A LONG FATAL LOVE CHASE & Lady Jane’s

A hasty, ill-advised marriage to a fiendish rake, a doomed devotion between a handsome young priest and the lovely, desperate girl he’s befriended…

No, not Collen McCullough’s THE THORN BIRDS but A LONG FATAL LOVE CHASE by Louisa May Alcott.

Written in 1866 a few years before Alcott’s revered classic, LITTLE WOMEN, A LONG FATAL LOVE CHASE was never published in Alcott’s lifetime. Deemed “too sensational” (translation: too risque) by her male publisher, the book was shelved among her private papers for more than a century and only rediscovered and published in the 1990’s.

As a middle school student, I adored LITTLE WOMEN and well, A LONG FATAL LOVE CHASE is not it. Written for serialization to keep the author’s perennially impoverished family of Transcendentalist intellectuals out of the poorhouse, the book is more penny dreadful than great novel. Still, the themes Alcott addresses–stalking, spousal abuse, bigamy, and a woman’s right to independence and freedom–resonate with a raw contemporary clarity.

As the title suggests, A LONG FATAL LOVE CHASE doesn’t end happily. Despite the every other chapter cliffhanger (it was meant to be serialized), the only true suspense is for whom the chase will prove fatal. The hastily pulled together ending answers that with no real surprises, leaving the reader not so much satisfied as relieved. Like Alcott’s heroine, Rosamund, we too are weary and ready for the chase to end.

Still, A LONG FATAL CHASE is worth a read for Alcott fans as well as fans of 19th century “women’s” literature, a literary tradition that still fascinates and inspires us today. For a wonderful paranormal YA Victorian Gothic romance in the tradition of Oscar Wilde’s THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (only with a happy ending!), read DARKER STILL by my Lady Jane’s Salon co-founder, Leanna Renee Hieber.

And for a fun and informative treatise on romance novels throughout the centuries, check out my other Lady Jane’s Salon co-founder, Maya Rodale’s, new nonfiction e-book, DANGEROUS BOOKS FOR GIRLS.

Speaking of Lady Jane’s, do join us on Monday, February 6th, 7-10PM at Madame X, for Lady Jane’s Third Anniversary Salon. It’s our third year birthday bash and we’re celebrating with our usual lineup of fabo readers including S.b. Sarah Wendell, Lauren Willig, and Eloisa James! Special EOY contribution to our charitable recipient, Women-in-Need. Sponsors: Chambord Vodka (“Pink Your Drink”) and Beatrice.com.

Happy Month of Hearts & Flowers,

Hope

 

Happy Birthday, Lady Jane Video

The February 7th Lady Jane’s Salon celebrated a big milestone for our girl. She turned two! Fittingly, Salon attendance reached an all time peak with not only sitting but also standing (and breathing) space at premium.

Guest emcee, Andrew Shaffer had us all rolling in what little aisle space was left with hilarious snippets from his nonfiction release, Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, demonstrating that really brainy people failing in matters of the heart may be tragic but it’s also really funny.

Guest authors Courtney Milan, Caridad Ferrer & Lauren Willig treated us to readings from their latest releases.

For those of you who weren’t able to join us in the flesh, please enjoy the video of our founders toast and donation presentation to our 2010 recipient charity, Women-In-Need.

LJ2_Donation and Toast from raj moorjani on Vimeo.

Happy Second Birthday, Lady Jane!

LADY-jane-logoOn Monday, February 7th, 7-9 PM my fellow co-founders (Leanna Renee Hieber, Ron Hogan, Maya Rodale), and I celebrate the second anniversary of Lady Jane’s Salon at our beloved Madame X. It’s hard to believe!

Joining us in ringing in the Big 0-2 are guest authors Courtney Milan, Lauren Willig, and Caridad Ferrer. Guest emcee, Andrew Shaffer, will read from his historical nonfiction debut, GREAT PHILOSOPHERS WHO FAILED AT LOVE.

Signed copies of the authors’ books will be available for purchase on site.

The festivities will include a champagne toast and presentation of an end-of-year donation check to Women In Need.

Launched in February ’09, Lady Jane’s remains New York City’s first (and so far only) reading series for romance fiction. Admission is $5 or one gently-used paperback romance novel. Book donations and net proceeds benefit New York City groups assisting women in need.

Subsequently Salons meet on the first Monday of the month unless otherwise noted. Visit us here at www.LadyJaneSalon.com, on FaceBook at http://tinyurl.com/ladyjanefb or follow us on Twitter@LadyJanesSalon.

Happy Birthday, Lady Jane, and Happy Valentine’s Month!

Lady Jane’s Salon Recap & Video

Many thanks to everyone who took time out from their busy holiday season to turn out for Monday’s Lady Jane’s Salon. Once again we were at standing room only–a fine welcome to the winter holidays, indeed!

Our guest readers were Lauren Willig, Jacquie D’Alessandro, and Me! Lauren read from The Mischief of the Mistletoe. As the title implies, hers is a Christmas book. It is also the latest in her popular Pink Carnation series. Can’t wait for more! Jacquie and I each read from our Christmas novellas in A Harlequin Christmas Carol. Though Jacquie swears this was her first time reading her work in public, we don’t believe her. She was a total pro!

As a Salon Co-Founder, it’s always a special thrill to be a guest at m/our own party and Monday’s Salon was no exception. Check out the video from my reading of Tomorrow’s Destiny in A Harlequin Christmas Carol.

Happy Holidays!

A HARLEQUIN CHRISTMAS CAROL & December Lady Jane’s Salon

On Monday, December 6th, I’ll be reading from Tomorrow’s Destiny in A HARLEQUIN CHRISTMAS CAROL at Lady Jane’s Salon. Joining me will be Jacquie D’Alessandro, also reading from A HARLEQUIN CHRISTMAS CAROL, and Lauren Willig.

Salon hours: 7-9 PM at Madame X. Admission is $5 or one gently used paperback romance novel, with proceeds to support an end-of-year donation to a NYC women’s charity. Authors’ books will be available for sale and signing on site.

For a sneak peak into the behind-the-scenes for A HARLEQUIN CHRISTMAS CAROL, check out my interview with Morgan Doremus of RT BOOK Reviews.

November 1st Lady Jane’s Salon

Joining us as guests for tonight’s Lady Jane’s Salon are the following four fabo authors: Stella Price, Terence Taylor, Allie Boniface, and Sarah MacLean. Bonus: we’ll be raffling off two copies of Lauren Willig’s Christmas release, The Mischief of the Mistletoe.

The Salon meets at 7-9 PM chez Madame X. Admission is $5 or one gently used romance novels, net proceeds and books to support NYC women’s charities. Cash bar.

Speaking the Love

From left to right, Sarah MacLean, Sarah Wendell, Hope Tarr, Tessa Woodward, Lauren Willig & Stephanie Klose. Photo courtesy of Lauren Willig.
From left to right, Sarah MacLean, Sarah Wendell, Hope Tarr, Tessa Woodward, Lauren Willig & Stephanie Klose. Photo courtesy of Lauren Willig.

Last night I had the privilege of being a panelist at WORD in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “WORDs of Love: A Night of Romance,” celebrated the bookstore’s recently opened romance fiction section (yippee!) and brought together author, Lauren Willig (Betrayal of the Blood Lily); romance book blogger, Sarah Wendell (Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels); Avon Books Associate Editor, Tessa Woodward; RT BOOK Reviews Magazine Senior Editor/Reviews Coordinator, Stephanie Klose; and Yours Truly.

Hosted by store manager, Stephanie Anderson and moderated by the brilliant Sarah MacLean (Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake), the program covered, or rather uncovered, as many aspects of the genre as we could reasonably address in 90 minutes. For example, what is the role of cliché in romance? Or do these tropes form the foundation of the genre’s structure not unlike the conventions inherent to other genres such as mystery and science fiction?

TIME_OUT_NY_WORD_7_22_10My personal evening’s highlight came from one lady in the audience who counseled us not to defend, explain, or apologize for the romance novels we love to read and write.  “When someone questions me about why I read romance novels, I look them in the eye and say, ‘Because I love them, and I’m probably going to buy $100 more next month.’” Huzzah!

Running a close second was the attendee who told us afterward that she’d found out about the event from its listing in The New York Times. The event also made the front page of this week’s Time Out New York. I’m just sayin’…

Couldn’t make it? Don’t despair. The uber wonderful, Sarah MacLean recorded the event for your listening pleasure.

Have a lovely weekend,

Hope

Happy Birthday, Lady Jane!

Lady Jane’s Salon, New York City’s first and so far only monthly romance reading series, turns one-year-old this February 1st and oh, my how our Girl has grown!

LADY-jane-logoHelping us blow out the birthday candle are three fabulous guests: bestseller, Lauren Willig (The Betrayal of the Blood Lily), debut author, Sara Lindsey (Promise Me Tonight), and guest emcee, historical nonfiction author Leslie Carroll (Notorious Royal Marriages). Three very lovely ladies reading from three very different books, all of which will be available for purchase on Salon night. I’m just saying…

Now that we’ve come up on the one year mark, it seems a fitting time to both reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year ahead. When Maya, Leanna, Ron and I came up with the concept for Lady Jane’s, we anticipated having ten or so attendees each month. In a very short time, we found ourselves filling up the house to the point where many Salon nights are now standing room only. Feature articles in TIME OUT NEW YORK and THE NEW YORK POST swiftly followed along with tremendous support from the romance fiction community. RT BOOK Reviews, Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly, Romance Novel TV, the chapter members of Romance Writers of America/NYC, and “Smart Bitch” Sarah Wendell are just a few of our wonderful friends who’ve given us both early and consistent loyalty and support. To them and all the individuals too numerous to name in a mere blog post, thank you!

A big sloppy birthday buss to Amy McCloskey, owner of our wonderful host venue, Madame X, and also to her manager, Karen and bartender, Alex. Without your support, the Salon couldn’t happen. It just couldn’t.

We started the series to provide a home for the books we love to both read and write. The four of us also felt strongly that in addition to the fun and frolic, it was important to broaden our mission to include a service component. Share the Love, Maya’s charitable organization co-founded with Ann Bleakley, has been the recipient of Salon proceeds for the past year, and we look forward to continuing our outreach to groups serving women in need in 2010.

As a Co-Founder, the time and energy I’ve expended have been returned to me tenfold–in the friendships both old and new, the collegiality with publishing professionals representing all aspects of the industry, and the opportunity to build, sustain and now grow something needed and yes, beautiful with three other amazing and creative individuals. Leanna, Maya and Ron, I heart you.

It’s both heartening and humbling to hear how the love we feel for our Brain Child/Baby is reciprocated by the romance community. Salon regular and February guest, Lauren Willig will teach a class on romance fiction this spring at Yale–yes, Y-A-L-E–along with fellow bestseller and Salon regular, Andrea Pickens also W/A Cara Elliott. A recent New Hampshire Register article covering the upcoming class had this to say:

Part of the impetus for the course also came from Willig’s membership in Lady Jane’s Salon, a Manhattan group of writers and readers which meets monthly for readings “and to hang out and drink. It’s become in a very short time an institution and a way for various people from various parts of the industry to share their love of romance novels,” says Willig.

Thank you, Lauren, and thanks to all of you whose unswerving commitment and enthusiasm, loyalty and yes, love have made Lady Jane’s Salon a rousing success.

Hope

Happy Birthday, Lady Jane

Monday, February 1st, 7-9 PM

Madame X (94 W Houston St)

Admission: $5 or one ppb romance novel

March Contest Winner & Lady Jane Salon Update

I’m back from my European rambles and pleased to do one of my very favorite things: announce my latest contest winner. Congratulations to Rachael G of Cairo, MO. Rachael’s prize: a signed copy of my single-title historical, Vanquished, and my contemporary category romance, Strokes of Midnight, is en route to her “as we speak.”

Didn’t win this time? No worries. The new contest is up and running, so please check it out. And remember, winners who may have read one or both of the prize books can always donate their copy to Share the Love and brighten the day of a woman working to rebuild her life.

Hope

PS I’m “deadlining” as we say in the biz, but I’m hopeful of posting the highlights of my vacation in the not too distant future, so please stay tuned.

PPS The next Lady Jane’s Salon is scheduled for Monday, April 6th, at Madame X.

PPPS! The New York Post recently gave Lady Jane more than a little love by covering our wintry yet well-attended March 3rd salon.

What a Lady, What a Night!

“What a lady, what a night…”

So the classic rock song goes and likewise so went last night’s launch of Lady Jane’s Salon, Manhattan’s first (and so far only) reading series devoted to romance fiction. The series, founded by Ron Hogan, Maya Rodale, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Moi benefits Share the Love, which reaches out to groups assisting women-in-transition build independent lives.

Hope chats with a guest during the meet-and-greet.
Hope chats with a guest during the meet-and-greet.

Forty or so attendees packed the elegant Victorian-inspired salon setting of Madame X in Tribeca. Distinguished guests included Carol Stacy, Publisher and Liz French, Managing Editor of Romantic Times BOOKReviews; Maria Lokken and Marisa O’Neill of Romance Novel TV; and Barbara Vey of PW’s uber popular blog, Beyond Her Book. Also on hand to clink glasses was Scandalous Women blogger, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon.

Foreground L-R: Bookseller and reviewer, Stacey Agdern and Barbara Vey, PW's Beyond Her Book.
Foreground L-R: Bookseller and reviewer, Stacey Agdern and Barbara Vey, PW

After a cocktail meet-and-greet, Ron took the stage as emcee to introduce Share the Love and Lady Jane co-founder, Maya Rodale. Maya spoke briefly and eloquently about her one-year-old organization’s mission to distribute gently-used romance novels to groups assisting women-in-transition, such as Women in Need (WIN), a domestic violence shelter located in Manhattan.

Guest author Andrea Pickens chats with the crowd.
Guest author Andrea Pickens chats with the crowd.

Award-winning author, Andrea Pickens got the party started by reading from The Scarlet Spy, the latest in her Regency-set historical series about a plucky group of young women trained as espionage agents. After a short break, during which Andrea and I signed our books, I read from Every Breath You Take…,my latest Harlequin contemporary release.

Books galores. The proceeds from all sales benefited Share The Love.
Books galores. The proceeds from all sales benefited Share The Love.

Last but not least, we made money for the cause as well as collected a cache of fabulous romance novels to be distributed to women working to achieve their own Happily Ever After beginnings. If that’s not sharing the love, I don’t know what is.

Next month’s Lady Jane’s Salon will take place on Monday, March 2nd, 7-9 PM at Madame X with romance authors Lauren Willig and Jenna Petersen as our guest readers. If you’re in Manhattan or passing through, I hope you’ll consider putting Lady Jane’s on your calendar.

Hope