Upcoming Releases and Niche-ification

I’m so excited this week to show off the cover for my November Harlequin release, The Winter Queen! It features the new (subtle) branding of Harlequin Historicals, and I love the beautiful colors, the Christmas-y look, and the way it suits the story inside the cover so well. It takes place at the Court of Elizabeth I at Christmastime 1564, the winter that was cold the Thames froze through and there was a frost fair to distract everyone from the bitter cold. There’s nothing more glamorous–or dangerous–than a Renaissance Christmas! (My website has also been updated to include an excerpt and some historical research tidbits, as well as Elizabethan holiday recipes–if you decide to try them, let me know how that turns out. I’m not brave enough…)

I also have two releases in September! The first is actually a re-release, a “two books in one volume” of 2 of my old Regency titles from Signet. Spirited Brides is the perfect book for Halloween (hey, with Christmas and Halloween we have lots of holidays covered!). One Touch of Magic and A Loving Spirit are Regency romances with a touch of ghostly paranormal–I’ll be talking more about this next week, though I’ve heard it’s been glimpsed on bookstore shelves already. It’s also on Amazon.

And the third book in my “Muses of Mayfair” trilogy is out in the UK! To Kiss a Count is Thalia Chase’s story, and is set in Bath. These books will be out in the US in 2010 in April, May, and June, but if you can’t wait they can be ordered from Amazon UK or from the Mills & Boon website! In other news, the opposite is happening with my “Renaissance Trilogy” (A Notorious Woman, A Sinful Alliance, High Seas Stowaway), which has already been out in the US. In 2010 (February, April, and June) they will be out in the UK via Mills & Boons’ “Super Historical” line, which means there will be lots of extra content, historical notes, and, as a bonus, the “Undone” short story Shipwrecked and Seduced! I am sooooo excited to see these books out again!

And, on a totally (somewhat) unrelated note, I read an article last week about the niche-ification of TV. (Sorry no link–I can’t actually recall where I read it! But the concept has stuck with me). What the author meant by this was that no longer is there really one Must See show or moment that absolutely everyone watches and talks about. (Like “Who Shot JR?” or Luke and Laura’s wedding on General Hospital, or the finale of MASH). With the advent of cable and DVDs, there is something out there for everyone, and audiences for certain shows become much more specific. My own favorite shows, Mad Men, True Blood, and Gossip Girl, could be examples of this. They’re all highly buzzed-about, yet in the cases of MM and GG their actual ratings are far out of proportion to the talk. (The Season 3 premier of MM had about 2.8 million viewers; twice as many watched a re-run of How I Met Your Mother). It’s true these are not shows for everyone; they are very character-driven, and Mad Men expecially has very complex, slowly developing plots and themes. They require a certain dedication. But they inspire immense passion in the people who love them, far more than a bigger ratings hit like CSI seems to.

Anyway, the point of this is, I started wondering if this could also be said of books. Romance novels boast so many sub-genres now, far more than when I started reading them (not that I was aware of sub-genre at all back then–to me a romance was a romance, not necessarily a traditional Regency or Regency historical, contemporary comedy or romantic suspense). There are funny books; dark books; many, many kinds of paranormals (vamps, demons, dragons, urban fantasy, etc); “chick lit” in the big city, and cozy stories in small towns where people knit. Books for every reader, which is absolutely wonderful. But does it mean there are no Must Read books, no one big show everyone should know about?

What do you think? And what’s your “niche”?

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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Michelle Styles
13 years ago

OH, and you can Ammanda’s M&B books via Amazon.ca or the Book Depository. The Book Depository doesn’t charge postage.

I do love your cover Ammanda.

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Amazing cover, Amanda.

A must-see show or must-read book? I think you’re right, we don’t have a collective pop culture consciousness, the easy availability of so much stuff has diversified our tastes. Before, if you wanted to read popular fiction, you went to the bookstore and saw what was displayed, or what was written about in the newspapers. Now, with the immediacy of content, and so many sources, there isn’t one place we all go. I think that’s a good thing, actually, although I do hope people remain open-minded (like me; I actually LIKE True Blood Eric now, where he didn’t do it for me before).

Ann Lethbridge
13 years ago

Amanda, insightful blog for a Tuesday morning! I think you are right about this niche thing. Must read books? Well there have been some, if I dare name them Harry, Da Vinci, the superbowl (er not a book but certainly a big draw).
My niche is historical, but will read anything including cereal packages.
Are we now spoiled by choice? Is that why viewership is so small? Certainly growing up in England there were 3 (yes three) tv stations to watch and they went off the air between 5 and 6 I think it was. showing my age here. And I was only allowed to watch BBC. Mothers! But that is a whole other story.
Or is it that people so darned busy, they can only let one or two things catch their attention or they can’t cope.
Where are the PhD students when you need them.
Thanks for making my brain kick into gear this morning. And can’t wait to read the books.
Best Ann

Jane Austen
13 years ago


First off beautiful colors. I love The Winter Queen.

My favorite genre is absurdist fiction, which isn’t really a genre. It’s one I made up to describe one of my favorite authors, Jasper Fforde. Jerome K. Jerome who wrote Three Men in a Boat to Say Nothing of the Dog could be included in this. So could Christopher Moore and Walter Moers.

Maggie Robinson w/a Margaret Rowe

Wondrous cover! The Cover Goddess was smiling on you. I tend to read a variety of things. Also a Fforde lover (and your own Janet Mullany for her wit), but I like angsty stuff too.Have been smitten lately with historical mysteries (Raybourn, Harris,Franklin, Alexander).

Jane Austen
13 years ago

Maggie, you and I seem to go hand in hand with historical mysteries. I’m super excited to see a new Tasha Alexander coming out in early September. Of course a new Harris comes in November. You might want to try Sharon Kay Penman. She has a nice mystery series out involving Eleanor of Aquitaine. You might enjoy it.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“I think you’re right, we don’t have a collective pop culture consciousness, the easy availability of so much stuff has diversified our tastes.”

So true! We also have access to so much more information, with online reviews and blogs. The variety of choices can be dizzying, especially paired with shortened spans of concentration. πŸ™‚ But I do like the wideness of choice–there’s a book or movie for every mood. Plus more for us to play around with as writers!

Certainly there are still some pop culture phenoms, like Potter and Twilight, that appeal to a wide audience.

And count me in as a historical mystery fan! The Harris and Alexander books are so great, and I saw in PW there’s a mystery coming out this fall featuring Abigail Adams as a detective. I’m also a sucker for historical fiction, and would love to find more rich, dark books like “The Crimson Petal and the White” (if anyone knows of any).

Maggie Robinson w/a Margaret Rowe

Thanks for the rec, Jane. Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong century. πŸ™‚

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
13 years ago

I love Tasha Alexander’s mystery novels, and I’m a huge fan of Carole Nelson Douglas’ Irene Adler Series from TOR, as well as Anne Perry.

Amanda, I love the cover of your new book and HH new branding. Are your Renaissance trilogy books in the UK going to be longer than the US versions? Do I need to have both sets? Sigh! More books to order.

Elena Greene
13 years ago

First off, congrats on getting such a lovely cover!

I am happy about all the niches in entertainment now, because I love diversity. On the other hand, it makes it a bit harder to find what I want to read. Even though historical romance is my favorite, it’s not a given that I’ll like any historical romance. What I really want is strong characterization and I don’t like to limit myself just to favorite genres. Fortunately I’ve got friends with diverse reading tastes who rarely steer me wrong.

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Gorgeous cover, Amanda, dear! You are just coming out all over, aren’t you, you debutante on the loose you! I can’t wait to read the new ones!

Hmm. I read from a variety of genres. Perhaps that means I’m a well-read, perhaps it means I have ADD !!

I DO love the Tasha Alexander and C.S. Harris books! Can’t wait for the new ones to come out. Do we want Sebastian to end up with Kate or with Hero? Inquiring minds want to know!

When it comes to my writing I think I tend to write Regency Gothic historical romance, if there is such a thing. As I live so far out in the country I can’t get television without a satellite dish (and it was either attend RWA or get a satellite dish) I don’t watch television any more. It makes for an interesting sort of vacuum and an odd loss of perception of what day it is!

Jane George
13 years ago

Wow, big congrats on the birthing of all those books! Whee!

My niche? The one that frequently gets canceled too soon! Often before the first season hits Netflix. (We told the cable guy what to do with his cable.)

I’m talking Carnivale, Pushing Daisies, Firefly, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, Arrested Development…sniff.

Don’t have a book niche. Am a book slut, will read just about anything if it’s well written.

Jane Austen
13 years ago

I want Sebastian to end up with Kate, but I wouldn’t be crushed if it were Hero. It’s hard when you know one really wouldn’t be chosen because of what she is and the other is appropriate. Who wins love or history?

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Ah! There’s the rub, isn’t it, Jane? I want him to end up with Kate as well. Simply because he has loved her so long and so faithfully against all odds. Hero would be the choice all of society would expect him to make. There is something about her I cannot like, nothing tangible, just something that makes me believe she would make him an extremely proper and extremely boring wife. Life is too short in the nineteenth century to settle for what everyone expects. But then what do I know!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“Are your Renaissance trilogy books in the UK going to be longer than the US versions?”

Hi Elizabeth! I’m not sure yet if the stories will be longer (though I wouldn’t mind going back and adding some scenes I didn’t have room for before!) but there will be some historical info content, maybe a “cut scene” or 2, and at the end of the third book will be added “Shipwrecked and Seduced” so they should be a nice package (and hopefully have good covers!)

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“Wow, big congrats on the birthing of all those books! Whee!”

LOL! I does sometimes feel like birth, trying to finish a book–a 3 month labor to get one done. πŸ™‚ Next year I will have 5 books and a novella out (not counting the UK releases), so it should be fun.

And I would vote for Kat, just because she suits him so much better and they’ve had such a long, difficult time!! But I think Hero is turning into an interesting character as well…

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

Oh, yes, Pushing Daisies, Firefly, Arrested Development–good times. πŸ™‚ I have to say I’m always wary ot trying brand new, quirky series for fear of loving and losing. I seem to curse many of the shows I fall for.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

I am absolutely in love with Amanda’s new cover! I think it is gorgeous.
And to hear her release schedule gives me a fit of fatigue.

My niches? Yipes.
In writing, my niche is the darker side of the Regency…That’s easy.

In TV, my niche is so bizarre – my current favorites are Clean House, I Survived, Ghostly Encounters, and Project Runway. Oh, and Say Yes to the Dress and I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant….Told you it was bizarre.

In reading, my attention lately is most captured by non-fiction, anything about the Regency and its people. I’m currently reading a biography of Caroline Lamb. It is a hardback and I really wish I could read it on my Kindle!

13 years ago

Oooh. Eric. So pretty.

13 years ago

Also, Ammanda, you covers are pretty too. Congrats!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

Hmmm–I wonder how to get Eric on a cover? πŸ™‚