Friday, March 21, 2008

Does this look familiar? and other news

The weekend is finally here, after a 6-day work week that included two late-night shifts and one Sunday... My annual evaluation portfolio is done, the book reviews that are in have been edited; I'm hoping I can get back to reading.

My gallery of reusable cover art saw a considerable increase in traffic on Tuesday, after the Smart Bitches linked me; check out the comments on their post, too, for some interesting discussions on the reuse of art (specifically classic paintings) on historical fiction covers. I've added half a dozen new entries to the gallery since then, thanks to some eagle-eyed readers who spotted yet more dupes and emailed me about them. (Thanks, folks!)

A reader from Australia notified me about the reuse of La Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1814) on two different book covers, but neither one was from a historical novel, so it's not included in the gallery... yet. I swear I've seen this painting before on historical fiction, though. Does it ring a bell with anyone?

If so, let me know and I'll credit you in the gallery.

Other random bits and pieces:

If you've been thinking about joining the HNS but haven't gotten around to it, March may be a good time; readers from North America who join or renew during March will be entered into a drawing to receive either Nicole Galland's Crossed or Tasha Alexander's A Poisoned Season, courtesy of HarperCollins. We have five copies of each to give away.

The next Historical Novel Society conference in North America will take place on June 12-14, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield in Schaumburg, IL. Mark your calendars if you plan to attend; speakers and registration info will be announced at a later time.

Kelly Hewitt of Loaded Questions told me she'll be publishing an interview with Judith Merkle Riley in the near future, and holding a giveaway for copies of The Serpent Garden, which I reviewed about a month ago... watch her blog for details.

This year I'm planning on attending BookExpo Canada rather than the usual American show, so I'll be in Toronto from June 12-16, networking with Canadian publishers, attending workshops, and visiting a couple friends. If anyone reading this is also attending or will be in town then, let me know! I'll be back at BEA next year, when it's in NYC.

Now on to some publishing deals.

DeAnna Cameron's THE BELLY DANCER, set during the 1893 Chicago Worlds' Fair, in which a sheltered young woman's marriage and attempts to enter high society are threatened by a scheming widow with designs on her husband and by her fascination with the Fair's scandalous Egyptian dancers and their handsome, mysterious manager, to Jackie Cantor at Berkley, by Ellen Pepus.

Shawna Yang Ryan's LOCKE 1928, which weaves history and mythology around a community of Chinese immigrants in a small California town in 1928, exploring the lives of a beautiful young prostitute in love with the preacher's daughter; a husband and wife mysteriously reunited after ten years; a lovesick brothel owner who can see into the past and the future, and the ghosts haunting them all, to Jane Fleming at Penguin Press, at auction, by Daniel Lazar at Writers House. [HNR covered this in late 2007, based on its original publication by a small press. Very nice review.]

Beth Kery's TEMPTATIONS OF TIME, a present day detective travels back in time to 1906 Chicago in order to save the woman featured in a set of discovered erotic photographs from being murdered, to Leis Pederson at Berkley Heat, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency.

John Pipkin's WOODSBURNER, chronicling the lives of a lovesick Norwegian immigrant farm hand, a struggling bookseller, a fire and brimstone preacher, and a pencil maker named Henry David Thoreau as their stories intersect over a fire Thoreau accidentally set which burned 800 acres near Walden Pond, moved with Janet Silver to Nan A. Talese, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, by Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates.

Rory Clements' MARTYR, a first historical thriller pitched as in the vein of CJ Sansom, about John Shakespeare, chief intelligencer to Queen Elizabeth, ordered to protect England's "sea dragon" Francis Drake from an assassination plot, to Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell, by Patty Moosbrugger at Patricia Moosbrugger Literary Agency.


  1. Anonymous6:20 PM

    I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH!!!! I read a book when I was about 12 that was so wonderful that I had to keep reading it, even though I was sick at the time, and reading it made me feel sicker. I only remembered that it involved a reflecting ball, and a line to the effect, 'it was his wife that he loved and married, but it was the daughter that he created". Like I had in the past, I searched, 'book, relfecting ball, and daughter', and lo and behold....thank you so much. I can't wait to read "Jane-Emily" again and share it with my 12 yr. old daughter and 10 yr. old son. I never thought I'd find it again with so little information. I am speechless..but apparently not type-less. Thank you so much again!

  2. Hi Terri, you're very welcome! Hope you enjoy the reread, and I'd be interested to hear what you think after you're done. When I reread Jane-Emily as an adult, I discovered many nuances that passed me by when I first read it as an adolescent. I remember that line you quote very well.

  3. Hi Sarah...I have enjoyed your blog so much!!! I did join HNS and I think it was in early March. I'm anxiously checking my mail for my first copy. Maybe I'll be in the drawing too. Glad you're back. I was amazed at the re-used cover art. I am so 'stuck on stupid" I didn't even notice. Some of those books I own. LOL, Donna

    tekey girl at gmail dot com

  4. Hi Donna, and thanks!
    We've had a staff changeover (our previous distribution person stepped down) so the mailing to new members has been somewhat delayed, but your magazine should be en route soon.

  5. Hey Sarah, I love that reuseable art, it's the best. Actually I prefer it, over some of the covers on books, these days! Thanks again for the great book recommends.

  6. Anonymous10:55 AM

    The reusable art section is GREAT. I used to like Flaming June until I started seeing it EVERYwhere.

    I've been to Toronto often. Can I recommend a hotel, or are you staying at the convention-hosted one?

    Love the site, especially all the book recommendations. Thanks.

  7. Thanks!

    I'm staying at one of the convention hotels (Holiday Inn on King), since that's required by the university. It looks like it's a few blocks' walk from the convention center. The last time I stayed in Toronto it was way up north, so I'm hoping it's a decent place.

  8. Anonymous11:37 AM

    Hi Sarah,

    I could have sworn this piece of art was used for the cover of VALIDE by Barbara Chase-Riboud, but it's not. However, when I was checking on Amazon, I saw another book that does use it: a nf title called HAREM: THE WORLD BEHIND THE VEIL by Alev Lytle Croutier. Maybe you saw that book somewhere?

  9. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for pointing that out. I've read Palace of Tears by the same author, but looking at the Amazon jacket for Harem, I don't think it's one I've ever seen before.

    By googling I found that it's on this cover, too (focusing on a specific part of the model's anatomy!).

  10. Hi Sarah,
    Just discovered your blog b/c you mentioned my book, The Healing Season, as one of your 2008 reads.
    Your blog seems very informative on historical novels. I'd love to link with yours and vice versa.
    Let me know.

  11. Hi Ruth,
    Thanks for stopping by! I'm happy to exchange links (will drop you a note off-list).