Update 6/26: A TRUE LADY is now available as an ebook
First, I'd like to thank the Wenches for inviting me to post during their anniversary celebration. I am continually impressed by how the Wenches not only endure, but continue to innovate, entertain, and open the circle to new authors and guests.
Secondly, yes, that's a cover reveal just to the left of this copy, and no I didn't write it, but more on that in a moment…
Third, well, I probably should introduce myself first, right? OK, here goes…
I'm Susie Felber. No, that is not a very romantic name, and that's exactly why my mother, Edith Felber, was persuaded by her publisher to take a pen name in 1983 for the publication of her first regency romance: The Duke's Wager.
Edith Layton a/k/a mom, went on to publish over 30 novels and many more short stories. She blogged with the Word Wenches for many years, and only stopped because… well, because she died.
I lurk and read the Wenches often, and admit I go back and read the beautiful post and comments Layton readers left here.
Of course I miss her. Mom was funny, smart, and would've bragged about me even if I was in prison. e.g. "The warden says Susie's license plates have a certain Je ne sais quoi."
But not only does her memory live on (think of her daily), but of course I have her books to enjoy (reading her books is like having her in the room with me), and Layton HQ is still going strong. Here's some news and updates:
On Mother's Day this year, my brother Adam (the famous NPR / Hollywood guy) and I appeared on Faith Salie's Audible podcast on an episode called When Mom Writes Romance. <– that's a link there, and it's fun. You can hear about how my father sent out her manuscripts under our German Shepherd's name when she got discouraged by rejections, and much more.
Backing up, two and a half years ago, I finally got it together to bring the Layton books that were out of print but in demand, back into the world as ebooks. As you can imagine, or know too well, this is hard work.
It's hard for anyone, but I have a full time job as a "content director" here and I have kids and husband and dog and I still perform and… yes, you get the idea.
I was very lucky to have many publishers, and agents, and agents turned publishers, asking to work with me. In the end, I went with Untreed Reads, and wow did I make the right decision. They appreciate good writing, they copyedit brilliantly (nice to see errors in the original printed books go away), and they allow me final sign off on everything. They make it as seamless as this can be. Jay Hartman, Editor-in-Chief of Untreed Reads says, “Every new release of an Edith Layton novel is exciting, because it’s a great opportunity to bring this talented romance author’s works to a new reading audience.”
We've been slowly but surely bringing the books back, and there are currently 8 Edith Layton books back in the world, plus one never-before-published short story (Peaches and the Queen). We started with the traditional Signet regencies, and fans were excited because they had been trying to find them, or they appreciated being able to enlarge the type, which you can't do with your keeper shelf. And one of the most rewarding parts has been finding brand new fans, who are often too young to have known her at original release, and get introduced to Layton via word of mouth… and word of blog, like here, and the kind ladies at SBTB.
Anyway, now we're bringing back three wonderful books originally published by Pocket. The Wedding first published in 1995, came out this April, and A True Lady comes out in a few short days — 6/20/17! Anyway, A True Lady is one of my favorites, and I'm not saying that because it's one of the ones mom dedicated to me, and allowed me to give input on. The input? I wanted a truly feisty, sassy heroine — and she delivered!
After that, you'll soon see the return of Bound by Love (1996). For these three books I wanted to go with a different cover design from the regencies, to set them apart. I had an idea for period-appropriate botanical prints and sourced them. On each, I tried to go for a flower that would make sense with the settings of the story. Like mom, I'm a plant nerd, and I just really dig it and know she would too. Untreed Reads did a great job incorporating the prints into the base Layton design they developed and I'm really happy with it. Look at that flower on the cover up top — that's a sexy flower!
After these three, at least nine more amazing novels are in the pipeline, plus all those Christmas short stories (mostly Regency, and total faves), plus more previously unpublished stuff. We are moving along, slowly but surely. I'm committed to this, and it's all joy bringing books back from the dead, but due to my work and home life, time is not usually on my side.
As an example? I started writing this post after 11PM on 6/16, which was my parent's wedding anniversary. And now I've finished it on 6/17 — which is my birthday. Yes it's my birthday. Right now!
But I didn't give birth to myself. How lucky I am to have had such a cool mom, and to be thinking of her (ok, and now crying) on this day, of all days.
But now I'm thinking of a handwritten note I found in mom's safe deposit box after she died. On the back of the envelope she scratched out a note to all three of her kids. On it she explains she'd gone to the box to get her mother's wedding ring, on the occasion of my upcoming wedding. She wasn't sick yet, she was just feeling the need to communicate because it was not long after 9/11. She wrote:
If any of you kids happen to come across this in the future… because…
Well, what the hell —
Life is Life,
& that always involves death.
So I want you to know
that I love you, have always loved you
& if it is possible, know that I will love you forever.
I can't think of anything more romantic than that.
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