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The Mackenzies (aka Highland Pleasures): Saving a Series by Jennifer Ashley...

From Jennifer Ashley, author

I’m thrilled to announce the August 2 release of The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, the third book in the Mackenzies series, which began with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (reviewed here).

Jennifer Ashley Not only am I excited to see a new book hit the shelves, I’m also happy that Berkley has picked up the rights to and is re-releasing The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (book 1), which has been out of print for some time. The book has a new cover and is once more available in bookstores and in e-format.

The reason for my great paroxysms of joy is that the Mackenzie series almost died right out of the gate.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, which features a hero with Asperger’s Syndrome, came out to amazing critical acclaim and more reader buzz than I’d had for any other book.

At the same time, there were quite a few distribution problems in both print and e-formats. Readers had a hard time finding the so-much-talked-about Madness of Lord Ian. I spent most of my time in those first couple of months answering hundreds of emails from frustrated readers who could not find and read the book.

At the same time, the publisher began to have internal problems, and I knew that I’d need to find the series a new home.

The trouble is, most publishers do not like to pick up a series in the middle, unless it’s already a blockbuster, or the author is already a blockbuster. Publishers prefer to launch a debut author or at least a debut series.

Why? So they can package and market the series with a coherent, consistent look and marketing plan, the better to sell it to the distributors and bookstores. Unless a series is already a huge, top-of-New York Times, blowing-out-the-numbers success, it’s unlikely an author can leap houses with his or her series.

I was extremely lucky to know Kate Seaver at Berkley—she bought my very first romance at Dorchester and worked on my historical romances until she departed for Berkley a few years later. She’d also purchased books from me under my Allyson James pseudonym at Berkley.

So when I was looking for a new home for Jennifer Ashley, my agent contacted Kate. Keeping in mind that publishers don’t like to buy a book mid-series, I was expecting to have to abandon the Mackenzies (as well as the Shifters Unbound books), and start all over again.

Not something I wanted to do! Both the Mackenzies series and the Shifters series had haunted me for a long time, and I’d been so happy to be able to write them. I was looking at seeing them both dropped, and this was quite distressing.

Happily for me, Kate not only wanted the next three books in the Mackenzies series, but, when the rights to Madness of Lord Ian came free, she picked up Madness as well (plus Pride Mates, book 1 of the Shifter series). The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is re-releasing, with a new cover, the same day as The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (August 2).

And so it goes.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on Cameron’s book. I love horses and used to ride extensively, so I got to put my firsthand knowledge of horses and their (real) personalities into the novel.

Another aspect I enjoyed was exploring the character of Daniel, Cameron’s son. Daniel’s mother died when he was an infant (rumors are that Cameron killed her), and so Daniel was “raised” by the four Mackenzie bachelors.

Daniel has become a favorite not only of mine, but of readers as well. After Hart’s book (up next in April), I will write related books, including Daniel’s book (tentatively titled The Life and Love of Daniel Mackenzie). Another book will be about Elliot McBride (brother to Ainsley of Many Sins of Lord Cameron), who was captured and imprisoned in India for a time. His journey back to life will be told in his book (tentatively titled, The Seduction of Elliot McBride).

I have a page on my website devoted to the Mackenzies series: http://www.jennifersromances.com/NewSite/Mackenzies/mackenzie_main.html, which includes character bios, forthcoming books, blurbs, the Mackenzie family tree, and the introduction of the McBride family.

I hope readers enjoy the Mackenzies, and I’m thrilled to be able to put Madness of Lord Ian back into readers’ hands.

From Kate Seaver, Sr. Editor, Berkley / Penguin

When Jennifer’s agent called me about the possibility of publishing the rest of the Mackenzie series, I was thrilled! I’ve been an avid fan of Jennifer’s writing since I bought her first historical romance. At Berkley she and I had continued to work on her paranormal romance titles under her pseudonym Allyson James, but I adore Jennifer’s historical romances and The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie was one of my favorites.

A hero with Asperger’s Syndrome is so unique, and Jennifer’s talented writing made it one of the most compelling romances I’d read. I wanted the three remaining—and just as intriguing—Mackenzie brothers to also have their stories told.

Not long after that, the opportunity arose for Berkley to also publish the rest of Jennifer’s Shifters Unbound series. Suffice to say, it was Christmas come early for me! In Pride Mates, Jennifer introduced a unique Shifter world, and I wanted her to have the opportunity to continue to develop that world—and I wanted to see more of the gorgeous guys.  Primal Bonds (book 2), which came out in March, blew me away. The world building and emotional love story—with Jennifer’s trademark humor—is wonderful! More is coming up in that series with January 2012’s Wild Cat.

It’s a real treat for me as an editor to work with Jennifer on both her historical and her paranormal romances. I love these two series, and I’m pleased Berkley was able to make the first books in both of them available again. It was important to me that readers be able to read and enjoy the complete series.

The Madness of Lord Ian MackenzieSo August is an exciting month! Both The Many Sins of Lord Cameron and book one in the series, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, are on sale.

I’ve wondered about Cam since he was first introduced in The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. Did he really kill his wife? How could this horse crazy man find love? But Ainsley is his match in every way and keeps Cam on his toes. I love horses and grew up riding, so I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Cam in his stables and smiling as he learns about love from Ainsley, who has enough grace and grit to challenge him.

I hope you enjoy Cam and Ainsley’s story as much as I did, and either reread the first book in the series or have the pleasure of discovering another Jennifer Ashley gem!

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

17 Comments

  1. SonomaLass
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 04:39:00

    Great story! I’m glad the Mackenzies are continuing and that Lord Ian’s book is making a reappearance. I remember how excited readers were about that book when it first came out. It was definitely something special. I only read it recently myself, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the rest of the series.

  2. Danielle D
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 05:46:00

    I am so looking forward to reading The Many Sins of Lord Cameron. I love this series.

  3. Mary Anne Graham
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 06:48:52

    As the Mom of an Aspie, I applaud any effort to bring understanding to those who suffer from the disorder. I haven’t read the book, but hope – and assume – that “madness” references a popular misconception that gets ‘debunked’ in the book.

    Aspie’s can and often do go on to success in their careers(my Aspie son – my eldest- is attending the University of Central Florida w/a full scholarship which is quite extensive since it includes out of state tuition – we’re from SC). It’s the personal and social lives of Aspies that are so very difficult. I’m hoping that the book portrays this career/personal dichotomy as well.

    I’ll surely be picking up Lord Ian’s story!

  4. Selene
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 07:25:39

    I didn’t know this series had been threatened– I’m glad it worked out so well! I really loved The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie, and I’ve got the Cameron book on preorder, even though I have to admit I found the Isabella book a bit of a disappointment (since we had the hero’s POV early on, and knew he was reformed, the novel lacked conflict for me).

    Selene

  5. EGS
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 08:24:57

    So excited for Cameron’s book! I’m very glad Ms. Ashley was able to continue this wonderful series with Berkley – it’s become one of my favorites already.

  6. BJ
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 08:29:43

    I rarely read historical romance, but I’ll definitely be hunting these down…I too have family memembers with Asperger’s, and I’m intrigued to see how it’s portrayed. (I also love a non-traditional hero…)

  7. Marinell
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 08:39:06

    I also have the Cameron book on pre-order for my Nook. I adored the Lord Ian Mackenzie book and am so glad that this series is continuing.

  8. Jane
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 08:44:51

    @Selene That was my problem with the Isabella book as well. Mac’s debauchery was such an integral part of why their marriage broke up that not seeing his recovery was like getting half the book. It was somewhat easy to see why Isabella didn’t trust him or want to return to his arms so that she did so easily kind of made you wonder why they were apart for three years.

    I really adore Lord Ian’s book and Cameron’s book is good too (It’s a recommended read of mine for August) but I really love Ian’s book the best.

  9. Selene
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 09:05:56

    @Jane: Good to hear that Cameron’s book is more promising!

    I think it’ll be hard for any book in the series to match Ian’s, since the author managed to create a very original hero with that book.

    Selene

  10. Allie
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 09:12:29

    “I love horses and used to ride extensively, so I got to put my firsthand knowledge of horses and their (real) personalities into the novel.”

    I can’t wait to read this book!! I’m so grateful when someone who really knows horses writes about them. With so many years of horse training & care behind me, I enjoy accurate horse stuff in a book.

  11. Carolyn Jewel
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 09:49:40

    I’m so glad these books found a home!

  12. Kim
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 11:14:28

    I had never read a Jennifer Ashley book before, but I kept hearing good things about The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie. I read it and it was quite good. I’m glad it’s being reissued.

  13. Estara
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 13:15:29

    @Allie: Allie, can I recommend Judith Tarr’s books if you enjoy realistic horses? The downside is that she writes fantasy or history books for all ages (under various names, at that) – Caitlin Brennan is another of her pseudonyms.

    She owns a small herd of Lipizzans and her knowledge of horses really shines through. She’s got A Wind in Cairo re-released as an ebook at the BVC which focuses on Arabian horses (and the reformation of a TRUE, unrepentant rake – warning for triggering – into a fairly decent human being by turning him into what he acts like in horse form) in an atmosphere inspired by 1001 Nights.

    House of the Star is her most recent YA and centers on world-travelling horses (modeled on her Lipizzans), and then she had the Luna series where the Airs & Graces of the Lipizzans are part of the magic make-up for her world.

  14. jayhjay
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 15:13:06

    Yeah,I am glad this series was saved. I adored Ian’s book and am really looking forward to Hart’s too. It is exciting to hear that Daniel’s story will be told too.

  15. Bella F.
    Aug 02, 2011 @ 00:07:54

    How fascinating! I can’t believe we almost didn’t get to hear about the rest of the Mackenzies! Especially since in my case I never would have even gotten to read Ian’s story because I only learned about book 1 in the series after reading great reviews on “Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage”. I didn’t want to read it without book 1 and it took me a long time to finally get a copy (because no stores or even Amazon had it) until Interlibrary Loan. Thank God for libraries and that service:D
    Anyway, I’m so glad it got published Jennifer! I love your characters, especially Ian who does indeed steal scenes lol. I’ll definitely be buying myself an ebook of each this August!

  16. Bella F.
    Aug 02, 2011 @ 00:14:35

    @jayhjay: I’m looking forward to Daniel’s story as well:)

  17. Benoibe
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 23:55:43

    The Madness of Lord Ian Mackensie really is one of my favorite novels. I read it twice in a row the minute I got my hands on it. I love audiobooks, and I was thrilled it was recorded. I am very excited to read more Jennifer Ashley, especially if there is a single McKensie in it…
    It’s obvious Ms Ashley did her research and wrote from her heart. Lord Ian developes as a character so tangible and real to me. And Beth is easily one of my top 5 all time heroines.

    DA, a B??? This is an A+ book.

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