Category Archives: Uncategorized


Permalink to What was your first romance? Did someone tell you it was unsuitable?

What was your first romance? Did someone tell you it was unsuitable?

Thinking about this Unsuitable discussion coming up Monday (previous post), I’m curious what you all would say. Do you remember your first romance? One book specifically or just discovering someone’s Harlequin stash?

Did anyone make you feel it was unsuitable in some way? (Was it a conscientious mom saying, Hey, you’re too young to read something with sex in it, or was it a more insidious kind of judgment?) Have you always felt free to read what you want without judgment from others, or have you sometimes felt self-conscious?

The title of this talk series came out of the memories so many people here on campus had of that kind of judgment, so I’m curious what your own experiences are.


Permalink to Unsuitable #1: Monday Oct 20, 5:30-7:00

Unsuitable #1: Monday Oct 20, 5:30-7:00

Announcing the start of our Unsuitable series at Duke. This event and the whole series of events are open to the public! Best visitor parking options at Duke for this event are at the Bryan Center or Parking Garage IV (side by side parking areas). Parking there is $2/hour. Come join the discussion!

UNSUITABLE #1 ~ Women, Fiction & Popular Perception

October 20, 2014 – Free & Open to the Public

The inaugural event of the “UNSUITABLE” series that engages students and the local community in a discussion of women’s interests & popular fiction. 

Genre romance fiction and feminism are often seen as antithetical to each other. The authors and scholars on this panel will speak on the role women played in the rise of the novel as a popular form of literature as well as about their participation in recent public conversations about feminism and popular culture today.

Guest Panelists for “Unsuitable #1″

Jackie C. Horne, blogger of Romance Novels for Feminists

Maya Rodale, best-selling romance novelist and author of Dangerous Books for Girls: The bad reputation of romance novels, explained

and

Professor Rachel Seidman, creator of Who Needs Feminism?

 

When: October 20, 2014, 5:30-7:00pm

WhereForum for Scholars & Publics, Old Chemistry Building, West Campus, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina [get directions]

What: Presentations and Q&A

A buffet dinner will be served. 

This event is FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

~  ~  ~

SPEAKER BIOS

Jackie C. Horne worked for a decade in children’s book publishing before returning to academia to earn a Master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and a PhD in 18th and 19th century British literature from Brandeis University. As an Assistant Professor at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College, she taught courses on Fantasy and Science Fiction for Children and Young Adults, Multicultural Literature, and Writing Pedagogy. She is the author of History and the Construction of the Child in Early British Children’s Literature (Ashgate 2011), as well as the co-editor of two essay collections in the Children’s Literature Association’s Centennial series. She became (re)interested in romance after researching the genre for an essay about Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, and began her blog, Romance Novels for Feminists, in 2012.

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence. She is now the award winning author of numerous smart and sassy romance novels. A champion of the genre and its readers, she received her M.A. from the Draper Program of Humanities and Social Thought at New York University, and is the author of the non-fiction book Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation Of Romance Novels, Explained. She is also a co-founder of Lady Jane’s Salon, a national reading series devoted to romantic fiction. Rodale lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

Rachel Seidman is a U.S. historian specializing in women’s history. With a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from Yale, Seidman is particularly interested in connecting history to current concerns through civic engagement and community-based research. The author of The Civil War: A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) and several scholarly articles about women in the Civil War, Seidman was previously the Associate Director of the History, Public Policy and Social Change program at Duke University. At Duke she founded and co-directed The Moxie Project: Women and Leadership for Social Change, and directed the Poverty, Ethics and Policy Lab. She continues to work on projects related to women’s activism and poverty in North Carolina in her position as Associate Director of the Southern Oral History Program at UNC Chapel Hill.


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 An Enchanted House

An Enchanted House

On the grounds of Chenonceau.

Who can you imagine living here?

 

IMG_1919

 

 


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 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 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

So the evil Nalini Singh challenged me to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge earlier this morning. Here you go. Now I challenge YOU to do it (yes, you, I’m talking to you), plus Kristen Callihan, Jennifer Lohmann, Jessica Scott. They know why I’m picking on them. :) (Search your conscience, ladies. Search deep.*)

For those of you not aware, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was started to earn money for the ALS Association. (ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, if you’re wondering what I’m talking about.) People have 24 hours to accept the challenge!

Meanwhile, I’m explaining to my daughter, “Well, yes, I know I told you not to accept ridiculous dares, sweetie, but…it’s different for mommies.”

 

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Laura Florand from Laura Florand on Vimeo.


Permalink to Giveaway! Jennifer Lohmann’s Winning Ruby Heart (advanced copy)

Giveaway! Jennifer Lohmann’s Winning Ruby Heart (advanced copy)

Winner of this is Kristy M. Congratulations, Kristy! I hope you enjoy it.

Giveaway today! So a couple of weeks ago, when I went to the signing that Jennifer Lohmann, Virginia Kantra, Katharine Ashe, Jessica Scott did, I was really fascinated by what Jennifer had to say about her upcoming book, WINNING RUBY HEART.

It’s coming out Sept 1, and what really intrigued me about this book is that the heroine *has actually done something wrong*. I feel as if, often, heroines get a lot of backlash if they have ever done anything other than bounce around in a ponytail and provide a foil for the hero (a hero who can probably get away, quite literally, with murder and still be considered sexy). The consequence of this, or maybe it’s a cycle, is that you don’t see nearly as many complex heroines as I would like.

So I am absolutely fascinated by the concept of this one. The heroine is a world-class athlete who was brought down in a blood-doping scandal five years before. (And she was genuinely guilty of it.) Now she’s trying to make her comeback, and the hero…he’s the man who made his journalistic career by breaking the story on her blood-doping.

I am really fascinated to read this! I thought some of you might be, too, and in discussing it, so I begged Jennifer to offer an advanced copy. And she agreed!

So if you would be interested in reading it, just comment below. It’s a regular print copy such as you would find in the store, but one of her author’s advanced copies, so if you’re willing to also leave a review for her later, that is not required by any means, but it would be lovely if you did. I love books that take risks and push our concept of what women “are allowed” to be in books (like, you know…we screw up, too, and have to make our lives over). And I would love to see a lot of discussion around this one.

So if you would be interested in reading this, too, just let me know! And a huge thanks to Jennifer for being willing to share a copy.

I’ll put an AMZ link so you can check out more info about the book if you want.

Happy reading! And thank you again to Jennifer.

winning ruby heart

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