December 2010

Dear reader,

It's hard to believe the holidays are almost here! I've been so busy writing the past few months that I rarely stepped outside my house. Last week, I noticed that our huge liquid amber tree and our Japanese maples are in full, glorious color. When did that happen? For the first time in eons, I left my computer and went Christmas shopping! Now, our house is festively decorated for the holidays, the gifts have been purchased, and I wanted to take a moment to connect with you.

The big news this autumn is that our son Ryan and his beautiful bride Yvonne were married in an intimate ceremony in the Topanga mountains. Both of our sons are married now to lovely young women, and we are fortunate to have them all living just a block away. We had 21 family and friends at our house on Thanksgiving Day for a fabulous gab-fest and feast. Every day, we count our blessings. I'm thrilled to report that a book I co-wrote with Ryan this year has sold to HarperTeen, to be published in 2012. (More news about that will be forthcoming.)

Meanwhile, I'm excited to give you some background about my next novel, NOCTURNE, which is due out in a couple of weeks: on Jan. 4, 2011! This book came to be because the wonderful team at Vanguard Press, who'd read and loved my novel DRACULA, MY LOVE, asked me to write a similarly thrilling, romantic novel for them, to come out in time for Valentine's Day. I couldn't resist the offer.

It was the first time I'd agreed to write a book without knowing what it was going to be about. But almost immediately, inspiration struck. What if, I thought, a woman is snowbound for days with a reclusive, fascinating, mysterious man? They fall deeply in love—a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change them both forever. But when she learns her host's terrifying secret, she has nowhere to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and he is the only one who can save her life. I was enthralled by that idea, and so was my publisher. For some reason, I just knew the story had to take place on a mountaintop in Colorado. Before I knew it, the tale began pouring out of me, as if it was a true story and I was simply recording it.

The most satisfying part of any story, for me, is the character's arc. I like to begin with a haunting, deeply felt inner wound that has in some way prevented the character from moving forward in his or her life. Over the course of the story, they grow and change, and come out on the other side transformed and ready to tackle life's challenges with new insight and perspective. I believe that Nicole and Michael, the characters in NOCTURNE, do that for each other.

An advance review of NOCTURNE from Fresh Fiction enthuses: "Nicole and Michael are haunting characters, each with a past that makes it difficult for them to embrace the future. In each other they find a kindred spirit, and their journey is a well written page-turner. The characters go through a roller-coaster ride of emotions from beginning to end, making this a story that will stick with the reader."

Click here to read an excerpt from NOCTURNE.  NOCTURNE is available for pre-order now.  

I hope you find the book exciting and romantic.  And as the publisher says, it's the perfect Valentine's Day gift!

Mark your calendar and join me LIVE!

All kinds of promotions are planned for NOCTURNE, including a gala virtual launch party on Jan. 4 with a fabulous give-away at bittenbybooks.com (Vanguard Press is giving away a $100 Amazon gift certificate as the grand prize!) and an interview on January 8 at 12 PM EST/ 9AM PT, at The Authors Speak (blogtalkradio.com.) I'll be appearing live at both events and answering your questions, so please join us!

Other News...

Over Halloween weekend, my husband Bill and I had a great time at the JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) Annual General Meeting in Portland, Oregon. I signed lots of books, we enjoyed the seminars and events, made new friends, and danced our feet off at the Regency Masked Costume Ball.

While there, I was lucky enough to meet several other authors who've also contributed a short story to the anthology JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT, due out from Random House in fall 2011.

Here I am sipping a Black Martini at a lovely book signing event in November to celebrate DRACULA, MY LOVE, which came out in July.
 
I'm honored by the critical reviews DRACULA, MY LOVE has received.  They are truly amazing!  Here are three recent favorites...
 
 "Fans of Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer will find much to rejoice about in this novel... However, in my opinion, James is a better writer than either." —Much Madness is Divinest Sense

"A gripping story, infused with passion, excitement and emotional turmoil. It sheds a whole new light on Count Dracula. He completely outdoes Edward Cullen and Buffy's Angel in the sexy tortured soul stakes. This vampire can bite my neck any time!!" —American Book Center

"Made me swoon ... 5 out of 5 stars. Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend." — All Things Urban Fantasy

The audio book version of DRACULA, MY LOVE, recently praised by Publisher's Weekly, is now available. I'm grateful to the lovely and talented Justine Eyre, who did a terrific job narrating the novel.

The holidays are a good time to remember that BOOKS make wonderful (and not very expensive) gifts.... I'm thrilled that Bookalicious listed DRACULA, MY LOVE in their Holiday Gift Guide!  Two books I really enjoyed this year and highly recommend are "LITTLE HEATHENS: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression" by Mildred Kalish, and "SHANGHAI GIRLS" by Lisa See. I've met both authors—they are remarkable women—and their books are unforgettable. 

In Closing…

Congratulations to newsletter subscribers Chad Bowles and Rita Donovan, who were randomly selected to receive advance copies of NOCTURNE, and Kaye Jenson and Lorraine Dobbie, who received advance copies of DRACULA, MY LOVE.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support of my work. Thank you for the blogs and reviews you write, and the wonderful messages you send me, sharing all the ways in which my books have touched you. It means the world to me, and inspires more than I can say.

I invite you to email me at authorsyriejames@gmail.com, visit syriejames.com and leave a message in my guest book, connect with me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

I wish you and yours the very merriest and brightest of holiday seasons, and may you enjoy a magical new year!

All best,