A new home for my blog!

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My blog has a new home on my new website!

Note: if you comment from this point forward on this blogger blog, I will likely not see it. All these posts are on my website now, so please comment there. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What sort of reader are you?

Another week, another survey... This one has been studying reading habits of 2000 people and has come up with the "news" that women know how to read properly whilst men have a desultory and, at best, casual approach to books. Apparently nearly half of women are avid readers who cannot put a book down once they start it and who get through a long list of titles in a year. Meanwhile twice as many men as women admitted that they never finished a book.

Well! As with a lot if "research" this seems like a huge generalisation and made me wonder who on earth the researchers were surveying. Take a straw poll of me and a few friends, male and female. I read lots of books a year but will put one down (probably without giving it a fair chance) if it doesn't grab me within the first few pages. One female friend of mine is exactly the same. Two others will grimly soldier on to the end even if they aren't enjoying the book. My dh isn't an avid reader but reads across a variety of genres and when he picks up a book he is usually engrossed. A male friend reads avidly, far more books a year than I do, but says life is too short to wade his way through books that aren't compelling. And so on.

What does this prove about male and female readers? Not a lot in my opinion. Far more interesting - to me at any rate - were the different types of readers that the researchers identified. When it came to these categories the gender divide apparently disappeared. First up were the "Page Turners" who devoured their books, then there were the "Slow Worms," who spend a lot of time reading and always finish a book (though of course these two things don't always go together), the "Serial Shelvers" who have a huge TBR pile and the "Double Booker" who has at least two books on their bedside table. I have to confess that I fall into both these last two categories with shelves groaning under the weight of books I haven't read yet plus several books on the go at any one time.

So what sort of reader are you? Slow Worm or Serial Shelver? Or are you in a category all your own?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The case of the headless bodice!

Here is the first cover for my new HQN Regency series, The Brides of Fortune, which will be coming to a bookstore or internet bookseller near you in June! I am SO excited to see the covers for my new series, which are all in this beautiful style. Over the next few weeks I'll be posting all the covers and some juicy details about the series!
I've noticed that the "headless bodice" cover seems to be increasingly popular with publishers and has featured on historicals by Phillipa Gregory, Elizabeth Chadwick and Mary Balogh, amongst others. In this case of course the heroine isn't totally headless, just cut off somewhere around the nose. And whilst this may not sound very attractive, I think the cover looks gorgeous. But what do YOU think? Do you like covers where there's a little bit of mystery about the appearance of the hero or heroine, or do you prefer a full face version or even a full body version of hero and heroine together? Let me know!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Getting My Kicks On Route 66!

Yes, I'm back from my trip to the US and Mexico and I had a fabulous time! Whether it was learning about the fascinating military and humanitarian history of the USS Midway in San Diego or reading about pirates in the Sea of Cortes, the trip was one long historical treat after another. I learned so much I did not know about different aspects of US and Mexican history that it only whetted my appetite for more. Oh, and I loved meeting so many friendly people along the way - that is one of the many things I love about visiting the US. When we left the lady at the airport said "come back soon!" and we will!

On the last few days of our holiday we drove from Flagstaff in Arizona to Los Angeles in California along part of the famous Route 66. I'm sure this needs no introduction to my US readers but for those like me who didn't know about Route 66, this was once the "Main Street of America" connecting Chicago in the east to Santa Monica in the west. Route 66 was originally built between 1925 and 1938 to connect not just two of America’s great cities but also the hundreds of urban and rural communities that lay along its way and during the 1930s and the years of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl it took many people west seeking a new life. These days it has an iconic status.

We enjoyed all our stops along the way, from Flagstaff to Williams, where there was the most marvellous cafe in the premises of a one time brothel which used to offer not only female companionship but whisky, pool and and an opium den. We settled for coffee and cake! We stayed in Seligman in a motel with themed Route 66 rooms - ours was the Harley Davidson Room - and we visited the old Route 66 Visitors' centre in Hackberry which was full of the most amazing memorabilia from the thirties through to the fifties. The road over the Sitgreaves Pass in the Black Mountains had stunning views - and then we came to the town of Oatman! Oatman has the look and feel of a wild west town and I had never been to a place like it before. It was like walking into a film set! It was originally a mining community until the copper ran out and now the old stores have adapted for tourists. The chief attraction for me were the burros, a sort of mule that was imported from Spain to work in the mines, but that now roam free in the town, wandering down Main Street and begging for carrots! There was also a gunfight staged for the pleasure of we tourists, which was a lot of fun to watch!

As the song by Bobby Troup goes:

If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!

I totally fell in love with Route 66 and had a wonderful time!