To Love A Wicked Lord by Edith Layton

Wicked lord Edith LaytonMy mom.  Or more accurately, who my mother became when she published her first romance novel.  More than 30 novels and a zillion novellas later, she never ceased to be amused by the pseudonym she was saddled with and the alter ego that it implied. 

"That Layton woman" had scores of fans, wrote delicious love stories lush with historical detail and most certainly, she lived a lavish cosmopolitan life to match.

The real Edith wrote those award-winning stories and had tons of fans but was a Jewish lady ensconced in a boring 'burb chosen for the school district.  She preferred a night in with a book and her dog to most anything.  And she was really quite shy, but always funny enough — especially after a glass of white wine — that others didn't know it.

To love a lord mm c Thanks to all the Wenches for letting me come by to plug her upcoming book.  I so appreciated the tribute post that the Wenches put together and of course, all of the wonderful comments her friends and fans left on it.  I've been here before.  And if you've seen anything of me, you know I was her biggest fan and I would promote her books in brazen ways she'd never dream of.  For my mother's idea of big time promotion was, at most, making up some bookmarks and getting the courage up to apologetically give them to the local booksellers who had known her for years.  Luckily for her, her books were good, damn good, and took flight off the shelves on their own.

Mom_daisy My mother purely loved to write her books.  She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, stage III-c over five years ago.  She chose not to tell most people.  She didn't want pity or to be written off.  But mainly, she didn't want to stop writing.

After surgery she endured more rounds of chemo than I can remember.  And although it was not easy, and rarely let up, she did do remarkably well, considering.  Most friends and neighbors — and even the Wenches — had no idea she was ill.  She looked fantastic (evidence at left) and the next book being due kept her moving, looking ahead and rarely dwelling on the awful truth. Instead, her characters and a genuine belief in true love buoyed her.

She finished TO LOVE A WICKED LORD at the end of March, and at the time, she (and I) had no reason to believe she wouldn't get right back and write the next one.

And how is the book?  Well, you won't believe me.  I'm an unreliable source. But I tell you it's fantastic.  Not merely passable, but truly touching.  I read it for the first time doing the final corrections on the manuscript.  Of course, there were hardly any corrections to be made, what with her wonderful friend Joan as first reader and proofer.  So I was just able to simply enjoy it.

But don't take my word for it.  Along with the Romantic Times review, here's what Library Journal had to say– this from their column that, I think, came out today:

VERDICT With a
nod to The Scarlet Pimpernel,
Layton quickly lures readers with a
mesmerizing mix of appealing, exceptionally well-delineated characters, witty,
engaging dialog, sexual electricity, unexpected passion, and a nonstop pace that
keeps the pages turning until the end.

So there.

Mom_me I can't express how much I miss my mother.  I'm currently nine months pregnant, working full time and I lost my closest confidant and biggest fan.  That's us on the left, wearing a big mess of patterns and showing off our radiant vampire pallor at a wedding three years ago.

For however driven she was with her career and each historical fantasy she erected and took up residence in, it continually amazed and perplexed me that her children always came before it.  And oh, she bragged about us way too much.  I would joke that if I landed in prison, my mother would surely tell people about how expertly I made my license plates.  She was always in my corner, nearly to a fault. 

Mom2 And although she loved her kids, she wasn't a fan of babies.  Heaven help a toddler who made a peep around her if we were out to eat!  Which is why when she became a grandmother, her bottomless love for my son was simply stunning. 

My mother was wonderfully talented and a wonderful kook.  Certainly my west coast brother and I are professional writers because of her.  Not that I believe we were handed down a fancy schmancy writing gene, but because she — and my late father — both dared to dream big.  Mom sat on her butt, did the work and then without industry connections, somehow endured the pain and suffering of rejection in multiple genres until a smart publisher said yes.

I hope you buy the book, of course.  Hope I haven't bored you, told too much, or not enough.

If you read the book, you'll see her dedication and her acknowledgment.  Both were added very late in the day, without my knowledge, sometime after the book was handed in. 

I'll leave you with her acknowledgments:

To all my kind and gentle readers, thank you.

I read the news today, Oh boy.

Edith here, on another Friday the 13th.

Oh woe and what to do?  This is a scary day, but honestly, aren't they all these days?

The economy keeps tanking.  Our enemies here and abroad seem to be getting crazier by the hour.  Global warming is threatening.  It will make Manhattan into a swimming pool, and the glorious American West into shorefront.  In the future, the last pair of polar bears on earth will be the only ones allowed to use air conditioning.  The food we eat is contaminated half the time, even the Good Old  All American Peanut is considered suspect now.  The air we breathe is getting thicker, and women are starting to litter like cats. Comets are seen in the midnight  skies and are missing us by inches as they blaze by.  

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Newspapers are folding, and not just into the size of canary cage bottoms the day after they are printed.  
Magazines are thinning to wafer dimensions.
And book readership is shrinking.  Now that's a real Yikes.

And I'm supposed to be scared of Friday the Thirteenth?

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Well, I guess I am.  These are treacherous, ominous days.  I scoff at nothing.  But what I do to run away from too harsh truths, Gentle Readers, is to read.  And write.  I think that's the greatest escape.  Oh, going to the movies is fine too.  I'm waiting for the Shirley Temple of our generation to appear to sing and dance her way into our empty hearts and minds.  But there is nothing like a book.  Take one down from the shelf, pull the covers up over your head, and sink down into it.  Bliss.

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But how do we readers and  writers convince this text-twitter-blogging-vlogging-myfacing-myspacing generation to actually read anything that's over a paragraph in length?

I have a plan.

Pictures.  We get great book covers, don't we?  They're there to snatch the eyes of passing probable readers, and Marketing says they work.  So why not march into the future with even more pictures inside our books?  
Why don't the publishers take our brilliant words and illustrate them every couple of pages?  Like Anime' and comic books, I suppose, but not instead of text – rather, accompanying text.  Different styles of art for different genres.  Nice big colorful pictures – the kind they use in comic books.  But klassy, you know.

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Romances can have heroes and heroines pictured in fairy tale style, shown consumed by lust, to head up every chapter.  You can guess what Erotica categories can have.  Mysteries can have lovely bloody scenes of mayhem illustrating their pages.  Science Fiction and Fantasy can go Disney or Wall-E.   Spies and hidden treasure and lawyerly mainstream novels are made into movies three weeks after they hit the stands in paper.  Why not hurry the process and use actors and actresses to pose for their pages?    You get the point.  

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Why, even Classics can have classic masterpieces of art… speaking of which, I just realized that one of my most beloved reads is illustrated: Moby Dick and Rockwell Kent.  What a pair!

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Why don't we do that again?

Too much like children's literature?  What's wrong with that?   Children love books.

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The  point is to get readers reading again.  Not the "RU TXing me?" kind of reading, but whole words and long sentences in stories.  

We have to save the printed word.  Why not use the printed picture to help?  Up with the Arts!
What do you think of the idea?  What artists would you recommend for which books?

The best answer will receive a whole book of the winner's choice from my backlist, sans interior illustration, alas, but with every word spelled right. 

Oh.  And be careful out there today.

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Edith on Valen-time

Felled by a particularly nasty bout of the stomach flu, Edith is lying on the chaise with a lavender-scented handkerchief on her face. She has asked me to invoke the Wench Classic Clause and resurrect one of her old posts to fill today’s blog spot. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I’ve chosen her Valentine’s Day post from two years ago. The sentiment holds as true today as it did then. Edith, here’s hoping you are back to your chipper self by the 14th! ~Sherrie

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
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But this message is meant specially for those who may – momentarily – not have a specific Valentine this year. Hey, it happens. It happens to the rich, the beautiful, and the clever.
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It also happens to the very very cute.

But Valentine’s Day, like most major American holidays, has a way of making those who can’t participate in it feel like losers: left out, unworthy and forgotten.

HOGWASH! And FOO!

You know you are loved, or were loved, or will be loved. And that if you had a Valentine right now, he’d out-hero any romantic hero.
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Lonely hearts unite!

So, what to do until next year,when your true love will doubless be near?

Be your own best Valentine.

Treat yourself to something chocolate. Wallow in roses. Drink something that bubbles – other than seltzer. Think of those people you do love, have loved, and will love. Love yourself, you’re worth it.

If you’re still feeling low, remember that life is not a Norman Rockwell illustration. Think of all the people you know who also don’t have a Valentine.

And realize that no one special day, not even dear Saint Valentine’s, means that much. Love is a lifetime affair, and can happen any day, anywhere.

And does.
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Hearts unleashed!

Much love to you all!

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Edith here!

Such a momentous week!  A new president!  Inaugural balls and parades and heart lifting speeches.  The operative word is HOPE – and dedication.

We are urged to do something for our country.

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When I think of helping my country, some immediate pictures spring to mind.  Photos I've seen in old newsreels:  Factory workers assembling things on assembly lines.  Farmers plowing, harvesting, sowing in  fields. 

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 Miners with sooty faces.  Steel workers amidst blazing furnaces.  

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Teachers in their classrooms.  Houses being built.  Rosie the Riveter riveting.  

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I can't do any of those things.  What I do is write.  And mostly I write about Romance.  For the first time in a long time, that made me feel inadequate.  Usually that can only be done by impossibly rude pseudo intellectuals at cocktail parties.  (Raised eyebrow: "Oh.  You write Romance?"  Cue snickering)
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And then I got to thinking about it.  
What the world needs now is love.  And what I write about is love.  Oh, sure there's sex in it, because love leads to many things, including sex.  But I don't write  just about sex.  For me, that would be like writing about exercise.   It would be boring,or clinical, and that's not Romance.
I may throw in mystery, or suspense, politics and history, but my books are about love.  
I write happy endings and about love that conquers all.  But there wasn't a speech that mentioned those things.  I suddenly felt useless, wondering what I was doing for my country.

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I hoped I was encouraging readers to dream, to seek, to hope itself.

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That's when I realized what love's got to do with it.  Love is what we need now to see us through tough times ahead.

And although no one said it, I think that's what all those heart-lifting speeches were about.  

What the world needs now is love.  All kinds of love: from carnal to white weddings.  From high romance to the love for a neighbor or a coworker.  And, of course, to love of country.

And Love opens your heart and mind.  Love leads to more love.

What do you think?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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Oh, my Sweeties,
Oh, my dears,
Look out, my loves,
Here comes New Years'.

We're going to party
under a shiny new sign
Eat, drink and be merry
in 2009!

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We won't spoil this one.
Or mess it up.
We'll tootle and clang and get drunk as skunks
Come fill the cup!

…but don't we say that every year?
Aren't we always glad to sweep out the old and welcome the new?

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It isn't always our fault when a year goes sour.  Some stuff simply isn't in our power.
I mean, it isn't as though we're responsible for tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis, blizzards and such privation.
We don't start landslides and floods, forest fires and oil spills, smog and inflation …
never mind.

Instead, let's concentrate on the NEW.
As for me:
In 2009, I resolve to:

Hmm.  I have  lists and lists of all the neat things I vowed to do last year, the year before and onward backwards for years.  I am not always true to those vows.

So this year I will simplify.  In 2009, I will:

Be nicer

I think that about covers it.
( and I'll bet I fail by about…. January 10th, at the outside. I know me.)

How about you?

What are your New Year's resolutions?

Best reply gets an autographed copy of my brand new book: A BRIDE FOR HIS CONVENIENCE

And for all: A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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