Comparing U.S. and U.K. Covers

Cover Wars

Book Cover Comparisons!

I find it interesting how many publishers release books with a different cover overseas. Usually it is simply a matter of the marketing departments thinking they know their national audience best, and want a custom-made cover to reflect those tastes. Perhaps because I am an American, I tend to like the lush, deeply layered covers typically found on the American versions.


You can see more comparisons of recent covers over at The Millions website.






Love Impulsively

love_actuallyLove Impulsively

It’s December, and time for me to re-watch one of my favorite Christmas movies, Love Actually. It is a funny, heart-warming romantic comedy that follows the course of eight different love stories, and is packed with a fantastic cast. How could one not like a movie that has Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, and Colin Firth all in the same movie?

One of the things I particularly like about this movie is that each of the story lines focuses on a different sort of love: brotherly love, platonic love, love from afar, love at first sight, etc.

I love this movie. It’s charming and funny and has great dialog, acting, and unexpected twists. That being said, here I come with both barrels blazing:

Can this movie teach us anything about love?  After looking at each of the eight storylines, I think there is only one that amounts to anything more than unrealistic, improbable, and destined for failure in the long run.

Seven of the eight storylines rely on impulsive love based on very little of substance. Colin Firth “falls in love” with a woman even though they don’t speak a common language. Hugh Grant has a fling with his secretary, a sweet girl but one who is laughingly unsuited for his life (I say this because their primary chemistry seems to be at all the gaffes she makes in his staid and proper world… one which he has no intention of altering or leaving on her behalf.) Most of the other stories are equally improbable and impulsive.

The one storyline I found quite moving was Emma Thompson’s middle-age love with her husband as it withstands the trauma of an affair. It doesn’t have a happily-ever-after bow tied on at the end. You know these two are about to walk down a bumpy road together as they try to repair the damage…..but it is a beautiful look at a rarely-told aspect of love.


Warning: Love Actually is not a family-safe movie, but if you are over 18, don’t mind some salty language and a few racy scenes, the movie is still a great way to spend a few hours. Just don’t look to it for romantic advice!

Beyond All Dreams Sneak Peek

BeyondAllDreams_rd1.inddWant a sneak peek at Beyond All Dreams?  My next book arrives in stores exactly a week from today, and I’ve created a Pinterest page that has snapshots of some of the settings and characters from the book. You can see it here:





Beyond All Dreams

BeyondAllDreams_rd1.inddA new book is on the way! It only seems like a few months ago that With Every Breath hit the shelves, but my wonderful publishers are ready to unleash my next book the first week of January. So, without further ado… is the cover and blurb for Beyond All Dreams!

Anna O’Brien has the perfect job at the Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship that disappeared at sea. When forces conspire to prevent her from learning the truth, she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan is one of the most powerful men in congress until his career begins collapsing amidst a political scandal of his own making. When he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship, he is stunned to find himself falling in love with the down-to-earth librarian. Opposites in all things, Anna and Luke form an unusually powerful force as they unite in a common cause. Despite the attraction, strict rules forbid Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of congress, and each meeting puts her career in jeopardy.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke will begin unraveling a mystery larger and more dangerous than ever imagined.

Look for it to hit the stores on January 6!



The Office Romance

office workersThe American Civil War brought a surprising opportunity to American women.  As men left to fight in the war, the government hired thousands of women to fill office vacancies in Washington D.C.   Even after the war, the floodgates had been opened and it was acceptable for American women to obtain respectable white collar jobs in cities all over the United States.  By 1891, there were 70,000 women working in American offices, and by 1920 that number had swelled to half a million.

As a romance novelist, this presents an irresistible temptation for me.  Although “dating the boss” is taboo in today’s society, in the late 19th century women who ventured into the workplace were considered fair game.  Sometimes they welcomed the attention of their employers and sometimes they didn’t, but there was no law against workplace sexual harassment until a landmark Supreme Court case of 1974 (Barnes v. Train) recognized it is a distinct issue.

I’ve always been fascinated by professional woman of the late 19th century, and most of my novels feature heroines working in professional capacities.    In Against the Tide, Lydia was a translator for the Navy when she meets a man who does undercover work for the government.  It wasn’t a terribly risqué plot, since Lydia never reported to Bane and could walk away from him whenever she wished.

I got a little more daring in With Every Breath (August 2014).  This is a hospital drama, and Kate is a government statistician who is hired by a doctor to help with his research.  Kate reports directly to Trevor, and both are well aware of the risks associated with getting romantically involved.  “Dating the boss” added a delicious layer of tension and complications to the plot….one which I wouldn’t be free to explore were I writing a contemporary romance.   Over the years we have too much instinctive suspicion of relationships that begin with such a disparity of power, but this is a 21st century attitude, and I write 19th century characters.  Trevor and Kate are smart enough to be aware of the emotional danger of their relationship, but it hardly stops them from pursuing it.

It took decades to establish commonly accepted expectations for how men and women should interact in the workplace.  For the most part, the government and Human Resource departments wanted to avoid the headaches of sexual harassment charges and did everything possible to discourage romantic relationships in the workplace.   None of this has been terribly effective.  Even today, I think most of us know people who met their spouse at work.  When you put men and women in close proximity and give them a shared mission, it’s hard to override the rules of natural attraction.

If you’re curious about professional women in the late 19th century workplace, I hope you’ll take a peek at one of my novels!