romance author, Juliana Stone.  She has a fantastic new book out and you’ll want to hear all about it!

Guest Author: Cheryl Bolen & Giveaway!!

I’m so pleased to have acclaimed historical and romantic suspense writer Cheryl Bolen on the blog today.  Cheryl is the author of more than a dozen Regency-set historical romance novels. Her books have placed in several writing contests, including the Daphne du Maurier, and have been translated into 11 languages. She was named Notable New Author in 1999, and in 2006 she won the Holt Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent) for Best Short Historical Novel. Her books have become Barnes & Noble and Amazon bestsellers.

Cheryl also writes romantic suspense as well as Regency romance, so let’s find out about that, too.

You had a distinguished career as a journalist before you began writing romance.  Why the switch and why the Regency Period?

I didn’t consciously decide to switch. I wrote the two simultaneously for many years. My first efforts at fiction were romantic suspense, but I wasn’t able to sell those. After I sold my first book, a historical romance titled A Duke Deceived, in 1997, I just decided I’d rather write fiction exclusively. I still like doing articles and blogging about Regency England, which is all non-fiction.

You’ve recently taken another branch in your career – writing for Amazon’s Montlake imprint.  Was it hard to switch gears from historical romance to romantic suspense?

When Montlake originally approached me to write for them, it was on the strength of my historical romance sales, but then when they said they were looking for serial authors, I instantly thought romantic suspense was a better fit for serials. Before I sold my first book, I’d had a lot of success with romantic suspense in contests for unpublished authors, but after I sold a historical, I put all my eggs in one basket, which isn’t the best thing to do for job security. After I started indie publishing some of my out-of-print historicals, I decided to publish some—but not all—of the romantic suspense novels that had never found a publisher. Not every one was well written enough, but surprisingly, the first book I ever wrote (Capitol Offense) when I was in my early twenties didn’t suck too badly. After re-editing it and updating it a lot, it’s now out, and the reviews have been favorable.

What can you tell us about the new book.  It’s in serial form, right?

So glad you asked about my serial, Vanessa! In my Kindle Serial I’ve combined two of my favorite things: traveling to see England’s stately homes with researching English history. My lighthearted romantic suspense, Falling for Frederick, is about a lovely doctoral student who comes across the dead body of the curator of archives in the basement of Siddley Manor, owned by Frederick Percy, Lord of Rockford. Together, my heroine and Frederick have to crisscross England, searching stately homes for a priceless medieval artifact which may lead them to the murderer.

I’d like to say a word here about the Kindle Serials. At present, they offer a new episode of approximately 10,000 words (3 chapters for me) every two weeks. They may be changing the frequency to every week. Whenever someone purchases one of these serials, they pay a one-time fee of $1.99 and automatically get all episodes that have thus far been published. Then each new installment is free. When mine is finished at the end of April, Falling for Frederick will be available as a full-length novel as well as an audio book. It won’t be available internationally until that time. Currently, it’s only available at Amazon.

What’s up next in Cheryl’s writing world?

I’ve been catching my breath. I just finished writing the serial. I had two books come out in October, including a Regency-set inspirational romance (Marriage of Inconvenience) for Love Inspired Historical, a division of Harlequin. Like with Montlake, the senior editor there asked me to write for Love Inspired. She was a joy to work with, and I’ve found a huge market of readers who don’t necessarily want their romances sexy. I need to do proposals for a second stately home murder featuring Frederick and Antonia as well as Book 3 in my well-received Regent Mystery series.

Sounds great!  Folks, Cheryl is graciously giving away a copy of her new Harlequin book, Marriage of Inconvenience.  To be eligible to win, just tell us which genre you prefer, historical romance or romantic suspense, and a bit about why.  Or do you like both?

And by sure to stop by Cheryl’s website for info on all her books!

We Have A Winner!

The winner of Laurie London’s novella, Assassin’s Touch, is Skye.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guest this week will be historical and romantic suspense author, Cheryl Bolen. Be sure to stop by!

We Have Winners!

The winner of the Pamela Clare contest is Kerry.  And Jeanne Miro also wins a copy of Cheryl Bolen’s book, One Golden Ring.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guests coming up this week are historical romance author Darcy Burke and suspense author Robin Covington.  Be sure to stop by!

Guest Author: Cheryl Bolen And The Return of the Sweet Regency

I’m so pleased to have historical romance author Cheryl Bolen guest-blogging with us today.  Cheryl’s first book was published 1998, and she’s been writing wonderful, award-winning Regency romances ever since.  Remember all those great traditional Regencies we used to love to read but publishers decided they didn’t like to publish?  Well, Cheryl is here to tell us what happened to them.

Take it away, Cheryl!

Sweet Regencies Return

The axiom that everything in publishing is cyclical has never been more evident than in the recent proliferation of “traditional” Regency romances sitting at the top of ebook bestseller lists.

When I joined Romance Writers of America in 1993, almost every romance publishing house was looking to acquire Regency romances. The two most successful of these houses were the Signet Regencies and the Zebra Regencies published by Kensington. These books were fairly short, comparable in size to the old category romance line of Harlequin Romance and just as sweet as that line.

During the 1990s especially, the book clubs at these publishing houses had a large list of subscribers for these Regencies.

Unfortunately for the authors of the books, the advances publishers paid were low—hence, the need to keep luring new authors.

It was also during the 1990s that the success of the longer, sexier Regency historical exploded, and many authors—like still-perennial bestseller Mary Balogh, who started her career writing wonderful Signet Regencies—jumped ship. Others like Mary Jo Putney and Candice Hern followed.

As the reader’s taste for the juicier, meatier book increased, sales of the sweet Regencies decreased. One by one, the publishers, such as Fawcett, started dropping their Regency line. Signet and Zebra Regencies limped into the new millennium, determined to keep their lines viable. Around 2004, both houses—by then suffering diminished print runs—revamped their covers in an effort to look less old-timey. In 2005 Zebra produced some dynamic covers for its Regency imprint (check Victoria Hinshaw’s Ask Jane), but it was not enough to overcome lagging sales. By the next year, no mass market paperback Regencies were being published.

What a difference seven more years made. By 2011, many, many readers who could no longer purchase their sweet Regency love stories in bookstores turned to reading devices like Kindle, Nook, and I-Pad and started downloading ebook reissues of out-of-print Regency romances. Former Signet authors Candice Hern and Elena Greene and former Zebra authors Shannon Donnelly and Mary Kingsley had multiple number one bestsellers in the Amazon Kindle Store in historical romance.

Many other “sweet” Regency originals made it to number one on Amazon, including my own The Earl’s Bargain, Christmas at Farley Manor, and His Lordship’s Vow. (I had published steamier Regencies in mass market paperback, but I like the sweeter stories just as well.)

Former Zebra author (and Rita winner) Alicia Rasley is now bringing back all her Regencies, and many more, like Hinshaw, are making plans to reissue theirs. (Sometimes getting back an author’s rights from the publisher can be an arduous process. And when we do get them, we don’t own the original covers.)

The beauty of ebooks is that there’s no competition for shelf space; therefore, there is room for books to suit all reading tastes. And those tastes seem to have come full circle over the last two decades.

Cheryl Bolen in the award-winning, bestselling author of both sweet and sexy Regencies. Her July release is Book 2 in her romantic, light-hearted Regent Mysteries series. Titled A Most Discreet Inquiry, it could be described as “sweet.”

Vanessa, here.  Cheryl, thanks so much for being with us today.  And I’d like to encourage readers to stop by your website for details on all your books, including buy links and excerpts.

News Flash!  Cheryl is giving away a copy of one of her books.  Just leave a comment for a chance it win a copy of One Golden Ring, which won the prestigious Holt Medallion.