Samhain closing its doors

You may have heard that Samhain Publishing is closing its doors at the end of February.

This means my books with them (Sweet Disorder, True Pretenses, Listen to the Moon, A Lily Among Thorns, and In for a Penny) will be unavailable until my rights are reverted and I can go through the self-publishing process with them. I don’t know yet how long that will take; I will update you when I know more!

Buy them before they disappear!

The Sweet Disorder e-book is still just 99 cents for Kindle, Nook, and Apple.

This will NOT affect the release of my novella “All or Nothing,” which is up for pre-order at Amazon and Kobo! (More formats and vendors to follow.)

If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments and I’ll answer to the best of my ability.

New contest: “Trade Me” by Courtney Milan

ETA: This contest is now closed. Nancy won the book.

This month I’m giving away a signed paperback copy of Trade Me by Courtney Milan!

This is one of my absolute favorites of Courtney’s books, up there with The Suffragette Scandal and Unraveled. It’s a NA contemporary romance (the first in her Cyclone series), about a poor college student struggling to get by and keep her mother from giving away the hard-earned money she sends home for her sister’s ADD meds to fellow Chinese refugees in need. Tina is offered the chance to trade lives for a month with another student desperate to escape his high-pressure life as heir to an innovative tech company and its irascible founder.

I love Tina with the fire of a thousand suns and I sobbed violently SEVERAL TIMES about her pathological sense of responsibility and fear of risk (MY FAVORITE TROPE, for personal reasons that I’m sure you will never guess).

Pictured: Spokesmodel T-Rex (not included) recharging his Tesla.

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2 pieces of news!

1. I’ve started a new project, HEAling the World, and I’m very excited about it! HEAling the World is one way for the romance community to fight against injustices going on in the United States right now and to work towards the happily-ever-after we want for our world.

Every month for eighteen months romance authors will share favorite charities or organizations. Authors will also give away books to a few donors each month.

We are starting off strong this month with Rebekah Weatherspoon sharing about Women of Color in Romance! Click this link to visit the HtW site and learn about WOCINR, and please consider donating to this vital cause. The first five $10 donors get 5 amazing free e-books!

2. My novella “All or Nothing” from the Gambled Away anthology is now up for pre-order on Amazon! Check out my stunning new cover!!!!!

(Teaser:

I know you want to see the rest!)

New contest: “Fortune Favors the Wicked” by Theresa Romain

ETA: This contest is closed. Elaine M. won the book!

This month I’m giving away a signed copy of Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain, plus a signed cover flat for the sequel, Passion Favors the Bold, and a bookmark and magnet!

This book is absolutely delightful, about an adventurous ex-naval officer and an ex-courtesan, both looking to find a treasure, claim the reward, and start new lives! Theresa shared some stuff about this book that time we interviewed each other, including that she originally pitched the book as “Regency ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'”!!

Pictured: Spokesmodel T-Rex (not included) having naval adventures.

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My new self-care routine

My primary New Year’s Resolution this Rosh Hashanah was to be better about self-care.

To be honest, that’s because as I sat there, making a list of all the things I want to be better at, they all boiled down to:

I want to be less cranky.

And I finally realized that the simplest way to be less cranky isn’t to exert more willpower and self-control. It’s to do things to make myself feel better. When I feel better, I am a more patient coworker and a more generous and present friend. Also, I feel better, so that’s pretty cool, right?

I wasn’t entirely sure how to be better about self-care, though, and I have to give credit for my breakthrough to Mel Jolly at Author Rx. I subscribe to her excellent newsletter, and this summer she said something that really stuck with me:

I hate making the same decisions about what to do in which order day after day, so I try to put myself on autopilot as much as possible.

Then, a few weeks later, she shared a story about a friend whose young son got easily distracted during his morning routine, so she made him a list:

Shower
Brush teeth
Make bed
Get dressed
Put on shoes
Eat Breakfast

Mel did something similar for her morning routine.

The truth is, I already knew what I needed to do to feel better. The problem was actually doing it. I’d come home from the day job all keyed up and stressed out, look at my to-do list, and say to myself, I don’t have time for self-care. So I’d jump straight into work, but I’d be unfocused and stressed out, and end up procrastinating on Twitter while feeling guilty.

OH MY GOD, I realized. What if I set aside a certain amount of time each day (I started with an hour and a half, but it wasn’t enough, so I ended up with two hours), and then made a self-care checklist? If I did everything the same way in the same order every time, and I made a commitment to do it “every day after work unless I had something scheduled with another person”, that would eliminate all the fussing and debating. I would just do it.

And look, I know two hours, three or four times a week, sounds like a lot of time. That’s possibly eight hours, just to make myself feel better.

But you know what? It is so, so worth it. I’m not gonna say I’m always perfect about follow-through, or that I never skip a day, because I totally am not, and I do at least once a week. BUT usually once I do start, I go through the whole two hours, and I feel great afterwards. Not only that, but I’m ready to actually sit down and work at my writing and career!

I use a page protector and dry-erase marker, just like Mel suggested:

20161126_170710

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Gambled Away is 99 cents!

GambledAway-200x300Gambled Away, the historical romance anthology I did with Molly O’Keefe, Joanna Bourne, Isabel Cooper, and Jeannie Lin, is on sale for just 99 cents! This is a great deal, especially for a collection Amazon estimates at 600 pages if it were a print book.

I’ve seen people saying that they’ve been reading novellas because they can’t focus for the length of a book right now. If that’s you, check this out. Five amazing stories from five amazing authors. I’m so proud of how this book turned out.

BUY THE BOOK

When it came out, Elisabeth Lane of Cooking Up Romance wrote: “This will probably be a Best Book of 2016 for me. Every story was a tiny jewel of perfection.” Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review and wrote, “The complex characters, intricate relationships, and sparkling plots showcase each author’s strengths, making this collection a must-have for any historical romance fan.”

My story is about a shy architect who asks an irrepressible Jewish gambling den hostess to pose as his mistress so he can actually get some work done at his ex-boyfriend’s house party. It’s a very personal, nerdy little story about learning to be a grown-up with money, and setting boundaries in obsessive friendships, and kink, and how sometimes people won’t fucking shut up about kosher stuff when you’re Jewish and eating with them, and insecurity, and falling in love, and I hope you love it as much as I do.

To celebrate the sale, I’m posting a Simon/Maggie playlist I put together for the release (part of it got posted on various book blogs and stuff at the time, but not all).

Maggie is in a relationship (a polyamorous one, so there is no cheating!) and Simon is still dealing with a breakup. So I’m going to start my playlist with songs for those relationships, which are an important part of the story:

1. The Lucksmiths – “Self-Preservation”. The world would be duller without us. This quirky love song about protecting what you have even if other people think it’s weird is for my heroine Maggie and her best friend (with benefit)s and co-gaming den owner, Meyer.
2. Click Five – “The Flipside”. Waiting for the day when I’m complete/without you, doing what I can to let you be. A rather passive-aggressive but genuinely sad song about a breakup is for my hero Simon and his ex-boyfriend Clement.
3. The Pretenders – “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” I’m thinking about the fireworks that go off when you smile. This feels really right for the crush Maggie has on Simon at the beginning of the story: uncomplicated, sexy, eager and exhilarating.
4. Selena Gomez – “Good for You”. Gonna wear that dress you like, skin-tight/Do my hair up real, real nice/And syncopate my skin to how you’re breathing. This song is so hot, and the combination of confidence, longing, and dressing to impress feels really right for Maggie.
5. U2 – “Mysterious Ways”. You’ve been living underground/Eating from a can/You’ve been running away/From what you don’t understand. I know this song is cheesy as hell but I LOVE IT, and I think it expresses how spending time with Maggie pushes Simon out of the rut he’s been in.

YouTube playlist

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BUY THE BOOK

Holiday mailing 2016

gambled away cover with hanukkah gelt instead of silver dollarsHappy holidays, everyone! Would you like to see your pals from my books celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah? Well you can!

I’ve written four adorable Christmas mini-stories, one about Solomon and Serena from A Lily Among Thorns, one about Nev and Penny from In for a Penny, one about Phoebe and Nick from Sweet Disorder, and one about Sukey and John from Listen to the Moon.

And I’ve got two charming Hanukkah stories, one about Ash and Lydia from True Pretenses and one about Simon and Maggie from “All or Nothing” in the Gambled Away anthology.

I’ll mail you the scene of your choice, autographed by me!


lily among thorns cover with big mistletoe sprigHere is how to sign up for the mailing:

1. Fill out this google form by December 1st with your name, address, and which couple you want to see celebrating.

If you have trouble with the embedded form you can access it directly here. PLEASE e-mail me immediately at lerner.rose@gmail.com if you have any problems with the form.

I will never use your address for anything else, ever. However, if you’d rather not share a physical address, I am happy to send your story via e-mail. Just leave the “Mailing address” question blank.

2. Except for the new Listen to the Moon and “All or Nothing” stories, everything is the same as last year, so if you’ve already read one, you don’t need to request it again.

cover of True Pretenses photoshopped so Lydia is holding a menorah3. This is open internationally.

4. I won’t be posting these mini-stories online anywhere—I want this to be special.

5. I will add a bolded note to the top of this post when all postcards have been mailed. If you don’t receive yours within a reasonable time, please let me know.

That’s it and that’s all! I can’t wait to hear from you.

All images used in adapting my covers are from Wikimedia Commons. The bow in the Lily Christmas cover is from this photo by Milad Mosapoor.

New contest: “The Brightest Day” anthology plus signed postcard and more!

This contest is now closed. Lail won the books!

This month I’m giving away a paperback copy of The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley! Included in the giveaway is a separate signed copy of Alyssa’s novella, “Let It Shine” (a RITA finalist and one of the greatest covers I’ve ever seen!), and a postcard for another upcoming anthology from these authors, Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology, signed by ALL FOUR AUTHORS!

The “Let It Shine” paperback also includes a bonus short story!

brighest day

(Spokesmodel T-Rex not included in giveaway. Image credit: “Sunrise at Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky,” by DavidCrumm, via Wikimedia Commons.)

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Risky post: Wilt thou yet confess?

Garrick_as_Hamlet
I did a post at Risky Regencies about Regency ghosts!

Completely silent ghosts became the norm to a much greater extent over the course of the nineteenth century. Generally ghosts who did speak were wrong-righting ghosts. (Although there were exceptions! In 1706 Mr. Shaw, a fellow of St John’s College, Oxford, chatted with the ghost of a dead colleague for two hours before receiving word of his untimely death.) Murder victims were the most common. Conflicts over inheritance were also a big one: “Mother’s ghost appeared to me and she says I get the antique dining set!”

Read the whole thing!

Baby’s First Query Letter

Okay, I said I was going to do this and I’m going to do it! BUT OH GOD THE HUMILIATION. ::covers face with hands::

While I was decluttering I came across…this. This is the very first query letter I ever sent to an agent, back when I was 20 (this query letter has my college email address on it, y’all). Yes, I actually mailed this to an actual agent. Please don’t mock me TOO harshly!

A little mockery is fine, and probably WELL deserved.

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Dear [NAME REDACTED]:

Ever since I read my first Georgette Heyer novel, The Corinthian, back in eighth grade, I felt that many authors of Regency Romances had forgotten what it was like to be seventeen.

“A woman—no, a chit of a girl! An impertinent, atrocious, audacious brat—whom I am very sure I cannot live without.”

“Oh!” said Pen, blushing furiously. “How kind of you to say that to me!”

In my opinion, no young woman of seventeen with anything stronger than milk and water flowing through her veins would thank a man for calling her an audacious brat. And being twenty myself, I’m rather an expert.

And the heroes are worse. It is the outside of enough to act as if being condescending were romantic. Personally, I’ve always felt the potential of the Byronic hero has been greatly overlook by Heyer and her literary descendents.

Look at it this way: on the one hand, you have a sardonic Corinthian with cool grey eyes, a list of inamoratas that would stretch from here to Hyde Park, and an iron self control so perfect that if his own mother died he’d merely go a shade whiter under his tan. Moreover, his gift of repartee makes you feel like a babe in arms every time you open your mouth. On the other, you have an ardent young man with flashing eyes and dark curls tumbling over his forehead who writes sonnets to your eyebrows. To whom would you give your hand, your heart, and control over your property?

And that’s precisely the choice my heroine Helen Ardsley has to make in Chimaeras and Cream Cakes. She’s a clever young bluestocking with a taste for poetry, intrigue, fine pastries and flashy jewelry—all of which find an outlet in her friendship with the Byronic Lord Beauregard, who soon turns out to have a sense of humor after all. And yet, she always thought she wanted a Corinthian, like the dashing Lord Fairfax. After all, they strip to such advantage! Things are complicated when a penniless marquess begins hanging out for Helen, her twin brother forms a tendre for a Cit’s daughter, and an old feud between Beauregard and Fairfax threatens to put a spoke in everyone’s wheel. Will Helen succeed in finding true love?

I’ll give you three guesses. This is a Regency Romance, after all.

I have enclosed the first chapter of Chimaeras and Cream Cakes. If you are interested in reading more of it, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours, &c.,
Rose Lerner

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Yeah. So that happened.