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All About Love February 6, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in romance.
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Media Monday discussion today follows this piece by author Robin Black in Beyond the Margins: To “To MFA Or Not To MFA, That Is The Question.

Emma Cane

It’s romance week in #litchat. This week’s guest host for our annual romance genre chat is Gayle Callen, who writing as Julia Latham and Emma Cane, has written 18 historical, 6 Medieval, and now a contemporary romance. Her latest novel, A Town Called Valentine, is the first in a new series of small town love stories. Callen grew up reading and soon discovered that she liked to write passionate stories of teenagers in space. Her love of passionate stories has never gone away, contributing to the impressive collection of books she’s published under her three pen names. Now that her three children are grown, Gayle loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma. Gayle will participate in the #litchat discussion using her pen name Emma Cane (@EmmaCane).

In A Town Called Valentine, Emily Murphy never thought she’d return to her mom’s rustic hometown in the Colorado Mountains. But after her marriage in San Francisco falls apart, leaving her penniless and heartsick, she returns to her old family home to find a new direction for her life. On her first night back, though, a steamy encounter with handsome rancher Nate Thalberg is not the fresh start she had in mind. Nate has good reason not to trust Emily—he’s no stranger to betrayal. Besides, she’s only there to sell her family’s old property and move back out. But as Nate and Emily begin working side-by-side to restore her time-worn building and old family secrets change Emily’s perception of herself, both are about to learn how difficult it is to hide from love in a place known far and wide for romance, family ties, and happily-ever-afters: a town called Valentine.

Follow Gayle Callen as Emma Cane on Twitter: @EmmaCane.

Romance of Many Kinds February 7, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in bestsellers, romance, weekly topics.
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Shirley Jump

Bring on the hearts and flowers, it’s the second week of February. Romance. It’s all over the newspapers and magazines, websites and blogs, television and theaters this week. It’s here in #litchat, too. Each February we devote the week preceding Valentine’s Day to the topic of romance novels of all categories. And there are many.

We have a special treat on Friday when New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump joins us as guest host. Jump has published more than 25 novels in the 10 years she’s been writing fiction–averaging 6 books per year. A former journalist with an impressive resume of publishing credits, Jump turned to fiction—romance in particular—because it gave her the freedom to write witty and wonderful stories wrapped in romance. Her books typically feature the the three most important things in her life—love, family and food. Jump publishes with Harlequin/Silhouette and Kensington Books. Her most recent novel, Midnight Kiss, New Year’s Wish, released in January of this year from Harlequin Romance. As AJ Whitten (www.ajwhitten.com), she and her daughter write horror young adult novels for Houghton Mifflin’s Graphia imprint.

Jump gives back to the reading/writing community with Just Write It, a discussion forum for aspiring writers accessible through Yahoo Groups. For a small fee, she teaches online classes with such topics as “Revision Can Be Fun.” She leads additional topics in person through Barnes and Noble Writer’s Workshop in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Read her blog to find recipes of tried and true favorites, as well as her adventures with food.

Follow Shirley Jump on Twitter at @ShirleyJump.

Men in Love August 1, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, fiction, historical fiction, romance, weekly topics, women's fiction.
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Topic of the Week: August 2-6, 2010

Jeffrey Stepakoff

Women don’t own the market on women’s fiction or romance. Some of the most enduring novels of love and passion have been written by men. Love Story by Erich Segal often tops lists as the greatest contemporary love story. Recent years have produced a plethora of commercially successful tales of love and loss by Nicholas Sparks. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller and The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans continually revolve through bookstores and libraries. Add classics such as Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and you have some of the most powerful love stories ever written. This week in #litchat we’ll discuss love stories written by men.

Joining us on Friday, August 6, is Jeffrey Stepakoff, author of Fireworks Over Toccoa (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s). A slim volume easily read over a beach weekend, Fireworks Over Toccoa recreates small-town life in tiny Toccoa, Georgia, in the waning years of World War II. Take a fiery southern belle married too young to a soldier still at war and a fuming war veteran of Italian descent, put them in a sultry summer setting and watch their fuses ignite against each other. Stepakoff skillfully packs cultural taboos, societal expectations, and family obligation, into a story that sizzles to the last page.

After receiving his BA in Journalism from UNC Chapel Hill, Stepakoff went on to earn an MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon. He has written for film and television, including “written by” or “story by” credits on thirty-six television episodes, has written for fourteen different series, has worked on seven primetime staffs, created and developed pilots for most tof the major studios and networks, and has producing hundreds of hours of internationally-recognized television. Stepakoff recently left Hollywood to return to his hometown of Atlanta and began writing fiction. Fireworks Over Toccoa is his first novel. Presently, he speaks around the country, teaches dramatic writing at Kennesaw State University, and is hard at work on his second novel for St. Martin’s Press.

Follow Jeffrey Stepakoff on Twitter at @JeffStepakoff

Read chatscript of Jeffrey Stepakoff visit in #litchat.

Read chatscript of Monday and Wednesday Men In Love open topic discussions.

All About Romance February 7, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in romance.
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February 8-11, 2010

As the cash registers of the world ring up love in the form of candy, flowers and wine this week, we’re hoping to ring up some book sales. Love figures into many genres, but when love takes center stage in a novel, it’s billed as romance. On Monday and Wednesday this week in #litchat we’re talking about love and relationships and why romance outsells other genres across the boards.

To help us celebrate love and romance, we’re bringing in award-winning romance author Lori Foster as guest host on Friday.

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has routinely had six to ten releases a year and has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martins, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain. She is currently with Berkley/Jove.

Lori believes it’s important to back to the community as much as possible, and for that reason she ran special contests in conjunction with a publisher, facilitating many first sales for new authors. She routinely organizes events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.

Along with her good friend, Dianne Castell, Lori hosts a very special annual Reader & Author event in West Chester Ohio. Proceeds from the event go to benefit worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, and The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

In 2007, Lori put together “The Write Ingredients” a cookbook of recipes donated by popular authors. Proceeds from the cookbook go toward Lori’s ongoing “Troop project” of collecting and mailing fun, and sometimes necessary items to our troops.

In 2008, Lori coordinated eleven other authors of her choosing, and through Berkley, arranged for the publication of a special anthology of novellas about empowering women. Proceeds from the anthology will go to the Battered women’s shelter.

In 2009, another anthology with Lori and a new set of authors, will be published with proceeds to benefit The Animal Adoption Foundation.

Follow Lori Foster on Twitter at @lorilfoster.