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.