Hello Wench readers! Edith Layton was an original founding Wench, and I'm Edith Layton's daughter. I've been a reader and fan here since the blog spawned, and also an extremely occasional guest blogger since forever thanks to the kindness of the Wenches to allow me to update you on all the goings on at Layton HQ. Now I'll stop writing in italics and just get on with it…
My mother died 10 years ago. I can't believe it myself. 10 years is a hard anniversary. Even more so because she left when I was pregnant with my second kid, and she's missing out on the show. She did know my son, and even though he didn't talk at the time, she was convinced he was a genius.
Funny enough, she was right.
But seriously folks.
I miss her so much. She was a great cheerleader, and she was so dang fun, and gee, she would've gone on to write a lot more than the paltry 30+ novels she put out…
But the funny thing is that she IS publishing from the beyond. And this comes with great joy, a lot of work, and even a tiny bit of frustration which I'll vent about at the end.
I've detailed the how and the why before in detail, but the short of it is that it took me 5 years to start putting her out-of-print backlist into the world again, publishing them as ebooks for the very first time. And for the past five years, the backlist (that I have the rights to) has been rolling out thanks to Untreed Reads, as well as some never-before published works like Frost Fair, a regency mystery with 5-star reviews, and a Victorian Christmas novella (which is only 99 cents and it's cat-based, and you will not regret it). There will be more new Layton titles to come, and the entire Edith Layton catalog (that is back so far) is here on Amazon. Edith Layton is also on Barnes & Noble — and many other retailers. But first, here's what's really new news.
In the past three months, her "Super Regency" trilogy came back from the dead, as ebooks, for the first time. The Love series, as it is known, is available on Amazon, Apple Books and like everywhere books are sold. The first book, Love In Disguise, is shown up top. They are $4.99 each, but wow—I just learned Drive Thru Fiction is offering a bundle of all 3 books for just $9.99, and you can choose from EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats. Here’s the bundle link: bit.ly/TheLoveTrilogy
Personally, I like the new covers by Untreed Reads waaaaaay better than the originals. I do truly love romance covers that are real paintings (and even paid to have the rights to one of them on an Untreed release) but the originals on this series were done by Pino, and IMHO, a bit over-the-top for a Regency. In fact, Smart Bitches included one of the originals in a roundup they called Covers That Should Be Wallpaper, and I totally agree.
But hey, don't judge a book by it's cover!
Here's a review of Surrender to Love, the book shown at right:
Ms. Layton delivers a stunning portrayal that looks beyond the fantasy of the Regency hero to the inner heart of the real man. Writing with subtle sensuality, lush elegance and, above all, a transcending grace, Ms. Layton elevates the Regency novel far above the genre norm. 4+ —M. Helfer – Romantic Times
The entire series got raves. Here's another quote from RT:
"The awesome talent of Edith Layton has never been more brilliantly on display than in this sumptuous finale to her acclaimed trilogy of love in Regency England."
So what's the bad that I alluded to? It's not the work, but yes, it's a lot. I'm in charge of the "literary estate" and have kids, and a nice husband (British, bookish, and yes mom approved) and a full time job with an awesome company called Withings. All Layton stuff is done for love and in the margins (like this post I'm writing at 11:30P when I should be sleeping or calling back my brother Adam of NPR fame who's currently driving and waiting for my call and he has a podcast with Paula Poundstone you should subscribe to!).
The real frustration is that RWA, and Novelists Inc., both organizations that mom was a paying dues member of, have no membership for people who manage the estates of authors.
With RWA (and yes you'll see me drifting around some RWA stuff in NYC next week) real membership is if you are serious a romance writer. To be an associate member, you can be: an author, an agent, an editor, an aspiring writer, a bookseller or librarian… but whatever, although the dead can and do bring out brand new and old books, there's no place at the table. No larger community for me to learn from—and no I can't just be bothering Wenches, they are so kind, but also busy living and writing!
Where can I learn about rights issues? Covers? Old contracts made before ebooks were a real thing? Taxes? We don't get to be at the table. And yes, Novelists Inc. had the same answer. I've got some of mom's books at traditional publishers, and some I'm doing indie. I did produce this one excellent audiobook myself, and even though I worked at Audible once upon a time… even though I'm a video and audio producer… a marketing pro… I'm still in the dark about if I should do more, or how best to proceed.
I've spoken with the few people I could find in my position, and even those who have author parents who are/were far more famous than Layton, they are in the same boat, lost at sea.
Don't get me wrong, Untreed Reads is great. The best. But dead authors reps don't have access to the community, and it's truly a shame, because we can and should be able to learn from the community. Do you living writers know WHO is gonna do it and what they gotta do? What happens if you die in the middle of a book contract? I have learned a lot. My sideline bringing out my mother's books for love is a wacky adventure I call Romancing the Gravestone… which is soon to not be a major motion picture.
But I'm proud to announce, that after years of frustration…lacking any support from the living nationwide groups, I've formed the DRWA.
It's for romance authors that are dead, romance authors that think they might die someday, and if you are managing a dead author who doesn't do romance? Great! You are welcome too.
Follow @DeadRWA on Twitter. It's the new dawn of the dead—author.
Thanks for reading. And hope to raise a glass with any and all of you at RWA. I can be reached in the comments here, or at my primary Twitter account @susiefelber.
And for Edith Layton news (yes the collections of her Christmas short stories are coming soon!) visit: www.facebook.com/authoredithlayton
Thank you again Wenches and much 💖. And hey, if you know of any organizations or resources for dead authors (that aren't just about appreciation but about their biz), do let me know in the comments!