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”?