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by Michelle Styles

July is a time for summer beach reads or just taking advantage of the hot summer sun and reading. Or at least I am hoping that July will see lots of sun. Last year was a washout in the UK, and this year is not much better. I have taken to counting the number of leaks in the summer room as I bury my head in a book and escape elsewhere. But whatever the weather, July is a great time to escape into reading.

Something to Talk About
July marks the start of the Reader’s Choice 12 book continuity series, Thoroughbred Legacy. If you want to get a flavour of the series, Joanne Rock has written an exciting prequel, Winner Takes All, available now free on eHarlequin as an online read. Chapters will be posted every Tues. & Thursday in June and July.

Joanne explained why the series is close to her heart:

I first came in contact with the glittering world of Thoroughbred racing while working summers at the Saratoga Racetrack in upstate New York. The whole town of Saratoga changes during racing season as exotic cars line up at the rail with Kentucky and Tenessee plates and this historic, charming community becomes the site of glamorous parties and world-renowned racing figures. I couldn’t wait to explore more of that world in Thoroughbred Legacy and I hope readers will follow me to Woodford County, Kentucky.

Joanne also wrote Book #4, Something to Talk About, a July release along with the first three books in the series. The next four are published in September and final four in December.

And I know this has been highlighted before, but it is very exciting news. July sees the launch of the first Blaze historical. Bound to Please has been burning up the ebook chart at eharlequin and is now finally in the shops. Hope Tarr said:

I’m absolutely over the moon to have been asked to help launch Harlequin Blaze historicals with Bound to Please. A Blaze historical offers readers all the opulence and magic, that fairytale “get-away” experience, of a single-title length historical along with the strong heroines, super-sexy heroes, and sensual plotlines for which the line is known.

The Dangerous Mr. Ryder
For those of you who love Regency, Louise Allen has a major new mini series starting in July. Louise is an auto buy for me. I love her slightly different take and settings.

I loved writing Those Scandalous Ravenhursts because I was finding out so much about the characters as the series progressed – they kept surprising me, which kept me on my toes, and they still are as I’m working on number 6, the Piratical Miss Ravenhurst. And it was such fun having the chance to revisit characters I’d loved when I was writing ‘their’ story. I hope readers will enjoy following the Ravenhursts through their adventures – they turned out to be a much more adventurous group than I had first expected – and will have fun travelling with them too, from the mythical Grand Duchy of Maubourg to the West Indies via Burgundy, fashionable London and chilly South Coast beaches.

Louise Allen said, explaining about how the Ravenhursts have taken over her life. And if you read her blog post in June about her Ravenhurst heroes, you will be able to see why I am so excited about this series.

2009 sees the 60th anniversary of Harlequin’s founding and as with things in publishing, preparations are well in hand. According to Julie Miller, Harlequin Intrigue is celebrating with an eight-month long continuity called The Kenner County Crime Unit. Set in the Four Corners region of the Southwest U.S., you’ll meet FBI agents, CSI investigators, a Native American tracker (Julie’s hero), profilers, wealthy inventors and more–all trying to solve the murder of an FBI agent, which leads to uncovering the theft of millions of dollars, which leads to a crime family, which leads to… Twisty mystery. Droolworthy heroes. Strong heroines. Danger and action. 2009 will also see the 25th anniversary of Harlequin Intrigue.

The end of July will be the annual RWA National conference which is being held in San Francisco. There is sure to be lots of news from the conference, not the least of which will be the winners of this year’s Rita awards.

Until next time, happy reading and may your summer be wonderfully lazy.