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Beguiling the Beauty, at Long Last

Phew.  Squee.  Omg.  I am both stupefied with excitement and oddly apprehensive, but mostly just pretty darn happy.

Which isn’t to say that I was unhappy when I didn’t have books out.  It was actually quite lovely to just work and never worry about sales, reception, and whatnot–a purer form of the creative life.  But I don’t write books only for myself so it is also very, very nice, once in a while, to have one out for public consumption.

I have an interview going on at Reader I Created Him.  AAR is giving away five copies of RAVISHING THE HEIRESS, my July release–you’ve until Thursday 11:59pm.  And if you, like me, enjoy such things as a swift kick to the rear, :-)  then I also have a 3-chapter critique up for bid at Crits for Water–it will be up for 48 hours.

I am the keynote speaker at Connecticut Fiction Fest on May 12.  There is still time to register if you are interested.

For readers outside of North America, my first two books are now available for Kindle.  And will be available on other platforms as soon as we configure how to restrict sales on those platforms to outside of North America–possibly as early as next week.  For Private Arrangements, click here.  For Delicious, here.

I still have to proof NOT QUITE A HUSBAND and HIS AT NIGHT; those will have to wait until TEMPTING THE BRIDE is in tiptop shape.  Want to close out the trilogy on a proper high note so must work for it.

And on that, I hope you enjoy BEGUILING THE BEAUTY!

Covers Galore

Note: The blurb for Beguiling the Beauty has been fixed.

I keep cover pictures that I haven’t yet posted to all possible venues on my laptop desktop.  And for some reason, although every horizontal surface in my house is covered with stuff and I am usually blithely unaware of the clutter, I am very, very neat electronically.  I rarely allow my email inboxes to contain more than 15 entries, and once the number of covers on my electronic desktop reaches a certain critical mass, well, here comes a post.  :-)

Two years ago, I did a post here called Red Dress-Off.  The idea came about as Meredith and I each had a book with a red dress on the cover coming out around the same time.  Guess what?  I’ve another red dress cover, for Beguiling the Beauty.

Blurb:

When the Duke of Lexington meets the mysterious Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg aboard a transatlantic ocean liner, he is fascinated. She is exactly what he has been searching for—a beautiful woman who interests and entices him. He falls hard and fast—and soon proposes marriage.

And then she disappears without a trace…

For in reality, the “baroness” is Venetia Easterbrook—a proper young widow who had her own vengeful reasons for instigating an affair with the duke. But the plan has backfired. Venetia has fallen in love with the man she despised—and there’s no telling what might happen when she is finally unmasked…


Meredith does not have a red-dress cover coming out in 2012.  What she does have, however, is just as synchronicitous.

I wish I could find a bigger picture for At Your Pleasure.  (Meredith has kindly provided a large pic.)  But as you can see, these covers are totally twins separated at birth.  If only one of them were leaning the other way–they’d make a perfect set to display on the wall.

Blurb:

Glittering court socialites and underworld cutpurses agree: Adrian Ferrers, Earl of Rivenham, is the most dangerous man in London. Rivenham will let nothing—not the deepening shadow of war; not the growing darkness within him—interfere with his ambition to restore his family to its former glory. But when tasked by the king to uncover a traitor, he discovers a conspiracy—and a woman whose courage awakens terrible temptations. To save her is to risk everything. To love her might cost his life.

 

Lady Sarah Percy knows that Rivenham is the devil in beautiful disguise—and that the dark attraction between them is as dangerous as the nightmare in which her family is trapped. But when war breaks out, she has no choice but to place her trust in her dearest enemy—and hope that love does not become the weapon that destroys them both…

 

Now a bunch of foreign covers.

First up, The Duke of Shadows in complex Chinese.  Is that not a gorgeous cover?  Somehow it escaped my detection during the Duran foreign covers omnibus hunt.  I can excuse myself for that oversight, since Meredith herself didn’t know this edition existed.  The title in Chinese is less The Duke of Shadows, but more The Duke of Illusions.

Vietnamese Private Arrangements. I am again labeled as a New York Times bestselling author. Well, if you say if often enough… :-) (Update: Finally got around to Google Translate.  The title in Vietnamese is Covenant of Destiny, which is totally awesome.  Might be my favorite title, foreign or domestic.)

French His at Night. Title translates to The One I’ve Been Waiting For, which I like very much.

And last, but not at all the least, comes Slovene Not Quite a Husband.  I’m not sure what’s going on with the hands, but once I realized that the dress was see through, I couldn’t pay attention to the hands at all.  Am I witnessing a miraculous piece of Brazilian waxing? :-)

 

New York, New York

Caution: Long blog post coming up. Image-heavy too.  And I apologize in advance for my camera’s totally inaccurate time stamps.

1. Pre-Departure

Everywhere I look, I see authors with other artistic talents.  They can paint, draw, sew, knit, quilt, garden, graphic design, compose, play instruments, and whatnot.  I play casual games and have nothing to show for it.  (Well,  lots of good memories with the kidlets but His Hawtness and I debate on whether that constitute as quality time.   I say yes. *g*)

But ever since the shea butter episode, I’ve developed an obsession with hand-making beauty products.  Not for myself, but as promo items.  For RWA Orlando I did bath bombs.  Facial scrubs for New Jersey RWA’s conference and RT Los Angeles.  In between I also made solid lotion bars as belated Christmas presents.

By the beginning of the year I’d already decided to make lip butters for RWA.  I’d really, really hoped that by June I’d have a cover for the first book in my 2012 trilogy, but since the release is still 11 months out, no.  All the same, my enthusiasm remained undimmed.  I love giving away good swag.  I love doing repetitive chores, especially fresh from deadlines.

Here’s the lip butter chronicle, for Janine especially, starting with empty jars.

And now they are being filled.  more »

Two Weeks To Go Before RWA Nationals

Where did the time go?  Granted, RWA hits a month earlier this year, but still, wow.  Time to start packing.

I’m happy to report that Book 1 & 2 of the new trilogy have both been delivered to my new editor at Berkley.  On time.  The books are not bad, by the standards of my first drafts.  But still, I’m already thinking of improvements, connections, and deeper layerings to add to them, when they come back from my editor.  Now onto the updates.

1) Three-Chapter Critique from Yours Truly

On the 13th of June my Crit for Water critique goes up for auction here.  If you need three chapters looked at, by all means bid.  It’s an excellent cause and I am a terrific critiquer.  (You didn’t expect me to say anything else on the eve of the auction, did you? :-P )

And Mary Baader Kaley at Not an Editor was kind enough to interview me about my approach to critiquing.  But basically, I’m a good fit for you if you really need your work looked at by a pair of fresh eyes and you actually want to know what’s not working.  I will tell you what’s working for me too, but I assume that you, like me, are more interested in what can be improved than what cannot be.

2) Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Face

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Guilt-blogging

It seems rather neglectful–not that we don’t tell you upfront that we are neglectful bloggers here <g>–to comment upon an event elsewhere but not here at my own blog, especially since the event had something to do with me.

So here’s my call story for this year’s RITA nominations.

Usually I am not a nervous person, possibly because usually I have no idea what’s going on. :-)  Take the RITAs, for example, in 2009 and 2010, the calls came early in the morning, right after I’d come back home from walking the Junior Kidlet to school, before I’d even realized what date it was.  This time, however, I began working before waking the kidlet up, and while using the dictionary widget on my macbook, I happened to glance at the calendar widget, and the 25 was highlighted.  Too bad, a second later, I remembered that RITA calls went out on the 25th.

This set me slight on edge.  I am not a hoper–is that a word?–and usually prefer to first mentally prepare myself for the worst that can happen.  And when 8:30 came and went, I thought, well, that’s probably it.  The calls have gone out and I didn’t get mine.

Then at 8:37 the phone rang.  I scrambled to get it.  Ack.  The number of a known telemarketer.  I pressed the rejection button really hard and muttered something under my breath.  And then, just as I was walking away from the phone, it rang again.  And this time it was Cindy Kirk from RWA.  There is an old Turkish proverb that goes: When Allah wants to make a poor man happy, He takes away the man’s goat and then let him find it again.  And boy, when I got the call after thinking I wouldn’t, did it make me happy!

This was written for The Romance Bandits.  Who corralled a bunch of RITA nominees (and a couple of Golden Heart nominees) who have been guest bloggers at the Bandits’ blog to share their RITA call stories.  Go give it a read.  Most of the stories are better than mine.

But I was most certainly as thrilled as anyone.  This never gets old.  Especially as I’m always a little unsure how to feel about HIS AT NIGHT myself.

Now my mind turns to the dress.  But alas, I’m on deadline.  And I sit all day and eat crap when I’m on deadline.  And even the prettiest dress might turn into sausage casing when the deadline goes on for another two months.

So I’d better finish those two books fast–two books, ack–if for nothing else than to get out the house and get some exercise.  Book 1 is shaping up well.  Book 2 is going to need an overhaul–nothing new here.  Same old process.  Write ‘em first and sort ‘em later.

This then, will be the last blog for a while, until I’ve turned those two books in.  So I want to inform everyone that I am contributing critiques to two auctions.  First, to the well-known Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction, a query critique.  Second, a three-chapter critique to the Crits for Water Campaign run by blogger Flighty Temptress.  My critique is scheduled to go up for auction on June 13.  I’m not sure how the bidding works exactly, but if you are interested, I’m sure Flighty Temptress will be happy to walk you through the process.  :-)

I have never offered a chapter-critique before, and the reason is that I can be terrifying.  :-)  Half the time I preface a critique with “I know you won’t like hearing this–”  But if you want someone to have a good hard look at your WIP, especially one that’s close but no cigar (those actually  benefit the most from a stone-cold analysis), and if you’ve a few bucks to contribute to a good cause, then look me up.  Just make sure you really do want to know what’s not working.

And now, last but never least, new foreign covers.

Italian Private Arrangements:

Now if this looks familiar, it is.  

It’s Monica Belucci all over again!  Different photos from the same series.  I really would like to know if my Italian publisher consulted the French cover or if this is just an amazing coincidence.  :-)

And now, Taiwanese NOT QUITE A HUSBAND.

This actually looks a lot like the environs of Chakdarra, where pitches battles of the Swat Valley Uprising of 1897 were fought.  And the fort resembles the real fort at Chakdarra.  Need I tell you that I’m happy?  And lol, not only did they mention the RITA for NQAH, they also mentioned the AAR Best Hundred Romance placement.  All true, let’s sell this baby, I say.  It’s when they call me a New York Times bestselling author that I start to giggle.  How come I’m always an American bestseller overseas?  :-P

So long, keep well, and ’til we meet again.

My sister the secret rock star.

Necessary preface: this is a true story…and it just happened to me.

So, about eight weeks ago, my younger sister, Shelley, comes to me and says, “Hey, I wrote a book.”

(You may recognize Shelley’s name if you read The Duke of Shadows.  The book is dedicated to her for good reason.  She found the manuscript under a bed, where I’d abandoned it after numerous literary agents declined to represent it.  Having read and liked the book, Shelley convinced me to try again. She is the reason that I’m now a published author.)

I’d always known Shelley was a talented writer and an avid reader, but I had no idea that she’d been writing fiction, much less novel-length fiction. So here’s how our conversation went:

Me: “You’ve been writing?  Hey, that’s awesome!  I always said you should give it a go.”

My sister: “In fact, I’ve been writing for some time.  This is my…oh, seventh manuscript?”

Me: “What?!?”

My sister: “Yeah, I enjoy it.”

Me: “Um.  Okay, that’s awesome.  A bit…secretive, but purely awesome all the same.  So, what kind of book is it?”

My sister: “YA, set in the near future.”

Me (thinking myself witty): “Hmm, let me guess: it’s about a girl who meets and falls in love with a mysterious and slightly sadistic stranger in her chem/bio/gym class.”

My sister: “Wrong all around.  For one thing, the protagonist is a teenage guy.”

Me: “A guy?  Huh.”  (I think to myself: Bummer.  I prefer female protagonists.)  “Well, can I read it?”

My sister: “Sure!  Emailing it now.”

24 hours later…

Me (purely astonished): “Shel, this book is…amazing.  I mean… I’m kind of speechless.  It’s that good.  Totally intense, but also amazingly funny in parts.  I literally couldn’t put it down until I was finished reading it. It’s just…awesome.”

My sister: “Thanks!  Good to hear!”

Me: “What I’m saying is that this book could be published. You should be querying agents RIGHT NOW.  I could give you some tips—”

My sister:  “Oh, I already have an agent.”

Me:  “…What? You already have an agent?”

My sister: “Yep.  I queried a while back and [big fancy NY agent] liked it a lot.  He’s planning on submitting in January.”

Me: “Um.  Um.  YOU NEVER BREATHED A WORD OF THIS.  YOU DO REALIZE THAT?”

My sister (no doubt blinking innocently):  “Well, I didn’t know if anything would come of it.  Still might go nowhere, you know?  Maybe just forget you read it.”

Me: “NOT LIKELY.”

My sister: “Seriously, you never know.  Maybe nobody will want it.”

Six weeks pass

Me (unable to play it cool any longer): “Shel, any news from your agent?”

My sister: “Oh, yeah, nice news!”

Me (dying of excitement): “What kind of news?”

My sister:  “It just sold in a pre-empt for [a sum that my brain translates to a gazillion trillion dollars].”

Me (collecting jaw off floor): “…This means you’re buying me dinner from now on, right?  ’Cause I’m a starving student, you know.  You owe me dinners.  You owe me LOTS of dinners.”

My sister:  “Dude, WTF?  No way.  You’re the big sister!  You buy the dinners!”

Me: “You’re the super-secretive 007 writer whose book just got bought AS A PRE-EMPT about ten seconds after I found out that you’d started writing!”

My sister: “Okay, fine.  I’ll send you a Cliff bar in the mail.”

Here’s the text of the Publisher’s Weekly announcement that just appeared:

S.J. Kincaid’s INSIGNIA, in which a teenage video gamer becomes a government weapon in a futuristic world at war, to Molly O’Neill at Katherine Tegen Books, in a pre-empt, in a significant deal, in a three-book deal, by David Dunton at Harvey Klinger.

If you’re curious to learn more, go check out her blog (http://sjkincaid.blogspot.com/)!  Me, I’ll be over here on the fainting couch, recovering from the vapors. :)

Happy New Year!

2011, phew.  Where did 2010 go?  I need to better chronicle my life.  I can never remember anything.

Anyway, here’s a lovely foreign cover of NOT QUITE A HUSBAND  to start the year.

I think the French like their romances set in exotic locales.  Bryony is never in native attire, if memory serves, but the Indian aspect, instead of being downplayed on the U.S. cover, is unambiguously emphasized here.

My favorite part of the cover, no doubt, is the band on the bottom that declares this book to have won the “Prize of the best historical romance of 2010.”  Hee.   The book came out in the beginning of November 2010, so I won the RITA just in time for it to be emblazoned across the cover.

In other exciting news, NQAH came in #18 in the All About Romance Top 100 Romances poll.  I am completely thrilled.  NQAH is my favorite, my own, my precioussss.  Debut books usually get all the attention so I’m really happy that NQAH, not a debut book, went so high.

As for the new books–the Fitzmaurice Trilogy–I am chugging along on pace for them.  Did a big push for book 1 in December.  So at beginning of 2011 the book is at the halfway point.  And now the story for book 2 has finally fallen into place in my head, i.e., I’ve got a grip on the hero now–no puns intended at all.  :-)

This morning, as I was reflecting on at last getting inside the hero’s head, I realized that with the exception of DELICIOUS, which was about the hero’s honor, the epiphanies PA, NQAH, and HAN have all revolve around how much the hero loves the heroine.  Also book 1 of the Fitzmaurice Trilogy, which is tentatively called An Affair with the Duke (formerly known as Fornicating with the Duke).

The crux of Book 2, however, is going to be quite a different kettle of fish.  It will be an interesting book.  Or at least it won’t be like any of my other books.  Might be dicey for readers, but it is very exciting for me as a writer so I will quit blogging and work on it some more.  :-)

A belated Happy New Year to all, and may your 2011 be a year filled with good books, good friends, comfort, love, and security.

Summer Omnibus Update

What?  Summer was over a while ago?  Well, then you know how long I’ve been meaning to write this post–as in seriously, I must write it today, come hell or high water.   Guess I can now compliment myself on being immune to both hell and high water.  :-)

So let’s see, what all happened since I last posted.

RWA Orlando

It’s always fun to attend a RWA conference. But the highlight of my conference, without a doubt, was this:

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HIS AT NIGHT Trailer

I wavered for a while, on whether to do a book trailer or not. Let’s face it: a book trailer is not the most effective means of promoting a book. (Although, what is?) But in the end, I decided to go for it and I’m really glad I did.

Because HIS AT NIGHT went through such repeated and arduous rewrites after it had been copy edited, I decided to hire an outside copy editor myself, just for quality assurance. Tiffany Yates, a professional freelance copy editor who has worked with many of the New York publishing houses who also happens to be a member of my local RWA chapter, proved a totally awesome choice.

Her queries, suggestions, and story advice were spot on. Which meant, by the time final galleys came, and changes had to be handwritten in the margins, I made if not substantial then at least noticeable changes to the manuscript. It killed me. I find final galleys nerve-wracking as such, to make so many changes–every page almost–oh, Lord have mercy.

In the months after that, I wanted nothing to do with the book. Even when I was at the RT Convention admiring the finished copies, I still couldn’t bear to crack the book open. Beth Kery, whom I met through Julie James, suggested that I was having mini-PTSD flashbacks. And she was right.

But since making the book trailer required consulting the manuscript, last Monday I flipped open HIS AT NIGHT at about a few chapters in. I began with a lot of trepidation, but soon I started enjoying myself. With just the usual breaks to pick up Junior Kidlet and hold him captive until homework is done, I read the book all the way through to the end that same day.

Phew. What a relief. End of mini-PTSD.

And here, without further ado, the book trailer:

Portuguese Delicious–Squee-worthy! Now Updated with Bookmark

Squee.  This is such a gorgeous cover.  Please click on the image to see all the details.   Full of food, yum, yum, yum.  Spices at the top:  dried red chilies, star anise, vanilla beans, and I think those are nutmegs.  And on the bottom, piles of chocolate and berries.  Ahhh.  Nom nom nom.

I love the warm palette.  I love the scale.  I love the title–which I think means Forbidden Fruit.  I love everything about it.  The only possible detail that can better this cover would be if there were a few madeleines sitting on that scale!

The best cover of my career.

Update:

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