Author Archives: Laura Florand

Permalink to What do you think? (Cover dilemma)

What do you think? (Cover dilemma)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad would it be to have a cover with Luc in it with a different cover model than the one on THE CHOCOLATE HEART? I hated having that couple represent those two so much. There is NO WAY I will use them over again when I have control of the cover.

I may be forced to do the naked male torso to avoid conflicts. I know how much you all would hate to have a hot male torso on the cover, of course. :)


Permalink to Romance Novel Course & Unsuitable

Romance Novel Course & Unsuitable

I’m happy to confirm that with Katharine Dubois (aka Katharine Ashe), I will indeed by teaching a course on The Romance Novel at Duke University Spring 2015.

This is an undergraduate course, taught from the History Department and part of Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. However, we will be opening some events to the wider community.

Working with our Forum for Scholars and Publics and the support of other departments and programs at Duke, we will host a series of events around the theme of Unsuitable, primarily student-driven events in which we will invite authors and scholars to join us in discussions, when we will open the classroom to everyone interested. Our event title UNSUITABLE was coined in discussions with scholars across multiple departments on campus as we pulled this together, when we repeatedly came back to the memories so many people had of being told that romance, in particular, “wasn’t okay to read”, in whatever way they first encountered that message. (Not smart enough, trashy, etc.) Some people often also remembered hearing similar judgments for other things they liked, such as comics or cosplay or writing fan fiction, and our discussions kept growing the more we met with professors and program administrators here. We believe our resident dramaturg, Jules Odendahl-James, in Theater Studies, may have first used the word Unsuitable in a way that really resonated with us and became the title for our site and for these events, as well as our Twitter handle for this (@UnsuitableDuke).

We have been thrilled and even stunned at the widespread support and enthusiasm for this course from so many people we met with here at Duke, from deans to program directors to artists and scholars.

The course itself will have a website, where you can check out events (here), but I will try to keep people informed of the events open to the community also on this site. The first such event is October 20, 5 pm. (You can find out more here and I’ll post another announcement soon.)

This brings me to another point: we are very honored by the interest the community has expressed in this course and delighted to engage beyond university walls. Duke University, too, has a strong desire to engage widely, to lower the walls between academia and the rest of the community, which is expressed in the creation of the Forum for Scholars and Publics (one of our major sources of support, as noted above).

That said, while our writing informs everything we do, “the hat we are wearing” here is one of professors. Our goal is to support the intellectual inquiry and creative endeavor of our students. The content of the site will be student-driven, as will our discussions.

Since we have received a lot of inquiry about this course, I’m happy to share our course description.

HST 248S.01, The Romance Novel

This course explores the history, development and form of the modern commercial novel through a study of the most popular fiction in the world today: the romance novel. Throughout the semester we will analyze the romance novel’s role in popular American culture, its rise to dominate fifty percent of the U.S. publishing market, and the dramatic changes that have occurred in the past several years in the publishing industry, largely driven by changes in romance fiction. We will examine romance in its context in the larger publishing and entertainment industries, how creative projects become commercial products, and the gender politics of both the reception and rejection of romance—a women-driven and controlled industry—in the broader culture. We will address issues of female agency as well as models of femininity and masculinity that often seek to define and constrict creative work in the commercial world. We will engage, in short, in a critical, active discussion of a massive cultural phenomenon that is often overlooked in university studies.

Simultaneously, this course teaches the tools to better understand writing as an act of entrepreneurship and how to make a viable, successful career out of creative endeavor. Our studies include the choices a writer must make in shaping her or his career in publishing (publication with a traditional publisher? self-publish? ebook only? print distribution?), marketing (branding, social media, packaging, networking, platform), and the development of an artistic career with conscious intent through the determination of long-term career goals and the establishment of a plan to reach them. Students will begin work on their own novel as their major project for the course.


 Katharine Dubois and I have worked hard over the past year to bring this course to Duke and will doubtless be working even harder as we get it off the ground. We’re excited to teach it and excited to be able to open so many of the events to the wider community. We owe a huge thank you to the Forum for Scholars and Publics, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, the History Department, Dean Lee Baker, my own department of Romance Studies for releasing my from other duties to teach this course, and many individuals within these programs and without who invested fully in helping us develop this course. We also owe a huge thank you to the writers and scholars who have agreed to take part, and will be posting more about those as we finalize dates and our syllabus.

Permalink to Thank you to those who offered to beta read!

Thank you to those who offered to beta read!

A huge, huge thank you to all the people who have emailed about beta reading the LUC AND SUMMER sequel. (I guess I should clarify that it actually takes place the first year of their marriage, when Summer first realizes she’s pregnant. Before the epilogue in CHOCOLATE HEART. It started out as a bonus scene and then just kept growing.)

I’ve really been overwhelmed by the outpouring of interest and support. It’s been amazing and touching, and I so appreciate it.

This is an experiment and a very unusual thing for me to do (not like my obsessive perfectionist style at all to allow a book out in a beta state), so I want to limit it to 4-5 people this time. ALL of you who offered are valued. I’ll choose the 5 randomly, because it’s impossible for me to make a choice otherwise. And I’ll keep everyone who has offered in a “hat” for possible ARCs if I decide to put this story out to the whole wide world. (Or even if I don’t, to maybe figure out some other way of sharing it with those who asked.) Again, THANK YOU so much for being willing to invest your time and energy in this story.

I’m going to be in classes and meetings all day today, so I’ll email the people who have expressed an interest tomorrow. Some people have written some really amazing and kind things, and I would like to take the time to write everyone individually.

I really, really appreciate all the support. Thank you all so much.

Permalink to UPDATES: ONCE UPON A ROSE & LUC AND SUMMER SEQUEL (interested in reading?)



1) ONCE UPON A ROSE: I ended up utterly ripping this book up and starting again from scratch. That is why it is taking so long–I am essentially writing a second book. Right now, I’m about 20,000 words from the end, then edits, so we’ll see how that goes. I can write anywhere from 5000 words a day to 5 words a day, it seems sometimes to me, depending on how much I struggle to figure out what the story needs. I’ll announce as soon as I think it is ready to go, but I don’t want to commit to anything at this time because sometimes the pressure just shuts off my creativity. And I don’t want that!

2) THE LUC AND SUMMER SEQUEL: I mentioned some time back that I was working on this and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I’m *still* not sure what to do with it. I mean, I have it. It’s a 55,000 word novel (that’s about 10% longer than The Notebook, to give you an idea, but not as long as most of my books, which often are over 100,000 words). It’s just that it’s very different for me to write a sequel about the same couple, and this is a couple that was extremely polarizing for people in the first place. (The gamut from “Best Book of the Year”  to “hated hated hated”.) I think most of my works are polarizing, but this was the most dramatic.

BUT a lot of people have been asking about this book. So I think what I would like to do is share it in a limited way and get feedback.

Basically, share with some beta readers. (Essentially people who would like to read it as is and give reactions but also concerns if you don’t think it works well, and this can most certainly include noting details in the margins that nibble at you, or things that seem weak, if that’s the way you work.) Note, potential readers, that this is a version before it goes to an editor. (Because I’m not sure yet whether I will publish it.)

The thing is, I don’t want to make a promise to everyone that I will necessarily make this public at some point. I just don’t know at this point.

That’s just the way I feel about it–cautious.

But if you would like to be a beta reader for it, email me at laura AT lauraflorand dot com and let me know why and all that. I’m not sure how many people will ask, and I’ll probably only share with half a dozen at this point, so I might have to draw names. (I don’t know exactly! This is a first time for me to do this. Usually I am obsessive about not sharing work until after it’s been edited, re-edited, is as perfect as I can make it.)

Permalink to An Enchanted House

An Enchanted House

On the grounds of Chenonceau.

Who can you imagine living here?





Permalink to Friday Book Club! Talking childhood favorites and what I’m looking forward to!

Friday Book Club! Talking childhood favorites and what I’m looking forward to!

Friday Book Club! What are you reading? I’ve been reading some research books whose titles I will not yet reveal (*insert wicked laugh here*), and also re-reading Le Petit Prince with my daughter at night. Have you ever read this poignant gem of a book? (In English or French? Or maybe Italian?) Raising a bilingual child has allowed me to extend those book-at-night cuddles years past when she wanted to take off and read English on her own. (Don’t you miss those, those of you with older children? I’m going to hate it when those cuddles are gone.) Her French reading is a lot slower, so she still puts up with me reading with her.

What classics do you remember from your young childhood that you really loved? (A.A. Milne? C.S. Lewis?)

And what are you reading this week? Anything good? I am anxiously awaiting Nalini Singh’s Rock Courtship next week (the snippets look so fun and sweet), and NA Wordcat recommended Elle Pierson’s Artistic License and snagged my interest there, so I’ve downloaded that one. (Hmm…I see a New Zealand author trend…)

What about you?

Permalink to Fall for the Book Festival, Photos

Fall for the Book Festival, Photos

The Fall for the Book Festival was wonderful! I was so honored to be part of it, and want to give a huge thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen, to the volunteers, sponsors, organizers, George Mason University, the crew in the theater who made sure my sound and lights and technology all went perfectly, and of course Artisan Confections for the generous donation of chocolate! It’s a fantastic festival.

A few photos from the event.

Fall for the Book, Laura Florand

Meeting up with Elisabeth of Cooking Up Romance and writer Taylor Reynolds, who brought deliciousness with them!

Meeting up with Elisabeth of Cooking Up Romance and writer Taylor Reynolds, who brought deliciousness with them!


A glimpse of Artisan Confections wonderful chocolates, generously donated to the event so you all could try fantastic chocolates, too!

A glimpse of Artisan Confections wonderful chocolates, generously donated to the event so you all could try fantastic chocolates, too!


Laura Florand signing at the Fall for the Book Festival. Photo courtesy of Elisabeth of Cooking Up Romance.

Laura Florand signing at the Fall for the Book Festival. Photo courtesy of Elisabeth of Cooking Up Romance.

Permalink to Saturday Book Club! Martha Wells & Luca Turin/Tonia Sanchez

Saturday Book Club! Martha Wells & Luca Turin/Tonia Sanchez

Saturday Book Club! (Since I was traveling Friday.) What are you reading? I read Martha Wells’ two new Raksura novellas. If you haven’t ever tried this fantasy author, she is one of my top favorite authors. (One of the very few auto buys that I have, in fact.) I wouldn’t start with the novellas, if she’s new to you, but if you like fantasy, try The Element of Fire or Wheel of the Infinite.

And I’ve been reading Luca Turin and Tonia Sanchez’s Perfumes: The A to Z Guide, which is hilarious, and at the same time with this gorgeously sculpted descriptive language. If you ever thought it was hard to describe scent in innovative ways, see what these two manage to do.

What about you? What are you reading this week?

Permalink to DC Area Folks–Fall for the Book Festival appearance, Thurs Sept 18 7 pm

DC Area Folks–Fall for the Book Festival appearance, Thurs Sept 18 7 pm

For those of you in the DC area, note that I’ll be giving a short talk & reading this Thursday, Sept 18, 7 pm for the Fall for the Book Festival. Find out more location details and about the chefs talking, too, here.

From 7:30-8:30 after the talk, I will be signing books AND the wonderful Jason Andelman of ARTISAN CONFECTIONS, whose chocolates are amazing, has generously offered his chocolates for tasting. Go check this out to see what his chocolates are like! I was researching the chocolatiers around DC, because, as you know, that is one of the great trials of my career choice, this obligation to test out all the top chocolate shops wherever I travel, and when I tried his…mmm. So good and so beautiful to look at, too.

I believe the books I will have to sign are THE CHOCOLATE THIEF, THE CHOCOLATE KISS, and THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH. (I’m not 100% positive as the festival ordered them.) You are, of course, welcome to bring other books, and I will sign them, too.

I’m looking forward to meeting some of you in person! I haven’t signed in DC before, and it’s always fun to meet up with readers from a new area.


Permalink to Friday Book Club

Friday Book Club

Friday Book Club! What are you reading? I’m very excited for Nalini Singh‘s ROCK ADDICTION! Who’s read it already? And Thea Harrison ‘s NIGHT’S HONOR. Two favorite authors with releases in one week.

What about you? What are you reading? How are you liking it?

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