Sadly, the marvelous Melanie Murray, editor of one of Jayne and my new favorite authors, Elizabeth Hoyt, is leaving Warner Publishing for other endeavors. Goodbye Ms. Murray. Best of luck. I hope Warner can find someone to fill your shoes.
Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books) is an all-format, all-genre trade publisher. We're the house of Nicholas Sparks, David Baldacci, Brad Meltzer, Lolly Winston, Preston & Child and many others. We have several imprints including 5 Spot, where we publish smart women's fiction and nonfiction such as Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik, and the Forever imprint, where we publish romance.
We've got a very exciting fall coming up for romance!
- Die for Me by Karen Rose: For those of you who love edge-of-your-seat suspense, Karen Rose is the perfect author for you. Her books are gritty, tightly-plotted, and action-packed. She began her career on our Forever list, and is now published on the GCP mass market list (where we also publish Sandra Hill and Dorothy Garlock, among others.) We're also repackaging Karen's backlist to reflect the new, edgy look of Die for Me. (September)
- The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt: This is the third and final book in Elizabeth's "Prince–? series. They're historical romances, taking place in the Georgian era in England. I can't say enough good things about Elizabeth's books. She's written three in this series, and each was unique in terms of plot, with completely three-dimensional characters. Her writing is lush, sensual, heartbreaking at times –" it's hard to believe that she's only written three books! The Serpent Prince comes out in September. (And for those of you looking ahead to the winter, we're happily publishing Elizabeth Hoyt's first contemporary romance, written under the name Julia Harper. It's called Hot, and it is!)
- Demon’s Kiss by Eve Silver: Forever has been publishing more and more paranormal titles, and we're very excited by Eve and her writing. This is an extremely sexy tale about an immortal sorcerer and a human with powers beyond her comprehension. (October)
- He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot by Stephanie Rowe: This is the fourth book in her Immortally Sexy series, and what can I say about a set of books that features an espresso machine that's actually an ancient fountain of youth and a character named Satan who is the world's greatest lover? They've all been madcap and sexy (including the first in the series, Date Me, Baby, One More time which was nominated for the RITA this past year!) (November)
- Crazy in Love by Lani Diane Rich: This is Lani's third contemporary romance published on the Forever imprint, and it's got all the Lani hallmarks that I love: quirky, lovably flawed characters, a charming setting, and a really fun story. Plus, this book has a matchmaking ghost! (October)
- Sexiest Man Alive by Diana Holquist: This is another contemporary romance author who has been writing stellar books for us. This is the second in Diana's trilogy about a woman who has the ability to touch a person and tell them the name of their one true love. (October)
- To Catch a Cheat by Kelley St. John: Kelley's books are sexy, funny, and full of southern charm. To Catch a Cheat is her third book for us, after Good Girls Don’t and Real Women Don’t Wear Size 2. (November)
Spotlight on FOREVER
We publish twenty-seven titles a year on the Forever imprint. Because we publish two to three titles a month, we're very selective about the titles we add to the list and we have the ability to coordinate our efforts with our marketing, publicity, and sales departments when we publish them. We're careful in our packaging decisions, and try to create looks for authors, so that their books have a branded appearance. We've had great success with first-time authors, and authors at the beginning of their careers.
We publish suspense, historicals, paranormals, contemporaries, and women's fiction. Notable titles of 2007 include A Kiss in Winter by multi-RITA nominee Susan Crandall and Dead Shot by Annie Solomon (her previous book for us, Blackout, won the RITA as Best Romantic Suspense this year). Fanged & Fabulous, Michelle Rowen's follow-up to her smash debut Bitten & Smitten, came out this past summer. And of course, we love the historical romances, too. Julie Anne Long completed her Holt Sisters trilogy with THE The Secret to Seduction in May, and Andrea Pickens launched her trilogy about London ladies who are trained to be spies for the crown with The Spy Wore Silk. We have several suspense authors that we're very excited about: Shannon K. Butcher, Marliss Melton, and Samantha Graves, all of whom had books published this year for us.
And that's a brief overview of our Forever program!
I almost didn’t read this book. It was a Regency, with a spy. The blurb used word like “sultry body” and described the hero as “sinfully sensuous.” Groan. However, the editor was Melanie Murray, and Murray was interviewed by us a few months ago so I thought I should give it a try.
Within the first chapter, I knew that this was something different. The heroine, Siena, was a street urchin who was observed to have good instincts and the ability to get out of trouble, even at the age of 12. Marquess of Lynsley trolls these streets to unearth girls such as Siena. He takes them to his school and trains them to be assassins, spies, anything that the crown needs. Many of them do not make it, but the few that do become one of Merlin’s Maidens. Women who will do anything, use anything, to get achieve their objective.
Siena has been training in the arts of seduction, society parlance, hand to hand combat and sword fighting, all to become one of those Maidens. Her mission is to discover which member of the Gilded Page Club is smuggling documents to the French. To do this, Siena portrays herself as a new high flyer seeking a protector. She goes about doing this in such a way that every man is slavering for her attention, including the six she has targeted.
One of the members of the Club is the Earl of Kirtland, a former officer who was court martialed due to failure to obey a superior officer. He’s not entirely shunned by society but definitely is the object of scorn and gossip.
This book had an excellent first half with Siena using all her skills at her disposal–her body, her mind, her sexuality. There is delicious verbal sparring that takes place between almost every character showing some of the famed wit that authors often ascribe to their characters without really showing it. Siena understands that there is no rapier as sharp as the tongue. Kirtland matches her verbal parries and every conversation is a loaded double entendre.
You did a great job showing us Siena’s smarts. She read the reactions of her targets and adjusted her course accordingly. You never told us that she was smart and witty, but every conversation and action, at least in the first half of the book, showed it. To some readers, Siena’s actions might be over the top but I was grateful to see someone who would purportedly do anything actually do things that were outre.
I would have liked to have known that Siena was successful in the past as her tendency toward falling for her subjects made me wonder at her ability to put the objective before all else. In other words, I would have liked to have known that she had the ability to succeed and this one time was different. I also disliked that she was a virgin given that she lived on the streets until she was 12 and then was trained to be a courtesan.
The last half of the book, particularly when the tension between Kirtland and Siena had dissolved, the story lost its steam. The delicacy in which the first part of the story was abandoned for more obviousness. Siena began trusting Kirtland when she had no reason to. He was still a suspect and she began confiding in him like a girl sharing secrets at a slumber party. The villians were clearly marked, making me wonder at Siena’s aforementioned smarts. The sharp witted dialogue full of double entrendres was swept away by a morass of schmaltzy pedantic statements. There was the insertion of obligatory sequel bait. Shake, stir, and deliver.
The negatives aside, though, this series shows promise as does the writing. The first half was definitely worth the price of the book. B-
After today, Warner Books will now be called Grand Central Publishing to coincide with its move to a new physical location just north of the train station. Hachette Books bought the imprint from Time last year. As part of the purchase, Warner Books had to pick a new name by 2011. The official launch will occur at Book Expo in June and the first books to be released under the new imprint will be in the fall of 2007.
Warner has been behind the other publishers in digital publishing initiatives. According to Neil De Young, Warner currently publishes 15 titles in digital format across all publishers and imprints. Compare this to Harlequin that releases almost 70% of its line in eformat. The lack of “books” in the imprint name recognizes that there are “other emerging forms of publishing that go beyond ink and paper.”
Julie Ann Long, a favorite of DearAuthor bloggers, moved from Warner to Avon. I can’t help but speculate if there is more change in the water at Warner than just its name.
Via New York Times
After I moaned and wailed about not finding Annie Solomon’s books in e-format, I contacted the publisher as to what Warner was doing about getting its books into e-format. Here’s the answer I received from the man in charge, Mr. Neil De Young, Director of Digital Media.
Generally speaking, we try to get as many romance titles on the list as possible, it's a top selling category in eBook form. However, we are currently limited to about 15 total titles across all publishers and imprints a month due to limited resources (that's about as much as our conversion house can do and we can accurately traffic in any given month). We are slowly ramping up production and think we can push the list to about 20 titles a month by the fall, which will allow us to publish more Forever titles in eBook form.
If you have any questions for Mr. De Young, he did indicate that he would be willing to answer some so go and post. It probably won’t be until this week that he will answer them.
Dear Ms. Solomon:
To say that I was impressed by this book is an understatement. You always know, as a reader, that a book is good when at the close the book, you immediately get the yen to go to the bookstore and find more on the author's work. Which is what happened to me and I blogged about that on Sunday. In fact, while I am generally opposed to epilogues, I thought this one could have used one. Or more rightly, I wished I could have read more about the couple. I guess there is something to be said for always wanting to leave your fans wanting more.
While this story is a romance and it is a suspense, it is about something more. It's about facing your demons, even if that demon is you. It's about moving on when your entire life is being controlled by the past. It's about two people, imperfect and incomplete going through life but not really living it, finding understanding in each other.
Gillian Gray is a famous photographer whose work portrays grisly death scenes. She is known as the Death Diva and is hated and reviled as much as she is feted and revered. Gillian's work was inspired by a childhood trauma which involved finding her beautiful mother's dead body, mutilated by a killer. Part of Gillian believes that her work will flush out the never found killer. She wants to bait the murdered into coming after her, for only then will she ever have peace. Gillian returns to
Ray Pearce is a former detective who offers security services to high end clients. He is paid well, but his soul misses the work he did on the force. Like Gillian, Ray can't quite let go of the past. He has no family and his ex-wife's family became his own. He takes care of his ex-father-in-law; misses the comradery of his ex-brother-in-law; longs for the feelings of being married.
Ray is hired to handle the museum detail for Gillian's show. When Gillian is attacked, however, Ray is hired to continue to protect her against both Ray and Gillian's desire. Gillian's desire to foment the murderer conflicts directly against Ray's desire to protect her person. This conflict leads to several heated arguments and one very heated physical confrontation.
The main problem I had with the book is that the attempts to make the reader believe certain people are the killers were, um, weak. There was one scene featuring the killer's POV which I thought was unnecessary and didn't fit the flow of the overall story. However, the last few chapters I read with my heart in my throat. B+
P.S. Will you work on the whole ebook thing?