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Thursday, March 5, 2009

WHEN YOU WRITE UNUSUAL HISTORICALS, YOU NEED A STRONG BACKBONE

What constitutes an unusual historical? I've discovered it's any setting outside the norm, which has been mostly American West and Medieval Britain. I think the reader today craves more than that. And with the popularity of epublishing, many authors who don't write what New York publishers consider saleable settings are finally getting their stories told.

My favorite time period and setting is Medieval Italy. I have a vested interest in all things Italian. I was born to Italian parents and raised in a culture that retained many of its Old World customs, even here in the United States. Why haven't historical romances set in Italy become popular yet? After all, Italy has always been considered a destination for romantic journies. Sadly, to the professionals in the publishing business, they believe that "no one wants to read romances set in Medieval Italy." You can't imagine how many times I've been told that to my face when I've had editor and agent appointments.

Yet I did not give up. I have paid my dues yearly in this business, have been frustrated beyond belief, but I am pleased to say my Italian Medieval romances are getting some notice...finally. Best of all, I have heard from readers that they are thrilled to read "something different."

I started out writing historical western romances over 20 years ago. I love and live in the American West. But I wasn't completely satisfied as a writer after having written a dozen westerns. I was frightened to go out of my comfort zone, but in the mid-1990s--when I became serious about getting published--ideas for medieval Italian romances started filling my head. After a while, I couldn't ignore the voices of the characters that begged me to tell their stories. Four years later, I sold my first Medieval Italain romance to Kensington for their Precious Gem line. Don't get me wrong; these books are still a difficult sell. I've developed a thick skin over the years...and a strong backbone. The difference between twenty years ago and today is, rejections are easier to take.

To other writers reading this, I encourage you to persue your goals and believe in yourself and your writing. Don't give up what you love to write. And to the readers, explore. There is an abundance of romances set in locales all over the world that are waiting for you.

I presently have three books available. All three are ebooks. Two are in print. To read the first chapters of these books, please go to my website at www.jcortipetska.com.

Thank you You Gotta Read for allowing me to be a guest blogger today. I will leave everyone with the covers and a blurbs from my books.

The first two are set in Medieval Italy.


CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN

Book One from the Sisters of Destiny Trilogy

from www.eternalpress.ca

Forced to the streets after her mother dies, Carina Gallo is desperate to survive and find her long lost sisters.

Consumed with locating his missing brother, Count Luciano Ruggero has forsaken his needs.

When Luciano catches beautiful and vulnerable Carina stealing from him, he takes pity and cares for her until she's strong enough to work off her crime. Carina is forever grateful to Luciano, yet fears he will learn of her wicked secret and condemn her to burn.

Will Luciano and Carina find a way to feed the mutual passions they share, or will heresy and obsession with lost family destroy them both?





KNIGHT'S DESIRE
A Short Story ebook from
http://www.thedarkcastlelords.com

Baron Romano DiSanto returns home after his sire's death to straighten affairs. He never intends to stay...until a woman wheedles her way into his castle, pretending to be his maidservant. Soon he is torn between returning to his life as a warrior or giving in to an emotion he has never before experienced.

After her father's death, Mariella Rizzoli is alone and desperate to ensure the family keep remains hers. Past marriageable age, she intends to live out her life in seclusion in the only home she's ever known. But the DiSanto family claims the keep, and the mystery surrounding it drives Mariella to seek employment with the new baron knight, hoping he will sign it over for eternity. Her plan goes awry when Romano discovers her reason for being in his castle. When he bids her to seduce him for the keep, she will do whatever it takes to retain her home. But can she seduce the handsome knight without losing her heart to him?


The following is set in the American West.



REBEL HEART
Available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Back cover blurb:

She traveled West to marry the man she loves...instead she found the man of her dreams.

In 1873, New York City heiress Courtney Danning shuns privilege and position to follow her heart to the fledgling community of Santa Fe. Widowed the same day she's wed, Courtney soon discovers her husband wasn't the only man awaiting her arrival. The stranger's indifference makes New Mexico's summer even hotter, but what she keeps hidden might be the key to the life she's always dreamed about.

He was hired to guard her...but forgot to guard his heart.

Ex-gunfighter Beau Hamilton's past and present are shrouded in mystery. From the moment Leif Danning hires him to watch over his pampered daughter, Beau fights his attraction. To win her love, he must find the courage to expose all, knowing the truth might become his worst nightmare.

A range war threatens...

Struggling against their unbidden love, Beau and Courtney must protect themselves from everything trying to tear them apart. When the woman he's sworn to protect finds herself in the middle of a range war, will he send her back East and lose her forever, or will he do whatever it takes to defend her...even if it costs him his life?

***************

Jannine Corti Petska
Assapora la passione (Feel the Passion)
CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN, Available at www.eternalpress.ca
KNIGHT'S DESIRE, Available at http://www.thedarkcastlelords.com/reviews-knight's-desire.htm
Book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A49buJLXMQQ
REBEL HEART, 2007 Aspen Gold Finalist
www.jcortipetska.com

14 comments:

Ellen said...

Hi Jannine!
Fantastic post---I love that you went your own way and had the courage to write what you love :)

Ginger Simpson said...

Great blog, Jannine, and oh, so true. If you veer from the 'boxy' guidelines of what's hot and what's not, you need to be prepared for the wall you'll run into.

Susan Blexrud said...

Always nice to read about a fellow DCL author. I think Medieval Italy is the perfect setting for romance. So much more exciting than stodgy old England, for heaven's sake. Keep writing what you love, Jannine. The love shines through.

Phyllis Campbell said...

Jannine, I think you're doing great! Both of your stories are awesome! I think the 'unusual' setting is what makes them interesting!

Phyllis

Jannine said...

Hi Ellen:
I have found that writing what I love makes me a better writer. It allows me to pour my heart into what's near and dear to it.

So glad you stopped by.
Thanks.

Jannine said...

Hi Ginger:
At first I wasn't expecting to run into the wall you mentioned. But as the years went by and I was rejected or scored low in contests because of my Italian medieval settings, it was definitely apparent my books would be a hard sell. Being a stubborn Italian, I kept at it, LOL.

Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

Jannine said...

Susan:
DCL accepted my Italian medieval romance short story within days of receiving the submission. I am grateful to small presses like DCL who think outside the box.

I appreciate your support.
Thanks.

Jannine said...

Hey, Phyllis, thanks! You're so enthusiastic and supportive that I should hire you as my PR person, LOL.

Luv ya

orelukjp0 said...

Thank you for the great excerpts. I'm glad you've stayed with historical romances. I enjoy reading them and appreciate an author who takes the time to research and write accurately. I'm glad you write about what you love. It shows in your works.

Misty Evans said...

Hi Jannine! Sorry I'm a day late, but I enjoyed your post and encouragement. It's great to find an author who sticks to her guns and still finds success!

My March release is set in Paris and Switzerland. An editor once looked at it and told me it wouldn't sell for that reason - readers didn't want foreign settings. I knew she wasn't the editor for me at that point. I love foreign settings and I know many other readers do too!

Best...
Misty
www.readmistyevans.com

Jannine said...

orelukjp0 (sorry, didn't see a name):
Thank you for reading the blog and commenting. I'm glad I stayed with historical romance, too. I really enjoy researching, almost more than the actual writing, lol.

Jannine said...

Misty:
I don't believe I've ever seen a romance set in Switzerland. I know for certain I've never read one. Glad your unusual settings will soon be available to readers. Good luck with it.

Desirée Lee said...

It's good that you stuck to your guns on it. I too like non-traditional historicals and have one in the works right now. Really not sure how that will go over with publishers when it eventually gets finished, but we'll see.

Carpe Noctem,
Des

Desirée Lee
Putting the Romance Back in Necromancy
http://www.desireelee.com
des@desireelee.com

guide-to-castles-of-europe said...

Jannine,

We are thrilled to have you as a DCL author!
Keep writting what you love.
It's working!
xo's