Monday, August 7, 2006

This Is Why

If you go digging through AAR's recent posts about the RWA conference you'll find this tidbit:

"And now...two rumors, heard from two different authors, neither of whom write for the effected lines: Bombshell is being "re-evaluated" and is in danger of being cancelled - apparently because too many readers do not realize that it is series fiction and not series romance and therefore does not require an HEA - and Harlequin Historicals may once again be terminated."

Granted, these are just rumors - but given how closely HH came to being axed just last year it is time for panic. Well at least on my part.

HH is the only publisher I still consistently buy books new from. Why? Because they seem to be the only imprint left that gives me readable westerns every month. Or sure, Dorchester publishes a few gems every now and then - but I've never rated an HH western anywhere below a C-. No joke.

I know a lot of you don't like westerns - so why should you care about whether or not HH gets the ax? Here's why:

The Gladiator's Honor by Michelle Styles is set for it's North American release next month. Its setting? Ancient Rome. Ancient Effing Rome!

Now obviously we do not know if this book is readable or not. It could be the most gawd-awful thing ever published. It could also be the greatest romance novel ever written. This is all incidental. It's set in Ancient Effing Rome!

Go ahead - name me another mainstream publisher that would take a chance on a book set in Ancient Effing Rome! Can't can you? (Ok, maybe Dorchester. Maybe...)

We cannot allow HH to vanish. We simply can't. While it's just an awful, horrible rumor at the moment - the minute we get a smidge of confirmation something must be done. A letter writing campaign, angry phones calls, rotten tomatoes pelted at HQ headquarters - something! Frankly it's the only imprint left in town that publishes more than just English-set historicals every blessed month. And that, contrary to some opinions, is a very good thing. Truly, it is.


Kristie (J) said...

I agree with you 100%! They can't be allowed to fold. The last time this almost happened I wrote them a letter and I'd be more than willing to do it again. Before that I occasionally bought their HH line. Since they decided to keep going, I make it a point to buy at least one every month - sometimes more. So if you hear anything let us know. I'd be more than willing to do my part again.

Anonymous said... <--Associate Senior Editor <--Assistant Editor <--Senior Editor <--Editorial Assistant

Go for it!

Michelle Styles said...

As far as i am aware, this is a rumour that has no foundation. The last thing I had heard was that HH had recovered.
They are expanding the number of books offered in the UK to 6 per month.
Many thanks for posting my cover. The Gladiator's Honor has had a few good reviews, including a top pick at Romance Reader at Heart. All the reviews I have seen have links on my website
About Ancient Rome as a time period -- Harlequin Mills and Boon have two more of my books in production, and I am doing minor revisions on a fourth. They have also recently purchased another writer's first novel set in the Roman republic.
But for obvious reasons, I do agree HH are worth fighting for.

Wendy said...

I hope I'm remembering this right - when HH almost got the ax last year they were only going to stop selling retail here in the US. The plan was to keep the line going overseas and to make it available direct-to-consumer - but you couldn't wander into a B&N or Borders and pick one up.

Now obviously these are just rumors - but it might be the same thing again. The line is doing great overseas, not so great here in the States. But I hope all of these rumors are like you said - JUST RUMORS and HH is safe and sound. We'll have to stay tuned....

And thanks for stopping by ye olde blog!

ReneeW said...

I agree! I love HH line. If a letter writing campaign is needed, I'm in.

Michelle Styles said...

Wendy --

HH almost got the axe in retail about two years ago and then there was a huge campaign to save it in retail, led in no small measure by certain booksellers. There is a strong fanbase.

Although I wasn't at the RWA, I did some checking on a variety of e-loops and the major Powers That Be at the H/S presentation made no mention of historicals. The two lines that are being re-evaluated are Bombshell and Luna. SIM of course is already being rebranded.

From what I know from speaking with my editors earlier this year, HH has recovered and is doing better in North America. New covers and expert back cover copy have really helped. Linda Fildew is doing a marvellous job as senior editor is my understanding. She is totally committed to historicals, having helped launched the orginal Masquerade line way back in the late 70s when she was an assistant editor. Her other claim to fame is that she was the editor who pulled Penny Jordan out of the slush pile.

HH is now acquired in London (the lines -- HH and M&BH have been combined) and the historical team (Linda Fildew, Jo Carr and Maddie Rowe) is dynamic. They are truly interested in acquiring strong romances in different time periods. Regency, however remains the backbone of their offerings. They are alway looking for new talent.

Rumours happen all the time, but as far as I am aware (and I spoke with my editor today), it is just a rumour. And I don't know how much closer to the horse's mouth I can get.

Hope this helps.

Wendy said...

Thanks for the information Michelle! Very helpful, and my mind is now more at ease :-D

Nicole said...

Awww...I like Luna. But the line might be better served going into mass market first. That's where most fantasy readers go first, in my opinion.