The Chocolate Club winner for March is Rachel C.! Email has been sent, so check your inbox (and double-check spam) if you are a Rachel C. I’m very excited to try these chocolates for myself, and thanks again to Taylor Reynolds for the recommendation. I only wish I had enough real chocolate outside the books to share with everyone! Slowly but surely maybe, one month at a time, as we work our way around the US. (And maybe a little France sometimes!) Please keep the recommendations coming!
Friday Book Club! (Now those of you coming over for the book club, don’t forget that the first week of the month is ALSO Chocolate Club, so scroll down my timeline to the last post if you want to enter that.) What are you reading? As I predicted, I am sunk deep into Virginia Kantra’s CAROLINA MAN. (Here’s a little AMZ link if you want:
Carolina Man (A Dare Island Novel)
I’ve been eagerly awaiting Luke’s story for a long time now (write faster, Virginia!), and it is living up to all my expectations. I just love how Virginia evokes family in this series. And the beautiful setting of this Carolina barrier island! I’m always in awe of the way she manages to capture so much power into a few carefully chosen words. When I’m floundering around layering on metaphors and images to try to capture an emotion, Virginia hones in on that one detail that says it all, with that precision and grace that really shows a master of her craft. So many sentences I want to quote already, and I just started it late last night. I’m already loving this book even more than all the others (the characters Luke and Kate really speak to me), but that’s saying a lot, since I loved the first two, too. And if you want to start the series, note that the FIRST book (Carolina Home) is still on sale for ebook for $1.99. (I had understood that sale was supposed to end a few days ago, so I’d just say grab it while you can, as I’m not sure when that price will go up. Here’s a link to that, if you want:
Carolina Home (A Dare Island Novel) )
Next up for me I’m thinking will be LOVE HACKED (Penny Reid), and a couple of arcs people have sent me that I’ll talk about closer to their release date. What about you? What are you reading? Have you just finished anything good you would recommend? Do you have a book you’re looking forward to sinking into this weekend?
March Chocolate Club! This month, I’m trying out fellow writer Taylor Reynolds‘s recommendation of Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates. (Want to make your own recommendation? Have at it! I love recs. There’s a permanent page on my website of US Artisan chocolate recs, if you want to share your love of a chocolatier with all the world.) We are all just a little tired of winter, and I’m thinking it’s time to give some broad hints about spring. Thus the perfect occasion of these lovely, flower-decorated chocolates. (Aren’t they beautiful?) Thanks to Taylor for the recommendation!
As before, those signed up for my newsletter (aka my email for new releases) are automatically entered. For an extra entry, like or comment here or on Facebook! I’ll pick someone Saturday morning, so be sure to be signed up and/or have commented here or on Facebook by then. (Newsletter sign-up link here. Bonus scene with Dom of THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH and the aunts from THE CHOCOLATE KISS comes with sign-up!)
And if you win, do please come share your thoughts! That’s what the chocolate club is all about, exploring new chocolatiers and spreading the artisan chocolate love.
It’s Friday! What are you reading? Last week, I was in a reading funk and after 3 or 4 new books disappointed, I sank back into the refuge of Nalini Singh :). This is kind of fitting for the Friday Book Club discussion, because first of all, it was inspired by Nalini. (I think her practice of inviting readers to discuss books every Friday is a wonderful one.) And then, too, I think the ability to sink back into books we know and love and trust (comfort reads) is so important to our enjoyment of reading period. Where would we be without those re-reads?
After about 3 Changeling novellas, I was all happy and full of comfort reading and could take a risk on Penny Reid’s Neanderthal Seeks Human that so many of you had recommended. (And which was wonderful! See my post last week!) But then I was in my Changeling groove, so went right back to reading more of those. (Can I confess I love the leopards the best? Also, I really like novellas and the ability to read a whole story without being up until three am, which is why I was reading so many of those. Although I’ve got a real longing to re-read Hawke & Sienna’s story now.) Anyway, I know a lot of you have read Nalini, but a lot of people here may never have tried her. Maybe you could share your recommends for favorite couples/books/series, which book or series you try to get your friends hooked on first? Would you even recommend starting with a novella, to those new to Nalini? (One of the pleasures of the novellas is the glimpse into a familiar world, I think.) What book would you start people on, if you could get everyone to listen to your recommends?
And what else is everyone reading? Anything good this week that you would recommend? What do you have planned for this weekend?
A link to one of Nalini’s novellas. I’m linking to this one in particular because it is the latest re-release, but Nalini is a prolific writer and I think if you’re new to her you’ll discover there is plenty of reading pleasure waiting for you.
Although this has not been a secret, it’s also not been something about which I’ve made an official statement, so I wanted to let readers know that, yes, I will be self-publishing the entirety of the Vie en Roses series.
Kensington did make a four-book print and digital offer on this series, and I truly appreciate their efforts to negotiate with me, as I threw up all kinds of obstacles to a new contract and they really worked hard to find compromises that would work for both of us.
However, I’ve experimented with both self-publishing and traditional publishing at this point, and I am very interested in testing out self-publication of an entire series.
I’ve been able to find a great editorial team to work with me, and the control over my own output and creativity has been incredibly revitalizing.
Sales on the two self-published Chocolate books, which are more than double the sales of the traditionally published Chocolate books, also suggest that this is a better move for readers. My guess is that you all appreciate the ability to obtain ebooks at a price of $3.99-4.99 rather than $8-10. That makes sense to me. I also find $8-10 a lot to spend on an ebook. There’s just something about the digital aspect that makes it very hard to do.
I am somewhat concerned about the fact that the books in the Vie en Roses series are unlikely to appear on bookstore shelves, but print readers will be able to order them, through the vendor of their choice, so I certainly don’t think established readers will suffer. (If you think you will, I’d love to hear from you about why and how. Definitely let me know what I might be missing!)
Whether it will affect my long-term discoverability is something to be tested. Obviously, to have the best of both worlds, I would like for these books to be on bookstore shelves, too. However, given that my previous self-published books sold twice as many copies as the books on bookstore shelves, I don’t think it’s a good idea at this point in time to give up anything in order to obtain that bookstore shelf presence. Certainly not to give up all rights and control, as current publishing contracts require.
I especially think it is a bad idea to sell away rights given the state of flux of the publishing industry. I’m really not sure anyone should be signing away rights for books for any period longer than three years right now, because we have no idea what things will be like in three years. My guess is that an author’s rights will be worth a lot more than a traditional publisher’s ability to place a book on bookstore shelves by then, but then my experience suggests those rights already are worth a lot more.
(Anyway, while publishers might contract to certain print runs, it’s worth noting that no publisher guarantees actual print distribution in a contract. They can’t. If you’re an author, double-check your contracts. It is fashionable, these days, for traditional publishers to talk about what they provide authors—editing, distribution, etc.—and yet not a single one of those things are in the contracts that bind authors to give up all rights and control of a literary work they produced in its entirety.)
All that said, in terms of discoverability, I would definitely appreciate any and all reader word-of-mouth during this more extended self-publishing venture. (But I already appreciated that! Reader word-of-mouth is the best thing to happen to a book ever. Thank you!!)
Since you are unlikely to wander past a bookstore shelf and spot my next book, if you are interested in future books, I really hope you will sign up to be emailed for new releases as the best way to spot that a new one is out.
And as I try this new experiment, I want to thank so many readers who have helped make these past eighteen months since The Chocolate Thief first came out such exciting ones. I hope you’ll understand my need to keep control and ownership of my work and that you’ll stay with me on this next venture!
I’m in a constant process of evaluation in what is still to me a very new world, so of course I’ll let you know if any plans change. But for now I’m very much looking forward to sharing the Vie en Roses series with you! We are looking at an August release date right now for the first book in the Rosier Family Quartet, which contains the central four books of that series (or perhaps collection would be a better word).
And keep your eye out for a couple of novellas in the Amour et Chocolat collection…and perhaps even a historical one day. (Perhaps. I’ll keep you posted.) Again, to know when those come out, sign up here. (It’s painless, and also you get to be in our monthly Chocolate Club. Oh and get a special extra scene with Dominique Richard from The Chocolate Touch dealing with the aunts from The Chocolate Kiss.)
May I just say how happy I am to be writing in a time when I can reach readers directly, and to thank all of you for being readers. Because, well…I love readers. I always feel as if we have some secret code of happiness I wish we could share with non-readers, too.
Happy reading! May you find many wonderful books! It’s an exciting time to be an author and it’s an exciting time to be a reader, and I’m glad we’ve spent some time together on the same page. I certainly hope we’ll see more of each other.
All the best,
(PS My husband said not to show you all that second photo because I look so weird in it, and really, truly I don’t look that weird most of the time. I think. But in the other one in that vat of roses I look like an insane person about to commit Murder with a Handful of Roses, so I really had very little choice. I just wanted to show how very amazingly incredibly awesome the research on this Rose series has been. This is from a few years ago, actually, when I first started. That’s not my hand, in the first photo. It’s the hand of Joseph Mul, patriarch of the most important family in rose production in the Grasse area, who was kind enough to let me research with him.)
It’s Friday! And I have to say, so many of you were telling me what a good book Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid is, and I finally started it. I am having such a good time with this book! Very charming, very unique voice. The heroine is very quirky, and she is *very* good at shaking up the hero, and it’s told all in the first person, so we as readers keep seeing his attempts to get through to her. Very funny. Sir Handsome McHotpants! Also, if you like words, this is a book for you! This heroine *loves* her big words. Very fun voice. If only the rest of my life would leave me in peace so I could finish it. Halfway done and was hoping to sink into the rest of it last night, and of course a million things had to be dealt with before I even got through two more chapters.
We’re in the middle of an important conversation right now, if only I can curl up with the book and find out what happens!
It’s only 1.99 as an ebook right now, so I’m just going to give you a link:
Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City)
because, seriously–that is such a steal for this book. Now it started off in the toilet which, despite having done myself once, made me a little unsure this book was for me, but then I got into the author’s voice and I haven’t stopped grinning since.
What about you? What are you reading?
A lovely reading from THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH by the wonderful Ruthie Knox.
Ruthie’s beautiful words to go with the reading: “Laura’s books create a Paris of the imagination, a Paris of chocolate and technique, mastery and admiration, and most of all, a Paris of intense and specific sexual-romantic longing that you can wrap around you, as you read, like the softest cashmere couch blanket. There is such decadence to Laura’s Paris, because she gives the reader permission to sink into the world she’s created, to want — expensive food, beautiful clothes, romantic misunderstanding, scenery, love, sex — and this means that choosing to read one of her novels becomes a choice to have an experience that is comforting, beautiful, and rich.
It’s just delicious.”
She is extremely kind.
And if you are looking to be tempted into more books, check out her reading from Molly O’Keefe’s Wild Child the week before. Are these video reads not fantastic? And now that you’ve heard the reading, can you possibly resist WILD CHILD?
The best thing is, now everyone is Very Officially Warned that it is a book that makes people cry. (I tell people that, but they don’t quite expect it, coming from The Chocolate Kiss.)
Thank you so much to everyone who voted and to all of you who opened your hearts to this poor couple and their journey!
Friday Book Club! (I know! Last week I totally missed it. Too busy with macarons? What are you reading?
I finally dove into FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell this week, and oh, the charm of this book! Such a big love for the narrator (third person heroine) and the hero, and the pure charm of the narrative all combined with a powerful but sweet emotional punch. This light, but entirely delightful, funny but rich and deep touch to the author’s voice. Did I mention I love the hero yet? Love. He does do one of my least-favorite kind of screw-ups at one point, but we get over this because he’s such a good guy. So highly recommend this book! Yes, I am downloading all her others now.
Here’s a link, if you’re interested:
Beyond that, my reading has included things you probably don’t even want to know about (Equal Ardour: Female Desire, Amatory Fiction, and the Recasting of the Novel, 1680-1760 — it’s quite fascinating actually!), and next up on my list of books to read is BLACK DOG, a new release by Rachel Neumeier, who writes young adult fantasy novels.
Here’s a link:
She has said some really wonderful things about my own books, and a lot of reviewers who like my books love hers, too, and I know that probably seems shallow or self-centered but in my experience it’s often a really good sign that we just like the same kind of story and I’ll respond to hers as well. So I’m looking forward to that pure pleasure of sinking into a rich fantasy world and a strong voice this weekend.
Now your turn. What about you?
The Chocolate Club this month is a special Valentine’s treat! This is from a chocolatier I love, Christophe Paume, a third-generation French chocolatier who works in Charleston now (there’s a love story behind that!). He does the most beautiful chocolate hearts for Valentine’s, full of his luscious chocolates.
We’re going to do this Club slightly differently. I’m not quite happy with Rafflecopter, that I was using the past couple of months. So this time, ALL newsletter subscribers are automatically entered. And you can also enter by liking and commenting the contest post on Facebook.
ALSO for newsletter subscribers this month, we’re making available a special much-requested scene from THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH. There once was a scene where Dominique and the aunts from THE CHOCOLATE KISS had a little encounter, and it was cut from THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH because my editor feared that people who hadn’t read THE CHOCOLATE KISS would be totally confused by the aunts. (They’re quirky, I’ll admit.) But I think those of you who have read both might enjoy seeing Dom’s reaction to the aunts. Or their reaction to him.
If you are newly subscribing to the newsletter, you’ll receive an email of the scene when you subscribe. People already subscribed, check your inbox for the email on the print version of THE CHOCOLATE TEMPTATION. You can sign up for the newsletter here.
And fingers crossed for you for the Chocolate Club! Entries will be drawn for this particular Chocolate Club Saturday morning, so make sure to sign up for the newsletter by Friday midnight if you want a chance at the heart.