Last of the Red Hot BSP

From Mary Jo:

I promise this is the last Blatant Self-Promotion piece I will post for a while!  Really, it wasn’t my choice to have three books coming out in two months, but this sort of thing happens regularly in publishing, especially if your work is published by more than one house.  (After enough years in this business, an author ends up having danced with just about every publisher in town.  I’ve had publications with Ballantine, Signet, Del Rey, Berkley, Kensington, Roc, Harlequin, DAW, and several small presses. And maybe a couple of others I’ve forgotten!) 

Stolen_magic_cover_2 Today’s book for flogging is the July paperback edition of STOLEN MAGIC, which came out in hardcover last summer.  Both editions are published by Del Rey, the science fiction/fantasy imprint of Ballantine Books.  They’re also published with “M. J. Putney” on the cover.  The intent was not to confuse anyone—for that, one would choose a completely different name.  Rather, the idea was to signal that this book is a little different from books with “Mary Jo Putney” on the cover.  My Ballantine and Del Rey books are made from the same ingredients—history, romance, and fantasy—but the proportions are a little different. 

The Ballantine books, such as June’s THE MARRIAGE SPELL, are classical historical romance with the plot line centered on the developing relationship of the hero and heroine. There’s magic, but the relationship is the core of the story.  For Del Rey, there’s a larger canvas with more history, yet the romance is still integral.   

The plot of Stolen Magic was the first fantasy idea I ever had, years before I wrote it.  I had the idea of a man who was forcibly transformed into a unicorn by an enemy.  He manages to escape, but is recaptured when the villain stakes out a virgin, which is bait a unicorn can’t resist.  The maiden is horrified to learn that she has been used to capture such a glorious creature, so she risks her life to free the unicorn.  When he goes, he takes her with him—and that’s the first few chapters of Stolen Magic

It’s not uncommon for my stories to start with a single situation like this.  This idea stayed in the back of my mind for years because A) I didn’t think a romance editor would want such a fantasy idea, and B) I didn’t want to write a medieval, since I’m not particularly fond of them.   

The light bulb came on when I realized that the story could be written as a Regency.  Granted, many fantasy novels take place in generic medieval settings–swords and sorcery so often go together–but there’s no law that actually requires it.  Regency rocks!  So I did some world-building and plot development, then pitched my editor.  I carefully mustered my arguments for adding fantasy to historical romance—and found that she was a fantasy fan and I had her as soon as I said “Guardians.” 

At that same time, I pitched the idea that became A Kiss of Fate.  Since that was tied to the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, I ended up moving the unicorn story to the same time period.  Now I’m glad.  I’d never written a Georgian, but it’s a somewhat wilder and woollier period than the Regency, and it suits my Guardians.  (The Regency Stone Saints of The Marriage Spell are a story for another day. <g>)

Last summer, Stolen Magic came out in hardcover from Del Rey, Ballantine’s science fiction and fantasy imprint, and now the paperback is a July release.  It’s supposed to be shelved in the ssf sections of the chain bookstores, but who knows?  It could turn up in romance as well.  I was tickled when Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association, named the book to its top ten list for 2005.  It was a top ten romance, not fantasy, but no matter.  I’m still tickled.  <g> 

As a little bonus for the release of the paperback, I’m posting the prologue that I wrote but cut out in revisions when my editor suggested it wasn’t necessary.  I thought about it and decided she was right—the heroine, Meg, was more mysterious without the prologue.  But if you’re curious, here it is.  (Someday I’ll blog about prologues.)  http://mjputney.com/  On the site, you can click on a regular excerpt as well as the prologue. 

Some reviews for Stolen Magic:

"(A) spellbinding romantic fantasy…Putney’s skill as a historical romance novelist serves her well in the depiction of London and the subplot featuring a gifted developer of the steam engine. The love that grows between Simon and Meg…includes some wonderfully steamy moments.  (R)aises anticipation for the next installment."
    Publishers Weekly

“Brilliantly pairing romance with fantasy, love with magic, and real history with speculative fiction, M. J. Putney has created another masterpiece of a series to rival her straight historical romances, the Fallen Angels. STOLEN MAGIC is eminently enjoyable by itself, and A KISS OF FATE can be read first or second. No one should miss getting in at the beginning of this riveting new series. May it run for years to come.”

Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today  www.romrevtoday.com/ 

And that’s it for the Blatant Self-Promotion—at least until September!

Mary Jo 

33 thoughts on “Last of the Red Hot BSP”

  1. “No, MJ! No!” the littlest wenchling cried. “Don’t make me wait until September. I won’t last that long.”
    ::grin::

    Reply
  2. “No, MJ! No!” the littlest wenchling cried. “Don’t make me wait until September. I won’t last that long.”
    ::grin::

    Reply
  3. “No, MJ! No!” the littlest wenchling cried. “Don’t make me wait until September. I won’t last that long.”
    ::grin::

    Reply
  4. I had an idea for an alternate Regency in which an intrepid scientist had rescued a clutch of dragon eggs from an Icelandic volcano and hand-raised them in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands. Now they are grown up and civilized, but they take a lot of feeding; so the scientist’s clever offspring are trying to commercialize them, filling the economic niches that would otherwise be filled with mechanical devices (steam engine, soldering iron, lamplighter, etc.) I was going to call the book (and the company) LONGSERPENT LTD.

    Reply
  5. I had an idea for an alternate Regency in which an intrepid scientist had rescued a clutch of dragon eggs from an Icelandic volcano and hand-raised them in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands. Now they are grown up and civilized, but they take a lot of feeding; so the scientist’s clever offspring are trying to commercialize them, filling the economic niches that would otherwise be filled with mechanical devices (steam engine, soldering iron, lamplighter, etc.) I was going to call the book (and the company) LONGSERPENT LTD.

    Reply
  6. I had an idea for an alternate Regency in which an intrepid scientist had rescued a clutch of dragon eggs from an Icelandic volcano and hand-raised them in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands. Now they are grown up and civilized, but they take a lot of feeding; so the scientist’s clever offspring are trying to commercialize them, filling the economic niches that would otherwise be filled with mechanical devices (steam engine, soldering iron, lamplighter, etc.) I was going to call the book (and the company) LONGSERPENT LTD.

    Reply
  7. LOL! Don’t worry, Nina, I’ll still be hear, but hopefully chatting about more interesting stuff than book releases.
    Tal–your idea is great, and not unlike the new dragon ship fantasy series by Naomi Novik. Three books in a row were released this spring by Del Rey. The dragons are in His Majesty’s Air Corps during the Napoleonic wars. Great stuff. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  8. LOL! Don’t worry, Nina, I’ll still be hear, but hopefully chatting about more interesting stuff than book releases.
    Tal–your idea is great, and not unlike the new dragon ship fantasy series by Naomi Novik. Three books in a row were released this spring by Del Rey. The dragons are in His Majesty’s Air Corps during the Napoleonic wars. Great stuff. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  9. LOL! Don’t worry, Nina, I’ll still be hear, but hopefully chatting about more interesting stuff than book releases.
    Tal–your idea is great, and not unlike the new dragon ship fantasy series by Naomi Novik. Three books in a row were released this spring by Del Rey. The dragons are in His Majesty’s Air Corps during the Napoleonic wars. Great stuff. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  10. Just popped over to MJ’s site and read Stolen Magic’s prologue. Great stuff MJ! I can see why you decided to cut it. But it is still wonderfully done.
    Looking forward to your blog on prologues.

    Reply
  11. Just popped over to MJ’s site and read Stolen Magic’s prologue. Great stuff MJ! I can see why you decided to cut it. But it is still wonderfully done.
    Looking forward to your blog on prologues.

    Reply
  12. Just popped over to MJ’s site and read Stolen Magic’s prologue. Great stuff MJ! I can see why you decided to cut it. But it is still wonderfully done.
    Looking forward to your blog on prologues.

    Reply
  13. Mary Jo, I have the dragon series en route to me in an omnibus SFBC hardcover. I was thinking more of doing things like the dragon-powered transport not working too well if the transport panicked and ate the transportees…

    Reply
  14. Mary Jo, I have the dragon series en route to me in an omnibus SFBC hardcover. I was thinking more of doing things like the dragon-powered transport not working too well if the transport panicked and ate the transportees…

    Reply
  15. Mary Jo, I have the dragon series en route to me in an omnibus SFBC hardcover. I was thinking more of doing things like the dragon-powered transport not working too well if the transport panicked and ate the transportees…

    Reply
  16. I just read the prologue too, and I agree with Nina that it was “wonderfully done.” Did it give you a pang to cut it, Mary Jo, even though you accepted your editor’s decision?
    I plan to reread The Marriage Spell soon. I loved the story and thought Abby and Abby were such mature, intelligent characters. I always discover new layers on a second reading, so I know I will find even more to appreciate. And I do hope we get Ashby’s story one day. In the meantime,I am looking forward to Jean’s story.

    Reply
  17. I just read the prologue too, and I agree with Nina that it was “wonderfully done.” Did it give you a pang to cut it, Mary Jo, even though you accepted your editor’s decision?
    I plan to reread The Marriage Spell soon. I loved the story and thought Abby and Abby were such mature, intelligent characters. I always discover new layers on a second reading, so I know I will find even more to appreciate. And I do hope we get Ashby’s story one day. In the meantime,I am looking forward to Jean’s story.

    Reply
  18. I just read the prologue too, and I agree with Nina that it was “wonderfully done.” Did it give you a pang to cut it, Mary Jo, even though you accepted your editor’s decision?
    I plan to reread The Marriage Spell soon. I loved the story and thought Abby and Abby were such mature, intelligent characters. I always discover new layers on a second reading, so I know I will find even more to appreciate. And I do hope we get Ashby’s story one day. In the meantime,I am looking forward to Jean’s story.

    Reply
  19. >>I was thinking more of doing things like the dragon-powered transport not working too well if the transport panicked and ate the transportees…>>
    Lots of fun things can be done with dragons, Tal. 🙂 You should be writing this up if you aren’t!
    >>I just read the prologue too, and I agree with Nina that it was “wonderfully done.” Did it give you a pang to cut it, Mary Jo, even though you accepted your editor’s decision?<< Not really, Wylene. I was surprised when my (wonderful) editor suggested the cut, but when I thought about it, I realized the prologue was something of a romance artifact: the desire to show both of the main characters very quickly, even if they don't connect till later. But this was a Del Rey book, and while the romance was essential (and a good part of the reason Del Rey bought the book), I didn't need to deal with the characters in quite the same way. Meeting the heroine as Mad Meggie makes for more surprises later. Both approaches are valid, but since this was technically written as a fantasy, I was fine with the change. Mary Jo

    Reply
  20. >>I was thinking more of doing things like the dragon-powered transport not working too well if the transport panicked and ate the transportees…>>
    Lots of fun things can be done with dragons, Tal. 🙂 You should be writing this up if you aren’t!
    >>I just read the prologue too, and I agree with Nina that it was “wonderfully done.” Did it give you a pang to cut it, Mary Jo, even though you accepted your editor’s decision?<< Not really, Wylene. I was surprised when my (wonderful) editor suggested the cut, but when I thought about it, I realized the prologue was something of a romance artifact: the desire to show both of the main characters very quickly, even if they don't connect till later. But this was a Del Rey book, and while the romance was essential (and a good part of the reason Del Rey bought the book), I didn't need to deal with the characters in quite the same way. Meeting the heroine as Mad Meggie makes for more surprises later. Both approaches are valid, but since this was technically written as a fantasy, I was fine with the change. Mary Jo

    Reply
  21. >>I was thinking more of doing things like the dragon-powered transport not working too well if the transport panicked and ate the transportees…>>
    Lots of fun things can be done with dragons, Tal. 🙂 You should be writing this up if you aren’t!
    >>I just read the prologue too, and I agree with Nina that it was “wonderfully done.” Did it give you a pang to cut it, Mary Jo, even though you accepted your editor’s decision?<< Not really, Wylene. I was surprised when my (wonderful) editor suggested the cut, but when I thought about it, I realized the prologue was something of a romance artifact: the desire to show both of the main characters very quickly, even if they don't connect till later. But this was a Del Rey book, and while the romance was essential (and a good part of the reason Del Rey bought the book), I didn't need to deal with the characters in quite the same way. Meeting the heroine as Mad Meggie makes for more surprises later. Both approaches are valid, but since this was technically written as a fantasy, I was fine with the change. Mary Jo

    Reply
  22. I should learn not to post without CAREFULLY previewing. My comment about the characters of MS should, of course, read “Jack and Abby.” Sorry!

    Reply
  23. I should learn not to post without CAREFULLY previewing. My comment about the characters of MS should, of course, read “Jack and Abby.” Sorry!

    Reply
  24. I should learn not to post without CAREFULLY previewing. My comment about the characters of MS should, of course, read “Jack and Abby.” Sorry!

    Reply
  25. Sorry MJP, but this is NOT blatent self-promotion. This is really interesting behind-the-scenes info, and a great teaser.
    I mean, I honestly haven’t read the hardcover (my bad, I know) but this post means I will pick up the soft. Anyway, very cool.
    With this and Pat’s I’ll have two magic men to enjoy this summer!

    Reply
  26. Sorry MJP, but this is NOT blatent self-promotion. This is really interesting behind-the-scenes info, and a great teaser.
    I mean, I honestly haven’t read the hardcover (my bad, I know) but this post means I will pick up the soft. Anyway, very cool.
    With this and Pat’s I’ll have two magic men to enjoy this summer!

    Reply
  27. Sorry MJP, but this is NOT blatent self-promotion. This is really interesting behind-the-scenes info, and a great teaser.
    I mean, I honestly haven’t read the hardcover (my bad, I know) but this post means I will pick up the soft. Anyway, very cool.
    With this and Pat’s I’ll have two magic men to enjoy this summer!

    Reply

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