Nov. 21, 2012: The Marilyn Denis Show is looking for a fun, festive couple to play a FESTIVE BATTLE OF THE SEXES game with Marilyn! Please email if you are interested – email@example.com
Sexy Italy is your next stop if you want to learn how the experts write romance, crime, mystery, suspense bestsellers. Writing Romance Fiction, 4 – 11 May 2013 in rural Tuscany. Add on three days in Florence while you are in Italy, if you like. Jo Parfitt’s course, ‘How to write your memoir, 18 – 25 May, 2013 and The Naked Writer, 12 – 19 October 2013. Laurence Marks conducts a course on television comedy and drama script writing. Laurence is the award-winning scriptwriter of Birds of a Feather and many more hits, 29 June – 6 July, 2013. Meg Gardiner is an award-winning and bestselling thriller writer. She’ll read some of your work and discuss it with you during her course at the Watermill, 5 – 12 October 2013.
There are discounts for early bookers and for non-participating partners. Many people stay on at the Watermill after their writing or painting course to tour Tuscany. This is what is included in the course tuition: course tuition, accommodation at the Watermill, all meals (including lunches and dinner at nearby high quality restaurants serving local specialities and wine), transfers to and from the airport in Pisa to the Watermill, and a day-trip by train to the historic walled city of Lucca or the Cinque Terre. Have a few questions: Just email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: (UK): +44 (0)20 7193 6246 Note: all courses take place in rural Tuscany, Italy. A river runs through the 18th century Watermill…so restful and lovely the landscape. And the cuisine is rustic, fresh and authentic Italian.
Copyright © May Georgina DeLory
Hi! Wanna write a romance novel?
21% of men daydream of having sex in a public place. 59% of North American men believe women get their ideas for fantasy love making from romance novels. Half of women and 52% of men surveyed in Harlequin Enterprises’ 2009 Romance Report believe in the concept of “perfect love”. This still leaves a lot of wiggle room! I’m in for a satisfying read.
So you want to be a famous romance writer. Every bone in your body is crafted from the true romantic: you swoon at the very thought of reading Gone with the Wind, and watching Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in the 1989 romantic film Sleepless in Seattle—again. Perhaps you get a sentimental tear in your eye and an enthusiastic thump in your heart when you learn of a couple falling in love and marrying after meeting on a blind date. You salivate at the mere thought of watching one of those old-fashioned classic romance movies on television – the remote programmed to Turner Classic Movies www.tcm.com , and at the end of it all you’re brimming with hundreds of ideas for your own blockbuster romance story. Well, perhaps not hundreds; but at least one good enough to get the old fingertips moving.
Romance publishing is big business and isn’t as simple a process as it once was…and if you’re going to succeed you had better be good at understanding and writing for the market. Romance readers are a picky bunch. They buy quality to excess and are loyal to their favorite authors. This is not to say that new and unknown writers are ignored.
Romance genre fans are quick to search out and pounce upon a really unique and hot talent. What with Harlequin Enterprises http://www.eharlequin.com giving away a free book to every woman in Canada and the US in 2009 to celebrate its 60th anniversary it’s easy to understand why Harlequin romance novels are front and centre in reader’s minds. The books are everywhere.
- Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a global leader in series romance with titles issued worldwide in 28 languages and sold in 114 international markets. The publisher puts out 110 titles a month and publishes 1,100 authors around the world and has offices in 19 countries. In 2008 Harlequin sold 130 million books and was on the New York Times bestseller lists for 252 weeks. There are 640 bestseller placements. Every 4.1 seconds in 2008 the publisher sold a book – 5.76 billion books since its inception in Canada 60 years ago. Harlequin offers 130 titles a month in eBook format, downloadable audio, mobile phone applications and in October 2008 got into publishing nonfiction. Harlequin is huge in Japan. Manga novels, which are traditional Japanese comics and print cartoons formats, generated 406 billion yen in 2007. The US and Canada manga market was worth $175 million in 2008. Manga-style is also popular in Taiwan and South Korea and the People’s Republic of China. The genre includes action-adventure, historical drama, sports and games, comedy, science fiction and horror as well as romance. The publisher’s Japanese operation, Harlequin K.K., and SoftBank Creative Corporation, one of the largest providers of cell phone service in Japan, are now making digital adaptations of Harlequin manga available to popular Korean portal sites. The service is able to choose from more than 10,000 of the romance publisher’s novels for cell phone distribution. Existing Japanese Harlequin comics are translated into Korean and digitally distributed in that country to capture the essence of the Harlequin romance reading experience.
- Another recent development for Harlequin is the four tie-in titles for the ABC Family series “Greek”, the network’s critically acclaimed dramedy about the lives and loves of college students, with the new “Teen” category. And then there’s the interactive Big Fish Games for the Harlequin Presents: Hidden Object of Desire inspired by The Royal House of Karedes, a Harlequin Presents® Mini Series. Sold online exclusively at http://www.bigfishgames.com. Players who download the game within the first year receive a free digital edition of the first book of the miniseries.
- So how does all this big business translate into what a writer needs to know in order to write a bestselling romance novel? Keep in mind that today the world is a much changed place since the publisher’s beginnings in 1949. The romance genre has had to keep pace with and in some instances surpass popular culture to retain its #1 spot in the romance publishing industry. The 1950s heroines were nurses and flight attendants and got it on with doctors and pilots. The 1960s brought the first Harlequin pregnancy story. 1970s ushered in heroines that travelled the world and discovered exotic locals and foreign men with engaging smiles. The novels boasted provocative covers by top artists. Heroes and heroines in the 1980s novels were drawn as equals and the women had assertive attitudes. Fabio on the cover was every woman’s treat and gobble him up she did. After the fall of the Berlin wall, Harlequin in the 1990s gave away thousands of books to East Germans visiting West Germany. The 2000s saw the publisher go interactive with free downloads to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
- On Harlequin’s website you can learn how to write a Harlequin novel and discuss the prospect with editors and other published and yet to be published writers. The entire process can at times become quite complicated and time consuming—there are many categories in which to write: a taste for every season as it were. At one time not so very long ago, a romance writer’s main dilemma was whether to let her heroine stay home to cook for the kids and hubby or to pursue a career outside the home. Granted, this staying at home was no easy task and, the heroine was often involved in a cottage industry. Today, a heroine’s life is more well rounded. Writers deal with a myriad of themes: religion, AIDS, condom use, physical and emotional abuse, blended families, physically and psychologically challenged characters, adultery, sexual orientation, and the pursuit of happiness and perfect love. The Moonlight Mistress, an Erotic Novel, by Victoria Janssen
Here are a few facts to keep in mind when next you rattle your brain for the perfect romance novel storyline because Harlequin romance readers around the world have spoken loud and clear: the sexual exploits of Mad Men are hot and Demi Moore and Michael Douglas in the 1994 film Disclosure were on to something. 88% of North American men and 56% of North American women fantasize about an office romance. 67% of men and 36% of women have admitted to sleeping with an office colleague.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend? Harlequin reports that 84% of French women love their engagement ring, while 44% of UK women were not pleased by their mate’s choice of endearment. Not big enough, perhaps? 67% of French women and 69% of German women will attend a sports event in hopes of finding Mr Right…even if the sports event in question is of no personal interest. 71% of French women lust after doctors, 67% of German women crave athletes and Italian women love it all. 20% of North American women fantasize about romancing a high-powered Wall Street baron; and if you want to know how the West was won, 17% lust after cowboys. Rock stars and athletes rocked 16% of North American women’s brain cells while firefighters and policemen came in at 12%. Seems like firefighters gotta get a bigger hose to carry. Can we trust the stats? I’m not sure. But for my money…I still love a man in uniform.
When it comes to the women men marry, 46% of Australian men lust after the sweet-tempered girl next-door type, and just 32% for Canadian men and 29% for Dutch men in the same category. But fantasy is another matter all together. Models and actresses drive it home for half the men in France and the UK. They just cannot get enough of those scandalous glossy magazine pics or celebrity gossip websites detailing the latest and hottest runway fashions and bad-girl actress exploits.
And the celebs Harlequin romance readers lust after? Ed Westwick; Taylor Kitsch; Robert Pattinson; Robert Downey Jr.; John Hamm; Diane Lane and Anne Hathaway are just a few. Sex on the mind? Harlequin reports that men have a one-track mind, thinking about sex 24-7! At least if you’re a French man (94%); Italian men (92%); and UK men (63%). Italian, French and Spanish women it seems only want to win the lottery jackpot.
The Italian Billionaire’s Secretary Mistress Sharon Kendrick and Bossman’s Baby Scandal by Catherine Mann are in the “passion” category and in today’s top ten Harlequin reads. Cara Colter’s Rescued in a Wedding Dress is in the “tender” category. Harlequin’s “erotic fiction” category comes in with titles such as Deeper by Megan Hart and Naughty Bits by Jina Bacarr sports a cover with a pair of thin black lace panties and white boxer shorts. Cleopatra’s Perfume depicts a nude woman wearing just diamonds and pearls strung through luscious red parted lips. What Happens in Vegas After Dark boasts the man/woman horizontal clutch on the cover, of course. ChickLit is huge with romance readers: Lust, Loathing And A Little Lip gloss by Kyra Davis under the MIRA imprint from Harlequin is the sort of storyline very popular with today’s hip romance reader. Red Dress Ink editors love sassy contemporary storylines offering titles such as Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes by Lauren Baratz-Logsted timely considering Sex and the City 2 to launch in 2010. Reading a Harlequin romance novel is one way in which to travel the world without leaving your bedroom. Settings for books cover the world. Always wanted to visit sunny Spain or immerse yourself in all things vineyard? Merline Lovelace’s current The Executive’s Valentine Seduction and Jennifer Lewis’s In the Argentine’s Bed (Sihouette Desire) will do the job. Fantasy themes are hugely popular right now. Enchanted Again by Nancy Madore is described as a sensual, delightfully debauched modern-day interpretation of classic nursery rhymes. It’s a series. There’s always the chance of your favourite author’s title being sold out right under your nose, as is the case with Diana Palmer’s January 2010 release of Rogue Stallion. SOLD OUT.
Take a romance writing course, or read those “how to” books on the subject of writing a romance novel to learn about the illusive query letter editors require before you submit the entire manuscript. You may be brimming with plot ideas but a little weak in grammar and technique. If you do receive personal comments and suggestions from an editor on a rejected submission, resist the temptation to write “hang the editor” letters, and make use of the critique after you’ve let the writing rest for a month or so. Once you’ve revisited the work, write the editor a short letter and ask whether she is interested in seeing the revision. Don’t be surprised if the answer is no. One reason for their saying “no” is that interest in your story may have waned. Editors are only human, and they need to be constantly challenged, no matter how good the writing is technically. So, write another story and begin the process all over again. After all, you love the process of writing. Never give up and always seek to improve your work. And don’t thumb your nose at the boss: you’ll need that day job for some time to come. Besides, your job may spark plot ideas…if you’ll recall some of what I said about Mad Men.
BRONTE IN LOVE by Sarah Freeman. www.greatnorthernbooks.co.uk The story of Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Married in 1854 in the village of Haworth in Yorkshire, England, Charlotte died a tragic death at the age of 38. Sarah Freeman attended Edinburgh University to study English Literature; she is currently features editor of the Yorkshire Post. Freeman lives with her husband in York, England. http://wp.me/pDQWN-ID
www.HarlequinMoreThanWords.com Harlequin’s charitable women’s programme.
Where to dine when in Lucca, Italy: Al Ristorante del Teatro, Piazza Napoleone, 25. Telephone: 0583.493740. Cell: 338.3350905 Fine dining indoors and casual dining outofdoors in the Piazza (centre of historic Lucca). Fresh fish from the area. Excellent wine list.
Creative writing courses in rural Tuscany with Sharon Kendrick. These courses are held in Italy at the historic Tuscan Watermill complex in the village of Posara (Tuscany) where there is a small church. Secluded and intimate gardens and millstream strolls on the property or up in the hills are yours to explore. You’ll be spoiled to excess with lovely Italian cuisine and wine and hospitality so you can concentrate on writing. Individual tuition and discussions about your work with a renowned writing tutor. Learn a few tricks of the trade while enjoying warm, romantic and inspirational Italy at your fingertips. Remember…it is never too late for any creative wish to come true! Painting courses are offered at the Watermil, too. I adored the day tour by train into the walled city of Lucca where you’ll find excellent cafes, pastry shops and fine Italian coffee. Don’t forget that, if you book for 2012 before the end of December you will enjoy a special £75 GBP early-bird discount off the cost of your holiday. And if you bring a ‘non-participating partner, he or she can enjoy a £200 GBP discount, providing they share your bedroom.
Postal address: Il Mulino di Posara, Via del Mulino 12-20, 54013 Fivizzano (Loc Posara), MS, Italy
Sharon was born in the UK, held many jobs –dancer, waitress, nurse where she drove across the Australian Outback! Sharon married a doctor and decided to get “serious” about her love of writing. With a toddler and six-month-old baby, and living in a small apartment she put pen to paper. Her first book, Nurse in the Outback, was accepted by Mills & Boon without any changes. Sharon has gone on to write many award-winning books for Mills & Boon — many with editorial changes! That first book seemed to be the luck of the Irish. Writing is a very serious business and you must love what you do because the road to success is sometimes strewn with heartache and happiness…just like for characters in a satisfying Mills & Boon or Harlequin book. (I like the title: Heartache and Happiness. I wonder whether the title is taken.) Happy writing one and all!
Frances Mayes, author of Under The Tuscan Sun, and Bella Tuscany, showers us with her current book, Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life; she is author of many other books, including poetry. In Every Day in Tuscany, Mayes tells of a riveting dream…one where she awoke clutching her right wrist (writing arm). In the dream Mayes is given a choice: sell her beloved Bramasole or lose an arm. Mayes speaks of San Lorenzo’s night (August 10) where wishes are miraculously granted. Next Watermill romance writing and watercolour courses September 2012. http://www.francesmayesbooks.com/ http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/
www.lufthansa.com Visit the castles of Germany and then fly to Italy with Air Dolomiti (about a 45 minute flight) for your romance course at the Watermill in verdant Tuscany.
ACP Rail inroduces E-Tickets for Italy with Italy’s national railroad “Trenitalia”.
Imagine seeing the landscape of Tuscany by train…you are up close and personal! Train travel in Italy is made easy with ACP Rail’s newest addition to its global rail offerings. Trenitalia’s high speed Frecciarossa trains run every hour to/from ROME - MILAN and the non-stop journey lasts only two hours and 59 minutes. Frequent service on Frecciarossa trains available to Florence, Naples and Turin & more; Frecciargento trains take you to Venice, Verona and many more destinations. Trenitalia’s on board catering consists of 100% Italian top brands, such as “Illy” espresso and “Berlucchi” prosecco wine, so passengers can look forward to a journey where the tastes of Italy complement the views of Italy! ACPRail.com Get Italy train e-tickets by calling ACP Rail’s Call Center today at 1 866 938-RAIL (TOLL FREE in North America).
Text Copyright © May Georgina DeLory. All Rights Reserved
Author titles and photos supplied by Harlequin Enterprises & Mills & Boon
Artwork, Kiss & Tell, copyright of the artist and Zoomer Magazine
Watercolour “Lunch in Lucca” copyright by Charles Sluga, one of the Watermill painting tutors.
Order a back copy of the April 2011 issue of Zoomer Magazine for a feature on romance writing in Tuscany by May DeLory titled: Kiss & Tell…one woman’s ups and downs on getting published in the romance market. www.zoomermag.com
Copyright © May DeLory. All rights reserved. For use of images or content on this blog please contact May DeLory.