We Have Winners & Another Great Contest!!

We have two winners today.  The winner of Ashley March’s latest historical, Romancing The Countess, is Kendra.  And the winner of Tina Gabrielle’s fabulous romance, Lady Of Scandal, is Maggie Jagger.  Congratulations, ladies!  I’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks to all the readers who stopped by to visit with Tina and Ashley.  My guests next week include Susan Lyons and Cynthia Eden.

And check out the great contest I’m running with several other romance authors–it’s a really awesome one.  All the details are below.

Recent visitors to my blog might not realize that I’m running a FABULOUS contest with some of my writing pals – all talented authors.  We’re giving away the entire signed backlists of some of your favorite romance writers, including Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn.  Amazing, right?  Just keep reading to get all the details on how you can be entered in this contest.

There comes a time in a romance reader’s life when something amazing happens. Something awesome. Something really, really cool that makes you emit a high-pitched shrieking sound which then causes everyone around you to gape and stare. That shriek often sounds something like SQUEEEEEEEEE.

Dear friends and fellow romance readers, you might have a SQUEE moment ahead in your future.

Five huge romance fans who just happen to be romance authors as well have decided that we want to give you the opportunity to receive complete, SIGNED backlists of one of your very favorite authors (and yes, that means EVERYTHING they’ve ever written).

The romance fans/authors who are participating are: Ashley March, Shana Galen, Lila DiPasqua, Heather Snow, and moi, Vanessa Kelly.

The complete, SIGNED backlists they’re giving away are books from the following authors (henceforth known as “The Amazing Authors”):

Lisa Kleypas

Julia Quinn

Elizabeth Hoyt

Cynthia Eden

Julie Garwood

Before we can give these awesome prizes away, though, we need you to show how fanatical of fans you are. Since we know that you’re already following The Amazing Authors on Facebook (you are, aren’t you??), all you need to do is follow the authors who want to give away these complete, signed backlists to you. We all have to reach a certain number of followers; once that happens, then we will run a Facebook giveaway on our individual pages where you can enter to win the complete, signed backlists from the Amazing Authors.

(Please note, you must follow and enter on each of the five Facebook pages to be eligible to win each backlist. The giveaway won’t happen until AFTER the goals are met for ALL of us, and the giveaways will be open to US and international residents! All books will be in English as print books; if any books in the Amazing Authors’ backlists are currently our of print, used books will be purchased for those titles so that the backlist will be complete.)

Ashley March (must reach 2500 total “Likes” in order to give away Lisa Kleypas backlist)

Shana Galen (must reach 2000 total “Likes” in order to give away Julia Quinn backlist)

Lila DiPasqua (must reach 3500 total “Likes” in order to give away Elizabeth Hoyt backlist)

Vanessa Kelly (must reach 2000 total “Likes” in order to give away Cynthia Eden backlist)

Heather Snow (must reach 2500 total “Likes” in order to give away Julie Garwood backlist)

Those are the rules! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell any fellow romance fan you know. Soon, 5 lucky winners will win a complete, signed backlist from a favorite author that will make you SQUEEEEE!

Now get out there and start liking those pages!

The fabulous Ashley March & Romancing The Countess!!

I SO thrilled to have one of my favorite historical romance writers on the blog today.  It’s my good pal Ashley March, and she’s here to give us the inside scoop on her latest book, Romancing The Countess.  Take it away, Ashley!

Insider Information: Behind the Title

Thanks so much to Vanessa for hosting me today as I continue celebrating the release of my newest book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS! Vanessa is one of my very favorite fellow romance authors, and it’s such an honor for me to visit with her and her readers.

One of the questions I see romance readers ask most frequently is how a title was chosen for a certain book. Did the author come up with the title? Was it the publisher’s decision? Why that title specifically? The topic of titles seems to make the rounds among readers quite often, especially if there’s a title that grabs a reader’s attention or makes them roll their eyes in annoyance.

Of course I can only speak from my own experience, but today I’d like to tell you some insider information about how a title is chosen. Here’s a little sneak peek behind the scenes:

My first book, which was published in October 2010, was originally titled SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY. I chose this title because I thought it matched the tone of the book, I loved the words—they weren’t like any other romance novel title—and this line from a Byron poem has a connection to a poem Philip writes for Charlotte. My publisher, which has obviously done a lot of research and knows what sells and what doesn’t, thought that this title was too quiet and wasn’t sexy enough. In the end, the title they decided upon was SEDUCING THE DUCHESS.

My second book, the one we’re celebrating with this book tour, was originally titled AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART. I chose this title because, again, I thought it matched the tone of the book and I like the play of the word “affair”, considering that the hero’s and heroine’s spouses had an affair. My publisher, however, thought the title was too overused (most people know the phrase affaire de coeur, yes?). We went back and forth again and again and could never come up with a title we both liked. I believe I suggested titles with the word “veil” in them because of the significance of Leah’s veil in the book. My agent was even brought in to offer suggestions. Finally, my publisher decided on ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, as it has a certain pattern that reflects the title of the first book. The only small issue that’s come about as a result of this choice is that I’ve heard from readers who assume that the two books are related because of the similarity in titles, when in actuality they’re completely separate.

My novella (actually a short story) which is related to ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, was again difficult. I don’t think I even had an original title for it because I assumed it would be changed. 😉 After a few rounds back and forth, I finally suggested ROMANCING LADY CECILY, which ended up sticking. I liked it because it had a name in the title, which to me made it unique; my publisher liked it because the ROMANCING part of the title made it an obvious tie-in to the full-length ROMANCING THE COUNTESS.

As you can see, a lot of thought and back and forth goes back into the final decision on titles. I’ve heard a lot of readers complain about the similarity in titles among different authors, and I can certainly understand what you mean—I’m a reader myself. The truth is that there are certain words that publishers gravitate toward because they’ve done research and those words seem to help titles sell better. What are those words? You’ll probably recognize them: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, duchess, countess, (most nobility titles), sin, wicked, rake, scandal (and variants such as scandalous), rogue, wild, lord, highlander, etc. Of course we’re speaking of historicals here, and although I haven’t done any research, I feel fairly confident that 90% of the historical titles you’d pull off the bookshelf have these or similar words.

The question is: what do you, the reader, think of titles? Which ones catch your attention and which ones make you dismiss them? Do you gravitate toward titles with certain words in them? What do you think of the titles chosen for my books?

One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com

Vanessa, here.  Wow!  What a fabulous contest!  And readers, if you haven’t yet read any of Ashley’s books, get thee to a store or e-tailer pronto.  I know you’re going to love her wonderfully romantic stories!