Tag Archives: Romantic Times

Jaycee Ford: Early Feedback on ORDER OF THE GARTER

Posted by July 30th, 2014

ORDER OF THE GARTER on Book CountryBook Country member Jaycee Ford won a one-on-one manuscript feedback session at RT14. Jaycee asked me to take a look at a historical romance that she is working on called ORDER OF THE GARTER. I love anything historical, and was even more intrigued that the book takes place in New Orleans (where Jaycee is from) and NOLA is where she and I met! I was so excited to re-visit the Big Easy via Jaycee’s sexy book.

ORDER OF THE GARTER is the story of Ella Harrison, a beautiful, charming “lady of the night” who makes her living charming the pants of the men of New Orleans in Storyville, the red light district, in 1915. Determined to stay unattached, afraid of wanting more, Ella’s carefully compartmentalized world is shaken up when she meets not one but two dashing men eager to sweep her off her feet.

Reading ORDER OF THE GARTER left me with a few writing takeaways that I wanted to share with the community.

 

What’s working:

Jaycee’s commitment to the historical setting really wins over the reader. In Storyville, a district in early 20th-century NOLA where prostitution was decriminalized, she’s found a true historical oddity. The city printed up “blue books”–basically, a directory and tourist’s guide to every prostitute in the city. I love how Jaycee uses the “blue book” to kick off ORDER OF THE GARTER and then subtly threads historical details into the story, so that the situation is normalized for the characters, but still feels intriguing and rare for the reader. Continue reading

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In the Wilds of L.A.: Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 2011

Posted by April 25th, 2011

“If you had an RT nametag around your neck, you were family.”

 Buffy Danielle_thumbWhen I began in book publishing over five years ago, one of the first conventions I heard about was Romantic Times (aka RT). I was working in wholesale sales at St. Martins Press and my predecessor was filling me in on the world of commercial fiction, particularly genre fiction. I didn’t know what the purpose of the Con was at the time, didn’t know who it was for or why it existed—all I knew was that it was supposed to be crazy.
The years passed, I moved to editorial at Pocket Books and I heard even more insane stories of RT Con shenanigans. My favorite stories usually revolved around the costume balls and the slightly uncomfortable and inappropriate Mr. Romance competition.

Yes, that’s right: Mr. Romance. Eight or so men competing for the title and a contract to grace the cover of a Kensington romance novel. Simultaneously hilarious and awesome. Given the number of women present at the conference this year in Los Angeles (probably exactly the gender ratio you are imagining), I can’t say it wasn’t nice to see some cute boys scattered throughout the crowd. But I, myself, didn’t go so far as to attend the actual Mr. Romance pageant. I do, however, have some souvenir signed photographs that were essentially thrust upon me. And I may or may not have come back to New York with a former Mr. Romance’s number in my pocket.

But for all the craziness and fun that ensues at RT Con, there is a side to it I hadn’t been told about in my years before experiencing it for myself. There’s the strictly professional side.

RT is not only fun and games, though it sure is a great way to network! The conference is also chock full of workshops, panels, and presentations by publishers, editors, agents, authors, marketing gurus, bloggers, and more. Whether you’re a reader, a writer, or an industry person, there’s something for everyone from 10 am to 6 pm.

The panelists and presenters all had so much wisdom and experience to share, it was enlightening to get a new perspective on the industry from every person I encountered. And giving a presentation myself on Book Country here was just as enlightening. People constantly surprise me, and my audience did as well. Coming up with ideas or questions that I never would of thought to ask or suggest, discussing topics I may not have considered or may have had too narrow-minded a view on—people are so smart. It really was an eye-opening experience for me.

Perhaps the thing I liked most about RT Con, though, was the feeling of camaraderie throughout the conference hotel. If you had an RT nametag around your neck, you were family. Everyone was friendly, everyone was interested (and interesting!), and everyone was treated the same. It doesn’t matter if you are an aspiring author, a publisher, a blogger, or a bestselling novelist—you fit in. You have the opportunity to interact with anyone and everyone, sometimes under the silliest of circumstances.

My most I-can’t-believe-this-is-how-I’m-networking moment? Having a drink with author Barry Eisler in the lobby bar wearing my junior prom gown, with a pair of faery wings and a gold masquerade mask sitting beside me….I suppose the sneak attack by a romance reader in full-on vampire attire was pretty shocking also (as were the claw marks she left after jumping on my back and terrifying me). Good thing I was dressed as Buffy and ready to shake her off and turn her to dust.

[Photo courtesy of Jeffe Kennedy.]

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