Where in Williamsburg Can You Buy Diane’s Book?

After Christmas we spent a few days visiting my in-laws in Williamsburg, Virginia, and this time we actually took a stroll down historic Duke of Gloucester Street to see the Christmas decorations. The weather was beautiful!

I knew from doing the booksigning that the Barnes & Noble in Historic Williamsburg didn’t carry Harlequin Historicals, but emboldened by discovering my book in two local Northern Virginia bookstores, I set out on a quest to see where in Williamsburg I might find The Vanishing Viscountess on the shelf.

The answer? NOWHERE

After our walk in Colonial Williamsburg, we drove to the Barnes and Noble in “New Town” (a nearby trendy new shopping center/residential complex that is supposed to mimic a city street, except the fake rocks beneath the lamposts play Christmas music). No Harlequin Historicals there. In fact, they only had a very small Romance section tucked away in a corner beyond the manga and the sci fi. Why stores limit their Romance sections is beyond me. You would think they would love the genre which sells almost 50% of all mass market books.

But I digress.

I begged for us to make one more stop–A Books A Million store in a perfectly ordinary shopping center in Williamsburg. Surely they would carry Harlequin Historicals–But they didn’t. By this time my husband and in-laws just wanted to get home to eat some dinner, so they wouldn’t take me to check the local Walmart, which I was almost sure would have The Vanishing Viscountess.

I love writing for Mills & Boon Historical/Harlequin Historical. I think Harlequin Mills & Boon produce wonderful books and innovative ones. They are not at all afraid of taking a chance on new time periods and settings, like Amanda’s A Notorious Woman, or on “the Regency underworld,” my little niche. They continued to print Westerns when the other publishers wouldn’t touch them.

The Harlequin Historical line was almost discontinued in 2003-2004. Instead, Harlequin turned the acquisition over to Mills & Boon Historical, which has done wonders with the bookcovers and has increased the number of books released per month. To save the line, however, they also limited distribution to only their best selling venues.

This means you don’t see Harlequin Historicals in grocery stores or lots of places that carry the other Harlequin lines. Obviously, not every big bookstore sells them, either. If a bookstore does sell them, they are typically with the other Harlequin lines and are usually on a bottom shelf. You have to work hard to find Amanda’s and my books in a bookstore.

Most of our Riskie readers are familiar with ordering books online , but if you want to buy a Harlequin Historical in a bookstore and you can’t find it, there is something you can do.


Ask a clerk if they have the book buried in a bottom shelf. If they don’t, ask the clerk to order a copy. All of the bookstores that did not carry The Vanishing Viscountess told me they could order it for me.

And if you do see Harlequin Historicals in a bookstore, do us a favor and turn some of them out so they catch the browsers’ eyes.

Everyone have a very safe and happy New Year’s holiday! This is not one of my favorite holidays, because of the whole drinking and driving thing and because my kids will be “out there” where people are drinking and driving. My husband, the cats, and I will stay at home and watch TV and maybe have champagne. However you celebrate…stay safe!

And let me know if you see my book on a bookstore shelf. Oh, Michelle Willingham’s latest Harlequin Historical is out in January, too, so also look for hers. We’ll be interviewing her this month.

Today I’m off to see PS I Love You…again! Yippee.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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17 Responses to Where in Williamsburg Can You Buy Diane’s Book?

  1. doglady says:

    I finished The Vanishing Viscountess, O Divine One, and I loved it!! I was already kind of partial to Tanner so reading his story was a real plus. What a great adventure and a terrific romance (hot too!) As a matter of fact, I did see The Vanishing Viscountess in our local Wal-Mart on Tuesday. They usually do carry the Harlequin historicals. I ordered mine online because I wanted it NOW!

  2. I agree that turning books face out is a worthwhile endeavor! πŸ™‚ Wal Mart is the only place around here that carries the Harlequin Historicals, but that doesn’t stop me from constantly bothering the local booksellers about it. I love the variety of settings and characters so much I even brave big bad Wal Mart once a month for them!

  3. Diane Gaston says:

    Oh, thank you, O Doggy One for the nice words about my man Tanner. I’m kinda partial to him myself.

    And hooray for Walmart for carrying the Harlequin Historicals and the other Harlequin lines.

    Remember Amanda when we had to dig for your A Notorious Woman at my Walmart. Gotta watch them all!

    Love-You. Cried again.

  4. Lois says:

    Pooh, none of the Walmarts that I’m familiar with carry the historicals. Darn. I only can think of a couple bookstores off hand that carry the historicals, but haven’t been to them lately. Hoping soon. . . πŸ™‚

    Happy new Year! πŸ™‚


  5. I love Harlequin Historicals just because they don’t limit themselves. Long live the western!

    I’ll gladly turn out your books any day! πŸ™‚

  6. Diane Gaston says:

    Yay, Gillian! That’s the spirit!

    Lois, that is too bad about your Walmarts, but at the bookstores, just ask for the books and have them order them if they are not on the shelf.

  7. Cara King says:

    Today I’m off to see PS I Love You…again!

    Diane, my faith in you is restored. πŸ™‚

    I do wish more stores carried Harlequin Historicals. My local Borders (my favorite local bookstore) does, though sometimes it’s hard to find them. (The racks get messed up! But of course I comb through them all if necessary.)

    As to bookstores with rotten romance sections…I think it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Oh, romances don’t sell well for us, so we don’t stock many” is what they always tell me. And I think, sure — if you have a rotten section, the romance readers will shop elsewhere…so you won’t sell many!


  8. Todd says:

    The snobbishness of bookstores is a familiar story, unfortunately. When we were living in Santa Barbara, one of their big independent bookstores, the Earthling, went under–succumbing (I suppose) to the competition from the nearby Barnes and Noble. I’m always sorry to see independent stores fail. But I did note that Earthling turned up their noses at romance, while Barnes and Noble did not. I don’t know why stores deliberately exclude one of their potentially most lucrative markets like that.

    Tonight we’re staying in and not braving the champagne-swigging crowds. But tomorrow morning (far too early) we are going to see the Rose Parade in Pasadena! So that will be exciting.


  9. I just discovered that my local Fred Meyer (NW chain, sort of halfway between Target and WalMart in inventory and atmosphere) carries Harlequin Historicals. The Vanishing Viscountess was prominently displayed. Unfortunately, I’d already ordered it online earlier in the day with a B&N gift card I got for Christmas, but I was glad to see it out there.

  10. Diane Gaston says:

    Susan, Thank you for telling me about Fred Meyer! I’m glad to know the books are there and I don’t care where you buy! I’m thrilled that you wanted to buy the book at all.

    I did a quick stop at a local Borders and found one copy. That means somebody bought some! (they usually stock 2 to 4 copies)

  11. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard somewhere that it’s better for authors to buy books at a physical store than online, but I can’t remember why. However, it’s certainly easier for ME to order online. I like shopping at 11:00 p.m. on a weeknight and having whatever I ordered magically waiting on my doorstep after work a few days later.

  12. Diane Gaston says:

    It is better for authors for their books not be purchased used, Susan, because we receive no royalties at all from a used book sale. Perhaps that was what you heard. As far as I know, a sale is a sale, online or not. Go for it, I say!

  13. I think it might’ve been something about Amazon.com figures not counting toward bestseller lists or something to do with how sell-through is calculated.

    Anyway, as a matter of principle I don’t buy a book used if it’s in print. I will, however, get it from the library. My book budget only extends so far, and I regularly place purchase requests with my local library. Even if I’m the only requester, they usually buy at least four copies for the collection, so I figure I’m getting the author a sale even if I’m not the one paying the money.

  14. Cara King says:

    Susan, I’ve heard the same thing, and I think it does have to do with bestseller lists or something like that. But IMHO it’s really a minor distinction, so I don’t worry about it.

    And I agree — reading at libraries helps authors too. Most libraries track what is being checked out, and are more likely to then buy more of that author or at least that genre…and library sales overall are a nice piece of the pie. (Especially for hardbacks! But paperbacks count too.)


  15. Diane Gaston says:

    I would NEVER complain about a reader getting my books at a library. Libraries are special places.

  16. Aelis says:

    I work at the New Town Barnes & Noble of which you speak…and I have to agree, the romance section is pretty sad, considering how popular it is, but there are plans to expand it and shift it to a more prominent position soon. We did have Harlequin Historicals for a while, actually, but we didn’t sell a single one, so they went back – that’s depressing, considering that they’re some of the only decently written romance novels I’ve come across.

  17. Diane Gaston says:

    How good of you to say nice things about Harlequin Historicals. I’m shocked that NONE sold. How depressing. I guess none of my mother in law’s friends actually purchased one of my books.

    Were they on the bottom shelf? I’ve noticed that bookstores tend to put the Harlequin Historicals on the bottom shelves. The other Harlequin series more prominently displayed.

    Next time I’m in New Town I’ll say hi!

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