Friday, August 11, 2006

The rumor mill

I see a rumor is going around the internet about the apparent impending demise of Harlequin Historicals. The source seems to be a report written about the RWA conference. I'll quote the pertinent part. The rest is here.

"And now...two rumors, heard from two different authors, neither of whom write for the effected lines: Bombshell is being "re-evaluated" and is in danger of being cancelled - apparently because too many readers do not realize that it is series fiction and not series romance and therefore does not require an HEA - and Harlequin Historicals may once again be terminated."

I don't know what's happening with Bombshell, and I don't know anybody who writes for it, so I'll admit the first part kinda went past without much reaction on my part. When I read the bit about Harlequin Historicals, though, my brows shot up.

Because this is sure news to me. After the initial jolt of surprise, my next reaction was skepticism, because

(a) the last time Harlequin made a major change with the line, they kept it all very hush-hush until they informed the authors. There's been no such informing.

(b) all the HH authors I know who went to the conference returned with a very upbeat attitude about the line and the editors. No words from them along the lines of "It was swell, and the gals were great, BUT..."

(c) the author quoted as the source doesn't write for the line. did s/he get this insider info?

However, stranger things have happened. I mean, maybe those HH editors are really, really good actors, fiddling while Rome burns. Or maybe even they haven't been let in on this deep, dark secret.

So I did what I always do with I hear something like this. I phoned my editor in NY. I don't just sit and ghash my teeth and worry. I don't ask other authors. I go to my editor.

Why would this bother me so much that I'd do that, you might wonder, when I don't write for HH anymore?

Because I care about HH. A lot. I first sold to them, and I had many, many happy, relatively secure years writing for them. Most of my writing friends are "Hussies," as we call ourselves.

This impending demise was certainly news to my editor.

So far, so good. Sounds like I'm right to be skeptical. Nevertheless, thinking two opinions are better than one, I contacted my agent and asked her if she'd heard anything about this. Even if she'd heard nothing official, I believe my agent, who's been in the business a long time, would be able to make an educated guess as to the rumor's likely validity.

She doesn't think it's true.

So now I'm 99.9% sure this rumor is false. Why not 100% sure? As I said, stranger things have happened. I mean, maybe the source is psychic. Or got a editor to spill some secrets. I suspect, however, that the author misunderstood what she heard or extrapolated from something said or overheard and arrived at this conclusion. So I'd be very, very surprised if there are any major upcoming changes to HH and if I were an HH author, I wouldn't panic.

That said, I think it's always good to have Plan B, for your own peace of mind if nothing else.


MaryF said...

And they JUST bought a new author, Stacey Lynn, and want to see her other books. I hope they stick around!

Margaret Moore said...

Yep, I would think that's a pretty good sign the line is healthy, too. *G*