Kathleen Givens has Died

rivals_cover We received news today that author Kathleen Givens died unexpectedly this weekend. Ms. Givens was the author of several Scottish historicals, including The Destiny, for which she won a 2004 RITA award and Rivals for the Crown, which was her most recent novel. Her novels were vivid and rich in historical detail, and I as well as several of my colleagues here at AAR enjoyed them.

In addition to having her own website, Kathleen Givens also blogged as part of The Whine Sisters. Her friends on the blog have written a wonderful tribute to her which can be found here, and others have added some wonderful memories of her in the comments there. Our thoughts and condolences are with Ms. Givens’ family and friends.

-Lynn Spencer

The Diana Gabaldon Booksigning

gabaldon “There’s a reason I write long books: I like digressions.”

That’s how Diana Gabaldon started off her booksigning for An Echo in the Bone (9/23 at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch, CO). Since I’m a bit of a fan girl, this was not my first Gabaldon signing; in fact, it was my fourth. So I knew some of her wandering stories. Knew that Jamie was inspired by a fetching kilted Scotsman from a Dr. Who episode, knew that she wrote everything in chunks and then wrote the bits that tied the chunks together, knew that she had gotten her start on the compuserve bulletin boards. But Gabaldon is an engaging speaker, so enjoyable to listen to that it was worth ditching choir just to hear it all again.

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RWA Announces the DC Literacy Signing Author Listing

The line up is up and it looks fantastic! The 2009 booksigning – open to everyone – will take place on July 15th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in DC from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Are you going?  If so, who are you most interested in meeting?  RWA controversies aside, is there anybody not on the list that you’d love to see there?

-Sandy AAR

Disappointed Expectations – and Another Kerfuffle

You may have heard of the controversy concerning Lori Foster’s latest book, My Man Michael. This book is part of the SBC Fighter series, a contemporary series, albeit one with mild suspense elements, about mixed martial arts fighters — but this one’s a time travel/futuristic. I must admit that my first thought was “Huh?” (My second was “What a cool cover.”)

Many fans are furious, and the rage has exploded across Amazon and message boards. Some of the responses go too far, attacking the author instead of the book (sigh). Yet I can see why fans are disappointed. Straight contemps are hard enough to find, and many contemp fans hate paranormals. So imagine fans’ shock when Book 4 turns out to be a TT/futuristic. Most of all, readers are upset because the cover gave no warning that this one was different from the rest of the series. (Some readers figured it out from the excerpt on Lori Foster’s web site, but not all fans are on-line or know where to find excerpts.) I know I’d be annoyed if I picked up, say, the latest Mercedes Lackey book, expecting a fantasy novel, only to get a mainstream novel set in Cleveland. Or if I started reading a Harlequin Presents, only to get a story about a hero who traveled through magic portals. When we pick up a contemp, or a paranormal, we do so because we want that type of book. Sure, readers want to be surprised, but not that much. It’s like eagerly opening a box of Godiva, only to find that it contains Laffy Taffy instead. Eww!

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Lisa Valdez – A Publication Date for Patience?

Readers at our forums recently noted that the Barnes & Noble website indicates that Patience, the long-awaited second novel from Lisa Valdez, would be out starting today. Given that the author’s website does not appear to have been updated since May 2008 (curious in light of a supposed January 2009 release), I inquired further.

Today I received confirmation from Ms. Valdez’s publisher that she does not have a release coming out today. Further, I have been informed that Lisa Valdez’s book “currently is not scheduled for publication.” Given that Ms. Valdez’s website lists her contact information as “being updated”, things are not looking good here. Hopefully, the situation will change, but unless I hear something further from Ms. Valdez, I don’t think I’ll be feeling too optimistic.

ETA: As noted by reader Trish in the comments below, Ms. Valdez has updated her website since this post initially went up. There appears to be a little more news, but still no definite release dates. Hopefully, things will work out for the author.

-Lynn Spencer

Happy New Year to All – and Elizabeth Elliott News!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful 2008, and I know that I’m looking forward to a good reading year of 2009. Based on the information already released by publishers, the year certainly looks promising.

By now, many have probably read the recent update from author Elizabeth Elliott. After a decade of waiting, it looks like Elliott’s next medieval romance will be coming to shelves at last. Here at AAR, we often get queries asking for news of Ms. Elliott, so after her update went out, I contacted her via email to get a little more detail for readers.

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